Categories
Product Review

Squirrly Review – WordPress SEO Plugin

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Squirrly is another SEO plugin for WordPress. Yes, I do realize how many of those exists, but there was a sale on DealFuel.com with no monthly fees and the Squirrly reviews seemed convincing. There are 3 major features on the plugin – a keyword research module, a sidebar with details on SEO for your post, and content that can be added to your post that is related to your keyword.

Keyword Research

Keyword research is pretty fast, and it is easy to find the information, which includes competition. No idea on the source of the data, though – or if it is any good. At least I don't have to start a separate program and wait for it to run. I do wish the extra information was on a proper grid, though – it actually is on a pop-up per keyword.

My plan has a limit of 300 keyword searches per month. I imagine that will be quite enough for me. Naturally you will need to choose a keyword (or several) for the next features to work. Squirrly - Keyword Research

SEO Sidebar

The sidebar didn't work at first, but after using Save Draft it worked fine. There is plenty of useful information in the sidebar, including most of the little stuff (keyword density, use keyword on H2, use Image with Alt for the keyword) that has been in similar plugins for years.

Squirrly - SEO Sidebar

Content

You have a bunch of choices here: Image, Wiki, Wiki, News, Blogs, My Articles. Images worked very fast and got me a bunch of relevant images. With a single click it is added to your article, with the Alt attribute already set for your keyword. I got some relevant stuff from the other searches, too.

Squirrly - ContentSquirrly - Articles

Audit/Monitor

There is some kind of audit of my blog that will take place in 2 to 3 days according to their site. I will update this review when it does.

The Squirrly site also says that I will get an e-mail with weekly tracking for articles, including “social signals”. Looks interesting. I already use Rank Tracker for some keywords on my sites, but I don't bother with the setup for individual articles. Again, I will update this article when I learn more.

Extra SEO Stuff

On settings, there are a bunch of stuff, including – add canonical link kin home page – add sitemap – add Facebook Meta objects – connect site with Facebook Insight, Bing Webmaster Tools, etc I have kept most of it off, as I already have another SEO plugin covering  this area.

Conclusion

Overall, I really like Squirrly, and it seems to work fine. Naturally, it is hard to tell if its suggestions are actually good for the article SEO or not., but these seem to make sense.

The tracking stuff looks wonderful, but I haven't seen it working yet.

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Categories
Book Review

The Art of SEO: Mastering Search Engine Optimization – Book Review

The Art of SEO: Mastering Search Engine Optimization – is pretty good.

the Art Of SEO

 

I'd say it probably cover most of what you need to know. It doesn't cover a few tools I'm fond of (but of course it wouldn't be possible to cover all of them).

Usually at this point I'd go through my notes and say what I liked about the book – but this where its main problem comes from – it is too long.

 

The authors seem to have a talent for extending text well beyond what you'd think possible, and they are clearly not fans of hyperlinking – many times things will be explained in one chapter and then be explained almost exactly the same from another angle in the next chapter (or even sections on the same chapter). While this do save the time of anyone who is looking at sections for a specific purpose, if you are reading the whole book through it is very tiresome.

That said, I do have a very large amount of highlights and notes on this book. It is good stuff, I just wish the authors could be a little (or lot) more succinct.

 

 

 

Categories
Product Review

SEO From Scratch Review

SEO From Scratch is a new video course from Ben Hunt. He is a book author (check my reviews of Save the Pixel and Convert! for more information) and he has a very nice Web Design/SEO course that I took last year and really liked.

SEO from Scratch is mostly targeted at beginners, that shows you the basics of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and goes up to somewhat advanced techniques.

The course right now has 4 videos, currently totaling about 3 hours (186 minutes), as well as a spreadsheet with tools and a short PDF manual.

1. Introduction, covers the very basics of SEO, and the general process – Keyword Research, Content Creation and Content Promotion. It also covers the awareness ladder, which is covered in more complete form in Convert! (and if you decide not to pick up this course or the complete Web Design I really recommend reading Convert!).

2. Keyword Research covers Ben's method of find good keywords – that is, keywords that get traffic and at the same time are possible to rank for in the top 10. There are a number of programs and services that do this right now, but I'm not aware of any that gets numbers as good as Ben's system (except possibly SEOMoz, from which a lot of the data used in the process comes).

This is the best part of the course, and can't be found anywhere (except on Ben's Web Design/SEO course ).

The big problem with the process is that it is VERY manual. So, while you could easily scan dozens or hundreds of keywords with a tool such as Market Samurai or Rank Tracker (part of SEO PowerSuite), in the same time you'll cover only a few, and have much more work doing it. Is the data you get better? Quite possibly. As far as I can see, the data source – SEOMoz –  is simply better than what others use.

There was some talk in the course forums about an automatic service, but I don't think it is available yet. I might eventually get around to doing that myself :-).

3. Content . Once you get your keywords, you will want to create or optimize your content, to get visits and links to your site . This video shows you several ideas on how to do that. I also recommend The Web Content Recipe Book for ideas and great guidelines on how to do it.

4. Promotion . Once you got your content out, there are many ways to get it out there. This covers a few of them, such as social sites, link building and e-mail lists.

It also covers the spreadsheet system for getting rank tracking. Rank Tracking is useful so that you can see what is working and where you should spend more time to maximize your return. The method described here is free, but I think Rank Tracker – part of SEO PowerSuite – is a better tool, specially now that it can show you expected visits as well as pull data from your actual visits from Google Analytics.

Overall, the course is pretty good, specially for beginners. You also get updates for an year. Since the course had many videos offered over time, I expect to see a few. I'll update this article as I watch them.

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Update (19/Apr/2013): This link doesn't work right now. I think the course is only part of the Web Design course now. The course is pretty good, but might be overkill if all you want to learn is SEO. If you are still interested, check my review on Ben's Web Design/SEO course .

Categories
Articles

Remove Site name from post title

When I moved this blog from my main site, one thing I forgot till now was removing the site name from post titles.

Adding the site name to each post title is mostly pointless, and even worse, it gives you less of a keyword density for SEO.

It is very easy to tweak the title – just use Infinite SEO and go to Title & Meta tab (Step 3). There you can switch titles and descriptions for the Home page, Posts, Pages and more.

Categories
Articles

Actual vs Standard Bounce Rates

Very interesting SEO article about Actual vs Standard Bounce Rates , and how search engines can tell the difference.

The basic principle here is that even if someone spends several minutes reading your page, if they don't click elsewhere in your site it is a standard Bounce. But if they click on to your page and back to the search engine a few seconds later, that is an actual bounce.

 

Most analytic packages won't make a distinction between the two situations, but you can still look at the average time on the page.

Categories
Articles

SERP snippets effect on clickthrough rates

Another interesting article by Ben Hunt – author of Convert!Save the Pixel, and also the Pro Web Design Course (which I am taking, but haven't reviewed yet).

When redesigning the site with WordPress,  he kept the standard meta description for WordPress – and that includes the post date. For articles that are several years old, this can have serious impact on CTR (Clickthrough rates) – no one wants to get stale information that no longer applies.

Fixing WordPress to have the date display only for the first three months improved the CTR pretty quick.

Another option would be setting the meta description manually using a plugin (which may give you better CTR, since you can say exactly what you want). Of course, that can be a lot of work for large numbers of posts.

 

Categories
Articles

Clickthrough rates in SEO ranking

Interesting article by Ben Hunt – author of Convert!, Save the Pixel, and also the Pro Web Design Course (which I am taking, but haven't reviewed yet).

There is a common theme in many books about SEO – 40% of the clicks go to the first ranking position, 11% to the second, and so on until by position 10 you can count about 99% of all clicks for a given search.

Ben took the data from Google Webmaster Tools for his top keywords and charted it. From his data it is pretty clear that you not only have to get a good ranking – you need a good text snippet and title that convinces the user that your page is what he needs.

An important conclusion is that you need to have good titles and meta descriptions. While viewing the video I realized that my blog didn't have meta descriptions (some themes seem to use excerpts, other don't).

I immediately added WPMU's DEV SEO, which seems to cover what I need and more.

I recommend that you look into your pages meta-descriptions, too…

 

 

Categories
Articles

SEO beyond the page

Interesting article on social media and SEO.

I found the Twitter case study particularly interesting – a single tweet managed to send a page to the 4th place for “Beginner's Guide” . Pretty impressive!

Categories
Software

SEO PowerSuite Review

SEO PowerSuite

SEO PowerSuite includes a range of a tools to help you with daily SEO tasks. So, is SEO Power Suite worth it? I really think so. Read my review of the SEO PowerSuite components for more.

Rank Tracker

This is my favorite tool in SEO PowerSuite. I use Rank Tracker on a daily basis. The main focus of the program, as the name says, is tracking the rank of any number of keywords.

The main reason you need to track your rankings is because getting on top 10 on the keywords is vital – 99% of clicks go to the first page of results. And it is really hard to focus your SEO efforts if you don't know where you stand, and even more important – what works.

With Rank Tracker it is easy to track your keywords for any number of sites on a large number of local or global search engines. You just set the scheduler and it searches by itself every day, and gives you ranking for those search engines, as well as a graph of your ranking history for each term. It also keeps what was your best ranking for that day – you might be surprised! I've been surprised a couple of times, and for some keywords the page that ranks best actually switches over time.

Since I started using Rank Tracker I've gotten greatly improved ranking on several of my keywords.

Another feature of Rank Tracker is finding you keywords – and showing you what they are worth. It is very easy to pick the wrong keywords, and discover that either the competition for them is extreme, or that they are worthless because no one is looking for them. You can use several tools to find more specific, longer keywords.

Link Assistant

Link Assistant is a tool that allows you easily find link partners – which help improve your Google PR. Not only can it look for pages that are relevant to your site, it can also find how good is that partner ranking, generate your reciprocal link directory for you, and (this is important) keep track if your partners are still linking to you!

With bigger directories, that could be very time consuming to do by hand. Link Assistant can look into whole page hierarchies for you, and it also tells you if the link has the Nofollow attribute, which effectively makes the SEO value of the link null.

SEO Spyglass

SEO Spyglass lets you look at a competitor's website and see where their links are coming from. In many cases, you can even get your links from the same place! It also shows you the relative worth (PR and Alexa rankings) of each link.

Website Auditor

WebSite Auditor goes through your website, and gives you a report of many things you could be doing better. For example, you might have duplicated titles, pages that don't exist but you link to, HTML errors, your links in several social sharing sites, and much more.

Conclusion of SEO PowerSuite Review

SEO Powersuite tools pack a lot of power. They aren't cheap, but the range of features you get are well worth your initial expense. If you are still not sure, just download their trial version and check it out for yourself – their trials include most of their features.

Starting Improving your SEO now!

Categories
Articles

Google Analytics and Multi-channel funnels

Google Analytics has some new features in a limited pilot – Multi-channel funnels.

These will allow new insights in your marketing campaigns, such as AdWords, Facebook, Twitter and more.

Check this article for more.