Optimize Your Website – Myths and Tips for Website SEO

This was really a fantastic syndicated article I wanted to share… a great breakdown on the truths and myths of SEO, check it out:

What’s the big deal about search engine optimization? Isn’t it enough that you’ve put up a website, purchased some Google AdWords, and sent out an email to everyone you know announcing your site? In short, no. There is an art and science to search engine optimization (SEO), and it is critical for web-based businesses to know, understand and utilize if they want to drive quality traffic to their website via the Internet.

Where do you begin, though? How can you possibly know whom to trust or what to do first with so much information out there on SEO? Do you buy links or not? Pay per click or go organic? And what about those SEO companies who are aggressively promising Number 1 rankings? When it comes to search engine ranking, there are a lot of rumors and myths about what will improve your rankings and what won’t.

Debunking Some Popular Search Engine Ranking Myths

1. Pay per click (PPC) ads will either help or hurt organic rankings. (Organic simply means the process by which web users find websites having unpaid search engine listings.)
Debunked: PPC is categorized differently than organic listings. There is no effect, one way or the other, on ranking.

2. Websites are banned if they ignore Google guidelines.
Debunked: While it’s a good idea to read Google Webmaster Guidelines or Google 101: How Google Crawls, Indexes and Serves the Web, you are not banned if you ignore their guidelines.

3. Websites are banned if they buy links.
Debunked: Sites are not banned. The links just aren’t counted.

4. Copy must be a certain number of words, use a specific keyword density, and contain bold or italicized keywords.
Debunked: It used to be thought that there was a magic number of words used or certain times a keyword or keyword phrase should be repeated. Not so. Same with bolding and italicizing. They don’t do anything for ranking.

5. Duplicate content will get your website penalized.
Debunked: It will just get filtered out and not counted.

6. Reciprocal links won’t count.
Debunked: Every link counts, to a certain extent.

7. SEO companies can improve your rankings without doing any on-page work.
Debunked: Run if an SEO company tells you this.

According to SEO expert Jill Whalen, SEO isn’t magic and isn’t a crap-shoot. “SEO is about making your website the best it can be for your site visitors and the search engines.” Want to help the right kind of people find your website? Then you need to design your site so search engines can find, crawl and index your pages.

Pro tips!

Tip from Dan – Here are some additional Myths provided by www.mediumblue.com

There is an abundance of search engine information available on the web- some of it valuable, much of it contradictory. Throughout the years some prevailing search engine myths have developed. Some of these myths are still encouraged by companies with a financial interest in their continued existence. Others are based upon techniques that were effective years ago but no longer work. Still others come from simple misunderstandings that inevitably come with a relatively new medium. What follows is a few of the most prevalent.

Myth: Using a program or service to “Submit your site to 10,000 Search Engines” is a good idea.

Fact: There aren’t 10,000 search engines. There aren’t even 500. In fact, the top 10 search engines account for the vast majority of search traffic (studies vary from between 85 and 98 percent). Most of the sites that these programs or services list as “search engines” are called FFA (Free For All) sites, sometimes called “link farms”. These sites will agree to place a link to your site on their site, which is usually just a collection of links. Your link will usually only appear for a short time, since as new links are added, the older ones are pushed off the page. Almost no traffic can be expected from such links- but you can expect a lot of unsolicited mail to the email address that you provide them. In fact, these pages are set up largely to collect email addresses to which spam can be sent (and you can get spam for free!). In addition, engines do not like submissions done by computer programs (because of the excessive use of bandwidth and resources), and many of the most popular have taken steps to make automated submission impossible. This means that these programs or services will not even get you listed in many of the top engines.

Myth: Meta tags are the most important factor in search engine rankings.

Fact: Many search engines (most notably Google) ignore meta tags completely due to constant abuse by webmasters. The only importance placed on meta tags these days is actually the meta description tag, which will appear as the description for the corresponding page on engines that use inktomi data (such as MSN). Meta tags are virtually irrelevant in the ranking algorithms of the top engines- but many people continue to believe that they are the only optimization strategy that they need.

Myth: It’s impossible to do search engine optimization in-house.

Fact: It often is done in-house, and done effectively. This is typically when a large corporation hires in-house talent that is largely devoted exclusively to promoting the website. However, it is unrealistic to expect someone with many other job functions to do a credible job of SEO. Much of the skills are acquired through experience- and it isn’t usually desirable to have someone “experimenting” with the company website (especially considering that certain techniques can get sites penalized on engines or banned outright). SEO isn’t rocket science, but it also isn’t something that can be learned overnight. When deciding whether to outsource SEO or do it in house, it is important to consider the actual costs involved. Often, when the necessary hours it takes to pay someone to learn on the job are taken into account, it is cheaper to outsource (and the results are almost always better). Only a careful evaluation of your goals and resources can determine the best course of action for your company.

Myth: Sites must be constantly resubmitted to retain rankings.

Fact: This is a scare tactic popularized by various submission services and software companies. In fact, it is a waste of money to pay to have your site resubmitted once it is already listed in an engine’s database. It will not hurt your rankings to constantly submit (or else people would submit their competitor’s sites to get them penalized), but it will not help, either.

Myth: Search engine optimization is not as effective as “traditional” marketing.

Fact: In many ways, it is more effective. Companies often spend countless dollars on direct mail, television and radio advertising, and bulk email without a second thought. The common thread with each of these strategies is that the prospect is “approached” by the company, and that the company must reach a great number of people to find a few motivated prospects. On the other hand, search engines can deliver highly motivated prospects directly to your website- people who have already demonstrated, through their use of particular keyphrases, an interest in your products or services.

WARNING: Your site CAN be penalized by Google if you allow other websites to purchase links on your site and you do not employ the use of “nofollow” tags.  Google has been penalizing website PR levels, and you can read all about it on my blog when it happened right on Pixel2life.com.

Seven Ways to Get Your Website Crawled

1. It’s better to have one main website with numerous domains pointing to the main domain, than to have mini-sites or multiple sites with similar content. Mini-sites and multiple sites with similar content do not increase search engine listings and are frequently viewed by search engines as SPAM.

2. If you do have several stand-alone websites, make sure each serves a different target audience and has unique content with different domain or sub-domain URLs.

3. Search engines need to be able to follow internal links. To make that happen, use tags, text links, image links, and CSS menus. Spiders have difficulty with JavaScript menus, pop-up windows, drop-down menus, and flash navigation.

4. Choose keyword phrases that are most relevant and specific to what your web page is about. Think from the perspective of someone searching for what you are offering on your site. Ask, as if you were they: What would I search for if I am looking for something on your page?

5. Validate your keyword phrases through either paid or free services, such as Keyword Discovery, Wordtracker, or Google AdWords.

6. Check for keyword competitiveness. Take into consideration the size of your business. In this case, size does matter. If you are a major player with a major brand, you can play in a larger competitive pond than a smaller company just starting out. Know what size pond is right for you, and check for competitiveness by putting: allintitle: “keyword phrase” in your browser and check the number count.

7. Once you have your keyword phrases validated and checked for competitiveness, use them in anchor texts, clickable image alt tags, headlines, body text copy, title tags, and meta descriptions. Meta tags aren’t all that important for crawling.
SEO can be both intimidating and exhilarating. Intimidating because it seems as if just about everyone has an opinion on what it takes to get a high ranking in Google, so it’s hard to know what to believe. Exhilarating because, once you understand the method behind the madness of SEO, you see the art and science of it. Then it becomes fun and easy to come up with a strategic plan about where to place keyword phrases, how to write copy, and what size pond is best for your company to compete in. Optimize your website, and they will come.

About The Author

Dr. Susan L. Reid is a business coach and consultant for entrepreneurial women starting up businesses. She is the Award-winning author of Discovering Your Inner Samurai: The Entrepreneurial Woman’s Journey to Business Success. Susan provides intuitive small business solutions, powerful attraction marketing tools, inspiration, and direction. Visit SuccessfulSmallBizOwners.com and download your copy of her latest free business success article.

Hope you enjoyed!

Top 20 Contributing Factors For Google SEO

Websites are quickly becoming one of the most popular ways of advertising. Whether it be a business, its product or service or something completely different, everyone of all ages is turning to the web as a method of getting their message out there. With the popularity of this marketing medium increasing and the number of websites always growing, it is obvious that everyone wants to appear at the top of Google’s search engine rankings. Achieving such a task is not an easy feat, however with a bit of perseverance, one can definitely improve their chances of reaching that glorious first page result.

Given that there is a heap of websites out there who are on the first page, what is their secret? It is a little industry term called “SEO” and it stands for Search Engine Optimization. SEO basically consists of the customization of your website, its content and its internal and external links to assist in the overall indexing and ranking of your website in popular search engines. There are many contributing factors that are used in determining a website’s ranking and every search engine is different. This makes trying to optimize your site for Google, Yahoo, Live and the many others quite a painstaking task.

As most of us are aware, Google is currently the most popular search engine for the majority of Internet users. As such, it is only normal that we’d want to focus our sights on achieving a higher ranking within Google first with the hope that the rest will follow. To do this, we must start a journey that could potentially take months before we start seeing any real change, however we have to start somewhere.

Our journey begins by defining some of the key contributing factors that Google uses to determine a website’s and webpage’s ranking within its results. These factors range from keyword use to manipulating internal and external links and the list goes on. To get you started, we have listed the top twenty factors that you should focus on in order to help get your website that little bit closer to the top of the search engine results listings.

Keyword Use Factors

The following components relate to the use of search query terms in determining the rank of a particular page.

1. Keyword Use in Title Tag – Placing the targeted search term or phrase in the title tag of the web page’s HTML header.

2. Keyword Use in Body Text – Using the targeted search term in the visible, HTML text of the page.

3. Relationship of Body Text Content to Keywords – Topical relevance of text on the page compared to targeted keywords.

4. Keyword Use in H1 Tag – Creating an H1 tag with the targeted search term/phrase.

5. Keyword Use in Domain Name & Page URL – Including the targeted term/phrase in the registered domain name, i.e. keyword.com plus target terms in the webpage URL, i.e. seomoz.org/keyword-phrase.

Page Attributes

The following elements comprise how Google interprets specific data about a webpage independent of keywords.

6. Link Popularity within the Site’s Internal Link Structure – Refers to the number and importance of internal links pointing to the target page.

7. Quality/Relevance of Links to External Sites/Pages – Do links on the page point to high quality, topically-related pages?

8. Age of Document – Older pages may be perceived as more authoritative while newer pages may be more temporarily relevant.

9. Amount of Indexable Text Content – Refers to the literal quantity of visible HTML text on a page.

10. Quality of the Document Content (as measured algorithmically) – Assuming search engines can use text, visual or other analysis methods to determine the validity and value of content, this metric would provide some level of rating.

Site/Domain Attributes

The factors below contribute to Google’s rankings based on the site/domain on which a page resides.

11. Global Link Popularity of Site – The overall link weight/authority as measured by links from any and all sites across the web (both link quality and quantity).

12. Age of Site – Not the date of original registration of the domain, but rather the launch of indexable content seen by the search engines (note that this can change if a domain switches ownership).

13. Topical Relevance of Inbound Links to Site – The subject-specific relationship between the sites/pages linking to the target page and the target keyword.

14. Link Popularity of Site in Topical Community – The link weight/authority of the target website amongst its topical peers in the online world.

15. Rate of New Inbound Links to Site – The frequency and timing of external sites linking in to the given domain.

Pro Tip: Did you know you can use google to find sites that link to your website?  Simply visit Google.com and in the search bar type link:www.yourwebsitename.com and click search.  The search results displayed show you a complete list of sites that link to your link.  You can also search info:yourwebsitename.com for a small list of other useful queries about your site.

Inbound Link Attribute

These pieces affect Google’s weighting of links from external websites pointing to a page and ultimately will assist in the ranking of that page.

16. Anchor Text of Inbound Link.

17. Global Link Popularity of Linking Site.

18. Topical Relationship of Linking Page.

19. Link Popularity of Site in Topical Community – The link weight/authority of the target website amongst its topical peers in the online world.

20. Age of Link.

Pro Tip: Ever wanted to know what your site’s Page Rank will be on the next Google update?  You can check it with a page rank predictor!

Negative Crawling/Ranking Attributes

There are also some points we should make before you start getting your hands dirty. With any type of SEO marketing, there are some things that can actually have a negative impact on your ranking. These following components may negatively affect a spider’s ability to crawl a page or its rankings at Google.

Server is Often Inaccessible to Bots.

Content Very Similar or Duplicate of Existing Content in the Index.

External Links to Low Quality/Spam Sites.

Duplicate Title/Meta Tags on Many Pages.

Overuse of Targeted Keywords (Stuffing/Spamming).

It’s now time to get busy! Start prioritizing your tasks, modifying your content and building your internal and external links to meet some of the above guidelines. Keep in mind that improving indexing is mostly a technical task and improving ranking is mostly a business/marketing strategy. What might work now may not work in the future and finally, it takes time. Loads of time. Still, with a bit of trial and error and a good dose of persistence, you can achieve the search engine ranking you’re after.

About The Author:
Jon Bergan is the owner of Bergan Blue, an Australian based creative design firm focused on bridging the gap between the online world of the Internet with the offline world of Marketing. Please visit http://www.berganblue.com.au for more information.

Thanks for reading!

Banned from Google? Tips for getting your site re-listed on Google!

Found a nice little post this morning for those of you that have removed from Google search results or have been penalized in any way. You may remember awhile back P2L was severely penalized by Google for not using the nofollow tags on our paid partner links. We’ve since had our PR status returned to normal, but I did get a lot of comments and questions from other folks with the same issue. So I figured this would be a great article, please visit Search Engine Watch Blog for the article.

The best part of the article is the video featuring Moeva from Google’s Search Quality Team with a great how-to presentation on what to do when you’ve been nuked from Google. Check it out, it’s definitely worth a look and very helpful.