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Every business must compete for organic search traffic because the vast majority of all Internet traffic originates with search, and in particular, Google search.

But getting to the top of search results, and staying there, is not so easy. The sheer volume of content added every day, makes it all the more important to use every possible SEO tactic available – provided it is not an SEO tactic that may lead to a Google algorithm penalty.

Here’s a list of some of the SEO tactics I use to get my content to the top of Google’s organic search results. Do these techniques work? You’re reading this aren’t you 😉

1. Get rid of “junk” URL space

Search engines, including Google search, only return a certain number of URL characters in their search results. It is important to squeeze as much SEO juice into every part of a search result, so why waste parts of the URL?

Unless you have a good reason for doing so, don’t include www in your site’s URL. Instead, edit your .htaccess file to redirect to the non www version. Those three characters could be used for valuable SEO keywords and phrases.

In the hyper-competitive world of SEO, three characters can give you the edge you need to out-compete business rivals online.

2. Dominate long tail search and SEO

Did you know that around 70% of all organic search traffic originates from the “long tail“. Long tail SEO terms are any SEO keywords or phrases that do not drive as much traffic as highly competitive, more popular search phrases.

For example, the SEO phrase “Panda penalty” is pretty competitive. But, many people wonder whether content syndication might incur a Panda penalty too. The long tail SEO phrase “Panda penalty content syndication” might not drive as much traffic, but it ismore focused, and this allows you to monetize the traffic generated from it much more effectively.

3. Dominate image SEO

Organic search traffic arising from Google image searches is increasing all the time. Search traffic from images is just as valid as search traffic coming from web searches – i.e. you can make just as much money from those visitors.

It makes sense then to get ahead of the curve and ensure that your images are properly SEO’d.

Here’s what Google looks at when it crawls and indexes images:

  • Image file name
  • ALT tag
  • TITLE tag
  • Context

As a result, you need to ensure that highly relevant SEO phrases are used in the ALT, TITLE and filename of the image. The SEO terms you include in the image optimization should be teh same or similar to those used within the body of the article, so that Google understands that the image is closely related to the context in which it is shown.

4. Add long tail SEO “qualifiers” to the URL

Instead of competing directly for highly competitive SEO terms, why not give your content the best chance of dominating more long tail searches by including what I call “SEO qualifiers“. An SEO qualifier is information about your content that also contributes to the SEO of the content.

For example, the SEO phrase “best online business ideas” is hyper competitive. But, “best online business ideas 2012” is a phrase that is still up for grabs. In addition, the inclusion of the SEO qualifier “2012” serves to focus the content better. It tells people that this is fresh, new and likely to be more relevant than an article written 5 years ago.

Many CMS (Content Management Systems) use a generic folder name like “content” to store all blog posts. “content” doesn’t add anything to your SEO. Instead, provide folder names that describe the content itself. Look at the folder name of this article – “small-business-seo“. It’s relevant and it contributes to the SEO profile of this article.

5. Regularly re-optimize and refresh older content

Have you ever looked at an article and thought, “if only I’d known then what I know now, I could SEO that page right to the top of Google“? The great thing about SEO is that it’s never too late.

Every few months, I use Google analytics to tell me which pages are not performing well. This could be low traffic, high bounce rate, low conversions, whatever. If there is content on your site that is not contributing to organic search traffic or revenue, then either improve it or get rid of it.

Re-optimizing content for SEO is easier than writing that content in the first place, because you have the benefit of hindsight. In other words, you already know how that content performs. You should know where you want it to rank highly in search results, and you’ve just read four of the best SEO tips you can use to get it there.

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For millions of people Google is an indispensable search tool that they use every day, in all facets of their lives. From work or school, research, to looking up movies and celebrities to news and gossip, Google is the go-to search engine.

But instead of just typing in a phrase and wading through page after page of results, there are a number of ways to make your searches more efficient.

Some of these are obvious ones, that you probably know about. But others are lesser-known, and others are known but not often used. Use this guide to learn more about, or be reminded of, some of the best ways to get exactly what you’re looking for, and quickly.

    1. Either/or
      Google normally searches for pages that contain all the words you type in the search box, but if you want pages that have one term or another (or both), use the OR operator — or use the “|” symbol (pipe symbol) to save you a keystroke. [dumb | little | man]


      If you want to search for an exact phrase, use quotes. [“dumb little man”] will only find that exact phrase. [dumb “little man”] will find pages that contain the word dumb and the exact phrase “little man”.


    1. Not
      If you don’t want a term or phrase, use the “-” symbol. [-dumb little man] will return pages that contain “little” and “man” but that don’t contain “dumb”.


    1. Similar terms
      Use the “~” symbol to return similar terms. [~dumb little man -dumb] will get you pages that contain “funny little man” and “stupid little man” but not “dumb little man”.


    1. Wildcard
      The “*” symbol is a wildcard. This is useful if you’re trying to find the lyrics to a song, but can’t remember the exact lyrics. [can’t * me love lyrics] will return the Beatles song you’re looking for. It’s also useful for finding stuff only in certain domains, such as
      educational information: [“dumb little man” research *.edu].


    1. Advanced search
      If you can’t remember any of these operators, you can always use Google’s advanced search.


    1. Definitions
      Use the “define:” operator to get a quick definition. [define:dumb] will give you a whole host of definitions from different sources, with links.


    1. Calculator
      One of the handiest uses of Google, type in a quick calculation in the search box and get an answer. It’s faster than calling up your computer’s calculator in most cases. Use the +, -, *, / symbols and parentheses to do a simple equation.


    1. Numrange
      This little-known feature searches for a range of numbers. For example, [“best books 2002..2007] will return lists of best books for each of the years from 2002 to 2007 (note the two periods between the two numbers).


    1. Site-specific
      Use the “site:” operator to search only within a certain website. [ leo] will search for the term “leo” only within this blog.


    1. Backlinks
      The “link:” operator will find pages that link to a specific URL. You can use this not only for a main URL but even to a specific page. Not all links to an URL are listed, however.


    1. Vertical search
      Instead of searching for a term across all pages on the web, search within a specialized field. Google has a number of specific searches, allowing you to search within blogs, news, books, and much more:

    2. Movies
      Use the “movie:” operator to search for a movie title along with either a zip code or U.S. city and state to get a list of movie theaters in the area and show times.


    1. Music
      The “music:” operator returns content related to music only.


    1. Unit converter
      Use Google for a quick conversion, from yards to meters for example, or different currency: [12 meters in yards]


    1. Types of numbers
      Google algorithms can recognize patterns in numbers you enter, so you can search for:

      • Telephone area codes
      • Vehicle ID number (US only)
      • Federal Communications Commission (FCC) equipment numbers (US only)
      • UPC codes
      • Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airplane registration number (US only)
      • Patent numbers (US only)
      • Even stock quotes (using the stock symbol) or a weather forecast regarding the next five days
    2. File types
      If you just want to search for .PDF files, or Word documents, or Excel spreadsheets, for example, use the “filetype:” operator.


    1. Location of term
      By default, Google searches for your term throughout a web page. But if you just want it to search certain locations, you can use operators such as “inurl:”, “intitle:”, “intext:”, and “inanchor:”. Those search for a term only within the URL, the title,
      the body text, and the anchor text (the text used to describe a link).


    1. Cached pages
      Looking for a version of a page the Google stores on its own servers? This can help with outdated or update pages. Use the “cached:” operator.


  1. Answer to life, the universe, and everything
    Search for that phrase, in lower case, and Google will give you the answer.