Friday, August 19, 2011

Title Tags, Duplicate Content and Keyword Stuffing - SEO 101 Basics for New Clients

Following are a few concerns that get raised frequently by new clients, new SEO firms or other marketing and advertising folks who are just getting started in understanding some of the basic, key tactics of onsite SEO.

1) Title Tags - can we use more than 70 characters?

Title tags are used for many reasons on the Internet, from accessibility and usability to branding, and search engines like Google or Bing index ALL the content provided, including keywords beyond the first 70 characters. Common browsers also may display ALL the content provided. Specifically for capturing and directing user interest in a search result for priority keywords, title tags of fewer than 70 characters are very effective. However, search engines do not necessarily use title tags verbatim in their search results, especially if the search results include content that's been optimized for the semantic web or if title tags aren't actually helpful. Therefore, while it's important to focus on the first 70 characters, additional content is both useful and utilized by Internet users and software services. Experienced online marketing firms like KME have fulfilled enough variety of client objectives and requirements to provide as comprehensive advice as possible regarding best practices in this area. All our sites benefit from this advice, as proven in search result rankings and commercial success.

2) Are many pages with similar content, across geographic regions, duplicate content?

For various reasons, many websites may utilize similar content, with small variations in content, tagging, visual display. Egregious infringers of copyright, trademark or other web copy and branding protection policies are easy to identify by most search engines and users. Some search engines, like Google, recognize that webcopy may be very similar across a domain, for various reasons ranging from narrative support and usability, to standardization of marketing or legal copy. If the copy is duplicate for none of these typical reasons, or in fact violates a copyright, Google will penalize the site page(s) and remove from them from its indexes. Some similar, but helpful content, may be cached in Google's "supplemental index", which basically means the content isn't as high priority, useful or dynamic as other on the site. Even though the content may be in Google's supplemental index, it's still findable and ranks according to search terms. KME avoids all copyright infringement issues, while balancing the "supplemental index" ratios necessary to achieve client visibility, SEO and usability objectives. All our sites succeed with this balanced approach.

3) "Keyword stuffing" - how much is too much?

Keyword stuffing is a very obvious "gray hat" SEO tactic that's easily recognized by most search engines, and well understood by all professional SEO firms. It's therefore not used by KME. Emphasis is made, however, on specific keywords or keyphrases within web page copy and metatags to achieve different objectives. If the objective is rapid establishment of priority keyword organic search results, additional keywords (and their variations) are used. Care is obviously taken with use of keywords and variations, to avoid "stuffing" – this is usually recognizable when the keyword densities begin to exceed 10-15% for proximal, visual content. All our pages exhibit keyword densities in line with client business objectives, and are perfectly acceptable to the search engines. As business objectives change, subsequent iterations of copy focus on revised keywords and key phrases across re-prioritized pages and navigational elements.


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