Archive for the ‘SEO’ Category

SEO Tip #4 - Top 8 SEO Myths

Thursday, January 18th, 2007

During my time as an Internet marketing specialist and SEO consultant, I have come across numerous SEO myths that many people believe to be true. This is due to lack of industry knowledge and education.

But it’s time to set the record straight. It’s myth-debunking time…

  1. You must submit your site to all search engines (and resubmit often): This is probably the most common SEO myth of all. First, let it be known that you don’t need to submit your site to any engines. I never submitted to any engines, but they still drive considerable traffic to the site. As for resubmitting, this is pointless. Don’t waste your time. All you need to do is acquire some respectable back-links - the higher the Google PageRank, the better. The better the links, the higher your ranking and the more often you get crawled.
  2. You have to pay to be listed: Scam. Don’t believe it or pay it. To be listed on the big engines like Google, Yahoo, or MSN, you do NOT need to pay. As a recurring scam, many illegitimate ‘SEO professionals’ and SEO submission sites claim that you need to pay an ongoing fee to stay listed with the engines. Once again, this is a big lie. Don’t get suckered in.
  3. META keywords are important: Hahaha… maybe in 1995. Google doesn’t look at them. They’re on the way out at Yahoo and MSN (if they aren’t already). The concept of tagging in the META tags seems good, but it’s corrupt. Instead focus on the META description and other areas.
  4. Assured results / rankings: No chance. No web program or SEO specialist can ever guarantee a certain result or ranking. If this is the case, they are lying. Furthermore, some may use a similar tactic thats works as follows: the SEO specialist tells you he will get you on the front page of Google for the term “eastern asian puppy dog bracelets”. That’s great. I’m sure he will. But no-one searches for that term. So although you may appear on the front page for a given term, if no-one is searching for it, all is lost.
  5. SEO software provides guaranteed results: Give me a break. Search engine optimization should NOT be handled by software or a program. It is a very delicate art that should be performed by a professional. Attaining a necessary balance between technical and marketing cannot be accomplished by software. And as mentioned above, guaranteed results are impossible.
  6. You should list your site with thousands of search engines: Definitely not. You should focus on a minority of search engines that drive the majority of search traffic. According to Nielsen NetRatings, they estimate that 93% of all November 2006 US search engine traffic comes from 6 sources (Google, Yahoo, MSN, AOL, Ask, and MyWay). It should also be noted that 74% of that traffic is generated by Google and Yahoo alone. Obviously you can submit to the smaller engines to grab some of the long-tail traffic, but your time is better spent focusing on the big guys.
  7. There is a set way to optimize: Absolutely not. Algorithms change. Web standards and principles are in a dynamic state. The Internet is a perpetual, moving entity. What worked 5 years ago, probably won’t work today. In addition, nobody completely understands the Google algorithm (or Yahoo or MSN). If they did, the information would be priceless and could be leveraged for personal financial gain. Having said that, keeping the system under wraps is important to the integrity of the given engine.
  8. SEO is all done on the page: Nope. You can optimize your page title, headers, META tags, page URL, paragraph text, ALT tags, blah, blah… all you want. But at the end of the day, it’s only half the battle. You need back-links. This cannot be overstated. Google algorithm is based of back-links, which I like to refer to as ‘votes’ or ‘recommendations’. This altered perspective makes more sense to the amateur SEO artist. In other words, the more back-links, the more people are recommending your site and saying ‘Hey, this is something you should check out’. So go get em.

I hope this article helps to clarify some common misconceptions. Obviously SEO is not an exact science and my advice should be taken with a grain of salt. Nonetheless, debunking these SEO should help many in their conquest to drive glorified search engine traffic.

SEO Tip #3 - Most Important Parts of a Page

Monday, January 15th, 2007

A lot of people stress over SEO. Many believe that a certain keyword density ratio is absolutely necessary. Others pledge that a given web page should be structured in a specific way. Though both notions deserve some attention, often times they get overblown.

The best bang-for-buck can be achieved by focusing on several specific locations of a page. Maximizing ROI, while minimizing time and effort is the ultimate goal. Having said that, here are the most important parts on a page in my mind (in order):

  1. Page title
  2. META description
  3. Header (h1)
  4. Page URL

If you can insert your given keywords into these spots, then you’re already miles ahead of most sites.

Obviously, the page title is absolutely key as most know. My first article on SEO was devoted entirely to this part of the page. Next, we have the META description. This is the text that shows up in the search results when an engine returns your listing. Meticulous planning of the description is often overlooked, but cannot be understated. Headers, more specifically h1’s and h2’s, are the most important on-page terms. Finally, if you are able to somehow fit your keywords or terms in the page URL, it will help improve your rank.

Another thing to keep in mind is prominence. Simply put, I always try to place my keywords as close to the beginning of the tag as possible. This increases the prominence of the keyword or term and places more emphasis on its importance.

In the era of Web 1.0, META keywords were at the heart of SEO. However, keyword SPAM and other illegitimate tactics forced changes. This is why Google, and its PageRank, emerged as the leader. Nowadays, META keywords are on the brink of extinction. Google doesn’t take them into consideration at all. Yahoo supposedly does to a small degree, but don’t hold your breath.

By targeting the 4 specific areas listed above, you can expect your SEO rankings to increase by a large degree. Oh… and you might want to try and acquire some back-links ;)

For more information, view: The 4 Most Important Parts of a Page for SEO.

MappingTheWeb Debuts at a PageRank 5

Wednesday, January 10th, 2007

Google logoToday, MappingTheWeb debuted at a Google PageRank of 5. Patiently, I’ve waited until the Google algorithm re-adjusted. Up until today, the PageRank read 0. This didn’t sound reasonable. Nonetheless, this new iteration finally provided some clarity. Hopefully this will help drive more search traffic to the site and provide added exposure.

What does PageRank really mean to me?

PageRank paints a picture over time. An increase indicates a rising number of back-links (and vice versa). This also means that people are enjoying my content - this makes me happy. I am simply going to continue to write (what I hope to be) useful, interesting, and insightful content that readers can not only absorb, but respond to as well.

Thanks to all those who have linked to my page and enjoy the posts.


Link Baiting States the Obvious

Thursday, January 4th, 2007

Over the past couple months, I’ve heard the term ‘link baiting’ used more and more frequently. I understand what the term means. What I don’t understand is why it hadn’t been coined already. In addition, it is my opinion that a term is not needed for the concept.

Wikipedia defines a link bait as “any content or feature within a website that somehow baits viewers to place links to it from other websites”. Ummm…

Now in my opinion, all content or features within a website should only be placed on that site if the publisher or author deems the quality and relevance as worthy. In other words, I truly believe ALL content placed on a given website should be ‘link bait’ if the site’s success is dependent upon the publisher. Websites with user-generated content may be an exception to this rule.

To me, it just makes sense. It’s inherent. I am not going to post an article, or video, or photo, unless I truly believe readers are interested in that matter and may want to link to it. I do NOT think that we need a term for such a notion.

The idea of baiting someone to link to your site is ridiculous. If someone likes what you have, they will link to it. The term is slimy and it sounds like trickery.

It is already known that the Google algorithm is based of back-links (or linkbacks). This concept makes sense, as is the case with a published academic paper. The more people that cite the article, the more important and influential the content.

Coining a term such as link baiting is redundant and simply adds ambiguity to the new web landscape.

SEO Tip #2 - Images and Graphics

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2007

As part of an ongoing series of SEO posts, I present the second article…

Many SEO specialists believe that graphics only play a small role in SEO. I disagree with this view. My belief is that this assumption is wrong and naive.

The first thing that comes to mind when thinking of graphics and SEO is ALT tags - for obvious reasons. Well-described ALT tags are definitely an important and integral part of a well-designed SEO strategy. They are a great way to increase the keyword density ratio of a page while maintaining the theme of the page.

However, many people overlook another important aspect of graphics.

Graphics are a great place to insert marketing messages in text form. That way, the content on the page remains ‘well-described’, but you are able to convey quirky, enticing messages to potential customers and users.

For example, suppose you operate a travel website. Now suppose your theme of the page is ‘mexican hotel’, or whatever it may be. But let’s say you want to use the tagline ‘Get away and relax’. If you inject that tagline into a header or page title, all of a sudden your page theme becomes inconsistent and less relevant.

The way to avoid this yet still display the tagline in a prominent way, while keeping a consistent, relevant theme, is to insert the text into a graphic. This guarantees the best of both worlds.

Nevertheless, ensure that you still use ALT tags to describe your images. But do place marketing messages and catchy slogans in graphics and always be sure to remain consistent with the theme(s) of the page.

For more information, view: Strategic Use of Images in SEO.