Category Archives: seo

Wikia Search Launches With Google in Its Sights

Declaring that Internet search is currently broken, Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales is trying to fix it. And he wants your help.

After several months of development and acquisitions to assemble the infrastructure needed to build a viable search engine, Wikia Search service goes live today. Wikia Search is a product of Wikia Inc., a for-profit company wholly separate from the Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit organization that was founded in 2004 and oversees Wikipedia.

Following a brief period of private alpha testing, today’s unveiling is billed as a “public alpha release.” Wales has freely admitted that today’s launch is something of a test drive, and that the application will continue to see substantial modifications and updates.

With the community-driven, open-source search engine, Wales is hoping to transform Internet search, which he describes as currently dominated by a few large companies operating under a cloak of secrecy with virtually no accountability for how results are served up or pages are ranked.

“The philosophical background here is that I’m a very big advocate of openness and transparency,” Wales told InternetNews.com. The best parts of the Web are largely absent from the proprietary protocols of the major search engines, he said.

“My view here is that there’s an opportunity to change that.”

Starting from www.wikia.com, users can navigate to an unadorned search page that Wales compared to Google’s for its deceptive spareness — like Google, the Wikia Search launch page is just the tip of the iceberg.

Wales said that Wikia Search is both a social network and a search engine. On the site, users register, create profiles and are able to perform all the typical functions of a social networking site – messaging friends, uploading photos, etc.

The search engine serves up results as a series of links ranked in order of relevance, just as Google and Yahoo do (enter a query; receive a list of results), but the similarities end there.

Applying the collaborative editing approach that is the essence of a wiki, registered users can contribute to a mini-article that appears at the top of the results page, Wales said.

Users can click on the links and rank the relevance of the result to the search term on a scale of one to five; their evaluations are then fed back into the algorithm to improve the quality of information delivered.

Building a search engine from the ground up, with results delivered and refined the using the same approach that made Wikipedia the Web’s favorite general reference site, is not going to be an overnight process, Wales admitted. Just looking at the near future, “we’d be ecstatic if we grabbed 5 percent of the market,” Wales said.

The push toward community-driven search began in earnest in July, when Wikia announced the acquisition of Grub, the open source search project that harnesses the distributed processing power of individuals’ computers to crawl the Web.

The Grub Web crawler is just one of many technologies cobbled together to power Wikia Search, Wales said. On the back end, Apache efforts Lucene and Nutch shoulder the brunt of the search and indexing responsibilities. The front end, which handles the user interactions, such as the comments and rankings, is written in Java.

Wales said that Wikia Inc. is still exploring monetization methods for the search engine, but that, in a general sense, it would employ some form of an advertising model. No commercial partners have been announced.

Delivering search results through open source algorithms that evolve through community rankings begs the same question of user abuse that has dogged Wikipedia from time to time.

Search engine optimization is a microindustry in its own right these days. Asked about the concern that by turning the algorithms and rankings over to the community, Wikia Search could be a ripe target for gaming the search engine to artificially boost site rankings, Wales demurred.

“My view is that sunlight is the best disinfectant,” he said. “Talk with security experts and they will tell you that security through obscurity is a bad idea,” adding that the policing of Wikia Search will work in a very similar manner as it does on Wikipedia.

“We have a community that is in charge of the editorial content” that will be able to identify and block the bad apples who aren’t playing by the rules. Ultimately, SEO will be less of an issue for Wikia Search than it is currently with Google, Yahoo and the other major search engines, Wales said.

“I feel that this is going to be one of our strengths.”

Wales said he’s taking an organic approach to the development of the editorial community and that his own involvement will be extensive.

He wasn’t didn’t specifically answer whether there’ll be censorship or banning of rogue community members for trying to game the system?

“I have a general philosophy that’s served me very well: Avoid excessive a priori thinking – wait and see … we’ll see how it unfolds.”

Matt Cutts of Google Reveals SEO Secrets

Recently, a conference was held in Las Vegas, the Publishers Conference (pubcon.com). Lots of discussion around search marketing and opportunities to generate traffic and business online: Link building, universal search, local search, social search, personalized search, web 2.0, social media optimization, content strategies and much, much more.

One of the top videos that came out of the conference that’s available now is the Matt Cutts interview for top SEO advice. You will also find more tips on WordPress and its recent release.

Lastly, some tips on YouTube and Google Video optimization, which is important for possible massive exposure.

Watch the video here

Organic SEO is not a Vending Machine

For some reason, some clients tend to look at Organic SEO like a vending machine. Almost as if they want to put their money in a slot and instantly want the prize. Organic SEO depends on the climate of the competition, the industry and variables such as the content on your pages, if your site is new, if your website has links or if it is virtually unknown. The list of potential obstacles that an optimization specialist has to overcome oftentimes seems insurmountable in comparison to the expectations of a client.

In the event that time is not a luxury one can afford for long term results, there is pay per click marketing. However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel for solid organic placement, but before getting there, oftentimes an education and above all clarity needs to be established between the SEO company and the client before embarking on a voyage into the raging waters of the search engine marketing.

Patience may be a virtue, but in SEO it is the cornerstone to long lasting organic search results. If you have a newer website that barely ranks for your company name and you hire an SEO company with the expectation of taking over a 2 word phrase with 5,000,000 pages competing for that term, what likelihood do you have of achieving search engine domination (that lasts) within a month? 2 months?, 3 months?, bleak…you see the point. To acquire such (in the real world) and not just theoretically would mean that you would have had to start somewhere (with related keywords) to chip away at the tail or the term (sometimes for 3-6 months), before even considering attacking the head. Not to mention that your ranking potential is to a great extent based on your link popularity. Now those of you who are not familiar with link building, here is an analogy.

Say for example that you want to appear for a search term that sparsely appears for a fleeting moment on your website, you don’t really want to change your content and you want fast results (all SEO’s raise their hand if they have had to deal with clients like this) then I have news for you. Your better breaking it to them that they are better off sticking risk vs. reward, no guarantee, pay per click marketing. At least then they know what their getting, a shot at the top, with no safety net. One can easily burn through 2-3 times as much money using PPC than just observing a bit of patience to organically occupy a top 10 spot and have the users click happily ever after when they visit your site free of the toll of the PPC troll. But to expect this from Organic SEO right out of the box (from a newer site – less than a year old) is simply contrary to the principles (mainly the algorithms) that control organic rankings.

What is the solution?

So what can you do if you are interested in increasing your rankings without spending a fortune? Invest your time in (a) looking at the top tier websites that are returned for the search terms you are coveting and (b) be frank with yourself to determine what those websites have that yours does not. Do they have 1000 pages and you have 3, do they have 25,000 back links to their site and you have 28, trust me details like this matter. What can you emulate and what can you do today to make changes that can provide relevance for your website aside from wishful thinking…

All kidding aside, if you are considering what it would take to be on top, usually the first thing to consider is what you need to be doing differently that can aid the process that is already known for being conducive with top 10 rankings. Because frankly, if you were doing that already, your wouldn’t need SEO to begin with. So if you are afraid of change, or quite simply just don’t have the time to commit 3 hours a day to your site (minor tweaks, revisions, polishing the content, building links, socially bookmarking to promote, etc) then your better off hiring an SEO company who does know how, and that can avoid the pitfalls in the first place.

Start from the ground up, content is the key

Organic SEO is based on maximizing the content on your pages to achieve the right balance of word density (percentage of keywords to non keywords) as well as proper use of signal flares or signifying elements that say HEY OVER HERE, HERE I AM, when it comes to that term. Not that repetition for the sake of redundancy occurs (otherwise known as SPAM), but your message should be clear, themed and concise, while being informative, compelling and engaging to consume (otherwise known as sticky) to ensure sales and conversion.

If you are a bit on the shallow side on the links, you can sign up for the Yahoo Directory to get the ball rolling, it’s the best $299 one could spend on investing in their websites instant recognition based on the process of affiliation with one of the oldest directories online. One site which was less than a year old went from a page rank 0 to a page rank 4, just on the strength of Yahoo’s back link, so this is a start.

My suggestion is to build links for about 3-5 months gradually sprinkling the terms you want to rank for in the anchor text (the text in the link) that reference your site. The idea is to have a balance of broad search terms as well as a combination of exact match terms to dial in the net and funnel the potential searches that may have any number of keywords that pertain to your industry. In this way, your site can become a catch all for various top 10 searches and create inroads with search engines as an authority in your industry.

This is what link building is for, building authority, from there once your website is viewed in that capacity, you can work smarter not harder to rank for more competitive terms. This is not intended to be interpreted as a tutorial, but rather a needed statement to address all of the misconceptions about organic rankings.

Organic SEO can work fast, but it depends on variables and since no two sites are alike, what works for one, may not work for another. Competition and the industry have the greatest impact on this part of the equation. Real estate vs. ant farming, sure you could rank in the top 10 for the best ant farmer, but then again the daily search volume may be 3 people a day if that.

The point being, the market is based on supply and demand and as any commodity is in great demand, it is taxed accordingly. In this case, the search engines view this as a commitment of time and energy. Visibility and links are crucial, but finding the right combination of old and new links as well as being present in the headlines, social scenes and other known factors that can produce rankings are all investments of time. So the next time you wonder why SEO companies charge so much, this should provide some incite into the logic behind the equation. They are essentially micro-managing thousands of steps and protocols, analyzing the results and systematically applying fundamentals to give your website the proper balance so that it appeals to the hungry, yet picky spiders and bots, whose purpose it is to catalog and retrieve useful content.

If you don’t make the grade, you can always build a few more links, clean up your code, your content and your act and then wait for them to breeze through again and catch a glimpse of your wares. If they like what they see, you should be ranking in no time flat. But if the results you are seeking fall short of your expectations, then it is either you than must come to terms with what you want and where your at, so that you can make the needed adjustments to find a happy medium between on-page SEO, off-page link building until you achieve your goal.

Why are SEO Costs so High

Good question!

If you approach an SEO company, like ours, for a quote to get your site working for you, you may be slightly taken aback by the costs involved. In many instances, especially where small businesses are concerned, SEO costs can be several times more than the original site development costs. But why?

The short answer is SEO takes time and time costs money.

The long answer? Oh, OK then……

For SEO to be effective your SEO consultant needs to understand your business and your business aims = time
To market your business your SEO needs to understand your market = time
To optimise your site your SEO needs to understand your customers search habits = time
To ensure the search engines can index your website’s content it needs to be structurally sound = time
To give your site credibility your site needs links from other sites = time
To make sure your SEO keeps working your SEO needs to stay ahead of your competitors = time
I could go on but perhaps you can now understand why SEO costs so much. Rates will vary but you will pay perhaps £150 per day at the lower end, £400 in the mid range and £000’s at the high end.

If you hire an mid range SEO firm for say 10 days at about £400 per day, that’s £4000.00. For that money you are getting a dedicated professional. You can hire by the day for as long or as little as you like. But there is an alternative, you could hire a full time employee.

Average fees using a reputable agency? Perhaps 5% of the salary. Expected salary? around the £40k mark. Finders fee = £2000.00. Now the salary, £40k grossed up for employers NI etc will cost you about £44,500.00. All this ignores sick pay, holiday pay, cost of a workstation etc. If you’ve ever worked out the cost of a providing a serviced workspace you’ll know it’s not cheap, let’s call it £300 a month.

That’s £4000 per month, every month of the year (even though your guy will be on holiday for one and half of those). Now you have an insight, extracts from redevo

SEO – Six Mistakes You Should Avoid

For the survival of your blog, website search engine optimization is as important as having a website, especially if you seek targeted traffic from search engines. SEO for me is not simply getting traffic from various sources; it is getting highly targeted traffic. A few mistakes here and there and all your SEO efforts will go down the drain. In fact wrong SEO tactics can sometimes prove costlier than having no SEO strategy. Although there are unlimited things you can do to improve your SEO and unlimited mistakes you can commit in the process, in this blog post I’m going to discuss 6 SEO mistakes you should avoid.

Here they are:

1. Don’t have the same title for every page: If you are a blogger you might not face this problem because most blogging software generates unique page titles (here too you can post blog posts without titles — some people do), but if you run a website make sure all your pages have a unique title. The logic is that every page carries a unique message and the best way to present that message to the outside world is by having a page title that aptly represents the message of your page. On external links people click on your link when they find your page title attractive. People using search engines click your link when they see the title of your link. So have a unique title for every page and make sure the important phrase that represents your page content appears in your title.

2. Don’t spam your pages by stuffing keywords: Your keywords and key phrases are certainly taken into account when search engine algorithms rank your web pages, but it doesn’t mean you insert your keywords everywhere. This will be considered keyword spam and your website runs the risk of getting black listed by all of the major search engines. Your keywords appearing nonsensically in your title, in your description, all over your text and everywhere in your links, is not going to get you anywhere. Even if for a few days you get to the first page of the search result pages your website will be blacklisted the moment it is noticed by someone from the search engine company. Instead, create highly focused, specialized web pages so that they cater to the theme of your keywords. Let your keywords and key expressions appear naturally on your pages. The important thing is not getting ranked higher as soon as possible, what is important is increasing the overall relevancy of your website.

3. Don’t use bells and whistles: The more needless stuff you have on your website, the tougher it is for the search engine crawlers to crawl and index your pages. Run a check on your website and see if there are some JavaScripts, some images and animations, or some CSS definitions that you can get rid of, and if you can, then get rid of them immediately. Make your website as light as possible.

4. Don’t use dynamic URLs: A dynamic URL is something like http://www.yourwebsite.com/index.php?p=345. The search engines simply cannot make sense of them, and even if they can, it takes lots of effort on their part. Instead, use a URL scheme that has your keywords in it. For instance, the URL of this post will probably end up with /6-seo-mistakes-you-should-avoid/. All current content management systems and blog publishing platforms give you the ability to create search engine friendly URLs.

5. Don’t participate in meaningless link-exchange schemes: Inbound links are definitely important for your website or blog, but they should appear on external websites voluntarily and not because you are going to put their link on your website. The entire logic of having inbound links is to convince Google that your blog or website has got content worth linking to and they should be coming from reputed websites. The very fact that the other website is readily exchanging links with you means that it does not get linked to because of its value, and this, consequently, is not going to give you any SEO benefit. In fact exchanging links with disrepute or totally unrelated websites can adversely affect your SEO efforts.

6. Don’t submit to search engines: It’s no use submitting your website to different search engines because the search engines themselves are perpetually crawling the Internet to locate and index new and recently updated pages. It takes its own time for your web pages to start appearing on search engine result pages whether you submit them or don’t submit them. So if you are thinking that by simply submitting your website to “1000s of search engines” your SEO job is over, please do a re-think.

So avoid these mistakes and keep yourself focused. Remember that search engines want to provide the best content available on the Internet to their users so that their users keep coming back to them for their search needs. Create a website or a blog that the search engines will happily present to their users among top results.

SEO and Web Design – The Eternal Debate

Having a beautiful website no one can find is like having a store and keeping the doors locked. You know it is there, you’ve done a great job decorating it, the products are waiting for the customers, yet no one comes in.

Web design focuses on appearance and aesthetics. SEO focuses on text quality and quantity. Web designers don’t really like to clutter their designs with text. They prefer to see the images stand out on their own. SEOs on the other hand don’t like images that much. Sure, an image can be optimized for the search engines by adding relevant alt attributes and titles, but this is not enough for a site to be properly optimized. Page copy still plays the most important role in website optimization for Search Engine Optimisation.

As a business owner you are caught in the middle of this conflict. For your website to convert you need both design and optimization. There is no middle way. You cannot have a little bit of this and a little bit of that and still be competitive. You cannot have just one of the two either. Without optimization your site is invisible to the search engines, hence to your potential customers. On the other hand, without a good design your site, although not invisible, will get nothing but hits. Web users are picky and if they find nothing of interest on your site they will just surf to the next site.

When you pay for web design don’t automatically assume that by paying thousands of dollars on a layout you’ll be a hit on the Web. The Web is a highly competitive place. There are already thousands entrepreneurs who, just like you, invest in design and hope to become the new “it.” Without online marketing (SEO being an important part of the discipline) all these entrepreneurs will remain in the shadow, with their beautiful websites closed to the world.

SEO is the key to that virtual door you need to open for your customers. It is important that you consider this tool when you first conceive your site. Web design and SEO don’t need to be enemies. There are enough professional agencies that employ both web designers and SEOs who work together to develop a good business website, a site that is SEO ready, accessible and readable with any browser. You just need to take your time, research and send a few inquiries. Then choose the company that answers your questions in a timely manner, basically choose the company that proves a clear ability of designing with W3C standards and a clear understanding of the online trends and realities.

Then balancing content with visual appearance shouldn’t be such a difficult task. Aside graphics and artwork you have to choose proper font types, in a readable size, with colors that harmonize with the layout of the site and so on. If your site is not SEO ready from the first stage of the project you’ll face additional costs after you launch. SEO ready means a site that is properly coded (errors in the HTML code might stop some search bots from crawling and indexing your site correctly), with good navigability and good internal linking structure.

On the other hand, SEO and appearance are not the only traits of a good site. Brand conscious companies should look at the broader picture: instead of debating what is better online entrepreneurs should ask themselves what works best to convert visitors into clients.

Studies show that an over optimized page might hurt the user-experience of people with disabilities. For example, many SEOs stuff the image alt attributes and their alternative titles with keywords. Blind and other visually impaired people who use screen readers to access the Web and read the pages cannot see the images and, instead of listening to a relevant image description, they’ll hear… nonsense.

Usability and accessibility are equally important as design and optimization. Strangely enough images are better for usability. They give focus to the design and when properly optimized they provide for less cluttered website content. The problems appear when the images slow down the loading times, but with the use of CSS loading times should not be a big concern.

As search engines prefer fast loading sites it is easy top understand why good coding and optimization are so important. Poor coding raises many other problems aside loading times and might increase costs when you need website updates, especially when your website administrator is not the one who created your site.

These were the words from Mihaela Lica.

How? – Latitude wins Haven Holidays SEO Account

It never ceases to amaze me how some media companies get SEO work, this is not picking just on Latitude here, they have done a great job promoting themselves and others in the last few years and I am sure a few would love to have done so well.

But, they just win an SEO account for Haven Holidays to do all there SEO work?, when they cannot even do there own?, anyone who has to advertise on Adwords or any other PPC Search Engine to be found for SEO and PPC services as they cannot be found anywhere near the 1st pages on organic search engines speaks volumes.

I am sure there branding skills, outside media skills making people aware is what they do best, but Online Marketing, SEO, PPC, sorry that does not work for me.

I must get half dozen emails or calls from media company’s monthly, they all usually have fantastic web designers, branding skills, smart educated marketing sales people who talk a good show, but when it comes to the net, they are nowhere to be found, unless of course you type the company name in the browser.

Look at this Google Report

I think this trend will continue to happen, especially here in the UK, until these people and company’s realise that SEO Experts dont grow on trees, the techie web designers they employ with ten degrees from university in computers,design and Linux is exactly what they do, design, they are not a sure fire guarantee to have your website sight seen in the top pages of search engines, its not what they do.

Having spent the last few years working in the USA with some of the largest company’s on the planet, I’m convinced on a whole that a lot of company’s here in the UK are at least 3-4 years behind when it comes to search, until these companies realise how important the net is and how important being found on organic search engine results on the top pages for your profession and for the services you offer, this trend is going to continue.

Some say SEO is a Science, an Art, I tend to agree with some of these comments, but what I do agree on is this, I am not a web designer, I cannot write programs, but I can and do know the art of Search Engine Optimisation, why? because I am where I should be on the Net for my profession, the front pages.

In typical northern style, listen people, Horses for Courses, the sooner you learn this the higher you will climb.

Search Engine Optimisation and Other Marketing Techniques to Use

To construct a business marketing strategy takes time and a competent designer. Select a qualified web design firm who specialize in web architectural design principals, with combining important information delivery and intuitive navigation methods to satisfy your business web site visitor’s needs (why they visited) while accomplishing. Having a proper site architecture is vital to the online Internet marketing of a site that will attract and also satisfy visitors.

SEO is not only marketing and getting traffic but converting that traffic into sales.

There are some specific procedures by which a business is governed. Search Engine Optimization Management has the adequate expertise and the skill to go beyond these difficulties and problems and will be able to find out the causes of this great disaster of your business. Planning for a business can be divided into the various steps. Among them Internet Marketing Statistics, Strategies and Tactics, Budgets, Task forces and Program implementations hold the key to success. Strategies and the tactics are the key part of Internet marketing. There are dozen of strategies and over a hundred different online tactics to upgrade the business. All of them are not worth of use all the time.

A great strategy in addition to SEO is marketing using email. Email marketing mainly focuses on the use of email to draw the visitors to the websites that sell and demonstrate products and services.

With email marketing a business can develop a complete structured back end system to sell even more products the second time around.

Internet Marketing Strategies will add some advantages to the strategies with the help of the tactics, as tactics are the subordinate parts of strategies and it is need short term dedication. There is more than on way to implement tactics to Internet marketing but it is best if take one and become good at it. Do it consistently. This is the easiest ways to success.

Many marketing gurus understand what it takes for SEO Services. Find the busy ones and hire them.

A simple step most Internet Marketing Businesses should offer is the website submissions service. This is the primary goal and starting point to a solid link building campaign for the site.

Place more into a package is what Internet marketing companies should be offering. While a SEOcompany ranks a customers site, the benefit for both is really unique.

While the site ranks more a smart SEO company will be able to maximize all their customers sites by placing them in a network of sites.

Search Engine Optimization Tips and Tricks

Everyone knows that search engine optimization is the game to play these days. After all, it seems as though it’s the only thing that everyone talks about anymore. But how do you go about properly optimizing your website? Do you really need to spend a bundle of money for special tools and consultants?

The answer is no – as long as you have a little bit of time and willingness to learn. In this article, we’ll take a look at some simple steps you can take that have been proven to greatly improve the ranking of websites within search engine results.

But first, I’ll define search engine optimization, according to Dictionary.com, so that we start on the same page: [search engine optimization is] the process of choosing targeted keywords and keyword phrases related to a Web site so the site will rank high when those terms are part of a Web search; abbr. SEO. A good basic definition – you will see in a moment, however, that SEO does go above and beyond mere keywords.

So let’s get started from the ground up.

Website Structure

We’ll start at the very basis – your website’s structure. This pertains to the way your site is put together, and every other aspect of SEO builds upon this. I’ll start with the basic website/web page elements you do not want to have, and I’ll also explain why:

>Re-directs – Re-directs refer to pages that are blank and just point to another page. Many search engines run into trouble when they try to add re-direct pages to their databases, so this is something you want to stay away from. Many re-direct pages are not indexed, and if you are using a re-direct for your homepage, there goes any chance you may have had of any part of your website landing in search results.

> Frames – Frames consist of essentially two separate web pages being displayed as one. Frames are usually used so that, for instance, a constant navigation menu can be displayed in a panel on the left side of the screen, while the rest of the screen changes each time a link in the navigation panel is clicked. This can make a website look snazzy, but search engines just can’t process frames, and you’ll end up with the same problems as if you tried to use re-directs. It is best to stay away from frames. The good news is that you can emulate the function of frames pretty easily, through the use of simple HTML – the only difference is that you’ll have to include the navigation menu code on each page, but it is worth doing this to have your website indexed.

> Image maps – Image maps are images that have had separate links added to them. To illustrate, suppose you have created an image with three areas of text on it: ‘Home’ ‘Help’ and ‘Links’. By “mapping” that image, you can create three separate links around each area of text, without having to break the image into three smaller images. Image maps are usually used for navigation menus, but here is where the problem comes in: search engines cannot follow the links in a navigation menu. (Aren’t you starting to get tired of all the problems these navigation menus cause?) There is an easy work-around, though, if you really want to use image maps – just include the links as text links somewhere else on each page that has an image map. Search engines will be able to follow these text links and index the rest of your site.

> Macromedia Flash – You either have a love or hate relationship with Flash, but the bottom line is it chokes up search engines too. If you don’t have to use it, please, don’t. (Not only for your sake, but for the sake of us who have gotten just a little bit tired of those tacky Flash headers on every website now!)

> CGI, PHP, and all that stuff – CGI, PHP, and other web programming and scripting languages are very powerful and can contribute a great deal to a website’s functionality. But dynamic web pages are just one more thing that search engines can’t digest. Oftentimes, there may be no getting around using scripting in a website, but use it sparingly, and if you’re using it for the sole reason of looking impressive when HTML would do the job just fine, by all means, switch to HTML!

So now you have a basic understanding of the technologies and areas to avoid when building – or re-designing – your website. A properly structured website facilitates the easier “crawling” of “spiders” through it so that it receives a higher search engine results ranking.

We’ll now move on to the content of your website, an often-overlooked aspect of search engine optimization.

Website Content

The content your website contains is very important. All the search engine crawling in the world won’t do you any good if the search engine “spiders” don’t find any useful content on your site. Oftentimes, you won’t see search engine optimization programs cover your website’s content, but this is a very important point that I think should not be left out.

Your website should consist of a good amount of relevant, explanatory content, containing your keywords (which we’ll talk about in a few moments) and several good supporting images (we’ll get to those in a second as well).

Upon hearing that more text is better, many webmasters make the mistake of adding un-decipherable gibberish to their sites. This is also something we’ll discuss under the Keywords & META Tags section, but for now I will say that this is a big no-no. Search engines can tell when you’re trying to fool them, and if they consider your site to have committed a large offence, they may even permanently blacklist your domain from their results database. So it is extremely important that the content on your website makes sense.

One good idea is to include articles on your website. Search engines greatly prefer content that changes often, and what better way to have changing content than to continuously post articles on your site. Not only will you be perceived as an expert in your field, you’ll also make the search engines happy.

I think that’s as far as I’ll go with content – much of what will be discussed in the next section applies here as well, so keep reading!

Keywords & META Tags

Keywords are yet another integral part of your search engine optimization campaign. For starters, you need to sit down with a sheet of paper (and don’t forget your good old thinking cap!) and think of keywords that pertain to your business. (For the record, keywords can be both single words and phrases – just make sure they’re not too long!) Think of what your website does, and develop keywords that you would use to describe your website and its content. It does not matter how many keywords you come up with, although it is best to have no less than five (and the less you have, the more targeted your search engine marketing can be).

After you’ve developed your list of keywords, there are a few things you’re going to want to do with them. First, sprinkle them within the pages of your site. Anywhere you have text on your website, include these keywords. It is best to have at least three per page (of each one), as the search engines likely will not pay attention to them otherwise. Keep these tips in mind when inserting your keywords:

> Do not repeat a keyword over and over.

> Do not repeat a keyword over and over (or even just once) and make it the same colour as your website’s background.

> Do not include your keywords all together as gibberish that no normal human can understand.

The second thing you’re going to want to do is to include these keywords in the descriptive sentences you will use in the ALT tags for the images you have on your site. Again, follow the rules in bold above that can be applied to ALT tags.

Third, add these keywords to your META tags. There are three elements to the META tags that you will be using: Title, Description, and Keywords. For the Title and Description META tags, follow the rules in the bold text above – and be sur
e to include your company name in these two tags, if it is not already one of your keywords. For the Keywords META tag, you can go to town adding your keywords, one right after the other! Separate them with a comma, and do not include the same keyword more than once! Doing so (as well as violating any of the bolded ‘Do not’ points above) can also get your domain name permanently blacklisted.

Inbound Links

Another great search engine optimization technique that is often overlooked is incoming links. Every link you have coming into your website raises the “awareness” of your site in the search engine’s minds. If the links come from websites with high Google Pagerank ratings, that is even better (in Google’s eyes, anyway – this doesn’t apply to MSN, Yahoo!, etc.).

How do you go about getting links to your website? One of the easiest ways is to add your site to as many industry-related online directories as you can find. A couple of other quick and easy methods include posting ads at Craigslist and other free classifieds sites, and swapping your links with similar (competing or not – this is up to you!) sites.

Remember, the more inbound links you have, the higher your Google Pagerank, as well as your position in the search results of Google, MSN, and the others.

Outbound Links

Did you know that outbound links are just as important as inbound links? Perhaps the search engines don’t care for traffic hogs, but whatever their reason, websites containing links leaving their sites consistently rank higher in search engine results than those that do not.

So who do you link to? Remember that you can swap links with other related sites and you can both benefit. You can also link to complementary websites that visitors to yours may be interested in (but that don’t in any way compete with you). The main idea for getting both inbound and outbound links is to be aggressive, as well as innovative in your approach.

Conclusion

This is by no means an exhaustive guide. But I can’t keep rambling on and on either. You need time to go perform the tasks we’ve discussed here today, so that your site can be on its way to the top of the search engine results.