Getting Honest With The Search Engines
Getting Honest With The Search Engines
I spend a lot of time reading newsletters and forum postings about Search Engine Marketing. More often than not, people are asking about methods used to improve Search Engine rankings: what works, what doesn't, and what will get you in trouble.
A program that searches documents for specified keywords and returns a list of the documents where the keywords were found.
A formula or set of steps for solving a particular problem.
Frankly, no one can predict what will happen from day to day with the Search Engines. Only the Search Engine companies themselves know if the algorithms will change from one day to the next. Even the Search Engine rules change from month to month, sometimes daily. Think of the changes that have happened since pay for inclusion and pay-per-click have taken over the market for Search Engine results.
It seems so simple to try and comply with the Search Engine rules. Even though optimization adds to the basic content of a site and source code, there are ways to approach this without stepping over the line.
We personally do not use the methods mentioned below (methods to avoid, methods to be wary of) in order to play it the absolute safest way, using a long term plan in providing you optimum ranking in the Search Engines.
Methods to avoid
* Keyword stuffing. "Stuffing" keywords into places where keywords don't belong, such as comment tags, image ALT tags where the keywords have nothing to do with the specific image
* Invisible text. Text color the same as background color
* Automated submissions. Using automated tools to deliver huge numbers of pages to submission pages of Search Engines
* Submissions to "thousands" of Search Engines. A waste of time, since the major Search Engines/Directories drive the majority of the traffic to websites
* FFA (free for all) links. Link popularity is good, but only when the links are relevant; a link from a page of random links is not worth nearly as much as a link from a site that is relevant to your site
* Search Engine Marketing companies hosting your pages on their server. The marketing company "owns" your pages, and if you decide you want to move them, you may have a hard time wresting them away. (This is not always the case with marketing companies that also provide hosting, but you need to carefully choose when using this option.)
Methods to be wary of
* Doorway pages
* Maintenance programs
Also known as stealth, a technique used by some Web sites to deliver one page to a Search Engine for indexing while serving an entirely different page to everyone else.
Cloaking is very difficult to do correctly, if you do not have an expert providing this service you could well be banned by the Search Engines. There are ways for this to be done that are accepted by some Search Engines. In general, cloaking is not always accepted by the Search Engine rules and can be a gamble unless you are certain your service provider knows what they are doing. Check credentials and get referrals from people who have used their services.
A page made specifically to rank well in Search Engines for particular keywords, serving as an entry point through which visitors pass to the main content.
Doorway pages are not accepted as they used to be by the Search Engines. A carefully crafted doorway page done by hand is entirely different from an automated doorway page generated by software. A few well-designed pages are a far cry from mass generated automated pages sent in large numbers through the Search Engine submission page, which are often considered as spam. Again, check credentials and get referrals from people who have used their services.
There are times when a page drops from the Search Engine listings or you re-design the page which might give you a reason to re-submit the page to the Search Engine. Re-submitting your pages every month is not always necessary. Having a log stats program in place will help you see which pages are still listed, along with a monthly ranking report. If you have these tools you should be able to see if any of your pages have changed. Be wary of people who consistently re-submit your pages, since re-submission can sometimes cause your pages to be dropped if they are already listed in the database.
My own experience with a very large website I did Search Engine marketing for, showed that the older (longer) the pages were in the Search Engine results, the better for link popularity and ranking. Of course, paid inclusion can give you more security in having your web pages stabilized in the Search Engine results.
A good maintenance plan will include providing consultation, a ranking report, tweaking keywords in your source code as needed for a monthly/six month/yearly fee and may also include log stats so you can see where your traffic is coming from and what keywords your visitors are using to visit your website.
Methods that work
Good content Content is one of the most important items you need for your website. Once visitors arrive, you need to keep them there. Adding keyword-rich text that makes sense and serves the concept of the web page improves your ranking and keeps your visitors interested. The more text, the better for Search Engine spiders when they index a website.
Good navigation There is nothing worse than arriving at a website and having difficulty understanding where to go for the information you are seeking. Have easy to use, clearly marked navigation so your visitors click through instead of click-away in frustration. Search Engine spiders (robots) index text and links; having good navigation is important to the indexing of your web pages.
Title/META tags Individualized Title and META tags for each of your important web pages gives you the best chance for optimum success in ranking. Title tags are necessary for Search Engine ranking, in particular with Google's Search Engine. META tags have decreased in importance, but are worth using for clarity and search results. The META description is still used by some Search Engines as the default text indexed by Search Engine spiders for the search results. The keyword tag is the least important but is still used by some engines. My theory is, you never know when the rules of the Search Engines will change, or a new engine will want them, so take the time to include these tags in all your web pages.
Link popularity Links from other popular websites back to your website are one way of increasing your site's popularity. Finding websites with similar content (but not your competitors) and high link popularity, then trading links to be posted on each site, is one way of increasing your site popularity. Good content is vitally important because visitors who stay longer while visiting a website help measure the popularity of the site in the Search Engines.
Paid Inclusion Paying a one-time fee or (as is most recently the case) a yearly renewable subscription fee to be included in the Search Engine results. Directories also use this style of service to accept submissions. Paid inclusion does not guarantee that you will be listed with the Search Engine or Directory, but gives a shorter time-line of acceptance if they do.
PPC (Pay-Per-Click) Overture is the most popular PPC engine. You bid an amount per keyword phrase to get the highest ranking in the Overture search results compared to your competitors.
Google AdWords Select Google AdWords is a program that uses your chosen keywords in an ad in the Google Search Engine results in order to promote click-throughs.
Log Stats programs Having a log stats program is very helpful in tracking your visitors, finding which keywords they are searching on to enter your website, tracking which pages they leave from and much more. Analog is a good free log stats program. WebTrends is a popular paid logs program used by many businesses.
Free submissions take patience After paying for inclusion, try submitting to some of the secondary Search Engines and directories. Long before Google was a household word, I thought it might become popular and submitted the company website. It certainly paid off a year later when Google became the best of the upcoming Search Engines.
Another avenue to venture down are specialty directories. As the web grows larger over time, specialty directories (also known as vertical portals or "vortals") focused on your business area may help you get more link popularity and your company name out to the public.
Stay honest, create good content and do your homework when hiring for services. Using affordable Search Engine Marketing services you will add to your audience exposure on the web. In this way you will always be ahead of the game and hopefully, ahead of your competitors.
*definitions supplied from Webopedia website: http://www.webopedia.com/
**definition supplied from Marketing Terms.com website: http://www.marketingterms.com/
Daria Goetsch is the founder and Search Engine Marketing Consultant for Search Innovation Marketing, a Search Engine Marketing company serving small businesses. She has specialized in Search Engine Optimization since 1998, including three years as the Search Engine Specialist for O'Reilly Media, Inc., a technical book publishing company.
Copyright © 2002-2005 Search Innovation Marketing. http://www.searchinnovation.com All Rights Reserved.
Permission to reprint this article is granted if the article is reproduced in its entirety, without modification, including the bio information. Please include a hyperlink to http://www.searchinnovation.com when using this article in newsletters or online.
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For beginners, link exchange campaigns can be a minefield of problems. For example, here is a question I was asked:"Hi Andy, I have noticed that a lot of sites that request a link exchange from me may have a PR 5 or 6 on their home page and when I click through to the links page there is a PR 0.
How To Conceal Your Website's "Fingerprint" From The Search Engines
The internet marketing industry is now flooded with various page and portal generators.In the good old days the gateway page generators did very well, earning a lot of money for many people.
Submitting to the Search Engines and WebCrawlers
When you want your brand new site to be indexed into major search engines, you usually go to their free submit page and submit your website, correct? Seems like the right thing to do, right?Well, many people fail to realize that not submitting your site is usually better than actually submitting it.Let, me explain.
Crash Course in Getting a #1 Google Ranking
First, here's the rundown of some of the terminology I'm going to use -Inbound Links - Links coming into your site Outbound Links - Links leaving your site Cross Links - Links that you have "traded" with another site (ie, they've got a link from their site to your and you've got a link from your site to theirs) PR (Page Ranking) - Google's measure of how "important" your site isSEO Is Not DeadOk, now lets talk about what you really want to hear - how to get those coveted 1-10 ranks for your keywords. Remember this - SEO is not dead.
Google Ranking WITHOUT Ever Submitting To Google!
A while back, I read an article that explained how to get a good google rating without ever submitting your site to their submission forms. Like you, I was kind of shocked by this statement so I decided to give it a try.
The SEO Gurus poem
Am I alone as I survey that vast wilderness outside,Sat at home every day fettered by my own foolish pride,I may believe I can conceive stunning cunning plans,Yet I perceive the web I weave is lacking vital strands,It may transpire my destiny is to conquer virtual space,But I must wire the best of me to another spidery face,For although knowing everything about business and site,To grow means throwing other experts in to get it right,So even this experienced spider who spins webs so fine,Needs for bliss a guider to show the whole world online,His creation, born bred and reared , now standing serene,Will evoke elation and be revered if it can only be seen,There's no point in Picasso no mike in Michelangelo,If the joints a no go and the sound man doesn't show,So that treasure you're concealing from total global view,Measures up and has meaning with others helping you,We all have inborn talent and also inborn failings,So often scorn a balance, chained to our own railings,And our world misses a website that deserved to be a star,But not unfurled in all its might, merely cowering from afar,Why not take your Van Dyke, or Rembrandt seen by few,And let us make it see the light, exposed to global view,Don't hide them in shadows behind barriers of your mind,Where pride and jealous arrows make them hard to find,Instead turn to experts just as good as you would like to be,Who you'll learn to trust, and who will set your website free.John Fowler trained as a Mathematican and has worked in the IT industry for over 30 years, much of the time in sales related functions.
Sales And Crawlers, Update! Update! Update!
The importance to the algorithmic web crawlers that speed throughout the web is crucial to the successful marketing campaign of your site. Your site would simply be a pretty compilation of HTML, XML, Java and the sort if search engine crawlers did not come around and look over your site.
Monitor Your Visibility in Google, MSN, and Yahoo with these DIY SEO Tools
This is the second part of an article series in which you'll find many tools that you can use to monitor your site's search engine position and see how your do-it-yourself search engine optimization efforts are coming along. The following tools are for monitoring your search results in the three major search engines.
Content Management Systems Eyeball SEOs
Content Management Systems and search engine optimization (SEO) used to be mutually exclusive terms. But the SEO community has been driving the developers of Content Management Systems to integrate more SEO-friendly methodology within their systems.
Complete Web-Site Optimization For Search Engines (Part 1)
SEO or search engine optimization strategy now becomes widely popular among online business operators. Nothing strange about it as it allows to substantially increase your gross income, as a result of growing traffic or visitors flow.
SEO and the Outsourcing of Inbound Link Building
Search Engine Optimization nowadays has a lot to do with building inbound links to your website. Building inbound links is a cumbersome tasks and webmasters have always been looking for shortcuts to do this.
Search Engine Ranking... Oh, the Mystery!
Rankings, Rankings, Rankings!How do you get your website ranked well by the search engines? Well, it isn't as hard as you think, but it may not be as simple either. It takes patience and an ongoing commitment to making search-engine ranking a long-term investment in your website.
Beating the New Google AdWord Rules with Blogs and RSS
When Google Adwords first came on scene, it was not immediately apparent to most people how to utilize the system to create wealth, until John Carpenter popularised it with his Google Cash system, a book he wrote some time back.Since then, Google Adwords has become one of the main traffic generation tools for most affiliates.
When SEO Takes the Value out of a Website
Every webmaster would like to see his/her website to be the number 1 search result returned in search engines. A number 1 spot in Google pretty much guarantees loads of traffic to a website which can then materialize in high revenue for the website owner.
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