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Understanding Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) for Improved SEO Copywriting

Semantics are big deal to search engine crawlers. LSI, or Latent Semantic Indexing, is a method search engine use for information retrieval. In simple terms, LSI enables search engines to reference content (or certain words) that has similar meaning and context, although not exactly the same.

LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) Defined

In article about LSI by Arron Wall at SEO Book, he says that "Latent semantic indexing allows a search engine to determine what a page is about outside of specifically matching search query text."

To give you an example, after a search engine users queries "drunk driving lawyer," Google might reference indexed pages that are optimized for "DUI attorney". In essence, the queries are quite similar; however the semantics is slightly different.

SEO Copywriting with LSI in Mind

There are two way in which SEO copywriters can improve their content using the concepts of Latent Semantic Indexing: in the copy and in the anchor text

In-copy Keyword Variation

Keyword redundancy is typically a good thing when it comes to optimized web copy - to an extent. Sometimes repeating keywords too often can have a negative impact. Search engines are quick to spot spammy, keyword stuffed content, and often times they are quick to penalize sites with such horrendous copy.

Not only is overly keyword dense content risky for your rankings, but spammy copy is difficult and not very delightful to read. Choppy copy rarely converts visitors because visitors often bounce after struggling though the first couple sentences.

With Latent Semantic Indexing, SEO copywriters can still capture keyword relevancy without having to use the exact same words constantly throughout the copy. Rather, SEO copywriters can use synonyms and related keyword variations to mix things up a bit. For example, instead of using only the phrase "DUI attorney" throughout the copy, try using variations like:

  • DUI lawyer
  • DUI legal services
  • DUI law firm
  • drunk driving attorney

Most of these variations are common keyword queries used by the same audience searching for a "DUI attorney". So not only will mixing up your keywords help the readability of the copy, but also the rank-ability of the webpage. This is because the use of keyword variations (with respect to LSI) will help to make your pages more relevant on slightly similar, yet different search queries.

Anchor Text Variation

Similar to using keyword variations in the copy, SEO copywriters should employ the same tactics in the anchor text of their links. This includes both internal links as well as external links (backlinks).

Furthermore, SEO copywriters should keep the concepts of LSI in mind when using partial linking strategies (linking with only part of the whole keyword phrase.) This also helps to make a webpage more relevant on those close keyword variations.

Well there you have it - your SEO copywriter’s guide to improving content with respect to LSI.

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Best Practices of Building a Natural Backlink Portfolio

Building a Natural Backlinks PortfolioBuilding links to your webpages is the powerful method and highly sought after services for search engine optimization (SEO). Because of the immense potential behind link building, the practices of many SEO's has become a bit sketchy and unethical. As a result, Google has implemented measures (Penguin update) in its search engine to target websites over optimized backlinks. That is, Google may penalize a website with too many backlinks that are clearly built for keyword targeting and SEO.

Optimized backlinks are links that have anchor text with a keyword target. A natural backlink would be a URL or domain (.com or .org). There are even semi optimized backlinks which have a portion of the keyword target, however it may not be in exact phrase match form. The sites that are being penalized are those with too great a ratio of optimized backlinks, thus deeming them "over optimized."

The Google Penguin Update has shaken the world of SEO. As a result, it is now more important than ever to build a natural backlink portfolio when optimizing your website. The most mind set to have while doing this is to ensure the links pointing to your pages have a blend of natural and optimized anchor text. In essence, you must create diversity in your backlink portfolio.

Diversifying Your Backlinks

To maximize the natural appearance of your site's backlink portfolio, there should be diversity in the anchor text profile. Before Penguin, most SEO's would use exact phrase match anchor text. However now, this needs to be mixed up with various other forms of anchor text, such as your product name, your company name, and other branded keywords as well as naked links (such as your URL). Other good strategies for using semi-optimized anchor text is using broad-match keywords that have additional, non-targeted keywords, synonymous (such as "attorney" instead of "lawyer," and action words such as "click here" and "learn more."

It is also important to diversify where you build your backlinks. It is essential that your links have contextual relevancy. That is, the content in which the link is built must have some relevancy to that of the link. So a link with the anchor text website optimization should be in a blog post, article, or on a page about website optimization. Search engine spiders are smart, and they'll will recognize the contextual relevancy of your backlinks. Not relevant backlinks can discredit their value.

Site's can further naturalize their backlink portfolio by having a have a blend of link sources. This includes a combination of contextual links (backlinks in the copy of an article/blog post), blogroll links, images links, footer links, and so on. Additionally, having backlinks that come for a wide range of (topically related) website also contributes to a natural backlink portfolio. This includes a blend of high and low authority pages (based on Google PageRank) as well as articles, blog posts, blog comments, forum posts, tweets, and other content sources.

Diversifying your backlinks is a lot of work in terms of off-page optimization, but it can really pay off. Again, link building is the most important practices for SEO's and website optimizers, so conduct your efforts wisely.

Naturalizing Your Backlinks

By now you should know the common nature of backlinks and how they impact SEO and website optimization. Below we offer some techniques to naturalizing your backlink portfolio. These ideas are to help you start thinking outside the box when it comes to link building.

1) Guest Blogging: If you can produce quality content that offers value to a select reader-base, then guest blogging can be a momentous opportunity for link building. With guest blogging, you must seek blogs that pertain to your topic and ask the webmaster or blog owner if you can contribute content to the blog. You'll want to define the terms in regards to the backlinks you are able to build. If you can get your link-infused content published on a high authority blog, then you can rock your SEO efforts.

2) Google+: Google+ is Google’s own social networking site and it therefore goes without saying that creating a Google+ profile will help your SEO campaign. This can be very advantageous for inbound marketing and SEO for ecommerce sites. Encourages social interaction to attain more +1s and shares since they will increase the value of your links. Try posting links with short descriptions of your new content or articles in your Google+ profile.

3) Blogrolls: If you have a nice arsenal of blogs that you use for content marketing and link building, use your blogrolls or sidebars to build links. Use this to build natural links, not only to your money pages, but also to your articles and other web properties that might contain link juice. The idea is pass authority to these web properties by spreading PageRank power (or PR.)

4) Blog commenting: Leave comments on high authority blogs with industry or contextual relevancy can help naturalize your backlink portfolio. Most people think this is a waste of time, however this only makes the entire backlink portfolio look natural. Keep in mind that a website or blog that has a high PageRank offers a lot more link weight.

5) Directory listing: Seek for listing in quality directories such as social media directories, government directories like the local offices, general business directories, trade organizations, and local online and offline directories.

6) Link exchanges: Link exchanges should only be done with quality websites that are highly trusted. They could be with your suppliers, customers, or resellers. You could even have dedicated Web pages on your product/brand on their sites. You could ask customers who have blogs to write on your brand.

7) Resource links: Identify industry websites that are related to what you offer and that have resource links listing resources that are similar to your resources. Contact the Webmasters of these websites and ask for links. Give a reason why your site should be listed.

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What the Heck is Co-Occurrence, and How Will it Impact SEO?

I came across this enlightening video presented by Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz.com. In his Whiteboard Friday segment, Rand makes a very pronounced prediction with respect to linking for SEO and establishing keyword relevancy. 

Rand predicts a steady decline of link anchor text as a means of determining a page’s keyword relevancy, and the increase of “co-occurrence” as a variable influencing keyword relevancy.

Simply put, co-occurrence is content association. That is, mentioning certain keywords and phrases in the content will make contextually relevant on those terms. As a result, any outbound links from that content will carry that keyword relevancy to the page being linked to, regardless of anchor text.

Google’s getting wiser and as a result, yielding better results for websites being mentioned along with keywords on other pages. These websites that are ranking higher in Rand’s video aren’t live-linked (holding keyword-specific anchor text) nor do they mention the keyword phrase in the page title or copy.

This means the classic SEO approaches we’ve come to know - live link association or anchor text - is becoming less of an influence. Co-occurrence is the new bread and butter in Rand’s thoughtful prediction.

Check out Rand’s video here.

 

This article was produced by blogger, SEO, and web marketer Kyle Blasco. You can connect with Kyle on Google+.

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Why SEO Is Going To Have Massive Changes This Year

Search engine optimisation over the past 2 years has changed drastically. The best practices which people had have completely changed.

2 years ago, anchor text distribution was something that no one had heard of, those that were proactive with there SEO would realise that they are simply putting too much attention towards one keyword, this has become known as over optimisation.

The one thing search engines have not been able to get rid of this year is the many black hat tactics still being implemented by many. 2013 is going to be the year when these tactics simply do not work anymore according to prominent search engine optimisation team GMG SEO. The many tactics still being used today which will hurt businesses include layered link building which the big G will soon find all the foot prints left by companies adopting this SEO strategy.

It is only a matter of time before all those manipulating the search engine to build authority links will get found out.

The best remedy for this is for people to adopt co-citation link building, you may ask what is co-citation link building?

It is basically a technique where by the content surrounding the anchor text is what will give the link more weight rather than the anchor text itself.

Eg- if you are trying to rank for online marketing, all the text around the link (which can be either your brand name or a generic word) is related to online marketing.

This tactic has proven to be quite effective for many SEO’s so I suggest all in the industry to research about this new tactic for 2013.

John Vlasakakis is an SEO specialist in Australia with over 8 years experience in SEO, he can be found on Google+.

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7 SEO-Friendly Insights for Web Designers & Developers

Nowadays, many SEO-focused web designers and developers center their practice on on writing the front-end code. That is, the visual elements and graphics that are central for user interaction and experience.

However what many web designers and developers fail to realize is that front-end web development can significantly influence SEO. This implies that the major role in SEO should be respected by the website designer. However, only a some fully understand SEO and how to ensure a crawler-friendly website.

This written article is intended to provide important insights that will help the average (and even above average) web designers to develop their SEO skills and knowledge.

1. Stray Away from Flash for Navigation

At some point, it is indeed a nice way of getting your user’s attention is through the use of flash for some drop down effects to the site’s navigation, but do NOT attempt to try it. This might results in not following the links used in the navigation since these search engines have trouble reading flash files.

2. Think of a Better and Unique Page Titles

Each title should be unique and differs to each page on your website. It is better and a MUST to use unique page titles, otherwise search engines will think that every page on your site is about the same subject.

3. Tailor the Code to be More Structured than the Design

Make sure to use SEMANTIC code when writing the front end of your site. Use descriptive tags to construct your pages, so that search engines will have the ability to read and have a better knowledge of your content. This will also help you to lessen your burden and clean up the process of styling your site.

4. Never Forget about Optimizing Images

It is important to properly describe images through the use of the ALT attribute as search engines can’t see what an image looks like. In this way, heavy traffic from image searches will be avoided.

5. Use Keywords to Describe Media

Keywords are the words that you're targeting for SEO traffic and should characterize your web content. Making them appears in vital places throughout your page, such as: URL, title tag, Meta description) is important, but what separates the truly SEO-friendly web designers are those who use keywords to label and describe media files, such as videos and images.

6. Avoid Using Generic Anchor Text in Links

Links play a very vital role for search engines. So you have to make sure to use a word that best describes the content when linking to relevant content. For an instant, if you were getting your reader a link to learn more about Filipino Women, use something like “Learn More about Filipino Women” as it conflicts to just “Learn More”.

7. Use a Consistent URL Naming Convention

The URL is an important element in writing a SEO-friendly page. Keep the URL naming convention consistent and use keywords wisely and conservatively. Avoid using throw-away words (e.g. "the" or "an") - focus your URLs around the core of your keyword targets.

Do you have additional SEO insights for web designers or developers? Let us know your optimization tips in the comments section below.

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5 Tips to Ensure a Safe SEO Link Building Strategy in 2014

Links for SEOWhether you're doing ecommerce SEO or local SEO, any link building strategy must be designed and executed in a very mindful manner. To help ensure your link building efforts yield a successful SEO strategy, below we share 5 tips to steer you in the optimal direction.

1.) Link Sources: Make certain that every link-building effort is focused on building link sources that are high in quality. If one has been relying heavily on a strategy of link acquisition which focuses on large and easy to acquire quantities, this type of strategy will most likely lead to being devalued. Focus on high quality links and not on spinning articles, guest posts and comments on blogs that are low quality.

Also, weed out past links that are considered spam. For example, you may have acquired run-off links on topics irrelevant sites and can request to have those removed. If unable to remove them, disavowing the very egregious ones is something to consider.

2.) Quality Content: Put out the highest quality content, which will always attract links and social signals naturally. The best and only way to get a variety of other sites creating high quality and relevant links to your site is by the creation of useful, relevant and unique content which can then gain popularity naturally in the online community. The creation of good, quality content can pay off, reflected in the links which are the editorial votes issued by choice by users.

In essence, the better quality content one has, the higher the chances another person will find such content of value to their own readers and have a link to it. This is definitely one of the most important factors when one is considering success in this regard.

3.) Natural Looking: The current buzzword in the SEO community is "natural." Conduct a link audit on your site to look for manipulative or suspicious looking links. Analyze you backlinks and avoid future bad links by looking out for examples such as: purchased links, swapped links, adult and bad neighbourhood sites, sites overly exposed to only the purpose of SEO, links from sites irrelevant to yours, junk web directory links, over-optimized anchor text and, network blog links.

To make your SEO link building be natural, try and add variations to the link adequately or to the anchor text. Acquire relevant and authoritative links that maintain your site content and is a powerful tool to naturally link building, in an unsolicited fashion. This is especially important for competitive SEO spaces like ecommerce SEO. Companies like Click Centric SEO that specialize in ecommerce SEO services advocate a thorough backlink portfolio audit to ensure a completely natural strategy is put in place.

4.) Beware of Negative SEO: Keep a watchful eye on all of the new backlinks that your site receives. By being aware you can then react swiftly to any negative SEO that is possibly pointed to your site. Surround your site with good content, relevant writing to your theme and topics, which will then work to bring about positive co-citations. Co-citations are a mechanism that allows Google to identity what your site deals with.

Every time a link to your site is mentioned in conjunction with a competitor of yours or a similar site to yours, this becomes a hint to Google that your site or business is related to that competitor or other site. Based on authoritativeness in that business niche, Google then associates the sites; this tip is critical.

5.) Know Your Top Competitors: You can use co-citation to effectively build your links on your site. Ultimately the result of co-citation is to able to identify leading businesses representing in the niche and trusted by Google. Therefore identifying your top competitors and making sure your theme, topics and brand is getting mentioned in the right niche and alongside with the trusted businesses is a smart way to use co-citation.

Here are ways to find and identify your top competitors in your business niche: Perform a search using words like "The top 10 (generic business niche youre in)", "The highest ranked or the best (generic name of your service or product) in 2013", and so on.

If you do not find your business listed there, contact the publisher and request to be added to the list; Do a search for other competitors in your field and find as many existing rankings as you can by using the key words.

This will lead to more citation opportunities; Perform a reverse-engineering search on your competitors' backlinks and you may be able to find additional niche resources which they have acquired links from. Moreover, you can always compare site link profiles of numerous competitors all at once, which lets you see which websites link to other several competitors at one go.

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Negative SEO: 4 Common Link Building Techniques

Negative SEO Link Building For those who have been in the SEO profession for awhile, it’s easy to remember the good old days of link building. You just had to submit your article, name, address or website to get numerous links within a day.

Unfortunately, the scenario has completely changed. For some people, the bad link building tactics are still lingering. In this post, we discuss four far too common link building techniques that can actually have a negative impact on SEO (or are simply just a waste of time.)

1. Keyword Specific Anchor Text

Back in the old days of SEO (okay, so maybe just year or less ago,) the primary goal of keyword specific anchor text was to let the search engine and users know what they could find on a page.

Experts of organic SEO believed that if the links were placed on the target keyword text, websites would rank better. Thus, they added keyword specific anchor text almost everywhere. However, everything changed when the Penguin update was introduced.

Since search engines have evolved, they can easily correlate words with websites. They don’t need webmasters telling them what can be found on a page. Similarly, they don’t need links to know that a mention is about a specific web page.

It is important to understand that links are still valuable. If you have an opportunity to use a keyword focused link, you should just take it. However, you won’t often get a straight up URL or branded link. Just remember that if it’s an authority or relevant website linking to you, there’s no need to be concerned about what the link says.

2. Directory Submissions

It is important to understand that not every directory is bad. The problem is with placing the site in directories that aren’t related or relevant to your industry or business. Until a few years ago, the primary purpose of directories was to help search engines find websites. The links used to help websites get ranked.

In the modern age, search engines don’t need directories anymore. Moreover, websites with too many directory links get penalized. A webmaster should only submit to a directory when it’s being used by the target audience or potential customers. Unless directory will hold some real business value for your company, you should learn to say No.

Although directories are no longer the optimal source for links, they do retain value in building citations for local SEO.

3. Generic Outreach Emails

We are living in a world of digital footprints. Social media, blogs, search engines and other such platforms make it easier to find information about a person. While conducting outreach, it is important to take your time to find out who you want to reach out to.

Before sending a generic outreach email, you need to gather information about the site’s owner, his or her interests, preferable medium to be reached and so on. Most importantly, you need to make sure the concerned person wants to be reached.

4. PageRank

PageRank is used by popular search engines like Google to measure the page’s value. Link builders need to find pages with high value to link back to the website. Most link building services charge by the overall PageRank of a link.

If the PageRank is higher, the cost of the link is also higher. In order to get better results, you need to focus on the overall website versus the PageRank. Although PageRank plays an important role, the overall quality of the website can’t be overlooked.

Lastly...

So are you still stuck in these ancient ways of generating links? Perhaps you've been penalized and need backlink portfolio assessment? Hop on over to ClickCentricSEO.com for a free SEO audit. They will assess you're current situation and provide insights as to how to get your site ranking (and build links more meaningful.)

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5 Old SEO Practices That Now Do More Harm Than Good

Good SEOSearch engine optimization is the turning point of marketing. However, a marketer needs to be vigilant on how they approach SEO when incorporating it into their marketing plan. One can do everything wrong and right when it comes to SEO.

If one takes the essential steps and market their business well by observing some of the critical areas of SEO, then they can beat the most difficult areas of SEO as they will care for themselves. Perhaps, SEO is an iterative process that requires strategizing, measurement and improvement.

SEO keeps advancing and changing on a regular basis. This, therefore, throws serious challenges to marketers to get updated and adopt the new algorithms. There are certain SEO tools and tactics that worked initially but do not work at the moment. They can make someone get punished. Some of these factors are discussed below.

Keyword-Optimized Pages

Initially, people used to target keywords on the kind of content that they place online. Narrowly focusing on a keyword in a page used to kill years back. The higher keyword-focused pages used to rank high than those that did not.

Nowadays, following the introduction of Hummingbird update, Google, and other search engines are looking for how certain keywords have represented various ideas. There are billions of pages that Google analyzes. The pages that perfectly represent certain keywords get ranked high.

This does not mean that marketers need to shun the use of keywords when seeking to improve their Search Engine Optimization. It is a challenge to marketers to keep updated and present content that perfectly represents keywords.

Take the instance of 'sports'. There are millions of pages that talk about sports. Content with highly repeated keyword 'sports' does not guarantee it to appear at the top. Ideally, what matters is how exhaustively that content has been presented. The secret is 'focus much on the topic about the client's needs'. This can often be reveal through an SEO site audit, which you can learn more about here.

Optimized of Anchor Text

Anchor texts used to be popular in signaling the relevance of internet pages. Anchor texts aid in understanding what the whole site is about without necessarily having to read everything. SEO secures a large amount of links for a specific target keyword. Few people now can link a page by the use of anchor text. When used nowadays, it can raise warning regardless of how one spreads them.

The use of anchor text, however, should not be thrown out when it comes to SEO. The secret is 'do not use similar words'. Use sentences that revolve around the keyword instead of using plain keywords to avoid being punished.

Link Sculpting

The 'no-follow' tag that was created by search engine earlier to block spammers does not work now. Google now sees such pages as not preventing any link from flowing out of a page and that it just prevents from leading to a page that is linked to. The best solution to curb this is to eradicate hyperlinks from such pages.

Thin Content

Earlier, it used to be said that content is the king, prince and queen of everything. Marketers and other websites thus rushed for more and more content to attract visitors. Nowadays, it is not content anymore but the quality of it. Good quality, conversion-oriented SEO copywriting increases and improves the reputation of a site.

Buying links

Search engines that came before Google used on-page optimization in ranking pages. When Google was introduced, it changed the tricks of the game and introduced the use of links. Currently, the use of links in manipulating algorithm is greatly penalized implying that the idea of link buying does not work. If links can be used only for advertising purposes, they can still work the magic. But if one needs to use links, they can contact the owners of the site first.

Techniques used by some of the best ecommerce SEO companies are never static but keep on changing day in day out. Marketers should remain flexible and updated to beat the fast-paced trends.

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