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SEO Tip – Don’t Forget to Optimize Your Interior Pages

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fake building frontYou need more than just curb appeal to make Google happy

Welcome back, time for another SEO Tip.

Is your Web site like a Hollywood back-lot?  All snazzy looking up front, but nothing on the inside?  More importantly, does Google think that’s what it is?  I’ve hinted at this a couple times before, but it is very important that you don’t ignore the interior of your sites.

It’s nice to have a pretty front page that displays some good content, and maybe shows your blog posts when you add them.  But what happens to those posts when they roll off the front?  Are they doing you any good?  Does anyone link to them? Can anyone find them?

Do you have other “static” pages on your site that contain information that might be useful to your potential customers?  Does anyone link to those?  Can these be found?

Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself…

WHY do you need to optimize the inside?

Your web site functions much like your “real” office.  The front page is the lobby, from there prospective customers follow a set path to get to the place they need to be, to get the information they desire.  Want commercial property?  Go see Bill in room 7.  Want to rent out a room in your house? Go talk to Sally in room 3.  Want to buy a new construction home? Tom in room 4 is who you need to see.  What if your web visitors could go straight to the place on the site they need to be – without going through the “lobby” first?  That would probably make them much happier.

How do you optimize the inside pages?

When you started the process of creating, or optimizing your Web site you (hopefully) did a considerable amount of keyword research.  Many of those keywords probably apply just fine to your site’s home page.  Others, however, really belong to your interior pages.  If your agency handles multiple forms of real estate – or even multiple geographic areas – it is IMPOSSIBLE to fully optimize your home page for all of the required keywords.  Sure, you have can short blurbs of text and links, but that won’t do much for you.  The best way for you to  make use of those additional keywords is to create a place for people (and search bots) to go and read them.  Create individual pages for each area.  Describe the area using as many details (and keywords) as possible.  Of course, you should avoid sounding spammy.

After you have the great content, do your best to start getting links to those pages – remember that Google LOVES links.

What can you expect from optimized interior pages?

I found a couple sites in the Atlanta area that have optimized interior pages with some success.

atlanta real estate info serpAbove are two results for the Google search “atlanta real estate info”.  I realize that may or may not be a phrase these sites, or anyone is optimized for – it just popped into my head (searchers are funny that way).  Notice anything different about these listings?  Google found enough good content on, and/or links to some of the internal pages that it created supplemental links – directly to those pages.

The first site is laid out nicely, does a god job of providing information.  It has just under 1,000 incoming links, but only about 40 of those are to interior pages.  Clearly, Google likes the content.

The second site…well, honestly it’s a mess. I can’t believe that any reasonable human would choose to hire them based on that page.  They do use a few spammy SEO techniques, but not enough to get them in trouble – just enough to look bad.  However, they have enough content and links that Google thinks they are an authority.  They have around 1,700 incoming links, 400 of those are to interior pages.  Our friend backlinkwatch.com reveals that many of those links use keywords as the anchor text.

If I were in Atlanta, I’d be hoping that this company didn’t hire a real designer, or discover WordPress.  In either case, this little site could rule the rankings easily.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday next week – I will be too full and tired to move, never mind write.  There will not be an SEO Tip for November 28.

Jack Leblond is a SEO/SEM professional working for a large corporation full time in Austin, TX. He is not a Realtor, he is our in-house SEO expert. Jack is the Director of Internet Strategy and Operations for TG (www.tgslc.org). In addition to managing the team that develops and maintains the company's multiple Web sites, he focuses on Search Engine Optimization (SEO), e-marketing and Social Media. Jack's background ranges from Submarine Sonar Technician/Instructor for the United States Navy, technical writer, pioneer in internet/intranet creation for McGraw-Hill and Times Mirror Higher Education, former Adjunct Professor for two Universities teaching web-related courses, has served as a city council member and co-founded Net-Smart, a web design and hosting company, where he managed networks and oversaw the development of hundreds of Web sites. As a free-lance SEO consultant, Jack performs SEO Site Audits for small/medium businesses that want their web sites to perform better in the search engine listings.

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Ken Montville

    November 21, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    Jack,

    I love your SEO tips. It sounds a hell of lot like work to me, though. 🙂

    What I’m getting is that hyperlocal helps and neighborhood or town pages really help. Good, readable copy with lot of rich keyword content isn’t always the easiest thing.

    Thanks!!

  2. Colorado Spirngs Real Estate by Kathy Torline

    November 22, 2009 at 7:02 am

    Good reminders for me — Thanks for sharing

  3. AmyBSells Cincinnati

    November 22, 2009 at 7:20 pm

    The first site’s keyword ranking is a direct result of the domain name:

    atlantarealestateinfo.com

    It does have good info, and is well designed, but Google gives a lot of juice to those exact keyword-domain name matches.

  4. Bob Wilson

    November 22, 2009 at 8:58 pm

    No it isnt. There is far more going on there than a keyword matching domain.

  5. KnoxvilleTN

    December 18, 2009 at 11:26 am

    I am in the works of optimizing my interior pages. Keep posting these great tips. I really enjoy reading them!

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Opinion Editorials

AT&T hit with age discrimination lawsuit over using the word “tenured”

(EDITORIAL) 78% of workers are victims of age discrimination. As awareness arises, lawsuits show what may constitute discrimination, including verbiage.

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Older man at cafe representing age discrimination

According to the AARP, 78% of older workers have seen or experienced age discrimination in the workplace. As awareness of ageism increases, lawsuits that allege age bias can help employers understand what constitutes discrimination. A recent case from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, Smith v. AT&T Mobility Services, L.L.C., No. 21-20366 (5th Cir. May 17, 2022), should give employers pause about using other words that could potentially be a euphemism for “older worker.”

What the lawsuit was about

Smith, a customer service representative at AT&T, alleged that he was denied a promotion because of his age. His manager told him that she was not going to hire any tenured employees. The manager wanted innovative employees in the management positions. Smith took this to mean that he was being denied the promotion because of his age. He sued under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and Texas law.

The district court found that Smith failed to exhaust his administrative remedies as to one claim and failed to establish a prima facie case of discrimination as to the other two claims. Smith appealed. The Appellate court affirmed the district court’s decision, but they did say it was “close.” AT&T did not discriminate against Smith by using the word tenured, because there were other employees of the same age as Smith who were promoted to customer service management positions.

Be aware of the verbiage used to speak to employees

This case is another example of how careful employers need to be about age discrimination, not only in job postings. It’s imperative to train managers about the vagaries of ageism in the workplace to avoid a costly lawsuit. Even though AT&T prevailed, the company still had a pretty hefty legal tab. Don’t try to get around the ADEA by using terminology that could screen out older workers, such as “digital native,” or “recent college grad.” Remind employees and managers about ageism. Document everything. Pay attention to other cases about age discrimination, such as the iTutor case or this case about retirement-driven talk. You may not be able to prevent an employee from feeling discriminated against, but you can certainly protect your business by doing what you can to avoid ageism.

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Opinion Editorials

Writing with pen and paper may mean your smarter than your digital peers

(EDITORIAL) Can writing old fashioned make you smarter? Once considered and art form, handwriting is becoming a thing of the past, but should it be?

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Writing on paper job titles.

When I was in college, in 2002, laptops weren’t really commonplace yet. Most students took notes by writing with pen and paper. Today, most students take notes with laptops, tablets, cell phones, or other electronic devices. The days of pen and paper seem to be fading. Some students even wait until the end of class and use their cell phones to take a picture of the whiteboard, so in effect, they are not absorbing any of the information because they “can just take a picture of it and look at it later.”

Is it easier to take notes on an electronic device? I think that largely depends on preference. I type faster than I write, but I still prefer to take notes on paper.

According to researchers at Princeton University and the University of California, Los Angeles, students who take handwritten notes generally outperform students who typed them.

Writing notes help students learn better, retain information longer, and more readily grasp new ideas, according to experiments by other researchers who also compared note-taking techniques.

While most students can type faster than they write, this advantage is short-term. As the WSJ points out, “after just 24 hours, the computer note takers typically forgot material they’ve transcribed, several studies said. Nor were their copious notes much help in refreshing their memory because they were so superficial.” So while it may take a bit longer to capture the notes by hand, more likely than not, you will retain the information longer if you put pen to paper.

As I teach English Composition at the University of Oklahoma, I would also like to say that while I find this to be true for myself, every student has a different learning style. Typed notes are much better than no notes at all. Some students detest writing by hand and I understand that. Everything in our world has gone digital from phones to cable television so it makes sense, even if I don’t like it, that students gravitate more towards electronic note taking than pen and paper.

While I would like to see more students take notes by hand, I certainly won’t require it. Some students are navigating learning disabilities, anxieties, and other impediments that make taking notes digitally more advantageous.

I imagine the same is true for other areas as well: instead of typing meeting notes, what would happen if you wrote them by hand? Would you retain the information longer? Perhaps, and perhaps not; again, I think this depends on your individual learning style.

I would like to suggest that if you are one of the more “electronically-minded” writers, use a flashcard app, or other studying tool to help you review your classroom notes or meeting notes to make them “stick” a bit better. While I find this type of research intriguing, if you enjoy taking your notes electronically, I wouldn’t change my method based on this.

If it’s working for you, keep doing it. Don’t mind me, I’ll be over here, writing everything down with pen and paper.

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Opinion Editorials

5 reasons using a VPN is more important now than ever

(EDITORIAL) Virtual private networks (VPN), have always been valuable, but now, more than ever, entrepreneurs and businesses really should have them.

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VPN

Virtual private networks (VPN), have always been valuable, but some recent developments in technology, laws, and politics are making them even more important for entrepreneurs and businesses.

A VPN serves as an intermediary layer of anonymity and security between your computer and your internet connection. Your Wi-Fi signal is a radio wave that can ordinarily be intercepted, so any data you transmit back and forth could be taken and abused by interested parties. VPNs act as a kind of middleman, encrypting the data you transmit and protecting you from those prying eyes.

Top10BestVPN.com offers a selection of some of the best-reviewed VPN services on the market; there you can see the different approaches to security and anonymity that different brands take, and get a feel for the price points that are available. But why is it that VPNs are becoming even more important for business owners and entrepreneurs?

These are just five of the emerging influencers in the increasing importance of VPNs:

1. The rise of IoT. The Internet of Things (IoT) is already taking off, with a predicted 8.4 billion devices will be connected to the internet by the end of the year. All those extra connections mean extra points of vulnerability; hackers are skilled at finding tiny entry points, so every new channel you open up on your Wi-Fi connection is another opportunity they could potentially exploit. Using a VPN won’t make your network completely hack-proof—user errors, like giving your password away in a phishing scam, are still a potential threat—but VPNs will make your network more secure than it was before.

2. The popularity of ransomware. Ransomware is growing in popularity, seizing control of devices, sometimes for weeks or months before activating, then holding the device “hostage,” and demanding payment in exchange for releasing the files that are stored on it. These attacks are fast and efficient, making them ideal for hackers to use against small businesses. Again, using a VPN won’t make you immune from these types of attacks, but they will make you harder to target—and hackers tend to opt for the path of least resistance.

3. The escalation of attacks on small businesses. Speaking of small businesses, they happen to be some of the most frequent targets of cybercriminals. About 43 percent of all cyberattacks target small businesses, in part because they have fewer technological defenses but still have valuable assets. Protecting yourself from cyberattacks is a must if you want your business to survive.

4. Political attacks on net neutrality. Politicians have recently attempted to attack and eliminate net neutrality, which is the long-standing guarantee that internet providers can’t violate user privacy by collecting and/or reporting on certain types of data, and can’t create “slow lanes” that throttle certain types of traffic. If net neutrality is abolished, you could face slower internet traffic and decreased privacy on the web. A VPN could, in theory, protect you from these effects. First, your web traffic would be anonymized, so internet providers couldn’t gather as much data on you as other customers. Second, you’ll be routed through a private VPN server, which could help you get around some of the speed throttling you might otherwise see. It’s uncertain whether net neutrality will ultimately fall, but if it does, you’ll want a VPN in place to protect you.

5. The affordability and diversity of VPNs available. Finally, it’s worth considering that VPNs are more affordable and more available than ever before. There are specific VPNs for all manner of businesses and individuals, and they’re all reasonably affordable. Inexpensive options can be yours for as little as a few dollars per month, and more robust, secure options are still affordable, even for frugal businesses. If you try a VPN provider you don’t like, you can always cancel and switch to another provider. This availability makes it easier to find exactly what you need.

If you’ve never used a VPN before and you’re confused, try not to be intimidated. VPNs sound complex, but connecting to one is a simple login process you can use on practically any device. The hardest part is choosing a reliable provider that suits your business’s need. With the influx of coming changes, it’s a good idea to get your VPN in place sooner rather than later.

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