Is SEO Dead?

seoA lot of the major search engines have been tweaking the way that they calculate who is at the top of the search result page when a web surfer looks something up on a search engine. Some of these search engines are claiming that SEO is dead, and there is no way to force yourself to the top (except working for years and having a quality product). For people who are not trying to promote a business or make a living off of the Internet, maybe the death of SEO would be a positive event for the evolution of the Internet.

If you don’t know what SEO is, it’s the manipulation of keywords that are used to find a website to make it appear at the top of the search page when someone searches the Internet. For example, if you search for “SEO services”, the SEO firm that is the best at this manipulation will have their website towards the top of the page, and the SEO company that isn’t too good at what they do can be found on the 103rd page of the search results.

So why would it be so great if SEO died? The reason that SEO services are so terrible for the average web surfer is that they put a lot of junk on the Internet. They use a lot a keyword spamming, which give you irrelevant results for what you are really looking for. For example, if you are searching for information on a friend, and enter his name in the search engine, you are probably going to have at least half of those results that are the result of this keyword spamming. When entering a name in, some of the results will lead you to telephone books, some of the results will lead you to people finding companies, and the rest of the results of probably lead you to the pages that actually have your friend on it.

A lot of companies pay a lot of money to a SEO company to get them to the top of the search engine pages, while the majority of people who have websites for fun don’t rely on any SEO services all. It’s really unfortunate that people can buy their way to the top and trick consumers to click on their website. If SEO was dead, there would be very few individual who would complain.

Another benefit to the death of SEO is that a major SEO firm would have no incentive for putting junk on the Internet. If you have ever clicked on a page that you thought was exactly what you were searching for and then discovered that it was just a bunch of words, with absolutely no meaning, you know how frustrating SEO can be. Without search engine optimization, these pages wouldn’t be up there, and you wouldn’t get the false hope of finding exactly the nugget of information that you needed on the Internet, getting your hopes up, and then being terribly disappointed by it when you found out that the information was useless.

If SEO was dead, companies will lead be on an even playing field with individuals, and of those people who provided the best websites with the best information would be at the top of the search engines, not the people with the best engineers, the best keyword spammers and the most web pages. SEO probably won’t die with these changes, but average surfers can hope!

 

High Quality SEO Strategies

SEO may not be that difficult, but it certainly is not easy either. If you want to rank well in the search engines there are some rules that you need to adhere to. When it comes to ranking well in serps the common perception is that MSN is the easiest followed by Yahoo and then Google. The thought is that Google places too much value on older pages. That means that even if your website has a lot of relevant content it may not rank in the top ten for your main keyword.SEO

All right, let’s get to the point. The first thing you need to work on is links. You need links and lots of them coming from sites that are relevant to the content on yours. For some search engines relevancy does not matter as much as others, but for Google is matters big time.

Now where are these links going to come from? That is the question. They can come from quality web directories, article directories or from other sites that relate to your niche. You gain the relevancy in directories by submitting to the most relevant category to your website. With directories you should be careful of any site that has more than 20 outgoing links listed per page, displays excessive ad-sense or banner ads. Plus some other more advanced items to look for in SEO enhancements, unique on-site content and additional features.

You can also receive back links by writing and publishing relevant articles on article directories. Make sure that you include keywords that you are targeting within the article itself. When writing the article keep it on point and have fun with it to make it something people want to read. You can use examples to make your points and bring more credibility. Most of all include the link back to your website within the author resource box. Without that the whole process is kind of pointless. Once the article is written search for some article directories and start submitting.seo

Reciprocal linking is not recommended as Google frowns on this activity. Excessive reciprocal linking could result in punishment in the search engines or even banning. If you take part in this activity do so with moderation and extreme care. Three way linking was developed to get around being able to detect the link exchanges, but Google claims to be able to find those kinds of reciprocal linking activities also. Frankly with the minimal reward of reciprocal linking the risk is too great.

Good optimization for search engines will take time. It does not happen overnight so prepare for a consistent hard approach to it. There is a certain amount of enjoyment in achieving goals and modifying strategies as the search engine algorithms change. Keep in mind that if you focus on Google the rankings in the other search engines should also follow.

SEO does not have to be expensive, but it will take an investment of some part from you. Either money or time, if you choose to go low budget be prepared to invest your time.

 

How SEO Works

To understand how SEO or Search Engine Optimization works, you must first need to understand how search engines operate.

Search engines are Internet sites designed to help users locate information from other sites. Each search engine has its own way of locating information but all of them perform three basic tasks. First they search the Internet based on certain keywords or phrases. After which, they keep an index of what they find and where they found it. Then, when they have indexed sites that are in their listing, they would put them in a database so that it can be easily retrieved when a user requests a search.

Now that you know how a search engine operates, you will more or less have an idea what kind of work is involved in doing SEO.SEO

SEO targets to raise a site’s ranking in search engine results page (SERPS) and traffic volume by making it easier for search engines to find your site. There are several ways how to do this. The most common way is to improve site content. Since search engines are text-driven, the right placement of keywords relevant to a site makes it easier to be traced.

Other ways that SEOs could build up ranking and traffic is through increasing link popularity. Link popularity is the measure of the total number of other websites which link to a specific site on the World Wide Web. Link popularity plays a vital role in the visibility of a web site at the top of search results because it is a major factor used by search engines to determine a site’s ranking. Commonly, the more inbound links a site has, the higher the position it gets on the search list compared to a similar site that has fewer links.

Moreover, some search engines require at least one or more links coming to a web site or else it will be dropped from their index. Google, for example, uses a special system to do link analysis and then rank web pages based on this.SEO

Another technique concerns meta tags. Officially referred to as Metadata Elements, meta tags are HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) or XHTML (Extensible Hyper Text Markup Language) elements used to provide data to facilitate the understanding of the contents of a web page.

These are found within the section of web pages. In a sense, meta tags are codes. Cleaning up codes in a website help speed up the load time of a web page and improve the code-to-text ratio. Search engines recognize the codes of a web page and have to find the keywords in the text among all of that code. If there is too much code but not enough text, then a web page can be considered less relevant to a keyword. In effect, less relevance to keywords means lower search engine results for a web page.

The techniques mentioned above are just some ways that SEO experts practice. There are other factors in a website’s design that could be played around and improved to boost up its ranking in search engine results pages. The bottom line is, whatever technique is used, an SEO’s main concern is to improve volume of web traffic and site rankings by making it ‘search engine friendly’.

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The Fundamentals of SEO

The Website Revelation – What owning a website actually means.
As a Web Developer and SEO consultant I deal with many existing website owners who are looking to modify or improve their website. I also deal with many people who are looking to start their web presence with a new website. Through both of these interactions there is often a common theme; a misunderstanding or an attitude. I call this a misconception of reality, as often the reality of what the Internet can actually do for the persons business and what they think it can do differ massively.SEO

Often it is presumed that by simply owning a domain and having a website built and published on the Internet, thousands of people will magically find the website, visit it and buy their products. “If you build it, they will come” should be removed from the vocabulary as soon as possible if you are to adjust attitudes to the underlying search technology. As a businessman in the real World, it is obvious that it would not happen outside of the Internet ether, so what is so different online? Maybe it was the Technology boom 10 years ago that caused a rift in understanding or maybe the buzz that caused the meteoric rise in the stock prices of Tech Companies, I can hear the thoughts of the small businessman, “surely this can be replicated for my business” – in answer I would say, “well, it is unlikely, but you should be able to achieve some results over time”.

It is most important when taking on a project like Search Engine Optimization for a website, to know that it is important to be committed for the long haul. It is no small task and sufficient funds need to be allocated to the project. Delivery deadlines need to be correctly scoped against required changes, in order to meet client expectations. The key points of responsibility to the SEO project are in knowing that there are big changes near the start and during setup but the changes do not stop after setup, there are a continuous ongoing refinements to the design and system over time. In this regard I find it important to manage expectations and set realistic long term goals on what a website can be expected to achieve and in what time frames those goals hope to be met.

So what should your goal be when you are delving into SEO for your website? Well, everyone’s goal is exactly the same; improve page rankings, improve page visits and hits and finally gain more sales through the website.SEO

When it comes to SEO and achieving these goals you have to have principles and my main principle is, “Good websites get good ratings and bad websites get bad ratings or none at all.” As time goes on with the improvement of search engine technology and the refinement of search engine results this statement becomes truer and truer. I believe in results through “white hat”(reads; “Grey Hat”) principles and methodologies.

What are “white hat” principles? I guess I would compare it to doing things the honest way and the right way without risk. So develop a good site, promote good linking, have good informative content and keep working on it and then you are on the road to good rankings through “White Hat” principles.

So, why should you do things the “white hat” way? Well, search engines do have some kind of understanding, an artificial intelligence. They soon catch on to websites spamming or linking to websites with no relevance and bad cross linking. It’s about being smart, in for the long term and wanting your business to grow organically, naturally.

So how do I go about improving my site and making it optimized for search engines naturally? Well, that’s why you’re here! So let’s run through few of the things you should be doing in your websites from a fundamental level.

Domain names:
When choosing a domain name, choose one that is relevant to the product or service you are going to provide and that is as simple as possible. There are considerations of branding and product/service provided that should go into this choice. Involvement of marketing personal and product understanding is required but also consultation with your SEO professional is advantageous. In this step I would say, take some time and choose wisely. Keep it simple and easy to remember, often saying it out loud will make it clear whether it can be understood by a simple man.

It is a strongly held belief by many SEO professionals that buying a domain which is older, and that has been around for a while, means it will not be sand boxed by Google. What’s the sandbox effect? Well, it refers to what Google does to a website or domain that is new or is relatively unknown by Google. In many instances Google’s Sandbox effect relegates the new domain to sub-optimal inclusion in search results. Regardless of the sites optimization it lowers the websites relevance and ranking to the term searched upon. If you can use your old business domain name, then consider this very important.

If, however, you are buying a new domain name then keep it relevant to the product or service being sold or offered on the website. Keep it close, relevant and simple. Relevance is primary.

Location specific domain or international domain ( .com or com.au)? Personally I think dot com’s are better, mainly because they appeal Internationally but if you want to you can keep it location specific and to your region then consider purchasing all similar higher level domains, yourdomain.com and yourdomain.com.au, if you can.

Choosing a Host:
Fast, reliable and gives you all you that you need and want. Preferably gives a unique IP. Again some SEO professionals believe this can also have a detrimental affect in Google rankings but from my experience it sometimes does and it sometimes doesn’t. I have had some sites come in with high PR rankings on shared IP’s and others when I shifted to a new IP the PR of the site jumped, so this is still a bit of a mystery when it comes to Google rankings. I guess a consideration

Traffic considerations:
When choosing your host ensure the plan you are on can be expanded so that any new increases in traffic can be accommodated accordingly.

Site Design:
There are several fundamental things to consider when you are modifying or designing a website.

Flash:
Flash is has been popular for a few years now and I truly believe it has its place. It is a great way of showing many products or services in a small area, has great visual impact if done properly and can set a good friendly tone to the website visitor. Having said that, I also hate flash; it can be an absolute nightmare when it comes to search engine optimization.

What you should know about flash; it cannot be read by a search engine as the search engine cannot read the text or the images contained within it nor can it interpret what is in the pictures being shown.

When it comes to flash I would suggest, not making your whole website flash. If you are designing a new website and you want to use flash then use it in high impact areas to capture the attention of your intended audience but use it sparingly. It is important to ensure that as much text content(to a maximum discussed in my next book, generally 300-500 characters) is available on the webpage and in simple HTML.

Frames:
Many older websites were designed with frames. Frames are where the main home page is actually a frameset page that includes several other pages into it. This makes the page hard to index in search engines and should be avoided. While Google do now index framed sites, it is important to note that most of the other top search engines still cannot follow frame links. They only see the frameset page and ignore the rest of the inner frames. This presents an SEO problem to us because it is highly likely those inner pages contain our content keywords.

Nowadays this is not really a huge issue as it is so uncommon for a designer to actually use frames but the easiest way to resolve the issue would be to enforce a no use policy on frames.

Page Layout:
According to research the Googlebot trawls web pages from left to right and top to bottom. So given this little tidbit of information it is clear that you should be putting our most valuable keywords and information on the left and near the top. Of course this is a blanket statement and does not take into account design principles and beautification. Just keep it in mind during design of page layout. Position your move relevant keywords to the left of the page and near the top.

Good HTML Coding:
A lot of HTML generator programs out there bloat HTML to the point it is 3-4 times larger than what it would be if you hand coded it. Keep it simple, use a text editor, edit your HTML the old school way; until there is a HTML generator tool worthy of use. If you can’t code HTML then do a search on the Internet and find a decent, free, e-book and learn how to do it.

Javascript:
This is very popular among many web development professionals for menu’s, popups, scollers etc etc. It would be my suggestion to use simple plain HTML menu’s or as little Javascript as possible in web pages. There are many small JavaScript menu’s out there that are slim on JavaScript code to reduce this issue and make it almost negligible. Don’t over clutter your site with JavaScript as it increases page size, page load times and the search engines won’t understand it.

Image Sizes:
Keep them small and use only what you need to. This is essential for decreasing page loading times and getting information onto the users screen as soon as possible.

Overall page size and loading:
The overall page size is an important factor. It should load quickly and be easily trawled. If you have followed the HTML hand coding, used minimal JavaScript, used simple table layouts and good image sizing then you should be fine. There is much evidence that supports the fact that Google and probably the other search engines also, do not like to scan huge files, so keeping your overall HTML page size below 25k is my suggestion.

Dynamic URL’s & page/file names:
Dynamic pages are roadblocks to high search engine positioning. Especially those that end in “?” or “&”. In a dynamic site, variables are passed to the URL and the page is generated dynamically, often from information stored in a database as is the case with many e-commerce sites. Normal .html pages are static – they are hard-coded, their information does not change, and there are no “?” or “&” characters in the URL.

Pages with dynamic URLs are present in several engines, notably Google and Alta-vista, even though publicly Alta-vista claims their spider does not crawl dynamic URLs. To a spider a “?” represents a sea of endless possibilities – some pages can automatically generate a potentially massive number of URLs, trapping the spider in a virtually infinite loop.

As a general rule, search engines will not properly index documents that:
• contain a “?” or “&”
• End in the following document types: .cfm, .asp, .shtml, .php, .stm, .jsp, .cgi, .pl
• Could potentially generate a large number of URLs.
To avoid complications, consider creating static pages whenever possible, perhaps using the database to update the pages, not to generate them on the fly.

Slightly Off Topic Thoughts:
The topics covered here are not considered completely SEO topics but in terms of overall objective – increasing sales, this section is very important. Take these things on board, consider them, consult with your designer and marketing team. Make educated and informed choices on these topics when considering your audience and what your website objectives are.

Screen Size:
Over 65% of all screens in the World are set to run at the 1024×768 resolution. Of the remaining percentage, 13% are running at 800×600, 20% running at larger sizes and 2% are unknown. So this affects the way you design. It would be my suggestion to always design for the smallest user to visit your site, but often I find 800×600 restrictive so I tend to design for slightly larger. Not large enough to make an 800×600 user angry but large enough to make it look good on larger screens also. I weigh up my target users, my intended amount of content and find some happy medium. I generally design for 1000×620 as this is the perfect amount of real estate for a 1024×768 user when they have the browser top bar and status bar and Windows taskbar.

colors and themes:
One important aspect of marketing – selling – is the use of color. Meanings are attached to colors in the same way meanings are attached to words.

• Gold is the color of wealth and prosperity.
• White is the color of pure innocence and cleanliness.
• Pink is the color of femininity and softness.
• Green is the color of natural things and freshness.
• Red is the color of danger and stress.
• Blue is the color the calmness, intelligence. The majority of the World selects blue as a favorite color. It often represents “trust”

Use of color to establish an image or a brand is common in the marketing community, yet when you visit the websites of many search engine optimization professional’s, it’s obvious that color significance plays no part in their own web optimization.

Some of the colors I found on SEO websites:
• Baby Blue, a color which implies weakness.
• Red, a color which implies risk, or danger.
• Orange a color which implies a cheerful “levity”. Orange is one of Americans’ least favorite colors.

Although color selection is off topic for SEO I would consider it a very important factor in what SEO is trying to achieve, in the end, for your website – selling more product, creating loyalty to your brand and customer impact. color research is something you should seriously consider. In summary of color choices I would suggest studying and learning more about your customers, researching color choices and their relevance to your underlying products and making informed choices on these in collaboration. If in doubt then I suggest sticking to safe and trusted colors within safe eye pleasing designs.

Gifs for logos & jpgs for pictures:
Ensure you are using gifs for logos and background placements and jpgs for photos on your website. This helps reduce size and improve clarity of the web site overall.

 

The Importance of Anchor Text

Many times as an SEO consultant, a client will come to me with a business website that has numerous high quality links and still doesn’t see the results they are looking for with regards to SEO. When this issue arises, one of the first things a look for is to see if the site has key word rich content. If content is not the issue, it is more than likely an anchor text issue. In this article I will address what anchor text is and how it can be applied to improve the overall ranking of any particular website. I will also cover how a website can track ones anchor text.

anchor12Anchor text, in a nutshell, is the text attached to a link that points to your site. Google, Yahoo and other major search engines place a lot of weight on not just links but also on what exactly is made-up of the actual link. Many people attach links to such words as “click here” or “homepage”. Unfortunately, according to Google’s search algorithm or ranking formula, you are now getting credit for the term “click here” and not “Cheap Widgets” or whatever keyword or phrase you are optimizing for. When link building, it is important to fully understand what keywords you are trying to optimize for and include them in the links you build. When issuing press releases, news articles, and blog entries, make sure you are including your specific anchor text with all links pointing to your site.

For sites that don’t have a lot of links, directory submissions are a great way to build text links with the anchor text you deem necessary. Many directories that are considered “SEO friendly” allow you to choose any type of anchor text you see fit. A great resource to find these “SEO Friendly” directories is a site called info.vilesilencer. They list hundreds of “SEO friendly” Directories that you can submit to.

Tracking your website’s anchor text can sometimes be tricky. I recommend using some of the free anchor text trackers that can be found online. Google Webmaster Tools has a very good section devoted to showing the number of links each one of your pages has and the text link that Google recognizes. There is also a great site called Back Link Watch.

Another important factor when considering anchor text is to look at your website’s internal anchor text. When creating a link to one of you other pages on your website, it is very important to include the keywords in your link that you are optimizing for on your other page. For example if you are selling iPod batteries on one of your site’s sub pages, your anchor text should be iPod batteries. A great place to include all of your pages anchor text is your website’s sitemap.

In conclusion Anchor text needs to be considered in all SEO campaigns. Although is just a small piece of the SEO puzzle it make a world of difference when it is used correctly.

 

Writing SEO Friendly Content

Content writer’s main aim is to create a new written piece which is original, simple, engrossing and also to the point. One should always keep this in mind that content writing generally involves thought, research, subbing and editing. Half of your battle is won if the client or visitor likes your writing and also provides him certain benefits he or she is looking for. That’s why it is said that content writing should be done in keeping the target audience in mind. How does that happen? There are a few simple steps to it. Let’s get started.

A- Try to think from the visitor’s point of view. Means understand, listen, think and learn. Before writing give a deep insight to the client’s requirements. This gives you the chance of knowing what client wants to look in the writing. And in any case you’re unsure of the client’s brief and specifications then simply inquire and ask him till your mind is clear of any doubts. Never forget that the content is aimed to target audience and if you can do that, you have delivered the goods.article2

B- Before getting onto writing, just do some search and research. If you’re unsure about the topic then hunt for some information and its related areas. But prior to that ask the client for useful link to develop content rather then spending time creating something that is not even close to the clients agenda.

C- Content writers should always keep in mind that normal content writing is completely different from SEO content writing. SEO content writing is strategically placed to optimize the search engine rankings of the written pages. That’s why write a foolproof, striking, attention-grabbing content along with the proper keyword placement.

D- SEO content writer must realize that he is targeting the audience as well as the search engine. And his content can either make or break the client’s agenda. Thus, it becomes necessary for the content writer to work in tandem with the business goals of the client.

Content writer must endeavor hard to achieve and maintain high standards in his SEO content writing. He should write and provide a creative, business oriented, keyword centric copy.

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SEO Friendly Design

SEO is not just about keyword density and link building, it also has a lot to do with design and back-end programming. If your website design is not spider-friendly, it won’t get crawled and, naturally, you won’t rank for your keywords.

So it goes that the key to successful ranking is to be mindful of your designing and programming. In general, easy navigation and “crawlable” content or content that can be crawled by search engines are the keys to a successful SEO design.

Set-Up And Design

Search engine spiders cannot crawl websites with dynamic URLs. A dynamic URL has any one of these characters in them: ? & % + = $ cgi-bin .cgi

If your website has dynamic URLs, try submitting to the search engines the non-dynamic URLs that point directly to the dynamic page. If not, consider creating static pages on static URLs.

Frames

Search engine spiders do not do a very good job of indexing websites with frames, in fact, they’re very bad at it. Redesign your website to a simple HTML if topping search engines is your priority.

The problematic thing about frames is that search engine spiders do not see
“crawlable” content when they search frames.

Flash In Your Design

Flash elements themselves are not problematic. They only become problematic if they are not used properly (the SEO way).

Designing splash pages is one of the biggest SEO mistakes, precisely because splash pages aremade up almost entirely of flash. If you need to use flash, insert as much keyword-optimized text as you can and write a title and meta information in the source code.

Image Maps and Java

Use standard HTML hyper links to interlink your website pages. Site maps too should be created in standard HTML. Search engine spiders often get stuck in image map codes. Search engine spiders also cannot follow links in JavaScript.

When designing your website, don’t even think about going around search engines by using black hat techniques like cloaking a keyword spammed page with a very nice copy for website visitors to see. Using black hat methods is just good for the short-term, and you can actually get removed from Google’s index of websites if you do. Besides, there are times when visitors can actually see the cloaked content (spam and more spam) – not a very pleasant experience at all for your visitors.

The popularity of the search engines has made website design a continuously juggling act between keyword density and aesthetics and of ranking well with the search engines whilst holding visitors’ attention. On some sites where a flash design is more appropriate, website owners strike a compromise by designing a pure HTML version of the Flash website.

The rule of thumb in designing, however, is to always keep your visitors in mind – the search engines come in only secondary. After all, if it is not SEO, there are other ways to promote your website – like email marketing campaign, viral marketing, and launching a Google Adwords campaign. You can also write blogs and PR articles that have active links to your website.

 

The Truth About Meta Tags

In earlier days, when the Internet was still pretty new meta tags were everything. They were vital in helping search engines determine what the site was all about and how to rank the site in their search results. When the databases were smaller and more manageable, this meta tag provided a quick and easy way to figure out which keywords were important on a site. At that time, meta tags were king. Many SEO services could get web sites placed high because of the presence of meta tags.audio27

As the Internet grew larger beyond all expectations, there was fierce competition in trying to get into the search engine’s top ranking. SEO services who could not get their sites ranked through fair means resorted to unfair means. In an effort to bring traffic to their site they abused the system by incorporating useless and completely irrelevant keywords into their meta tags.

With the result that today, Google and most other major search engines pay little or no attention to meta tags. What is given more importance is the content within the pages of the site. A few engines still take notice the words within the meta tags, but they are used more as minor supplements to the actual content and title tag of the web page.

So, should you or shouldn’t you use meta keyword tags anymore? It certainly couldn’t hurt to use it. Search engines use many different factors to determine site rankings, so it makes good sense to use meta tags along with any other acceptable and legitimate technique that is available. At best, it increases your chances of getting a higher ranking and there’s no downside to it unless you rampantly stuff your page with irrelevant keywords.

If you still intend using meta tags, first write your content based on relevant keywords and then create a title tag and meta description tag using the same keywords.

 

Grow Your Awareness Using SEO

In the online market search engine optimization process create an extra skill. Those people are aware about online market they can easily know the searching process. It’s a technological term. For getting the knowledge of searching process the person only needs the common sense and basic knowledge. There is not a particular rule you find for getting the higher rank for it you only need the search engine out comes.bakery3

In searching each one is only depends on the tools utilization and optimization. And it is a better process for competitors. In searching process you can find several beliefs and myths which are exiting plus related with the search engine optimization process. A number of people beliefs that search engines work totally depend on different algorithms. So while working the searching process furious with different algorithms.

In the same way algorithm searches different points, different views and after that selects any key thing. But comparing with different process it is truly not a valuable process. The algorithms of search engine process just make little bit of change by time. They are not found equal but for the success when algorithm really helps you that time only this process brings pleasure in some ones mind. In searching process the most important thing is the content; when SEO started its work it morally focus on the content.

If the content is wrong then the search engine rejects it and normally the content varnish. And visitors only like the fresh and unique contents and these are only selected by the searching process. An effective copy which is written for the web site if it contains genuine contents and its site is more presumable and gets higher ranking and the search engine provides it a higher ranking.

 

10 Common SEO Mistakes

Firstly it should be noted that Search Engine Optimization is not something performed with a blanket approach; it is an individual set of actions performed page by page to suit that page’s particular goals.

 

The following are the top ten mistakes that I have seen made over and over again by people trying to self-optimize their websites.

 

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1. Bad Titles. Titles are the most important thing about a webpage. Search engines spiders see the title on your page first and they make a general assessment about it based upon this. They scan the page and make sure the content of the page matches the title and then assign rankings based upon these matches and how they best fit. The title tag is the best way to inform the search engine what your page is about, and they play an important part in ranking if used properly.

Placing your main identified keywords in the title and ensuring to obey the rule of leftward and stemming is vital – leftward rule, the closer the word to the left of the sentence the more important it is, stemming is where words can be associated but with words in-between i.e.: Great Blue Widgets when stemmed would allow Great Widgets. It is important to ensure your title matches your page content, description and Meta keywords and in unique for your website. Every page title and content should be unique otherwise is will be ranked supplemental.

2. Filename of the page. It is important if you are using dynamic websites like Joomla or other content management systems that a search engine friendly URL translator is installed. Because I use Joomla every day I will describe what I mean relating to Joomla. In Joomla (and most other dynamic websites) URL’s like the normal Joomla URL “index.php?option=com_mtree&task=listcats&cat_id=1766&Itemid=35” drive the website.

The problem with these URL’s is that they are unintelligible by humans and also by search engines. Installing a search engine friendly URL component will change these pages to something more meaningful and also including your keywords in these page names can help with SEO. The newly transformed search engine friendly URL would look like this “buy-blue-widgets.html”. If you do not have a dynamic website then ensuring your page name is short, to the point and contains your main keywords for that page maybe with a call to action like “buy” and “blue widgets”.bandwith

3. Duplicate or Bad Content. Ensuring your content is unique and relevant is vital in SEO success. Often websites just duplicate content or bring in plagiarized content from other websites. It is my experience that these websites fail dismally in search engine rankings. Write some decent and unique content or maybe search online and find someone who can actually write you decent unique content for a fee.

Make it good, friendly and unique content that people will want to link to. If you are listed in the supplemental index of Google then making sure you titles, descriptions, Meta keywords and on page content is unique is the only way to drag them out of the supplemental index.

4. No Links. Having covered off a few of the on page most important SEO tips we now look at links, which are an off page SEO concept. For each person or website that links to your website it is a vote for your site. If the website that links to yours has a high pagerank itself then it carries more weight. Simply having good keywords, titles and text on your page is only part of SEO.

Just because you created a unique and perfectly optimized webpage does not mean you will automatically gain a decent pagerank for that page. In order to ensure SEO success you have to create incoming links – this is probably the hardest part of search engine optimization because you are effectively selling your pages all over the Internet. One way to gain instant (within a few weeks) links is to pay for text advertising – A search on Google will uncover some of the best text linking services.

Link exchanges are bad because for every vote you get you are giving one away and if you happen to link to a “black listed” site then Google will penalize you significantly. One way links are the ultimate in SEO link campaigns so seek out directories (either paid or free, you need to evaluate), post in forums, write articles and submit them and ask other friendly webmasters if they can help you out with a link. The best way to gain links is to have unique content that other people actually want to link to.

5. Incoming link anchor text. Having pointed out how important it is to gain incoming links it is now important to also point out that the text those links are anchored to is important also. The text should be targeted at your main keywords and the page they point to should have those keywords as relevant and prominent also.

The website you link from should be relevant to your website. So, as an example I own a web design company in Melbourne, Australia so I gain links from web hosting providers and/or open source Joomla sites in or around my region. Getting 1000 links from a casino related website will serve no benefit to my website and will not make it rank higher for “web design” keyword search terms. Use professional common sense when gaining links.

6. Bad Internal Page Links. We return to on page factors that you can work on within your website. It is important to make sure that the anchor text linking to pages within your own website is relevant to the target page. Make sure the title tag is filled in also for each link. You have the greatest control over links from within your own web site so make sure they are relevant and that link title and the on page copy match the main keywords of the target page.

7. Live links. Using some external tools like the link checker that W3 Org offer is good. I suggest harnessing as many tools as you can to ensure all of the links on your website are live, working and not sending people to 404 error pages. It is also important to check and make sure your page markup, or html, xhtml, is valid so W3 also offer a tool to check this. Make use of both of these freely available tools.atom4

8. Impatience. Search Engine Optimization is not a short term task. It is one of an ongoing refinement after refinement and hour after hour of working on your website. Producing unique content, checking it, validating, listing and checking the search engines and making sure they have it listed correctly.

Do not think for one second that you can optimize your site thoroughly ever and do not ever think that just because you are number one for a search term that it will indefinitely stay that way.

Search Engine Companies are always changing their ranking and rating systems and coupled with this there are always other people out there gunning for your top spot. Keep looking to improve and learn more and don’t sit back and wait for others to take your top spot, be proactive, seek out new content, links and keep ahead of the curve.

9. Keyword selection. This is proving to be a very common mistake among beginners to SEO. Often people base their own keyword selection on what they *think* is right but is this what people actually search for when they are looking for your product or service?

Often the answer to this questions is no. It is an important step to do the correct keyword research and ensure you have the right keyword list before you optimize any pages with them. Using Overture, Google Adwords and some other paid keyword tools like WordTracker (the default standard in Keyword Finding) are vital to success in finding good keywords. It is important to localize your target market and figure out what they are actually searching on when they are looking for products or services that you offer. Do the research and be as specific as possible while still being broad enough to capture some high keyword traffic.

10. Keyword Spamming and Stuffing. If you sell “Blue Widgets” then every page of your site does not need to have “Blue Widgets” in the title, description and Meta tags. Try and be objective and analyze you website. Focus pages on a specific group of keywords you have identified from the keyword list. Sometimes finding niche markets locally first can be best. So, as an example, “Buy Blue Widgets Australia” or “Buy Blue Widgets Melbourne”. These would be examples of good second or even third tier search keyword phrases but you can make some good sales with these niche terms because the searcher is targeting buying these items.

 

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