My apologies for not blogging recently.
Working for a giant corp like Johncom can be a burden on one’s blogging/social life.
Apart from being involved in another massive project, recovering from bronchitis and attending courses my life hasn’thad much thrown at me that I can blog about.
Having said that, a week ago a friend of mine asked me how he could get started with SEO.
The reply I gave him was pretty much worthy of being added to this blog, and I’ll share it with everyone.
as a starting point… there isnt really a starting point because there are just so many things to take into consideration but here are the best tips I can give you.
My top 25 or so tips
1 .Make sure you have a site map
2. Make sure your code and css are valid (xhtml transitional or nothing)
3. Make sure your site is hosted on a fast server (surprisingly, hardware & bandwidth plays a huge role in ranking, if your site is slow and the hosting server is taking strain, the search engine spiders will report back to the search engines that your site is sow to respond and will will give your site negative rankings)
4. Keep your pages small in size, use small , optimized images
5. Dont try any smart “black hat” techniques like doorway pages
6. Make sure all your links are valid
7. Keep incoming links high and outgoing links low
8. get links from sites that are associated with your site , a link from a baby food comany’s site wont help your car website
9. make sure ALL pages are linked to each other through a daisy chain effort, 1 links to 2 , 2 links to 3 and so on.
11. create “clusters” of pages that all link to your central home page with relevant information on each page with emphasis on 1 particular keyword or phrase. for instance. you have a site thats dedicated to sweets. have your main home page optimized for a theme : “sweets”, you need to mention the word sweet and synonyms a few times.
Then create sub pages, LINKED TO from your home page . each sub page should then be optimized for “specific” keywords relating to your central theme. Hard boiled sweets, toffee sweets, choclates, makes of choclates, brands etc
the more specific you get the better for your ranking.
this means creating literally DOZENS of pages.
12. your keywords need to appear in the meta tags for both description and keywords as well as in the page title and a h1 header. a lot of people neglect to add a h1 because it is big. Use css to resize it smaller, have at least 1 h2 and 1 h3 . They need to be nested correctly
h3 under h2 under h1
13. do a search for the keyword thats relevant to you, take the top 5 sites and check each site’s code and copy it as best you can.
14. you cant get marked as a spammer if you submit your sites as often as you like to search engines. This is a common myth. If that was the case, your competition would spam the search engines daily with your sites address.
15. DO NOT USE AJAX
on pages that you want to submit
16. submit individual pages as well as your home page to search engines.
17. friendly urls !!! make sure you get this :
into this :
18. avoid using more than 2 dashes in domain names and urls
ie www.my-totally-freekin-hot-site-rocks.com is a huge no no
19. Avoid using subdomains. http://sweets.mysite.com <– rather not.
instead use directories
www.mysite.com/sweets <– much better
20. spend 2 hours a day reading the sites mentioned above.
21 You need a blog associated with your site. ( www.mysite.com/blog )
You need to link from the blog back to your main site and you need to update the blog at least once a day, Content is King.
This will help the search engines spider your site more often.
22.you also need a video on youtube with links back to your site and links from your site back to the video.
you also need a map and phone numbers
If you see Google’s new SERPS when searching for anything imaginable, you’ll see sites with assocaited videos are starting to come up in the rankings
for instance do a google for “Shakira” 4th result is a video
23. You also need an image gallery, same reason as above.
24. dont bother trying to optimize for yahoo, ask msn or any other Search engine, concentrate on Google alone and the rest will follow, although DO submit your site to as many other search engines as possible.
25. Get listed on the Yahoo directory (not the search engine) as well as on DMOZ.org
it’ll take time but they count as some seriously important links.
26. dont call your home page “home” in your menu and use the anchor tag “home page” or “home”
if you have to, use a small image of a house and change the anchor text and URL to “sweet fantasy” or something thats relevant. linking to home page is not gonna help you.
and avoid using “click here” with a hyperlink on it , instead use something meaningful like “more information on SWEETS”
because why ?
because the search term “click here” JUST happens to point to adobe’s website.
any idea why ?
because 8 gazzilion people all pointed their sites to adobe’s web site with the following text
“click here to download adobe acrobat reader”
27. Make sure your hosting server is not in a “bad” neighborhood. Effectively, a bad neighborhood is one where associated sites that are hosted on the same ip range are link farms/ spam sites.
there are plenty more small tips and tricks but I’m tired and my head hurts.
oh yeah, make use of rel=”no follow” on outgoing links.
another thing with regard to rel = “nofollow”
( you write a url like such <a href=”http://www.link.com” rel=”nofollow”>anchor text</a> )
if you are creating “clusters” of pages
lets say you have 4 sections which are clusters around a central theme of sweets, you need to create a “pyramid” of pages working down, linking down
A = chocolates
B = boiled sweets
C = toffees
A1 = dark chocolates
A2 = belgium choclate
B1 = flavoured boiled sweets
B2 = plain boiled sweets
you get the idea?
when linking to a senior page, like the top page of a category from anywhere dont use rel = no follow
say for instance you are linking from B2 to A, or A1 to A or B3 to B or C4 to A then dont use rel = nofollow
but if linking from A2 to B1 then DO use rel = nofollow
you wanna preserve the pagerank within a cluster and only reserve it for outgoing links to top hirearchial pages.
And that my friends, is it.
Please let me know if this was useful to you.
One of the main reasons why I decided to start (yet another) blog was to document my SEO travels and share some of the information which I have learnt as a Search enthusiast.
I do need to point out though that this blog is not a vanilla version of WordPress and has been tweaked up to the max with a number of SEO plugins and a few tricks that I have learnt about WordPress and SEO. Not to mention that I bugged Colin to toss out the original theme and use a totally css and xhtml optimized theme that supports widgets so that I could work my magic.
2 Weeks after this blog was launched I am definitely feeling the Google Love.
28 pages 36 pages have been indexed.
The following terms and keywords are showing up highly in rankings even though this blog should be in the sandbox.
They might dissapear though if I get sandboxed but in the mean time the following terms are doing me justice.
and a few other arb ones which are just plain weird like
accidents on 27 may 2007
In essence this blog is getting crawled as though it were a PageRank 9 which for me and the company, is a great thing.
Ray asked me this morning if I would SEO up his blog to get the same love and I’ll have to either con him into buying me lunch or getting my boss to let me do SEO on the media blogs as a fixed project as well (WHICH IS WHAT I WANT TO BE DOING PEOPLE, IT’S WHAT I AM GOOD AT – HELLO!!)
Reinvigorate is showing me a few more keywords and terms that seem to be ranking
Unknown Soldier Tome
highest googlebot visits – Comes up 1st on Google
web2.0 (helluva sort after keyword) comes up in the Top10 in South Africa – I’m nearly done dominating the local scene, next stop : The World!
I went in search of a few plugins to do a few things which submit or vote stories on my blog on various social bookmarking services and sites.
Frankly to go and set up each one individually would be a right pain so I opted for trying out notable but saw that sociable was far easier to implement. Simply activate the plugin and bob’s your uncle, whereas notable requires that you edit your template and add some code in the loop area and I wasn’t in the mood to fiddle with Colin’s template.
So I installed Sociable but guess what ?
W3C CSS Validator Results for http://blogs.thetimes.co.za/desousa/
Sorry! We found the following errors
URI : http://blogs.thetimes.co.za/desousa/wp-content/plugins/sociable/sociable.css
Do you have ANY idea how irritating that is?
So now I am forced to go and fiddle with the template while I try to get Notable to work and I have a very sneaky suspiscion that it might work just fine because there are no css files and xhtml is easier to sort out than CSS.
More’s the pity about Sociable though because Muti are punting a hacked version of Sociable which is also not css compliant which is available over here. The fact that there is a “Mutified” version is awsome but sadly, not compliant
Rafiq, if you get this, please be a champion and sort that css out and re-release that sucker, it would be awesome!
I am trying to put together a list of at least the best 50 wordpress plugins which I will publish pretty soon, and am trying to load them on this blog and write about each one, but I keep getting sideswiped with plugins that have badly formed CSS.
I’m no CSS guru, so trying to rewrite the CSS and some of the code is not only time consuming, it’s especially annoying.
It’s pretty pointless to have a blog about Search Engine Optimization that doesn’t validate as transitional xhtml or css so I am forced to exclude these rogue plugins until such time that the authors validate their own css or until I find the time to do it myself (chances of that are pretty slim)
The importance of valid code is paramount to not only SEO but Americans have to ensure that their site is valid from an accessibility point of view.
Validation from an SEO point of view is also important because apparently, Google likes valid code although I might be prone not to trust the source when it’s a blog that does not use URL rewriting. But I am going to push the standards issue. Adhere to the standards, it’s pretty easy to try and follow that rule.
I think that the majority of the lay blogger people around the world wouldn’t know or understand the first thing about valid css or even understand the importance of it and would probably land up using plugins that will break their site’s validation without even realising it.
I have, on so many occassions, come across blogs that proudly display valid css and valid xhtml badges but are so far from valid that it’s scary.
The theme started out as being valid but due to the laziness (yes laziness) of plugin authors they end up not being valid.
And unfortunately it’s not only plugin writers that make this common mistake of not validating their code correctly, even widgets, social bookmarking, url tracking and other services are guilty of the same thing.
Amatomu.com’s tracking code is supplied as non compliant.
<!– Start AMATOMU.COM code–>
<!– End AMATOMU.COM code –>
It should be:
Â <!– Start AMATOMU.COM code–>
<!– End AMATOMU.COM code –>
This year, 2006, has started off being a great year.
And I know that its going to be awesome.
Working together with Darryl, Dave and Ian is starting to get us places.
2 Ad agency deals to start the year off and the February beta launch of blogmad.net which is the apple of everyone’s eye at the moment.
Hopefully at the end of 2006 we’ll launch the found engine which we could in fact use in collaboration with blogmad.
I’ve gone back to starting learning css from scratch again because it was starting to become a nightmare looking through blogmad’s multiple css files trying to make sense of them. But after eventually working out how everything ties in together it’s slowly becoming second nature to me. Blogmad can be frustrating at times because I am writing content for the help & features pages at the moment and everytime I get a menu worked out, one of the developers have wangled in a new feature which;
a ) causes me to want to pull the little hair that i have out and
b ) get excited because I have lost count of the number of features we have.
The general idea was for us to launch with 2 games and a handful of features but it looks like we are going to be launching with a shitload more features than planned. Alot of the phase 2 and phase 3 features are being brought forward as Ian, Dave and Darryl go flat out and code hour after hour after hour.
and here i go back to basics with css… one day i’ll code. haha!
This year has really kicked off well.
I got 3 awesome partners, a head full of ideas and a great product.
It looks like I’ll definitely be travelling this year round June or July.
Soccer season starts soon and this year I’ll have my camera at every game.
Life at this point in time is very good.
I am the alpha male