|Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Information Tony|
Search Engine Optimization: Who Do You Trust?
Internet search engines exist to organize the seemingly immeasurable amount of information available on the web. They direct people to pages that are relevant to their searches, pages that discuss the exact keywords they are looking for. For a business that receives the majority of its clientele from search engines, search engine rankings can make or break an e-commerce company.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the marketing technique of enhancing a website and its content in order to increase the chances of achieving a high rank on search engine result pages (SERP) under relevant keyword searches.
Search engines are very secretive about their criteria and ranking systems, they continuously update and revise their algorithms (a mathematical formula used to determine which web pages are displayed in search results), and therefore, there is less likelihood of webmasters and search engine optimizers being able to achieve higher rankings by manipulation and spamming.
Each search engine has its own formula and criteria for indexing and ranking pages. One can analyze SERPs and backward links (all the links pointing at a particular web page) and attempt to determine a search engine's indexing criteria, however, there is a lot of risk involved in relying on a limited number of optimization techniques.
Because of the unpredictable nature of search engines, a website can easily move from a top ranking position on a SERP down to the third or fourth SERP or even banned from the search engine altogether.
To Trust or Not to Trust
There are so many unethical SEO companies that claim to be able to achieve your website #1 rankings, they use overwhelmingly aggressive marketing techniques, and attempt to manipulate search engine results, that they give the industry a bad name.
The main problem with SEO companies is that they base their methods and techniques on research, trial and error, and speculation. As a result of the secretive indexing criteria of search engines, webmasters and SEO companies can only make an educated guess about the ranking systems and possible algorithm revisions.
SEO companies may be able to achieve high rankings in search engines for your website, they are good at what they do, however it is the way they do it that is precarious and dangerous.
Some SEO companies may use 'black hat', techniques to manipulate search engine results to their advantage. These techniques are high risk or illegal and can get a site banned from search engines. Black hat techniques can cuase seevere damage to the business of an e-commerce company.
A few examples of 'black hat' techniques:
? Hidden text/hidden links: stuffing your pages with keywords or links too small to read or the same color as the background, so viewers are unable to see any difference in the aesthetics of the page.
? Cloaking: using browser/bot sniffers to serve the search engine spiders a different page than the page visitors see. It is used to show an optimized page to the search engines and a different page to viewers.
? Mutiple submissions: submitting your domain and pages to search engines, for example submitting http://www.logobee.com and http://www.logobee.com/samples as two seperate urls.
? Link farms: sites created soley for the purpose of search engine ranking. These sites are nothing more than random links which have no relevance to one another.
? Selling PR: sites that sell their high PR links for a fee through direct advertisement and for the sole purpose of increasing link popularity.
? Doorways: having one page stuffed with keywords that re-direct to another more user friendly page.
? Meta tag abuse: having too many keywords in the meta tag description, title and keywords.
I am not implying that all SEO companies use 'black hat' techniques, there are some that use safe techniques, however I am only pointing out that relying on an SEO company to achieve top rankings for your website is a gamble.
As Easy As ABC
You don't have to be a computer genius to achieve higher search engine rankings for your website. Effective search engine optimization can be done by anyone who has the time and determination. There exists hordes of information, suggestions, ideas, methods and tehnicques about successfully optimizing your website for search engines. SEO companies do not use any 'special' tactics that we don't already know or that we can't easily research on the internet.
Safe SEO techniques:
? Content: Add valuable and relevant content to your site. The more content the better. Keep your paragraphs brief and to the point.
? Continuously update your website: Add new information and new pages to your site. Create a section on your home page containing up-to-date news items relevent to your business.
? Link popularity: Participate in link exchanges that are relevant to your business or that compliment your business. The more inbound links, the more important your website is perceived to be by the search engine spiders. Progressively build your links. Do not add 500 links to your site at one time.
? Site maps: Include a site map on your site. Site maps can help your visitors easily surf your site.
? Meta tags and Alt tags: Meta tags contain information about the website, placed in the HTML header of a web page, that is not visible to browsers. The most common meta tags relevant to search engines are title, keyword and description tags. Title tags are the most important tags because they contain the information that a viewer sees concerning your website on a search engine results page. Choose a title that clearly represents your business. Make sure that your all your tags contain relevant keywords. Alt tags describe the graphical elements in a web page.
? Header tags: Header tags (H1, H2, H3?.) are tags used to represent headers and important titles. Use H1 tags for the most important headers, H2 for the next, etc?As well, use bold, italics, underlines, and different font sizes. Spiders and bots give high value to sites that contain a variety of text and font sizes.
? Keep it simple: Make your site simple and viewer friendly. Make you site easy to surf, eye-catching, informative and interesting. Keep in mind that surfers have a short attention span.
? Stay away from large images and Flash images. Spiders have a preference for html text sites.
? Keyword density: Keywords should exist in your title tag, headline tag, description tag and throughout the content of your home page as well as other internal pages. Be careful not to over do it though.
? Informative and authoritative: Include authorative articles pertaining to the topic of your business, FAQ, tips, how-to's, etc..
? Participate in SEO and webmaster forums to keep up to date on SEO techniques and search engine criteria revisions. Read websites and articles on various SEO suggestions.
? For other safe optimization techniques see Google's guidelines for webmasters (http://www.google.com/webmasters/guidelines.html).
SEO companies are by the dozen, attempting to lure you in, convincing you to believe that they, and they alone, can help you attain top position results on search engines. While you consider whether to go with an SEO company or not, you may want to do some research on the SEO industry. You can find some helpful information at http://www.google.com/webmasters/seo.html. Instead of spending big bucks on achieving big results, take initiative, do it yourself. Don't spend endless hours worrying about search engine results and crawling spiders. While keeping in mind basic SEO techniques, customize your web site for your human users and not for spiders and bots.
Bio: Colleen Ryan is the Art Director of Logobee Inc., a logo design firm that designs high quality logos and corporate identity design for businesses worldwide. Logobee Inc. was founded in 2000 and since then the company has grown at an exponential rate. http://www.logobee.com
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Search Engine Optimization SEO Made Easy
SEO is a never ending battle! So is SEO over-rated? I don't think it is. Some say that Google's automated PageRank? system and Alexa's Traffic Rank system are losing ground. This may be may be true to some point but the fact still remains that we want at the top of the search results. And to achieve this we need to educate ourselves and do the work or hire someone else to the work for us. Search Engine Optimization "SEO" is a term we see all over the net. For those of you that are unsure exactly what is meant by SEO, it's simply adjusting many characteristics of your website to conform with what the major search engines deem important. That's where the simple stops. It's complicated only because no one other than the developers themselves know all the rules and even then the rules are constantly changing. What I'll try to do here is cover the basics that have fairly consistent lately. Keep in mind however there will always be inconsistencies when it comes SEO. For example, I recently read an e-book that said to imbed a few of your primary keywords in the "alt" tag of your logo graphic. The same day, I was reading an online article of equal quality and this author cautioned against such a tactic due to possible penalties by the search engines. So which did I do? See for yourself by hovering your mouse over the logo. I don't mind a little risk as long as the risk is low and there may be nice benefits, but don't get carried away. We certainly don't want to get banned by any search engines. I get the heebie-jeebies just saying it. That would simply end many of us. Because Google's PageRank? and Alexa's Traffic Rank systems are really two different animals, I will focus primarily on Google's PageRank? system for now. So lets get started in no particular order. Link Popularity: I guess we can start with the hardest part of search engine optimization. Link popularity. The ultimate goal here is to gain the respect of the search engines. And how we do that is by who we know or at least associate with in the spiders eyes. We want as many quality incoming links as possible with as few low-ranked outbound links as possible. We need to consider several factors when we approach any site to request a link exchange. 1. First of all, we want to focus only on sites that compliment ours. By that I mean directly on indirectly are in the same category or field or relating field as our site without necessarily competing with our site. I say not-necessarily because personally I have no problem linking to competitors site as long as we both mutually agree benefits. Some fear they'll lose some of their site visitors but I feel the best way to keep visitors on your site and get them to return is by providing a high quality site with great original content. 2. Second we want to pay attention to their Google page rank. To do this if you haven't already done so, download Google free toolbar http://toolbar.google.com/ Once installed, you can see the PageRank? of any site you go to. You want as many sites as possible with high PR's. Set a goal of getting a few PR6 or PR7 sites. This will do wonders to your rank. In fact one PR7 might do more for you than hundreds on no or very low PR sites. 3. Third, the engines like to see incoming links from what they consider on authoritative site. So aggressively go after well established, high ranking sites that share the some focus as your site. 4. Fourth on our list are the sites to stay away from. Sites that generate artificially created links. Link farms and even huge link exchange sites can even get your site banned. I don't mean to make anyone nervous here. The fact is, if you are generally doing the right thing for the right reasons, you probably have nothing to worry about. If you find yourself trying to hide something or hoping an search engine doesn't catch something, then you may want to re-evaluate your strategies. Requesting a link. The first thing you should do when requesting a link exchange is little research. Glance over the site in question and consider where your site link might hold the most relevance one their site. This will benefit both parties. And then don't be afraid to offer the suggestions when you contact the site administrator. I have had sites accept my link on a suggested page even though they have a section designed just for outside links. I have even accepted links that I would have normally rejected because the fit would have seemed wrong if they hadn't shown a better fit. Always add their link to your site before you make the request and include the page url of the link when making contact. Keep track of the contacts you've made and if you haven't received a reply. Do a simple search on there site to see if they added your link and forgot to reply. At most, send one more request and be sure to include the words link exchange in the subject line so they don't delete your mail as spam. Then if you still don't get a reply within a week simply remove theirs from your site and move on. Don't send any more mail. Consider the lack of response as a rejection and accept it. Don't take things personal and send a negative e-mail. I have actually received a couple of these and there's really no point. If you do get a reply and a link send a short thank you note. Always include the exact text of the link you want on their site. Again, before you do this it helps if you look at other links on their site. If they have a 3 or 4 word description with each link, you don't want to send a whole paragraph in your links description. What you do want to do is include your best key words. 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Supply & Demand - Stop Attacking Good SEO Companies!
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