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Google is the major search engine webmasters have to deal with in regards to gain traffic from a search engine. Yes, Yahoo and MSN are big, too – but they are only follow-ups compared to Google’s popularity. While you can gain significant traffic from these 2 great search engines, having a good spot in Google is critical for a website’s success.

Google PageRank is one visible sign of how well a website can do in Google. It is by far only one indicator and not the one sign of success in Google. The quarterly updates to the Google Toolbar show how websites can move up or down in the popularity rankings. PageRank is calculated by how many other websites link to a certain website. A combination of own PR and if a link is related to the overall category a website is in, will determine how valuable the link is and what PR a linked to website will eventually gain from it. The hunt for links to a domain is a task for every webmaster who wants to have a successful website.

There are many ways to gain more back links to a website. I recently stumbled over two interesting ways to gain some good back links that are free and offer additional exposure at the same time. Adbrite.com is an advertising broker connecting advertisers and publishers. They keep part of the price for a package as commission. Start selling advertising on

their network and you can get a free link to your site by doing this – even if you use a dummy page with their advertising code on it. Their website is fully indexed by Google and others and the link of your ‘package’ will count towards links pointing to your website. Nobody will buy advertising on your website but you just gained a free link to your site that will eventually push your Page Rank.

Ever published a press release? Go and check out PRweb.com. They offer free and/or low cost press release publication distribution. Write a nice press release and add a link to your site appropriately placed in the text. Press releases are being picked up by search engines including Google.com. Your press release can show up on different websites and get you back links. But the nice thing is – Google spiders PRweb.com’s archive and that’s where a link to your website will be picked up for sure. Many websites already use press releases for promotion. Many others do not.

About the Author

Christoph Puetz is a successful entrepreneur and international book author.

His company Net Services USA LLC operates several successful websites. Examples of his search engine optimization work can be found at A vitamin source and at Cooking recipes.

This article can be reprinted online as long as the links to the websites from the resource box are in place.

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In efforts to increase sales and profitability, more and more companies are turning to online marketing initiatives – specifically, search engine optimization. Search Engine Optimization or (SEO) is the art and science of blending technical and marketing skills together into a finely tuned website that is both search engine-friendly, ranks well for specific keywords and phrases, and is tailored to your audience from a buyer and seller perspective.

According to a recent U.S. study, only 20% of all businesses outsource search engine optimization programs to professional SEO firms. The remaining 80% either do not conduct search engine optimization at all or they believe they have the resources and skills to do it in-house. Of this 80%, it is probable that 90% of these companies can’t be found on the web – they don’t exist. In order to generate any amount of significant web visibility, your website must typically rank within the top-30 results.

So, the question comes down to what is in your company’s best interests?

Conduct your SEO program in-house or out-source it. To answer this question, let’s first take a look at the knowledge, skills and resources necessary to implement and maintain a successful search engine optimization program.

SEO knowledge and skills required

1) Basic understanding of how search engines and directories work.

This may seem overly obvious, but you would be amazed how many people do not understand how they actually work. This knowledge provides the foundation for your SEO program.

2) Website design

Although SEO is not completely a technical marketing process, it does require a fair amount of technical knowledge of what constitutes search engine-friendly web design. Certain web design elements can either help your search engine rankings or hurt them. You simply have to know which is which.

3) SEO experience

This is the most important and most difficult knowledge to obtain. If you have never implemented a SEO program, then you are in for a big surprise. Search engine optimization programs require a lot of research and are extremely time consuming. Most importantly, they require actual SEO experience. This means knowing what SEO strategies and tactics work and which ones don’t.

In-house vs. out-sourced SEO programs

If your company is considering conducting your search engine optimization program in-house, here are some questions to consider.

  • Who will be responsible for analyzing, developing, implementing and measuring the success of your SEO program?

  • Is this considered the role of your IT department, Marketing department or some other individual(s) within your company?

  • Do they have the time, knowledge, and resources to successfully implement and maintain your search engine

    optimization program? And do they really care if it works or not?

IT Department

Typically your IT department handles multiple daily tasks from trouble-shooting your company’s LAN or WAN to fixing the sales department’s laptops? Out of a busy IT person’s day, what priority and focus do you think he or she will commit to for your SEO program? And even if your IT department has some skills in web design or development, these skills make up only a small percentage of the knowledge required for a successful search engine optimization program.

Marketing Department

Typically, your marketing department juggles many marketing projects at once and faces strict completion deadlines. From handling new print collateral campaigns to getting ready for new product or service launches, marketing personnel’s time is spread very thin. In addition, how knowledgeable is your marketing department in the technical aspects of web design and search engine optimization? Do they have the time to become well-versed? Do they have sufficient internal resources? Often the answer to both questions is no, they do not.

Other individual(s) within your company

Ok, so the responsibility falls onto someone outside of your Marketing or IT department. Who will that be and why are they responsible for your SEO program? Providing these individuals with a new “project of the month,” will typically result in another check mark off of their monthly to-do list and frustration by top management of why their website is not producing any sales results.

Summary

From a business standpoint, it makes sense to try to leverage internal resources to maximize your company’s productivity and profitability – whenever possible. However, there must be a line drawn in the sand between knowing what your organization’s capabilities are and what they are not.

As you can see, there is more to search engine optimization than meets the eye. In order to implement and maintain a SEO program, you must acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and resources. This can be done by hiring a professional search engine optimization firm. Professional SEO firms have dedicated resources and experience to support your company’s web marketing initiatives. By leveraging their experience and know-how, your company can quickly and more efficiently implement a successful search engine optimization program.

About The Author

Corey Wenger is owner of Key Position Web Marketing and is a professional Search Engine Optimizer and Consultant who has over three years of experience in helping companies increase sales and profitability through strategic web marketing programs. For more information, please visit www.key-position.com or email him at corey@key-position.com.

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In order to get the right content writing for your website, it’s important to understand what content writing is. Though it may sound ‘technical’ content writing is simply writing for the web. Content writing is a time consuming job. Content writing requires strong research. Still some new business owners take it upon themselves to write the content for their online businesses.

The problem with writing your own content is that the average business owner doesn’t know how to put together content that targets their customers. Since many new business owners are in a ‘rush’ to get their site ‘up and running’ they often throw together their content in a hurry. However, content writing should be done when you have the time and mind set to put just the right words together. Writing content takes a lot of time and it comes back again to research. You will need to have a good knowledge of your subject.

There are way too many sites out there that mistake of putting up content that isn’t original or it’s just plain boring. Good, strong content should keep your visitors interested. This is what promotes your website.

Content writing can make or break your online business so for the best results you want professional content writing. Good content writing answers three questions: Who

am I writing this content for? Why should my targeted reader read it? What can this written piece produce?

Good content writing should not only keep the target audience in mind but keep SEO in mind as well. Without SEO content writing is not complete. Today online business owners are finding out that website design and layout are not enough. Today just as much time, if not more, should be concentrated on content and SEO.

Gogets.com offers some of the most important services for online businesses. Content writing is one of our specialties. The content writers at Gogets.com can write content for your website that answers those three most crucial questions. Our writers are expert at keeping your target audience in mind and skilled at using SEO. We save you time by doing all of the research needed that results in content writing that fits your online business. Combing their skill at researching and using SEO, our content writers will come up with content writing that is original, interesting and sure to keep your visitors coming back to your site.

In today’s competitive online marketplace, no online business owner can afford to just ‘throw up’ some words at their website. Gogets.com offers customized content writing that answers those three crucial questions and keeps your visitors coming back.

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Last Week I did a Search engine Experiment. I wanted to see if I could brand myself as the coolest guy in the universe. I created a web page that said Mike Makler is the coolest Guy in the Universe. In that Web Page I repeated that Phrase over and over. In less then 24 Hours I was Number 1 in Yahoo for the Phrase coolest Guy in the Universe in Double Quotes. A Few hours later I was no where to be found in Yahoo.

So I then created a few more web pages did a few more blog entries and not only was I back to #1 in Yahoo But I had the top 3 Spots and the 5th Spot in Yahoo as Well. Searching on the same Keyword Phrase in MSN I have the 2nd Spot and 4 total spots on the First Page.

Now if you run the exact same search in Google “coolest Guy in the Universe” don’t forget the Double Quotes Not only am I not on the First Page of the Results but I am nowhere in sight on the first 4 or 5 Pages. You will also

notice that the entries on the first few pages in Google tend to be very different for The Keyword Phrase the coolest Guy in the Universe. They tend to be more Commercial oriented. RandomHouse, Amazon and the BBC all Appear in the top 5 Results. They all have Google Page Rank values of 8 or 9.

This experiment seems to point to the fact that Google seems to stress Linking and Link Partners over Key Word Density in there search Criteria. An Alternative conclusion might be that Google is slower to index then Yahoo and MSN and Perhaps I just need to be patient. One would be more inclined to believe that 2nd conclusion if some of the other entries from Yahoo and MSN appeared in Google as opposed to those High Page Rank Ones.

Mike Makler has been Marketing Online Since 2001, When he built his first Sales organization of over 100,000 Members.

Subscribe to Mike’s Newsletter here:http://www.ewguru.com/hbiz/list-sign-up.html

More Articles by Mike:http://www.ewguru.com/hbiz/list-sign-up.html

Copyright © 2005-2006 Mike Makler

[You have permission to publish this article electronicallyor in print, free of charge, as long as the bylines areincluded. A courtesy copy of your publication would beappreciated.]

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You can rank number one (Or at least in the top ten) for just about any search phrase by just buying text link ads, even if the web site isn’t related to the search phrase in anyway, it can still rank in the top ten of the search results. Some web site owners see this as the only true way to the top ten. So, should you buy your way to the top? Or should you play it safe?

Some say it’s better to be safe than sorry. While others say if you play it safe and never make it to the top ten of the search results, your losing anyway. So, it must be much better not to play by the rules and get a top ten ranking and make a little money before you get banned from the search engines. Well, it’s not that easy and you can see the cons and pros in both ways.

First let’s look at the pros of playing it safe. The first one is obvious and it’s that you have a lot less chance of getting banned and much safer. At the same time you can peacefully sleep at night without worrying whether you’ll be banned the next day you wake up. It also allows you to save money and spend it else where, such as PPC (Pay Per Click) search engines, banner advertisement, mailing list and offline advertising.

You can also rank number one without buying text link ads if you provide good content because many other webmasters will link to you just because you have good content and it provides their users with valuable information. You could also exchange links with other web sites. If you correctly SEO (Search Engine Optimization) your web site you can get a fairly good search engine ranking.

There are also several cons of playing it safe. Besides the fact that text link ads help improve your search engine ranking, they also bring in a good amount of traffic. In order to get a good amount traffic from links you would need more than just a few backlinks, but since you won’t be buying them, you will not being getting that many web sites linking to you and most of them are from web sites that are not popular among internet users.

All the major search engines see backlinks from quality sites as a vote for the web site being linked to, by playing it safe it will

take much longer to get a top ten ranking because of the lack of backlinks. It can take years before you will rank for any popular search term because you will only be getting links the natural way. Without many backlinks you’ll also have a hard time getting in the search engines.

Now the pros of buying text link ads. Buying text links ads will help improve your search engine ranking, which can bring more traffic than from a link from any web site because. Each link acts as a vote your web site in the search engine’s eye, so the more you buy, the higher you’ll rank. If you buy an enough text link ads your web site can rank number one for just about any search term.

Text link ads can also send a fair amount of visitors that’s targeted. Resulting in more and new customers. Getting a link from a web site that’s trusted and well known can help build your web site’s brand and increase your credibility because visitors will see the link as a recommendation to your web site. Which will also help bring in new customers because they trust you more than they did before.

The cons of buying text link ads make many people think twice about buying text link ads. It will cost a lot of money to buy text link ads. You need to pay for your link to stay on a web site for at least two months before you will see any major boost in your search engine ranking. You may never get your money back because there’s so many things that can go wrong.

It can also hurt your search engine rankings if you don’t do it correctly and safely. You should never buy a lot of text links ads all at once, some search engines can detect this and may ban your web site from the search results due to this. There are other ways the search engines can find out that the links are being sold, meaning some links on certain web sites may never count in the search engines.

The Conclusion – Now that you have seen the pros and cons you can decide for your self whether you should buy them or not.

Matt Colyer began as a SEO Specialist in 1997. He founded Superior Webmaster in 2004 as a source of articles and tutorials for Web site owners looking to improve their Web site.

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Choosing an SEO can be a painful experience, especially if you know little about search engine optimization yourself. So how do you find an effective, trustworthy SEO? Here are a few questions you might like to ask:

How often will you resubmit my web site to the relevant search engines?

It’s no longer a requirement to resubmit a web site to the major search engines. In fact the truth is that excessive resubmission could be seen as spamming.

Search engines prefer to find a web site by following links. You can also login to www.seo-prediction.com If a web site is quality resource on its topic then it will naturally acquire inbound links. Search engines will find these links without the need to prompt them. So if an SEO advises that they will be regularly resubmitting your web site to the search engines, steer clear.

Can you guarantee me first position on Google?

No one, absolutely no one, can guarantee that they can place a web site in first place on Google. The Google search engine has a democratic model and the only way to be placed in the number-one slot is to be considered as the most relevant resource for a particular topic.

You cannot pay Google to appear in the number one slot. It is possible to estimate how much effort it will require to earn the first position podium, but this can only ever be an estimate.

Avoid anyone who claims they can get you the number one

slot on Google, paid for or otherwise.

How often will you optimize my META tags?

The Meta description and keyword tags are no longer used by the major search engines for ranking a web site. For more resources www.greatseosecrets.com The only remaining value is in the Meta description tag, and this is not related to search engine optimization.

The description tag, if worded correctly, will be used as the snippet in the search engine results pages (SERP’s). If a call to action is present then this can increase click through rate (CTR), driving more traffic to your site, but this is in no way related to a sites ranking position.

What is a canonical domain and what issues can it present?

An example of a canonical domain is one where the same page can be reached via multiple URL’s. A common instance is where the root domain is accessible via the non-www and the www version of the domain name. The problem is that the search engine will see the two URL’s as individual pages and can award a cross domain penalty for duplicate content.

If they can’t pronounce “Canonical” steer well clear!

Summary

Asking any of the above questions should help you in your quest for finding an effective and ethical SEO company or professional. The best way to choose an SEO is to get them to do a small piece of work for you first. Pay them and reiterate until you find someone you are happy with.

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It is no secret that Google and Yahoo are on a continuous battle to win our hearts and get everyone to convert, but is converting someone really a matter of the quantity or the quality?

Let’s take a look at some top key searches and compare them with some search engines online. I will outline a few things for each search result:

1) Search Engine

2) Number of results found

3) Quality & content of the top 10 sites

4) What you find going beyond the first 10 pages

Each section will get ranked out of 10 points for quality (information taken on August 26,2005).

Starting with my all-time favorite search term: “INTERNET MARKETING”

Google.com

- 99,000,000 results

- 10/10 on quality

- 10/10 Past 10 pages still delivers top quality results

Yahoo.com

- 281,000,000 results

- 7/10 on quality. There’s no reason to list a “Hotel Marketing Firm” & “Building websites”. The #1 spot was reserved for Yahoo marketing.

- 9/10 Past 10 pages, it is very generic for business, not specific.

MSN.com

- 93,661,176 results

- 10/10 on quality

- 10/10 Past 10 pages still delivers high quality results. I am surprised and give MSN two thumbs up for their attention to detail.


Moving onto the search term for “BUSINESS NEWS”

Google.com

- 627,000,000 results

- 10/10 on quality

- 10/10 Beyond 10 pages delivers high quality & local news centers.

Yahoo.com

- 1,260,000,000 results (wow)

- 10/10 on quality

- 9/10 Beyond 10 pages. There are still some sites that should never be there.

MSN.com

- 381,631,054 results

- 8/10 on quality – Some aren’t related at all and brand new sites as well.

- 10/10 beyond 10 pages. Their results seem to tighten up and get better.

Let’s now take some more “local” search results to see deeper and more targeted results…


Moving on to the search term for “WASHINGTON UNIVERSITIES”.

I hope to find the “University of Washington” come up #1 or thereabouts.

Google.com

- 22,700,000

- 10/10 on quality (www.washington.edu is #1)

- 10/10 beyond 10 pages. The results still deliver “university” topics.

Yahoo.com

- 143,000,000 results

- 9/10 on quality – The top spot is reserved for Yahoo on Washington University in St. Louis. There seems to be a strong battle going on here on which university to list.

- 10/10 beyond 10 pages. Content is specific and relevant.

MSN.com

- 34,442,536 results

- 9/10 on quality – Again another battle going on and washington.edu is #10 tilting on the verge of page 2.

- 10/10 beyond 10 pages. All related to Washington & University living

Let’s now get even more specific than that… For

this search term I will be using something very local that I can relate to and give a better analysis.


Moving on to the search term for “HAMILTON ONTARIO CANADA”.

Google.com

- 3,700,000 results

- 10/10 on quality – Great job

- 10/10 beyond 10 pages – Anything goes but is directly related to Hamilton.

Yahoo.com

- 14,900,000 results

- 10/10 on quality – Almost the same as Google but a couple of different choices.

- 9/10 on quality – Some results are found by keyword stuffing their pages.

MSN Local *New (http://search.msn.com/local/)

- 1,280,405 results

- 9/10 on quality – Getting some random placements & keyword stuffing

- 10/10+ beyond 10 pages – Many local companies well listed in the results.

Let’s now take a look at these results as a total. Out of a possible score of 80 points, here are the total scores for each:

Google – 80 points

MSN – 76 points

Yahoo – 73 points

Total search results delivered:

Google – 752,400,000

Yahoo – 1,698,900,000

MSN – 511,015,171

And people wonder why Google is the king of searching?! But wait, without even noticing the results, as I totaled the final point standings, MSN came up in second place! In my study, I tried to be as neutral as possible.

How is it that Msn & Google have 50% the amount of results shown in Yahoo, but outrank Yahoo in quality?

In conclusion:

Even though Yahoo delivered a report stating that it has over 19 billion search items, what does it matter when you’re still trying to figure out how to deliver all that content? MSN & Google seem to know exactly what to do with their results. They don’t seem “off the wall” at all. If Yahoo is to step up and be crowned the search king, I really think that they need to refine the amount of search terms they have, to match the quality of search results as well.

Yahoo has major potential to outreach Google but they still have a lot of work ahead of them and by the time they figure things out, Google may even step up their game even further and wow us all on some other search plateau.

About The Author:

Martin Lemieux is the president of the Smartads Advertising Network. Smartads is dedicated to helping you expose your business online and offline.

International: http://www.smartads.info

Article Submission Website (Beta): http://www.article99.com

Copyright © 2005 Smartads Advertising Network – Reprints Accepted – One link must be active in the bio.

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First of all I will start with my own experience. I started my career in SEO about 4 months ago and I work at Netramind Technology as a Search Engine Optimizer.

I never realized that there was so much to the field of Search Engine optimizationuntil I began working with it. I will show you the ways and the means on how toget your website in the top twenty in the major search engines.…

I cannot forget one name that has helped me a lot in SEO. Her name is SYLVIA WHITE.

The first thing you need to practice when optimizing your website is patience.It can take up to twelve months to see your website listed top in the Search Engines.I will give you step by step instruction for Search Engine Optimization.

If you know good SEO techniques you can demand more bucks.

What is SEO? (Search Engine Optimization)

SEO Stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is the means to help your websitereach the top in the search engines. It is essential if you want your internetbusiness to flourish.

Why SEO? (Search Engine Optimization)

SEO means more traffic to your website from the search engines. By doing properoptimization your can get absolutely free targeted traffic to your website. Thisleads to more sales and more consumers to your website and ultimately higher revenue.

Dos and don’ts of SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Following things you must keep in mind while optimizing any website.

Don’ts —

Cloaking is when you make two different pages, one for the search enginesand one for the viewer. In short search engine sees the page which is made forgetting listed

in search engine but when user clicks on that page it will automaticallyredirect to new page.

Invisible TEXT

Do not put invisible text on any pages of your website. Search engine can easilydetect this and it will kick you back. This is absolutely NOT ALLOWED. Neverput your background and your text color the same “for example” blackcolor background and black color text. Google may ban you permanently. Manypeoples are doing this to get their website TOP listed but this will permanentlyban your website.

So Invisible TEXT is STRICTLY NOT ALLOWED

Spamming

do not spam for the promotion of your website.

Submitting too many pages at the same time is strictly not allowed. Googlewill definitely kick you back if you submit too many pages at the same time.It is ok to submit 6-7 pages at the same time.

Do not change your Index OR default (Home) page (NEVER EVER)

Never change your home page completely, if you do this Google will kick youback. Minor changes are allowed but if you do major changes you stand a goodchance of loosing your rank in Google. Do not change your home page completely.

If possible do not link to non-relevant websites. Google pays attentionto back links. If you link to non-relevant website it will not increase yourPR or your page rank.

Do not link to adult websites unless you are also running an Adult website.

Now we have seen “What not to do” I will explain “Whatto do” in my second Article…. If you need any help please feelfree to email me your queries any time webmaster@1moneymania.com OR webmaster@1moneymania.com


Chintan Soni, (Author & Webmaster)

http://www.1moneymania.com

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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.

Focus on the Offerings

Is something being offered? Make it clear for people to see what is being offered. Give an eye catching call to action for your offers. For example, if you’re a Real Estate Agent offering, “Free CMA’s,” make it clear for people to see the offer. Use font styles or colors to give the offers prominence over the rest of the text. Give links to offers a focal point on the page. This can be done by centering the offers or putting them on top of menus.

Keep your pages concise. Many search engine optimization programs and professionals suggest keeping your pages under 750 words. In my opinion, this is good for visitor optimization as well. Focus your page on the topic at hand. As in the example above, if someone clicks a link that reads, “Free CMA,” the next page should be about free CMA’s. Don’t waste valuable space describing a CMA. Give a concise explanation, and then a call to action.

Keep your pages fast

In addition to pages loading fast, they should be fast at delivering information. Consider why people are surfing the Internet. In my opinion, the internet is used for finding and retrieving information. Because of this, pages need to be concise. If I follow a link that says, “Available widgets,” that’s what I want to see on the next page, front and center. I want to find the information I am looking for quickly and easily.

Don’t overcrowd the sub-pages. While your front page is bound to have a variety of topics and links, your sub-pages should be concise. I often

come across pages that focus on several topics. In my opinion this is a bad technique. Make two pages instead of one page with two topics. This helps establish fast information retrieval.

Use Headings for clear navigation

Headings are recognized by the search engines and they provide clear navigation. Using headings will give pages an outline format. This allows people who browse your pages to quickly find the information that is relevant to their needs.

Heading tags in HTML start with H1 and range through H6. In my opinion, you should only have one H1 tag on a page. This tag should describe the overall premise of the entire page. If there are multiple subheadings, use H2 tags. If there are additional subheadings, use the H3 tags and so forth. You can also use text bolding to call attention. Try to scatter your keywords throughout the headings so search engines will know what the page focuses on, but keep it user-friendly.

Using colors

Make it easy for people to read the text on the Webpage. Designers often get the urge to make their websites appear unique. Uniqueness is good, but hard to read text is bad. I strongly urge the use of colors to make different aspects of a page stand out. However, you should ensure that there is enough contrast to make the text standout. Pages that are hard to read or pages that have hidden text, loose credibility. This gives the impression of deception and is overall frustrating. Unless your site uses an overwhelming amount of Audio, make sure people can read the page.

Making your pages user friendly has many significant benefits. Your pages should achieve their goal with a limited amount of traffic. Surfers are more likely to bookmark the site. This will establish a user base and generate a larger audience as time progresses. Most importantly, other webmasters are more likely to put links to your Website.

About The Author

Michael Medeiros is the owner of Mjmls.com. Mjmls offers free advertising for the United States.

admin@mjmls.com

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There’s been much fuss lately as to the need for Search Engine Optimization of the right kind; some will tell you that to be effective SEO has to be “organic”; others will swear by the power of using the right software, coincidentally, their software. Then there are those who say that if you find the right “niche market”, the world will beat a path to your door and leave their money when they get there. I even spoke with a fellow yesterday who claimed that if you only launched new sites when the moon was full… well, that’s a whole other story.

Where there is less conjecture is in the dire consequences possible as a result of using the wrong kind of optimization. Horror stories abound of the million dollar investments that have simply gone down the drain when Google and the rest decided that the optimizers had cheated in their enthusiastic rush for the top. The early techniques of getting a website to the top of the search engine results (link farms, cross linking, doorway pages, keyword stuffing, and all the rest) have slowly been made ineffectual by the steadily rising sophistication of the search engine administrators,(and the algorithms they employ to keep the race fair and assure relevant search results).

So what is good SEO?

We could, perhaps, define SEO by function; we could talk about the actions which bring about the optimization. First there’s research, hour upon hour of research must be performed for each account. With such items as industry research (what’s the competition up to?), keyword research (how big is the market for this product/service?), competition research (how many others are already vying for this market?), marketing research (who else has already done this before and what did they discover that I better know about too?) Many hours, days, and sometimes weeks can be spent getting a clear visualization of a plan before the actual project can ever begin.

To even start a website without the proper research is a guarantee that:

  1. nobody will ever link to your site (World’s Worst Web Sites, excluded);
  2. nobody, except maybe your mother, will likely see your website;
  3. your investment and business venture will fail-miserably;
  4. you will never be found in the major search engines; and
  5. your results will match your research (0=0).

We could approach the question of SEO from the perspective of form. Every site is constructed differently, designed differently, laid out differently, has a unique way with which it interacts with visitors, and targets those visitors differently. These are all factors that are considered during the research performed prior to laying out a raison d’être for optimization. Architect Louis Sullivan, argued that a building’s purpose should determine its design, stating emphatically that “Form follows function.” Shortly after, his student, Frank Lloyd Wright argued, “Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union.” Although Sullivan and Wright were speaking of architecture as it relates to concrete and steel buildings, there’s an architecture which goes into the design of a website that, when done well, echoes Wright’s observation very nicely.

Good SEO will see to the writing or rewriting of the content on each page to effectively work in all targeted keyword phrases. A professional web-copywriter will be able to take the SEO recommendations for keyword usage and incorporate them into existing content in a way that reads naturally (i.e. does not look like you jammed keywords here and there) and has the ability to convert your visitors into paying customers. This is no small order and if it is not performed well, the site will remain just another pretty page that nobody ever sees. Or, worse yet, your site will attract lots of visitors but they will become confused by the copy and fly off to the next site without ever taking the desired actions (sign up, buy, make contact).

Another function of SEO, and one not often spoken of, is cleaning up all extraneous code on the pages. Code bloat removal, as it’s so poetically referred to, is an art form in itself. It requires a thorough understanding of html along with all the rest of the coding and scripting languages which make up a modern web page, as well as the ability to move it to a separate file and importing it, when feasible, or trimming it to it’s bare essentials without changing the look and/or function of the page itself. Eliminating page code bloat can be an incredibly arduous task. Moving styles and JavaScripts is only part of the puzzle. Many times, a page has to be almost completely rebuilt due to the excess amount of junk code that gets added in with the use of popular “WYSIWYG” page editing software.

To see what a search engine spider bot “sees” when it visits a web page, go to the View button on your browser toolbar. Move your cursor down to Source (PageSource in Mozilla Firefox), and left click. What you are looking at is what Backrub (Google), Sidewinder (Infoseek), T-Rex (Lycos), Gulliver (Northern Lights), and all the others “look” at when they spider a site. They read it the same way you do, from top to bottom. Notice how much code and formatting are at the top of the page and scroll down to find the content (this article). Taking all of the code and paring it down to just what’s needed and then finding ways to trim that is part of what good SEO is about. Try this on other sites you visit and you will soon understand the situation.

OK, time out! I tried not to mention specific software in this article but, hey! Have you ever wondered why Microsoft doesn’t use FrontPage to create pages on Microsoft.com — even the pages that deal with the FrontPage software? Perhaps, they’re trying to tell us

something. I’ve spent literally months of my life removing and rewriting the loopy code and nonessential tags that have been produced by FrontPage editors. From an optimization standpoint using FrontPage to produce a website is akin to shooting yourself in both feet before you start to run a marathon. If Microsoft doesn’t use it, why should you?

Now that that’s out of the way . . .

After the code bloat removal process, good SEO will address getting all pages on the site to validate to the professional standards set by the W3C. Validation is simply a process of ensuring that the right coding elements are used and used correctly. This isn’t a good guy – bad guy question or even a matter of not breaking the rules, it’s about being accessible to everyone who uses the web. There is a growing number of the blind and visually impaired who use Voice Readers or text-to-speech software which “speak” the text on the web page. Many of the old tricks and shortcuts that web designers used in the past don’t work with these or any of the growing number of other software designed to make a level playing field of the Internet. While many validation issues are not a big problem in and of themselves, if you find it on one page, it will likely run all through the site (and can take many hours of head scratching and work to clean up affectively).

META what?

Everyone has heard about meta tags, alt and title tags, and making them all search engine-friendly, but there are few sites that actually use them to full advantage. There’s so much already written that I hate to add to the plethora of information, (real and misinformation) on the subject, but I will say that the purpose of the “alt” tag is to provide an “alternative” to a graphic and not, as widely believed, to go on and on about what a superior product you have or how wonderful your business is.<img alt=”picture of DoDo bird”> Nuff said!

There are varying opinions about what should and shouldn’t be included in a title tag. What is agreed upon is that all of the major search engines give the content of the title tag significant weight in determining what the page is all about. It’s my practice to only write a title after everything else on the page has been written, and then with an eye to using at least two (better 3) of the keyword phrases that apply to the page. Unless you’re “GE” or “Maxwell House,” or intend to spend the kind of money they spent getting to be a well known brand, there is simply no reason to place your company name in the title tag. Save it for the terms that people will use to find your services/products. I know, you wanted mama to see your company name right up there in the Title Bar. It’s ok with me, but it will cost you.

We Don’t Need No Stinking Map

Site maps help both search engines and visitors quickly and easily get to the information that is important. It’s amazing how simple a matter the design and implementation of a usable site map is, and how many websites either don’t have one, or have an incomplete or obscure site map – an even worse scenario. If you’re not sure you need one, build one anyway. Trust me on this one. If I come to your site and can’t find what I’m looking for, I’ll look for a site map. If I can’t find a site map, I’ll look somewhere else. Oh yeah, that’s how 95% of website visitors are. Get a site map.

The robots.txt file is useful to communicate with the search engine spiders about content they should or should not index. This allows the “bot” to focus its time on the good stuff and not the irrelevant portions of your site.

Good SEO is all of these things and more. Your site will be off to a great start by following the suggestions mentioned here. And hopefully, this article will get you thinking that just maybe those “seo firms” which offer “Complete SEO $100.” or “Get Your Site To #1 In Google” $295, aren’t talking about the same things that we’ve been discussing here. After years in the business, I’ve yet to give even a “ballpark” figure for an optimization campaign without thoroughly researching the needs of the client, the structure of the site, and the competition for the target keywords. Every situation is different. Be wary of anyone offering a la carte SEO; without research, an individualized plan of attack, and careful implementation, you might as well wait for the next full moon.

James Doc Lewis spends much of his professional time as SEO for Emerald Coast Entrepreneur a professional search marketing firm. Doc started practicing his search engine majic long before the term SEO was coined. Introduced by a friend, at the University of California at Berkeley, to the Usenet some time in 1982, when the idea of a world wide network was just starting to make a buz, he quickly realized that this was what he had been looking for. “I haven’t been without a computer and a way to get connected since.” Doc was on the design team of the graphical user interface (GUI) for “Veronica”, the second database of web documents, and forerunner of our modern search engines, a topic to which he gives constant study and receives numerous requests for consultation from around the world. To find out more about Doc and his unique style of SEM/SEO check him out at ECE, an integrated search engine optimisation firm

Copyright © 2005 Emerald Coast Entrepreneur

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