SEO Tips

Search engine optimization is a very important aspect of building Web Sites. Because search engines criteria for ranking web sites like google are not public,, there is a lot of speculation on some aspects of optimization. What complicates things is that what worked last year does not necessarily work this year. For example, google recently said they would penalize over-optimized sites... as of the writing of this article, no one is really sure what it means (if anything) to current SEO techniques. Further, what works with one engine does not necessarily work on another... for example, Google mostly ignores meta tags for its ranking while other engines or directories greatly depend on it to control what is displayed. Another aspect to keep in mind is with the advent of social networks, the way to drive traffic to a web site has changed. Optimizing a web site is not only about ranking number one in engines but engaging potential visitors in a whole new set of ways like facebook pages, twitter and whatever the current vector en vogue is. However, as daunting as adapting to change seems, a lot of the tried and true concepts remain the same and the changes are usually incremental. If you are new to SEO and online marketing, welcome to the club... if you are a veteran, you are welcome to add your grain of salt @theseobell on twitter [sb_child_list]

Competition SEO Analysis

A good way to boost your SEO is to query your competition's urls in search engines like google and see where they are listed. One way to do this consists in searching for target keywords and see what sites comes up first. Then you analyze those websites in descending priority. There are many tools for tasks like that that but if you are in a hurry, to get an idea, simply query the url of the competition surrounded by quotation marks in a search engine like google. Once you know where you competition is listed, try to get yourself listed there in order of the links returned. It is not enough to do it once, do it on a regular basis because domains competing for the target keywords change over time Further, examine how your competition's site is done (meta tags, title, content, domain name, layout), see what they have done right and look for opportunities to improve on their weakness. Do not straight out copy pages because not only does it violate copyright but you would end up with duplicate content... it does not even help you in rankings.

About embedding php

  Php pages are HTML pages that include embeded php command. Codes can be inserted in 2 ways:  

Surrounded by the script tag

<script language="php">

echo("wahooooooooo! It works");


Surrounded by <?php ?>


   echo("this is a simple php script");



Include Files

Include files

Sometimes, it is good to extracts functions, classes, constants and common initialisations to a separate file that can be included in many files, avoiding to rewrite the same code.

can be used in more than one file. Other times, it is good practice to extract a list of constants or operations common to several scripts to a separate script and inclusion of files. 

require files

require files are like include files except the script will not execute if the file is missing. Declared like this:


Avoid the inclusion of a file more than once.

Sometimes, because of the way code is written, a file will be included more than once (like a header) and it may hinder the execution of the script, give bad results or simply look ugly. include and require functions have a similar function which keeps track if the files has been included or not: include_once and require_once respectively



Sometimes, a piece of code will be reused several times within the same script. To avoid rewriting the same text many times, it is good practice to encapsulate this part of the program in a function that gets called as many times as needed. It saves time programming, makes the final script shorter and when a bug is found, all parts of the program that use this code will benefit from fixes and optimizations at once. Functions are defined with the word “function” followed by a function name and many times by a list of parameters that allow to customize function results. Here is an example of a function: function AddNumber(a,b) { $returnVal=a+b;  //do whatever needs to be done (in the case add numbers) return $returnVal; //then optionally return a value } then, once a function is defined, it can be called as many times with different parameters, to yield the results needed.  

PHP Arrays

Defining an array is done the following way

$myarray = array();


filling it is done like this:

$myarray[0]=”first value”;

$myarray[] .= “second value”; // automatically added as next array spot


sometimes, we need to fill in several elements at once, just pass the elements the array function:

                $myarray=array(“value one”,”value 2”, “value 3”,”value 4”);


arrays don’t have to be indexed on numbers, they can be associative. Associative arrays are similar to a dictionary where you look up a word and get the associated definition… in here, you enter a key (word) and you get its value (definition).



$myarray[“www”]=”world wide web”;

$myarray[“http”]=”Hypertext Transfer Protocol”;

$myarray[“tcp”]=”transfer control protocol”;

echo(“Definition for www is” . $myarray[“www”]);


sometimes, it is useful to know if an array has been set… you do this by using the isset fonction.


isset($myarray[“www”]) -> is true in the previous example

isset($myarray[“computer”] ) -> is false in the previous example, it’s not assigned


in cases where array indices are sequential, it is not necessary to specify each array index. For example:






Will result with the following array: array([5]=>1, [6]=>6654,[7]=>"hello")


Please note that any array element can be itself an array. For example:


$myArray=array(array(1,2,3,4),array(“apples”, “oranges”, “trees”), “mixed_array”=>array(“mixed”,”array”,123,);


As you can see, array contents can be of any variable type and assigned any associative key if needed… though if it will be used with a foreach statement, indices are not necessary and will default to sequential ordering, starting with 0.

SEO: optimize keywords for search engines

When people search the web, most pick a set of keywords related to their current activity and enter them in their favorite search engine. Then, they click on the first results they see, very rarely getting passed the first page. It is therefore important to pick a few keywords that describe you and optimize your website for them.

SEO TIP : Analyze your logs

See what keywords people are coming with (search terms) and see how you can optimize those words. Done well, putting these words in bold/ customizing page with search result can actually increase visitor satisfaction

SEO TIP: Picking the right keywords

The more a word is popular, the more you will have competition for that keyword. Although it is good to rank well with these words, sometimes ranking number one for a less popular synonym may bring more traffic... sometimes even optimizing a particular page (not your main page) for a common spelling mistake can bring in traffic (not everyone spells perfectly)

SEO TIP: Get the right Keyword Density

Forget what you learned in English class, repetition is good in SEO. Obviously it is important to make sense otherwise people will go away quickly and never come back... but repeat the important words, especially in titles, descriptions and header tags.

SEO TIP: Domain match/ Subdomain match

If you can put your important keywords in the domain/ subdomain, it can help... especially if it is an exact match for the search expression

SEO TIP: Optimize the links

The links within your website should contain the important keywords to optimize. Ideally, links from other domains also should contain the keywords

SEO TIP: Diversify keyword optimization

Have some pages optimized for certain keywords and others optimized for other keywords. That way you can get even more traffic

SEO TIP : do a comparative analysis

Tools such as google ad sense allow you to see how popular some keywords are... it will even suggest related words

TOP SEO Mistakes

There is no perfect SEO strategy and opinions differ on what is most important. However, certain mistakes will certainly hurt your website SEO wise:

SEO your URLs

Optimization of content is important but also remember to optimize URLs as they have great importance in the eyes of search engines.

A good title tag

A similar set of rules for a good title tag apply... informative, short, most important keywords placed in the beginning but no need to include the domain name as it is already there from the actual domain name.

On Drupal, for example, this can consist in installing the pathauto module because it automatically renames nodes from "node/1" to a friendlier url based on the title of the article. You could do that manually but even with pathauto enabled you can still rename the URL to a friendlier name if you wish.

Optimize non HTML file names too

Remember to also SEO optimize non HTML files such as images, multimedia content and documents. Images are particularly important as some people may end up on your site after searching for images on google.

Domain name match

Also, if you have not yet settled for a domain name, try to include your targeted keywords in the domain name as they have a great weight, especially in the case of an exact match.

Use subdomains

Subdomains can be a good way to group content but also include keywords

Use local domains

Although I would suggest get a .com domain first, if you are present in more than one country then you may want to consider getting a localized domain name, it boosts in local rankings

Online Shopping Cart sales optimization

Why is SEO done? most times, to drive business... and the shopping cart is the unavoidable selling point of web sites. Having a site with products is a great way to get started making money, driving traffic is another great step in the right direction... digging further, increasing sales from current visitors is another important aspect. Here are a few tips to that aspect:

Shopping carts sales tip #1: high quality touched pictures

Web shoppers always hesitate when shopping online because they do not have the object physically in their presence. The more appealing the picture, the better for the user. make sure it is in focus with a nice mono color:pleasing contrasting background; make sure also their size is optimized... if it is too slow, then you have a problem

Shopping carts sales tip #2: all details filled in, appealing description

it is not enough to list a product, make sure all details are filled in; if options are available, talk about them... if some nice buzz words apply, put them in, imagine you were trying to pitch the product to the most difficult client and add the details, make the people want to own it

Shopping carts sales tip #3: related products

Sometimes, the people will like your website but the page they are there for is for a product they are not interested in; make sure that you have a few suggestions... preferably based on search terms or products they browser... or maybe past customer behavior

Shopping carts sales tip #4: cross selling

when people buy a toothbrush, suggest they buy toothpaste too... sell any related products, telling why this is a good pick with that product

Shopping carts sales tip #5: upselling

if they buy one product, suggest an upgrade to that product (with possibly a discounted amount for the upgrade). If they buy one month subscription, suggest a yearly subscription with a month free... or if they buy one item, suggest free shipping on the second (especially if shipping cost is not an issue)

Shopping carts sales tip #6: reminders for non completed sales

sometimes for one reason or another, sales will get interrupted. It does not necessarily mean your customer is not ready to buy... sometimes, they just have forgotten to complete the sale. if you have their info, send them a friendly reminder email; if they visit a partner site/ sister site or revisit the site, suggest they take action (with maybe a limited time offer)

shopping carts sales tip #7: make pages sharable

people like to ask for advice when buying online... make it easy for them to share the product they are looking at... all standard sharing advice applies

shopping carts sales tip #8: Gift lists/ wish lists

Sometimes, like for a wedding, people have gift lists or sometimes they have a wish list. Provide a way for people to provide such a list, their friends are more likely to purchase that item from you.

shopping carts sales tip #9: Order has coupon for next purchase 

when people order, provide a time limited coupon for another purchase. Not only does it make the client feel better about their purchase but it builds brand loyalty... if they bought once and satisfied, likely to come back... and who knows, bring some friends

Shopping carts sales tip #10: Order assistant

a lot of people have difficulties choosing... some even hate picking a product... why don't you offer them a simple wizard which will ask them a few questions that will help them narrow their choices. This is especially true when you have a lot of products, but this can also work with smaller catalogs where you can insert selling points/ pitch throughout the wizard... pick important features to the customer and explain them in detail.

SEO Optimization: Backlinks

What are backlinks?

Backlinks are the web pages that point back to your website. The more you have, the more you appear on top of search engines. Not link are created equal though: the more popular a link is, the more it brings you up. For example, a link with a high page rank will bring you lots more bonus points on google... Fine, lets get all page rank 10 links... brilliant idea, except generally, it is harder to get listed on high page rank sites like wikipedia.

Types of links

There are several types of links:

It is important to distinguish further how sites link to each other:

Homepage links vs deeplinks:

Ways to get links

A few ways exist to get links.

Not all are considered traditionally SEO per say like engaging social media... but keep in mind the more people come to your web site, the more they will talk about you, the more physical links you will get... which equals more traffic... which is the reason you are doing SEO in the first place

So which links are best/ which should I focus on?

Ideally, you should aim for one way links that are nested within a page of content from a high ranking site (also called an authority web site) but they are not always easy to get into unless you have quality content or money to spend. Again because quality content is king for SEO, it makes the process a lot easier if you have such content... sometimes you may get linked to without asking.

Of course, until you get such links, 2 way links are a good way to get started. Links in forum posts, user profiles are always a good plus. Posting links in social networks like twitter and facebook may help though not necessarily directly. Note that due to recent changes, posting on google plus may effect rankings of your contacts in google search results.

Whatever you do, avoid getting links from bad neighborhoods. and be careful about blackhat SEO... it may give you a temporary boost, but big sites like BMW or walmart have learned the hard way after they had been delisted/blacklisted by google for trying to game the system.

SEO - Ensure content is bookmarkable

Going through the web, for many reasons, web sites will break navigation (either through one big flash animation, englobing the site in a frame or dynamic loading through AJAX).

Yes engines such as google bot will find it but this is bad for SEO and traffic for several reasons:

I understand that in some cases, it might not be an option (example no control over content generation) but still try to have a way to actually navigate straight to the content.

Content is king for SEO

There will be many tips to boost your SEO throughout this SEO tutorial. However, lets start with a tip that is not directly related to SEO. If you remember one tip, it is this one:

Fresh quality content is king for SEO

If you want your site to do better, make a daily commitment to add more content to your site.

Yes, with this font, it almost feels like shouting but this I wanted to make sure it sinks in... obviously we are not just done yet with traffic boosting techniques and there will be other tips throughout this SEO tutorial that do make a difference too. However, if you remember just this one tip, you are already off to a good start :)

Search engines like googlebot love fresh content, they get a temporary boost in ranking. A good way to do this is publish content gradually on a daily basis. Not only does it keep the search engines happy but it will actually get visitors interested and give them an incentive to come back more often.

It may be tempting to just put crappy content or duplicated content from sites like wikipedia... but this is a big no no:

A good way to insure that you have content added regularly is to write a chunk of articles in advance and schedule them to be published at regular intervals (daily or twice a day is good... more content is always good but does not hurt but does not necessarily help your cause)

Some sites I have done like have ranked very quickly for the targeted keywords simply because there was a lot of original content.

Basic SEO Tips

In this page we talk about Basic SEO tips. Do not mistake the word basic for unimportant though... they are steps that are assumed to be taken by all websites that want to ranks. Yes, depending on the engine, some of that information may be ignored but it is still very important information to have because even if it does not affect the ranking, it can affect the way the information is displayed.

Title tag optimization

It is very important to have title filled in with every page and have it contain what is on the page. A good title should have the site name, the section or information about page content, target keywords and anything you care about most yet remain concise. Place all important keywords near the beginning as they are what the search engine. 

Meta tags optimization

will not necessarily help you in rankings with google but they are still used by many engines to help direct what is displayed in search results. In case of content that is not as search engine friendly like flash animations, meta tags are particularly important. Some of the important meta tags are:

Optimize page sections with <h> tags

With wysiwyg editors, it can be tempting to skip use of the header tags because you can get the same formatting differently. However, header tags are vital for search engine optimization because they tell search engines that the current line has more weight. Make sure you include important keywords