Republican Rick Santorum has had a few.. issues over the course of his public running for the head of the US office. All politics and personal opinions aside, Santorum has run into the most recent iteration of what used to be known as Google bombing.
A few years back if you visited Google and searched for the term ‘miserable failure’ the first result used to be the then president of the US, George Bush. Santorum unfortunately hasn’t been so lucky with what he’s become associated with, but the methods as to why he’s momentarily stuck there is due, in part, to how SEO works.
The bare basic principles of SEO – you create content, you contact people to link to it and repeat over and over again until you’re the king of the mountain. Backlinks, the fuel for SEO is what keeps you flying high in the rankings. An extremely popular social community, Reddit, has decided that the politician will remain associated with this alternate meaning for the near future at the very least.
You can think of the woes that he is experiencing as you will, on a technical note however it needs examination and repeating. Until Google, Bing and Yahoo outright remove a website from it’s index, it can and will continue to rank for the term(s) with which it’s been written to be found for. The act of completely removing a site from the index is an extreme measure that the search engines rarely wield, let alone with permanency. It needs to be noted that irregardless of the poor quality of the links, the relevance and sheer number linking to the offending website are what is keeping the politician tied to his less than stellar ‘definition’. To quickly deal with the issue the search engines could enforce a nofollow on the Reddit site but Google in particular deems itself a color blind indexing machine. Mr. Santorum would do well to contract the skills of a search engine optimization expert to assist with his character control.
Since it’s all over the news and has been talked about since word broke, here ‘s just another take on the J.C. Penney search gaff. The NYTimes did a piece titled “The dirty little secrets of search” and in it was outlined how J.C. Penney gamed Google into listing them for all sorts of terms, applicable to their stores, but always listing at the top irregardless of the search.
The chief way this occurred was through the value of backlinks coming into a site. When your search engine optimization expert does their work properly, the value of the backlinks coming into your site will be categorically relative to your site. J.C. Penney however had links for all sorts of things on what seemed like any kind of website. When it comes to broad analysis of buying links to link back to your site, Google frowns heavily on the practice and often the links are devalued, or even negatively valued, and your site can be negatively effected in such cases. Matt Cutts was questioned on the occurrence and admitted that although JCP.com was already dealt with three times previous, the most recent and wide reaching offence hadn’t been noted.
Some have said it’s because JCP spends so much money on AdWords, others have said it’s sloppy policing on Googles part. One thing that the NYTimes piece did however, was contact a black hat SEO marketer directly and asked their opinion on the matter, and I believe they hit it on the head the best. Think of search not as a one type tool (search) but as a dual purpose technology; informational and commercial. And while the black hat lauded the strength of Googles informational capabilities, he readily admitted that commercially the results were lack luster, a cess pool was the term used. The Google team has admitted fully that there’s a relevance problem as of late, which has become more pronounced with the advent of both Caffeine and Instant technologies into the Google search algorithm. It also needs to be noted however, that spammers didn’t all of a sudden triple their output, the right set of adjustments just haven’t been found yet to exclude them from the relevant results. Additionally since no one has thought to bring it up, the same (gamed) results would have shown up in Bing or Yahoo as well as they did in Google.
JCP is about to go through some growing pains, and will most likely learn a valuable lesson in search; always make a point to be aware of your hired SEOs track record . You may find yourself on the receiving end of a swat on the nose from the Google team.
In a bit of a change of pace, just a reminder that there are a few key points which need to be considered when working online whether as a new website owner just getting into the search marketing side of business. Or a long trusted brand both on and offline, that’s looking to stake a claim, or reinforce a position online.
K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Silly) – Keep your website simple in appearance, construction and use. That doesn’t mean like a printed sheet of paper, but flashy ads, a video clogged front page or fancy fly away graphical menus don’t help your position in the search world. All of the above technologies, without a lot of back work, can actually hurt your online marketing performance.
Relevant Content – Keep your copy relevant and consistent to what you want to be known for. If you’re a plumber, write about plumbing trends, technologies and concerns. If you’re a tailor, writing about style trends, materials and new patterns is helpful. As a carpenter you wouldn’t want to write about small engine repair or microwave ovens, it’s simply not pertinent to your business or your website.
Budget – Ahh money, the one aspect of the business that always seems to surprise people. The thing about advertising, is that advertising in earnest, with the idea to make contact with your customers or clients to earn a living, will cost you money. In North America, Canada especially, online marketing budgets are significantly below what they need to be to see the real rewards capable from high quality, skilled search optimization. It still makes no business sense how a company can have no problem throwing away thousands of dollars per month on a marketing metric which is untrackable (newspapers/radio), versus a significantly lower cost for a completely trackable one (SEO).
A Call to Action – Often the missed point of a newer website owner, a call to action for your visitors is a required point of your website. A qualified and capable search engine optimization expert can bring you traffic, but if your website doesn’t direct your visitors what to do, they will leave until they find a site that does. If the point of your website is to sell, ensure you have a way to sell to your visitors with a Buy Now button, or a catalogue to order. If your desire is to attract people to sign up for your newsletter, make sure it’s prominently displayed as such.
Time – One of the most important requirements for SEO is time. Time for your website to be crawled and indexed, time for Google, Bing and Yahoo to place you within their index and the time it takes to balance your website versus the millions upon millions of pages also within your sector. It all takes time in the end, and if you try to circumvent the time component and go quick and dirty like J.C. Penney did? You’ll get caught, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but you’ll be caught.
Of the many steps involved in properly conducting a sound SEO (search engine optimization) campaign for a client, a step which seems to invoke some confusion is the link building portion of the campaign. Properly researched link building is just as important to your success as is the content on your website.
Because of the somewhat, misunderstood nature of link building, there are many fallicies which float around on the web about it. What sites to link to, which ones are worse, too many back links are bad for you, but too few isn’t worth the money.. And they go on and on. You can find some of these myths, demystified below.
Myth No 1.
It is bad for your website to leave your link on an “inner page” or inside page that is either new or has a very low Page Rank like PR0 which has a high Page Rank home page.
This is absolutely false. A solid strategy is to look for good quality sites to link to and most of these times linking is done through any of the many pages of such sites. Content doesn’t exist on only the front page of a website.
Myth No 2.
You should always obtain “relevant” links in the same niche as your website otherwise these non-relevant links won’t don’t help in your search engine optimization and will get you penalized by Google.
Ideally all of us should always try to obtain links belonging to the same niche, however it will not hurt you even if they come from sites belonging to entirely different niche. There is just no way that Google can exert much control over incoming links to your website. If this myth were true, many nasty people just need to start linking bad sites with their own competitors just to bring their sites down.
Myth No. 3
Building lots of backlinks too fast will get your penalized by Google.
Most people make this statement without defining what is considered too many links. The average marketer does not build links to the tune of tens of thousands on a daily basis. Only when this happens would we think it is too excessive and could raise an alert to Google, who may investigate if spamming has taken place.
Continue reading about the myths of link building..
To make the most of out your SEO linking strategy, make sure that the rest of your marketing team understands what keywords and pages you’re targeting.
Some of the best natural links come from work you’re already doing elsewhere, from press releases to social media.
To build an efficient and successful marketing campaign, be sure to cross reference your marketing efforts with every other member of your team.
A site alone cannot achieve the full return on investment without using certain SEO techniques. Link building, one of the more effective ways of promoting a website on the Web, is an often discussed, and debated subject. There are varied types of link building techniques and strategies which could help in improving your standings within the index. Let’s have a look at different types of link building techniques used in search engine optimization strategies.
One way links
Here one site gets a link on another website due to the quality and relevance, and not for the business purpose. The website whose link is posted, does not need to provide a link back to the site on which it is posted. Best type of linking to work towards.
Another widely used strategy of link building is ‘reciprocal linking’. Here there is link exchange between two websites on one to one basis. Care needs to be taken in choosing reciprocal link partners, as fraudulent webmasters can take undue advantage. It is advisable to review any requests for link exchanges before finalizing. This can be seen as a last alternative if a one way link isn’t in the cards. A little more towards the quantity end of the spectrum.
Article submission in various directories is a sure shot method to build effective link building to your website. You can write one article per day or as much as you want and submit to directories. Submission can be done in many directories altogether, where one-way links are given to your site from the articles. Other sites that use your articles also provide one-way link to your site from other websites. Quantity linking is where this would fall into.
Press release submission in various press release directory and leading news site is a best way to get natural back links from your press release articles. You need to write press release article about your new product launches or news releases in your industry. In the deep end of the quantity pool, great for getting out a blast of information to multiple sources, quickly.
Social bookmarking and Social networking
Social bookmarking and social networking is one of the newest ways to get back links and more visitors to your website. Experience is varied, but on the whole it will send more traffic to your site. If your content is relevant to the readers interest, it’s up to them at that point to provide the link back to your site.
The most important point when it comes to links however, quality link building is far better than quantity link building.
In this article I will discuss page redirection techniques, what works and what to avoid.
In this article I will discuss page redirection techniques, what works and what to avoid.
What is page redirection and why would you want to use it?
Let’s say you rename a page on your website, for whatever reason. Perhaps you decided to revamp your entire naming convention, perhaps you decided to restructure your site and need to move pages into different folders, or you just realized that you are missing valuable keywords.
Let’s elaborate a bit on the keywords issue, since it is part of your search engine ranking success.
Let’s say the page in question is about customized USB drives and you named it page1.htm. Then you read some SEO (Search Engine Optimization) articles and you found out that some search engines use words in the actual file name as search keywords. Next time you do a Google search, take a look at the results, most will have words in the actual file name (in the URL section) bolded, denoting a keyword match. Your USB drives page will definitely benefit if named something like custom_usb_drives.htm instead.
Now that you renamed your page, you just created a symphony of issues for yourself, for your users and for your position in search engine results.
You will have to point every link on your site to the new page name. If your site is small, it should not be a big deal, but if your site is large, you will inevitably make mistakes, mainly forgetting a link or two. This will result in visitors getting the dreaded “404 page not found” error when clicking on your links, robots (also know as crawlers or spiders) avoiding you, etc. Also, if you are heavily relying on visitors from search engines, then again, people will get a “404 page not found error”.
Let’s use the previous example, for a long time your page1.htm was indexed by major search engines. If someone types “custom usb drives” in a search engine box, your page shows up on the first search results screen. That is fantastic, only if someone clicks on the link, they will be pointed to page1.htm, not to custom_usb_drives.htm, because the first page is the one in the search engine’s index. It will take time, sometimes months, before the search engines update their indexes with your new page name.
Lost Page Rank (PR) issues:
Google developed a proprietary algorithm that assigns a Page Rank (PR) to every page on the web. PR is a number from 1 to 10 (10 being the ideal) and is intended to be a representation of how useful and popular a given page is. PR is influenced by many factors, one of the crucial ones being Link Popularity. Link Popularity is a representation of how many “quality” or “relevant” sites link to your page. Without getting into too much detail, it is increasingly difficult and time consuming to achieve a high PR for your pages, especially if you don’t have a really unique website with exceptional and highly sought after content. If you are merely operating a commercial site, in a competitive market (such as selling custom branded USB drives, as in our example), then it takes a lot of time and hard work to build a good page PR.
When you rename a page and discard the old page, you also discard the PR of the page. Your renamed page will be seen as a totally new page, with 0 PR.
What is the solution?
I will start by enumerating some of the methods used by the non-initiated.
Not recommended solution 1: Duplicate content.
First thing that probably comes in you mind is: well, why can’t you just duplicate the page and let nature take its course. In other words, you will have two identical pages, one named page1.htm and one custom_usb_drives.htm. This gives you time to update all links and the search engines will eventually index the new page.
This solution is not viable because search engines will penalize you quite badly, ‘thinking’ that you are trying to scam them by using the ‘duplicate content’ technique.
Not recommended solution 2: Custom error message.
You could create a custom error page. However, you will lose rankings on the next search engine update as the file will appear to be non-existent. As discussed above, it could be some time before the page with the new name will be indexed and will appear in people’s searches. Also, your web site visitors will be frustrated by the fact that they now have to dig through your site to find the desired information.
Not recommended solution 3: An HTML Meta redirect.
You could implement a so called Meta refresh in a blank or customized page that has the name of the old page (in our example, page1.htm) that points to the new page. The redirect can be instant, or delayed by a predetermine amount of time. The delayed redirect has the advantage that you can place an extra message, such as “please be aware that the page you are looking for changed location….. etc., etc…. you will be redirected automatically to the new location”
In the past, this was probably the most used technique.
Without getting into the mechanics of the Meta redirect, which is basically a META tag statement you ad to your HEADER section, know that there are also Java Script techniques that achieve similar results.
What is bad about this is that this is a technique often used by spammers to trick search engines and it should be avoided, unless the page is in a section of your site that isn’t indexed (also known as spidered or crawled). Search engine spammers create a page that is optimized for certain keywords and phrases – it usually has no real content. The page is then picked up by some search engines, but when a visitor clicks on the search engine entry, they are redirected to another site, often unrelated. Most search engines have filters to detect this. Using this form of search engine deception will see a site eventually banned or penalized by major players such as Google.
The recommended redirect strategy – 301 Redirect
A 301 redirect is the most efficient, visitor friendly, robot (spider, crawler) friendly and search engine friendly solution around for web sites that are hosted on servers running Apache. If you are not sure, check with your hosting provider.
A 301 redirect is just a set of commands you type into your .htaccess file.
When a visitor (whether human or robotic) requests a web page via any means, your web server checks for a .htaccess file. The .htaccess file contains specific instructions for certain requests, including security, redirection issues and how to handle certain errors.
The code “301” is interpreted as “moved permanently”. After the code, the URL of the missing or renamed page is noted, followed by a space, then followed by the new location or file name.
First of all, you’ll need to find the .htaccess file in the root directory of where all your web pages are stored. If there is no .htaccess file there, you can create one with Notepad or a similar application. Make sure when you name the file that you remember to put the “.” at the beginning of the file name. This file has no tail extension.
Some hosting providers offer redirect services through their “control panels”, so you don’t have to perform low level changes on the .htaccess file itself. Instead, they provide a user friendly interface for this. Check with your hosting provider to see what the optimal way to perform a 301 redirect is in your case. I will continue the article with the barebones solution.
If there is a .htaccess file already in existence with lines of code present, be very careful not to change any existing line unless you are familiar with the functions of the file.
Scroll down past all the existing code, leave a line space, th
en create a new line that follows this example:
redirect 301 /folder/page1.htm http://www.you.com/folder/custom_usb_drives.htm
It’s as easy as that. Save the file, upload it back into your web and test it out by typing in the old address to the page you’ve changed. You should be instantly and seamlessly transported to the new location.
Notes: Be sure not to add “http://www” to the first part of the statement – just put the path from the top level of your site to the page. Also ensure that you leave a single space between these elements:
redirect 301 (the instruction that the page has moved)
/folder/page1.htm (the original folder path and file name)
http://www.you.com/folder/custom_usb_drives.htm (new path and file name)
The same format applies not only to renamed files, but also to files moved to a different location.
The 301 redirect is the safest way to preserve your rankings. On the next indexing (crawling, spidering), the search engine robot will obey the rule indicated in your .htaccess file and index the new page name every time a link or its internal database tries to access the old page. In the next update (again, this could take months), the old file name and path will be dropped and replaced with the new one. Sometimes you may see alternating old/new file names during the transition period, along with some possible fluctuations in rankings as things settle. Don’t panic, this is normal.
What if your site is hosted on a Microsoft IIS server instead?
If you have access to the server, do this: In internet services manager, right click on the file or folder you wish to redirect. Select the radio titled “a redirection to a URL”. Enter the redirection page, check “The exact url entered above” and the “A permanent redirection for this resource”. Click “Apply”.
If you do not have access to the server, ask your host to point you into the right direction.
In conclusion, the best and the most transparent way (to both human and robotic users) to rename and move files on your web site, while preserving your search engine ranks is the 301 redirect.
Online marketing is fast becoming everyone’s cup of tea. It’s a common myth that one can easily earn high profits working from home. Not everyone who enters into business on the Internet succeeds. Just building a website isn’t enough to make money online. There are a lot of online business tactics you need to know and follow.
Online Business is Crucial
For any online business to flourish, link popularity is a major factor to consider. So what is link popularity? Most Internet users come to know about a particular site through search engines. Based on various algorithms, search engines give a ranking to the sites indexed. The better the ranking, the more popular your site is.
The keywords in your website play a crucial role in determining the ranking of your website. The more common your keyword is, the more you come down in the ranking list. Does this mean that websites with common keywords never flourish in business?
By applying certain strategies, your website can achieve a very good ranking even with common keywords. But remember, link popularity or web promotion is something that cannot be achieved overnight.
One way of achieving link popularity is by linking to different sites. Link sharing is a major feature of online business. It is through the links placed on web pages that people come to know of other sites. People, when surfing through a particular site, often click on the links on that page to gain additional information.
When your link is placed on another site, it is more likely that the visitors of that site will also visit your site. This increases the number of hits on your site. But keep in mind, this doesn’t mean that linking with all the sites you come across can add popularity to your site.
Search engines give a lot of weight to the links. While the links from quality websites can give you good sales and traffic, a bad link can spoil your whole business. The quality of the sites you link to matters the most. To take advantage of people who work to build their link popularity, some sites are made just to link to different pages. These websites are nothing but long lists of links. Don’t ever think of linking to such a site as this will do more harm to your link popularity than good.