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“Good SEO is usually just good usability “
I recently read this sentence on a blog – and yeah, it holds a lot of truth!
I have seen websites stuffed with keywords and with lots of sneaky stuff. Besides the fact that most of the attempts to fool google just don’t work any more, you must not forget that your site is for real human beings, not for search engines. Your visitor have to like your site! If they love it, they’ll link to it! Don’t make usability sacrifices for SEO, usability and SEO go hand in hand. Following basic accessibility standards ensures that your site can be crawled and indexed by search engines, but as we know – that isn’t enough. Taking usability principles, such as good page markup, use of headers, titles and information architecture can give you a boost in search visibility.In fact, when it comes down to a lot of the things search engines look for, even off-site, you can relate them to end user needs. Lets take another example:Let’s say there are two sites both with the same keywords and the same number of inlinks, which will rank higher? Chances are good that the page that loads faster will be preferred. Use tools like Yahoo! Yslow or Google Page Speed to check whether you could optimzie the page loading speed.

And last but not least validate your site’s HTML or XHTML. Browsers can render pages with errors and a normal visitor might not even notice anything, perhaps the page loads a little bit slower than others. But for search engine bots some validation errors can cause the bot to “see” only half the page and missing out in the rest of the content.So use the w3.org Validator and improve your SEO Usability.
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Most home business entrepreneurs do all the writing for their business which includes their website, correspondence, e-mails, etc. Unfortunately, most of us make common mistakes when writing and unless someone calls us on the carpet for said mistakes, we usually just keep on making them and it reflects on our business.

However, grammar mistakes are often made in association with word usage which is frequently not something that can always be remedied with a spell checker. That’s what I thought it would be good way to start off 2013 with a listing of the most common word usage mistakes and rules to remember so as to avoid them.

Here is a list of ten common word usage mistakes with explanations and examples of proper use:

1. THERE vs. THEIR vs. THEY’RE

THERE is an indication of location. Example: I want to see that book over there.
THEIR is a possessive version of they. Example: They took their dog to the groomer.
THEY’RE is a contraction, short for they are. Example: They’re going to the theatre tonight.

2. A LOT vs. ALLOT vs. ALOT

A LOT is an indication of amount. Example: I have a lot of laundry to do.
ALLOT means to distribute. Example: I will allot you two cookies.
ALOT is not a word.

3. I.E. vs. E.G.

I.E. means “in other words.” Example: Writing more articles increases your website traffic. I.E., it will bring you more exposure.
E.G. means “for example.” Example: I have a lot of chores to do. E.G., laundry, dishes, vacuuming, dusting, etc.

4. TO vs. TOO vs. TWO

TO is a function word to indicate relative position. Example: We took the dog to the vet.
TOO can indicate excessiveness or in addition to. Example: The chili was too spicy ; I would like to go too.
TWO is the number 2. Example: I want two cookies.

5. ITS vs. IT’S

ITS is the possessive version of it. Example: Its door came off the hinges.
IT’S is a contraction, short for “it is.” Example: It’s a beautiful day.

6. YOU’RE vs. YOUR

YOU’RE is a contraction, short for “you are.” Example: You’re the nicest person I’ve ever met.
YOUR describes the possessor as someone else. Example: Your shirt is very wrinkled.

7. LOOSE vs. LOSE

LOOSE is an adjective, the opposite of tight or contained. Example: I have loose change in my pocket.
LOSE is a verb that means “to suffer the loss of.” Example: I hope I don’t lose my car keys.

8. CHOOSE vs. CHOSE

CHOOSE is a present tense verb meaning “to select.” Example: I choose to eat healthy foods.
CHOSE is a past tense verb meaning “to select.” Example: I chose to eat healthy foods.

9. EFFECT vs. AFFECT

EFFECT is usually a noun meaning “result.” Example: The effect of increased traffic to your website is directly related to the number of articles you produce for syndication.
AFFECT is usually a verb meaning “to influence.” Example: I hope this training series will affect you in a positive way.

10. KNOW vs. NO vs. NOW

KNOW is usually a verb meaning “to understand.” Example: I know you are not coming to the movie.
NO is a negative reply, refusal or disagreement. Example: There is no problem with the car.
NOW is usually an adverb meaning “at the present time or moment.” Example: Now I can easily write and market my articles.

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If you know of other grammatical errors that spell checkers frequently miss, please share them with us in the comments section.

I recently came across what I consider to be an absolutely essential keyword suggestion tool for building a list of keywords. It’s called UberSuggest and this free online tool works with Google’s keyword tool for Adwords.

In a nutshell, UberSuggest takes your keyword phrase and allows you to “drill down” every possible variation of the word so long as it’s recorded in Google’s tool. This keyword tool is perfect for giving webmasters in the early stages of a SEO campaign an easy way to discover all possible keywords around a given phrase.

Not only does it allow you to search the Web for your keyword phrase but it lets you search by News, Shopping, Video and even Recipes. Once you’ve done all the “keyword drilling” you want, just click one button and UberSuggest will select all the keyword phrases on the page which you can cut and paste into a text editor.

Since I discovered UberSuggest a few days ago, I must’ve used it two dozen times. It’s nothing if not addicting… at least to us as SEO junkies.

Kenn