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Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Basic SEO advice

Basic SEO advice
What anyone could do for their websites
article by Googlerankings.com staff, 06.11.2004.

While this document will not guarantee top placement for you in any search engines, it will increase your chances to be included in the relevant results. Consider the information below to be subjective advice, and advice only, which have been assembled based on both experience and research. Please note that all search engine technologies are constantly evolving, rendering only month-old tricks to deceive their methods useless. The only way to keep your website at a proper place of search results is - as general it sounds - providing content that people are both interested in and are looking for.

In general, search engines have been designed by people who are skilled at gathering, storing and analyzing data, programmers, mathematicians and other talented people with innovative ideas. However in the age when nearly anyone in the free world can access the internet, the ratio of people used to handling raw information have rapidly decreased. In other words, most people do not think about information the way search engine designers would.

Search engine optimization ( SEO ) is the bridge over the gap, it is to bring people with average computer skills, and the information they look for together. It overlaps the sometimes still too mathematics-based search engine technology, and takes you a step closer to your target audience. SEO should be about examining how people are looking up information on the web, and not how you may trick them into visiting your website.
1.: Choosing your Keywords

* A research done by Entireweb 31% of people enter 2 word phrases into search engines, 25% of all users look for 3 word combinations and only about 19% of them try their luck with only a single word.
* Do not choose a keyword to optimize your site for that you don't have the slightest chance of ranking good with because of the fierce competition.
* Do not choose a keyword that nobody looks for.
* Do not choose a keyword that does not relate strongly enough to your content.
* Only use generally popular keywords if you do not need targeted traffic.
* Do not use words that may get your site filtered or banned from search engines.
* Do not use images with filenames or ALT tags ( Alt attributes of IMG tag ) that may get your site filtered or banned from search engines.
* Only use dynamic pages when the functionality demands it.
* Use lots of relevant content, well laid out into separate pages.
* For best results optimize one page for one keyword.
* Do not post half-finished sites.

2.: HTML HEAD Content

2.1.: Title Tag

* The title should not be any longer than 70-100 characters, including spaces. ( Google - DMOZ )
* The title should bot be any longer than 60 characters. ( scrubtheweb.com )
* The title should not begin with the domain name. It is often considered as spam.
* The domain name shouldn't be repeated in the title. It is often considered as spam.
* Do not use the same filename as the title tag, or the same filename as the domain name. It is often considered as spam.

2.2.: Meta Description Tag
* Shouldn't be any longer than 25-30 words ( DMOZ ).
* Shouldn't be any longer than 100 characters ( Google ).
* Shouldn't be any longer than 150 characters ( scrubtheweb.com ).
* Shouldn't be any longer than 200 characters ( searchenginewatch.com referring to Google ).

2.3.: Meta Keywords Tag
* Shouldn't be any longer than 268 characters ( AltaVista ).
* Shouldn't be any longer than 378 characters ( searchenginewatch.com referring to Google ).
* You should not use words that are not present in the body of the page.
* Redundant characters will not hurt overall results, however words after the first 300 characters rarely do any good.
* Start all keywords with capital letters.( Relevant only on alphabetical listings )
* Separate keywords with the ", " ( comma, space ) character combination. ( Most search engines use either character as the separator ).
* You may use phrases as well.
* You should not use any word, not even within phrases more than 3 times. It is often considered as spam.

3.: Content

* The text on the page should contain the keywords right at the beginning of the page.
* Do not overuse keywords. Neither keyword should take up more than 12-24% of the entire body text. It is often considered as spam.
* Do not use too much content right on the front page. Both loading time and redundancy of additional words used will reduce the chance of showing up in relevant searches.

4.: HTML Code Page

* In case your website uses a language different than the default of the search engine which your target audience prefers, or your website uses special characters unique to that language, make sure to implement the proper HTML codepage tag.
* Unicode versions of special characters ( HTML encoded characters ) are more or less impossible to look up in most search engines.

5.: Search Engine Basics

* Search engines operate by funds as well. Funds are collected either from selling advertisement placement, selling listings, or both. When a search engine company sells out the area above the search results as advertisement space, and displays only relevant results based on what the users were looking for, most people will be mislead by the placement of such links, and choose them instead of the actual results.
* Search engines that operate by funds generated by selling listings will not show your website within the results regardless of its relevance, unless you sign up for their service.
* You may be listed for free even on fee based search engines by getting your site listed on either of the directories the search engine company buys information from. However, such directories such as Yahoo.com and DMOZ.org are moderated based on relevance and content, thus getting listed on their websites may take some time and efforts.
* Most search engines rank your website by relevance, which is measured by the thresold of keywords.
* Some search engines, such as Google.com as well, will sort even relevant sites by their popularity, measuring the page rank by the actual links leading to the site. Also, the text or ALT TAG text accompanied with these links will influence the keywords the website is shown in the listings for.
* Some search engines will consider a website more and more popular when they are clicked on the results page. These inlude AltaVista.com .

6.: Do not overdo it, but do everything you can

* Eventhough META tags have been neglected by most major search engines, some of them still consider them when analyzing websites. Including them in the proper manner can only help, but will never hurt your position.
* When trying to trick search engines, you try to trick their creators, who are more than prepared to deal with this.
* Most search engines are updated at least annually to deal with the websites that found a way to deceive their systems.
Most of the websites that have ever used such tactics get blacklisted.
* In order to allow web-spiders ( analyzing programs that surf the net and categorise websites ) to inspect all of your webpages, place a file named "robots.txt" in the root directory of your website with the following content:

# /robtots.txt

# no exclusion at all
Agent: *
Disallow:



Advanced SEO Advice
For established websites, refer to the Website Diagnostics articles at Googlerankings.com Diagnostics
articles by Googlerankings.com, 11.2006. through 05.2007.

Since SEO may differ for each and every sector, Internet Marketing and Search Engine Marketing trends shift on a near weekly basis, the DOs in search engine optimization are as vague as the ever-developing online supply and demand. Ethics, guidelines , written and unwritten rules of conduct are also vary for different areas, and while a less competitive sector may not require all that much effort in bringing a new website to the attention of the public, over populated areas produce new visions, methods and even spam on a daily basis.

Hence, the faces of SEO range from opportunism to great new marketing innovation, and there is no definite rule in what to do to reach one's goal. On the other hand, and especially because of this, Search Engines have to keep up their proper indexing and categorization efforts in order to provide relevant result, in which process they filter out websites from their results that are ( or are sending false signals to be ) in any way below the quality, accessibility, trust or importance thresholds. Also should a website be, or show signals of guideline breaches or illegal content, Search Engines may penalize and/or ban their presence from the search results, temporarily or permanently.

The DOs in SEO vary a lot, possibilities and combinations are infinite. One may experiment with any campaign freely, but only with a relative knowledge of the DONTs will a website be able to maintain a sustainable development plan.

Googlerankings.com has launched a section for the diagnostics of Search Engine Optimization related problems, including the most common accessibility and usability problems, PageRank, Linking and Anchor Text related issues, and a series of generic and very current problems an established or startup website may face in order to be properly indexed, and stay that way. You can build up your knowledge of Google Penalties and Bans and Quality Filters in order to make sure that your website is not only of quality, but also sends the proper signals to Google and other search egnines.

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