Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Search Engine Bans and Penalties, or Just Your Imagination?

After the recent Search Engine Strategies (SES) conference in San Jose, I was bombarded with requests to help get Web sites unbanned by Google and other major search engines. At first, I thought I was getting requests from former black-hat SEO (define) clients whose sites were getting their just desserts: exploit the search engines, get penalized.

After a few consultations, I realized a number of sites didn't even have search engine spam penalties. What I discovered were people with unrealistic expectations about search engine visibility; limited knowledge about the technical aspects of Web sites; and unclear concepts about how search engines work.

Search Engine Spider vs. Search Engine Index

I always have great fun at SES, not only as a speaker but also as an attendee. I often sit in the back of the room and listen to attendees' questions. They reveal how little or how much people know about the entire optimization process. If I hear the same question in multiple sessions, I know I should explain the concepts more clearly in forthcoming presentations.

The biggest misconception at this year's conference was the difference between the spidering and indexing processes. The index is a subset of the spider. Search engines access Web content through the spidering process. Then, they filter out duplicates and other bad content and create the index.

Maybe the reason SEO professionals, Web site owners, marketing professionals, and usability experts don't understand this concept is because there's so much emphasis on keywords. Before you build a Web site, you should perform keyword research. Keyword research is necessary to understand how users categorize and describe your products and services before you place site navigation and other sense-of-place labels on an advanced prototype. You can think keyword, keyword, keyword until you're blue in the face. Search engines won't see your Web pages' keywords unless you provide access to those keywords.

A Web site can be spidered and not included in a search engine index.

Instead of keywords, keywords, keywords, think access, access, access. Many Web site owners think their sites have been banned in the search engines when in reality they suddenly provided search engines with limited or no access to their sites' content.

Spam Penalty or Not?

Before assuming a site has been banned from or penalized by a search engine, look for technical reasons the site may not be included in the index.
Look at the robots exclusion protocol, both the text file (if used) and the robots exclusion meta tags. Was your site's content management system recently upgraded? Were the 301 redirects (define) properly implemented? Is your server delivering the appropriate HTTP status codes?

The 301 redirect is like a change-of-address card for a URL. It means a Web page address has permanently moved to a new address. If search engines have limited or no access to the new URLs, Web pages won't appear in search results.

Additionally, if 301 redirects aren't properly implemented, they can really mess up a site's link development. I recently had to go through a painstaking explanation (and some troubleshooting) of improperly formatted 301s for a client who assumed his site was banned by Google.

Ouch! Bad flashback. Excuse me for a moment while I take an aspirin.

Another common technical issue is a change in a page's linkage properties. Link farms are a form of search engine spam. A Web site owner has no control over how other sites link to his site, but he has complete control over how he links to other sites. Therefore, search engines rarely penalize a site for how other sites link to yours, with the exception of link farms. Additionally, by modifying all outbound links on a page to have a nofollow attribute, site owners change the hub or authority score of that page. That can have a negative impact on search engine visibility.

After all technical reasons for not being spidered or indexed are addressed, there's the genuine possibility a site is penalized or banned. Helping sites get unbanned is no fun task. It often takes months to undue all the damage created by black-hat SEO professionals.

I actually encountered a Web site banned for its affiliates' actions. The corporate site wasn't actually part of the link farm, but many of its affiliate sites participated in link farms to achieve instant link popularity. As a result, Google banned both the affiliate sites and the corporate site. Get a good handle on your affiliate SEO plan before embarking on an SEO campaign.

Ouch! Another bad flashback. Excuse me again while I take another aspirin.


First, look for technical reasons why Web pages aren't being spidered and indexed. Then, if the site has no technical issues, try to find items on a site that may violate the terms and conditions set forth by the commercial Web search engines. Sometimes, the simplest solution is turning to the black-hat SEO firm you hired and saying, "You're fired!"

All too often, the main reason people believe their sites have been banned or penalized is unrealistic expectations. All search engine positioning fluctuates. It doesn't matter whether pages of your site had top-10 positions for the past five years. No site is entitled to top search engine positions all the time.
New sites are added to the Web every day. Sometimes, these sites have better content and better site usability than your site. Search engine spam pages slip through the cracks, too. And search engines certainly don't always have effective algorithms. Keyword research, Web site development, usability, and search optimization are ongoing processes. By staying on top of all these processes, your site should receive consistent, qualified traffic over time from search engines and other reputable resources.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Search Engine Optimization: Your Key to Online Success

Search engine optimization is all about taking your site to the top of search engine rankings. Everyone wants and has an online site about any goods or service they are offering. If you want to sell something to the public, you must have a website. Everybody is busy these days, and consequently does not have the time to actually go to stores to check out and buy any goods that they need. The internet has become the market place to sell anything. Quick and easy accessibility is what people look for in the internet. Internet is the best source for you to sell your goods and services.

Ok, so now you have a site that has all relevant information about your business, but many people do not know about your site. This is where search engine optimization is needed for your site. Search engine optimization is the different methods that can be used and implemented for popularizing your website. Yes you need to tell everyone that you have a site and tell them really well. Search engines are the key if you want to be successful in online business.

There are different things that can be done for Search Engine Optimization of your site. Link building is the most popular and the most effective means for popularizing your site very quickly in the web. For link building it is vital to search in the web and find out those sites that deal with similar product to yours. This means that your link will be place on those sites, and visitors can actually come to your site through that link. One way inbound links are more beneficial for your site.

Blogging is another great way for you to become visible in the web. The key to blogging is to write quality blogs about different elements of the product that you are selling. If your blogs are very well written chances are there that your site will become very popular. People will even start talking and discussing about your blogs in forum. Imagine how much of publicity you can gain form this. So simply go ahead and start blogging and increase the popularity of your site.

Search engines are the kings in the web. So if you want your site to be successful, you have to get recognition from search engines. For this you need to get high rankings in search engines. Search engines give rankings to websites based on different criteria. Search engine spiders also known as bots crawl different sites to find out if they are meeting all search engine requirements or not. Based on this websites are given rankings by search engines. And it is this ranking that determines how your site is faring in the web.

This is not all: there are many other reasons for you to gain popularity in search engines. A study has shown that most of the people using the web take the help of search engines to find information about any thing in the web. So anyone who is searching for information about your product and service, your site will be listed at the top of search findings. This means visitors will automatically come to your site and buy your products.

Before you embark on any search engine optimization process for your site, it is very important for you to know what you are exactly doing. Try to gather as much information as you can about any method that you are undertaking for the purpose of search engine optimization of your website. This is your site and you must know everything related to your site. After all your business performance depends on this.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Google Removes Text Link to Froogle

Google Inc., the search engine whose clean, minimalist home page was a stark contrast to the link-laden Web portals of the late 1990s, made a tiny tweak to its site last week that may have much bigger repercussions.

On Wednesday, Google removed a text link to its comparison-shopping site, Froogle, and replaced it with one pointing to Google Video, where amateur spoofs uploaded by users mingle with episodes of Dave Chappelle's show.

While Google explained the switch as a philosophical one - more about helping users find new video content than driving traffic to any particular section - some bloggers and Web watchers saw the change as more strategically significant.

"Froogle Dumped for Hot New Girlfriend," wrote Michael Arrington, who follows Silicon Valley on a blog called TechCrunch. His post also noted that Google has been testing a new layout for the video section. "We sure don't see this kind of product attention showered on Froogle," he wrote.

Traffic on Google's video site was eclipsed in February 2006 by YouTube, a California-based startup. In July, about 30.5 million people visited YouTube, compared with 9.3 million to Google Video and 5.3 million to Yahoo Inc.'s Yahoo Video, according to data from Nielsen/NetRatings.

Now, Google, Yahoo and several television networks are scouting ways to convert the viral popularity of online videos into revenue.

For Google, giving the video section home-page play could be a start.

"You can't underestimate the power of distribution on that front page," Bill Tancer, the general manager of global research for Hitwise, an Internet research group.

Google Video snagged twice its usual share of clicks on Google properties the day of the switch, while Froogle's share declined, according to data from Hitwise. Before the switch, about half of Google Video's traffic came from the Google home page; the day of the switch, that amount jumped to 70 percent.

Swapping the link was "not about driving traffic in any particular place," claimed Marissa Mayer, Google's vice president of search products and user experience.

She said videos are like news stories in that users tend to browse for new and interesting content, rather than coming to the site with a specific query. Grouping video with other "destination" areas of the site such as news and maps made philosophical sense, she said.

Froogle, which is still in beta testing, had about 6.6 million unique visitors in July. The site badly lagged Shopzilla.com, the top shopping search engine, which racked up 17.2 million visitors, and Yahoo's shopping network, which had about 11.1 million, according to data from Nielsen/NetRatings.

But Froogle's lackluster performance had no effect on the decision, Mayer said. Neither did the company's interest in turning video into a revenue stream, though she did concede that more traffic flowing to the video section would make it easier for Google to profit, eventually.

That argument didn't quite ring true for search industry watcher John Battelle.

"The fact is that YouTube is hot, video is hot, and there's a lot of money projected to be shifted from video advertising on TV to video advertising on the Web," said Battelle, a founding editor of Wired magazine and author of "The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture."

"It would be irresponsible if Google didn't set itself up to take advantage of that, and that's what they've done," he said.

Battelle said the change will help Google position itself as a logical partner for content companies - a strategy that gained momentum last week with key advertising deals with News Corp. and Viacom Inc.

Outsource SEO vs In-house SEO

Outsource SEO vs In-house SEO

SEO is becoming increasingly important to all who look to do business and use the Internet as a marketing tool. It is the path in which your market finds your offering. It has become almost a necessity for businesses to incorporate SEO in to their marketing plan. Many companies struggle with the decision on whether to hire a firm or conduct their SEO in-house. Unfortunately many companies lack the knowledge about SEO and assume it will be cheaper for them in the long run to hire someone "in-house".

For some companies this may be efficient while others the overlooking the hiring of a professional firm to SEO can be costly. It is as critical to your business' health as if you were to feel that you could heal a fatal disease yourself because you have access to the Internet and books instead of going to a highly trained physician. Now you laugh and say that would be absurd, but is the growth of your company worth the risk.

Knowledge Versus Cost Versus Time = Your Success

SEO is an ever changing business. Search engines change their algorithm frequently and new rules are put into place. One has to have the resources to find this information and understand how to implement the changes. An SEO firm is more likely to be aware of changes to search engine optimization protocols than an in-house individual. Many in-house individuals will focus on developing and implementing your SEO strategies but typically remain in the dark about what goes on outside your organization.

Outsourced SEO professionals
must perform these same functions while constantly studying the industry, staying current with changing trends and familiarizing themselves with the latest SEO techniques. It is a part of their day to day business and necessary if they intend to compete in the marketplace and wish to survive.

What about cost? Surely the cost of hiring an individual is substantially less than the cost of hiring a company, right? This is a common misconception. Let's look at it this way. You hire an E-Commerce Marketing Manager whose job is to develop and implements the strategic online marketing plan for an organization. Staying abreast of changes in the online marketing environment to best serve the objectives of the organization and adjusts plans accordingly. They may even be responsible for overseeing other aspects of the website such as the advertising and content components.

In most cases the individual will be wearing many hats spreading them thin. His or her base salary according to Salary.com on average would be $85,703. That is $7141.92 a month and roughly $42 an hour. This is for one individual with hopes that they bear positive results. Let's say they do not. It will take 3 to 6 months to start to truly see if the individual is an asset or not. That is $21,425.76 if you decide to let the individual go in just the third month. Not to include cost of taxes and benefits. And if successful, your company just paid $85,703 per year for SEO.

The average SEO firm charges anywhere from $5500 to $35000 to perform the same task with a staff of highly trained professionals in the area of link building, writing, optimizing, web development etc. Even on the high end you are getting a staff for the entire year for around what it cost you to hire an individual in-house for a quarter. And if it does not bear positive results and you decide to terminate the relationship you will only have lost less than $10,000 if prorated based on the $35000. in most cases you can even get some of that back. This logistically saves you time and money.

Would you agree that having one individual do the job of five is rarely a good idea? Would you feel it cost effective?

Time is another concern with in-house SEO. Will one individual be able to optimize multiple pages, write content, tags, build links, run reports and perform other SEO tasks in a timely fashion? One person can only do so much. Would you agree that time is money? Most SEO firms can do in a matter of days what might take an individual weeks to do. Many companies who use in-house SEO personnel spend more than necessary to get the same amount of work done in a longer amount of time. Once again you have one individual doing many task versus many individuals doing one task effectively.

In any case, is outsourcing the right move for you or your company? Whether you choose to outsource or not, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Do your research by performing a simple cost/benefit analysis on what outsourcing versus in-house SEO will cost. It cost twice as much when you do it wrong the first time.

Results are all that matters. Top rankings for phrases no one is searching for means little, and shouldn't be used as a guage of someone's abilities. Ensure they can provide you with keywords that work for your business as well as a diverse plan of action. What do others say about the company or individual? Ask for references and check them. But even if they have limited or no reference don't panic. They still may know what they are doing. Just test them on a small project and see if they bear results for you. This is a true way to measure if they work for you. There are many variables you may not have privilege to in a reference such as their personal relationship or if they were a part of a team that was successful but they contributed little.

Remember, SEO is important to your business growth and time is money one way or another. Do the math and ask yourself what makes sense for you.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

eMergent Marketing Welcomes Search Engine Optimization Professional

eMergent Marketing has announced Jaime Smith’s addition to the firm’s organic search engine optimization team as an eMarketing Strategist. Smith brings a solid public relations and corporate communications background to Cleveland’s fastest-growing search engine marketing firm.

“We’re extremely excited to announce the addition of Jaime Smith to our team,” said Paul Elliott, President of eMergent Marketing. “Jaime’s formal training in journalism and proven experience in marketing copywriting make her perfectly suited for her role on our organic search engine optimization team. Quality content is a critical component of effective search engine optimization, and Jaime will be a competitive differentiator for eMergent Marketing.”

Smith has extensive writing and marketing experience in a corporate setting, and prior to joining eMergent Marketing she contributed significantly to the goals and strategic initiatives of financial services firms and international real estate organizations alike.

“I share a vision with eMergent Marketing to promote the value of organic search engine optimization, and to contribute to such a powerful marketplace,” Smith said.

The search engine optimization segment of eMergent Marketing’s business continues to grow at a rapid pace. Because of its results-oriented approach, the eMergent Marketing organic search engine optimization team has been awarded projects with many leading local and national accounts; including: Marriott, Hallmark, Renaissance Hotels and Resorts, Dirt Devil, Third Federal, The Flood Company, and more.

About eMergent Marketing
eMergent Marketing offers unparalleled search engine marketing and website conversion services. The firm’s unique methodology combines expertise in search engine optimization, paid search marketing, and Web site usability; it presents clients with results including qualified website traffic that converts into genuine leads and/or buying customers. Since eMergent Marketing’s launch it has acquired an expert team of Internet marketing professionals from across the country, as well as leading edge clients including well-known Fortune 500 consumer brands, financial services institutions, hotels and resorts, and a variety of service companies. For more information, visit http://www.emergentmarketing.com.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Google Sitemaps Changes Names

Recently Google Sitemaps has been renamed by Google to "Google Webmaster Tools". Since its debut, the system has expanded to offer a lot more than just XML Sitemap submission and includes crawl, indexing, and query, page analysis, and more.

The name change was put into place to better reflect the scope of products and tools available to webmasters.

You can read more at sitemaps.blogspot.com

How To Make Sure That Your Websites Are Fully Crawlable By The Search Engines

Making sure that your websites are fully crawlable is a key component for any search strategy, especially if you want your sites to rank well for multiple related keyword phrases or different products.

One of the ways that you can insure that a search engine spider crawls your site deeply is to provide it a road map of your site. This road map, called a "site map" is a very simple page (from a design standpoint) that only serves one purpose from a search engine optimizers point of view, to get those interior pages into a search engine's index.

A brief history of site maps . . .

Before site maps were recognized by the search engine optimization community as a tool for good search results, it was used by fortune 1000 companies to help visitors to their site find out where a particular service or product was located.

For example: If you want to do some sort of business with your bank online, you might find that their home page doesn't quite get you to the exact location on their site that you want.

After all, a typical bank might offer car loans, student loans, home loans, credit cards, investment accounts, mutual funds, etc.

If per chance you arrived at this banking site on a page other than the home page, you might get a little turned around from a site navigation standpoint.
So, site maps were created.

What is a site map?

A site map is a page that contains a basic HTML link to every page on that web site. Every page, not just your main topics but every page.

Site maps do not need to be fancy (in fact, it's better if they are not), they just need to contain a logical order and links to all of your pages.
How does this benefit us? Three ways . . .

First, a site map gives your customers an easy navigation system to every page in your web site. Now, don't confuse the use of a site map as a replacement for logical navigation on your regular pages. You want to make sure that your site can be navigated simply and easily from any page on your site.

However, some folks (a very small percentage) prefer to see the entire site's structure on one page and choose their destination from it.

Second, a site map is a fantastic way to get a search engine spider to see and crawl every single page in your site. When optimizing different pages in your web site for different keywords, a Site map is a perfect solution for ensuring that a spider can get to every one of those optimized pages.

Third, and this is big: A Site Map provides an opportunity to send link reputation to a particular page. Now, link reputation is a discussion that's beyond the scope of this aricle, but it is perhaps one of the most important factors in off Page search engine optimization.

You want the links on your Site Map Page to Say the right thing about the pages that they are linking to. It's like a vote. So, make sure that your site map is voting correctly for all of your interior pages.

Fourth, site maps are also an additional way to distribute Google page rank. If your site map is just one link off of the first page, it can pass a significant amount of Google page rank deep into your web site. This helps create a site structure where just about every internal page has the same chance of ranking as well as your home page.

Finally, site maps allow you to use dynamic linking strategies to control where page rank does and does not go throughout your site.

For example, a common mistake is to have a normal link to your privacy policy on every page of your site. In actuality, giving your privacy policy page the same page rank as every other page of the site is a big waste of whatever page rank you have available.

So use a good site map
and you will reap the rewards.

Increasing Your Search Engine Rankings

Jane Foster
American Chronicle

The methods employed to increase your search engine rankings may seem like rocket science to you, so you have probably avoided dealing with this issue. I am here to tell you - the time has come to face your website! A high search engine ranking for your website is so essential that if you have the slightest desire to actually succeed in your business, there is no way you can continue to avoid this issue.

At least 85% of people looking for goods and services on the Internet find websites through search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and MSN. The idea of optimizing your pages for high search engine rankings is to attract targeted customers to your site who will be more than likely to make a purchase. The higher your page comes up in search engine results, the greater the traffic that is directed to your website. That's what search engine optimization is about.

You can immerse yourself in all the technical information available online to figure out how to optimize your web pages to achieve higher rankings. Or you can look at a few simple items on your pages, make some small adjustments, and most likely see improved rankings quite rapidly. The first item you should examine is the title bar on your homepage.

The title bar is the colored bar at the top of the page. Look at the words that appear there when you access your home page. To increase search engine rankings, the words on your homepage's title bar should include the most important keywords or phrases, one of which would include your company name.

Then click on all your links and examine the title bars on the pages you access. Each title bar on every single page of your site should contain the most important keywords and phrases taken from the page itself. However, avoid very long strings of keywords, keeping them to six words or less. Avoid repeating keywords more than once in the title bars, and make sure that identical words are not next to each other.
The next item to put under your microscope is your website content. Search engines generally list sites that contain quality content rather than scintillating graphics. The text on your site must contain the most important keywords - the words that potential customers will be typing into search engines to find your site.
Aim to have around 250 words on each page, but if this is not desirable due to your design, aim for at least 100 carefully chosen words. If you want to achieve a high ranking on search engines, this text is essential. However, the search engines must be able to read the text, meaning that the text must be in HTML and not graphic format.

To find out if your text is in HTML format, take your cursor and try to highlight a word or two. If you are able to do this, the text is HTML. If the text will not highlight, it is probably in graphic form. In this case, ask your webmaster to change the text into HTML format in order to increase your search engine rankings.
Next we come to what is called meta tags. I know this sounds like something out of science fiction, but it is really just simple code. Many people believe that meta tags are the key to high search engine rankings, but in reality, they only have a limited effect. Still, it's worth adding them in the event that a search engine will use meta tags in their ranking formula.

To find out if your page is set up with meta tags, you must access the code. To do this, click the "view" button on the browser menu bar, and select "source." This will pull up a window revealing the underlying code that created the page. If there are meta tags, they usually appear near the top of the window. For example, a meta tag would read: meta name="keywords" content=. If you do not find code that reads like this, ask your webmaster to put them in. This may not do much for your search engine rankings, but any little boost helps.

Lastly, we come to the issue of link popularity. This is a factor that is extremely important in terms of search engine rankings. Almost all search engines use link popularity to rank your website. Link popularity is based on the quality of the sites you have linked to from your links page.

If you type in "free link popularity check" in a popular search engine, the search engine will then show you what sites are linked to your site. In the case that there aren't many sites linked up to yours, or that the sites that are linked up have low search engine rankings, consider launching a link popularity campaign. Essentially, this entails contacting quality sites and requesting that they exchange links with your site. Of course, this requires checking out the rankings of the websites you want to link up with. Linking to popular, quality sites not only boosts your search engine ranking, but it also directs more quality traffic to your website.

Search engine rankings are extremely important for a successful Internet marketing campaign. Before you go out and hire a search engine optimization company, try taking some of the simple steps listed above, and see if you can't boost your rankings yourself. Don't ever ignore this all-important factor in Internet marketing. Remember, the higher your search engine ranking, the more quality customers will be directed your way.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

NetMarketingSolution.com Introduces Beta Version of myKeywordFinder.com

NetMarketingSolution.com introduces the Beta version of myKeywordFinder.com made to help search engine marketing professionals obtain a fast, relevant and customizable keyword phrase analysis for their customers. Determining the right keyword phrases is the very core for any strong search engine marketing program in order to increase visibility on the major search engines. myKeywordFinder.com is a powerful tool for professionals working in the search engine industry to help them determine the most relevant keyword phrases catered to meet their customers’ needs.

myKeywordFinder.com uses a large keyword database that continuously adds search engine queries to the millions it already has stored in order to suggest keyword phrases that are relevant to a particular term. MyKeyWordFinder.com is an elaborate work tool giving precise results on the keyword phrase’s potential for success in addition to other relative keyword phrases. Not only does myKeyWordFinder.com provide information on the average total requests per month but also offers a detailed breakdown for Google, MSN, and Yahoo, the three most popular search engines on the Internet. The innovative Top 10 Clicks feature takes the analysis even further by providing the traffic you can expect that keyword phrase to generate to your site on those three search engines.

Fully customizable, the Session Info section of myKeywordFinder.com also enables you to present your findings by producing professional documents. This section uses the Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX) technology, the latest in Internet advancements, where page updates are made incrementally thus eliminating full page refreshes and through editing that is done simultaneously. The use of AJAX enables users greater flexibility with keyword phrases chosen that can easily be added and removed from work lists without enduring long wait times. This section also allows you to save your findings in various electronic and printer-friendly formats.

The BETA version of http://www.mykeywordfinder.com will be offered free on a limited trial basis for search engine professionals to try out and use to develop their search engine marketing programs. Users are requested to fill out a registration form to give them access to the keyword phrase tool.

About NetMarketingSolution.com

NetMarketingSolution.com is a Montreal-based team of marketing professionals that offers professional search engine marketing solutions and various Internet business solutions. It has been involved in the search engine marketing industry for over ten years

How to Get the Highest Search Engine Rankings

Search Engine Rankings. Everyone wants to be number one, and there are millions of web sites out there. So how do you become number one and stay there consistently? Consistently is the key word here. Sure, you may apply the newest, best trick in the book today, but when someone else comes out with a better one tomorrow, you will be scrambling to get to the top again.

I think one of the keys is to be well-rounded. There are many books and philosophies about web rankings that are floating around. Some people say article marketing is the way to go, others link building, others say you have to maximize your web pages for the search engines. You have to get all your keywords right and your titles and description. But what happens when another web site does you one better in that area? Now you drop in rank. Therefore, I think it is more important that you do a good job in all the areas than to be the very best in one area. And I think it is OK to be number 8 or number 3 in rank, also. If you are in the very top spot and you are clicked simply because the top spot gets more clicks, are you really going to get more sales just because you are number one? Your product and site have to be relevant to the consumer, not just the search engine.

Another key is to focus on very specific keywords. You can do an awesome job in every area of search engine optimization, but if you go too thin here, you will not make it to number one in any of your keywords. Focus on one, or at the most, two keywords. Build your site around those keywords. Be everything you can be to someone who keys in those keywords. Or better yet, one keyword. Would you rather have one keyword that has a number one placement, or 8 keywords with a number 40 placement each? To me, number 40 is like number 1 million-you don't get enough clicks to pay the bills. I would far rather have one keyword for which my site is on the first page of results than twenty that are all over the place. Build yourself a web site that has a strong keyword density-for one or two keywords. Put those keywords in your title and description and keyword lists.

You must have incoming links.
You must have quality incoming links.
You must build incoming links one link at a time.

Links are very important, but you cannot cheat in this area. You must build them one by one. My two favorite methods of link building is to write articles, like this one, and submit them to article directories, and to be included in link directories. Stay away from link farms, large link exchanges, or anything of the sort. The major search engines want to see you build a steady supply of links over time. What do you think a search engine will do for you when you go from 0 links to 3000 in one day? That won't get you to number one, and certainly won't keep you there, when you are put in the sandbox for six months.

These keys to search engine optimization are just a beginning. You need traffic, you need click-thrus in the search engine results. You need visitors to stay at your site for more than a few seconds when they click in. How do you get that? Build real content. Build it for people, not machines--while following the first three keys. Do that, and I believe that in three to six months you will have each web site you set up with this strategy, in the top ten for your keyword.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Another WGA failure

I just experienced a Windows Genuine Advantage failure. Only it’s not a false positive, like the horror stories I’ve been hearing for nearly two months now. No, this one was a false negative. The whole story says a lot about how Microsoft is approaching the WGA issue.

A few weeks ago, I spoke to some of the folks on the WGA team and asked them to send me a pirated version of Windows XP. I'm reluctantly running a pirated version of Windows and can't get caught no matter how hard I try. According to Microsoft, 80 percent of the 60 million people who have been nabbed by the WGA validation tool are running versions of Windows with stolen or pirated volume license keys. These versions of Windows are supposed to be available only to corporate customers and only as upgrades. Unlike retail versions, they don’t require activation, which makes them an ideal target of pirates and bootleggers.

According to Microsoft, many of the people who end up with these “non-genuine” copies of Windows are themselves victims. The unauthorized OS might have been installed by a repair shop, or they might have purchased what they thought was a legitimate copy of Windows from an unscrupulous reseller. I wanted to install a pirated copy so I could experience exactly what these customers go through and report the results to you. I still can’t quite believe how difficult it’s been. Here’s the story so far.

On July 18, Microsoft's WGA team promised to send me a disk with a product key from their blocked list. It was supposed to arrive via overnight service, but it was never sent. After several follow-up messages, I was assured on July 26 I would have something by the end of that week. The package finally arrived the next week, on August 1. It contained a CD-R with a handwritten label that read “Windows XP SP2 – VLK,” and a 25-character product key on a small slip of paper.

Over the weekend, I hoisted the Jolly Roger, cleared a partition on a test machine, slid the CD into the drive, and prepared to join the ranks of Windows pirates. Unfortunately, the product key that Microsoft had sent me didn’t work. Instead of a smooth installation, I got an error message: "The Product ID which you entered is invalid. Please try again." I fired off a request for assistance to my contacts at Microsoft. Nearly 72 hours later, I still haven’t received a response other than a note that confirms my message was forwarded to the correct person.

No problem, I thought. I’ll just do what any red-blooded pirate would do and Google for a working product key. It took me about 15 minutes to find a web page containing five volume license keys that had reportedly been posted on September 9 2004. Surely if I can find a leaked VL key on a search engine, Microsoft can too, right? If these keys have been floating around the Internet for two years, surely they’ve been tagged as stolen by Microsoft, and I’ll get a WGA failure that I can show the world.
I restarted the installation using the VL media Microsoft had supplied me and entered one of the bootleg keys I found. It worked. After installation completed, I set up an Internet connection and downloaded a slew of updates, including the WGA Validation tool and the WGA Notifications utility. I then restarted, fully expecting to see a series of stern messages telling me I’d been busted.Only that’s not how it worked out.

My bootleg key worked perfectly. I went back to Windows Update and downloaded a series of Optional Updates and drivers that are only available to Genuine Windows users. I went over to the Internet Explorer homepage and downloaded the latest beta of IE7, passing a validation test twice – once on the download and again on the installation. And five minutes ago I went over to the Windows Defender page – this is another free utility that’s only available to Genuine Windows users – and the validation check waved me right through.

That’s where I stand right now. The folks who are running the WGA program are having troubles getting the little stuff right, like putting a CD in the mail and proofreading the product key they sent with it. They haven’t managed to identify a stolen product key that’s been floating around the Internet for nearly two years. I'm reluctantly running a pirated version of Windows and can't get caught no matter how hard I try.

But these same people want us to believe that the WGA software they’ve developed is nearly foolproof. They claim that all but “a fraction of a percent” of those 60 million people who’ve been denied access to Microsoft updates and downloads are guilty, guilty, guilty.


Avant Browser 11.0 Beta 8 beta

Avant Browser is a custom Web browser application based on Internet Explorer with versatile multi-window support. It allows users to browse multiple Web sites simultaneously and block all unwanted pop-up pages. All opened pages can be easily stopped, refreshed, closed or arranged with one click. The integrated cleaner helps users to clear all traces and keep privacy. The built-in Google search engine enables users to easily search for Web pages and images.
Latest Changes:
skin maker
Fixed AutoFill bug
Import URL Alias, Quick Search, Black/Exception list from old version
Script Error Report Dialog
Options to "Open all feeds"
Support IE Spell button
Fixed a few bugs

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File Size: 1,599 KB

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Google Webmaster Tool

At this point, I think Google’s webmaster console offers enough useful features that every site owner should try it on a site. If you haven’t checked out Google’s webmaster tools recently, I’d highly recommend taking another look, especially for the brand new “pick www vs. non-www” feature.

Session 13: Google Webmaster Tools

google.com/support can answer general user questions.

http://www.google.com/webmasters/ provides tools to
- tell Google that www.domain.com and domain.com are the same
- test out robots.txt files- discover crawl errors that Googlebot saw
- see some spam penalties

All this is happening as Sitemaps is renaming itself and tackling a wider scope: all of webmasters. There’s even an official Google blog for webmasters now at http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/

By the way, I wanted to send shouts out to folks that have been transcribing the videos:
- Dave at ViperChill was one of the first to twig to transcribing as a linkbait idea, and has transcribed many (all?) the videos so far.
- Philipp Lensen has been among the most meticulous. Philipp also prodded me into thinking about what the copyright should be for these videos. Based on the talks we had, I’m placing the videos under a non-commercial Creative Commons license. So as long as you don’t charge for it, feel free to mash up the videos all you want.
- Poor Rebecca Kelley is stuck transcribing for SEOmoz and is starting to ask me not to do any more video answers. Sorry to have to disappoint you, Rebecca.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Top Ranked Websites Are Using A Linking Strategy

Many SEOs quickly learn why they need a linking strategy. They know now that links from other web sites pointing at theirs are improving their page ranking. Let's see how links generate traffic.

Inbound links are an important way to increase the page rank, to be known in your field, to generate traffic to the website. This is the most important method to generate traffic, to have more visitors, potential clients or website services' users.

Without traffic, a website is almost useless. Its role can be only a name on a business card or a place to find a products or services list or email addresses.

To bring clients from the Internet, to be alive, to fulfill its main purpose, a web site must have huge traffic. What can a search engine optimizer do to get this important traffic? The web content including the appropriate keywords, the ease navigation, the most appropriate images, the inspired headlines are improving the traffic.

Do not forget the site's style, sophisticated and simple at the same time, professional and efficient. But the work isn't over yet. The inbound links strategy must be used too. It brings spectacular results and realizes the traffic that will attire the clients' attention. The search engines will note the web site.

Some will think that without traffic, a web site is useless as a marketing and selling tool. The web site will not sell products or services, nor communicate ideas or events, and won't publish articles about any imaginable subject.

As we have already established, the traffic will be increased in the most spectacular way by getting links from other important websites, and having related topics. You will receive direct traffic from links, but mainly from links that have similar audiences to the main website.
A client visiting a web site similar to the main one, seeing the link to the main one, will visit it immediately. He becomes a potential client, increases the traffic, and improve, finally, the main site's rank. 21% of the entire traffic is the result of inbound links. This is not a secret, top ranked web sites are using this successful strategy and everyone can see the results.

What is the reason why people are clicking the new links? First of all, this is the human curiosity in action. Maybe the next site can have more products, best prices, most appropriate services.Maybe the next site is looking better and it is giving to its visitors the look and feel they are waiting for, maybe the next site is more useful, interesting and helpful. The visitors, potential clients at the same time, are hoping to find something to amaze them, to make them purchase without regrets and doubts.

Part of your linking strategy is joining a linking directory. You will need to do a search for these websites with a high PR. In these directories, you will have great success because they are where the strong, relevant websites are. To start linking your websites to higher ranked sites, go to: http://www.MyLinkMachine.com.

Another part of your linking strategy should be to include your link in articles that you submit to article directories. This will help you out a lot because if a reader is interested in your article, chances are that they will click on your link to learn more. A great site to submit your articles is: http://www.MyContentBuilder.com.

If you are submitting articles and are looking for a faster and easier way to do this, you might want to consider an automatic article submitter. To watch a video on how to accomplish this, go to: http://1trac.com/dt/t/Article_Submitter_Video.php.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Top 10 Things Every Site Should Include

While almost anyone can have a web site these days it's much harder to have a good website. From design aspects to readable content many sites fall flat. Below I've arranged a Top 10 list, because everyone loves a Top 10!

Include a detailed About Us pageThe About Us page is a good place for new visitors and target traffic to find out who you are, why they should read your content or buy your products, how valuable your site can be, and also general information about your company, web site, or you.

It's a good idea to include contact information or at least a clear link to your Contact Us page. Keep concise and accurate. People want to read about you but they don't want a novel. Add important information on this page and point them to other pages for more in depth coverage.
Include a Contact Us pageVisitors (shoppers, target traffic) need an easy way to get in touch. Have a clearly marked link for contact information and include every avenue you receive communication through. Telephone and fax numbers (both local and 800), e-mail addresses, physical addresses, etc. all should appear on this page.

To help navigate further, clearly indicate which contacts go where (i.e. Admin, Tech, Sales, etc.) This will decrease frustration on both ends and allow better communication to flow. You want to show your visitors that you are competent and friendly, being easy to contact is one of the best ways to accomplish this goal.

Add a News, Press Release, Blog, and/or Articles PageThese pages inform customers of current events, products, endorsements, and other company happenings all in one place. Make sure to maintain these pages with fresh content that is reader friendly so your target traffic is more likely to come back, bookmark your page, and they may even provide word-of-mouth advertising. Free advertising!

As a bonus, search engines love these types of pages. New, fresh, relevant content is the stuff of search engines (well, there's obviously more to it than just content). Each time a search engine spider crawls your site and find new content it ups your chances of ranking higher in the organic search listings. More free advertising!

A Relevant Page TitleAs uninteresting as this may sound your page title holds a lot of weight. If you're unfamiliar with a page title it is the name appearing in the blue bar across the top of the page. If your says something like "Untitled Document" I'm talking to you.
Page titles should be different for every page in your site. They should clearly and accurately describe your page, and you should try to use keywords in the page title.
Search engines display the title of your page on SERPs. The catchier and more accurate your title the better the chance you'll hit target traffic.

A Relevant Page NameAgain, not so interesting as flashy designs or up-to-the-minute content, but it's a necessity to get your target traffic to your page to see or read the goods.
It's better to have straightforward page name showing in the URL than names with? Or other symbols and numbers. For example, a search engine will go to www.yourdomain.com/about us.htm it will only go to the? In www.yourdomain.com/aboutus?094837. You want search engines to find your pages. You also want humans to be able to read your names. Keep it simple and clean.

Good Grammar, Correct Spelling, Complete Thoughts, Sentence StructureEverything you were supposed to learn in grade school, use it now. Not only should your site have relevant content - the more the better - people should be able to read your content. Choppy or run on sentences that seem to go nowhere cannot provide the type of readership concise, correct sentences can.
Misspellings, wrong word usage, bad grammar are all distractions. You do not want to distract your readers, you want to captivate them. Slang and derogatory language also distracts. If your site is a business site avoid slang and offensive language all together - unless that's your selling point. Jargon is different; just don't confuse readers more than necessary.

If you aren't in command of grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, etc. or if you'd rather focus your efforts elsewhere, that's fine. It's a good idea to beg, plead, hire, or force someone else to take care of this part then as ignoring the problem won't make it go away though it may have that effect on site traffic.

Professional Design, Colors, and ImagesDesign should be implemented with usability in mind. Not all visitors will be as web savvy as you'd like, create easy navigation and links to all your pages. A search bar for your site is also a good idea.

Colors should be inviting, not blinding. Use colors to emphasize your brand, product or content. Don't overpower the visitor with colors. Use colors to make text pop without being distracting or hard to read.

Images should be friendly and relevant to your site. Images of people work better than objects and clip art rarely has a positive effect. Make sure your images can load within a reasonable amount of time; you don't want to lose visitors because a single image caused an incredible amount of load time, or worse froze the visitors’ browser.

Make Sure ALL Links Are Working LinksThis should be a no-brainer, however it is always a good idea to check and double check your links. Fix any broken links A.S.A.P. Your reputation counts on it.Think of any site you've been to with a broken link. Disappointing isn't it? You probably left or at least had a negative image about the company. Avoid this mistake and check, recheck, and check your links again.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006