Tuesday, November 17, 2009

"Dos" and "Don'ts" of SEOs

The "Dos": Legitimate tricks the SEO masters use to optimize their sites and maintain their high ranking

The search engines don't want to be manipulated by marketers. They want to provide the best unbiased results possible for any given search -- or they'll lose users!

That's why they need to change their algorithms so frequently -- to stay ahead of the tricks people use to get top rankings.

That being said, there are still a lot of legitimate ways you can optimize your site without angering the search engines and causing them to drop you from their list.

Here are some of the best things you can to do ensure your site has a high ranking:

1. Ask relevant sites to link to your site

In the past, scoring a high ranking with a search engine was all about positioning your keywords in "prime real estate" positions in your text and site coding. All that has changed, however. These days, links are king!

Search engines place a huge amount of importance on the number of sites that link to yours. But it's not just the quantity of links that matter, it's also the quality. Search engines look at how relevant the links are -- i.e., how much the content of the linking site has in common with the content on your site.
The more relevant, the better!

Search engines also look at how "important" the linking site is. What kind of "online presence" does it have? How much traffic does it get?

For example, your site will get a higher ranking if it's linked to by sites such as BBC.com or nationalgeographic.com instead of, say, the personal homepage of your friend's neighbour's kid.

2. Pay attention to keyword inclusion and placement

Keywords may no longer be the sole determining factor of a site's ranking, but they're still pretty important. The most useful places to include them are:

•In your domain name -- only make sure your keywords are in the root of your URL, not the stem! For example, if your main keyword phrase is "cell phones," try to get a domain name such as "www.cell-phones.com" instead of "www.mobileusa.com/cell-phones.com." Some search engines will actually penalize sites for including key words in the stem of a URL.


•In the title tags in your source code


•In the meta description of your site -- this is much less important than it used to be, but it can't hurt.


•In your meta keyword tags
HOWEVER: Be sure you only include relevant keywords! Search engines will penalize you if you try to sneak in keywords that have nothing to do with the content of your site.

3. Create content-rich "information pages" to direct traffic to your site

An easy way to boost the number of pages that link to your site is to create some pages yourself!

However, you have to make sure these pages contain valuable contents that provide people with useful information. Search engines hate "pointer pages" that have no content and exist only to add to the number of links pointing to a site.

Be sure the information relates to the content on your site and has your keywords placed in advantageous positions. This will boost the ranking of your pages with the search engines and ensure they get lots of traffic -- which they can then redirect to your site.

4. Submit your site to online directories

Be sure to submit your site to important directories such as Yahoo!, the Open Directory Project, and About.com, as well as smaller directories. Your listing on these directories will help your ranking with the major search engines.

5. Multiply and conquer!

Create a "community" of related sites that link to each other. Why stop at only one information page? The more content-rich sites that point to your site, the better!

You can also boost the number of links that point to your site by dividing it into several separate sites that all link to each other.This works especially well if you sell a number of different products or services.

If you build a different site to focus on each of your products and services, then you can also concentrate the use of specific keyword phrases on each site. That's another great way to boost your search engine ranking.

The "Don'ts": Tricks the search engines hate and why you should never use them, even if your competition does

Now that we've covered the "dos," here come the "don'ts." Although these questionable tactics have worked well in the past, the search engines absolutely hate them. If they catch you using any of these tricks, they may go so far as to drop you from their listings like a hot potato!

1. Beware irrelevant links!

Yes, it's a good idea to get a lot of different links pointing to your site, but the search engines only like RELEVANT links. If they find sites that have nothing in common with the content on your site linked to your web site, they'll lower your relevancy rating.

2. Beware irrelevant keywords!

Search engines hate finding irrelevant keywords on your site -- especially in your meta tags. If they catch you using keywords that have nothing to do with the actual content of your site, they'll penalize you for it.

3. Don't "keyword stuff" your meta tags!

In the past, people used to repeat their keywords in their meta tags over and over again. This used to get them a high ranking with the search engines -- but not any more! Search engines are on to this trick and will punish you for it by dropping your ranking.

4. Don't create "link farms"!

"Link farms" are the evil cousins of the "information pages" we discussed above.

In the past, some spammers used to build multiple "doorway" sites that existed only to multiply the number of links pointing to their sites.

Unlike content-rich information pages,these doorway pages would usually only include a string of keyword terms that would earn them a high ranking with the search engines.

The search engines have caught on to this tactic, however, and will drop you from their listings if they find you using it.

5. Avoid "free for all" link pages!

Don't bother placing links to your site on pages where everyone and their dog is invited to put up a link. Such sites have extremely low relevancy ratings and will cost you points with the search engines.

Essential tools and resources to optimize your site and stay n top of the search engine game

There are a lot of great tools out there that can help you optimize your web site while ensuring that you stay on the good side of all the search engines. Here are a few of our favorites.

Tools:

•Wordtracker: This great online tool helps you select specific keyword phrases that will direct more traffic to your site. Free and paid versions are available.


•SitePromoter: This useful software program helps you create individualized submissions to the different search engines.


•Optilink: A lot of search engine optimization experts swear by this software. It's a "link reputation analyzer" that helps you determine a site's reputation and why the search engines like it or dislike it. It certainly comes in handy when you're checking out the competition or looking for reputable sites to link to yours!


•WebPosition Gold: This is a great piece of search engine placement software that generates Web pages designed to rank high on the major search engines. It also analyzes your existing Web pages, providing suggestions for improvement, and tracks your ranking on different search engines.


Resources:

•Search Engine News: Planet Ocean's online resource, "The Unfair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars" is updated monthly and provides excellent optimization tips and information on the Search Engine industry.


•Search Engine Watch: This free site is another rich source of tips and information on the Search Engine industry. Paid memberships are available for more advanced content.


•Search Engine Guide: This free site contains a lot of useful information about the smaller search engines on the Web, and who you should submit your site to in order to get a better ranking with the bigger search engines.

Culled from www.marketingtips.com

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