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Getting the SEO Basics Right!

April 13, 2010 by · 4 Comments
Filed under: SEO 

While most of you reading this are probably more advanced SEO’s, there are a lot of people out there with no clue about SEO.  For these people, helping them with the basics make a huge difference.  I found a site for an Ontario hockey team that looks like getting the basics right would make a big difference.

Since the Reign didn’t put any keywords in the meta tags, I am forced to guess at what they might want to show up for. I am guessing Ontario hockey (90,500 global searches) and hockey in Ontario (9,900 global searches) could be good terms for them. 

Currently, for both terms, the Reign ranks on the third page (personalization turned off/logged out) of – but doesn’t even show up in a search (from California) for Ontario hockey, and shows up in position 151 for hockey in Ontario. All of this to say the basics can probably go a long way for the Reign’s website.

We will start with the quick fixes – The title tag could use a couple keywords.  The Reign’s homepage title is “ Home”.  Start by changing this to “Ontario Hockey | The Reign, hockey in Ontario” should cover your brand and the two new keywords. Alright, title, done. Step two: let’s add some text, there is literally no text on this page other than their footer.  Putting 150 words, while not a lot, could have a huge impact, especially when they put their keywords in the text. Then we give the short paragraph a keyword rich title and make it an H1.

Now on to a slightly more challenging issues, canonicalization.  The www and non-www versions of the site are not canonicalized.  Set up a 301 from the non-www version to the www version and concentrate the link juice.  Additionally, we can add the canonical link tag in to the head section.  Adding these should establish the www version of the site as the canonical version and maximize the value of inbound links.

Finally, the Reign has some accessibility issues that should be addressed. Looking at their source code, the first thing that jumps out is that their main navigation uses JavaScript to call the sub menu of each category.  Since search engines can’t execute JavaScript, this makes the pages in the sub menu less accessible. By rewriting the code for these links in a search engine friendly manor, these pages will have more authority, as more link juice will be able to flow to them.  The end result is that these pages will be more competitive for the keywords these pages may be targeting.

I’m not saying that these changes along will put the Reign on the first page, but it should help them get on their way and make that large initial headway. While basics like these take less than five minutes to diagnose, they can make a large difference for many sites. Making many of these simple on page changes can result in big gains for many sites who have not actively engaged in SEO before.

This guest post is by Geoff Kenyon ( a well known Internet Marketing/SEO practitioner from California on a local Californian hockey league site! Drop by his site to see more of Geoff”s take on same….

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4 Responses to “Getting the SEO Basics Right!”
  1. Donovan says:

    “Since the Reign didn’t put any keywords in the meta tags, I am forced to guess at what they might want to show up for.”

    Are you serious … if this is how determine what a site is targeting maybe you need to review seo basics …

    Can’t believe G Man tweeted this.

  2. Jim says:

    Ahhh….@Donovan, nice catch! While I’d agree, and have commented for years now that META keywords do squat — and posted here on that exact same topic….as you noted, there is a competitive intelligence advantage, that many SEO practitioners try to use by looking for same!

    If the META keywords are there — thent those are the keywords that the site is trying to optimize for….if they’re not there, then a study will determine same.

    The thing is (and again I’ve posted here and on many forums) many of us SEO types will use keywords that are listed but NOT being sought for…ie “red-herring” keywords, which may sound counter productive to some. But in fact in a few channels in which we have clients for some very highly competitive terms, this kind of tactic will work.

    Honestly, think abou it….if an SEO practitioner sees same, while he may know that such keywords dont work, he will automatically “pigeonhole” that site as being un-led by an SEO pro (and thus miss many more tactics that we’re doing!) — and in doing so, cross us off as a competitor…and that means that such a red-herring worked!

    Good sense, in our books…and as Geoff notes too!



  3. Geoff says:

    @Donovan – you’re right, the keywords tag isn’t a ranking factor at all. It can be useful for competitive analysis though, at least for sites that are in desperate need of SEO. Oftentimes website owners are led, by web designers, to believe that all they need to do is put their keywords in the meta tag. From my experience, it isn’t uncommon to see webmasters, who are less versed in SEO, put the words they want to rank for in the meta keywords.

    That being said, you need to take what a website owner believes their keywords are with a grain of salt since they probably didn’t do any significant research. The value of these keywords needs to be judged based on volume and the intent of the keyword, but this is a way to find keywords that you may have missed.


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