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Browsing "search engine"

Brits don’t understand search engines

Dec 12, 2008   //   by FreshTraffic   //   organic, search engine, seo  //  398 Comments

Almost all of us use search engines, but most Britons “either have no idea or an inaccurate view of how online search results are determined,” according to the Online Search Matters Survey produced for FastHosts, the Web hosting company. The main findings are:

Nearly 1 in 4 Britons (24%) believe that the order of the search listings they use cannot be influenced by the publishers of websites listed, whilst a similar proportion (22%) suspect that results are ordered entirely according to how much has been paid by the websites listed. 1 in 5 consumers (19%) have no idea at all how results are compiled, and 5% believe that search listings are arranged completely at random like a lottery.

To be clear: the major search engines do not charge for listings, but their results are influenced by Web site publishers, partly through the use of SEO (search engine optimisation) techniques.

Men (33%) understand how search engines work a little better than women (26%).

Britons also trust organic results more than the “sponsored listings” that often appear above or alongside them. Fasthosts says:

1 in 3 (33%) believe these listings to be ‘less worthy’ and ‘less useful’ than main search results. Two thirds of web users (66%) report that they always pay attention first to main results, and some 40% of women and 34% of men will consciously ignore sponsored links whenever they appear.

The survey is based on 1,636 UK adults interviewed by Tickbox.net in November 2008 via electronic feedback forms.

Of course, if you started compiling a list of things that lots of Brits don’t understand, you’d be busy for some time. It’s also not clear that understanding how search engines work has much practical value if you just want to find sites, rather than promote them. However, if I ran a search engine, I’d be looking for ways to make it clearer that organic results, unlike sponsored links, are not paid for.

Canadians Google Facebook more than anything else

Dec 10, 2008   //   by FreshTraffic   //   Google, obama, search engine  //  3 Comments

Canadians have Googled the social-networking site Facebook more than any other website this year.

For the first time, Internet search-engine giant Google released its most-popular and fastest-rising Canuck search queries for 2008.

Google says Britney Spears topped the list for most the sought-after celeb in Canadian cyberspace and the Green party as the most-searched political party.

The California-based company ranks the massively popular Facebook first overall.

It also says the search word “Obama” rose in popularity more than any other term between the end of 2007 and November 2008.

Yahoo! Canada released its most-searched items for 2008 earlier this month.

Yahoo! says Canadians queried the online multiplayer adventure game RuneScape more than anything else this year.

The company also says Miley Cyrus surged ahead of last year’s most-popular celebrity, Britney Spears.

Use free tools from search engines

Dec 2, 2008   //   by FreshTraffic   //   Google, search engine  //  2 Comments

If your site hasn’t added a Google Sitemap page, consider doing so. Google and other major search engines share a common feature that allows Webmasters to tell them about each page of their sites available for crawling and how often it changes and how important it is to the site. “You’re actually producing a page to have the search engine come to you,” he says.

Another free tool especially useful for small companies with a local clientele is Google Maps, a free local business-listing service, which displays an address, hours and description, sometimes at the top of a search-results page.

“It’s hard to pay for that kind of advertising

Make your site easy to navigate

Dec 2, 2008   //   by FreshTraffic   //   content, keyword, search engine  //  54 Comments

It should be friendly not only to the human eye, but also to search-engine spiders—programs that crawl the Web looking for up-to-date information.

A site’s structure can make a big difference in how easily a spider can crawl it. Web addresses that use keywords related to the content of the page generally help a search engine better correlate them with the site. For example: www.yourwebsite.com/keyword/filename.html. The closer the keyword is to your homepage in the Web address, the more relevant a search engine will consider the page to be for that keyword, and the more likely the search engine will be to give your site a better ranking.

Another consideration is where content is placed on the page. Spiders read pages starting at the top left corner of a page, so pages, keyword links to content that’s especially important for search engines to see should be moved there.

SEO Tricks That Will Lower Ranking

Dec 2, 2008   //   by FreshTraffic   //   search engine, seo, website principles  //  12 Comments

So, the time has come for you to consider, or more likely than not, to reconsider your SEO strategy. Perhaps you’re new to the game, and don’t even know what SEO is. Don’t worry, we’ll explain it. We’ll also explain some tactics that seem at first glance to be good ideas, but really aren’t. Best of all, we’ll show you how to spot these bad ideas so your site doesn’t pay the consequences.
For those of you who have been living on an isolated tropical island paradise, or have been in prison, for the last few years and do not know, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. This term is a kind of a rubric, that rather than referring to one or two things that you can do to improve your listing, covers a wide range of possible actions and behaviors that can help you to grow your site in popularity and make you untold amounts of money. Essentially these are the actions that a site takes to cater to the searching algorithms that search engines use to determine which sites get a high ranking, and which ones land on the bottom of page 17 in the listings.

These tools can be a great thing. They can help you get your site straight to the top and bring you scores of readers, and if they are done well you can get the site to the top of the search engine results pages for several sets of related keywords, and not just one set. The name of the game here is popularity, and despite the fact that we had all hoped to get away from that when the senior prom was over, being popular still matters when you are online. The bottom line is popularity means ad revenues and that means power.

Since the world of search engines depends on algorithms, some of which, despite sounding very vague, are actually quite advanced, you have to be very careful what you do when you play with SEO tricks. Sure, some of them can raise your site up to the top spot, but others can drag you down without so much as a second thought. Choosing not just the right principles, but the right way to execute them, becomes the chief task of those people who choose to practice SEO.

That is right, you understood me just fine. You can use the right principles and still find yourself with a bad idea on your hands. This, in addition to being quite maddening if you think about it for too long, also means that you have to be extremely careful when you screen your ideas. Something that sounds like a great idea to begin with and is even based on a sound principle, can be a big no-no if you want to keep your site’s rankings up. That careful consideration is, of course, a sound practice in most areas of your life, but you should be sure that you don’t get suckered in.

That is not to say that I expect you to become an expert in the field overnight; even a seasoned professional would have to take a look at the details of the execution before deciding if this is a good plan or a bad plan. To help you get some judgment under your belt, we will talk about some of the techniques that have already been identified as a bad idea, despite the good principles that are behind them. Then we will talk a little about how to identify a bad idea on your own, because the bad ideas will always pop up in new forms now and again. So you will have to be ever vigilant before you try out anything new.

Link Building Via Service

When done in a genuine way, building links between sites is a great way to raise your listings. When you hire a service to do it, you have a problem, because you lose control. Unless the service that you use is extremely professional, very discrete and amazingly well connected, it is an absolute certainty that you should pass it by without a second glance.

When you give up control, especially to a service, you run the very serious risk of finding yourself linked with a site that is considered to be in a “Bad Neighborhood,” which means that being linked to them will actually lower your rankings seriously. If you want to build links, you should do so in a controlled environment, and with sites that are relevant to your site’s content. Don’t go crazy and don’t get lazy.

When you ad a keyword to your site, whether it be in the META tags or, if you own a blog, in the visible tags, then those tags should always be relevant to your content, and never be just a random listing of words that you think will send search engines to your site. To be honest, you always want to keep these words short, sweet and non-repetitive; while many of the search engines have stopped using these words to place sites into the top section of the results, they have not stopped using them to rule sites out.

If your site’s META tag list seems like it came from the dictionary, then you will find your brilliant strategy to increase your rankings has lowered them instead. A similar trick is done with titles on a site. This technique, more commonly known as “Title Stacking,” is another way of adding more keywords for the search engines to index, and they have caught on. Avoid both of these like the black plague.

Doorway Pages

This one sounds like it may be a good idea. You can make a lot of sub pages that direct to the information that your user wants to know, they get the information, and you get a lot of pages that can help to increase your rankings on a multitude of sets of key words. But this technique just makes most search engines upset, because these gateway sites have very little content on them, and their primary goal is to re-direct. I would suggest that you avoid this at all costs.

Borrowing Content

If you own content from another, similar site, or you are just getting content for the site from an article bank, you can run into these serious problems. Sites that are deemed to be using nothing but copy and paste content will run into problems with the engines right away, so if you are going to re-use content it should only be a small percentage of your site, and never on the main page. Also, as a side note, if you steal someone else’s content, you can end up getting your site removed wholesale. You also run the risk of getting sued.

Now that you have an inkling of some of the bad ideas, founded on good principles, it is time to talk about how you are going to learn to spot these ideas as they come up in the world of online content promotions.

To do this, you need to open up the hood and poke around at the idea’s mechanics to see if everything is in order, by asking some questions.

Question 1. Does this topic sound like any known bad practices?

Remember how I introduced title stacking as a sub-set of META tag abuse? That is because they have a set of similarities which make them sibling ideas. If you run across a sibling idea to one of the ones that you already know is a bad plan, then you should pass it by. No hesitation and no further questions needed.

Question 2. How does this serve the readers or the searchers?

If the only benefit is to the site, then the odds are that it will get you lowered. Search engines and sites are supposed to exist for end users. If the tactic causes an impairment to their finding what they want, then it will be used as a reason to knock you down. Search engines know where their money comes from, and it is not from you.

Question 3. Does this seem like spam?

If it is the kind of tactic that you would be annoyed to encounter, either while searching or in an e-mail, then you should probably skip it. No one likes a spammer, and the search engines are no exception to that statement. So if you have the distinct odor of spam in your nostrils, you should pass up this idea and go on to the next one.

Question 4. Does it just feel wrong?

Even if you can’t quantify the why of it, if an idea feels wrong for your site or for your conscience, then you should not use it, wither or not it will be treated negatively by
the search engines. You have to trust you instincts and err on the side of caution.

Now that you know, you can be vigilant to keep your site from having its rankings lowered by an honest mistake that makes you seem like you are trying to do something that is evil — even though we both know that you would never, ever do a thing like that.

A few Search Engine Optimization Myths

Jul 7, 2008   //   by FreshTraffic   //   search engine, search engine optimization, seo  //  282 Comments

There are several SEO myths which abound about what works and what doesn’t and these myths can be daunting as a potential client. We thought a handy guide to a few of the SEO myths would be useful, as it could help make a more informed decision.

One time SEO for long term ranking

SEO is a strategy, and as any marketing strategy it has to be continuously readjusted for optimal performance. SEO begins with two basic components: the primary site optimization carried out upon signing the contract – which constitutes a large part of the work involved – and the continual website tweaks that are required due to monthly or unexpected shifts in the search engine market. The basic site optimization is the part of SEO which should be carried out only once. Unlike any other medium, the online market is the most dynamic and fast changing for a business to evolve in. That is why month to month changes in search engine algorithms require continuous attention.

Performing in house SEO is more efficient

Initially it may appear, that performing SEO in house is more cost effective. You still have to take in consideration staff training, gaining access to essential SEO industry tools and information and that requires time, effort and money. Allowing untrained staff to perform SEO can be risky as search engines hand out penalties for breaking their guidelines. However, working closely with a SEO that provides consultancy and training can prove to be a solid long-term solution. In time, your staff will be properly prepared to take over some of your optimization needs.

Search Engine Optimization is cost prohibitive

SEO is not a cost, it’s an investment and like any investment it brings a measurable return. Think in terms of ROI, not in terms of cost.

Basic Search Engine Optimization Information

Jun 24, 2008   //   by FreshTraffic   //   search engine, search engine optimization, seo, seo techniques  //  55 Comments

Life is full of do’s and don’ts, and SEO is no exception. Out of all of the tactics available to companies to improve your visibility in the online world, some tactics are ideal, some are highly frowned upon, and some are disputed or on the edge. The industry has applied a lable, or buzz term to these methods, referred as White Hat, Black Hat, and Grey Hat SEO techniques.

White Hat tactics are considered 100% totally safe and they are most often directly recommended by the search engine companies themselves. They are centered around the ideas of sound website building strategies, and not on the flexible nature of any given search engine.

White Hat typically includes:

* Solid, regularly updated content
* Relevant metatags
* Friendly, interactive page design
* Honest linking strategies

In terms of time investment, White Hat techniques take the longest to implement, but all are held in high regard in the search engine optimization world.

Black Hat tactics are forbidden or deeply frowned on by the search engines. These can, and most certainly will, get your site, or your clients site, banned from the index if you are found to be using any of them. The philosophy behind Black Hat SEO revolves around trying to manipulate the search engines to direct traffic instead of earning it.

Black Hat SEO is generally used by people who sell illegal or immoral content. This on it’s own should be reason enough to steer clear, because your reputation WILL be forever tarnished if you associate yourself with these unethical practices.

Black Hat tactics include (but are not limited to):

* Buying links in huge numbers, ignoring relevance, for fast inbound links
* Invisible, or hidden text on your pages; ie the text is identical to your background
* Misleading meta tags

Using any of the above methods will more than likely flag your website within the search index and get the site banned!

Grey Hat SEO tends to fall in between the cracks of the search engines rules. some experts might deem them as highly controversial, while the next may be unconcerned. There is no clear rule set about Grey hat SEO strategies, because there is no clear indication about whether they do harm to your websites presence. You must study the information, and decide for yourself, which side you think is telling the truth.

Grey Hat techniques can include:

* Owning a number of sites and cross linking them back to each other
* Purchasing links on every page of a smaller, relevant site
* Working for links on a high quality site, that may not be relevant to your site

There are a lot of Grey Hat techniques, and you’ll find that usually they are highly debated in the search engine optimization world.

In the end, the only “unknown” is the search engine algorithms (the code that helps the search engine decide what is legit and what is not), are not predictable, and they are constantly changing, so a technique that works one day may not work the next and vice versa.

In the end, the only real answer is, research all available information, and then make a decision based on how much risk you are willing to assume.

However, if you don’t have the time to put into the deluge of online resources available about SEO and the proper way to implement it, that’s where we comes in.

SEO’s Help Google’s Appeal

May 9, 2008   //   by FreshTraffic   //   Google, search engine, search engine optimization  //  198 Comments

Search optimization may be a Google asset

In theory, any company should be able to compete with Google on search. Yet Google owns some two-thirds of the queries made in the US search engine market.

Scenarios where another search site gains enough share at Google’s expense don’t present themselves readily to us. People use Google for search, and keep on using it.

Jupiter Research considered the question of why Google has no real competition in search. Sorry Yahoo, Microsoft, and everyone else, the numbers are what they are.

But the apparent barriers to entry that David Schatsky discussed shouldn’t keep any site from competing handily with Google. Why they don’t remains a mystery, with one suggestion by Schatsky’s colleague Emily Riley hinting at search optimization being part of the issue:

The kind of benefits that accrue to incumbent market makers like eBay are somewhat weaker in search. After all, a lack of advertisers shouldn’t necessarily make a search engine less appealing to users, who are more sensitive to organic results and performance. Emily points out, though, that the relevance of Google’s organic results may benefit in part by all of the SEO benefits that focus on them–a level of focus they attract because of their market leadership.

Webmasters want to be in Google because the traffic is there. Searchers wish to use Google as they know the content will be there. All in all, a nice circle of supply and demand, tailored to suit Google best, keeps it at the top of the search engine world.

Search Engine Optimization is BIG

Mar 6, 2008   //   by FreshTraffic   //   fresh traffic, search engine, search engine optimization  //  Comments Off

These days, search engines’ results are directing people to sites, products and services. That is why search engine optimization has gained a big importance. Search Engine Optimization is also important in the age of the powerful web when more and more people are buying everything online.

Power of the web has promoted online shopping culture and customers mostly develop confidence in their favorite product by seeing them in searches and decide to buy. If they do not see a results, the odds of the online purchase are reduced. But if they see result of a brand they know clearly and like, then they will check the price and terms, make their selection, and purchase.

Businesses try to strengthen their presence by Search Engine Optimization. For measurable results in searches, businesses need to know what they want to project, should be committed to build by doing whatever is necessary to get the message to any segment of a target market.

This can be best done by a experts and professionals. Fresh Traffic are one of the best to build a powerful web presence that remains in front of the eyes of the customers.

Explore resources and information, rich site content and learn how they can position you at a vantage point. Better still, let them handle your optimization strategies.

Feed the Search Engines! Content…Content…Content

May 10, 2007   //   by FreshTraffic   //   content, internet strategy, search engine, website principles  //  6 Comments

Just as our bodies need food to fuel us everyday your website needs fuel to feed the search engines for placement and inclusion.

There are many different factors to consider when trying to optimize your website but one of the easiest and most successful ways is to feed the search engine with content.

The engines thrive on seeing that you are adding new content to your website very often. As a webmaster, I have seen the results of many of my customers’ sites climbing to the top by adding good industry related content to their site. You may feel you neither have the time or the content to add to your site but in today’s competitive web world how can you not justify taking the time or creating content. There are many different ways to add content to your site that may take as little as 10 or 15 minutes a week to do so.

Here are a few ideas, and if you can apply one or all of these to your site you will be feeding the hunger the search engines are craving for …Good Quality Content:

Industry Related Articles – There is no better way to earn creditability with your customers then writing articles about your industry. Your article does not have to be long it just has to give good quality information about your industry. Once you write an article, not only do you want to upload it to your website but you need to submit it to one of the many article submission websites. Don’t forget to add your name and URL to the bottom of every article you submit to build your link popularity.

Products Reviews – This is one of the easiest things to add to your website. No one knows your products like you do. Give your visitors a complete detail of how to use, what to do or how your specific product or service can help them.

Blogs- Blogs can greatly increase your visibly but they have to be created and used properly. Blogs do require a commitment from you but remember this; the search engines just love them. Your blog needs to have a specific reason, a draw for your visitors, a reason that they would bookmark it and come back and read it time and time again. Whatever you decide to blog about it needs to be updated on a daily or every other day to make it work for you.

Customer Testimonials – What a great way to show your potential clients the confidence your past customers have in your products or services. Ask all your clients to provide you a short testimonial. It is an easy way to add current content to you site often.

Industry Tips & Ideas – You are the true expert in your industry and your customers want to hear what you have to say. Everyone likes to get something for free, so share a bit of your knowledge with them by providing free tips and ideas on how to better use your products or services.

Newsletters – E-Newsletters are a great way to keep your name in front of your customers, but what many website owners fail to do is to add those newsletters to their websites. With the over abundance of junk email we get many people opt out to receive e-newsletters on a regular basis. In this case it would benefit you by adding those weekly or monthly newsletters to your site so they can be read there.

A couple things to remember when adding new content (pages) to your site:

Don’t forget to make your title tags captivating.

Keep your keywords toward the front of your title, description and keyword tags. (Even though very few search engines take into account the description or keyword tags anymore it is always best to still add them.)

If writing an article take one of your keyword phrases and write a specific article about that, keeping in mind keyword density.

Which ever of the above ideas you choose to use keep in mind your target market and create your new pages with it in mind… Remember industry related content!

Don’t forget to update your site map with your new pages.

Update your Yahoo urllist.txt and your sitemap.xml file with Google as well.

Lastly…add a new page to your site every week better yet every day!

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