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!
A laymanâ€™s guide to Googleâ€™s PageRank and why a high PageRank is crucial to the success of a dynamic content website.
The Google PageRank is a system that was deployed by Google to rank web pages by an importance factor, called PageRank. This is a rank that is given to a page and not the entire site. Many sites have a range of different ranks across all their pages.
It is factored on a scale from 0 â€“ 10 where 0 is of least importance and 10 being the highest. Every search engine enthusiast the world over strives to get a siteâ€™s pages to its highest possible ranking which is PageRank 10.
A PageRank 10 is the Holy Grail of the search engine world, and less than 50 websites on the internet can brag about having pages being a PageRank 10.
A website can have more than 1 PageRank 10 page but the recognition is given to the entire site.
A pageâ€™s PageRank is loosely based on the amount of other websites that point to that page, although the algorithm is a lot more complex than that, bringing into consideration the type of incoming links as well as whether the links can be judged as â€œauthoritativeâ€.
Articles and papers published by science and medical journals the world over are measured in importance based on how many other articles and papers reference them. An article by a well known writer or scientist or mathematician that makes reference to another article often lends a lot more credibility to the referenced article.
PageRank works on the exact same principle, where if a web page that has a Google PageRank points to another webpage, the second page is seeing as being important too because of the important page that is pointing to it.
PageRank cannot be bought. It cannot be traded, sold, bought, deleted, given away or shared. Many believe that one can pay Google to allow a site to have a PR10.
This is NOT possible.
PageRank is the foremost reflection of how important a site is based on the quantity and quality of links pointing to that page.
PageRank may fluctuate and often decrease over time if the resident SEO specialist within a company neglects the site.
Another common misconception is that a higher PageRank dictates that content pages will list higher in serps. This is NOT TRUE and a very common SEO myth.
While PageRank is a tool to determine the importance of a page, the biggest benefit of a high PageRank is that frequency of spider visits to that page to seek new content is relative to the PageRank. I.e. the higher the PageRank of a page, the more frequent Googleâ€™s Googlebot will return to the page. Although an undocumented perception is that Googlebot works out its own frequency pattern based on the amount of fresh content it finds with each visit.
In other words, the more fresh content is served on your website, the higher the frequency of the bot visit.
â€¢ Googlebot crawls a page and returns the content to the index
â€¢ Googlebot returns to the page a few days later (determined by PageRank) to check for more content, if it finds nothing new, it will return a week later.
â€¢ If it finds new content on the 3rd visit, it then determines that content is being updated only once every X amount of days. (X = period of inactivity between first Googlebot visit + the amount of days until the next content update)
â€¢ If the last visit was 14 days ago and the Googlebot finds new content on its return, it will then return 13 days later to try and determine a fresh content schedule. If new content is found in that time, it will return again in 12 days until it manages to calculate an almost exact rate of frequency that fresh content is served on the page.
â€¢ The reverse also applies. The 1st time the Googlebot visits a page, it will return to that page based on the frequency schedule determined by the pageâ€™s PageRank.
â€¢ If it returns in 6 days and finds fresh content, it will return in 5 days, then 4 then 3 to try and determine how often fresh content is being served. However the Googlebot may not increase its own frequency to exceed the frequency of visits that are determined by the pageâ€™s PageRank.
â€¢ It takes approximately 2 weeks to get all content served across all Googleâ€™s Data centers. (Google have more than 1 server which house the contents of their indexes, these are known as data centers)
What is the significance of having a high PageRank?
The very best reason for having a high PageRank is because a site with a high PageRank will have its content listed on Google much quicker than other sites with lower PR ranking pages.
The following scenario explains the benefit of having high PageRank:
â€¢ A new item makes world news, e.g. Terrorists bomb Eifel Tower in Paris.
â€¢ Millions of internet users turn to search engines to find the latest news on this event and thus turn to Google and seek out the relevant news.
â€¢ As the news is being updated onto news sites, those sites with a higher PageRank get their stories into Google before others.
CNN has a PageRank of 9
FoxNews has a PageRank of 7
â€¢ Because CNN has a higher PageRank, their news can be found on Google in less than 6 hours.
â€¢ While news published on FoxNews will be found only after 2 or 3 days.
While many people do not really care that a siteâ€™s articles arenâ€™t featuring in a search engine, they fail to realize that a site loses the possibility of gaining new visitors and thus have to rely on its loyal members and readers to sustain its self.
Sites that have more unique visitors have the ability to charge more for their advertising real estate inventory.
Which site would draw a lot more new visitors? One that has a low PageRank and whose content is only being indexed by search a month later after the news has already gone cold? Or a site whose content is listed in Google within the hour?
While there is no exact listing of any schedule, the following is an estimated listing of each PageRank and its approximated associated frequency.
PageRank Approximate Frequency
PR0 30 days
PR1 30 Days
PR2 20 Days
PR3 14 Days
PR4 10 Days
PR5 7 Days
PR6 4 Days
PR7 2 Days
PR8 12-24 Hours
PR9 4-6 Hours
PR10 1-2 Hours
Normally new sites that are given a PR of 0 once found by Googlebot are crawled consistently till all content is spidered. Then Googlebot will then return approximately once a month.
However, there are a number of SEO tips and tricks to induce an overlap causing the Googlebot to index a site on a nearly daily basis.
In short, the Google PageRank is without a doubt a very important factor which will helpany site website become a formidable force.
To raise PageRank will take a lengthy campaign of up to 36 months.
There is no guarantee of getting a high PageRank in a short space of time, many webmasters have struggled for more than 4 years to obtain PageRank 8, however a plan of action can be put together to gain optimal leverage in obtaining a reasonable PageRank in a relatively shorter space of time (12-18 months for PageRank 6 or 7) and I will write a follow up to this which delves deeper into linkbuilding and rasing PR