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TDDracken

Search Engine Optimization

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I won't claim to be an expert in the field of search engine optimization but I have learned some things during the course of running my little game studio.

 

The whole point of optimization is to put more weight in searches behind your site than other competing site.  Let's say, for example, someone does a search on Nintendo and you have a blog or site dedicated to news on Nintendo.

 

The number one result for this search would ideally be for Nintendo and paid content will be mixed in with early search results as well.  Think of the paid results as ads that aren't labeled as such.  That's one of the reasons why you would see things like store links for buying Nintendo products mixed into the top results.  Beyond that, it's fair game...  Sort of.

 

One of the keys of giving your site more 'oomph' in results is putting in hidden text somewhere (ideally hidden at the bottom) that is invisible to viewers of the site but not to search engines.  These tags would be located in a field of text and would be related to the content on each page.  Obviously, you'd want to be specific and hit each related term that could lead to your site like: Nintendo, game news, Nintendo Switch, Switch Sales, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo 2DS, Nintendo game sales, Mario, Luigi, Starfox

 

The key is that each of the terms should be relevant to your site.  It's my understanding is that if your go crazy with far flung search terms that don't really relate to the content on your site then it can actually negatively hit your position in search results.  This should be considered for each individual page on a site and not just the website as a whole.

 

Another trick is to factor in competitors.  Let's say, you expect a lot of people that would find your game news site useful would also go to gamespot.com for news.  Put "Gamespot like" in as a search tag.  It's not dishonest.  It's simply stating that your site is similar to Gamespot.  It's my understanding that if somehow your site get's flagged by some automated system that the tags on your site need to be reviewed, you'll pass muster.

 

Beyond that, I've read that repetition is also your friend.  Key search terms that apply to your site should also be featured in the visible text in your website as well.  When I was building and maintaining the site for Dolphin Entertainment I installed an app on my site that allowed me to test search engine visibility for different searches.  By putting key words more than once in the body of pages, without making them seem repetitive, I was able to improve the predicted search performance of my site for those terms.

 

Compare "This is the best place for Nintendo news!" as a site description to "Nintendo news, reviews, and stats!  We're your destination for all things Nintendo!"

Not only is the second one more flashy and interesting but it also has a crucial keyword that could lead to your site twice without being repetitive.  That extra use of the word "Nintendo" could actually have a big impact in how well your site appears in final results.  Also, as an important side note.  Don't try to improve results by just throwing several instances of a keyword into your invisible text field.  That could get your flagged or ignored in results.  Be creative in the use of key words.

 

The next thing to consider is site quality.  You want your site to stand out as being professional.  This has more to do with human appeal than anything else.  The goal is to have a site that's worth looking at on a purely visual basis.  Consider whether your site looks like something you would want to go back to after just a quick first impression.  If yes, then great!  You want return visits.  I'm not certain, but I believe both unique page views and returning visitors are tracked for sites.  Good optimization of keywords helps in the short term but I believe return visits to a site are used when considering how applicable a site is to search results.  If people never want to revisit your site then it might translate to search engines thinking your site may not be relevant search terms resulting in your site getting buried further down in search results.

 

There you go.  That's all that I've learned in a nutshell.  Hope it helps.

 

Oh!  And another thing.  You would need to keep your site updated.  If you ignore your site and don't keep it relevant, search engines will start to ignore it as well.

 

Edited by TDDracken
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27 minutes ago, TDDracken said:

I won't claim to be an expert in the field of search engine optimization

I'm not an expert either, but coming from a content marketing/copywriting angle, I have a few things to add to what TDD said:

  • In your articles or blog posts, make sure to include high-quality links to other relevant web sites. You don't have to include a huge amount, but make sure that those you use are excellent, and make sure you check that they work. Write up your copy to include resources that you can link to. This isn't sending readers off to the competition, but smart strategy because search engines track traffic. If you can, get other sites to link to yours as well.
  • The days of keyword stuffing are, thankfully, gone. These days, it's best practice to write content for people and not for bots. So, even while keywords are very important, they should be used in a natural and unforced way.
  • Make sure that your site is mobile-friendly.
  • Use keywords in your image tags, and make sure they're relevant.
  • TDD already mentioned this, but it's so important that I'll say it, too: regularly publish fresh, unique, engaging content. It will bring not just readers but search engines coming back.

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1 hour ago, Steven Hutson said:

I use Wix for my website. SEO is built into the program, and it's easy-peasy.

 

Wix is what I used for my own site as well.  You can't always take what Wix says at face value though and their advice falls short of what you'll find after article trolling.  Beyond that, if God had blessed the studio with the ability to get work done more quickly I think Wix provided the tools for a very visible website.

 

Another thing to try is choosing a good URL.  My game studio was Dolphin Entertainment LLC but there was already a Dolphin Entertainment corporation that is a movie production company.  I wanted something to the point that had the name of my studio in the title without being something obscure and long winded.  My solution?  Tap into the then brand new .co domain.  Less used but still allowed me to get a good URL without paying an arm and a leg for degames as a domain.

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10 minutes ago, TDDracken said:

Another thing to try is choosing a good URL.


I wanted to find a short domain name that would be easy to remember and short to type.

My company is WordWise  Media Services. I wanted to use "wordwise.com." but that was taken. So I ended up with "wordwisemedia.com." About a year later, I discovered that I could have had "wordwise.net." Could have changed it, but chose not to.

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One of the deciding factors for my URL was... Cost.  There's a lot of people out there that buy up a lot of likely URLs and just hold on to them.  Unfortunately, my original choice of URL was taken by one of these people who was hoping for an offer to buy it at an inflated price. 

 

But hey!  New .co domain to the rescue!

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TDD, I was advised to stick with  ".com" to drive more eyes to the site, though I could have picked up ".net" at half the cost and ". club" for even less.

 

But I  think that it's ".club" that will really build my mailing list for what I have in mind.

 

Do you have thoughts on this?

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1 hour ago, EClayRowe said:

Do you have thoughts on this

I have heard that you can buy all of them, and send them all to the same place no matter what they type in.  @Rebecca Would be a good one to ask if TD does not know.  

 

TD, I've not had a lot of time,  but I will be back tomorrow to read this, and you other in the critique forum.  😊

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Sometimes going for a good .com wouldn't be practical when someone else holds it for the sole purpose of holing unused domains with the sole purpose of selling them.  It would have cost me more money to get degames.com than I spent on the entire founding of the studio by far.

 

If you work hard, you can increase visibility with other domains and avoid paying extortion rates.

Edited by TDDracken

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Since Alley summoned me... ;)

 

8 hours ago, Alley said:

I have heard that you can buy all of them, and send them all to the same place no matter what they type in.  @Rebecca Would be a good one to ask if TD does not know.  

 

Yes, this is a redirect or forwarder. Very simple to do with the right tools.

 

In my humble opinion, buying all the extensions is typically a waste of money unless you plan to develop them at a later date. I recommend investing in the .com and using your resources to brand it.

 

The .com extension is the gold standard. Because people know this, they've become a valuable commodity and there are a lot of professional squatters. A short, pronounceable.com domain name is typically valued at thousands of dollars.

 

If someone is squatting on the domain you want, check around for variations (a similar .com). Avoid dashes and numbers in the domain, as they make it harder to remember and diminish its value. Also, remember that if you buy the domain from a squatter, you only pay them the fee once. Renewals are around ten bucks a year after that and you will pay the registrar directly.

 

Also, squatters are almost always willing to negotiate. Don't be afraid to haggle or walk away. Most times they will come back to you with a better offer.

 

I recommend NameCheap.com for purchasing domain names. They are the best value I've found. Many of the other registrars charge through the nose for extras and it all adds up.

 

 

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18 hours ago, TDDracken said:

(ideally hidden at the bottom)

Tag word?  

 

18 hours ago, TDDracken said:

I installed an app on my site that allowed me to test search engine visibility for different searches. 

What app was this?  

 

18 hours ago, TDDracken said:

Don't try to improve results by just throwing several instances of a keyword into your invisible text field.  That could get your flagged or ignored in results.  Be creative in the use of key words.

I see.  You're a writer so use your words carefully, and creatively.  Thanks for the vote of confidence.  😄

 

19 hours ago, TDDracken said:

You would need to keep your site updated. 

How often?  

 

18 hours ago, EBraten said:

Use keywords in your image tags, and make sure they're relevant.

How do I tag an image?  

 

16 hours ago, Steven Hutson said:

My company is WordWise  Media Services. I wanted to use "wordwise.com." but that was taken. So I ended up with "wordwisemedia.com." About a year later, I discovered that I could have had "wordwise.net." Could have changed it, but chose not to.

That's most likely best.  You run the risk of losing people when you change domain names.  

 

3 hours ago, Rebecca said:

Since Alley summoned me... ;)

I wanted to summon only the best when I rubbed my lamp.  :D  ;)

 

1 hour ago, carolinamtne said:

I used the initials of my site name, which I will soon divulge, as it is getting closer to being ready.

¬¬   You are making us wait while teasing us again.  :(  How will celebrate with you if you don't tell us?  😪  I'll have to do the bad W word ... wait.   

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18 minutes ago, Alley said:
19 hours ago, TDDracken said:

(ideally hidden at the bottom)

Tag word?  

 

The words that people might associate your site.  In the example I made for a site about Nintendo news appropriate tag words would be characters made by Nintendo that might appear in articles, news about how well their consoles are selling, and such.

 

The main page of your website is called the landing page.  You have a little extra freedom in what tag words you use there because you can take a choice sampling from the other pages in your site to enhance the chances of your landing page coming up well in a search.

43 minutes ago, Alley said:
19 hours ago, TDDracken said:

I installed an app on my site that allowed me to test search engine visibility for different searches. 

What app was this?  

I built my website through Wix and they had simple plugins and features on their site for doing this.  I haven't touched Wix since I closed up my studio so I don't know what current add-ons they have available for this.

 

I did a quick search and found some utilities that may help you in the place of the add-ins.

https://www.verticalresponse.com/blog/6-free-seo-tools-to-boost-your-search-engine-rankings/

 

48 minutes ago, Alley said:
20 hours ago, TDDracken said:

You would need to keep your site updated. 

How often?  

 

Enough to keep it from getting stagnant.  Depending on what your site is about, updating once per week might be a good thing to shoot for.  If you have something like a blog making new entries would count as content updates.  The idea is that you want to keep your site looking and feeling fresh.

52 minutes ago, Alley said:
19 hours ago, EBraten said:

Use keywords in your image tags, and make sure they're relevant.

How do I tag an image?  

 

It depends and I can't give a single answer for all situations.  For my site I used photobucket for images to decrease the footprint of my site on the host as I had limited space to work with.  Photobucket allows for tags to be put on individual images and I believe the same goes for other image hosting services.  Wix and other respectable website building services have the ability to put tags on the images you upload as well. Beyond that, you'd have to do a search so I posted on for review here.  Just look for results that apply to your situation:

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=how+do+you+tag+an+image+on+your+site&t=ffab&ia=web

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6 minutes ago, TDDracken said:
1 hour ago, Alley said:
20 hours ago, TDDracken said:

(ideally hidden at the bottom)

Tag word?  

 

The words that people might associate your site.  In the example I made for a site about Nintendo news appropriate tag words would be characters made by Nintendo that might appear in articles, news about how well their consoles are selling, and such.

I was asking if the hidden things at the bottom were tag words.  Sorry for the confusion

 

7 minutes ago, TDDracken said:

Just look for results that apply to your situation:

Thanks for the link!    

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Oh, also, are SEO's only about tags?  Is there any more to this?  

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20 minutes ago, Alley said:

I was asking if the hidden things at the bottom were tag words.  Sorry for the confusion

Yes.

9 minutes ago, Alley said:

Oh, also, are SEO's only about tags?  Is there any more to this?  

It includes all the different features I mentioned.  One of the biggies is the non-repetitive use of key terms and words on each page.  They would be factored in with the tags when considering if your site might be applicable to search terms.  Tags being applied to images also helps because their tags would be thrown into consideration as well.

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The non-tech person would like to know how it distinguishes the tag words for other words?  

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5 hours ago, Rebecca said:

In my humble opinion, buying all the extensions is typically a waste of money unless you plan to develop them at a later date. I recommend investing in the .com and using your resources to brand it.

 

Why?  

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1 hour ago, Alley said:

That's most likely best.  You run the risk of losing people when you change domain names.  


Well, I could use both. It wouldn't be much extra work, and a second domain would cost $20 or less per year.

At that point I start using a new email address connected to the new domain, and forward everything from the old, Then ditch the longer name after a couple of years. (Google Analytics will tell me when the new domain is getting more hits than the old.)

But now that I've had the longer name for eight years, it's more likely that I would only confuse people and lose business.

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2 minutes ago, Steven Hutson said:

But now that I've had the longer name for eight years, it's more likely that I would only confuse people and lose business.

Yep.  

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There is one case where purchasing other domain names similar to yours would be good.

 

good.com, good.net, good.we, good.co, good.us are all available technically BUT the ideal .com is taken.  So, you take .co

The problem here is the potential of knock off sites.  It is actually not uncommon for people to do things like make nintendo.net in order to capture people who were trying to get to Nintendo's official site, nintendo.com, but didn't put in the ending correctly.

 

It's because of this that many companies purchase all similar URL's and either set up redirects to their actual site, or just leave them vacant. 

For example, nintendo.net, nintendo,org, nintendo.us all go to...  Nothing.  nintendo.co, which could be seen as a typing error, redirects to nintendo.com

Edited by TDDracken

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2 minutes ago, TDDracken said:

For example, nintendo.net, nintendo,org, nintendo.us all go to...  Nothing.  nintendo.co, which could be seen as a typing error, redirects to nintendo.com

Food for thought.  Thanks, TD.  

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