Q and A: Is it important to have a unique meta description for each web page?

QuestionDear Kalena,

About page description: Do I have to make it all unique for example Description of the site is ’123′ so other pages as Electronics Description is ’123′ or I can make related to category ‘Buy laptop’??

Amr

Hi Amr,

If I am not wrong, I believe that you are referring to the Meta Description Tag which is usually (not always) used by search engines to create a short text preview for each web result displayed for a particular search query.

According to Google, “using identical or similar descriptions on every page of a site isn’t very helpful” and therefore is not recommended. Since no two webpages are ideally the same, each one of them should have a unique description. And since Meta Description Tag is no longer used to rank webpages, there is absolutely not point in stuffing them with keywords.

But it is not just about having unique Meta Description for every webpage; its utility goes far beyond that. Meta Description is like your Ad which is displayed in organic search results. The better your Ad is, the more clicks you are likely to get. It is therefore important that you pay careful attention to each page description you write.

A perfect Page/Meta Description should have the following characteristics:

  1. Describe the page content accurately and concisely while staying within the 160 character limit.
  2. Serve as a perfect Ad copy – informative and enticing.
  3. Incorporate targeted keywords to establish relational relevance between search query and search result, and capitalize on bolding done by search engines.

Writing a killer Ad is not easy and same is the case with Meta Description. Therefore when it comes to writing Meta Description, I usually draw inferences from my best performing Ad Copies. It gives me a good indication of what has and what hasn’t worked for me in the past. You can do the same.

Hope it helps.

Saurav Verma
Kneoteric eSolutions

Q and A: What is social media optimization (SMO)?

QuestionDear Kalena,

I was just wondering if you could provide me with any information regarding SMO (Social media optimization). I have been researching and yet to find anything I could use.

Thank you

Amanda

Dear Amanda,

The answer to your question is quite expansive and I can not possibly fit every thing into a single post. I would therefore try to give you an overview of social media optimization/marketing and leave you with a couple of pointers, and you can take the lead from there.

The year 2009 saw a lot of buzz about social media and was heralded as the year of social media marketing. Social media marketing dominated the list of digital marketing tactics and I can not foresee any reason why the trend would not continue. A lot of big names have jumped into the social media foray and many businesses have added social media optimization/marketing into their marketing mix.

As the name suggests, social media is basically communicating online or socializing as you would say in the real world. But it is not as easy it sounds and can be very overwhelming. So before you a take a dive into social media, here’s social media in plain English for you and why you need social media marketing.

It is common for people who are unaware of the intricacies of social media to label it a fad and showcase it as a sheer waste of time. It only holds true when you don’t know “what you want out of social media”. It is therefore quintessential to set the right expectations at the beginning of any social media campaign. Here’s a great rundown of what results you can expect from your social media campaign.

Going further, Shana Albert (the social media star) wrote a great guide on How to get started in social media. It may be a bit old but most of the information provided therein still holds true and will make for a good start. I would also like to point you to posts written by Jordan Kasteler and Lee Odden as they would answer most of your questions related to social media.

Common Questions with Social Media Campaigns
Answers to Social Media Questions You Should Know

And before I wrap up the post I would like to say that “Social media is here, now and it’s big – Don’t miss the boat!”

Further Reading:

16 Rules For Social Media Optimization Revisited

Hope it helps.

Saurav Verma
Kneoteric eSolutions

Q and A: Are one way links more powerful than reciprocal links?

QuestionDear Kalena,

Which is more powerful – a link from Facebook to my website, or a link from Facebook, and my website linking back to that Facebook page?

Thanks, Robert

Dear Robert,

A very ‘dry’ answer to your fairly complex question would be that one way links hold more traction in search engine rankings than reciprocal links. So a one way link from Facebook to your website would be treated more favorably than reciprocal linking between Facebook and your website. However, I am not trying to imply that reciprocal link trading should not be done or discounted.

Since I would be doing injustice to your question if I stopped right here, I am taking the liberty to delve further in order to paint a clearer picture for you.

“One way links vs. reciprocal links” is an age old debate and has been beaten to death. Still, this topic carries an aura of ambiguity for the very simple reason that there are too many variables involved. Search engine ranking algorithms have grown in complexity and their link analysis techniques are far more sophisticated than they were a couple of years ago.

While many people would want you believe that reciprocal linking is dead and not worth your effort, I personally believe that this notion is not entirely true. One way links are better than reciprocal links but this does not certainly mean that reciprocal linking is worthless. A limited amount of reciprocal linking is not only normal but natural.

If you want to recommend a useful resource to your visitors and the other webmaster does the same because he believes that his site visitors would find your website to be equally interesting, then I don’t see search engines having a problem with it. There are thousands of websites that link to one another for the simple fact that it makes business sense. If search engines start devaluing all reciprocal links then they would be ignoring these legitimate link votes, and in the process do more harm than good. So, as long as you stay away from abusive reciprocal linking that smell of link schemes done to artificially inflate search rankings, you will be just fine.

In essence, the more important things to look at and consider are link relevance and the quality of the link. If these two parameters stand fulfilled, I would not be too fussed whether it is a one way or reciprocal link.

Saurav Verma

Further Reading:

What are Reciprocal Links and What do Search Engines Think of Them?

Link value factors

Q and A: Why does my website not rank high on search engines?

QuestionDear Kalena…

Does the Google sandbox exist?

Hi, my name is Cameron and I run I Want a Credit Card, an Australian credit card review site. I think I’m doing everything I should be to get good Google traffic. I have loads of unique content and lots of incoming links (some from PR7 and PR8 sites).

I get about 20-30 Google visitors per day, mostly from very specific keywords. I don’t show up anywhere in the first 300 results for credit card’ or ‘credit cards’ on Google Australia, which is frustrating because I think my site is a good resource (certainly more relevant than some of the sites in the first few pages of results).

I’ve read countless articles on optimizing my site for search engine traffic and I’ve tried to follow all the appropriate principles (SEO-friendly URLs etc). My site doesn’t contain any content which may cause it to be penalized (gambling, porn etc) and I have no outbound links to bad or PR0 sites. Google Webmaster tools reports no problems. What am I doing wrong?

Cameron

Dear Cameron

The existence of Google Sandbox, the (ageing) filter put in place by Google spam team to fight web spam, is debatable. While it did exist in the past, many SEO professionals now believe that it no longer exists but Rand Fishkin wrote a post which proves otherwise. I believe that you are trying to hint at the fact that the website’s inability to rank for the keyword ‘credit card’ or ‘credit cards’ is because of Google Sandbox effect. However, a brief analysis of the website did not show any potential signs of the ageing filter playing a role in the website not being able to rank for these keywords.

Since you have been reading around the subject, I am sure that you would have come across various resources detailing search engine ranking factors. The important thing to remember here is that these factors change with time; new factors get added, some lose their sheen while others gain prominence. With this background knowledge, I would like to give you some potential reasons for low ranking and suggest a better approach.

While analyzing your website, I could spot a couple of flaws which will hurt its potential to rank high on search engines. Many of the web pages seem to be using the same (duplicate) ‘title’ which is not healthy. Page title is one of the most important on-page ranking factors and it is imperative that each webpage has a unique title, which is in sync with the keywords being targeted for that particular page. In addition to this, the website’s back link profile looks very unnatural. While building links, it is essential that you rotate anchor texts and use semantic variations of the targeted keywords. It has to be a proper mix and I am afraid to say that it is not at the moment because more than 95% of the links have ‘credit card(s)’ as the anchor text. Also, majority of the links come from a handful of websites. The existing back link profile is bound to raise red flags and many links will be potentially devalued or already are by search engines.

Ranking for competitive terms such as ‘credit card’ or credit cards’ will require concerted efforts for a prolonged period of time. It is pertinent to add that domain authority, trustworthiness and age play a crucial role in ranking for competitive terms; something that cannot be built overnight and will come with time. I would therefore recommend that you adopt a slightly different approach.

You can begin with targeting less competitive keywords like ‘credit card comparison’, ‘compare credit cards’, ‘low interest credit cards’, ‘student credit cards’, ‘low rate credit card’, etc. Keywords which are 3-5 words long are not only easier to rank for as compared to generic term like ‘credit cards’, but also are more likely to convert better. The best part of this whole approach is the fact that as you work towards ranking for less competitive but better converting keywords, you gain significant link equity and domain trust. This in turn will help you rank for more competitive and generic keyword like credit card. By adopting this approach you would accomplish your end goal and in the process achieve high rankings for a wider keyword portfolio.

I hope this helps.

Saurav.

Further reading: Why it Makes Sense to Target Longtail Keywords First

Q and A: How can I track visitors coming to my website?

QuestionHi Kalena,

How would I find that how many users are visiting my site? Is that possible to have it as a report? i.e. daily, weekly etc.Question

Baskar

Dear Baskar

The two word answer to your question is “web analytics”. Web analytics software will not only help you to track the number of visitors coming to your website, but would tell you where they came from, the amount of time they spent on your website, pages they visited, and a whole lot of other data pertaining to your website.

The data from your web analytics software is extremely useful in helping you fine tune your website and is a must have for anyone who owns a website or a blog. There is a plethora of web analytic software, both free and paid, which you can use to get all the data you are looking for. The only challenge you are likely to face is converting this raw data into information which can be acted upon.

Personally I prefer Google Analytics and I have various reasons to do so. It is free to use and will supply you with all the data that you need, at least at beginner and intermediate level. On top of this, it is simple to use and intuitive. Your can generate reports based on various dimensions, customize it, and export them in various formats. You could not ask for more from free-to-use software.

The installation process is simple. All you need to do is sign up for Google analytics (you can use an existing Google account), grab a tracking code and insert it in webpages you want to track – job done. Google will start tracking your website’s activities in the next 24-48 hours. You can refer to Google Analytics Installation Guide for step by step instructions.

Saurav.

Pay for Performance Search Marketing