Gopi Krishan garhwal

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Components of an SEO-Friendly Page

Building an SEO-friendly web site doesn’t happen by accident. It requires an understanding of what elements search engines examine and how those elements affect your ranking. It also requires including as many of those elements as possible on your site. It does little good to have all the right meta tags in place if you have no content and no links on your page.It’s easy to get caught up in the details of SEO and forget the simplest web-design principles — principles that play a large part in your search engine rankings. Having all the right keywords in the right places in your tags and titles won’t do you much good if the content on your page is non-existent or completely unreachable by a search engine crawler.

Understanding entry and exit pages

Entry and exit pages are the first and last pages that a user sees of your web site. It’s important to understand that an entry page isn’t necessarily the home page on your web site. It can be any other page where a user lands, either by clicking through search engine results,by clicking a link from another web site or a piece of marketing material, or by bookmarking or typing directly into the address bar of a browser.Entry pages are important in SEO, because they are the first page users see as they come onto the web site. The typical web site is actually several small connected sites.Your company web site might contain hubs, or central points, for several different topics. Say you’re a pet store. Then you’ll have hubs within your sites for dogs, cats, birds, fish, and maybe exotic animals.Each hub will have a main page — which will likely be your entry page for that section — and several additional pages leading from that central page to other pages containing relevant content,products, or information about specific topics.Understanding which of your pages are likely entry pages helps you to optimize those pages for search engine crawlers. Using the pet-store example, if your home page and all the hub pages are properly SEO’ed, you potentially could be ranked at or near the top of five different sets of search results. When you add additional entry pages deeper in your web site structure (that is, a dogtraining section to the hub for dogs), you’ve increased the number of times you can potentially end up at the top of search engine rankings.Because entry pages are important in the structure of your web site, you want to monitor those pages using a web-site analytics program to ensure they are working the way you expect them to work. Agood analytics program, like Google Analytics, will show you your top entry and exit pages.
Exit pages are those from which users leave your site, either by clicking through an exiting link,selecting a bookmark, or typing a different web address into their browser address bar. But why are exit pages important? They have two purposes; the first is to drive users from their entry pages to a desired exit page. This is called the path that users travel through your site. A typical path might look something like this:
SERP > Home> Women’s Clothing> Product Pages> Shopping Cart> Checkout > Receipt
In this example, Home is the entry page and Receipt is the exit page. By looking at this navigational path, you can tell how users travel through your page and where they fall off the page. But there’s an added benefit to understanding the navigational path of your users. When you know how users travel through your site, you can leave what’s called a bread-crumb trail for them. That’s a navigational indicator on the web site that allows them to quickly see where they are on your site.The bread-crumb trail not only helps users return to a previous page in the navigational path; it also makes it easier for a web crawler to fully examine your site. Because crawlers follow every link on your page, this is an internal link structure that leads crawlers to individual pages that you want to have included in search engine results.

Choosing an Analytics Program

An important element in any SEO plan is analytics — the method by which you monitor the effectiveness of your web site. Analytics are the metrics that show you how pages, links,keywords,and other elements of your web site are performing. If your web host hasn’t provided you with an analytics program, find one. Not having an analytics program is like walking around in the dark,hoping you won’t bump into a wall.Many web-site owners shy away from analytics packages because they appear to be complicated as well as expensive. However, they don’t always have to be. You can find a good analytics program that’s not only easy to use but is also inexpensive or even free. But use caution about making ease and low cost the deciding factors when selecting an analytics program.The program will give you the power to see and control how your web site performs against your goals and expectations. You want it to show you everything you need to know, so here are some considerations when you’re evaluating analytics programs:
*What reports are included in the tools you’re examining, and how will you use those reports?
*How do you gather the information used to create the metrics you need?
* How often are your reports updated?
* How much training is necessary to understand your application and the reports provided?
*Do you get software installation or is the product provided strictly as a web-based service?
*What is the total cost of ownership?
* What types of support are available?
* What is the typical contract length?
Many analytics programs are available to you. Google Analytics, AW Stats, Jay Flowers, ClickTracks,and dozens of others all offer something different at a different price tag. If  “free” is what you can afford, don’t assume you’ll get a terrible package. Google Analytics is one of the free packages available;it’s an excellent program and is based on what used to be the Urchin Analytics package (which was quite costly). Other programs cost anywhere from $30 to $300 a month, depending on the capabilities you’re purchasing.The cost is not the most important factor, however. Ultimately, your consideration should be how the analytics package can help you improve your business.

Using powerful titles

Page titles are one of the most important elements of site optimization.When a crawler examines your site, the first elements it looks at are the page titles. And when your site is ranked in search results, page titles are again one of the top elements considered. So when you create your web site,you need to have great page titles.There are several considerations when coming up with your page titles.
Here are some of the key factors to consider:
*Unless you’re Microsoft, don’t use your company name in the page title.A better choice is to use a descriptive keyword or phrase that tells users exactly what’s on the page. This helps ensure that your search engine rankings are accurate.
*Try to keep page titles to less than 69 characters, including spaces. Some search engines will index only up to 69 characters; others might index as many as 150.However, maintaining shorter page titles forces you to be precise in the titles that you choose and ensures that your page title will never be cut off in the search results.
* Don’t repeat keywords in your title tags. Repetition can occasionally come across as spam when a crawler is examining your site, so avoid repeating keywords in your title if possible,and never duplicate words just to gain a crawler’s attention. It could well get your site excluded from search engine listings.
*Consider adding special characters at the beginning and end of your title to improvenoticeability. Parentheses (()), arrows (<<>>), asterisks (****), and special symbols like ££££ can help draw a user’s attention to your page title. These special characters and symbols don’t usually add to or distract from your SEO efforts, but they do serve to callattention to your site title.
*Include a call to action in your title. There’s an adage that goes something like, “You’ll never sell a thing if you don’t ask for the sale.” That’s one thing that doesn’t change with the Web. Even on the Internet, if you want your users to do something you have to ask them to.All your page titles should be indicated with the title tag when coding your web site. The title tag isn’t difficult to use. If your page titles aren’t tagged properly, you might as well not be using those titles, so take the time to ensure that your page titles are short, descriptive, and tagged into your web-site code. By using title tags, you’re increasing the possibility that your web site will be ranked high within search engine results.Creating great contentWeb-site content is another element of an SEO-friendly site that you should spend plenty of time contemplating and completing. Fortunately, there are some ways to create web-site content that will make search crawlers love you.Great content starts with the right keywords and phrases. Select no more than three keywords or phrases to include in the content on any one of your web pages. But why only three? Wouldn’t more keywords and phrases ensure that search engines take notice of your site? When you use too many keywords in your content, you face two problems.The first is that the effectiveness of your keywords will be reduced by the number of different ones you’re using. Choose two or three for each page of your site and stick with those The other problem you face is being delisted or ignored because a search engine sees your SEO efforts as keyword stuffing. It’s a serious problem, and search engine crawlers will exclude your site or pages from indexes if there are too many keywords on those pages.Once you have the two or three keywords or phrases that you plan to focus on, you need to actually use those keywords in the content of your page. Many people think the more frequently you use the words, the higher your search engine ranking will be. Again, that’s not  necessarily true. Just as using too many different keywords can cause a crawler to exclude you from a search engine index, overusing
the same word will also cause crawlers to consider your attempts as keyword stuffing. Again,you run the risk of having your site excluded from search indexes.The term used to describe the number of times a keyword is used on a page is keyword density. For most search engines, the keyword density is relatively low. Google is very strict about ranking sites that have a keyword density of 5 to 7 percent; much lower or much higher and your ranking is eriously affected or completely lost.Yahoo!, MSN, and other search engines allow keyword densities of about 5 percent. Going over that mark could cause your site to be excluded from search results.Keyword density is an important factor in your web-site design, and is covered in more depth in But there are other content concerns, too. Did you know that the freshness and focus of your content is also important in how high your web site ranks? One reason many companies began using blogs on their web sites was that blogs are updated frequently and they’re highly focused on a specific topic. This gives search engines new, relevant content to crawl, and crawlers love that. Consider implementing a content strategy that includes regularly adding more focused content or expanding your content offerings. It doesn’t have to be a blog, but news links on the front page of the site, regularly changing articles, or some other type of changing content will help gain the attention of a search engine crawler. Don’t just set these elements up and leave them,however. You also have to carry through with regular updates and keep the links included in the content active. Broken links are another crawler pet peeve. Unfortunately, with dynamic content links will occasionally break. Be sure you’re checking this element of your content on a regular basis and set up some kind of a user feedback loop so broken links can be reported to your webmaster.Finally, when you’re creating your web-site content, consider interactive forums. If you’re adding articles to your site, give users a forum in which they can respond to the article, or a comments section.This leads to more frequent updates of your content, which search crawlers love. The result? An interactive relationship with your web-site users will keep them coming back, and give an extra boost to your search engine ranking.

Maximizing graphics

Images or graphics on your web site are essential. They’re also basically ignored by search engines,so what’s the point of putting them on your site? There’s a good reason that has nothing to do with SEO. Without images, your page is just boring text. You’re not going to be happy with using plain text instead of that cool new logo you had designed for your company, and neither are your users.If images are a must on a web site, then there should be a way to use those images to increase your web-site traffic or at least to improve your site ranking. And there is.One technique that will help your SEO make use of graphics on your site isto tag those graphics with alt tags inside the img tags.Alt tags are the HTML tags used to display alternative text when there is a graphic present. Your alt tags should be a short, descriptive phrase about the image that includes the keywords used on that page when possible.Img tags are the tags used to code the images that will appear on your web site. Here’s an example of what an img tag, with an included alt tag, should look like:
Here’s how that tag breaks down:is your alternative text tag. The alternative text tag is where your keywords should be included if at all possible.You want to tag your images as part of your SEO strategy for two reasons.First, crawlers cannot index images for a search engine (with an exception, which is covered shortly). The crawler “sees” the image and moves on to the text on the page. Therefore, something needs to take the place of that image, so the crawler can index it. That’s what the alternative text does. If this text includes your keywords, and the image is near text that also includes the keywords, then you add credibility to your site in the logic of the crawler.The second reason you want to tag your images as part of your SEO strategy is to take advantage of image-based search engines, like Google Images. These image-based search engines are relatively new, but they shouldn’t be undervalued. Just as a search engine can find and index your site for users searching the Web, image-based search engines find and index your images. Then, when users perform a search for a specific keyword or phrase, your image is also ranked, along with the text on the pages.
Image searches are gaining popularity. So crawlers like the one Google uses for its Google Images search engine will gain momentum, and image searches will add to the amount of web-site traffic that your SEO strategies help to build. But while not discounting the value of images, don’t overuse them on your web pages either. As with any element of a web page, too much of a good thing is just not good.They want to see pictures 


Understanding Web-Site Optimization

Web-site optimization is all about creating a site that is discoverable by search engines and search directories. It sound simple enough, but there are many aspects of site optimization to consider, and not all of them are about the keywords, links, or HTML tagging of your site.

Does hosting matter?

That question comes up frequently when a company or individual is designing a web site. Does it matter who hosts your site? The answer is no, but that’s not to say that domain hosting is unimportant.Elements of the hosting have a major impact on how your site ranks in search results.
One of the biggest issues that you’ll face with domain hosting is the location of your hosting company.If you’re in the United States and you purchase a domain that is hosted on a server in England,your search engine rankings will suffer. Geographically, search engine crawlers will read your site as being contradictory to your location. Because many search engines serve up results with some element of geographical location included, this contradiction could be enough to affect your ranking.
The length of time for which you register your domain name could also affect your search engine ranking. Many hackers use throw away domains, or domain names that are registered for no more than a year, because they usually don’t even get to use the domain for a full year before they are shut down. For this reason some search engines have implemented ranking criteria that give priority to domains registered for longer periods. A longer registration also shows a commitment to maintaining the web site.

Domain-naming tips

The question of what to name a web site is always a big one. When selecting a name, most people think in terms of their business name, personal name, or a word or phrase that has meaning for them. What they don’t think about is how that name will work for the site’s SEO. Does the name have anything at all to do with the site, or is it completely unrelated?
Have you ever wondered why a company might be willing to pay millions of dollars for a domain name? The domain name was purchased for $7.5 million in 1999, and was recently thought to be valued at more than $300 million. went for $5.5 million and sold for $3.5 million. What’s so important about a name?
Where SEO is concerned, the name of your web site is as important as many of the other SEO elements that you concentrate on. Try this test. Use your favorite search engine to search for a topic,perhaps “asphalt-paving business.” When your search results are returned, look at the top five results.Most of the time, a web site containing those words will be returned in those top five results, and it will often be in the number one slot.
So, if your company name is ABC Company, but your business is selling nutmeg graters, consider purchasing the domain name, instead of ABC — ABC Company may not get you in the top of search rankings, but the very specific nature of your product probably will. And both the content of your site and your domain name will attract crawlers in the way you want. Using a domain name containing a keyword from your content usually improves your site ranking.

A few more things that you should keep in mind when you’re determining your domain name include:
*Keep the name as short as possible. Too many characters in a name mean increased potential for misspellings. It also means that your site address will be much harder for users to remember unless it’s something really startling.
*Avoid dashes, underscores, and other meaningless characters. If the domain name that you’re looking for is taken, don’t just add a random piece of punctuation or numerology to the name to “get close.” Close doesn’t count here. Instead, try to find another word that’s relevant, and possibly included in the list of keywords you’ll be using. For example, instead of purchasing, try to find something like
*Opt for a .com name whenever possible. There are lots of domain extensions to choose from: info, biz, us, tv, names, jobs. However, if the .com version of your chosen domain name is available, that’s always the best choice. Users tend to think in terms of .com, and any other extension will be hard for them to remember. Com names also tend to receive higher rankings in search engines than web sites using other extensions. So if your competition has and you choose to use, chances are the competition will rank higher in search results than you.
Again, it’s important to realize that domain naming is only one facet of SEO strategy. It won’t make or break your SEO, but it can have some effect. So take the time to think about the name you plan to register for your site. If you can use a name that not only reaches your audience but also lands you a little higher in search results, then by all means purchase it. But if no name really seems to work inthe SEO strategy for your site, don’t get discouraged. You can make up for any domain-naming issues by implementing solid keyword strategies, tagging strategies, and other elements of SEO.

Understanding usability

Usability. It means different things to different web site designers. It’s also been at the top of every user’s requirements list since the Web became part of daily life. When users click through to your web site from a search results page, they want the site to work for them. That means they want to be able to find what they’re looking for, to navigate from place to place, and to be able to load pages quickly, without any difficulties. Web-site users are impatient. They don’t like to wait for pages to load, they don’t want to deal with Flash graphics or JavaScript, and they don’t want to be lost. These are all elements of usability —how the user navigates through and uses your web site. And yes, usability has an impact on SEO.Especially from the perspective of your site links and loading times.When a search engine crawler comes to your site, it crawls through the site, looking at keywords,links, contextual clues, meta and HTML tags, and a whole host of other elements. The crawler will move from page to page, indexing what it finds for inclusion in search results. But if that crawler reaches the first page and can’t get past the fancy Flash you’ve created, or if it gets into the site and finds links that don’t work or that lead to unexpected locations, it will recognize this and make note of it in the indexed site data. That can damage your search engine rankings.

Navigation knowledge

When you consider web-site navigation, there are two types: internal navigation and external navigation.Internal navigation involves the links that move users from one page to another on your site.External navigation refers to links that take users away from your page. For your navigation to be SEO-friendly, you have to use both types of navigation carefully.Look at a number of different high-ranking web sites. How is the navigation of those sites designed?
In most cases, you’ll find that the top sites have a left-hand navigation bar that’s often text-based, and some have a button-based navigation bar across the top of the page. Few have just buttons down the left side, and all of them have text links somewhere in the landing page.The navigation for many sites looks the same, because this plan works. Having a text-based navigation bar on the left works for SEO because it allows you to use anchor tags with the keywords you’re using for the site. It also allows crawlers to move from one page to another with ease.Buttons are harder for crawlers to navigate, and depending on the code in which those buttons are designed, they might be completely invisible to the crawler. That’s why many companies that put
button-based links at the top of the page also usually include a text-based navigation bar on the left. The crawler can still move from page to page, but the user is happy with the design of the site.The other element you see on nearly every page is text-based links within the content of the page.
Again, those links are usually created with anchor tags that include the keywords the site is using to build site ranking. This is an effective way to gain site ranking. The crawler comes into the site,examines the linking system, examines the content of the page, compares these items, and finds that the links are relevant to the content, which is relevant to the keywords. That’s how your ranking is determined. Every element works together.Take the time to design a navigational structure that’s not only comfortable for your users, but is also
crawler-friendly. If it can’t always be perfect for the crawlers, make sure it’s perfect for users. 
Again,SEO is influenced by many different things, but return visits from users are the ultimate goal. This may mean that you have to test your site structure and navigation with a user group and change it a few times before you find a method that works both for returning users and for the crawlers that help to bring you new users. Do those tests. That’s the only way you’ll learn what works.

Usability considerations
It’s not always possible to please both your site users and the crawlers that determine your page ranking. It is possible, however, to work around problems. Of course, the needs of users come first because once you get them to your site you want them to come back. On the Internet, it’s extremely easy for users to surf away from your site and never look back. And returning visits can make or break your site.But the catch is that in order to build returning visitors, you have to build new visitors, which is the purpose of SEO. That means you need search engines to take notice of your site.When it seems that users’ preferences are contrary to crawlers’ preferences, there is a solution.It’s a site map. And there are two types of which you should be aware. A basic site map is an overview of the navigational structure of your web site. It’s usually text-based, and it’s nothing more than an overview that includes links to all of the pages in your web site. Crawlers love site maps. You should, too.A site map allows you to outline the navigational structure of your web site, down to the second or third level of depth, using text-based links that should include anchors and keywords.When a site map exists on your web page, a search engine crawler can locate the map and then crawl all of the pages that are linked from it. All of those pages are then included in the search engine index and will appear on search engine results pages. Where they appear on those SERPs is determined by how well the SEO is done for each individual page.
A second type of site map, the XML site map, is different from what you think of as a site map in both form and function. An XML site map is a file that lists all of the URLs for a web site. This file is usually not seen by site visitors, only by the crawlers that index your site.


Monday, June 28, 2010

SEO Strategies

SEO is hard work. It takes much effort to optimize just the right elements of your web site so search engines will not only find you, but will also index your site so that it appears high in search query results. And all of that effort must be attended to by you. There are currently no tools that will put all of the elements of SEO in place for you.Instead, you have to build your web site with SEO in mind,choose all the right keywords, and use them in the right places and balance on your site, determine if pay-per-click and paidinclusion programs are for you, use the right meta tags in the right places, create great content, and add all the right links.Sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it? It is. But don’t let the amount of work overwhelm you.

Building Your Site for SEO

Search engine optimization is a collection of strategies that improve the level at which your web site is ranked in the results returned when a user searches for a key word or phrase.By now, that’s a definition you should be pretty familiar with. What you probably don’t know (yet) is how to achieve SEO. You can’t do it all at once. Instead,SEO has to happen in stages. If you try to implement too many strategies at one time, two things are going to happen.
First, you won’t be able to tell which of your efforts are successful. Implementing one strategy at a time makes it possible for you to pinpoint which strategies are working and which are not.
Second, when you try to implement too many strategies at one time, your efforts — even the successful ones — could be lost in the shuffle. It’s like having too many children running around the house on the weekend. If you’re not paying complete attention to all of them (and that’s virtually impossible),at least one is bound to get into something.SEO is most successful when you concentrate on one effort at a time. A great place to start concentrating is on the way your site is built. One of the first things that attracts a search engine crawler is the actual design of your site.
Tags, links, navigational structure, and content are just a few of the elements that catch crawlers’ attention.

Before You Build Your Site

One of the most common misconceptions about SEO is that it should be implemented after a web site has been built. It can be, but it’s much harder. A better option is to consider SEO even before you begin to build your web site, if that’s at all possible. It may not be. But if that’s the case, you can still implement SEO strategies in the design of your site; it will just require a lot more work than building it in at the beginning.

Know your target

Before you even start contemplating how to build your web site, you should know in what types of search engines it’s most important for your site to be ranked. Search engines are divided into several types, beyond the primary, secondary, and targeted search engines that you learned about in previous post. In addition, search engine types are determined by how information is entered into the index or catalog that’s used to return search results. The three types of search engines are:
* Crawler-based engines: To this point, the search engines discussed fall largely into this category. A crawler-based search engine (like Google) uses an automated software agent (called a crawler) to visit, read, and index web sites. All the information collected by the crawler is returned to a central repository. This is called indexing. It is from this index that search engine results are pulled. Crawler-based search engines revisit web pages periodically in a time frame determined by the search engine administrator.
* Human-powered engines: Human-powered search engines rely on people to submit the information that is indexed and later returned as search results. Sometimes, humanpowered search engines are called directories. Yahoo! is a good example of what, at one time, was a human-powered search engine. Yahoo! started as a favorites list belonging to two people who needed an easier way to share their favorite web site. Over time, Yahoo! took on a life of its own. It’s no longer completely human-controlled. A newer search engine called Mahalo ( is entirely human-powered, however, and it’s creating a buzz on the Web. *Hybrid engine: A hybrid search engine is not entirely populated by a web crawler, nor entirely by human submission. A hybrid is a combination of the two. In a hybrid engine,people can manually submit their web sites for inclusion in search results, but there is alsoa web crawler that monitors the Web for sites to include. Most search engines today fall into the hybrid category to at least some degree. Although many are mostly populated by crawlers, others have some method by which people can enter their web site information.It’s important to understand these distinctions, because how your site ends up indexed by a search engine may have some bearing on when it’s indexed. For example, fully automated search engines that use web crawlers might index your site weeks (or even months) before a human-powered search engine. The reason is simple. The web crawler is an automated application. The human-powered search engine may actually require that all entries be reviewed for accuracy before a site is included in search results.In all cases, the accuracy of search engine results will vary according to the search query that is used.For example, entries in a human-powered search engine might be more technically accurate, but the search query that is used will determine if the desired results are returned.

Page elements

Another facet of SEO to consider before you build your web site is the elements needed to ensure that your site is properly indexed by a search engine. Each search engine places differing importance on different page elements. For example, Google is a very keyword-driven search engine; however, it also looks at site popularity and at the tags and links on any given page.
How well your site performs in a search engine is determined by how the elements of your page meet the engine’s search criteria. The main criteria that every search engine looks for are the site text (meaning keywords), tags — both HTML and meta tags — site links, and the site popularity.


Text is one of the most important elements of any web site. Of particular importance are the keywords within the text on a page, where those keywords appear, and how often they appear. This is why keyword marketing has become such a large industry in a relatively short time. Your keywords make all the difference when a search engine indexes your site and then serves it up in search results.
Keywords must match the words and phrases that potential visitors will use when searching for your site (or for the topic or product that’s listed on your site). To ensure that your keywords are effective, you’ll need to spend some time learning which keywords work best for your site. That means doing keyword research and testing the keywords that you do select to see how effective they really are.


In search engine optimization, two kinds of tags are important on your web site: meta tags and HTML tags. Technically, meta tags are HTML tags, they just appear in very specific places. The two most important meta tags are the keyword tag and the description tag.The keyword tag occurs at the point where you list the keywords that apply to your web site.The description tag gives a short description of your page.
Not all search engines take meta tags into consideration. For that reason, you site should use both meta tags and other HTML tags. Some of the other HTML tags that you should include on your web site are the title tag, the top (or H1) heading tags, and the anchor tags.
The title tag is the tag that’s used in the title of your web site.
Once you’ve tagged your site with a title tag, when a user pulls the site up, the title that you entered will appear at the very top of the page if the user is using an Internet Explorer browser (IE) earlier than IE7 and in the Firefox browser, the title will appear on the browser tab.
High-level headings (H1s) are also important when a crawler examines your web site. Your keywords should appear in your H1 headings, and in the HTML tags you use to create those headings.
Anchor tags are used to create links to other pages. An anchor tag can point users to another web page, a file on the Web, or even an image or sound file. You’re probably most familiar with the anchor tags used to create links to other web sites.

To be of value, the links on your web pages must be related to the content of the page, and they must be active links to real web sites. Broken links can lower your search engine ranking. Links have always been an important factor in how web sites rank on the Web, but the abuse of linking that we see so often today started just a few years ago, about the time that Google became the big name in search.
When links became a ranking criterion, many black-hat SEOs began building link farms, which are sites that are nothing more than pages full of links designed to gain high search engine rankings.It didn’t take long for search engine administrators to figure out this sneaky optimization trick, so they changed the criteria by which links are ranked. Now link farms are fairly ineffective, but links on your web site are still important. Links show an interactivity with the community (other sites on the Web), which points to the legitimacy of your web site. Links aren’t the only, or even the highest, ranking criteria, but they are important all the same.Popularity
One other consideration, even before you build your site, is the site’s popularity. Many search engines include a criterion for the number of times users click on web sites that are returned in search results.The more often the site is selected from the search results, the higher in the ranking it climbs.For you, that means you should begin building the popularity of your site, even before it is built.Begin building buzz about the site through advertisements, info-torials, and even newsletter or other e-mail announcements. Then redouble those efforts as soon as the site goes live to the public.It’s a riddle to which there is no easy answer. You optimize your web site for search engines in order to build popularity, but your ranking in the search engine can be determined by how popular your site is. There is no magic formula that helps you solve the riddle. It requires time and consistent effort to draw visitors to your site.Anchor tags appear as links to users.

Other criteria to consider

In addition to the four main elements you should plan to include on your site, there are a few others.For example, the body text on your web site will be examined by the crawler that indexes your site.Body text should contain enough keywords to gain the attention of the crawler, but not so many that it seems the site is being “stuffed’ with such words.
Alternative tags for pictures and links are also important. These are the tags that might appear as a brief description of a picture or graphic on a web site that fails to display properly. The alternative tags — called alt tags — display a text description of the graphic or picture, so that even if the actual image doesn’t appear, there’s some explanation of what should be there. Alt tags are a good place to include additional keywords.


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Understanding Organic SEO

 All this talk about planning for SEO is great, but what about organic SEO. You don’t have to put any
efforts into that, do you?

Don’t go foolin’ yourself. Organic SEO is just as much work as any other type of SEO. It’s just a little different method of creating a site optimized for search ranking, without having to implement any new technologies or spend a lot of time submitting your site to different primary and secondary search engines. And really, the distinction here is a very general one. Only SEO purists consider “real SEO” as being strictly organic — meaning you use no fee-based services whatever.
Most people are happy with “just plain SEO,” which usually means a combination of organic and fee-based. It’s best if you just think of SEO as just SEO; then you don’t have to worry about distinctions that aren’t really important in optimizing your web site.The definitions of organic SEO vary a little, depending on whom you talk to. Some SEO experts think it’s all about optimizing the content of your web site to catch the attention of the crawlers and spiders that index sites. Others think it’s the number of quality links you can generate on your site. But in truth, organic SEO is a combination of those and other elements, such as site tagging, that will naturally place your web site in search engine rankings. How high in those rankings depends on how wellyou design your site.
But before you go thinking that organic SEO is just the solution you’ve been looking for, take a step back. What organic SEO is not is an easy way to land in a search engine. Basically, if you put a web site online and spend a little time getting it ready for the world to see, you will have probably achieved some measure of organic SEO without really trying.That’s because your site will probably end up listed in some search engine somewhere, without too much time and effort from you. Elements that naturally occur on a web site — like the title of the site, the URL, included web links, and even some of the content — will probably land you in a search engine (unless those elements are black-hat SEO efforts, in which case the engine could permanently exclude you). The question is where in the results will you land? Without attention from you, that might not be as high in the rankings as you would like.
Organic SEO maximizes those naturally occurring elements, building upon each element to create a site that will naturally fall near the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs). One of the most attractive features of organic SEO is that the methods used to achieve high SERPs rankings are of no cost — other than the time it takes to implement these ideas.
However, there is a trade-off. Achieving organic SEO can take anywhere from three to six months.For web site owners impatient to see results from their SEO efforts, this can seem like an eternity.But it’s worth the extra time if the budget is an issue.

Achieving Organic SEO

Achieving organic SEO can take time, but it also takes targeting the right elements of your web site.You can spend a lot of time tweaking aspects of your site, only to find that it still ranks below the third page of search results. If your attention is focused on the right elements, however, you’ll find that organic SEO can be a fairly effective method of achieving a higher search engine ranking.Make no mistake, however; organic SEO alone is not as effective as organic SEO combined with some form of pay-per-click or keyword advertising program. Though organic SEO is good, adding the extra,more costly programs can be what you need to push your site right to the top of the SERPs.A good first step in search engine optimization is to ensure that the organic elements of your site are as optimized as possible. Although these elements are covered in detail in future posts, here is a look at some of the basics.

Web-site content

Web-site content is one of the most highly debated elements in search engine optimization, mostly because many rather unethical SEO users have turned to black-hat SEO techniques, such as keyword stuffing to try to artificially improve search engine ranking. Despite these less-than-honest approaches to search engine optimization, however, web-site content is still an important part of any web-site optimization strategy.The content on your site is the main draw for visitors. Whether your site sells products or simply provides information about services, what brings visitors to your site is the words on the page. Product descriptions, articles, blog entries, and even advertisements are all scanned by spiders and crawlers as they work to index the Web.One strategy of these crawlers and spiders is to examine just how the content of your page works
with all of the other elements (like links and meta tags) that are examined. To rank high in a selection of search results, your content must be relevant to those other elements.Some search engines will de-list your page or lower your page rank if the content of your site is not unique. Especially since the advent of blogs, search engines now are examining how frequently the content on pages is updated and looking for content that appears only on your web site. This doesn’t mean you can’t have static content on your page. For e-commerce sites, the product descriptions may rarely change.But including other elements on the page, like reviews or product updates, will satisfy a crawler’s requirement that content change regularly. Content is an important part of your site and the ranking of your site in search engine results. To achieve organic SEO, take the time to develop a content plan that not only outlines what should be included on each page of your site, but also how often that content will be updated, and who will do the updates.
One other element you might want to consider when looking at your page content as part of SEO is the keywords that you plan to use. Ideally, your chosen words should appear on the page several times. But again, this is a balancing act that might take some time to accomplish.
Keywords are part of your site content, and as such require special attention. In fact, the selection of the right keywords is a bit of an art form that takes some time to master. For example, if your web site is dedicated to selling products for show dogs, you might assume that “show dogs” would be a perfect keyword. You might be wrong. Selecting the right keywords requires a good understanding of your audience and what they might be looking for when they want to find your web site. People looking for products for show dogs could search for “grooming products,” “pedigree training,” or just “dog supplies.” It could even be something entirely different, like the name of a product that was featured at the most recent dog show.Learning which keyword will be most effective for your site will require that you study your audience,but it also requires some trial and error. Try using different keywords each quarter to learn which ones work the best.It’s also advised that you use a tracking program such as Google Analytics to monitor your web site traffic and to track the keywords that most often lead users to your site.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a free web site statistics application that you can use to track your web site traffic.You can access Google Analytics by going to You are required to have a Google user name to access the program.If you do not have a Google user name, you can create one when you sign up for the application. It’s simple. Provide your e-mail address and a password, type the verification word from the graphic provided,and then read the Terms of Service and click “I accept. Create my account.”
Once you’ve created your user name and password, accessing the tracking capabilities of Google is no problem. You’ll need to copy a snippet of text that Google provides into the coding of your web site. Once you’ve added the code to your site it will take a few days for Google to gather enough information to provide reports about your site, and as much as two months to gather enough data to give you real insight into your site. But once there is enough data, you’ll have access to the keywords that most often lead visitors to your site.
Google Analytics can also be combined with Google’s AdWords program to provide paid keyword tracking and information. It should be noted that Google Analytics doesn’t track spiders and crawlers at this time, however, so there may be some limitations to its SEO functionality. Still, if you need a (free) tool to help you examine some of the metrics surrounding your SEO efforts, Google Analytics is a good starting point.

Internal and external links

Another element of organic SEO that’s just as important as your web-site content is the links on your pages. Links can be incoming, outgoing, or internal. And where those links lead or come from is as important as the context in which the links are provided.When links first became a criteria by which crawlers ranked web sites, many black-hat SEO users rushed to create link farms. These were pages full of nothing but web links, some of which led to relevant information and some of which led to sites in no way related to the topic of the web site. It didn’t take long for search engine designers and programmers to catch on to these shady practices and change the way that crawlers use links to rank sites.
Today, links must usually be related to the content of the page, and they must link to something relevant to that content. In other words, if your links don’t go to or lead in from pages that match the keywords that you’re using, they will be of little value to you.The balance of links that are included on your page is also relevant. Too many links and your site could be labeled as a link farm. Too few and you’ll lose out to sites that have more and better-targeted links.Your best option when including links on your web site is to link to the pages you know for sure are relevant to your site content. Don’t include a link unless you’re sure it will have value to your users, and then take the time to pursue links into your site from them as well.
One other type of link, the internal link, is also important. This is a navigational link that leads users from one page to another on your site. The navigation of your site (which is what these links are,essentially) should be intuitive, and natural in progression. And you should also include a site map.Your site map not only makes it easier for crawlers to index every page of your site, but it also makes it easier for users to find their way around in it. Ideally, users will never have to rely on the site map,however, it’s nice for it to be there in the event that they either need it or simply want to click directly to the page they’re seeking.
How you design your site map is a matter of preference. Some organizations create site maps that only include the top two levels of pages. Others include ones that go three levels down or deeper.Whatever level of depth you think will be required by the majority of users is how deep your site map should go. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that site maps can become just as overwhelming as any other navigational structure if there are hundreds of pages in your site.
Design your site map so it’s easy to decipher and will take users to the pages they are seeking without difficulty and confusion.

User experience

User experience is a little harder to quantify than other site-ranking elements. It’s easy to say that users will find your site simple to use, that they will find the information or products that they’re seeking, or that they will have reason to return to your site. But in practice, that’s a little more difficult to achieve.
So, how in the world can a site gain search engine ranking by user experience? It’s fairly simple really. Search engines today are smarter than they have ever been. They may not be able to make you a grilled cheese sandwich, but they can certainly keep track of what results users click when they run a search. Those result selections are essential to adding to the organic ranking of your site.Here’s a scenario. Say you search for something like health-insurance information. When the search results come up, how are you going to choose which results to look at? Most users read the small descriptive lines that are included with the search engine ranking and select from those.In most cases, the sites that are visited are those sites that are highest in the rankings. But search engines also monitor which sites are actually clicked on, so let’s say you search through the results and click a link on the fifth page. And suppose several other people do so as well.That link on the fifth page is going to show more traffic than links that are higher in the results, so smart search engines will move that page higher in the rankings. It may not jump right up to the number one position, but it’s entirely possible for the site to move from the fifth page of rankings to the second or third. This is part of the equation used when user experience is taken into consideration.Another part of that experience might be how quickly the user jumps back to the search page. Maybe when you click that link on the fifth page, you can tell when you hit the site that it’s not the page you were looking for (or doesn’t contain the information or product that you were looking for). You click the back button, and you’re taken back to the page of search results.This is called bounce, and the rate at which users bounce off your site is an indicator of the usability of the site in terms of how relevant it is to what users are searching for. This relates directly to the keywords the user searched for, which relates directly to how your site matches those keywords.
To maximize the usability of your site, make sure the keywords you choose and the description of your page are as accurate as possible.It may take some time for you to learn how to make all of these elements work together, especially when it comes to elements like descriptions and keywords. Be patient, and be willing to experiment with different combinations of words or descriptions until you hit on the ones that combine to send
your site rank closer to the top search results. Just remember, it’s an art more than a science, and it takes time (usually two to three months) to see the most accurate results.

Site interactivity

When the Internet first came into being, web sites were all about disclosing information. The only interaction between a web site and a user was the reading the user did while on the site. Today, reading is still important. Users search for web sites to learn more about products, services, or topics.However, there’s much more to web sites today than just text on a screen.We now live in the Interactive Age. Most of us want to interact with the web sites we’re visiting. That interaction might take the form of a poll, the ability to comment on a blog post, the downloading of a file, or even a game that relates to the site content. No matter what the type of interaction, users expect it, and search crawlers look for it.
Site interactivity is essential to achieving a high SEO ranking. Sure, you can garner a high ranking without interaction, bit it won’t happen nearly as fast, and the ranking will likely be lower than that of a site that has some form of interaction with the user.
Why is interaction so important? Simple. If you can influence a user to interact with your site, you have more of a chance of gaining a goal conversion. Goal conversions are the completion of some form of activity designed to gather further information about your user. A goal conversion can be something as simple as enticing users to sign up for a newsletter, or it can be more specific, like persuading them to make purchases.
No matter what goal conversion you’re seeking, the way to achieve it is through interactivity. And the more frequently the user interacts with your site, the more likely it is that this person will reach that goal conversion page that you’re monitoring so closely.
Goal conversion is the purpose of many web sites. For example, the target goal conversion for an e-commerce web site might be for the user to make a $25 purchase. If you can entice a user to purchase from your site — that is, meet the goal conversion — you have more of a chance of getting them back to your site for a future purchase, to find additional information, or simply to interact with your site some moreAll of these are important aspects of your web site’s traffic patterns. And search engines will look for elements of interactivity to judge the value of your site to users. One goal of search engines is to provide value to users. Those users turn to the search engine for help in finding something specific.Just as it’s important for your site to land high in the search results, it’s important for the search engine to provide the information that a user seeks within the first page or two. Making the user happy is one way search companies make their money. Another way is through the dollars that advertisers will pay to have their pages ranked high in the search results or their advertisements shown according to the keywords for which the user was searching.In other words, search engine optimization is two-way street. It’s also a business, and search engine companies are always trying to find ways to improve their business. For that reason, these elements,and many others, are an essential part of search engine optimization.
Organic SEO is certainly not easy to achieve. One way to achieve it is to have a solid SEO plan that outlines where you are and what needs to be added to your site design or content to make it more visible to users. It also takes a lot of time and effort to create and implement the right SEO plan.However, if you use your SEO plan as a stepping stone, even for organic SEO, you’ll stay focused and eventually, you’ll achieve the search engine ranking that you’ve been working toward.