Apr 1, 2008

Online SEO Training


Keyword Research for Organic SEO

So you have decided to venture out into the world of SEO. The first thing you will need to do is determine the direction of your campaign in relation to the key phrases you are choosing to target. This article will focus on how to find keywords for your organic campaign, as the process is slightly different for PPC.

Many site owners know immediately what phrases they want. If you feel like you know what you want, before you start take a brief step back and assess if this really is the best phrase for your site. Yes, it just may very well be the perfect phrase, but if it isn’t, you could wind up spending a lot of time and money pursuing a ranking that either will never happen, or will provide very little value to your site.

There are a few key areas to look at when choosing a target phrase:

  1. Relevance – Is this phrase even relevant to your site and its content?
  2. Search Frequency – Are people even searching for this phrase?
  3. Competition – How competitive is this field? Is it even a feasible target?
Where to start – Create a List of Phrases
So where do you even start with all this keyword research. Before looking up search frequencies and competition you need to create a list of relevant phrases. Open up an excel sheet and type out all relevant phrases that come to mind, do a little brainstorming as there are no wrong answers at this state.

After you have exhausted your thoughts, move over to your website. Open it up and navigate throughout recording any keyword phrase ideas that spring up checking your title tags and body content. Once this is done, do the same thing with your competition. Visit some sites that you know are in direct competition with you and go through them recording any relevant phrases you see.

By now you should have a long list of potential targets, a list that will grow further as you look into their search frequencies.



Find a Keyword Tool
The next step is to open up your favorite keyword research tool. There are many to choose from, two of the more popular being WordTracker and Keyword Discovery, although many still use the free, Overture tool. It is important to note that no keyword tools give you 100% accurate search figures. In most cases you will get numbers representing a sampling from various search engines. These numbers are best used in comparing one phrase to another to find out which is more popular, rather than determining specifically how much traffic to expect.

Check the Search Frequency
Once you’ve opened up a keyword tool, begin entering your keyword phrases and record their noted search frequency. Be sure to scroll through the results recording any additional phrases that are both relevant and have acceptable search frequencies. The exact number of searches required to make a phrase acceptable depends widely on industry, and even the search tool being used. A phrase with only 100 searches per month may be perfect for a secondary target, but in most cases may not be the best bet for a primary phrase.

Sorting Your List
You now should have a very exhaustive list of potential target phrases and their corresponding search frequencies. Sort this list in descending order based on the number of searches, so that the most popular phrase is at the very top. In many industries, the top few phrases may be completely impractical to target due to the competition, but we’ll determine that a bit later.

Check the Competition
The next step is to get a feel for how competitive these phrases are. In the next column in your spreadsheet, place the number of results returned by Google for each individual phrase. The lower the number of competing pages, in most cases, the easier it may be to achieve rankings. (Note: this is not always the case, but it is an indicator).

At this point, you will have a long list sorted by search frequency, along with the number of competing pages. If you are fortunate, you will see one phrase immediately that jumps out – solid searches with low competition. This just may be the most ideal target phrase.

Does this phrase fit well with the theme of your site? If so, go to Google and take a closer look at the ranking websites. Does your site fit in with the general feel of these results? In some cases it may not, as your phrase could have different meanings (especially true if using acronyms). This phrase may represent a completely different part of the world if geographically targeted, or simply may be littered with mega competitors such as eBay, Amazon, WikiPedia, and others. If you can see your site fitting in with these results, it’s time to assess the general feasibility of this phrase.

Take a look at the number of back links, and indexed pages each site has. Do your numbers compare? If you find that the top 10 ranking sites all have back links well into the tens of thousands, and your site has a dozen or so, you may want to consider a different phrase. If the ranking sites are in the high tens, or low hundreds, and your site has a dozen links, then you have something to work with, if you are willing to work on increasing your link counts. The number of pages indexed is less important than links, but if you have a 6 page site and you are planning on competing with thousand page sites, your chances of success will be much lower.

The real key is to try to find a phrase that offers relevance, decent searches, and competition that is not way out of your league.

Pick a Phrase to Drive Qualified Traffic
For organic SEO it is usually best to focus on one primary phrase that best suits your site, while targeting more specific secondary phrases for relevant sections of your site. With organic SEO, how many phrases you should target is somewhat limited by the size of your site, the larger the site, the more phrases you will have the ability to work towards.

The phrase with the most searches is not always the best fit. This is largely true with the real estate market.

Because everyone has free access, I will use the Overture Keyword Selector Tool for an example. The phrase “real estate” saw 3,057,037 searches in January of 07. On the surface this phrase seems like a dream come true, but you have to consider the geographic issues.

If your office serves the Seattle area, is someone searching in Orlando likely to be a qualified visitor to your site? In most cases no. Targeting the phrase “Seattle real estate” with 12,441 searches, seems like a much better choice as it would deliver more qualified traffic. While this phrase is still quite competitive, it is not nearly as difficult as simply “real estate”. Take a look at the big picture and determine not only how likely it is that you may achieve rankings, but whether the traffic generated from such a ranking would actually have a positive impact on sales.

Conclusion
Doing some research to find the best target phrase is the groundwork for your SEO campaign. Without it you’ll be flying blind with no clear direction on goals. Take the time up front to do a little research and determine whether the dream phrase you have in mind is a worthwhile target or not. If it turns out that it’s not, its better to find out before you invest your time and money on an SEO campaign. Knowing the level of competition and search frequencies for a target phrase beforehand will help you make informed decisions and give you the best chances for success

Web Page Optimization

Meta Tag Optimization
Title Tag Optimization
Anchor Text Optimization
Content Optmization

Meta Tag Optimization

Importance of Meta Tags in the present day context and their optimization

Written within the header tags of a webpage, Meta tags are meant to carry information specifically for agents like browsers, search bots and are not seen anywhere within the webpage.

In the present context, it is quite hard to figure out the part played by Meta tags in optimizing a website for search engines. This is because many search engines like Google tend to ignore them or give less or no importance to them whereas some other search engines like Yahoo! seem to give them some level of importance.

Types of Meta Tags and their functions
Basically there are two major types of Meta tags.
1.) META tags: HTTP-EQUIV
2.) Meta tags that make use of a Name Attribute

META tags with a NAME attribute are META types that do not correspond to HTTP headers whereas META HTTP-EQUIV tags are the equivalent of HTTP headers (HTTP headers contain important data that helps a program in making sense out of a web based message).

Meta tags and search engine optimization
Though major search engines like Google do not provide much importance to Meta tags, there are some medium level search engines that do. This is why it is always better to optimize Meta tags. Basically of all the Meta tags the two primary tags that play a role in optimization are the Meta Keywords tag and the Meta description tag.

Optimizing Meta Keywords tag
The Meta keywords tag basically contains a list of keywords which are specific to a webpage. There was a time when the internet was developing and the Meta keywords tag was given much importance. But currently no major search engine including yahoo!, google and MSN gives any importance to these keywords. But there are some secondary search engines which still consider them important in their ranking algorithm.

Basically the Meta keywords tag is written as follows:

< name="“keywords”" content="“keyword">

Optimizing Meta Description tag
The Meta description tag contains a brief and concise description or summery of the webpage's content. Though not many search engines place much importance to the Meta Description tag they still do carry some minor value and hence should not be avoided. Some search engines tend to display the Meta Description in their search results page and hence making use of appealing and attention driving descriptions can help improve the click through rates. The description can use keywords and should be clear and concise. Writing Meta descriptions that run into pages is not advisable as that defeats the actual meaning of writing a description. The Meta description tag is particularly important if the content of a webpage is very little. Anything within 200 characters should do just fine.

Basically the Meta Description tag assumes the following form:
< name="“description”" content="“Find" st="on">Meta tags and how to optimize them?”>

(It should be noted that both the Meta Description tag and the Meta Keywords tag are specific to a particular webpage.)

Other types of Meta Tags
In addition to the Meta Description and keyword tag there are many other Meta tags that are very useful though not in the search engine optimization point of view. These Meta Tags are used to give special instructions to search bots or browsers on how to display a page. Some of these Meta Tags have been discussed below.

Meta Expires tag
The Meta Expires tag is used to tell the browser the date and time when a document can be considered expired. Most search engines remove expired documents from their search databases.

A Meta expires tag assumes the following format:

< equiv="“expires”" content="“Thu,">

Meta Refresh Tag
A Meta refresh tag is used to tell the browser when to reload a document automatically. Such a tag can be used by web pages that constantly update content like news sites or live commentary sites.

The Meta Refresh Tag assumes the following format:

< equiv="“Refresh”" content="“4”">

Using the above Meta refresh tag will automatically refresh the page after every four seconds.

Meta Pragma tag
The Meta Pragma tag is used to cache the page to control browser caching. Using a 'no-cache' in the Pragma tag will prevent web browsers from caching the page.

The Meta Pragma Tag assumes the following form:

< equiv="“Pragma”" content="“no-cache”">

No ARCHIVE Tag
The no achieve tag can be used to keep search bots like Google and Yahoo! from displaying a cached version of the page on their search results.

The No Archive tag assumes the following form

< name="“googlebot”" content="“No">

Meta Robots Tag
The Meta Robots tag is specially meant to control robots that visit web pages. A Meta robot tag is page specific and does not apply to the entire website.

The Meta robots tag assumes the following form:

< name="“ROBOTS”" content="“INDEX,">

The above Meta tag instructs the robots to index the page and follow the links present on that page. Making use of NOINDEX, NOFOLLOW in the above will instruct robots not to cache the page and not to follow the links on that page. Similarly a INDEX, NOFOLLOW tells the robot to cache the page but not to follow any links and a NOINDEX, FOLLOW tells a web page to follow the links but not to cache the page.

In a similar way using NOIMAGEINDEX in the content section of the tag instructs the robots not to index any images on the page and using NOIMAGECLICK prevents robots from following any link present on the image.

There are many SEO companies today that offer meta tags optimization services. In addition there are some meta tag generate and meta tag checker software programs that can help you develop highly targeted html meta tags for your website.

Title Tag Optimization

How to Optimize Title Tags
Optimizing the title tags plays an extremely important role in any search engine optimization campaign. In addition to search engine optimization, well written title tags also help you in increasing the usability of a web page.

Importance of title tags
Title tags play three very important roles as described below

* First and foremost title tags are very important from the search engine point of view. This is because all major and minor search engines place much weightage on these tags (and use these tags to gather information about an website) in comparison to all other aspects
* Secondly many major search engines like google and yahoo! display title tags of a web page as a heading in their SERPs (Search engine results page) followed by a breif description of the content were the keywords appear
* The third most important function of title tags is to help the user in finding out which page he is on. Almost all popular browsers including Microsoft Internet Explorer, display title tags on the top bar as well as the bottom. Firefox 1.0 uses title tags to describe 'tabs'. This makes title tags extremely important from the web usability point of view as well.

Optimizing title tags to get search engine visibility
Title tags are most important when it comes to search engine optimization as all major search engines including google place much importance on them. In fact title tags are used by search engines to gather information about a web page. So it is a matter of logic that if the title tag does not match the content of the web page then the search engine may not give the page any ranking at all! As title tags and the web page content are two inseperable things it becomes a necessity to understand the webpage content (or what the webpage is all about) before finalizing on the title tag text. (It should be noted that title tags are specific to a single web page and not to the entire website). So it would be logical to assume that title tags should be written based on the webpage content.

Title tags and web page content
The onpage content of the webpage is also as important as the title tags and should be optimized properly. There are many factors that need to be taken care of while optimizing webpage content like keyword research, analyzing keyword density, keyword location, headings tags, anchor texts etc.

Basically the one thing which should be common between the title tags and the content of a webpage is the keyword. The challange here is to find that important keyword from the content. Here's where proper keyword analysis comes into the picture. A proper keyword research should help a person in identifying the primary (most important keyword to be used in the title tags, heading tags, alt tag etc.) and secondary keywords (keywords which can be used additionally). In addition to using the primary keyword as the title, it also makes sense to keep the title as descriptive as possible. This can be done by adding one or two additional words to the keyword making it unique and descriptive. Using a descriptive title will improve the click-through rate in addition to making the webpage more usable. The best way to go about it is to use the same keyword or variation of the same keyword in the url, webpage content as well as the title tags of a webpage.

Mistakes to avoid while optimizing title tags

1.) Loading the title tag with keywords
This is a major mistake as using lots of keywords would dilute the effect of the title. A title tag can provide the maximum advantage only if it focuses on a specific keyword which is most important as far as the webpage is concerned. In addition to this, loading titles with keywords makes them look unprofessional and difficult to understand reducing the click through rate. Keyword repetition in title tags is another factor that needs to be avoided.

2.) Using keywords in the title tags that do not appear in the content
Search engines place much important to title tags and treat them as a word that describes the entire webpage. If the title tag uses a keyword that appear's nowhere within the content then the actual meaning of title gets lost. This is the reason why it becomes important to ensure that the title tag corresponds with the content of a webpage.

3.) Using title tags that have no meaning or are not descriptive
Title tags should be keyword specific, but at the same time they should also convey some meaning. In many cases using descriptive title tags have helped webmasters get better click-through rates even when their page was at the very bottom of the results.

Many users bookmark a page by adding it to their long list of websites on their favorites menu. Almost all broswers use the title of a webpage as the title of the bookmark. So in case of a descriptive title the webpage will stand apart from the rest enabling easy sorting and access. In addition descriptive keywords also help the user in finding out which page contains what? For instance, if a person opens ten webpages in ten separate browser windows, then it is the title of these pages that helps him decide what each page is all about enabling easy browsing.

4.) Using the same title tags for all pages on a website
Title tags are webpage specific and need to be decided based on the webpage content. Hence as the all webpages cannot contain the same content all webpages should never display the same title. Titles make sense only if they are webpage specific. Webpage specific titles help in improving the web usability and also help from the search optimization point of view.

5.) Not making use of proper capitalization
Using all caps or all small letters in title tags is not advisable. A title tag appears at its best when it makes use of title caps. This means the first letter in each word begins with a capital letter following by small letters. For instance, 'Find Discount Hotels In Florida'

6.) Not giving attention to the length of the title tags
The length of the title is also very important, though many webmasters tend to ignore this, t. According to W3C the title of a webpage should ideally be less than 64 characters in length (Reference: http://www.w3.org/Provider/Style/TITLE.html). This also makes lots of sense as titles that contain more than 65 characters are generally truncated by search engines making them loose meaning.

Anchor Text Optimization

The Basics of Anchor Text Optimization
An anchor text as the name suggests is the name given to a text that carries a hyper link to a webpage.

In the above sentence clicking on the text 'search marketing here' will take you to the index page of this website. This means the text 'search marketing here' carries a hyperlink to the index page and can be considered an anchor text.

What is anchor text optimization?
Anchor text optimization is the process of optimizing anchor texts using keywords to get higher rankings for those keywords in SERPs. Basically any anchor text optimization campaign would involve using keywords to link to pages having related content. All major search engines place huge level of importance to anchor texts in comparison to mere links. When we place hyperlinks on keywords and use them to link with related pages the search bot considers this as additional value to the page. For instance, when the anchor text search engine optimization is used to link with a page containing information on search engine optimization, the search bot considers this as an additional indication that the web-page is relevant.

How to optimize for anchor text
Anchor text optimization can be done internally as well as externally. Internal anchor text optimization involves linking to web pages within a website from other pages using related keywords as anchor texts. Similarly external anchor text optimization involves getting inbound links from websites, directories, forums and blogs using necessary keywords as anchor texts.

Internal Anchor Text Optimization
Internal anchor text optimization refers to optimization within a website. For instance if a webpage has a hyperlink to another webpage then instead of using generic words as the link text (anchor text) one can make use of specific and related keywords. For instance, let's take an example of a website that offers information on search engine optimization especially regarding 'link exchange' and 'anchor text optimization'. Here the page that offers information on 'link exchange' can be linked from the homepage as Get link exchange information here instead of Get link exchange information here Similarly the page that offers information on anchor text optimization can be linked from the homepage as

External Anchor Text optimization
External anchor text optimization involves optimizing anchor text in the inbound links that a site gets. External anchor text optimization can be achieved by the following methods:


1.) Link Exchange
Exchanging links with related websites and making use of proper anchor text on inbound links is the best way to optimize anchor text. A link from a related site with an anchor text that is again related to the destination page is considered more important by all search engines.

2.) Directory submissions
Submitting your website in directories is a great way to get quality incoming links. Directories links are generally given more importance by search bots and are crawled more often. Some good directories in which you can consider submitting you site are yahoo! directory, Dmoz , LookSmart, Zeal, joint.com, business.com, allthebizz.com etc.

3.) Participating in forums and blogs
Participating in forums and blogs by leaving keyword rich links is also a great method of anchor text optimization. Although it is advised not to spam forums/blogs as that might create a bad impression for the website and of-course the links will be removed.

4.) Article Submission
If you have expertise in your field or area with some moderate writing skills, you can go in for article submission. There are many websites today that accept expert articles and to return the favor allow you to advertise your website/product/service. You can place the back-links using specific keywords that you wish to optimize. One major advantage of submitting articles is the fact that good articles get reprinted quickly leading to a good deal of exposure. Some good websites to which you can submit articles include site-reference.com, goarticles.com, workoninternet.com, amazines.com etc.



Content Optmization

Tips for Content optimization
Search bots love fresh content and there is no exception here. This is why content optimization plays a major role in any SEO campaign. The point to be noted here is that content optimization is not a solitary process and involves optimization of the webpage as a whole. This means content optimization can be defined as the optimization of the on-page content in correspondence with other factors like title tags, Meta tags, alt tags, web page URL, domain name and internal links.

The process of content optimization

1.) Keyword Research
Keyword analysis plays a major role in optimizing content and is basically the first and more important step. In a narrow sense keyword research involves researching and finding keywords that people use in a day today context to search over the internet. Hence a keyword research should help a person locate all variations of keywords that people use for searching (a particular product/service/information).

There are many free as well as pay and use tools available over the internet that can help in effective keyword research. Some popular ones are overture and wordtracker. Wordtracker is a pay-and-use tool that offers real user search statistics from many meta search engines like MetaCrawler and DogPile.

2.) Keyword Analysis
The next step after a through keyword research is keyword analysis. Keyword analysis basically involves finding the right keywords from a bunch of available ones. This involves analyzing the most effective keywords that can generate traffic and at the same time are easy to optimize for. At the end of the day keyword analysis should give access to a set of keywords that are actually used by people and at the same time unique enough to generate highly targeted traffic. Keyword analysis is an extremely important step as wrong keywords can make your SEO efforts vain.

There are many tools available over the internet that help in effective keyword analysis. One very good tool in this regard is offered by Axandra

3.) Using Keywords on a webpage
When optimizing for content the webpage as a whole needs to be taken into consideration. This involves the on-page content along with title tags, Meta tags, alt tags and the page URL. For on page content optimization the first and foremost step is to find out the keywords that matter most. After this is estimated the keywords are spread out inside the content in the most natural manner. Search bots give more importance to keywords placed in the heading tags and within the first few lines.

A minimum of 200 words per page and proper spreading out of keywords is considered best from the optimization point of view. One must also ensure that the keywords are used naturally within the content. This is important from the usability point of view. To achieve this you can even break up the keywords without changing the order. For instance when using a difficult keyword like 'real estate Florida cheap' you can break it up without changing the word flow as follows;

'Finding real estate in Florida which is cheap requires proper research online.'

Important things to take into consideration for content optimization
Location of Keywords

Location of keywords inside the content is very important. In basic search bots tend to give more importance to keywords that are placed within the heading tags and those that appear within the first few lines. Some search bots also give importance to keywords that appear at the end to the content. In addition search engines also place much importance to keywords that appear in bold and italics.

Checking keyword density
It is important that keywords are used properly and not exceedingly which could lead to search engine spamming. Most bots today can easily identity pages that are filled with keywords and can even penalize them other than dropping their rankings. This is the reason why it becomes extremely important to manage the right density of keywords on a webpage. A particularly useful tool to analyze keywords is offered by 123promotion.co.uk

Increasing Keyword importance
Keywords that appear in bold or italics are given more importance by search bots. In addition keywords that appear in the heading using heading tags like are given special importance. Search bots also give importance to keywords that appear in links and in the beginning of a webpage.

SEO Tips

The Basics of SEO Copywriting
How to Select a SEO Firm?
The Basics of SEO Web Design?
What is Search Engine Spam?

The Basics of SEO Copywriting

1.) The Basics of SEO Copywriting
Writing for the search engines would be an easy task if all one needed to do was stuff content for website with keywords. But this is certainly not the fact. SEO Copywriting is a challenging task that involves writing content that appeals to search engines as well as to the human eyes. Given below are steps that can help a SEO copywriter in writing search engine friendly online content which is effective.

Researching for Keywords
The one thing that differentiates online content from offline content (print) is the use of keywords. Any search engine friendly content needs to make use of keywords and not just that, the keywords need to be arranged in the most strategic manner within the copy giving the impression of professionalism to the reader and a search engine friendly feed to the search bots. So researching and analyzing keywords becomes the primary part of SEO based copywriting.

The important question that you need to ask yourself before researching for keywords is

* What is the Copy all about?
* Who would be interested in the copy?

Answering these two questions can prove extremely helpful when researching for keywords. There are many tools online that can help you find the keywords that people have actually used when looking for similar content. Some good tools that you can use are overture search keywords and worktracker.

Planning the Copy
Planning the copy involves finding out the content that needs to be added in reference to the keywords. This also involves arranging the keywords in an ascending order based on their importance levels. The top keyword is the one that you would be optimizing for and all other keywords will be used as secondary ones.

For instance: A company offering e-mail marketing solutions for small businesses can have the following hierarchy of keywords based on research.
1.) Small Business Email Marketing Services
2.) Small Business Email Marketing Service
3.) SMB Email Marketing services
4.) SMB Email Marketing Service
5.) Affordable Email Marketing Services
6.) Affordable Email Marketing Service

It should be noted that in the above example the keywords have been arranged in hierarchy based on the importance. This means that the first keyword 'Small Business Email Marketing Services' is the most important and needs to be optimized to the fullest. All other keywords that follow will act like complementary keywords. The most important keyword will be used as the title, in the heading and included within the first few lines in the content.

Most Important keyword will be included in the;

* Title of the web page
* Heading of the copy
* First few lines of the copy
* Ending lines of the copy
* In bold within the copy

Writing a SEO friendly heading

Search engines place more importance to the heading (especially those placed within the heading tags) of a document and not only that, even humans tend to read the heading first. If the heading is good then people proceed towards the copy; if the heading looks bad people might simply turn away. So writing a highly descriptive heading becomes extremely important.
To write a search engine friendly copy, it becomes almost inevitable to include the most important keyword in the heading. The keyword becomes stronger in the eye of the search bots if it is used in the title of the webpage as well. The heading can include only the keyword if it describes the content that follows in a perfect manner; but in most cases this is not possible. In such cases the heading can use three to four additional words with the keyword. Care should be exercised that the keyword is not altered in any manner and even if it is broken the order of the keyword is not changed.

For instance: To write a heading for a copy that describes online marketing services offered by a company which is to be optimized for the keyword 'online marketing services' one can write 'Comprehensive online marketing services for Small Businesses'.

In the above example you will find that the keyword 'online marketing services' has been complemented by the words 'comprehensive' and 'small businesses' to make the heading more attractive. Though it should be noted that adding more words to a keyword can dilute it.

Writing the SEO friendly Copy
The best way to write an SEO friendly copy is by planning the copy based on the keywords. This will ensure that the copy looks clean and the keywords look blended in, instead of giving an appearance that some words have been inserted later.

The copy should be planned in such a way that the most important keyword (the keyword which has been used in the heading, title, alt tags and Meta tags) is used within the first few lines. These lines are given most importance by search engines and many search engines tend to cache only the first few lines to form their database.

In addition to the first few lines the important keyword can also appear in the main body of the copy and near the ending lines. Care must be taken to ensure that a single keyword is not overused, as this could give rise to the problems of keyword stuffing.

All other keywords can be used within the body section of the copy in the most natural manner. For any copy depending on the length it is best to restrict the use of keywords to a maximum of three to four unique ones. A copy should at-least be 200 words in length with keywords used in the most natural manner.

Breaking unusual keywords
Most People tend to make use of highly unusable keywords while searching online. The problem here is that it becomes extremely difficult to write meaningful copies using such keywords. Inserting them would mean spoiling the entire image of the copy and avoiding them would mean loosing out on visitors.

The solution here is to break up unusual keywords without changing the order and use them in the copy as natural ones. For instance a keyword like 'marketing email solutions' can be used in a copy after breaking it up like; 'We offer onlinemarketing and email solutions '. It can be noted that the keyword has been broken down into two without changing the order. This strategy can be adopted even for headings and title tags.

Breaking up bigger copies
Relevant links can be provided within the copy and the copy can be broken up into two in-case it has more than 1000 words. Breaking up a copy can give you a chance to optimize for two different keywords by keeping the second level keyword as important in the second copy (refer keyword hierarchy above). Linking to the second copy from the first copy using the second important keyword or the keyword that is going to be important for the second copy will add to its importance. This is because search bots place high level of important to keywords that contain hyperlinks to another page that has content related to the keyword description.

For instance a copy that describes two different services offered by a company can be broken up into two based on the type of service and the first copy can be linked to the second and the second to the first with necessary keywords.

Providing links within the copy
Providing relevant links within a copy is an extremely good practice, but care must be taken not to overdo it. Too many links within a copy makes reading difficult and may give a complex look to a document. Links can be giving using keywords as anchor texts (to documents which relate to the keyword) wherever

How to Select a SEO Firm?

How to select an SEO firm?
When it comes to search engine optimization, you have many different options depending on how serious you are about your optimization plans. You can either do the optimization yourself, or make use of SEO services or simply use a SEO software program. The first option is seems good but can prove expensive if you are not aware of the search engine optimization rules and regulations; the third one on the other hand which involves using a search software can prove lucrative but only if you select the right software and of-course know how to use it properly. The second option of making use of an SEO firm seems to be the most worthwhile when considering optimization seriously. This is because with an SEO firm you can be sure that your site is being promoted in the right manner by professionals, while you can concentrate on core competencies. Given below are some important tips on choosing an SEO firm.

Questions to ask before selecting an SEO firm
1.) How long has the SEO firm been around?
Though the duration is not very important, the fact is that an older firm would be more prospective than a new one. To find out how long the firm has been around you can use the archive tool

2.) Where is the SEO firm located?
Any good SEO firm will give you proper contact information. Firms located in your area can be your first choice as you can have a face to face interaction with them. Though you can even go for firms located elsewhere after making sure they offer legitimate services. One way to find this out would be to check the WHOIS data and compare it with the contact address given. You can also verify if the address is right though a phone or fax contact.

3.) Do they offer valid Testimonials?
Almost all good SEO firms have testimonials from customers they have already served. Be sure to carefully analyze them and find out for yourself if they are genuine. One way to go about it would be to check out the WHOIS information for the listed testimonials. You might also benefit by contacting a few customers by yourself and enquiring about the service.

4.) How does the SEO firm propose to optimize your website?
Any good SEO firm will give you an insight on the methods they plan to use in-order to optimize your website. In addition to the standard practices, some SEO firms will also give you a customized report (specifically for your website) on how they are planning to optimize for free. Check out their methods and compare them with those used by others. Some methods that should be included in the report include:

* Website Analysis
* Competitor Analysis
* Keyword Research and Analysis
* Optimizing web page content
* Title, Alt and Meta Tag Optimization
* Increasing link popularity by getting quality inbound links
* Directory submissions

5.) What kind of customer service do they offer?
A good customer service defines a good SEO firm. Be sure to verify if the firm offers different kinds of support including email and phone support. To examine the kind of support they offer, be sure to mail them or call them regarding their services. This will give you an idea of how professional they are.

6.) What kind of maintenance/follow-up service do they offer?
All good SEO firms offer ongoing maintenance or follow-up services along with the regular service. Be sure to check with your firm if they offer this along with the service or will charge you additional. Follow up is important as search engine optimization is a continuous process.

7.) What kind of reporting do they offer?
Reporting tells you what your SEO firm is doing and what they plan to do in order to optimize your website. All good SEO firms offer comprehensive reporting service that includes clear cut details of all proceedings. Make sure that your SEO firm offers reporting on a regular basis. Weekly reporting is the best when it comes to search engine optimization.

SEO Firms to Avoid
* Avoid SEO firms that send unsolicited mails explaining their services. The best SEO firms never relent to such tactics.
* Avoid firms that offer you top placement guarantees. The fact remains that search engines are not owned by SEO firms and hence there is no question of offering guarantees.
* Avoid firms that promise submission to thousands of search engines.
* Avoid firms that propose to optimize your site using doorway pages, hidden text, redirects, cloaking or through link spamming
* Avoid firms that do not have a proper contact address
* Avoid firms that do not disclose to you the methods they will use to optimize your site

Search engine optimization done in the right way can help you boost your website traffic hugely. So make sure to choose your optimization firm wisely.

The Basics of SEO Web Design?

The Basics of SEO Web Design
Given below are some tips that you can make use of in designing a search engine friendly website:

1.) Choosing the Domain Name
The domain name of your site is in many ways the most important. Firstly search bots give special importance to the domain name of a site and secondly visitors can get a fair idea of what they can expect on reaching your site. With the objective of search engine optimization, it becomes important to select a domain name that tally's with your most important keyword. For instance, a site that sells camcorders and has a domain name 'camcorders.com' has a huge change of ranking higher for searches that use the term camcorders.

So selecting a domain name often plays the most important role in designed a website that is indented to rank higher.

2.) Planning the layout
Planning the website design services layout is the second most important part. You must aim to design a site that has a perfect linking structure which is easy to follow and provides information in a systematic manner. Planning the entire linking structure on a canvas with proper emphasis on how to arrange information is the best possible way to begin.

3.) Planning a directory structure
All sites have directories unless they are very small. It is extremely important to plan the directory structure before beginning to build the site. One thing to keep in mind is that directories that lie deep within are difficult to scan. A good directory structure consists of some important first level files followed by second level files. Deeper levels (more than two) are best avoided. One more important aspect is the aspect of naming directories. Directories should be named generally based on the files they contain. For instance a directory that contains the 'SEO' related files can be named SEO.

4.) Creating and Naming Files
Files should be named based on the title tags which is often the most important keyword. Naming files in this manner helps in better search engine positioning for those niche keywords.

5.) Using External CSS style sheets
Making use of external style sheets is a great idea as this reduces the overall complexity of the site. This also ensures that search engines can crawl the site more efficiently.

6.) Avoiding too many nested tables
It is better to avoid too many nested tables as they can slow down the caching process. Search bots may often miss out on the most important piece of information on your web page if it uses too many nested tables. Though it may cache them eventually the delay can cost you dearly. Reducing nested tables will also help in increasing the site loading speed.

7.) Avoiding Frames
Sites that use frames are extremely difficult to crawl by search bots. This is why most search bots shy away from framed sites. Using the 'noframes' tag can help in resolving this issue, but from the SEO viewpoint it is best to avoid frames altogether to secure a higher search engine ranking.

8.) Optimizing dynamic Content
Major search engines like Google have the capability of caching dynamic content but they do limit caching them. This makes it difficult for dynamic pages to rank well. One way to escape from this is by optimizing dynamic URLs so they are easy to cache.

9.) On page content and links
It is not advisable to keep more than 100 links on a page according to Google. It is always better to restrict the number to a maximum of fifty links. The content on a page can be anything between 200 to 1500 words. Anything more than that can be given on two separate pages.

10.) Providing Site Map
Providing a Site Map is extremely important not only from the search engine point of view, but from the user's perspective as well. If your Site-map has more than hundred links, plan on breaking it up into two or three pages.

11.) Balancing graphics and content
Search bots cannot read images and graphics. All they can see is plain html code. So it becomes important to reduce using too much graphics on your site. If using graphics is inevitable balance your site by adding the right amount of plain content with all your keywords.

12.) Hosting your site
In order to ensure that your site is reachable to spiders at all times, make sure to select a hosting provider who offers 99% uptime guarantees. In addition also make sure that your web hosting server supports the 'If-Modified-Since HTTP header'. This will help search spiders in finding out if the site has added any new content since the last crawling. Most search bots will ignore your site in-case there are no indications of any fresh content since the last crawl.

Search engine spam?

What is Search engine spam?
Search engine spam is the process of spamming search engines to reach top positions. In other words it is the use of unethical techniques/methods in order to improve listings in search engines. Many optimizers unknowingly take part in search engine spamming and many others do it knowingly. The content below gives explanations on various ways that search engines can be spammed and why this should be avoided.

Search Engine Spamming Techniques that should be avoided
Use of Invisible text
Using invisible text is an extremely common search spamming practice in which a spammer uses a similar color for fonts as well as the background. Invisible text is used to stuff pages with keywords that are visible to search engines, but invisible to the viewers. All major search engines today can identify this kind of spamming easily and can penalize the site.

Stuffing keywords
Keyword stuffing can be done in many ways. One most common way of doing this is by using invisible text. Other methods involve using keywords in very small fonts at the bottom of pages, using keywords in hidden tags (like no frames tag, alt tags, hidden value tags, option tags etc.) or stuffing the main content with repetitive keywords. Keyword stuffing is a trick that most search engines today are able to sniff out.

Link Spamming
Link Spamming is the process of spamming search engines by getting thousands of inbound links from link farms, forums, blogs, free to all pages, unrelated websites or even by registering hundreds of domains and getting links from all of them generating a link empire. To put it in simple words link spamming is the process of getting inbound links through unethical practices solely for the purpose of ranking higher in search engines.

Most search engines give high level of importance to in-bound links and consider them as an indication that the site is credible. Participating in free for all and linking farms can get any site thousands of in-bound links which can make them look important in the eyes of the search engines when they actually aren't. Most search engines today have come up with strict measures to deal with such kind of spamming and can even ban an involved website completely from their search listings.

Cloaking
Simply put, cloaking is any process that involves presenting search engines with one set of information and the visitors with another. The copy presented to the search engines is highly optimized and hence the search bot may rank it higher. When a visitor clicks on the link he is either redirected to a new location using CGI, JavaScript or Meta refresh tags or is tricked to enter a new page by using an mouse-over function.

Meta redirects are also used by webmasters today for legitimate reasons. For instance, a website owner who has changed his domain name would need his older visitors to automatically get to his new site using a redirect. This is where search engines face a real challenge in identifying the legitimate sites from the illegitimate ones. But most search engines today are able to identify almost all kinds of cloaking techniques to a large extent.

Creating Doorway Pages
Doorway pages are pages that are highly optimized for search engines. They are similar to junk pages and contain nothing but keywords and irrelevant content. When a visitor enters such a page his is either automatically redirected or asked to click on a JavaScript link. So in many ways creating doorway pages is as good as cloaking.

It is not necessary that all doorway pages should always look this way. There are ways in which good and related information can be provided making the doorway pages an informative page instead of a page that contains nothing but junk. Only when one tries to take shortcuts does he relent to creating junk pages instead of offering informational content.

Page redirects.
Often people create spam filled Web pages intended for the eyes of search engines only. When someone visit those pages, they are redirected to the real page by META refresh tags, CGI, Java, JavaScript, or server side techniques. There are legitimate reasons for cloaking and similar techniques, but don't use them unless you know exactly what you are doing.

Creating invisible tables using CSS
This is an extremely new technique of cheating the search bots. Though this process is similar to using invisible text, search bots find it difficult to sniff the fish out in this case. This is because most search bots do not read CSS sheets and even if they do, they cannot make head or tail of it. Though, with the advancement in search technology it would not be long before search engines are able to find spammers who use this technique.

Over submitting to search engines
Many webmasters tend to submit their site to thousands of search engines again and again using software programs. Some even go through the pain of submitting each and every URL of their website to search engines on a regular basis. This kind of search spam is not encouraged by any search engine as it does not serve any purpose. Some search engines may even penalize websites that create problems of over submission.


OFF-PAGE OPTIMIZATION

Link Exchange Programs

What is a link exchange program?
How to carry out a Link Exchange Campaign?
What is Link Popularity?
How to Increase Link Popularity Using Articles?
How to Write a Link Exchange Mail?
Useful tips for Link Exchange Management?
How to Automate Your Link Campaign Using Link Exchange Software?

1.) What is a link exchange program?

What is Link Exchange?

Link Exchange is an extremely important part of search engine optimization which involves exchanging hyperlinks with websites that offer similar or related products, services or information.

Benefits of Exchanging Links

1.) Increased link popularity:
Link popularity is considered most important in many search-engine ranking algorithms. This means having an increased link popularity can help improve search engine rankings.

2.) Better Crawling:
More inbound links would help search bots find your site more frequently. Better crawling would help you in optimizing new content easily.

3.) Increased traffic:
Inbound links act as doors from where visitors can enter your website. More inbound links automatically means more traffic.

Different ways to Exchange links
1.) Reciprocal Link Exchange
This is a regular kind of link exchange which involves two websites exchanging links with each other. A reciprocal link exchange between Site A and Site B would mean 'Site A' places a link to 'Site B' and Site B reciprocates by placing a link back to Site A. This type of link exchange is also referred in non SEO terms as mutual link exchange or a two way link exchange.

2.) Non Reciprocal Link Exchange
Non Reciprocal Link exchange is a kind of natural link exchange in which a site gives a link to another site without expecting any kind of reciprocation. This means Site A gives a link to Site B without expecting any kind of reciprocation from Site B. Natural non reciprocal link exchange is not as rampant but non reciprocal link exchange done in an unnatural way is quite common. This involves purchasing links from a site having a good PR and traffic margin.

3.) Indirect Non Reciprocal Link Exchange
Indirect non reciprocal link exchange involves more than two websites. Generally such link exchanges involve three websites which do not reciprocate directly with each other. Site A gives a link to Site B and Site B reciprocates by linking to Site C. The thing to be noted here is that Site A and Site C belong to the same owner. In this case Site C gets a one way link without any reciprocation from Site B. This in-turn increases its value as non-reciprocal one way links are given more importance in search engine ranking algorithms.

2.) How to carry out a Link Exchange Campaign?

How to carry out a link exchange campaign?

A link exchange campaign is all about getting quality back links (inbound links) to your website with an objective of gaining targeted traffic and better search engine ranking. Any link exchange campaign becomes aimless if these two objectives are not taken into consideration.

The two main objectives to bear in mind

* Gaining Targeted Traffic * Getting better search engine ranking

The basic steps involved in a link exchange campaign are as follows

1.) Finding potential link exchange partners
In order to gain targeted traffic it becomes extremely important to get links from related websites. The websites can either be horizontally related (dealing with the same products/services/information) or vertically related (dealing with corresponding or complementary products/services/information). For instance a website selling shoes online can plan on exchanging links with similar sites that sell shoes or with sites that offer complementary products like shoe polishes.

Search engines and directories are your best means to locate potential link partners. Yahoo! and Google directories (or Dmoz directory) can be an extensive source for getting started.

2.) Sending mails/requesting a link exchange
After locating relevant and related sites the next task in a link campaign would be to send mails. Mails can be sent manually or by using email software programs that offer mail customization facility. Mail customization is extremely important to avoid being termed as a spammer.

Mails can even be sent after adding the potential link partner's link to your website and then asking for reciprocation. But this is not advisable as non-responses are very much a reality in any link exchange campaign. Following this method would involve an additional task of finding and removing links that did not reciprocate.

3.) Reciprocating to agreed partners
The natural step that follows after sending mails is the reciprocation of links. Links can be reciprocated by using the link information provided by the link partner. After reciprocation it is customary to inform the link partner of the link whereabouts and assure him of a permanent link.

4.) Monitoring the links
Many webmasters feel that monitoring the links is by far the toughest part in a link exchange campaign. Link monitoring is also by far the most important part of a link campaign as many websites tend to close down as time progress and some others may even shift or remove links without notice. Manual link monitoring is a tedious process and can lead to wastage of time and resources. Instead one can make use of link monitoring tools that make use of spiders to regularly monitor links. A particularly useful tool in this regard is offered by Rebrand Software. Another useful tool in this regard is offered by recip-links.com. This tool is web based and is free.

3.) What is Link Popularity?

What is Link Popularity?
Link popularity is the measure or extent to which a website is visible over the internet. To put it in simple words, link popularity of a website is the measure of the number of external websites that link to that website or the number of inbound links that a website has. In the eye of the search engines like Google, a site's link popularity is decided not only by analyzing the quantity but also the quality of websites that link to it. This is where strategies like themed search engine optimization comes into play.

The benefits of having good link popularity

1.) A good link popularity can help increase the website traffic
Links act as doors from where visitors can reach a website. So the more links a website has the more visitors it will get. Increasing the link popularity can be considered as the easiest way to get quality traffic to a website.

2.) Link Popularity helps improve search engines rankings/positions
Search engines today don't just look at the content of a website to determine its ranking; they also look at the website's link popularity. In fact major search engines including Google place much important on link popularity and consider back links as a sign of approval of a particular site from other websites. Google's PageRank technology is the perfect indication of this. In addition to the number of back links, search engines like Google also place importance on the relevancy of those links and the anchor texts used by those links. EG: A link to website A from website B which has a related theme using a text that contains keywords specific to website A will give an impression to the search bots that a site is more credible.

3.) Link Popularity helps a site to get crawled regularly
All major search engines follow links in order to cache web pages. So in-case a website has more incoming links then it directly means that it will be cached on a regular basis. Regular caching is particularly important to those sites that constantly update their content.

How to Get link Popularity?
The only way to gain link popularity is by exchanging links. This would involve finding related websites online and requesting them for a link exchange. Link popularity can also be improved by participating in newgroups, forums and blogs. Starting an affiliate program is also a great way to get incoming links. One more extremely lucrative way of increasing your link popularity is by getting your site listed in online directories.

4.) How to Increase Link Popularity using Articles?

How to Increase Link Popularity using Articles?
Writing articles and submitting them is a great method of improving your website's visibility over the net. There are many article based websites out there that would be more than happy to publish your articles online. Articles are allowed to have signature files where the author can advertise his website/service/product with a hyperlink back to his site. The best part about writing and publishing articles online is that you need not to be a born writer. Moderate writing skills with a good deal of knowledge about the subject you are going to write on would be more than enough.

Given below are lists of websites to which you can submit articles
http://www.sitereference.com
http://www.workoninternet.com
http://www.goarticles.com
http://www.amazines.com
http://www.fresh-articles.com
http://www.marketing-for-writers.com
http://www.articlesubmissions.com
http://www.articlesubmission.com
http://www.goezines.com
http://www.webpronews.com
http://www.website-promotion-ranking-services.com
http://www.articlecity.com
http://theezine.net
http://www.linksnoop.com
http://www.businessknowhow.com
http://www.knowledge-finder.com/
http://www.businessseek.biz
http://websitethinking.com
http://www.webmasterdrive.com
http://www.stickysauce.com
http://www.freesticky.com
http://www.digital-web.com
http://www.selling-it.com
http://www.lilengine.com
http://www.sohoday.com
http://www.dime-co.com
http://www.ebooksnbytes.com
http://www.digitalawol.com
http://www.marketingtroll.co.uk
http://www.webhostmagazine.com
http://www.marketingprofs.com
http://www.ezinehub.com
http://www.writerswrite.com
http://www.how-it-works.net
http://www.valuable-content.com
http://ezinearticles.com
http://www.fresh-articles.com
http://www.clickz.com
http://www.powerhomebiz.com
http://www.howtodothings.com
http://www.articleresponder.com
http://www.thriftyfun.com
http://www.theallineed.com
http://www.article-submit.com
http://www.web-source.net
http://www.ebusinesshelpsite.com
http://www.businesstoolchest.com
http://www.business-opportunity.biz
http://www.clickforcontent.com
http://www.family-content.com
http://www.articlehub.com
http://www.storebuilder.co.uk
http://www.beenpaid.com
http://www.ebizresource.com
http://www.work-home-job.com
http://www.selfgrowth.com
http://www.echievements.com

Many of the sites mentioned above accept articles on general topics whereas a few others accept articles only on specific topics like online marketing, SEO and business promotion.

Finding article sites that accept articles on specific topics
To find more article websites that accept article submission on your specific domain all that you got to do is search in Google with the following search queries:

allinurl: +marketing +add +article
allinurl: +marketing +submit +article
allintext: +marketing +add +article
allintext: +marketing +submit +article
allinanchor: +marketing +add +article
allinanchor: +marketing +submit +article
allinallintitler: +marketing +add +article
allintitle: +marketing +submit +article

In the above search queries the term 'marketing' is your area of expertise or your domain that you can change. For instance: to find websites that accept articles on outsourcing, change the word +marketing to +outsourcing

Other than this you can also use
Articles for reprint +marketing
Reprint articles +marketing

Where marketing can be replaced by your area of expertise.

5.) How to write a link exchange mail?

How to write a link exchange mail?
With the problems of spam increasing over the internet, it has become extremely important to create a high level of customization when sending mails asking for a link exchange. Link exchange mails sent without proper customization are seldom replied and may even be mistaken for spam.

Basically link exchange mails should be to-the-point and very precise. In order to shorten the process, it is always better to give all the required information in a neat format as follows:

Important information to include in the Link mail

• How you came across the recipient's website?
• Why do you want to exchange links?
• Brief about how exchanging links can benefit both the sites
• The PR and traffic of your website
• The URL of the page from where you intend to reciprocate
• Your link description, text and title

Refer link exchange mail, example below to check out how to format the link mail.

Pointers on writing the link exchange mail
1.) Subject Line
The subject line of a link exchange mail can be as simple as 'reciprocal link exchange request' or even 'link exchange request'. This sounds a bit professional than using any other line like 'your link on my site' or 'pr5 link for you' or any other line which sounds more like spam.

2.) Introduction
The introduction part need not be an entire paragraph; a few words should do. The important part to be covered in the introduction tough is the reference. People are generally eager to know as to how you came across their site. Mails that do not include this line can be mistaken for spam as email addresses can be collected using mail extraction software programs also. To relieve all doubts of spam, make sure to use proper customization in the introduction along with the 'website finding part'. Something as simple as this can be used:

Hi, I came across your website http://www.sitename.com when I was searching for similar sites in Google.

3.) Presenting the Link exchange request
The introduction can be immediately following by the link exchange request. The first aspect to cover here after putting the proposal would be to tell the potential link partner as to why you want to exchange links with him? Some lines of praise about the potential link partner's site or services would be a great help. The important part here would be to tell the potential link partner about the benefit he would get by exchanging links with you. Benefits can be in terms of increased visitors, better page rank and better ranking.

4.) Proving information on linking details
At this point it would be advisable to mention as to where you propose to place the potential link partner's links. A short description of the PR of the Page and the position where the links will be placed should do just fine (If you have already placed the link then tell them the same). A line mentioning that the page is cacheable by spiders and has a direct link from the homepage should be an added boost. This line ensures that the link page is easily accessible to the visitors. In addition to all this, an assurance like 'your link will be there on our page as long as ours is on your page' should help a lot.

5.) Linking details for the link
At the end of the mail you can give your linking details that can be used by your potential partner to reciprocate. Link details can be given as follows:

Link URL: Provide here the URL of the page to which you need reciprocation (Generally your homepage)
Link Text: Provide here an anchor text for the link (Use a Keyword if possible)
Link Description: Provide a short description for your link
6.) Thanking Note
A thanking note at the end of the mail is highly anticipated and can use the words like 'expecting an early reply'.

6.) Useful tips for link exchange management

Useful tips for link exchange management
Given below are some useful tips that will help you carry out a smooth link exchange campaign.

Use Top keywords as Anchor Texts
Anchor text or link text is any text which carries a hyperlink. It is extremely important to make use of proper anchor texts in all internal (links within a site) as well as external links (links that you will get from other sites).

For instance: a site 'http://www.xyz.com' that sells online shoes can ask for a link back using the anchor text 'affordable online shoes' or 'latest online shoes' depending on the keyword for which one intends to rank. Using relevant keywords as anchor text not only helps you get better ranking for that keyword, it also helps you increases your website traffic.

Get Links from High PR Pages
Exchanging links with a PR0 page is generally not recommended. A page can have a PR0 due to innumerable reasons, one being that the page is penalized or uses a robots.txt file urging robots not to index it. A page can also have a PR0 when it is liken using an uncrawlable link (like a JavaScript link) from other pages or is an orphaned page which is not linked from any other page from that site. Exchanging links with a site that places your link on such a page will give you no return value at all.

It should also be noted that some pages can have a PR0 because of the fact that they are relatively new. It is safe to exchange links with these sites though the link value will be quite low. To find out if a website is new you can make use of the archive tool http://www.waybackmachine.org. If the site is old and the link page has been freshly added then using this tool may not help. In this case one can consult directly with the site owner for clarification.

It is not said anywhere that exchanging links with PR0 pages should be avoided completely as all relatively new pages have a PR0 and will get a PR when Google next updates the PR.

Get Links from Sites that Attract High Traffic
Traffic rate of a website also plays an important role in identifying a potential link partner. There are many quality traffic checking tools online that can be used to find out how much traffic a website gets. One really useful tool that can give you an estimation of the traffic rate is offered by Alexa. This tool does not give you a comprehensive estimation but what it provides can help you get a fair idea of a site's traffic. Alexa estimates are based on the databases generated by Alexa toolbar users which is used to rank a site. This tool can be downloaded from the Alexa site.

Avoid Links from Pages having Hundreds of Links
Getting a link back from a page that has hundreds of links is particularly of very less use. Such a link may not cause an increase in traffic as people may not be able to find your link and in addition will not even be helpful from the search engine point of view. Many search bots do not even crawl all links on a page that has more than 100 links.

The maximum number of links that a link page can have is 50. Anything below 50 can be accepted but if a site offers you link from a page having more than fifty links then the best thing to do would be to request a link shift to a better page. Generally many sites have alternate link pages and will heed to such requests.

Do not Link back to Link Farms
Link farms are sites that are created specifically for the purpose of exchanging links. The sad fact is that link farms are considered as bad neighborhoods by search engines and any site taking part in a link farm or giving a link back to a link farm can get penalized.

7.) How to Automate Your Link Campaign Using Link Exchange Software

How to Automate Your Link Campaign Using Link Exchange Software
Increasing link popularity is a great way to increase website traffic and gain a higher ranking in search engines. However managing and running a link exchange campaign can sometimes be a tough task. This is because any link exchange campaign requires sending and replying mails, adding and uploading links by modifying HTML pages and finally regularly monitoring links to ensure that the link partners are still linking. In the long run this process can take-up too much time and resources. This is where running an automated link exchange campaign using an automatic link exchange software makes sense.

What is an automated link exchange campaign?
An automated link exchange campaign involves making use of a software application to automatically add reciprocated links, modify existing links as preferred by the link partner and delete non-reciprocated links by constant monitoring. Making use of such a software program can alleviate the problem of finding and managing links altogether.

Running a link exchange campaign using an automated link exchange software
The first process in running an automated link exchange campaign would be to set up the software. After this is done, the software automatically handles link requests by adding and checking links. Link requests are redirected to a 'link submission' page where the potential link partner can enter his request. The rest is taken care of by the software by automatically checking the link partner's website for reciprocation and adding the link to the necessary category. The software also does the task of informing the link partner of where his link is added.

Some software programs also come with email extraction programs which can get email lists and sent customized mails to those lists. But this is not recommended as email extraction can lead to problems of spam. The best way to go about it would be to find related sites using search engines and send requests for a link-exchange using an e-mail software program that offers mail customization feature. The mail can have a direct link to the 'link submission page' where the interested websites can submit their link. After gaining some initial link popularity the system can be left alone to function on its own. This is because a site having a good traffic margin and increased link popularity is generally approached by webmasters for a link exchange.

Tools to automate Link exchange
Anyone who wants to run an automated link exchange campaign has lots of tools available online. One easy to use link automate tool is offered by 'linkautomate.com'. This Ver 2.2.1 Automate Link Exchange Script is easy to use and comes with comprehensive features and an intelligent spider. The site also offers a free trial version of their link exchange software software for a period of fourteen days. You can download the free version by clicking here or visit the website directly through this link linkautomate.com

Tools to monitor SEO status
Best way to figure out your progress on link building and other SEO activity is to monitor it. First of all you should monitor your position for desired search terms in the main search engines. There are also many other SEO indications that can be monitored and that data could be correlated with the status of your positions in the search results, those indications include number of referring sites, number of indexed pages, keyword density, page rank and more..

Page Rank Information

What is Google Page Rank?
How to raise your PageRank?

1.) What is Google page rank?
Page rank is nothing but Google's way of giving a page importance based on its visibility over the web. Page rank also plays a major role in google's method of ranking web pages and is calculated based on the number of back links a webpage has.

This means that Google interprets a link from Page A to Page B as a vote for Page A from Page B. According to Google, Google looks at more than the sheer volume of votes, or links a page receives; it also analyzes the page that casts the vote. Votes cast by pages that are themselves important weigh more heavily and help to make other pages important

It is to be noted that a Page Rank is very specific to a web page and not to the website as a whole. So in case a website has a page rank of 5 referred as PR5 on the homepage it does not mean that the internal pages necessarily have a PR5. The page rank on internal pages can even be '0'. One more important factor to note is that page rank is exponential in nature and not linear. This means a webpage having a page rank of '8' can be considered as seven times more important than a website having a page rank of '7'.

Finding Page Rank of a Web Page
The easiest way to get an estimate of a web page's Page Rank is by using the Google Toolbar. This tools bar is available for Internet explorer and even for Firefox. Internet explorer users can download this toolbar from http://toolbar.google.com and if you use Firefox then you can get the toolbar from http://googlebar.mozdev.org/

Importance of Google Page Rank
Page Rank plays a major role in Google's ranking algorithm, but is not the only factor that decides which pages will rank higher. There are many other factors (other than page rank) that Google takes into consideration to find the relevancy of a page to a search query. This is clearly reflected in the fact that Google also lists pages having a lower PageRank above pages that have a higher PageRank in the SERPs.

To get more information on Google Page Rank visit http://www.google.com/technology/

The other (other than PageRank) factors that Google takes into consideration to rank web pages are as follows:

* Web Page Title
* Anchor texts
* Heading Tags
* Title/Meta/ALT Tags
* Domain names
* File names
* Directory names
* Keyword density
* Relevancy of back links/inbound links

As Google keeps changing its algorithm on a regular basis it is impossible to say which of the above factors will be given more importance and which will be not. Though at present it is clear that Page Rank does play a major role in deciding how a webpage will rank. A good Page Rank with necessary optimization of the above mentioned factors could guarantee a higher placement for any webpage.

2.) How to raise your PageRank?
Page Rank is nothing but the measure of a website's visibility over the web. So the only way to get a higher Page Rank is by getting some quality link-backs to your website. One very important factor to keep in mind is the fact that Google is against attempts made by webmasters to unnaturally increase their Page Ranks. This means Google is against link farms, link selling and any other practice which has been specifically developed to increase the Page Rank of a website in an unnatural manner. Google considers such attempts as a manipulation of its ranking algorithm and can even penalize websites found guilty. Google clearly explains this on its website.

One easy way of generating links in involves searching the internet to find relevant sites that are either vertically or horizontally related and asking them for a link exchange. Links brought in this manner are more effective and can help successfully increase the Page Rank. In addition to getting links from websites, getting links from quality directories is another way to increase your link popularity. You can also generate inbound links through article submission and press releases among others.


Some important factors to consider:

1.) Try and get High PR Links
Quality of back links secured is more important than the mere volume of back links. A link from a webpage having a PR7 will fetch a website more value than 200 back links from a PR3 page. In addition to this the relevancy of links is also taken into consideration by Google in its ranking algorithm. So it important to get back links from related websites (Websites should be related either horizontally or vertically). Getting too many links from unrelated websites is considered by Google as an attempt to unnaturally gather links and the website may be penalized.

2.) Avoid Link backs to Link Farms
Link Farms are very similar to webrings. Link farms are formed for the sheer purpose of exchanging links and improving the link popularity of participating websites. The downside is that link farms are considered by Google and other major search engines as 'bad neighborhoods'. This means that participating in link farms can get a website penalized to the extent that the site's listing may be removed. So make sure you stay out of link farms and do not link back to any of them from your website.


3.) Carry Out Internal Link Text Optimization
As mentioned above, page-ranks are specific to a web page and do not apply to the entire website. But this does not mean that a website having 100 odd pages has to secure links for all those 100 pages individually. The best part about Page Rank is that it is passed on from one page to another and this applies to internal pages as well. So in-case a website has a homepage rank of '6' chances are that the page rank will be passed on to the internal pages and all of them might get a PR of 3 to 4. The thing to note here is the linking structure of a website. Page rank can pass from one page to another only if the pages are interlinked. The best way to go about it is by including a Site Map or providing site wide links on a website.

4.) Get Links from SEO friendly Directories
One way links or links that are not reciprocated are generally given more value as they seem more like a naturally secured link. Links from good directories are hence an excellent means of increasing the page rank and to also get more crawls. OPD is a great directory to start with.


5.)Get Links that are Placed Higher
Generally in a link exchange campaign websites tend to place outbound links on specially created link pages. The fact to be noted here is that the Page Rank is passed based on the order of links and the number of links on that webpage. So the links on top of the link page will get more PR value in comparison to those at the bottom.

Outgoing links and Page Rank:
The supposition that outgoing links can cause PR leakage may be true for all you know. But it would be safe to assume that even if outgoing links do leak PR, the leak is almost insignificant in comparison to the PR gained by a website from an incoming link. One thing that should be taken into consideration is the number of links on a webpage. Google emphasizes that no webpage should have more than 100 hyperlinks.

Website Directories

Top Website Directories to Submit Your Site
Tips to Get your site Listed in Top Website Directories

1.) Top Website Directories to Submit Your Site


Tips to Get your site Listed in the best Web Directories
Getting listed in top web directories can give a huge boost to your business by increasing your link popularity and traffic rate. But the odds here are pretty high and rejections are very common. Given below are some tips which can aid you in getting your sites listed.

2.) Some tips to get your site listed
1.) All top directories are constantly on the look out for websites that can serve as a valuable addition to their database. It becomes obvious that only those sites that look appealing and professional will be added. So make sure that your site is well designed and highly usable.

2.) Most directory editors (editors are those who review submitted sites for possible inclusion in their web directory) make use of the title tags as the heading for a site and give them high importance. Sites that have title tags that do not match with their content/theme are generally rejected. So be sure to provide proper title tags to all your pages and a comprehensive tag to your homepage. The title tag should describe your site in the best possible way.

3.) Sites that have broken links or those which have image loading problems are generally rejected at first glance. These are indications that the site is still under construction and is a major reason for sites geting rejected. To eliminate this problem make sure to check your site for broken links. Check all images and test your site in different browsers to ensure the tables load properly.

4.) Providing proper contact information is extremely important. Contact information should include company name, street address, zip codes, phone numbers, fax numbers and email addresses. One more important fact is that the contact information should match with the one in the WHOIS information of the site. Sites that do not have contact information are generally rejected by all major directories.

5.) Some other details that a site should have include the Copyright information, Privacy Policy, Terms of Use, Return Policy (for product sites), Warranty, Guarantee, Shipping Information etc. All this information must be easily accessible and should have links on the homepage.

In addition to all these factors, it is also extremely important to ensure that the site is listed in a relevant category. Sites submitted in irrelevant categories are likely to be rejected by all major directories.

Top Ten SEO Factors

These are what I believe to be the top 10 most important things (not necessarily in order) that you need, in order to get your website found in the search engines.

There are many other factors as well, but if you follow these guidelines, you'll stand a much better chance, and you'll be off to a good start.

1. Title Tag
The title tag is what displays in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) as your "headline, and it is also what displays across the top blue band in your web browser on someones screen.

Each page should ALWAYS have a unique title tag. Sharing a single title tag throughout many web pages is bad. Of course, since it's the first thing people see in the SERPs, your spelling and grammar are critical. Typos in the title tag may prevent people from even clicking on your searc hresult, in many cases.

The title tag of your website should not only be easy to read, but whould also be written to bring in traffic. By that, I mean that a main keyword phrase for each specific page should be used, and the title should be informative, and not just stuffed with keywords.

While it's true that there are websites being found that do not use the phrase in the title tag, the vast (I would estimate 80%) majority still do as of this writing.

I still recommend NOT putting your company name first, unless you are already a household name, like Nascar or HBO. People are likely searching for what you have to offer, not your name. While branding your company can be important, you can increase your likelyhood of ranking for a certain phrase if your business name is NOT in the title.

Your title tag should be written with a capital letter starting the tag, and followed by all lowercase letters, unless you’re using proper nouns. Some people (myself included) prefer to capitalize every word, so for me, a proper title tag looks like this:

Important Search Term | City & State | Company name (if desired)

2. Description Meta Tag
The description tag is the paragraph that people will see when your page comes up in the search results, so spelling and grammar are important there too.

Your description tag should be captivating and designed to attract business. It sound natural when read aloud, and ideally will compel the reader to "act right now" and follow your link.

Without a description tag, search engines will frequently display whatever text on your page surrounds the query word, so that can leave you with nonsense in the SERP's.

A description tag is a description of the page, and not of the entire website. Only on the index page of your site would using an "all encompassing" description tag be appropriate.

Just like your title, every page in your site needs a unique description tag in order for the search engines to be fully appreciative of what you have to offer.

A proper description tag looks like this:
3. Keywords Meta Tag

The importance of Meta keyword tags fluctuates from month to month among different search
engines. There is a debate in the SEO community as to whether or not they help at all on certain search engines. In fact, in the summer of 2004 it appeared as if they were losing importance
altogether.

However, since you'll NEVER be penalized on any search engines for using a small number of relevant targeted keywords in moderation, they can only help you.

Avoid "stuffing" your keyword metatags with too many keywords. Just use relevant tags
that apply directly to the content of that particular page, and limit yourself to eight or so phrases per page.

A proper keyword tag looks like this:

4. Alt Tags
The small yellow box that comes up when your mouse cursor is placed over an image is called the ALT tag. Every relevant image should have an alt tag with your key words or phrases
mentioned in the tag. For example, the ALT description might be "Oregon Widget company logo" instead of "companynamelogo.jpg".

A proper ALT tag goes after the file name, and before the Align indicator like this:

alt text phrase hereWIDTH="x"BORDER="0" HSPACE="x" VSPACE="x" />

As of early 2006, most experts claim that the ALT tag is no longer being considered for ranking criteria by some search engines. I believe that since the ALT tags still do get indexed and show up when searched for, there's no reason not to have them, and they still do help.

Undeniably, they cannot HURT you, and they will still help you with some engines. My recommendation is to continue to use them, but be sure to avoid "keyword stuffing". Besides, who knows when the pendulum will swing back the other way?

5. Header Tags
The text of each page is given more weight by the search engines if you make use of header tags and then use descriptive body text below those headers.

No more than one header tag per page is acceptable these days, and any additional headlines should be bolded so they can still look the way you like.

Bullet points on the page and other bolded headlines for secondary phrases work well too.

It is not enough to merely BOLD or enlarge your primary page text headline.

A proper header tag looks like this:

"Primary Page Search Phrase"

6. Link Text (Anchor Text)
Search engine spiders cannot follow image links and assign relevance the way they do for textual links. Alt text helps, but in addition to having image links or buttons on your web pages, you should have text links at the bottom or elsewhere. The text that the user sees when looking at the link is called the "link text" or "anchor text".

A link that displays "products" does not carry as much weight to the search engines as a link that says "Oregon widgets". Link text is very important, and is actually one of the most frequently overlooked aspects of web design that I’ve seen.

A good use of this concept is to have your "home" text link (usually in the footer of your website) say "Keyword Phrase Home" instead. This can be a powerful improvement that's easy to do.

Additionally, you want to have OUTBOUND links too on your website, and those links too should include relevant text.

7. Site Map
Using a site map not only makes it easy for your users to see the entire structure of your website, but it also makes it easier for the search engines to “spider” your site. When the search engine spiders come to visit, they will follow all of the text links from your main index page.

If one of those links is to a site map, then the spiders will go right to the sitemap, and consequently visit every page you have text linked to from that site map. On the site map page, try to have a sentence or two describing each page, and not just a page of links.

There are two different kinds of sitemaps, and the kind of which I am speaking here is a static site map that is visible to your site users, and not an XML sitemap (although that's well worth having too.

8. Relevant Inbound Links

By relevant, I mean similar industry or subject related sites. Right now, no single strategy can get your site ranked higher faster than being linked to by dozens of other relevant websites.

It used to be that the quantity of incoming links mattered most, but since November 2004, it's much better to have three highly relevant links to you from other popular related websites than 30 links from unrelated low ranked sites.

If there are other directly relevant businesses in your industry that you can trade inks with, which may actually benefit your users, then by all means, link to them, and have them link to you. It’s proven and it works.

To see who’s already linking to you...

In Google type the following... "link: yourdomain.com", without the quotes.

In Yahoo and MSN, the numbers will show as much higher, and the queries are different. Yahoo is "linkdomain:domain.com" and MSN is "link:yourdomain.com" just like Google.

9. Your Content
Not to be forgotten of course, is the actual content of your webpage. It must be relevant helpful information that people want to read. These days, each webpage should be laser focused on one specific product or subject, in order to rank highly for that search phrase. The days of writing one webpage to appeal to dozens of search terms are long gone.

Ideally, each page should have between 400 to 650 words on it. Too few, and the search engines won't consider it to be relevant enough. Too many words and the search engine spiders may have a hard time determining the actual subject or focus of the page.

Use your keywords or phrases often, and use them at the beginning of your paragraphs wherever possible. Don’t overuse them and make the page sound phony, but don’t write a page about a certain subject, and not mention that subject repeatedly either. Reading it out loud to yourself is a great way to judge how natural your text sounds.

Concentrate on writing quality pages that actually appeal to the human reader. Write pages that provide the reader with exactly what they are looking for; that is, information about the exact search phrase they’ve entered.

If you are writing content for the search engines, you will not be as successful as if you are writing content for the reader about a specific subject.

10. Avoid Cheating
With all of these tidbits of information, it's tempting to think that you can stuff 100 keywords into
your title, or create a page with the phrase "oregon widget company" being used 100 times in
headers, text links, ALT tags, bullet points etc. but that cannot help you. In fact, it can penalize
you, and get your website banned from certain search engines.




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