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SEO for online retailers is the process of improving a website potential in order to gain more organic non-paid traffic from the major search engines. Normally, SEO uplift doesn't happen overnight and it can take a long while to rank well for non brand key terms.

The rule of thumb is this: the more competition a relative term has, the harder you'll find it to rank for the term. With that said, you've got to start somewhere and there at least 50 ways I can think of to improve your SEO.   

Choose your hosting provider carefully

1. If you're targeting one specific region, say the UK, ensure that the physical IP address is country specific which will improve the likelihood of ranking in the UK

2. Always opt for a fixed IP address even if it costs slightly more

3. Run an IP address search to ensure the IP address hasn't been black listed before. Domain Tools are an excellent source for quick IP address lookup

4. Ensure the server returns accurate response:

  • 200 OK The request has succeeded - As an example you should see this server response for your homepage (www.sitename.com)
  • 301 Moved Permanently - As an example you should see this server response for your non www version of your homepage (sitename.com)
  • 302 Found - Use this server response only if you are redirecting temporary
  • 404 Not Found - Always display a correct 404 response so you can get an indication when a page is broken for better user experience


Increase crawl rates because you can never get enough of Google

5. To check when your site was last crawled and indexed, search for site:sitename.com and play with “date range” advanced search options

6. Update the site's content as often as possible. For online retailers, new promotions and offers offer a fantastic opportunity to update their content

7. Ensure pages are loading quickly by analyzing your code, content and images. Web Page Analyzer is an excellent source to analyze a page load time

8. Fix duplicate content issue such as having two versions of your homepage, for example www.sitename.com and www.sitename.com/index.php

9. Add an XML site map and submit it to the major search engines


Ensure image optimisation across the site to enjoy traffic from Google image search

9. Keep images on a folder level rather than a subdomain so sitename.com/images/ is better than images.sitename.com

10. Use a descriptive name for the image, such as the product name

11. Use alt text for all your images and use a descriptive name again for the image alt text name

12. Use caption by placing a small description directly under, on top or on the side of your image

13. When possible save the image as jpg format

14. Use a free tool such as xenu to find images with no alt text


Ensure metadata optimisation to get high level of qualified traffic

15. Ensure that every page has unique metadata in terms of page title and page description

16. Limited page title to 70 characters and page description to 150 characters

17. Don't bother too much about keywords, do something else

18. Optimise each page around one key term

19. Place the most important term first, followed by a soft (non spammy) call to action and brand

20. For product pages, opt for an auto generate metadata solution based on <product title> + <call to action> at <site name>

21. Use AdWords ads to test the best text for better CTR by creating a few ad variation in AdWords which include your key term


Content is truly king

22. Every page should have unique content which reads well for users (and therefore for the search engine spiders as well)

23. Don't repeat the key term more than 3 times so to avoid keyword stuffing

24. Place the key term in the page H1 title, image alt text and once in bold

25. Use "recommended products" to link between similar products to increase their relevancy


Apply essential URL and coding tweaks

26. Use robot.txt to block parts of the site you don't wish the engines to index

27. Offer an HTML site map which is auto updated based on the XML site map

28. For sites running on PHP use an .htaccess file to avoid content duplication

29. Use breadcrumbs navigation across the site for better user experience and SEO

30. From time to time, view your site using a text browser such as SEO Browser to "see" how spiders are likely to find your on page content

31. If your site architecture has more than three levels, restructure it so to m ake the information more accessible to both users and spiders

32. Keep URLs short for better SEO and to create a better viral effect as short URLs are more memorable

33. Include your key term such as a product title in the URL


Apply essential maintenance from time to time

34. Fix all your 404 errors and consider redirecting to a more appropriate page

35. When products are removed from stock or discontinued ensure that a 301 is placed to the main category or to a similar product

36. When linking to another site, consider checking whether you're linking to a bad neighborhood using a free tool such as text link checker

37. If you have multiple domains unify around one domain using a 301 redirect taking into account links pointing to each domain, domain age and the domain name


The Google PageRank issue

38. Don't pay too much attention to Google PR as it won't effect your ranking

39. If you want to control page rank, use a nofollow HTML attribute on pages such as "terms and conditions", "privacy policy" etc


Content is king, so start blogging

40. Place your blog on a directory level so www.sitename.com/blog/ rather than a sub domain blog.sitename.com

41. Blogging at least once a week will help increase your crawl rate

42. Read The Definitive Guide To Higher Rankings For Your Blog


Get more links, otherwise no one will see you

43. If you're considering directories as part if your link acquisition, focus on quality reviewed directories such as Yahoo and Best of the Web

44. Don't pay for links, you'll get caught at some point

45. Help your customers help you by placing on each page an easy way to share content using a sharing tool such as AddToAny

46. Ask for links take 1 - place a nice soft request in your website sale confirmation email to link back to your site

47. Ask for links take 2 - ask your suppliers and contractors for a link

48. Give blogger prior notice of new products and ask for a review

49. Offer great products at competitive prices and the links will come organically

50. Kick off a social media strategy to encourage discussion (and links) on social networks and other user-powered sites

Ran Nir

Published 25 March, 2009 by Ran Nir

Ran Nir is founder of Conversion Counts, a web analytics and conversion optimisation agency, and a contributor to Econsultancy. He can also be found on Twitter and LinkedIn.

8 more posts from this author

Comments (88)

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James Wakeman

James Wakeman, Unsure

Hate to be a smart arse, but you should probably have something in here about checking all your links before you publish them:

Check out your 'AddToAny' link

over 7 years ago

Chris Lake

Chris Lake, CEO at Empirical Proof

LOL - my error, thanks Tom. Fixed.

over 7 years ago

James Wakeman

James Wakeman, Unsure

Just need to delete these comments now, and no-one will ever know...

over 7 years ago

Ran Nir

Ran Nir, Founder at Conversion Counts Ltd

Thanks for the heads-up.

Ran

over 7 years ago

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Brandon Bourne, Designer of Precision Keyword Finder at Precisionkeywordfinder.com

Very nice list of tips Ran!  One to add to the list is that choosing the key term to optimize for is critical.  The key term that has a balance between # of searches and a low # of sites that are optimizing for that term will do you wonders for both traffic and search engine ranking.

over 7 years ago

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Baby Photos

Great Ran, its a great list and really helpful for all Search Marketers.

Keep up the good work.

over 7 years ago

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Nikhil Vijayan

Great list there! informative and to the point.

over 7 years ago

david carralon

david carralon, Head of SEO EMEA & APAC at Career Builder

hey Ran, that's an excellent SEO checklist that comes in really handy! I have taken and bookmarked 3 of your links provided as good technical SEO resources, as well as this page. Very useful and informative post, thank you. 

over 7 years ago

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Simon Leach

Thanks Ran, This an excellent list though a little daunting. Question...I have a blog that is on a seperate URL that I write in daily and also link regularly to my main site. How does that strategy grab you?

over 7 years ago

david carralon

david carralon, Head of SEO EMEA & APAC at Career Builder

hi Simon,

I know you have asked Ran, but i am taking the liberty to reply in case it helps.

Ideally you should have your blog set up within the structure of your own domain name, that way you will benefti more from the trust and authority of your domain more effectively. The general rule is that if the blog is related somehow to your business, the one represented by your main domain, then it'd be better off staying together, either as a subdomain, or yet better as a folder structure of your domain: eg: www.yoursite.com/blog/

hope that helps, David

over 7 years ago

Alec Kinnear

Alec Kinnear, Creative Director at Foliovision

Fantastic list. We do most of this as a matter of practice, but it's nice to see someone else's list itemized.

We have a detailed guide to repairing your site with Xenu Link Sleuth which might help with step 14.

More articles like this please.

over 7 years ago

Ran Nir

Ran Nir, Founder at Conversion Counts Ltd

Hi Simon,

David is correct, any authority gained will go towards the blog, rather than towards your main domain. I'd also like to add 4 more reasons why you should host your blog on the main domain

2. If you link too many times from your stand alone blog to your main domain, you are risking the engines discounting the links
3. It might look odd to customers that the blog resides elsewhere
4. One of the best ways I know to get new products (so this one is more relevant for retailers) indexed quickly is to link from an internal high authority page on your site (such as a blog ;)) to the new product
5. Adding new content often using a blog will increase your crawl rate

Hope this helps.

Ran

over 7 years ago

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seobro

Place your keyword inside PHP code comments. This should not be abused.

over 7 years ago

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Elizabeth

Great list, I would suggest adding the Firefox Web Developer toolbar to find a lot of those issues. Thanks!

over 7 years ago

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Eugene

solid list. great post. how do you automatically update a html sitemap based on your XML sitemap? more homework...

over 7 years ago

Ran Nir

Ran Nir, Founder at Conversion Counts Ltd

Hi Eugene,

You'll need a script that can convert your XML sitemap to a useable HTML sitemap file. You might need to tweak the script depending on how many products you've got as there's little gains from listing 10,000 products both for SEO and for users.

Ran

over 7 years ago

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Promotional Products

Wow, I think you covered pretty much everything here. Great advice.

over 7 years ago

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audrey

SEO is kind of hard to do. Will have to come back for reminders. Your list should be helpful but there's just too many things to remember.

over 7 years ago

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ryan conlon

short and to the point.

thanks for the info - i sent it over to twitter.

over 7 years ago

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Henk Jan Dulon Barre

Thanks, for the list. I'll give it to my new employee

over 7 years ago

Roger Willcocks

Roger Willcocks, MD at Screen Pages

Ran - excellent summary (I shall blog it). Question: does the location of META TAGS in the page source have an impact (as long as they are in the HEAD tag). Any views/experience? Does it matter if they are at the top or half way down for example?

KR, Roger.

over 7 years ago

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Sarah Summer

It reflects that you have spent a lot of time in compiling the list.

thanks

over 7 years ago

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sue Burton

Another way to drive retail or online ECommerce sales is to integrate all your direct response advertising to encourage cross-channel shopping. Using targeted online or email campaigns which drive consumers to a specialized landing page which offers an in-store promotion or online promotion, done well, encourages engagement and traffic. Consider using some of your budget to test a CPA (Cost-Per-Action) online or email campaign. Since you pay only for the customers who actually purchase your product, its an excellent (risk free) way to test drive an integrated direct response strategy!

over 7 years ago

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Treasure

Wonderful list, something for me to work through and hopefully increase awareness of my new site.

If anyone can point me in the right direction for getting more backlinks, then please get in touch. I am especially interested in getting backlinks from erotic clothing & lingerie sites.

Many Thanks for the comments

Treasure

x

over 7 years ago

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Steve Nice

Hi,

One point that you may find interesting is the IP address allocation. You touched on it in the list. Say you're a recruitment business and have two different URLS eg. www.jobsonline.com and www.ukjobs.com. Google would not list both these sites (for the same search term) if they are on the same IP or even the same IP range. Therefore, if you can get both sites on different IP subnets, both site would list. Having two different subnets on the same server is difficult, if not impossible, for hosting most providers - ring them to find out and then call me at ForLinux (www.forlinux.co.uk), because we can.

Regards,

Steve Nice

Technical Director
ForLinux Limited
Innovation House, Cafferata Way,
Beacon Hill Business Park,
Newark,
Notts.
Web: www.forlinux.co.uk
DDI: 08454210440
Switchboard: 08454210444
Mob: 07917618779

over 7 years ago

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Chaunna Brooke

hey! these are great tips. You have just provided your readers detailed and comprehensive SEO tips.

over 7 years ago

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Chris Simpson, Marketing Director at Home Learning College

Great work, Ran. Bang on the money as usual.

over 7 years ago

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Amit Bajaj

Thanks a ton for this article. Actually it was that one link which you have provided to Seo Browser which may solve a few problems i had been facing for quite some.

I checked one of my websites. And it showed 60 errors. Could that be a good reason for it struggling to do well on Google?

A reply will be appreciated. Thanks!

over 7 years ago

Ran Nir

Ran Nir, Founder at Conversion Counts Ltd

Hey Amit,

There could be many reasons so it would be irresponsible of me to make any assumptions.  Certainly fixing site errors will help.

Ran

over 7 years ago

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David

this one is by far one of the most useful posts on SEO that I have read in weeks. Only the first four points about hosting really made my day..

over 7 years ago

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Mark

Great article, lots of nice tips. Not so sure I agree with this: "23. Don't repeat the key term more than 3 times so to avoid keyword stuffing" - you can put a keyword in there 15 times if you wanted, it all depends on the ratio of the keyword vs. the rest of the content on the page (keyword saturation vs. keyword stuffing)

over 7 years ago

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Justin Brooke

For those looking to start his business online, this listing of tried and tested SEO tips will always work. Thanks for the effort.

over 7 years ago

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Jerry Okorie

Thanks, for the list. I'll give it to my new employee

over 7 years ago

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Web Design Sheffield

great list and very informative

over 7 years ago

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Tom

This list is brilliant.  Thanks for posting this :)

over 7 years ago

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netultimate

thanks for posting this wonderful 50 tips

Thanks/Regards

netultimate

over 7 years ago

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StrangeNature

Thanks for this info. The hosting is an important one to look into, something I jumped into at the start and got stung!

over 7 years ago

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medyum

Very nice list of tips Ran!  One to add to the list is that choosing the key term to optimize for is critical.

medyum

about 7 years ago

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Text to speech

the more competition a relative term has, the harder you'll find it to rank for the term. With that said, you've got to start somewhere and there at least 50 ways I can think of to improve your SEO

about 7 years ago

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premium web directory

It was a great tip.

about 7 years ago

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internet marketing services

what a nice post. really helped me a lot. thanks

about 7 years ago

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telefon dinleme

Thanks Ran, This an excellent list though a little daunting. Question...I have a blog that is on a seperate URL that I write in daily and also link regularly Chisto my main site. How does that strategy grab you? .

about 7 years ago

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Gail Cavanaugh

This is a great list!  However, i do think keywords are important.

about 7 years ago

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Ecommerce Development Guru

Information like this is important to ecommerce website owners and acts as a great guide to help them get better search results. I would just make one point, this blog should have stated a little more about how important back links are for good SEO positions. Apart from that its a great information source.

almost 7 years ago

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medyum

tanks for all

almost 7 years ago

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AdWords uitbesteden

Love your article. I stumbled upon it, but I'll add your blog to my favourites! 

almost 7 years ago

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SEO Pirate

Great tips on the lead up to christmas. Thanks

almost 7 years ago

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gerald | link company

Thanks for the tips, I know for instance that SEo is not that easy, your advice will surely be helpful in my quest to discover more about SEO.

almost 7 years ago

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chandan

Thank you for sharing some nice SEO tips. I always like to read about SEO and new tips on SEO.

almost 7 years ago

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Wii Remote

Thanks for the tips, I have took some useful information on board.

over 6 years ago

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10 tips seo

Buat pengunjung dari indonesia aku ada 10 tips seo yang tidak kalah hebat, pakai bahasa

Indonesia... silahkan click saja nama ku diatas atau langsung ke 10 tips seo

over 6 years ago

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lice treatment

Wow, so many great ones all in one spot. 50...i will print this page out and keep it near my desk when working on SEO. Thanks for the help! The 301 redirect is a great tip too! Karen

over 6 years ago

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Truck Rims

A really good list. I use some of these but you gave me some ideas that were right in front of my face. I just didn't think of them.  Thanks.

over 6 years ago

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ssk

Very nice list of tips Ran!  One to add to the list is that choosing the key term to optimize for is critical.

over 6 years ago

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Danielle

Hi,

Thanks for the tips. I must say I've read a lot of SEO tips, blogs etc and none give as much information as this one.

Thanks again.

over 6 years ago

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Andrew

This is excellent stuff.  Would you mind me creating a MindManager mind map (with your reference to website of course) and sending to colleagues and clients.

Regards

Andrew Barton

www.murge.com

over 6 years ago

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bathroom shower

It seems a great stuff as it has provided some great SEO tips for online retailers. One thing is very clear here about these tips is if they are done properly then it will surely gain benefits.

over 6 years ago

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Chris Irish dvds

Great info for both beginner and expert thanks loads for the tips! Especially the server location as im working with a co.uk when my target audiance in in the US. Thanks again.

Regards

Chris

www.thompsontrading.co.uk

over 6 years ago

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SEO Nottingham

"Limited page title to 70 characters and page description to 150 characters" I have always found that 66 characters for the title and 120 characters for the desription works best in Google, this is so it doesn't cut any vital words off the end and replaced with 3 dots (...)

over 6 years ago

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Celtic

Thanks for the post!

over 6 years ago

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casus telefon

Thanks for the heads-up.

over 6 years ago

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telefon dinleme

This is excellent stuff.  Would you mind me creating a MindManager mind map (with your reference to website of course) and sending to colleagues and clients.

over 6 years ago

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casus kulaklık

Wow, so many great ones all in one spot. 50...i will print this page out and keep it near my desk when working on SEO. Thanks for the help! The 301 redirect is a great tip too! Karen

over 6 years ago

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ny seo company

hello , i’m just starting in this world of blogs
I’ve been into SEO recently and gathering helpful information for this.
and after reading your post it has become a little easier to me , thanks

over 6 years ago

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lice treatments

nice post! thanks for sharing..

over 6 years ago

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web design spain

social media works very well with getting traffic to your website. it's helped me alot over the last year or 2.

over 6 years ago

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SEO Leicester

"If you want to control page rank, use a nofollow HTML attribute on pages such as "terms and conditions", "privacy policy" etc"

Such a simple but often overlooked tip to boost your PR.

over 6 years ago

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Promotional Product

Since this is my new beginning or first step on the world of internet marketing, I feel these tips that you mentioned here will clarify many confusions and questions that have been bothering me for sometime. Thanks mate!

over 6 years ago

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Chris

I think having your hosting in your target country, and having a website which loads fast are now a lot more important then they used to be. So well worth paying attention to those as they aren't that time consuming to do compared to other methods.

over 6 years ago

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Büyü Bozma

Since this is my new beginning or first step on the world of internet marketing, I feel these tips that you mentioned here will clarify many confusions and questions that have been bothering me for sometime. Thanks mate!

over 6 years ago

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Casus Telefon

Since this is my new beginning or first step on the world of internet marketing, I feel these tips that you mentioned here will clarify many confusions and questions that have been bothering me for sometime. Thanks mate!

over 6 years ago

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Marty Rogers

Completely agree on most points. I think, for me, the major errors that ecommerce sites make with SEO are the URL's and duplicate content that most shopping carts leave around, so they must make sure to apply the canonical URL tag.

about 6 years ago

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SEO Nottingham

Thanks very much for this article. Its a very impressive list and is worth refering to time and again in the future.

about 6 years ago

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Bulgaristanda Eğitim

hanks very much for this article. Its a very impressive list and is worth refering to time and again in the future.

about 6 years ago

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seo nottingham

Very nice list, certainly one that I will refer to from time to time.

Thanks

almost 6 years ago

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emery cat

I really appreciate this list too. Thanks so much for putting it here:)

almost 6 years ago

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Edirne

thank

almost 6 years ago

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ses kayıt

wow good well this.. i like.. thanks

almost 6 years ago

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Pearl Beads

In order that people may be happy in their work, these things are needed: they must be fit for it; they must not do much of it; and they must have a sense of success in it.

almost 6 years ago

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Sales Goat

Great post! Though I'm surprised that nothing was mentioned of shopping feeds.

over 5 years ago

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sözlük

I have used many metrics that are mentioned above..

over 5 years ago

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galbur

worth refering to time and again in the future.

over 5 years ago

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lucy

This is where you can have more choices

over 5 years ago

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nottingham seo

Very useful list that I keep referring to time and time again. Lets just hope the competition does not find and use it too!

over 5 years ago

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wctube

thanks

about 5 years ago

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Personalised Gifts

Very useful, especially the BOLD idea. That wasn't something i was aware of but will see if it makes any difference.

over 4 years ago

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Home Gym Equipment

pretty basic SEO tips, but still very relevant. Even today. Any blogs on here about backlinking tips?

about 4 years ago

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casus kulaklık

thank you soo much

over 3 years ago

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