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Browsing "seo techniques"

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 Experts Secrets They Dont Want You To Know.

Feb 8, 2008   //   by FreshTraffic   //   keyword, seo techniques, website principles  //  1 Comment

Are you ready? There are no magic tricks or quick answers. I know this may sound crazy, but when you create your website pages you have to keep one very important thing in mind, the end user. KISS, keep it simple stupid will allow you too page rank in the top 5 search on any niche or keyword you are using.

Even when Google changes their algorithms you won’t be worried. These SEO techniques are not really fantastic, they just work. You will need to stick with the basics, these have worked for years, they work now and it is what the search engines want I feel there are two types of SEO people, 1. the first is simply setting up your website so the search engines will serve you when a potential customer types in your keyword, 2. the second is Search Engine Octopus.

This person constantly sits and tweaks their pages , not thinking about the end user. You don’t want to be the second SEO. We all want to be on the #1 page and listed with all the major search engines. Keywords are the bread and butter to your online success, but gathering a large number of keywords and then dumping them into your site will not work.

Relevant keywords and relevant content on your keyword is the key to success. Don’t build your pages using only your main keyword, search engines will also determine other relevant keywords, use variation keywords.

A reality check, use every possible keyword, one month that keyword may only have 300 searches, but the previous month it may have had over 1500. Here is another basic SEO technique often overlooked, site structure. We all do it including myself, create a couple of pages ftp them and then hope the search engines pick them up. Maybe later on you will add a couple of pages and hope for the best this is generic and wrong!

Want to see how a site should be properly structured?. Head over to Ebay. The key here is to concentrate on categories and not the menus on our site, use your keywords and create a skeleton structure of your website so that your keywords flow consistently. Another important part of getting listed in the search engines is the Title tag, get this wrong and you will lose a lot of traffic.

Remember the first two or three words should have your keyword in it, I also wouldn’t go over a maximum of 9 words. Try and create a catchy and inviting title, something that will appeal to the surfer, so you can get the click. Elaborate and make the title catchy, provide a solution for your customer to ensure the click.

I believe 99% of all webmasters shoot for the top ten keywords, certainly understandable to get a lot of traffic. But consider this, why not concentrate on the bottom of the list and work your way up, here you will want to try and focus on the targeted keywords for your industry. What you want to do is understand your main keyword and think logically.

Yes .it may have less people searching for them but at least they will be more accurate and highly targeted. Remember each page you create for your website will have it’s own value, so each page is keyword targeted. If your particular market has 50 keywords then by all means create 50 pages. Linking between sites is an crazy task, most webmasters will spend weeks searching for links and a lot of webmasters are very choosey with whom they exchange links with.

If you set up your site properly and it is established, you can let them come begging to you for links, the key here is to properly structure your site.

Google SEO Advice – The Do’s & Dont’s

Feb 3, 2008   //   by FreshTraffic   //   Google, seo techniques, website principles  //  347 Comments

You may or may not be aware, but Google has released a list of SEO do’s and dont’s that you should follow if you want any hope of being indexed and ranked in the search engines. Most SEO information is disputed, but when it comes from the BIG G’s mouth, you know it’s probably very true!

Ok, so maybe this isn’t breaking news – and although it’s been out for a while, Google has a small guide on what to do and what not to do when it comes to getting ranked in their glorious index. Again, while these are some common sense items, you’d be surprised at the amount of people that do not read it, and end up either suffering a drop in rankings, penalized, or banned from Google’s index all together.

I want to sum up the Do’s and Don’ts of Google’s guidelines to SEO best practices (not all of them, because some are extremely basic, so just the ones that you may have forgotten)

Do’s:

Have other sites link to yours (quality, relevant sites).
Submit a sitemap using your Google Webmaster Tools account.
Submit your site to quality, high authority directories in the appropriate category.
Make a site with text links and a clear hierarchy, and make sure every page is reachable by at least one static text link.
Create useful, unique, and clearly written content. Relevancy is key.
Make sure your TITLE tags and ALT tags are”descriptive and accurate” (see, even Google recommends this – told you I wasn’t BS’ing!)
Maintain clean HTML code.
Keep the outgoing links on a particular page under 100.
Make it easy for search bots to crawl your site without error.
Make use of the robots.txt file to limit crawling on pages that aren’t useful to visitors.
Make pages for users, not search engines. (It’s fine to optimize your page, but don’t do nasty spammy things just to get the search engine’s to look for it)

Dont’s:

Don’t have any broken links on your site.
Don’t use hidden text or hidden links (people, doing that is soooo 2002, and will get you heavily penalized)
Don’t cloak or use “sneaky” redirects.
Don’t load pages with keywords or keyphrases. This is spam, and Google knows it.
Don’t send automated queries to Google.
Don’t create duplicate content. (This will kill your rankings most of the time)
Don’t create pages that install bad things (trojan’s, viruses, malware, etc..) – kind of a no brainer anyway.

If you participate in an affiliate program, don’t provide duplicate, run of the mill content. Provide useful, relevant content for the user.

DON’T participate in linking schemes!!! Bloggers pay attention to that one. So many of those viral linking posts go around, and they are just not good for business.

That’s why you rarely see the bigger A-list blogs take part, because they know it’s bad for rankings. Resist the temptation to gain 30 extra links overnight (do you really think Google doesn’t know what’s up with that, c’mon….).

So, what you just read comes from the horses mouth itself, and I personally agree that you can’t go wrong by following the above advice. I take it for granted sometimes that people know all of this stuff, but I see it every single day that people will still try to keyword stuff, white text on white background, cloak, and all sorts of nasty things. Rarely, there are a few that get away with this and achieve good rankings, however, those rankings don’t last long at all.

Google is all knowing, and will catch you eventually. You can bet on that.

To read the entire paper from Google, check it out here.

SEO – Six Mistakes You Should Avoid

Sep 24, 2007   //   by FreshTraffic   //   internet strategy, seo, seo techniques, website principles  //  9 Comments

For the survival of your blog, website search engine optimization is as important as having a website, especially if you seek targeted traffic from search engines. SEO for me is not simply getting traffic from various sources; it is getting highly targeted traffic. A few mistakes here and there and all your SEO efforts will go down the drain. In fact wrong SEO tactics can sometimes prove costlier than having no SEO strategy. Although there are unlimited things you can do to improve your SEO and unlimited mistakes you can commit in the process, in this blog post I’m going to discuss 6 SEO mistakes you should avoid.

Here they are:

1. Don’t have the same title for every page: If you are a blogger you might not face this problem because most blogging software generates unique page titles (here too you can post blog posts without titles — some people do), but if you run a website make sure all your pages have a unique title. The logic is that every page carries a unique message and the best way to present that message to the outside world is by having a page title that aptly represents the message of your page. On external links people click on your link when they find your page title attractive. People using search engines click your link when they see the title of your link. So have a unique title for every page and make sure the important phrase that represents your page content appears in your title.

2. Don’t spam your pages by stuffing keywords: Your keywords and key phrases are certainly taken into account when search engine algorithms rank your web pages, but it doesn’t mean you insert your keywords everywhere. This will be considered keyword spam and your website runs the risk of getting black listed by all of the major search engines. Your keywords appearing nonsensically in your title, in your description, all over your text and everywhere in your links, is not going to get you anywhere. Even if for a few days you get to the first page of the search result pages your website will be blacklisted the moment it is noticed by someone from the search engine company. Instead, create highly focused, specialized web pages so that they cater to the theme of your keywords. Let your keywords and key expressions appear naturally on your pages. The important thing is not getting ranked higher as soon as possible, what is important is increasing the overall relevancy of your website.

3. Don’t use bells and whistles: The more needless stuff you have on your website, the tougher it is for the search engine crawlers to crawl and index your pages. Run a check on your website and see if there are some JavaScripts, some images and animations, or some CSS definitions that you can get rid of, and if you can, then get rid of them immediately. Make your website as light as possible.

4. Don’t use dynamic URLs: A dynamic URL is something like http://www.yourwebsite.com/index.php?p=345. The search engines simply cannot make sense of them, and even if they can, it takes lots of effort on their part. Instead, use a URL scheme that has your keywords in it. For instance, the URL of this post will probably end up with /6-seo-mistakes-you-should-avoid/. All current content management systems and blog publishing platforms give you the ability to create search engine friendly URLs.

5. Don’t participate in meaningless link-exchange schemes: Inbound links are definitely important for your website or blog, but they should appear on external websites voluntarily and not because you are going to put their link on your website. The entire logic of having inbound links is to convince Google that your blog or website has got content worth linking to and they should be coming from reputed websites. The very fact that the other website is readily exchanging links with you means that it does not get linked to because of its value, and this, consequently, is not going to give you any SEO benefit. In fact exchanging links with disrepute or totally unrelated websites can adversely affect your SEO efforts.

6. Don’t submit to search engines: It’s no use submitting your website to different search engines because the search engines themselves are perpetually crawling the Internet to locate and index new and recently updated pages. It takes its own time for your web pages to start appearing on search engine result pages whether you submit them or don’t submit them. So if you are thinking that by simply submitting your website to “1000s of search engines” your SEO job is over, please do a re-think.

So avoid these mistakes and keep yourself focused. Remember that search engines want to provide the best content available on the Internet to their users so that their users keep coming back to them for their search needs. Create a website or a blog that the search engines will happily present to their users among top results.

Outsourcing SEO

Sep 23, 2007   //   by FreshTraffic   //   fresh traffic, seo techniques, website optimization  //  181 Comments

Often it becomes difficult to devote proper time and attention to the different aspects of a business. It may be that you are running short of manpower, or you may not have professionals who have the proper qualifications and in situations like this you need to resort to other methods to get the work done. Outsourcing is one method that can easily take care of all your worries and help you earn money. Outsourcing basically means to hand over the work of certain aspect of your business to a third party within the country or overseas who are better equipped to deal with it. SEO is one aspect of any online business that needs to be done and outsourcing SEO is one method through which this can be done perfectly. If you are into online business, you must make sure that you get SEO done for your site.

SEO is search engine optimization and this is a method where a site is promoted on the World Wide Web. Outsourcing SEO is getting bigger day by day as many businesses have been benefited by this in an enormous way. Now finding out a firm that will actually take up the SEO work of your business is not difficult, but what is difficult is finding out that firm which will do the work for you efficiently. There are several ways through which you can choose a firm to take over the outsourcing SEO work of your online site and the best way is through the internet. While surfing the web, you will come across several online sites that provide outsourcing SEO services to clients. What you can do is find out the kind of work they are doing and decide if they can do the work for you or not.

Outsourcing SEO firstly helps you in getting highly trained professionals handle the work for you. Since they are skillful professionals they know exactly what needs to be done for making a site rank high in all the major search engines like Google, Yahoo, Alta Vista and Lycos. Make sure that you have a talk with the professionals who are handling your work and tell them on what aspects would you like to make your site become popular. Generally when professionals take on the work for a site for outsourcing SEO, the first thing that they do is analyze the site and analyze the competition in the existing market.

Based on all these factors and several other factors as well, the professionals will make a strategy to go about doing the outsourcing SEO work for your online business. You must make sure that you know exactly what is being done for the SEO of your site, after all this is your business and you have all the right to decide what is right and what is not for it. SEO has made it possible for websites to get recognized easily and if the whole process is done properly the benefits will be immense. Outsourcing SEO is one of the best business decisions that one can make.

The Power of SEO

Sep 5, 2007   //   by FreshTraffic   //   internet strategy, seo techniques, website optimization, website principles  //  151 Comments

Optimizing your Web site to take advantage of the power of search engines to put you in front of customers gives you a huge competitive advantage. Even now, only 25 percent of Fortune 100 businesses have completely optimized their sites in this way. If you act now, you’ll have an edge over competitors who haven’t optimized their sites.

Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door.

Wrong — unless of course your business has a Web site. Search engines like Google and Yahoo troll the Web constantly, categorizing and ranking sites so users can find what they’re looking for.

The Best Exposure Money Can’t Buy
Why should you care? Here are a few reasons:

It’s free.

You don’t have to pay Google, Yahoo and the other search engines to rank your Web site. It’s like a free listing in the yellow pages, except that you get listed in as many categories as apply to you — by product, inventory, service, geography or a dozen other classifications.

Also, it’s a global listing. Imagine paying for an ad in the phone book to cover all that territory.

That doesn’t mean every Web site gets equal treatment. Each search engine uses different methods to rank sites. Understanding how search engines work — and adapting your site accordingly — can move you up in the listings.

Everybody’s looking for something.

Online searching is the third most frequent activity for people who are online — only e-mail and general surfing rank higher. Search engines not only help users find you, they act as virtual tour guides by taking users directly to the page with the information they’re seeking.

People trust search engines.

Studies show that people trust user-based rankings (those based on searches people do on their own initiative) more than paid rankings (those based on clicks on paid ads) by a wide margin — as much as 70 percent. Visitors who come to your Web site through a free search engine listing are more likely to engage in the desired response (make a purchase, request information) than those who come through paid ads.

You can still get in early.

Optimizing your Web site to take advantage of the power of search engines to put you in front of customers gives you a huge competitive advantage. Even now, only 25 percent of Fortune 100 businesses have completely optimized their sites in this way. If you act now, you’ll have an edge over competitors who haven’t optimized their sites.

This advantage won’t be around forever, though. Businesses will get smarter about search engine optimization (or SEO — the art of making sure your Web site stands out in the crowd), so now’s the time to capitalize on it.

The Cat and the Mouse
So how do you go about optimizing your Web site? You probably can’t do it yourself. SEO is just one aspect of search engine marketing (SEM, which also includes such techniques as paying to be listed or to be ranked higher when certain keywords are used).

Search firms are constantly changing their methods to remain competitive among each other, so it takes the expertise of a professional firm specializing in Web services to keep up with them.

However, it’s an investment with a payoff you can’t afford to ignore. SEO is so effective that some companies gain a complete return on their investment in the first month.

Here are four important guidelines that will help ensure potential customers can find you on the Web.

Choose your keywords.

Search engines use keywords and phrases to rank Web sites. You need to define a set of keywords targeted to your audience and based on your business goals, competitive advantages and key messages. Try to think from a user’s perspective: What words and phrases will they use when trying to find you? You may sell hats, but your customers may call them “caps,” “lids” or “fedoras.” Choosing the right keywords is the crucial first step to search engine optimization.

Use those keywords.

Get your keywords into the URLs, page titles and content of your Web pages. There are lots of little tricks to this. For example, the most effective page titles are about 75 characters long and include the most important keywords at the beginning. On each page, keywords and phrases should represent 2 to 3 percent of the total content.

Make links and influence people.

The more links to your site from relevant and trusted sources, the higher you’ll rank with search engines. For example, always list your site with online business directories, even if you think no one will find you through them. Those links may not produce any direct leads, but they could bump you up in the search engine rankings, especially if they are popular or highly visited sources.


Know your audience.

People searching the Internet don’t all use the same search engines. Research shows that older audiences still like AOL, and professional audiences tend to like MSN and Google. Younger audiences often like Yahoo. Only about one third of users use one search engine consistently. Knowing your audience will help your Web services firm decide which search engine to optimize for.

Time, Effort and Money
Those are just a few tips to search engine optimization — there are many, many more. Once your site has been optimized, check to see how you’re doing in the search engine rankings. As time goes by, you’ll need to keep tweaking your Web site to stay on top of the heap. The average user won’t scroll past the first two or three pages of a search listing, so you should aim to be listed on the top one or two pages, typically the top 20 listings in your search category.

It takes time, effort, and money to optimize your Web site for search engines. However, what’s the cost to your company if you don’t optimize? Lost revenue? Decreasing brand awareness? Unlike other investments you might make, it’s easy to measure the results of search engine optimization — more clicks, more visitors and maybe more sales of that new, improved mousetrap

Learn SEO – SEO Tips 4U – SEO Essentials

Jul 17, 2007   //   by FreshTraffic   //   internet strategy, seo techniques  //  170 Comments

You read about articles and books always getting released on how to Learn SEO and SEO Tips, Aaron Walls SEO Book and now a guy who is not an SEO, Mr Brown trying to sell his book SEO Essentials and trying to reach the top keywords in his challenge to do so.

He started his seo campaign challenge on July 1st, we read this on July 17th, he has a new domain, so do we, he’s in the US, were in the UK, where calling it the Battle of the Pond, admittedly I did live in Florida for a while and would be happy to return if there’s any offers out there, so lets see how we go.

Now I am all for enterprise, but people should stick to what there good at, you would not let a train driver decorate your home because he had read some good tips in a book and wanted to try them out, if your business is really serious about search engine optimization, get yourself an seo expert, you will save yourself a lot of money, time and grief in the long run.

The following are ten good reasons and tips to pay for SEO.

Can a blackhat SEO consultant ever go too far?

Apr 16, 2007   //   by FreshTraffic   //   internet news, seo techniques  //  Comments Off

I think that was answered earlier today when the Google employee Matt Cutts SEO blog was hacked by the owner of a blackhat SEO blog.

Whitehat SEO Turns to the Dark side!
In a moment of madness the whitehat of Matt Cutts was temporarily tossed aside as he recipricated in kind and hacked the blackhat’s SEO blog

Obviously that’s not what really happened. A hackers had some fun with two site owners.

I’m sure Matt and Dark SEO Team will fix their sites quite quickly, so I took screenshots for prosperity

Text on the page:

This site have been hacked by
Dark SEO Team.
nous sommes le proprietaire de toi
Shoutz to Dan “the man”, the 302 hijack t33m, NYC SEO gang, Linusx, pentazilla, daxster, boogybonmot, Earl+Duke, davenator, cRWc, monkeyboy, the canadian crew::J&T,
spamhuntress, LB, jb, NW, -eng, U(r|d)(s|i), L/S, Z-man, scbl, RandomFish, huZZah, chivesmack, Shchoeoe+npMMo, lejackalgris, theGUY to GoTo, phenssen, Romanian Brothers and all the FORUMS!!

In BLACK SEO’in We TrUsT!!!

.:: Dark SEO Team ::. (link back Dark SEO Team blog)

Despite the illegal nature of hacking it is very funny. Matts SEO blog now link to the home page of Dark SEO Team which has also being hacked!

Screenshot below:

The text is quite funny-

Defaced by Matt ! I ownz you, Dark seo team
Of course I’m lying when I make everyone believe that content is King.

Of course black hat SEO and spamdexing are the only Kings.
Google is just a stupid algorithm relying on spammy backlinks.
But you guys had no right to let everyone know. That’s why I defaced your bloody DST site. To show the entire world how evil a white hat can be.

In fact, I’m as evil as my employer

All your backlinks are belong to us !

**Head of the Google’s Webspam team** (link back to Matt’s SEO Blog)

If the hackers read this I think you rule, so don’t hack my sites

Is Your Website White Hat?

Apr 14, 2007   //   by FreshTraffic   //   search engine optimization, seo techniques  //  530 Comments

Without traffic, a website will struggle to fulfil its purpose, whether it is to inform, entertain or to sell. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) techniques are important because a website or blog that is optimized is more likely to be found on Google, MSN or Yahoo. This in turn leads to more traffic. It is in the selection of these techniques that the differences between white and black hats can be seen.

In the old Western movies, the one wearing the white hat was seen as the good guy, the one wearing black was the bad guy (and the one wearing grey was the shifty guy who did whatever benefited him). In the world of SEO, these terms have significantly different meanings – although some people take the moral viewpoint that the white hat is still the ‘good guy’. On the other hand those who follow black hat techniques would say that being black hat is about competing with the search engines while white hat is about competing with your fellow webmasters.

White hat is the term used to describe techniques and methods that fully comply with the Search Engine guidelines (or as some like to say it is ‘doing everything Google tells you to do’). For example, writing original articles for your site would be considered white hat, while the use of software to generate thousands of pages of content automatically would be considered black hat.

Of course, nothing is that simple in reality and there are numerous areas that would be considered grey. For example, using some form of content generation software to modify PLR (private label rights) material to generate pages lies somewhere between these two extremes.

Admittedly, automatically generated black hat sites can generate some serious short-term profits. However, the search engines are getting smarter with their algorithms and when they discover the use of black hat techniques will generally de-index the pages of a site so that it won’t receive any more traffic from that source. In particular, if the software being used for automatic generation leaves tell-tale signs, known as a footprint, the process of de-indexing can be rapid. The other main problem is that many of these techniques generate content which the search engine spiders love, but are useless for humans (although it can make for a laugh to try to read some of it).

White hat techniques focus on developing content that is original and useful to both spiders and people. The main drawback with white hat strategies are that it takes longer to reach your desired goal, but the results can be significant when you reach there. The other nice thing is that there is much less chance that you will be de-indexed by the search engines and that your site, and any profits generated, will be around for the long haul.

Search Engine Optimization Tips and Tricks

Apr 14, 2007   //   by FreshTraffic   //   seo, seo techniques, website principles  //  163 Comments

Everyone knows that search engine optimization is the game to play these days. After all, it seems as though it’s the only thing that everyone talks about anymore. But how do you go about properly optimizing your website? Do you really need to spend a bundle of money for special tools and consultants?

The answer is no – as long as you have a little bit of time and willingness to learn. In this article, we’ll take a look at some simple steps you can take that have been proven to greatly improve the ranking of websites within search engine results.

But first, I’ll define search engine optimization, according to Dictionary.com, so that we start on the same page: [search engine optimization is] the process of choosing targeted keywords and keyword phrases related to a Web site so the site will rank high when those terms are part of a Web search; abbr. SEO. A good basic definition – you will see in a moment, however, that SEO does go above and beyond mere keywords.

So let’s get started from the ground up.

Website Structure

We’ll start at the very basis – your website’s structure. This pertains to the way your site is put together, and every other aspect of SEO builds upon this. I’ll start with the basic website/web page elements you do not want to have, and I’ll also explain why:

>Re-directs – Re-directs refer to pages that are blank and just point to another page. Many search engines run into trouble when they try to add re-direct pages to their databases, so this is something you want to stay away from. Many re-direct pages are not indexed, and if you are using a re-direct for your homepage, there goes any chance you may have had of any part of your website landing in search results.

> Frames – Frames consist of essentially two separate web pages being displayed as one. Frames are usually used so that, for instance, a constant navigation menu can be displayed in a panel on the left side of the screen, while the rest of the screen changes each time a link in the navigation panel is clicked. This can make a website look snazzy, but search engines just can’t process frames, and you’ll end up with the same problems as if you tried to use re-directs. It is best to stay away from frames. The good news is that you can emulate the function of frames pretty easily, through the use of simple HTML – the only difference is that you’ll have to include the navigation menu code on each page, but it is worth doing this to have your website indexed.

> Image maps – Image maps are images that have had separate links added to them. To illustrate, suppose you have created an image with three areas of text on it: ‘Home’ ‘Help’ and ‘Links’. By “mapping” that image, you can create three separate links around each area of text, without having to break the image into three smaller images. Image maps are usually used for navigation menus, but here is where the problem comes in: search engines cannot follow the links in a navigation menu. (Aren’t you starting to get tired of all the problems these navigation menus cause?) There is an easy work-around, though, if you really want to use image maps – just include the links as text links somewhere else on each page that has an image map. Search engines will be able to follow these text links and index the rest of your site.

> Macromedia Flash – You either have a love or hate relationship with Flash, but the bottom line is it chokes up search engines too. If you don’t have to use it, please, don’t. (Not only for your sake, but for the sake of us who have gotten just a little bit tired of those tacky Flash headers on every website now!)

> CGI, PHP, and all that stuff – CGI, PHP, and other web programming and scripting languages are very powerful and can contribute a great deal to a website’s functionality. But dynamic web pages are just one more thing that search engines can’t digest. Oftentimes, there may be no getting around using scripting in a website, but use it sparingly, and if you’re using it for the sole reason of looking impressive when HTML would do the job just fine, by all means, switch to HTML!

So now you have a basic understanding of the technologies and areas to avoid when building – or re-designing – your website. A properly structured website facilitates the easier “crawling” of “spiders” through it so that it receives a higher search engine results ranking.

We’ll now move on to the content of your website, an often-overlooked aspect of search engine optimization.

Website Content

The content your website contains is very important. All the search engine crawling in the world won’t do you any good if the search engine “spiders” don’t find any useful content on your site. Oftentimes, you won’t see search engine optimization programs cover your website’s content, but this is a very important point that I think should not be left out.

Your website should consist of a good amount of relevant, explanatory content, containing your keywords (which we’ll talk about in a few moments) and several good supporting images (we’ll get to those in a second as well).

Upon hearing that more text is better, many webmasters make the mistake of adding un-decipherable gibberish to their sites. This is also something we’ll discuss under the Keywords & META Tags section, but for now I will say that this is a big no-no. Search engines can tell when you’re trying to fool them, and if they consider your site to have committed a large offence, they may even permanently blacklist your domain from their results database. So it is extremely important that the content on your website makes sense.

One good idea is to include articles on your website. Search engines greatly prefer content that changes often, and what better way to have changing content than to continuously post articles on your site. Not only will you be perceived as an expert in your field, you’ll also make the search engines happy.

I think that’s as far as I’ll go with content – much of what will be discussed in the next section applies here as well, so keep reading!

Keywords & META Tags

Keywords are yet another integral part of your search engine optimization campaign. For starters, you need to sit down with a sheet of paper (and don’t forget your good old thinking cap!) and think of keywords that pertain to your business. (For the record, keywords can be both single words and phrases – just make sure they’re not too long!) Think of what your website does, and develop keywords that you would use to describe your website and its content. It does not matter how many keywords you come up with, although it is best to have no less than five (and the less you have, the more targeted your search engine marketing can be).

After you’ve developed your list of keywords, there are a few things you’re going to want to do with them. First, sprinkle them within the pages of your site. Anywhere you have text on your website, include these keywords. It is best to have at least three per page (of each one), as the search engines likely will not pay attention to them otherwise. Keep these tips in mind when inserting your keywords:

> Do not repeat a keyword over and over.

> Do not repeat a keyword over and over (or even just once) and make it the same colour as your website’s background.

> Do not include your keywords all together as gibberish that no normal human can understand.

The second thing you’re going to want to do is to include these keywords in the descriptive sentences you will use in the ALT tags for the images you have on your site. Again, follow the rules in bold above that can be applied to ALT tags.

Third, add these keywords to your META tags. There are three elements to the META tags that you will be using: Title, Description, and Keywords. For the Title and Description META tags, follow the rules in the bold text above – and be sur
e to include your company name in these two tags, if it is not already one of your keywords. For the Keywords META tag, you can go to town adding your keywords, one right after the other! Separate them with a comma, and do not include the same keyword more than once! Doing so (as well as violating any of the bolded ‘Do not’ points above) can also get your domain name permanently blacklisted.

Inbound Links

Another great search engine optimization technique that is often overlooked is incoming links. Every link you have coming into your website raises the “awareness” of your site in the search engine’s minds. If the links come from websites with high Google Pagerank ratings, that is even better (in Google’s eyes, anyway – this doesn’t apply to MSN, Yahoo!, etc.).

How do you go about getting links to your website? One of the easiest ways is to add your site to as many industry-related online directories as you can find. A couple of other quick and easy methods include posting ads at Craigslist and other free classifieds sites, and swapping your links with similar (competing or not – this is up to you!) sites.

Remember, the more inbound links you have, the higher your Google Pagerank, as well as your position in the search results of Google, MSN, and the others.

Outbound Links

Did you know that outbound links are just as important as inbound links? Perhaps the search engines don’t care for traffic hogs, but whatever their reason, websites containing links leaving their sites consistently rank higher in search engine results than those that do not.

So who do you link to? Remember that you can swap links with other related sites and you can both benefit. You can also link to complementary websites that visitors to yours may be interested in (but that don’t in any way compete with you). The main idea for getting both inbound and outbound links is to be aggressive, as well as innovative in your approach.

Conclusion

This is by no means an exhaustive guide. But I can’t keep rambling on and on either. You need time to go perform the tasks we’ve discussed here today, so that your site can be on its way to the top of the search engine results.

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