|Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Information|
Search Engine Marketing 101: What Search Engines See When They Visit Your Web Site
If you have a Web site, have you ever wondered what a search engine sees when it visits your site to add the site to its index? Do you know that it doesn't see the beautiful graphics or the fancy Web design? Do you know that it only sees the source code, or the "skeleton" of your Web site?
Do you realize that knowing this little tidbit of information and doing something about it can make a huge difference in your search engine rankings and, ultimately, the success of your online business?
One very important thing that you need to remember is: the search engines like simplicity. The simpler your Web site is, the easier it is for the engine to determine what your Web site is about. And, if the search engine can determine exactly what your Web site is about, you have a better chance at top rankings under the keyword phrases that are important for your online business.
Let's look at this concept in action with a page I recently created for one of my online businesses: Search Engine Workshops.
As you can see, it's a very plain, simple page that was not created to be the "main" or "home" page of a Web site. Rather, it was created to pull in traffic through the keyword phrase, "search engine seminars."
What I really want you to see is the source code of the page. So, when viewing the page, click on View on the top menu bar, then Source or Source Code.
The most important part of a Web page is what appears at the very top of the page. Why? Because a search engine starts at the top of the page and begins moving down as it indexes.
So, what appears in the section of your Web page is very important, because the section is at the top of the page.
Let's look at the section of the source code:
Search Engine Seminars--your path to success on the Web!
There are only three tags in the section of this Web page: the title tag, the keyword META tag, and the description META tag. Because the title tag is in the section, and because of the importance that most engines place on the tag, it is considered one of the most important tags on your page, so it should always be the first tag in the section.
Notice that in the title and keyword META tag, the important keyword phrase (search engine seminars) appears as the first words in the tag. In the description META tag, the keyword phrase is still toward the beginning of the tag, as opposed to the end.
In other words, where you place your keyword phrase in the tags and content of your page is important. If you place your keyword phrase toward the beginning of all of your important tags and toward the beginning of the contents, you're "proving" to the engines that the page is really about that particular topic.
I've mentioned one reason why the title tag is important, but there's another reason too. The title tag is important because it almost always appears as the title of the site in the search engine results. Your description META tag may appear in the search engine results as well and is considered important by the some of the engines. So, when you create your title and description tags, remember two things: put your keyword phrase toward the beginning of the tags, and make the tags captivating and designed to pull in traffic.
Think of it this way. If your site is #10 in the search engine rankings, but if the sites above yours haven't gone to the trouble to create appealing titles and descriptions, a search engine user may skip over those sites to visit yours.
Now, let's go back to the source code. Look for this tag, which isn't far from the tag:
This is the image, or graphics, tag for the Search Engine Workshops banner that appears at the very top of the page. Notice that the engine doesn't "see" the graphic itself. It sees the name of the graphic (banner3.jpg), and it sees the ALT text that describes the image. It sees the width and height of the graphic. But, it doesn't see the graphic itself. So, the engine doesn't know that the graphic says, "Search Engine Workshops."
Next, look for this tag, which directly follows the image tag:
Search Engine Seminars
An tag is a heading tag, and heading tags are very important to a Web page. Try to put a heading tag at the very top of your page, if at all possible, and use your important keyword phrase in that heading tag. When you look back at my actual Web page, do you see the words "Search Engine Seminars" right under the graphic? That's the heading tag.
Now, look for this tag in the source code:
Is your Web site achieving the success that. . .
This is where the contents of the Web page begin. Look on the actual Web page and find the text: "Is your Web site achieving the success that . . ." Notice that the keyword phrase (search engine seminars) appears in the first paragraph.
In other words, with all of these tags and the placement of our keyword phrase in the page's contents, we're proving to the engines that the page is really about "search engine seminars."
So, let's visit your site on the Web. View the source code. What's in the section? Are your title and description tags using the keyword phrase that's important for that particular page? Are your title and description tags captivating and designed to pull in traffic? Each page of your site should have different title and description tags, and those tags should be based on the focus of that page - what that page is really about: in other words, its keyword phrase.
How many graphics do you have before the actual contents of your site? If you have a lot of graphics, navigation bars, or buttons before the contents of your page, the engine has to sort through all of that source code before it gets to the actual keyword- containing content.
Are you using a heading tag that contains your important keyword phrase toward the very top of your page? Is your keyword phrase used in the first paragraph of the page? Is it used in several places throughout the page?
Look back at my page. Notice that the keyword phrase, search engine seminars, is used as link text to describe several links. Are you using your keyword phrase to describe links that are leaving the page? If not, try to do so.
Study your own site carefully, and apply these guidelines to your pages.
Doing whatever you can to push your important keyword phrase toward the top of the page and toward the beginning of your tags is the first step toward having a successful Web site that's ranked in the top of the search engine rankings.
About The Author
Robin Nobles, Director of Training, Academy of Web Specialists, has trained several thousand people in her online search engine marketing (http://www.academywebspecialists.com) training programs. Visit the Academy's training site to learn more (http://www.onlinewebtraining.com). She also teaches 3-day hands-on search engine marketing workshops in locations across the globe with Search Engine Workshops (http://www.searchengineworkshops.com).
Copyright 2002 Robin Nobles. All rights reserved.
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The Search Engine Secret That Is No Secret At All
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Google Page Rank Is Dead - Part II
In part I - Google Page Rank Is Dead - Or Ist It? http://web-marketing.smartads.info/2004/august-11.html
How to REALLY Profit from SEO
I want to give you a few more things to think about as you excel and grow in the craft of search engine marketing. If you are anything like me, you were hooked the first time you really made a difference to someone else's success. I soon realized that being able to help business owners to get results from these optimization methods and strategies could also be amazingly profitable. I found out that customers are your greatest resources and many of them are quite generous when you make an impact on their business. So the topic here is for those who want to profit from their skills (if you are not already doing very well and having an awesome time already).
Search Engines The Masters Of The Internet Universe ? Part 2
"This is a continuation of the pervious part, split into multiple parts for keeping the article size manageable."
Get Personal With Google
Anyone who's been on the net any time at all knows that Google has been the search engine of choice for many for a while now. Whether that continues remains to be seen, but for now, with MSN still in development and Yahoo going through some growing pains, many still feel that Google is the leader. As such, it's worth dropping in to the Google Labs every now and then to see what's going on there.
eMarketing Sabotage - Top 10 Steps To Kill Your Search Engine Marketing Practices
We at America Web Works find ourselves amazed at the amount of effort people spend trying to fool or manipulate their positioning in search engines. People seem to focus on the shortcuts to success and NOT on their Web site or the true value their content provides to their prospects.
META Tags Explained and How To Use Them For Ranking
The META tags are used to provide extra information about a web page. There was once a time where a good search engine ranking could be achieved by simply changing the value of the META tags. However these days are long gone. Nowadays the META Tags are decreasing in importance in the eyes of the search engines who are using more sophisticated methods of ranking pages (namely link popularity, optimized anchor text).
How to Choose Keywords to Theme Your Pages and Boost Your Traffic
One of the most frequent questions I get asked is in the choice of keywords for a new site, specifically secondary keywords.. These are the words or phrases that you use when writing your content to help theme the page so that the search engines know what your page is about. These secondary keywords also help to bring in more traffic, because they add more depth to your page, meaning that your page is found for a lot more phrases than just the primary phrase you page is built around.
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.
An Introduction to Google Sitemaps
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DMOZ: Rotten To The Core
I knew things were bad at DMOZ. But I guess I didn't realize how bad, until I started eavesdropping on a few forums, and reading the avalanche of e-mails I received on the subject.
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Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has become one of the biggest internet buzz-words recently. Everyone is talking about it. These days it seems there's an "expert" around every corner promising all kinds of wonderful things to online business owners. Beware! If you are interested in building a long term successful online business, there are few things you should know when it comes to search engine optimization.
A Simple White Hat Technique To Get Indexed By Google
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Many internet marketers blow mountains of start-up cash on their websites just trying to break into search engine rankings. I was one of these internet marketers.
Not Ranking High Enough on Search Engines? Here?s Some Help!
Search engines are frugal things. (Froogle, too, haha! Sorry, lame joke) They take many, many things into consideration when ranking your pages. Below are some things you should do to be sure you're ranked as high as possible.
Crash Course in Getting a #1 Google Ranking
First, here's the rundown of some of the terminology I'm going to use ?
Internet Directory Submission Tips
Internet Directories and their Importance
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