Search Engine Optimization, cat pictures, and your MyAIMStore website

What does Search Engine Optimization (SEO) have to do with cat pictures? Nothing really. I just didn’t think you would read a post titled “Search Engine Optimization” unless I embellished the content a little. And yes, there will be cat pictures. I am a man of my word.

But first, let me explain the basic concept of SEO. You have a website. You want people to find your website. SEO makes your website findable, readable, enjoyable, and – if you’re into that sort of thing – profitable. It’s as simple as that, but actually quite a bit more complicated the more you find out. I’ll keep things appreciably breezy in my explanations in this article.

OK, now the cat pictures. And then more SEO!

(picture via Polls Boutique)

(picture via Cats With Clothes)

(picture via Leawo)

Where to go for SEO

Hey, that rhymed! Your MyAIMStore website comes with built-in SEO options and functions, the likes of which people pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to have. You paid nothing (note: if you did pay something, you signed up for MyAIMStore incorrectly).

To get to those SEO options, you need to log in to your MyAIMStore website. Once logged in, check out the menu bar running vertically down the left side of the page. Click the Customize button (or mouseover the button and click the down-arrow that pops up). Now you should see a link for SEO below the Customize button and immediately below the Options link.

Eureka! You’re there.

SEO options, part one: Page Title

Let’s start at the top. The first page of options you get when you click SEO should look like this (click for larger view):

Of course, to understand anything on this page, you need to know what you’re working with. The Page Title is one of the most important SEO tools you have. Use it wisely. Like a SlapChop.

Page titles define your site’s content. They show up on tabs, in menus, and all over Google searches. Here are a couple examples:

Armed with that knowledge, let’s look at the Page Title options that MyAIMStore gives you.

Separator: The character that sits between your page’s title and your page’s description. By default it is a pipe or, as I like to call it, a “vertical bar thingy.” If you stick with this as your separator, your Page Title would look like this:

  • Kevan’s Store | Where You Buy Stuff and Junk

The pipe separates my page title from my page description. You could use a lot of different keyboard characters here.

  • Kevan’s Store – Where You Buy Stuff and Junk
  • Kevan’s Store > Where You Buy Stuff and Junk
  • Kevan’s Store % Where You Buy Stuff and Junk

(Note: Do not use a percentage symbol. That looks ridiculous.)

Blog Title: By default, this is the name of your MyAIMStore. If it is descriptive and unique, you’ll be in good shape because search engines love that sort of stuff. If it’s the single word “Health,” you may be in trouble.

Blog Description: Here’s where you can get creative. By default, the text here says “Just another MyAIMStore weblog,” which means that everyone’s default text says this. You could gain a lot by changing this phrase to be something more indicative of the content and focus of your website.

Use woo_title(): This option is for those with access to the php and HTML files of your website. So basically, this option is for me. And I don’t often use it.

SEO options, part two: Indexing Meta

The options under the Indexing Meta page will be most often used by Members who use their MyAIMStore for blogging. Here’s the lowdown on indexing. Search engine robots (from Google, Bing, etc.) regularly crawl through the pages and posts on your website to see what’s new and what needs to be included in their ginormous search databases. When your pages have been crawled, they get indexed in these search engines.

The MyAIMStore websites provide you all the trappings of a lavish blogger lifestyle. You have tags, categories, author pages, searches, and date archives so that people can dig as deep into your writing as possible. However, search robots can’t read (well, at least they can’t read with any level of comprehension). So they don’t recognize that a post they just indexed that was tagged with “weight loss”  is the same as the post they just indexed that was categorized as “healthy living”. You now have duplicate content on a search engine, and that is bad for SEO.

So the Indexing Meta option lets you choose which type of archives you want to index. You can select as many options as you want, but you should probably just stick with one. Your content will get covered no matter which one you choose.

The second option deals with “follow” versus “nofollow” links. Basically, “follow”links mean that any type of search engine goodwill gets passed from the “linking” page to the “linked to” page. For “nofollow” links, all the SEO goodness you’ve accrued stays on the page rather than get redispersed.

By default, links are set to “nofollow,” and that is a good way to leave it. Your best bet is to get a handful of pages ranked highly for appropriate search terms, so you want as much of the SEO good stuff staying where it is.

Whew, those were long explanations. You deserve a cat picture.

(picture via Polls Boutique)

SEO options, part three: Description Meta

Have you ever heard the term “elevator speech?” Basically, it is a very brief synopsis of what you do and how you can be of service. It is a pitch, and one that can conceivably be done during the time it takes to ride an elevator, where I guess a lot of job interviews and business presentations take place. Or something.

At any rate, the elevator speech for your MyAIMStore website is the same as your site’s Homepage Description. Here is a look at a typical search results page and where that description text shows up (click for larger view):

For your MyAIMStore site, you have three options for how to display the Homepage Description.

  • Off. And therefore, no description.
  • From WP Site Description. This is similar to what we talked about in Part One. Your WP Site Description, by default, will be “Just another MyAIMStore weblog.” To change this, head to Settings > General in that left-side vertical menu (the same menu where Customize is located).
  • From Custom Homepage Description. This option will give you the most control over what you want to say. Just type whatever you want into the “Custom Homepage Description” text box below.

The final options on this page are for Single Page/Post Descriptions. Above, we dealt with the Homepage Description, but the descriptions for all the other pages and posts need to be dealt with as well.

Again, you can turn descriptions off if you want. You can pull your description from a Custom Field, which you can fill out by editing each individual page or post. Or you can let MyAIMStore do the describing for you by letting it pull descriptions automatically from the content of your pages and posts.

It should be noted that page descriptions matter less and less in placement for search engine results, but they still remain an important part of SEO because they help provide context to links on search results pages.

SEO options, part four: Keyword Meta

Oh, keywords. It seems like only yesterday you were important and relevant and purposeful, and now look at you. Wasting people’s time. For shame, keywords. For shame.

If you couldn’t tell, I’m not too high on keywords for SEO. And neither are a lot of people.

Keyword stuffing was the old school way to rank your website. Simply by stuffing high traffic keywords in the meta description you could potentially rank highly. Google has come out and said that meta keywords carry no weight.

OK then. Moving on!

Seriously though, if you want to fiddle around with meta keywords on your site, be my guest. The options here are for you to type in custom keywords for your homepage (be sure to separate each with a comma), and to create individual page/post keywords using custom fields or tags and categories.

Also, let me be clear that there is a distinction between meta keywords (relatively unimportant) and general keywords (life-alteringly important). You still want to focus on getting ranked highly for the right keywords by using those keywords in strategic places on your site. However, the meta keywords (the ones seen only by search robots) really don’t matter too much.

Keywords were depressing, more cat pictures!

The SEO factor that MyAIMStore can’t help you with

 

One of SEO’s biggest factors is inbound links – people linking from their site to your site. The more links you have, and the more quality links you have, the better your page will do in search results.

So where’s the MyAIMStore button to make these links magically appear? There isn’t one. Confound it all! This is a type of SEO that you have to do yourself by making your MyAIMStore a place that people would want to tell others about.

You can blog, you can beg, you can bargain, you can try getting links a lot of different ways. And the more you get, the more likely that you will get the ranking you want.

SEO resources

I wish I knew everything there was to know about SEO. Actually, that’s not true. I wish I knew everything there was to know about LOST because, oh my goodness, that show was screwy.

Still, I do know a fair amount about how websites work, and you are more than welcome to reach out to me or the MyAIMStore Support team by sending us an email. Even better, you can become an SEO expert yourself by digging through the following websites.

  • SEO Moz. If I could marry an SEO blog, it  would be this one. But don’t tell my ESPN.com wife!
  • SEOBook. This site has lots of tools, classes, and more on learning SEO.
  • HubSpot. The Hubsters (that’s what I call them since we’re such good friends – not) specialize in business marketing with a particularly keen eye on social media, SEO, and inbound tactics.

And there you have it. You are armed and dangerous with SEO knowledge. Give it a try on your MyAIMStore website, and don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you need a hand – or if you want more cat pictures.

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5 Responses to “Search Engine Optimization, cat pictures, and your MyAIMStore website”

  1. mikeo January 9, 2011 8:45 pm
    #

    The SEO information is very practical and well organized. The examples and the associated pictures are for great help.

  2. Kevan Lee January 18, 2011 8:47 am
    #

    Glad you all liked it. Hope it helps you with your stores!

  3. Robert Celski January 19, 2011 6:21 pm
    #

    Kevan – educational AND entertaining at the same time. Well done, much appreciated. Look for my emails with more questions!

  4. David S February 15, 2011 9:57 am
    #

    That first cat must weight 40 pounds!

  5. Daphne Kinskie February 24, 2011 2:39 pm
    #

    You make me laugh. I love your informative info on SEO, and love love love the pics of the sweet and hilarious cats. Keep it up. You’re great!!!
    Daphne

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