The following are a list of mistakes can ensure that your site maintains a low ranking with the search engines. Avoid at all costs.
* Specifying no title for your page *
I cannot stress how important the title of a web page is. Failing to specify a descriptive, keyword optimized title will do untold damage to your ranking with the search engines. It is the equivalent to owning a shop and boarding up its windows. Ideally each page on your site should have a unique, content-specific title.
* Excessive use of images or Flash animation on a page *
If your web page has plenty of nice-looking graphics and eye-popping Flash animation and not a lot of textual content it may indeed look nice but have you ever considered what how the search engines might see it.
Search engines thrive on textual content, scavenging as much text as they can but unfortunately they cannot understand images or Flash animations like we can and so will find nothing of real value on your page. Try to balance your page so that the textual content is given priority and that any images or animations are used only when needed. Also it is a good idea to attach some text to an image by using its ALT tag as search engines use this text when determining rank.
* Complicated menu systems *
If you must use a complicated menu system be sure to provide a site map that is clearly accessible from the homepage of your site and contains only textual links to your pages. This ensures that even if the spider cannot understand your menu system that it will be able to find the pages on your site.
By Frank Kilkelly
The following are a list of mistakes can ensure that your site maintains a low ranking with the search engines. Avoid at all costs.
The META tags are used to provide extra information about a web page. There was once a time where a good search engine ranking could be achieved by simply changing the value of the META tags. However these days are long gone. Nowadays the META Tags are decreasing in importance in the eyes of the search engines who are using more sophisticated methods of ranking pages (namely link popularity, optimized anchor text).
There are many different types of META tags but the one that can affect ranking are the Keywords META tag and the Description META tag.
Keywords META tag:
This tag contains keywords relevant to a page. In the past search engines referenced this to determine how to rank a particular page. However many people started to abuse this and stuffed the tag with keywords that were not relevant to the content of the page. This confused search engines and subsequently returned weaker search results. To combat this less and less emphasis has been placed on the Keywords META tag. However this does not mean that it is entirely useless. Here are some reasons to still include it:
* Some search engines still use it
Although most search engines do not use the tag there are undoubtedly still some that do. For this reason place around 15-20 keywords relevant to your site or page into the tag. Do not attempt to cheat the search engines by repeating keywords as this is considered spamming and they may look unfavourably on this.
* Account for misspellings of keyphrases
People can misspell certain keyphrases that you may be optimizing for so it is common to place these misspellings into the Keywords META tag. This allows you to rank in search engine results for misspellings without having to represent them on the actual content of your page.
Description META tag:
In the past this tag was used to specify the text that would appear in search engine results alongside the link to your site. Keywords could be placed into this text to influence ranking. However it was abused similar to the Keywords META tag and has befallen the same fate, meaning it is not as useful as it once was. Some search engines do not display it in their results (most notably Google, which retrieves the text from content on your page) and do not use it to rank a site. Having said that some search engines do still use it so again it is a mistake to ignore it completely.
Descriptions placed into this tag should, strangely enough, be very descriptive of the page or site they reside in. Include a few relevant keywords/keyphrases that you are optimizing for in the description and try to limit its length to 25-30 words. Also try to use no more than two sentences.
Although not as important as they once where, the META tags can still influence a search engine when it comes to deciding whether your web page is relevant or not.
Keywords META tag:
15-20 keywords, include misspellings of keywords/keyphrases
Description META tag:
Include keywords/keyphrases, 25-30 words, no more than two sentences.
By Frank Kilkelly
If you've been feeling like Tom Cruise climbing up the side of some remote jagged mountain in the blazing hot sun and concerned you're facing "mission impossible", chances are you own a web site.
Adding to the intense thrill of web site ownership are keyword comparisons and bidding for good keyword positions in search engines. You might hire a search engine optimization specialist who can track elusive algorithm clues and is unfazed by page rank drama. Your programmers and designers insist they get along. The marketing department actually believes deadlines are met. The new bank account is waiting for fresh revenue. And oh yes, it's assumed someone will come looking for your web site and wants to use it.
You did build it for them, right?
For every search result, there is the possibility that:
a. The engine will display a description that makes sense. Or not.
b. The page the search engine refers to does what the description said it would do and is about what the search engine said it would cover. Or not.
Your SEO/SEM, if you hired a good one, helped you write your title tag statement and Meta page description and structured it so it makes sense in SERPs (search engine results pages).
Your Usability professional, if you hired one, evaluated the page to make sure it would meet customer expectations and convince visitors there are other hot pages inside the web site to look at too. Without call to action prompts, well displayed, logically labeled navigation links and credible content, the chance of someone remaining on that page is pretty slim.
Says Gordon Hotchkiss, President and CEO of Enquiro Search Solutions, Inc., in a recent Search Day article written by Shari Thurow, called Creating Compelling Search Engine Ads and Landing Pages, "Once searchers arrive on your landing pages, you have 13.2 seconds to convince visitors that they are on the right site."
Had enough of web page abandonment? Are those cost per click fees putting you further in credit card debt and not producing any bang for your buck? Which part of "understand your web site visitor" didn't make it to the drawing board?
I know this is hard. You're not a mind reader. Unless you have access to costly studies and data about who to build your web site for and their computer usage habits, chances are you simply wanted a web site and hoped people would find it and use it. By incorporating the skills and expertise of an SEO/SEM along with a user centered design specialist, you will not be wastefully tossing your web site off the search engine cliff. Rather, your adoring fans will clamor up the cliff to get to it.
Sometimes a web designer is also trained in these fields or is partnered with people who are. This is something to consider when shopping around for web site assistance.
Here are some things to keep in mind when studying your web site. You can also ask your team to consider these points.
1. What happens after your site reaches top rank? It's lonely up there, if nobody notices your page or understands the page description. How effective is high rank? Do people really click on "sponsored" pages vs. natural results?
2. Pay attention to inside "landing" pages. Optimize them for easy indexing and point visitors to your homepage, sale products or free stuff.
3. Be wise about what you invest. Every cost per click must be productive. If not, a usability web site review can locate roadblocks.
4. It's about the user experience. Really. It's a common habit for web site owners to create the site for themselves based on what they like and want. When you receive a complaint, consider it a favor. Yes, some people are mean and critical. But, enhancements are improvements that sometimes benefit a lot of people, and you too, in the long run.
5. Don't settle for minimum effort. One of your goals is to reach potential customers and readers. Your optimized pages reach people looking for them. Your user centered pages reach people wanting to use them and will refer them to friends.
6. Your competition does it better. Not by packing hidden keywords and buying links, but by carefully targeting keywords, providing cleverly written content and delivering user centered design.
7. Think sustainability. If you plan on your web site being around for a while, make this a checkpoint for every future decision related to your site. If someone has an idea that won't impact the long-term sustainability of the site, the site may disappear out of sheer user boredom. And search do engines notice.
8. Understanding your visitors and customers allows for more creative keyword combinations. Put a feedback form on your web site. Ask them how they found your web site. Ask them what keywords they used. Ask them why they came or what they wanted to find. Ask them if they found what they were looking for and if not, provide room for comments so they can explain what happened. This information is a gold mine for you.
9. Never mislead your visitors. Be accurate with what you say a site or page is about. Search results relevancy establishes trust from the start.
10. The elegance of action. The act of landing on a relevant, accurate, persuasive, interesting page leads to the fluid, unencumbered desire to know more and click deeper. Aim for this.
Do not drop your web site over the search engine cliff without considering the usability effect. Design it to be productive and user centered. This will pay off in many ways. Remember your original requirements and goals and trace back every dollar you spend to meeting them. Marketing efforts are strengthened when you make your visitors feel welcome, informed and productive once they arrive at your web site.
By Kimberly Krause Berg
I often talk to people who have lost faith in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) firms because of bad experiences. Either they saw no results, felt that they were tricked into subscribing to a service that could not work, or that they wasted money on a firm that did them no good. Although I agree that there are bad SEO firms out there, I know that there are also many good ones. It's your job to make sure you find an SEO firm that will work for you.
Search engines are the basis of Internet existence and survival. Recent studies have concluded that over 90 percent of all web surfers use search engines to find what they are looking for. Thus, in order to be successful on the Internet, your website must be search engine friendly. If people who search the Internet for your products or services are not finding your Web site, you need search engine optimization (SEO).
Now some of you may take on the task of optimizing your own sites. For those people, there are plenty of "how to" articles on the Internet that can help you. If you need more help, drop me an email and I'll give you some ideas. However, many webmasters decide instead to let an SEO company handle their marketing. Search Engine Optimization is a full time job, and many companies need to hire someone to do it for them. If this is your intent, you should know what to look for, and what to watch for, when selecting the right SEO company.
1. Make Sure They, and Their Clients, are Successful and Well Optimized
If your SEO company does not rank high on most major search engines under their specific services, then they probably won't have the ability to get you high ranking on yours. For example, if you're located in Boston, your SEO company should at least rank on the first page in Google, Yahoo, and MSN under such search terms as "Boston SEO," "Boston Internet Marketing," "Boston Web Marketing," or even "Boston Web Design." If you found them through pay-per-click or sponsored listings, this only means that they do not have the ability to optimize their own websites and are forced to pay for their clientele.
In addition, it is a good idea to check the success of their clients. All SEO companies have a client listing, if for no other reason than to offer front page links to their big spenders. Take a good look at these clients' sites. Check for quality of content and keywords. View the source and see how well the meta tags are structured and how well they apply to the content given. And most importantly, go to the major search engines and find where these clients land on the search terms they are targeting. If the SEO company has created a successful marketing campaign for each of its clients, chances are you're looking at a good SEO firm. However, if neither the SEO company or its listed clients have high rankings, I would recommend you find a firm that does.
2. Make Sure Someone Answers the Phone or Responds to Email
Although this may sound funny, I can't stress how important it is to find a SEO company that will be there when you need them. Before choosing an SEO company, call them. If they pick up, you're in good shape. If they don't pick up, but call back within 2 hours, you're still looking pretty good. If it takes you a handful of phone calls and emails, or a number of days to get a response, you might be in bad shape.
Say you've just received a new product that you would like to market. Say that product is seasonal, only for the holiday season, and your ability to sell it relies on the timeliness with which you can get it seen on the search engines. You need a company that you can contact to put immediate marketing efforts to your new pages and products. If it takes 3 to 4 weeks for your SEO firm to make changes and improvements, you might want to look for a company that can keep up with your fast-paced business and demanding customers.
3. Make Sure They Understand How Search Engines Work
Keeping a website at the top of the search engines has become a science. The best search engines frequently modify the way their databases list Web sites, and constantly change the search criteria used to find and present web pages.
To understand the quality of a company's search engine optimization services, you must first understand how search engines work. Search engines list websites in two distinct manners: pay per click listings and organically optimized listings.
Pay per click listings are the listings that appear on the top or right side of most search engines under the heading "Sponsored Links", or some related term. This type of listing is paid for. Web sites that wish to get top search engine placement without optimization can pay a certain cost that is charged to their search engine accounts every time their sponsored link is clicked on by a prospective client. Cost per click rates range anywhere between $0.10 and $10.00 per search. Some bigger-budget eCommerce businesses can spend up to $50,000 a month on pay per click marketing.
Organically optimized listings are the listings that appear at the top of search engine pages without having to pay for these listings. This type of listing is free. However, your website must be properly optimized to appear at the top of all search engines using organic optimization. Search engines use unique programs which send agents referred to as "spiders" and "robots" to your Web site to collect data. Your website must be structured properly to aid these robots in their search for information.
A quality SEO firm will know how to properly structure your website for top organic optimization and, ultimately, top search engine placement. Watch out for SEO firms that take your money and invest in pay-per-click marketing. Although this will get you immediate results, it does nothing to optimize your site in the long run, will not be as profitable as an organic marketing campaign, and will keep you dependent on SEO companies for your success. And pay-per-click marketing is something you can easily do yourself; if that's the route you wish to take.
4. Make Sure They Follow-Up with Internet Research
In addition to knowing how to optimize correctly, an SEO firm should be constantly investigating the Internet's most popular search engines in order to stay aware of the latest techniques for promoting a Web site on the Internet. If they are not giving you monthly reports on the status of your listings, the increasing quantity of your links, and the number of unique visitors to your site, you might not be working with the right SEO company. These reports should not only show where your site is ranked on each of the major search engines for each of the major terms you target, but also show you how you have improved from the previous month and where your competitors stand.
5. Make Sure You Constantly Know What They're Doing
The major problem most people have with internet marketing guys is that they don't see them everyday. It's not like these guys come into the office everyday, or even sit down with the boss for a daily conference call. Most of them work out of their homes, spending 12 hours a day on the computer. Now I'm not saying that they will take your money and do nothing for you, but it's good to keep your eyes on them like you would any employee. On the days that they work for you, have them send you day-end reports detailing the pages they optimized, the content they added, the keywords they marketed, and the links they added. This will allow you a better understanding of what they do on your clock, and allow you to keep your eye on their progress and effectiveness.
Overall, you can find a good SEO company. There are hundreds out there. But it is your responsibility to make sure you find the right one. Don't just pick the first firm you find, then complain when you see no results. Find your results before you hire any SEO company, and you will put your business on the right track for Internet success.
By Nathaniel Long
1. Google love ...
Google and all its programming is not some form of enemy - unless you are a piece of web scum, that is.
Google is based on the idea that it should help people FIND WHAT THEY ARE LOOKING FOR.
Sit with the statement above. Meditate upon it if necessary. Use EFT.
But UNDERSTAND that a pointless site that has no unique content will NEVER get ANYWHERE with Googly or any other outfit that is using their techniques and methods.
You can buy books and ebooks until your wallet bleeds on "how to trick Google" this and that - just forget it.
Unless you have SOME THING that SOME PEOPLE will HONESTLY WANT and be grateful for when they find it, there is no hope and there is no point in reading any further.
Also, trying to fight Google or be cleverer somehow is pointless, distructive and the wrong attitude.
Learn to LOVE Google and work WITH IT.
If you have the contents, and you follow the most simplest common spider robot courtesy protocols, then it will come and it will index you.
It will be that mystical bridge between YOUR (customers, people, communities, friends) and your site.
That's what it does, that's what it is, that's it's nature and if you know that, then all is well.
You will get good results following the rest of this.
2. Dressing For Google ...
So now, let's have a DECENT website with DECENT content.
A decent website means:
- All the pages and directories have links that work properly and allow Google to slide with immense ease from one place to the other, without ever hitting an annoying dead end;
- All the pages are cleaned up so that you have the absolute MINIMUM of html instructions and nothing that doesn't need to be there, such as vast and pointless java scripts or the truly appalling "mso" instructions;
- All the pages have the right meta tags which ACCURATELY REFLECT what's on them, and including title, content, description, keywords at the very minimum;
- All your pages have proper headings and descriptions and content WHICH MATCHES your meta tags to a T;
- All your images are title and alt tagged CORRECTLY and resident on your own site.
Decent content means:
- Whatever you've got, it is USEFUL. If it is UNIQUE, so much the better, and that's not hard. All you need to is to be yourself and use your own words, even if you are affiliate - write your own reviews, put your own dog's picture on it, be unique, be YOURSELF.
- Whatever you've got, I'm sure there's some people who want to look at it, read it, do something with it. There's billions of people out there. Just make sure YOU KNOW WHO YOUR PEOPLE ARE and write to THEM.
- Decent content also means that what you've got is presented so that both Google and a human being get it what that is all about.
When your website is up and running, test, test and test again. Try every single hyperlink on your own computer, on someone else's and on all manner of different browsers.
Only when you are happy that it all works as it should, we go to Step 3.
3. Let Google SEE You
You need a minimum of 35 decent links going to your site for Google to take any notice of you and start paying attention.
Please be aware that "one link" is just that - www.snark.net is NOT the same as http://www.snark.net, which is not the same as http://snark.net, nor even remotely similar to any variation including http://snark.net/index.php
All, each and every ONE is viewed as a single separate link - when you need 35 ALL GOING TO ONE SINGLE ADDRESS to do the magic.
So now, to the "decent links" part.
A site that isn't indexed much by Google or doesn't turn up until page 1,993,990 on a Google search for its kind is WORTHLESS to you.
Find HIGH RANKED directory listings for your site and list your site THERE. This goes for any of the many variations on getting a link from another site, be it a guestbook signed or an article placed. Don't waste your time with anything that itself doesn't turn up on Google's own top ten.
Now, you've got a date with Google.
What we need to do next is to BUILD A RELATIONSHIP - prove our value and worth over time, in other words.
That's the next of our Google top tips - seniority and reliability.
4. Be THERE When Google Calls!
Make sure you've got a decent ISP with 99% uptime or better - that's of course elementary.
Don't ever take your site down for whatever reason and make any changes gradually.
Most importantly, get the best tracking software you can afford and find out who is already coming, and what they are coming for.
That's the key to long term success - to find what you're doing well and then expanding on it. For example, if one person came from Google (or any other search engine) for the term "snark", then build on that. Write more articles about snarks, what to do with them and without them, collect snark images - in other words, become the first port of call for any snark enquiry.
Build on your speciality some more with a web directory, guest articles, reviews and then we're more than 3/4 the way to a real web presence and Google responding to changes in your site near instantly, which is what we want.
5. Keep Improving ALL THE TIME.
The final success tip is to keep improving ALL THE TIME.
Pull up the html or php you wrote a year ago - I bet you can do better now.
Review your meta tags and your site copy and improve on both.
Name your pages, images and directories better. Improve the content, structure, navigation of your site.
Keep at it with directory listings and submissions - directories come and go, you need to be always there with the "state of the art".
Keep doing useful link exchanges with matching high ranked sites too and keep adding VALUE and UNIQUE CONTENT to your clean and well presented pages.
That's the most important thing of all - to keep at it with continuous improvement.
Follow these steps EXACTLY with a well named new site with decent content - and you WILL see immediate improvement in your Google rankings.
Good Luck and Good Spirits always,
By Silvia Hartmann
Getting your website up and running is hard enough. After spending hours getting the HTML code just right and trying to make sure that you provide a great user experience, the last thing you want to do is change everything around in order to get your site ranked higher on the search engines. Follow these tips from the beginning and you'll see the benefits.
1) Not changing the title tag from page to page. A lot of people realize the importance of the title tag. But few sites change the title tag from page to page. If you have a large site with a lot of different pages targeting different keywords, then change the title tag to reflect the keywords of the particular page. Keeping the title tag the same throughout the site may optimize the site as a whole, but you are limiting the amount of search terms that you can use. The shorter the title the better, you don't want to get caught stuffing the title tag with too many terms. Just change it from page to page.
2) Not using a H1 tag. Use a H1 tag. Really. No, it's no 1996, but search engine bots love the H1 tag. They view it as "hey, this is so important, it's in the H1 tag." Everybody got carried away with putting neat graphics and flash on their site and have neglected this tag. In fact a lot of sites use a graphical banner where their H1 should be. While these certainly look good, search engine bots can't read graphics, they are just bots. Use the H1 tag and use your keywords in it. It will help the visiting Search Engine bot determine what your site or page is about.
3) Using "Home" as a link text. Everyone uses "home" as the text to link back to their index page. However, this might not be the best choice. After all, it is a link. We all know how important links are in search engine rankings. When you use the word "home", the search engine bot will chalk up another point to "home" for your site. Why not use a keyword as this text? If your site is about hubcaps...why not use "hubcaps" for the link text? This will help you in that it a)adds a link within your site using "hubcaps" and b) help the search engine bot figure out a little better what your site has to offer.
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By Richard Martin
If you are confused about terms like "search engine optimization" or having a "search engine friendly" site, then listen up! I am here to help.
Depending on how long you have had, or considered having, a website online, you have heard terms thrown around like the above or even worse, acronyms! SEO comes to mind.
Really there is not that much to fear even if you have no idea right now what is really meant by having a search engine friendly site.
Here is what search engines like to have in their results when people type in keywords:
1. A site with lots of content.
2. A site with UNIQUE content (Original - meaning you wrote it or you paid someone to write it for you.)
3. Sites that are well organized link-wise (meaning simple navigation from the main page of your site to every other page of your site.)
4. Sites that have links pointing to them from other popular, relevant sites. (sites that are similar in content to yours but that are not in direct competition with yours in content)
5. Sites that change regularly (not static but always growing with new content on a regular basis)
7. Tightly themed sites. It is easier for an engine to rank your site properly (where you want it to be) if you are not all over the map in content.
Exception: Portal sites or directories. But this is an item for another article all together
What About The Complicated Stuff?
There really isn't anything complicated about what the search engines want. But if you have stumbled into a search engine forum you were likely blown away with comments and tips that were completely over your head.
There is a difference between basic, standard optimization and the stuff they talk about in those forums. While visting SEO forums is good to keep up on new things as you go along, many people get confused and the forums are the breeding grounds for confusion when you are a beginner.
Try to learn advanced SEO from noted experts in the field rather than taking anything in chats or forums as gospel. A lot more people THINK they know what they are doing than actually do.
Remember that anything someone is willing to give away for free which, if it works, could be worth tens of thousands of dollars in high rankings resulting in high sales, is probably something that is old hat and not effective anymore.
But for now, you have a lot of work to do on the basics. The advanced stuff can come later. Relative to the advanced SEO, getting the basics right is the most powerful move you can make because you are going from zero to moving up in rankings by, many times, tens of thousands of spaces in a relatively short time.
Advanced SEO focuses on moving your site from high rankings slightly higher rankings.
Your content is the most important thing about a website. It must be friendly to the search engines meaning no special java script or other stuff. Just good old fashioned HTML. You will do fine with PHP, SHTML, and other things, but for the purpose of this article, HTML is the way most people construct their sites.
You should use a good density of your main keyword phrase for each page of your site within the content. If you are going after a high ranking for the phrase "dog leashes" you need to have that phrase in the title of the page and throughout the content.
Programs that are great for analyzing your site and giving feedback on how to improve your rankings don't come any more highly recommended that Internet Business Promoter from Axandra.
More Info: http://www.Axandra.com/go.to/jdh358
Nice thing about the software above is that it teaches you search engine optimization while it works on your site. So having it is like having a course on optimization while your site is altered for the best placement in the search engines at the same time.
The main recommendation I have for people starting to deal with optimizing their sites for the engines is to take things one at a time and get the basics down before you start messing with advanced strategies.
And when you start down that road, information you pay for is usually more accurate and more valuable than hanging around in forums. High rankings are worth a LOT of money and people don't work hard to become experts just to give that information away.
Good luck and get to work!
By Jack Humphrey