Stephan Spencer’s SEO Words of Wisdom

When it comes to search, a few sentences can make a world of difference in setting your keyword theme, according to Stephan Spencer, founder of search marketing agency Netconcepts. For instance, if you sell women’s apparel, you should know that “petite” is by far a bigger search term than is “petites.”

Speaking last week at the NEMOA fall conference at the Foxwoods casino and resort in Ledyard, CT, Spencer reviewed the three pillars of SEO: content, links, and architecthture. Here are some of his tips.

Don’t bury your best stuff. Your most important pages should be as few clicks away as possible.

Use hyphens, not underscores, in your URLS. If you have underscores in your URL, Google doesn’t see them as separate words.

Keyword prominence is important. The targeted keywords that appear up near the top of the page will rank better.

Don’t write copy only for search engines. And don’t try to hide keywords by using white type on a white background: “This will earn you a penalty in Google,” Spencer said.

Make your underlines or linked words clear. You want to be sure these show so it doesn’t look like you’re up to something with Google, he said.

A pull-down menu is a missed search opportunity. Why’s that? “Spiders can’t fill out forms,” Spencer said.

The trust, authority and importance of your links are key factors in SEO. How does a marketer build link authority?

Contests and widgets on your site can help, Spencer said. You can also write articles on topics related to your product category or expertise and try to get them posted on social news sites such as Digg.com. It’s all about “link bait,” he said, or content that’s so good, “people have to link to it.”

For more on building up your links, look for Spencer’s article coming out in the October issue of Multichannel Merchant.

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