|Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Information|
An SEO Checklist
Search engine optimization is on every webmaster's mind these days. Achieving a favorable ranking for the right keywords can mean a steady stream of targeted traffic to your site, and all for free - that's hard to beat. The key to high search engine rankings is structuring your website correctly, including plenty of content that is relevant to your keywords, and making sure your website is spider-friendly. You can use this checklist to make sure all of your Web pages can be found, indexed and ranked correctly:
Your website is themed. Your site deals with an identifiable theme which is obvious from the text on the home page and reinforced by all the other pages on your site. In other words, all the individual Web pages relate to each other and deal with various aspects of some central theme. The text on your home page should state clearly what that theme is and what your website is about, and the other pages should reinforce that.
Your Web pages have enough high quality, relevant content. Spiders come to your website looking for content. If a page doesn't have much content, or the content doesn't appear closely related to the page's title and your website's theme, the page probably won't be indexed or if it is indexed it won't rank well. Search engines love quality content and lots of it - content is what Web searchers are looking for and search engines try to provide.
Your website's navigational structure is relatively flat. You don't want important pages to be too "deep" within your website, meaning it takes several clicks to get there from the home page. Search engines typically index the home page first, then gradually index other pages on a site over time. Many spiders are programmed to only go three layers deep - if some of your important content is buried deeper than that, it may never be found and indexed at all.
You've created a unique "Title" tag for each page. The title is one of the most important aspects of any Web page from an SEO standpoint, especially for Google (which is the most important search engine to optimize for). Don't use a generic title for all your pages, use the keywords your targeting for that page and keep it brief but descriptive.
You use the "Description" meta tag. Contains a highly descriptive sentence about the content and purpose of your page, and contains your most important keyword phrase early in the sentence. Not all of the search engines will display this "canned" description when they list the page in search results, but many of them will, so it's worth getting it right.
You use the "Keywords" meta tag. As with the meta tag description, not every search engine will use the keywords meta tag. But some will use it and none will penalize you for having it. Also, having a short list of the keywords you're targeting will help you write appropriate content for each page. The keyword tage should contain your targeted keyword phrase and common variations, common misspellings and related terms. Make sure your keywords relate closely to the page content and tie into the overall theme of your site.
Your keywords are included in the visible page content, preferably high up on the page. You have to achieve a balance here - you want to include keyword phrases (and variations) a number of times within your text, but not so many times that you appear to be guilty of "keyword stuffing". The trick is to work the keywords into the text so that it reads as naturally as possible for your site visitors. Remember, you can incorporate keywords into any Web page element that is potentially viewable by site visitors - header text, link text and titles, table captions, the "Alt" attribute of the image tag, the "title" attribute of the link tag, etc.
Every page of your website can be reached by search engine spiders. This is critical - if your pages can't be found, they can't be indexed and included in search results, let alone rank well. Search engines use spiders to explore your website and index the pages, so every page must be accessible by following text links. If pages require a password to view, are generated by a script in response to a query, or have a long and complicated URL, spiders may not be able to read them. You need to have simple text links to the pages you want indexed.
You've included a site map. Unless your site is very small, it's a good idea to create a site map with text links that you link to the site map from your home page. In addition to a link, include descriptive text for containing the relevant keywords for each page.
You link to your most important pages from other pages on your site. Internal links help determine page rank since they show which pages of your site are most important. The more links you have to have to a page, relative to other pages on your site, the more importance search engines will assign to it.
You use keywords in your link text. When you create a text link to another page on your site, use that page's targeted keywords as the text for the link (inside the anchor tags that create the link). Make it as descriptive as possible. For example, a link that says "Premium Customized Widgets" is much better than one that says simply "Product Page", and indicates to search engine spiders what that linked page is about.
Your site doesn't use frames. If possible, don't use frames on any page you want to get indexed by search engines. If you feel you simply must use frames for a page, then also make use of the "noframes" HTML tags to provide alternative text that spiders can read (and make that text descriptive rather than just a notice that "This site uses frames etc. etc.").
You don't use automatic page redirects. Don't make any pages automatically redirect the visitor to another page (the exception is a page you've deleted for good - in which case you should use a "301 redirect", a permanent redirect which is acceptable to search engines).
Your important content is in plain text and not contained in images. Search engine spiders can't "read" content in JPEG, GIF, or PNG files. If you really feel that using an image rather than text is crucial to your design, at least put the same text in the image's "Alt" tag (or in the "title" tag if you're using the image as a hyperlink).
Your important content is not contained in Flash files. Flash is a wonderful technology, but unfortunately spiders don't have the required "plugin" to view Flash files. As a result, Flash content is mostly inaccessible to search engine spiders. Some can find and follow hyperlinks within the Flash file, but unless those links lead to pages with readable HTML content this won't help you much. Don't create all-Flash pages for any content you want to get indexed - instead, put that content in the HTML portion of the page.
You've optimized every important page of your website individually. Don't stop at your home page. Take the trouble to optimize any page which has a reasonable chance of being indexed by the major search engines, targeting appropriate keywords for each. If you face a lot of competition it may be nearly impossible to get a top ranking for your home page, but you can still get a lot of search engine traffic to your site from other pages which are focused on very specific keyword phrases.
You didn't duplicate content. Each page of your site should have unique content that distinguishes it from every other page on your site. Duplicating content or having pages that are only slightly different might be seen as "search engine spamming" (trying to manipulate search engine results).
You provide linking instructions for those who want to link to your site. Somewhere on your site state your policies about other people linking to your site and provide the wording you'd like them to use in their link. You want to encourage other people to link to your site, preferably using link text and a description that reflect the keywords for that page. For their convenience provide the ready-made HTML code for the link - not everyone will use it, but most often they will use your preferred text as a courtesy as long as it is truly descriptive of your site and doesn't contain "marketing hype".
You provide linking instructions for those who want to link to your site. Somewhere on your site state your policies about other people linking to your site and provide the wording you'd like them to use in their link. You want to encourage other people to link to your site, preferably using link text and a description that reflect the keywords for that page. For their convenience provide the ready-made HTML code for the link - not everyone will use it, but many will use your preferred text as a courtesy as long as it doesn't contain "marketing hype".
Important hyperlinks are plain text links and not image links or image maps. Text links are better from an SEO standpoint than image links, as spiders can't read text from an image file. If you feel you really must use a graphic as a link, at least include a text description which (including the relevant keywords) by using the "title" attribute of the link tag.
Your website is free of coding errors and broken links. HTML coding errors and non-working links can keep search engine spiders from correctly reading and indexing your pages. For that reason, it's a good idea to use a Web page validation utility to check your HTML code to make sure it's error-free.
Jane McLain is a Web developer and SEO specialist and the webmaster of EClaunchsite.com, an online resource center for netrepreneurs with tools and information to help you plan, build, launch and grow your e-business.
How To Make Your Website More Successful? (Part II)
In part I of our series of how to make your website more successful we already showed you some important tricks to build a more successful website. This time we are going to expand the scope a little to further improve your website and to make it work harder for you on the Internet.
Types of Links
Internal Linking ? An introduction
Pay-per-click ? the Ultimate Tool to Boost Affiliate Sales
The old ways are not always the best ways.
Search Engine Position Report
Since search engines are the first stop for people on the Internet looking for goods or services, the position your website appears in search results is an important factor. If your URL shows up far down the results list, the chances of the consumer never finding you increase incrementally.
Search Engine Submission - What to Look for when Selecting an Australian SEO Company
Every business owner I've met has been encouraged at some point to invest in a website; often convinced with hype that if their business didn't have a website then they might as well pack their bags and retire to the social security queue.
Google PageRank Explained
PageRank - an exclusive technology developed by Google which can have a major impact on the success of your website. This article will attempt to explain the concept of PageRank and how your ranking can be improved without spending any money at all.How is PageRank beneficial?Google refers to the technology as a way of evaluating the usefulness, importance, and quality of a website. The PR of a webpage can mean different things for different people.For a webmaster, a high PR is a sign of accomplishment. It shows that your website is moving in the right direction and has the potential to become successful. PageRank also directly effects your Google search engine listings. Acquiring a higher PR than your competition could mean more traffic for you, and less traffic for your competitors.Visitors to your website probably won't care about the page's rank (most surfers have no idea what PageRank is). However, visitors who understand PageRank may use your PR as a sign of how credible your content is. Would you rather use the information from a website with 0 PR or a website with 5 PR and hundreds of other websites linking to it?How is PageRank determined?PageRank is basically determined by backlinks. A backlink is when another page links to your page. For every page that links to you, that page is "voting" for you. The more votes you get, the better your PageRank will be. However, it gets more complicated than that because some votes weigh more heavily than others. The weight of the vote is determined by the PageRank of the page linking to you. This means that a couple links from pages with high PR could be more beneficial than hundreds of links from pages with low PR. But it gets even more complicated - each page can only transfer so much PageRank. The set amount of PR that the page can transfer must be split up between each "vote" that the page gives out. This means that a PR 7 page could actually give out as much weight per vote as a PR 3 page if it had too many outgoing links.How can I improve my PageRank?There are many different methods to obtain quality backlinks to your website. You will find that some methods work better than others depending on the subject and popularity of your site.DirectoriesSubmitting your website to directories is one of the best ways to increase your PageRank and even get some traffic at the same time. But submitting your site to just a few directories won't be good enough. You need to sit down and spend the necessary time to submit your site to a large amount of directories. This may seem like a painstakingly long process, but you'll be glad you did it when you notice results. I have taken the time to make a large list of free directories with high PageRank which you visit here. Although directories with low PR may seem like a waste of time, you should submit your site to them too because it still helps and they could eventually become a high PR site which charges money to submit to.Link ExchangesA very common practice to improve your PageRank is a link exchange. This is simply where two people link to the other person's website. It's best that you only link exchange with someone who has at least as much PR as you and the subject of the two websites are similar. If you receive a link from a website with a subject which has nothing to do with yours, you'll find that very little if any PR will actually be transferred to you.Forum SignaturesIf you are an active user on a forum or message board, it would be wise to put a link to your website in your signature. This could help improve your PageRank if the forum has a high PR, it could help improve your traffic from the forum members seeing your signature, and your site could get spidered more often because it is linking to a forum (forums generally have a lot of new content every day and search engines love new content).Buy AdvertisingAlthough it isn't the best of choices, many webmasters will buy text link ads on websites with high PR. Although this can be effective, it can be very expensive and only a temporary thing. If you purchase text links for just a couple months, after the months are over you won't have the backlinks which were giving you the "votes" you needed to keep your PageRank. So you have now spent a large amount of money on text links, but in the end you're right back where you started.ArticlesThis is a method which not many people know about. Basically, you write articles about the subjects you know a lot about. You then let other people use these articles as long as they provide a link back to your site. If you wrote a quality article, you'll find many websites will want to use it, thus giving you plenty of backlinks. This method can work well with anything which you develope and give away for free such as scripts, web design, etc.Stay On Google's Good SideThe most important thing to remember when trying to increase your PageRank is to not cheat and to always follow the rules. The people which run Google aren't fools and they have many ways of catching cheaters. Don't even think about using any of the "link farms" or trying to hide keywords on your pages. If caught, you may not get unbanned for many months.Make A Quality WebsiteIf you have a quality website which your visitors enjoy going to, then you will receive backlinks without having to do anything. Websites will link to you with the intention of informing people of a helpful resource, or showing off a cool new website they found, or any other reason other than trying to increase your PageRank. If you build it, backlinks will come...
Reciprocal Linking Scams, What to Look for and How to Avoid Them
Reciprocal linking scams have increased immensely during the past year. Initially we thought that this problem only related to gambling and casino related websites but an audit of our commercial link partners suggests that it is a serious problem within the broader online community. Over the past eighteen months, we noticed that our page rank was slowly declining despite the fact that we were continually adding new link partners to our link directory. We had slipped from a five down to a two before we finally identified the exact cause of the problem. Out of the first 100 links on our anchor site, only seven were still being reciprocated. We recrawled the sites where no link was found with a second spider and got exactly the same result. Then we started manually checking the sites where no link back was found and started discovering patterns of deliberate link fraud. The scams in order of popularity amongst the scammers ? 1. The link on the home page to the link directory remained but clicking on it or specific directory links produced a template style page with a few casino banners or simply a page with no directory content ? This scam was most popular with the owners of multiple domains with the .co.za and .co.uk suffixes 2. The link on the home page to the link directory remained but clicking on gambling or casino related links returned a list of links to sites owned solely by the same person or company. The worst offenders in this group preferred domain extensions of .biz, .us and .md 3. The link directory index page remained but the link directory had been severely pruned and most remaining links were to the site owners other sites or to casinos. This one is common across all suffixes. 4. Links not clickable ? links to the directory and various pages within the directory remained intact. At the time of their link exchange campaign, their links were clickable but at some stage after that the code that makes the link clickable was removed and the site name was placed in bold text so at a glance it appeared to be a legitimate clickable link. This scam is most favored by sites that place a miniature screen shot of the index page of your site beside your back link. 5. A variation of the previous scam. When you run your mouse pointer over the page, the 'links' change color but no URL displays in the search bar at the bottom of your browser window. Right click has been disabled on the page so that most people looking at the page cannot see the code. If you use Dreamweaver MX or later, highlight the part of the page you want to look at and then using Control C copy it to the clip board and then use Control V to paste it into the design side of a basic Dreamweaver page. When you click on code you can see what they were attempting to stop you seeing. It may work in the later versions of similar authoring programs. Worst offenders are a poker room and a media company operating out of India. 6. One way link exchanges ? usually you are contacted by a search engine optimization company or the SEO person for a large group of websites offering you multiple one way link exchanges with half of their sites if you will link back to the other half of their sites. After a few weeks or months the links to your sites are deleted. The worst offender in this group is a prominent search engine optimization company located in India. 7. Your link starts out on a page with fair page rank usually attached to a domain with high page rank. But after a few weeks is moved to a boon docks page with no page rank that will never be indexed. ? common amongst higher PR sites. 8. The link directory is on another domain with no page rank. When you click on the link to the directory on the home page, always watch the bar in the bottom of your browser window and see that the link you clicked is in fact on the domain with which you are exchanging links ? watch especially for domain names that are very similar e.g. one letter different in the spelling or a .net instead of a .com and link pages that are hosted on the domain of a link management company. Also watch for redirects. If suspicious go back and click the link again. Often the redirected URL flashes up for only an instant or it just takes an inordinate time for the page to load compared to other pages on the site. If in doubt search for a site map - very popular with some owners of multiple bingo sites. 9. Sub domains of domains with no page rank. Sub domains are supposed to always rank lower than the parent domain. (Of late I have found a few sub domains with up to PR3 attached to a domain with no page rank) If the parent domain has a page rank of zero then link pages attached to that sub domain will almost always be zero so why trade a good link for a dud link? 10. We have never fallen for any in this group but many novice webmasters do so regularly. Beware of high PR sites offering you a link exchange on one of their inconsequential internal pages with the same PR as your index page in return for you placing a graphic link to their index page on your index page. This is a deliberate attempt to steal your hard earned traffic. A variation of this one is they have a number of new sites listed on their index page each month and visitors are encouraged to vote for the site they consider to be the best and you are asked to ask your visitors to vote for your site at the high ranked domain. The purpose is still the same as in the first example in this group. 11. We no longer trade links with sites using Linksmanager unless the link to our site is to be on a hard coded page. You can search in their search box for their link to your site and if they are still linking to you, your URL and site description will be returned but no information to show which page your link is on. Google usually indexes only a few pages in each category of dynamically generated link directories. If your link has not been added to an indexed page, it is unlikely to ever end up on one. When we had a large number of indexed back links, no link manager links were ever returned in a back link querry. 12. Be wary of link exchange requests from webmasters using anonymous e-mail addresses because when they delete your back link they also delete the anonymous e-mail address. 13. Beware of webmasters with PR 5 or above sites offering you a link exchange with a high PR site and an inspection of their link directory suggests that your link will end up on a non indexed page i.e. a useless link that is unlikely to ever improve. If the link exchange was with a PR 2 or 3 site there is at least reasonable potential for the PR of the page to increase if the link directory has been fairly constructed. Reduce exposure to link scams To reduce your exposure to such scams it is essential to carefully vet all potential link partners in the first instance. Enter link back partner details in a database. As an absolute minimum, enter their URL, the location of the link back on their site, the page rank of the page on which your link is located, the date of the link exchange and a real e-mail address for the contact person. Use a good link checking program monthly and contact offenders as soon as you find your link is missing from their site. This is now essential to keep link partners honest. This problem is a direct consequence of the current page rank system and fierce competition for top rankings. It is easier to retain existing link partners than to continually find new ones. Points to look for when Assessing Potential Link Partners Before trading links, look carefully at the other site ? 1. If there is no link to the link directory on the index page ?Reject. You will get no traffic from that site. 2. Look at the structure of their link directory and count the number of clicks from their index page to where their link to you is likely to be located and then deduct that number from the PR of the site's index page. If that page is PR3 and there are three clicks to get to the page on which your link will be located, that page will have a PR0. That link will be worthless unless the site gets a minimum of a PR4. 3. If you have not already done so, download Google's tool bar. If the page rank bar is grayed out, when you are looking at a site, never trade links with that site. The grey bar is said to indicate that the site is banned by Google. I do not know if that is true but I have only ever seen two sites produce grey bars. 4. A growing number of sites with dynamically generated link directories have no page rank on any link pages even though the directories are often constructed in such a way that you would expect the page to rank to be 2 points below the home page. I do not know how most are achieving this. The visible way is to have multiple folders and index pages leading to the links pages and the number of clicks from the home page destroys any potential page rank for the link page. A rare method is to add a no index command for the link directory in their robots.txt file. Just remember links to such sites are one way links from your site to their site. You give them a good link and they give you a worthless link. A link on a page with a PR0 is a non indexed link and carries no value regardless of the page rank of the index page of the site to which it is attached. When you do a back link check on your domain in Google, you will notice that very few links to your domain that are on Google indexed pages with a PR of less than four are returned in your list of back links. This is why I and others consider that Google now discounts the value of such links. For indexed pages, count the number of links on the page. The first factor in determining the value of the link is the page rank of the page on which it is located. The second factor is the number of links on the page. The value of the link to you is roughly the page PR divided by the number of links. Of course no one outside of a chosen few at Google knows the actual formula but that is a rough approximation and the reason most webmasters will not trade links with sites with more than 40 links to a page unless the page has a very high PR. A link on the bottom of a good content page is always better value than a link on a directory page as more people are likely to click on it. When on the receiving end of a link exchange request, do not hesitate to ask for your link to be placed on a specific page and do not hesitate to reject link requests from sites that do not adhere to basic acceptable linking practices. When considering link requests from new sites, look at any other sites that belong to or have been built by the webmaster proposing the link exchange. Most importantly, look to see if existing link pages have been indexed and the structure of the directory. This will be a good indicator of what to expect for the new site. When you create your own link directory, consider a hand edited directory with the links at the same level as the rest of the pages on your site. That way your link pages will be only one point below your index page and you will attract more link requests because of that. Many high PR sites will not trade links with you unless you can place their link back on a minimum of a PR4 page. That way you can start shooting for the top once your index page makes a 5 as opposed to a 7 with the way many link directories are set up. When you are shooting for the top, it helps you get those high pr links you need to make it to the top.
Linking Strategies to Skyrocket to the Top of Google
If you don't know already, one of the key success factors to getting loads of free Google traffic to your website is increasing page rank. So just how do you increase your page rank? Well, it's all in the linking.
Search Engine Marketing 101 For Corporate Sites
When most people want to find something on the web, they use a search engine. Millions of searches are conducted every day on search engines such as: google.com, yahoo.com, msn.com and many others. Some people are looking for your website. So how do you capture people searching for what your site has to offer? Through techniques called search engine marketing (SEM).
Optimizing For Visitors Not Search Engines
Most people feel that optimizing is to target the search engines alone. In my opinion, this is not the only case. Optimization requires a balance of traffic enhancements and a user friendly atmosphere that provides clear navigation. Most will agree it would be much better to have people accept offerings from a Site, rather than masses of people who do nothing. Here are some general tips and thought to make pages user-friendly.
Search Engine Ranking... Oh, the Mystery!
Rankings, Rankings, Rankings!
Beginners - Getting Listed In Search Engines
Once you have your web site complete and ready to be listed you need to take a slow step by step approach to get listed in the search engines. If you do it right the first time and then build on that formula, your profits and your site will benefit in the long run. Those willing to spend the time and put these techniques into practice are the ones that will benefit and are more likely to be successful.
Press Releases Can Increase Search Engine Positioning
When you write a press release, what is your ultimate goal? No doubt, getting the information to as many publications and on as many Web sites as possible. The focus lies in moving outward? taking the press release to as many *other* sources as possible. We buy lists of journalists, pay public relations companies to distribute the release to thousands of targeted leads, use online press release distribution services, and create our own in-house list of reporters to touch base with. This is
Analyzing Googles Backlinks Is Close To Worthless
10 Quick Ways To Kick-Start Your Profit Pulling Keywords
First, you must realize that targeting the right keywords or phrases is the 'key' to making any kind of profit from your site. Choosing the 'right' keywords (the exact keyword or phrase surfers type into the search engines to find your site or product) can make or break your online venture.
Rock Your Rank With a Dynamite Text Link - Yahoo Directory Explodes Rankings
Last week a client called me excitedly exclaiming that their Google PageRank had jumped a notch and their targeted keyword term now ranked #23 (up from #45) for their competitive search phrase. I asked the client if he'd been notified by Yahoo that his site was now included in the index after we had submitted it three weeks ago. "Yes," he said, "but why are you changing the subject?"
What Is Waiting for Us? Tomorrows SEO Industry
Today, SEO is swiftly approaching saturation point. More and more webmasters realise the necessity of learning SEO basics, and as they do so, SEO professionals are facing difficulties finding new clients. With all the niche sites optimised, it will be harder to compete for good key phrases. Link building opportunities will be easily found and utilised by everyone, keyword density will reach its optimum value, meaning that the SERPs will consist of equally good and equally relevant sites - at least from the traditional SEO point of view.
The Reality of Search Engine Submissions
Over the last few months, search engine submissions have changed dramatically. Now is the time to analyze the way we're submitting our Web pages and to rethink our submission strategies.
Getting Your Site Seen By Search Engines
Is your website listed on search engines? When people search for you, does your site show up on page 1 or page 20 of the search engine results?
Surviving the Search Wars ? Local Directories
The pursuit of online information has become an increasingly dynamic and competitive marketplace during the past three years. Global heavyweights such as www.google.com, www.yahoo.com, and www.msn.com are backed by massive resources, making it nearly impossible for new companies to even attempt to compete. It would seem for new start directories it is almost impossible to aim for the "catch all" approach, as there are simply bigger companies out there with larger budgets ? who are going to dominate the market for years to come. However, there are still a number of innovative directories evolving which are capable of surviving in this ultra-competitive landscape. The key to this survival is undoubtedly focusing upon a niche and making sure your site stands out from others.
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