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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

101 Tips to Improve Your Web Presence

  1. If you’re launching a new site, or new content, write an introduction and submit it to social bookmarking sites like Digg, Reddit and Netscape. See 23 Top Social Bookmarking sites for more great places to submit your content.
  2. Create a Yahoo Group in the niche your site sits.
  3. Create a MySpace account and use it to publisise your site.
  4. Bookmark your site on Del.icio.us and if you’re really keen, add a Del.icio.us button to your homepage.
  5. Create a Technorati account and “claim” your blog.
  6. Submit your site to free, search engine friendly directories. An excellent list can be found at Info Vilesilencer.
  7. Conduct a survey. This is an excellent way to generate offline publicity.
  8. Place a free ad for your company on Gumtree.
  9. Syndicate your site’s content by using an RSS feeds.
  10. Submit your RSS feeds to aggregator sites like FeedBurner, Squidoo, Feedboy, Jordomedia, FeedBomb, FeedCat, rssmad, feeddirectory and feedfury. Stolen from DigitalPoint
  11. Write an article related to your site and submit it to article sites.
  12. Sign up to StumbleUpon and get your friends to Stumble your site.
  13. Create a custom 404 page so that even if someone encounters an error on your site, they are re-directed somewhere nice.
  14. Set up a 301 redirect to take traffic from your non-www address to your www address. See here for more info.
  15. Add a link to your site in the signature of any forums you post on.
  16. Tell your friends about your site. It’s free advertising init.
  17. Speel cheek ur stie. Nothing appears more amateur than a site with typos or spelling mistakes.
  18. Test your site and make sure it appears correctly in all major browsers.
  19. Buy enough hosting. No one likes a slow site.
  20. Don’t worry about PageRank - worrying about PageRank is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum.*
  21. Offer something for free. Free is good. People tell their friends about free stuff.
  22. Tell your neighbours, you never know what contacts they might have.
  23. Offer your users as many ways as possible to contact you. MSN, Skype, Yahoo etc all complement email, phone and a real address.
  24. Advertise your site on Craigslist. It’s free, relevant and localised.
  25. Do NOT use frames.
  26. Submit your site to DMOZ.org. It may take time, but it’s worth it.
  27. Create an XML sitemap of your site and submit it to Google.
  28. Get a custom t-shirt made with your website url on it, and wear it often.
  29. Ask a large breasted lady to wear one too.
  30. Sign up with an affiliate programme to sell your product, or if you’re a publisher, make some cash!
  31. On your Contact Page ask people if they mind receiving your newsletter.
  32. Send out a newsletter!
  33. Go to a free seminar for Website owners. You might learn something.
  34. Find quality and relevant blogs and leave a comment (with a link back to your site of course).
  35. Don’t pay people to submit your site to search engines. It’s a waste of money.
  36. YouTube and Google Video are excellent portals on which to launch a viral campaign. Read Wired’s excellent How To Make Your Own Viral Hit.
  37. Giving away an eBook is an excellent way to generate word-of-mouth about your site.
  38. Sponsor a Wordpress theme or a phpListDirectory template.
  39. If you sell products that are advertised on television by the manufacturer, add “As Seen on TV” to your site!
  40. Avoid proprietary technologies like Java and Active X.
  41. Put downloadable content on your site, but make sure it’s not manufacturer specific - so mp3 rather than wma.
  42. Learn about CSS. It’s the new HTML.
  43. Contribute to related subject areas on Wikipedia.
  44. Ask bloggers and other Web site owners to review your site and/or products.
  45. Have user friendly page names - most tools comes with some way to avoid www.yourdomain.com/pgInfoPages.cfm?cx=50799399822B393BBF95289295A3A10A4FD4F64E511ACB0E020C9048CFE3AEDAF8DD9D
  46. If you must have a Flash homepage, make sure you have a “Skip Intro” link.
  47. Tell your local rag about your site. These newspapers are desperate for stories and you may well even get a picture of your ugly mug published.
  48. Become a leading authority on your chosen subject.
  49. Donate money to a charity and most will place a link on their site back to you.
  50. Abide to W3C standards - it will help your site in the long term.
  51. Your local community sports teams offer cheap, but highly effective sponsorship opportunities.
  52. Publisise your site on related forums - but don’t spam!
  53. Ask bloggers to write about your site or product - in return for a link of course.
  54. Offer a competition related to something in the news - so football around the time of the World Cup etc.
  55. Add a “Tell a Friend” function to your site, so people can easily recommend you to their mates.
  56. Have a Sitemap on your site to allow users to navigate around quickly and to aid the search engines.
  57. Have a nice keyword rich title at the top of each of your pages. Users and search engines both like descriptive titles.
  58. Include a Feedburner button on your site so people can easily subscribe to your feed.
  59. If you use PPC then create a landing page for each of your AdWords - it’ll boost your conversations no end.
  60. Appear on Dragon’s Den.
  61. Create a Press section on your site where can you store all your press releases, logos and banners.
  62. Add a link to your site from within your eBay profile.
  63. Ask your friends to give you honest feedback on your site.
  64. The best way to find someone to do any kind of work on your site is through personal recommendation.
  65. Gain exposure by submitting photos and pictures to Flikr.
  66. Share your banners on banner exchange sites.
  67. Make sure it’s easy for your users to subscribe to your RSS feed.
  68. Create a “lense” for your site on Squidoo
  69. Ask friends, colleagues and associates to “Favourite” your blog on Technorati.
  70. You can add a Bulletin to your MySpace account promoting your site that all your MySpace Friends will see.
  71. Response to your customer’s emails promptly, even if it is with a simply auto-responder. No one likes to wait 3 or 4 days for an acknowledgement of their contact with you.
  72. Get a professional Copywriter to give your site a once over. If you are on a tight budget, limit to the just the homepage.
  73. Make a list, “Top 10″s work well. Update it regularly to give your visitors a reason to return.
  74. What did you learn today? Tell other people and they might learn something too.
  75. Do you have really hot content on your site that geeks would love? If so Slashdot will bring you a mass of traffic.
  76. Deep link directories are an excellent way to promote inner pages of your site.
  77. Meta tags might carry less weight than previously, but you should still have them on every page.
  78. Ask your Gran for feedback on your site. Never ignore the silver surfers.
  79. Include a “Add to your Technorati favourites” button on your site.
  80. Google Analytics is free and will tell you all you need to know about who’s visiting your site.
  81. Search engines will find you. Don’t pay money for your site to be “submitted”.
  82. Don’t be afraid to link to other sites, especially if they are relevant and to highly respected sites.
  83. Keep It Simple Stupid: use CSS to control layout, style and colours and use HTML text rather than graphics to represent text.
  84. Validate your HTML and CSS. It’ll help ensure your site displays well in all browsers.
  85. Small pages sizes and optimised graphics will give your site a snappy feel and won’t require users to wait around for it to load.
  86. If you plan to submit your site to lots of directory or article sites - create an email especially for this. Delete it when you’re finished to avoid spam.
  87. “Link baiting” means writing some killer content that people will want to link to. Like a “101 Tips to Improve Your Web Presence” list!
  88. If your chosen field is technology related then write a “whitepaper”. That’s a posh name for an article.
  89. Google receives roughly 50% of all search requests, Yahoo 25% and MSN just 10%. That’s a good rule of thumb as to how much emphasis to put on each.
  90. Make sure you have a robots.txt file in the root of your Web site. You can use this to control search engines, but if nothing else it’ll reduce the number of 404 errors in your Weblogs.
  91. Free online games, a forum or chatrooms will give your users a reason to come back to your site.
  92. Ebooks with re-seller rights make an excellent “free gift” for your site.
  93. Upload your product feed to Froogle. It’s FREE!
  94. This is an excellent list of Top 25 Social Bookmarking Sites
  95. Search out unanswered questions on Yahoo! Answers and add your site as the “Source”.
  96. PageRank is vanity, ranking is sanity.
  97. Yahoo are catching up with Google with an excellent set of webmaster tools called Site Explorer.
  98. Don’t buy traffic. It’s un-targeted and won’t convert.
  99. Pay Per Click advertising gets you fast results - and if it’s handled well can be very profitable.
  100. Upload a favicon.gif file so that your users have a nice icon when they bookmark your site.
  101. And that’s it!

Monday, March 21, 2011

How To Create A Perfect Landing Page

Our world is becoming more competitive in performing different kinds of business. Business People are fastening their work with good profits by attracting the customers with good website design and front. Now a day's market scenario is seriously concentrating on good landing page to attract the customers by providing all necessary inputs and more valuable bite sized chunks of information in brief and nothing but as direct marketing copy. To do this all you need to do is instant single giving the whole information by webpage or key word search or pay per click, banner ads.

Landing page with good design can convert online searcher into good business leads from the website. Attract the customers; impress them to click on the banner from the search engine. Need not any effort in the business by creating good quality of design in landing page.
A good website or a good designer has to bare in mind while creating Landing page you have to include online forms, attractive trial version for downloads, and other necessary inputs about the products they are search for. A good result of retention rates and conversion of visitors into customers will say you about your business incurred with the attraction of the website.

Some tips while designing Landing page: -

1. Instant click on the banner should automatically link to the require product with whole summary of the product. Instant click with detailed information converts the visitor's rate towards higher figure and get good business lead.

2. Every one surf internet with a short words and concise. So it is always better to give description in short about the products & Services without elaborating or missing any point. While giving description about the product keep in mind that customer should raise any queries or input from us.

3. Landing page is nothing but as a marketing copy of any product to avoid distraction from advertisements or links of other websites. Try to avoid multiple products or services and create separate landing pages, try to focus on one product in single landing page.

4. For better communication and clear understanding, bullets can be used for simple and easy to make understanding of description about the products and service.

5. Attractive pleasing images and product shots with price ranges.

6. Be clear and understandable to the visitors once they decide what they want and go further for purchase. Highlight with bold or clear where to click for download, dill name and address. All the text with good font size, back ground, will make visitors to read text with ease.

7. Provide a clear input about the product, discount, comparison, service providing and the guarantee period. Many companies are struggling a lot for creating a good landing page to maximize their business.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Top 10 SEO Rules for Designers

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a vital component of any website. As a web designer or blogger, it’s important you understand how SEO works. Here are ten easy rules that will immediately improve the SEO on all of your web sites.

Rule Zero: Do Not Cheat. Period.
If you walked into a room full of genius scientists with PHDs, do you think you could outsmart them all? No. Google has hundreds of rooms full of genius scientists with PHDs, and their job is to work 60 hours a week to make sure you can’t fool Google. You can’t outsmart them. Ever. Ignore any advice on trying to cheat the system and focus on making great web sites with great content, and your sites will show up fine in searches.

Rule One: Stick to Your Keywords
Pick a few keywords or phrases that describe your site. Use them, and words related to them, whenever it’s natural to do so. Repeating them uselessly is no good (rule Zero), use them in sentences, headlines, and links.

Rule Two: Content is King
Users don’t search for design, they search for content. If your site doesn’t have content people want, no one will look at it.

Every page on your site should follow the Inverted Pyramid. Each page should lead with a relevant H1 tag with one of your keywords, and the first paragraph of text should be a summary of the rest of the page.

Rule Three: Clean Code is Search able Code
Build your sites in a text editor, and write clean, human-readable HTML. The HTML should follow the conceptual structure of the page, navigation first, followed by the H1 tag, then the first paragraph, etc. Try to use descriptive tags when possible. Use UL for lists, P for paragraphs, H tags for heads and subheads, and STRONG for bolded text. Don’t overuse Divs.

Your site can still be artistic and cool, that’s what CSS is for.

Rule Four: The Home Page is the Most Important Page
Your home page is the key to your site being found by search engines. It should summarize the rest of the site, and give a clear, compelling reason for a user to look at the other pages in the site.

Rule Five: Links Have Meaning
Search engines pay a lot of attention to the links on your site, and the words used in those links. Never use “click here” or “see more” for a link. The link text should describe where the link will take the user, such as “more examples of CSS web design” or “learn how we can improve your SEO.”

The more relevant the links on a page, the more findable the page becomes. Don’t go overboard, and don’t link to anything irrelevant. If your page is focused on minimalist web design, a link to the Design MeltDown page on minimalism will boost your SEO. A link to a hilarious picture of a cat will not.

Rule Six: Title Tags for the Win
Every page in your site should have a title with the site name and a short description of the page. About 60 letters total. Include a keyword. Remember that the page title is what appears in search results, it should give users a clear reason to click on it.

Your navigation links should have title attributes that match the titles of your pages. This looks like .It’s a small thing, but it will give you a significant SEO improvement.

Rule Seven: Alt Tags Matter
Every image on your site should have an alt tag. Especially images that are relevant to the page. If your page is focused on CSS tricks, labelling a screenshot “example of rounded CSS corners” will improve your page’s findability. Labelling it “screenshot” or “image” will do the opposite.

Rule Eight: Ignore Most Meta Tags
A long time ago meta tags were the secret to SEO. Those days are gone. The only meta tag that really matters now is the description tag. Search engines may use it to provide the text under the link to your page in their results. Make sure it describes the page in a way that explains why a user searching for your content would want to look at your page.

Rule Nine: Have a Site Map
Make sure you have a site map. This is an xml file that describes the structure of your page. Make one, and give it to Google.

Rule Ten: Design for Humans
Search engines are designed to find what humans want. That means the best way to make your site findable is to design it for humans. Your job as a designer is to solve a problem, not make art, prove a point, serve your ego or break a boundary. In this case, your problem is to provide your users with a site that is easy to use and full of what they’re looking for. If you can do that, the search engines will find you.


SEO Expert India

Friday, March 18, 2011

6 Tips For Better SEO Writing

6 Tips For Better SEO Writing

1. Make a list of keywords before you start writing. Brainstorm before you start writing so that you know what topics to write about. Think about what phrases or keywords people would type in a search engine to find the information you’re providing. What questions or problems does your company help address?

2. Pick 1-3 keywords or phrases to focus on. Don’t try to optimize your writing for too many SEO terms at once. I like to pick one or two and focus on making an article or page really strong for those keywords. It’s better to show up on the first page of search results for one or two search phrases than to show up on page ten for hundreds of keywords.

3. Use your keywords in your headlines. As search engines crawl through your web site, they’ll give more weight to text contained inside header tags. If you’re writing for specific SEO terms, make sure these exact keywords are used in headlines or bolded text.

4. Remember that exact spelling and phrasing matters. As far as search engines are concerned, there is a difference between “link building” and “inbound links” or “makeup tips” vs. “how to put on make up.” Know exactly which search terms you’re writing for.

5. Write for people first and search engines second. SEO experts speculate that there may be such a thing as too much of a good thing. A page filled with little more than a keyword repeated over and over again can be a red flag for search engines. Also, web content that isn’t readable and useful for actual people is less likely to be linked to from other sites. Link building is just as important for search traffic as SEO writing.

6. Let the pictures do the talking. Photos are a great way to make web content more interesting, but they’re also great tools for improving your SEO writing. Use keywords in your picture’s titles, tags, descriptions and captions.

Effective SEO writing takes practice. A skilled web writer or content marketing service will know how to balance useful information and an interesting writing tone with search engine optimization principles.

Running a Successful Blog – Social Media

What Social Media sites should I use?

Social media sites come in all shapes and sizes. There are so many all over the web it can be hard to tell which ones are good and which ones are rubbish. Some of the biggest and most important social networks you should be involved in are:

Twitter
If you haven’t heard about Twitter by now then you obviously live under a rock. While there are still people out there that refuse to use Twitter, if you run a blog it is a must. It is a great way to reach out to your audience. Twitter is also a great source of finding new topics for blog posts because you can see what the hot, trendy topics are. This will ultimately bring you that qualified traffic you are looking for. DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF THE TWITTER (a little Star Wars humor right? Ok no…)

Facebook
Who doesn’t have a Facebook profile these days? If you have a blog I’m sure you also have a facebook profile. Sharing your blog posts with your friends is a great way to get traffic to you site. If your friends like your post tell them to share it with their friends and so on. Think of it like word of mouth advertising.

You can also get a Facebook page that is strictly for your blog. There are plugins and programs out there that will auto post your new blog content to your Facebook page. This is another great way to gain traffic once you have a decent amount of “fans” if you write good content this should be no trouble for you.

Digg
Digg is one of those social sites that if you can make it on the front page you will be golden for life… Now getting on the front page is a whole other story as it is no easy task at all. There are some sites that no matter how hard they try they just can’t seem to make it onto Digg. My best advice with Digg is to just submit it and forget it. Yea ask your followers on Twitter and Facebook to “Digg” your post for you, but don’t make it an obsession. If it happens it happens and let’s hope you have a server that can hold up to the amount of visitors you will be receiving when it does happen for you.

Reddit
Reddit is another site similar to Digg except you have a lot better chance of making it on the front page. Be ready to receive an over whelming amount of traffic once you hit that front page as well. I highly recommend spending more time getting on the front page of Reddit over the front page of Digg. Once you have a big enough following on Reddit then shift your focus over to the Diggers.

StumbleUpon
This is by far my favorite of the social media sites because it is easy to submit to and drives great traffic to you site. In fact, some of you reading this post right now may have found it via Stumble (if you did please thumb it up J ). One of the best and fastest ways of getting traffic is to stumble your blog posts. Will it drive the most qualified traffic? Probably not but there is a good chance that stumblers will give your blog post a good read through. And they always seem to be very nice about thumbing you up or down if they liked your post.

Is any specific one better than the others?

Is one better than the other… no I would not say that. All the social media sites listed above can and will drive an enormous amount of traffic to your site once you are well established in the network. Will one work better for you at first over another one? Yes… Like I mentioned above, I think Stumble is a great stepping stone for getting your site into the social world. Facebook is another great site to utilize, as it consists of sending your posts to all your friends. You should/will get probably the most constructive critism from your friends about what was good what was bad. Continue to always submit to Digg, Reddit, Twitter and one day those will also provide you with some great traffic to your sites and will build that community that you have been wanting on your blog.

Should I submit all my blog posts to social sites or just some of them?

Yes 90% of the time you are going to want to submit every blog post you write. That 10% that you don’t submit might be short update posts that are less than 150 words long. Don’t submit those. They are a waste of your time and will provide you with next to nothing.

How do I get my readers to social bookmark me?

This is like asking where the holy grail is… If we knew how to get you readers to stumble/digg/reddit/retweet ect we would all be happy bloggers. But alas we do not have a clear idea on how to get people to re-social our posts. You just have to continue to ask nicely and pray they will do it for you.

Well that does it for this week’s post. I hope it was a least a little bit helpful. Please remember I’d love to hear from you in the comments section and if you feel up to it please social the post as well,  I would be most grateful. Look out for the next part in the series about how to run a successful blog with the topic on updating your blog.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Important On-Page SEO factors

  1. Domain: having your top keyword in the root domain is a great way to optimise your website for that keyword. For many marketers however, this is not possible, because the root domain is already yourcompanyname.com. Also, you are likely working a Keyword Strategy that contains more than one word
  2. URL: of major importance! You need to use your keywords in the URL of the post
  3. Title tag: also of major importance. Google uses the keywords in the title tag to know what a page is about. And the title tag also shows in search engine result pages (SERPs). The title tag is a meta tag. And is not actually visible on the webpage
  4. H1, h2, h3 headers: the importance of the H1 seemed to have decreased a little recently. However, headers are a great tool to help Google tell what the content on your web page is about! The headers are in the code of your web page, but are also visible as actual headers in the copy of your page
  5. Meta description: this is not important for search engine rankings. But! The meta description does show in your search engine results pages (SERPs). That means if you write a great one, you can help people click through
  6. Keyword density: using your keyword once on the whole page is not enough. The use of your keyword needs to ideally be somewhere between 2 and 4% of the total of copy. But above all, keep your text writing natural
  7. Alt-image tag: this tag is designed to let users know what the image is about. It’s recommended to also put your keywords in the file title of the image as well as in the Alt-tag of the image. Helps with SEO.
  8. Bold, italic and underlined for keywords. I’m not such a fan of this, because it makes your blog posts quite messy. Also, underlining keywords makes them look like they are hyperlinked. Still, a header in bold won’t harm your SEO chances!
  9. Length of the text: Search engines like a lot of relevant text. For maximum SEO impact it is recommended that a post has at least 500 words of text
  10. Keyword in first and last phrase: Google loves this. When the keyword is in the head as well as the tail of the post it tells Google the entire article is about this keyword
  11. Keywords meta tag: this used to be important, but not anymore. Google doesn’t use the keywords meta tag anymore to rank pages. But other search engines still do to a degree. In other words: it doesn’t hurt. So go ahead. Fill in your most important keywords and some contextual keywords. Max 10. Make sure all these keywords are actually in the body text.

On Page SEO and Linking

What you do with your links inside your blog posts can also impact the ranking of your page. It’s recommended that you offer at least one internal link to another article in your website.
Also offering an external link to a credible, trusted, high authority website (for instance Wikipedia) can be a good idea. This makes Google trust your content more because you are quoting a trusted online source. (I leave the discussion regarding ‘nofollow’ out of scope for this article.)

On Page SEO: A last note
After reading this article, you might be wondering how heavy you must optimise your page. Questions like: how many words to use, how many keywords, how many italic words, et al.
I will write a separate post about how far you need to turn up the volume of your On Page SEO.
For now, follow these basic rules and you are well on your way with On Page SEO!

7 Myths and Facts About Google SERPs

 1.  Myth:  High Page Rank = high traffic.

      Fact: Big mistake. Page Rank only shows the popularity level of a website and has no connection with traffic. In fact, many websites with low Page Rank even have high traffic.
 2. Myth: Once your website is listed in a "link farm", Google will penalize it.
      Fact: Nonsense. Everyone is able to submit your website to a "link farm"; so what if it's one of your competitors who did it to ruin your reputation? Google will not be that stupid.

 3. Myth: Once your website is penalized and removed from Google Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs), there will be no chance to resubmit it again.
      Fact: Big Mistake. If you suspect you get penalized, you better confirm it to Google and ask what the problem is. You are welcome to resubmit it as long as the problem has been fixed. Two problems that usually caused it are: you use black hat techniques to promote your website (cloaking, creating hidden link, creating doorway pages, etc) or you are being caught by big daddy algorithm (you create an exact copy of another website/ duplicate content).

 4. Myth: Google Sitemaps will increase your Page Rank.
      Fact: Big Mistake. Google Sitemaps is just used as an additional tool to index your webpages; so don't expect more.

 5. Myth: Google will ban your website if you use free articles in it, because it contains duplicate contents.
      Fact: It depends on the number of free articles you used. There are many people say that free article is the same as duplicate content, and Google will definitely ban it. But imagine; if they really do it, how many news websites (which usually take their news from CNN and Reuters) that are being banned by Google? Using free articles as your contents is fine as long as you do not cross the border. I suggest free articles are not more than 30%-40% of your total contents.

 6. Myth: Reciprocal Link is dead, and now it's time for one way link.
      Fact: This fact is still in debate since Google never gave a confirmation about it. But there is something in their help center that perhaps can answer this question:

      "Keep in mind that our algorithms can distinguish natural links from unnatural links. Natural links to your site develop as part of the dynamic nature of the web when other sites find your content valuable and think it would be helpful for their visitors. Unnatural links to your site are placed there specifically to make your site look more popular to search engines." (taken from Google Adsense Help Center )

      This maybe the reason why many people think reciprocal link is dead. But what about one way link? We all know that the most common way to get one way link is by submitting comments in popular blogs. Isn't it the same as unnatural links? One thing for sure here; no matter reciprocal link or one way link, they both can be treated as unnatural links by Google. And if that happens, your incoming links will not affect your Page Rank and your position in Google SERPs. There is no doubt that one way link is the best choice. And the only way to get a natural one way link is by creating a fresh and interesting content so other websites will be interested to link to it.

 7. Myth: Participating in Google Adsense and Google Adwords will definitely raise your Page Rank and your position in Google SERPs.
      Fact: Don't you ever think about it. If you hope that Google will automatically raise your Page Rank and your position in their SERPs since you are joining Adsense and Adwords, then you make a big mistake. Google has confirmed it in their help center:

      "Google's advertising programs are independent of our search result…. Participation in an advertising program doesn't positively or negatively affect inclusion or ranking in the Google search results. Inclusion and ranking are free services; we don't accept payment to expedite inclusion or improve a site's ranking for particular keywords." (taken from Google Adsense Help Center )

30 Black Hat SEO Techniques You Can Use Ethically

1. Hidden text – Create modern CSS based websites with JQuery effects. They often hide large portions of text in layers to display them on click or mouse over for usability reasons. Example: CSS pagination.
2. IP delivery – Offer the proper localized content to those coming from a country specific IP address. Offer the user a choice though. Shopping.com does a great job here.
3. 301 redirects – Redirect outdated pages to the newer versions or your homepage. When moving to a new domain use them of course as well.
4. Throw Away Domains – Create exact match micro sites for short term popular keywords and abandon them when the trend subsides. Something like tigerwoodssexrehab.com
5. Cloaking – Hide the heavy Flash animations from Google, show the text-only version optimized for accessibility and findability.
6. Paid links – Donate for charity, software developers etc. Many of them display links to those who donate.
7. Keyword stuffing – Tags and folksonomy. Keyword stuff but adding several tags or let your users do the dirty work via UGC tagging (folksonomy) every major social site does that.
8. Automatically generated keyword pages – Some shopping search engines create pages from each Google search query and assign the appropriate products to each query. You can do that as well if you have enough content.
9. Mispsellings – Define, correct the misspelled term and/or redirect to the correct version.
10. Scraping – Create mirrors for popular sites. Offer them to the respective webmasters. Most will be glad to pay less.
11. Ad only pages – Create all page ads (interstitials) and show them before users see content like many old media do.
12. Blog spam – Don’t spam yourself! Get spammed! Install a WordPress blog without Akismet spam protection. Then create a few posts about Mesothelioma for example, a very profitable keyword. Then let spammers comment spam it or even add posts (via TDO Mini Forms). Last but not least parse the comments for your keyword and outgoing links. If they contain the keyword publish them and remove the outgoing links of course. Bot user generated content so to say.
13. Duplicate content on multiple domains – Offer your content under a creative Commons License with attribution.
14. Domain grabbing – Buy old authority domains that failed and revive them instead of putting them on sale.
15. Fake news – Create real news on official looking sites for real events. You can even do it in print. Works great for all kinds of activism related topics.
16. Link farm – Create a legit blog network of flagship blogs. A full time pro blogger can manage 3 to 5 high quality blogs by her or himself.
17. New exploits – Find them and report them, blog about them. You break story and thus you get all the attention and links. Dave Naylor is excellent at it.
18. Brand jacking – Write a bad review for a brand that has disappointed you or destroys the planet or set up a brand x sucks page and let consumers voice their concerns.
19. Rogue bots – Spider websites and make their webmasters aware of broken links and other issues. Some people may be thankful enough to link to you.
20. Hidden affiliate links – In fact hiding affiliate links is good for usability and can be even more ethical than showing them. example.com/ref?id=87233683 is far worse than than just example.com. Also unsuspecting Web users will copy your ad to forums etc. which might break their TOS. The only thing you have to do is disclose the affiliate as such. I prefer to use [ad] (on Twitter for example) or [partner-link] elsewhere. This way you can strip the annoying “ref” ids and achieve full disclosure at the same time.
21. Doorway pages – Effectively doorway pages could also be called landing pages. The only difference is that doorway pages are worthless crap while landing pages are streamlined to suffice on their own. Common for both is that they are highly optimized for organic search traffic. So instead of making your doorway pages just a place to get skipped optimize them as landing pages and make the users convert right there.
22. Multiple subdomains – Multiple subdomains for one domain can serve an ethical purpose. Just think blogspot.co or wordpress.com – they create multiple subdomains by UGC. This way they can rank several times for a query. You can offer subdomains to your users as well.
23. Twitter automation – There is nothing wrong with Twitter automation as long as you don’t overdo it. Scheduling and repeating tweets, even automatically tweeting RSS feeds from your or other blogs is perfectly OK as long as the Twitter account has a real person attending it who tweets “manually” as well. Bot accounts can be ethical as well in case they are useful no only for yourself. A bot collecting news about Haiti in the aftermath of the earthquake would be perfectly legit if you ask me.
24. Deceptive headlines – Tabloids use them all the time, black hat SEO also do. There are ethical use cases for deceptive headlines though. Satire is one of course and humor simply as well. For instance I could end this list with 24 items and declare this post to a list of 30 items anyways. That would be a good laugh. I’ve done that in the past but in a more humorous post.
25. Google Bowling – The bad thing about Google bowling is that you hurt sites you don’t like. You could reverse that: Reverse Google bowling would mean that you push sites of competitors you like to make those you dislike disappear below. In a way we do that all the time linking out to the competition, the good guys of SEO who then outrank the ugly sites we like a lot less.
26. Invisible links – You’d never used invisible links on your sites did you? You liar! You have. Most free web counters and statistic tools use them. Statcounter is a good example. So when you embed them on your site you use invisible links.
27. Different content for search engines than users – Do you use WordPress? Then you have the nofollow attribute added to your comment links. this way the search engine gets different content than the user. He sees and clicks a link. A search bot sees a no trespass sign instead. In white hat SEO it’s often called PageRank sculpting. Most social media add ons do that by default.
28. Hacking sites – While crackers hack sites security experts warn site owners that they vulnerabilities. Both discover the same issues. Recently I got an email by someone who warned me to update my WordPress installation. That was a grand idea I thought.
29. Slander linkbait – Pulling a Calacanis like “SEO is bullshit” is quite common these days. Why don’t do it the other way around? The anti SEO thing doesn’t work that good anymore unless you are as famous as Robert Scoble. In contrast a post dealing with “100 Reasons to Love SEO Experts” might strike a chord by now.
30. Map spam – Instead of faking multiple addresses all over the place just to appear on Google Maps and Local why don’t you simply create an affiliate network of real life small business owners with shops and offices who, for a small amount of money, are your representatives there? All they need to do is to collect your mail from Google and potential clients.

Google Algorithm Update Analysis

Anybody who monitors their rankings with the same vigor that we in the SEO community do will have noticed some fairly dramatic shifts in the algorithm starting last Thursday (July 5th) and continuing through the weekend. Many sites are rocketing into the top 10 which, of course, means that many sites are being dropped at the same time. We were fortunate not to have any clients on the losing end of that equation however we have called and emailed the clients who saw sudden jumps into the top positions to warn them that further adjustments are coming. After a weekend of analysis there are some curiosities in the results that simply require further tweaks in the ranking system.

This update seems to have revolved around three main areas: domain age, backlinks and PageRank.

Domain Age

It appears that Google is presently giving a lot of weight to the age of a domain and, in this SEO's opinion, disproportionately so. While the age of a domain can definitely be used as a factor in determining how solid a company or site is, there are many newer sites that provide some great information and innovative ideas. Unfortunately a lot of these sites got spanked in the last update.

On this tangent I have to say that Google's use of domain age as a whole is a good filter, allowing them to “sandbox” sites on day one to insure that they aren't just being launched to rank quickly for terms. Recalling back to the “wild west days” of SEO when ranking a site was a matter of cramming keywords into content and using questionable methods to generate links quickly I can honestly say that adding in this delay was an excellent step that insured that the benefits of pumping out domains became extremely limited. So I approve of domain age being used to value a site – to a point.

After a period of time (let's call it a year shall we) the age should and generally has only had a very small influence on a site's ranking with the myriad of other factors overshadowing the site's whois data. This appears to have changed in the recent update with age holding a disproportionate weight. In a number of instances this has resulted in older, less qualified domains to rank higher than newer sites of higher quality.

This change in the ranking algorithm will most certainly be adjusted as Google works to maximize the searchers experience. We'll get into the “when” question below.

Backlinks

The way that backlinks are being calculated and valued has seen some adjustments in the latest update as well. The way this has been done takes me back a couple years to the more easily gamed Google of old. This statement alone reinforces the fact that adjustments are necessary.

The way backlinks are being valued appears to have lost some grasp on relevancy and placed more importance on sheer numbers. Sites with large, unfocused reciprocal link directories are outranking sites with fewer but more relevant link. Non-reciprocal links lost the “advantages” that they held over reciprocal links until recently.

Essentially the environment is currently such that Google has made itself more easily gamed than it was a week ago. In the current environment, building a reasonable sized site with a large recip link directory (even unfocused) should be enough to get you ranking. For obvious reasons this cannot (and should not) stand indefinitely.

PageRank

On the positive side of the equation, PageRank appears to have lost some of it's importance including the importance of PageRank as it pertains to the value of a backlinks. In my opinion this is a very positive step on Google's part and shows a solid understanding of the fact that PageRank means little in terms of a site's importance. That said, while PageRank is a less than perfect calculation subject to much abuse and manipulation from those pesky people in the SEO community it did serve a purpose and while it needed to be replaced it doesn't appear to have been replaced with anything of substantial value.

A fairly common belief has been that PageRank would be or is being replaced by TrustRank and Google would not give us a green bar to gague a site's trust on (good call Google). With this in mind one of two things has happened; either Google has decided the TrustRank is irrelevant and so is PageRank and decided to scrap both (unlikely) or they have shifted the weight from PageRank to TrustRank to some degree and are just now sorting out the issues with their TrustRank calculations (more likely). Issues that may have existed with TrustRank may not have been clear due to it's weight in the overall algorithm and with this shift reducing the importance of PageRank the issues that face the TrustRank calculations may well be becoming more evident

In truth, the question is neither here nor there (as important a question as it may be). We will cover why this is in the ...

Conclusion

So what does all of this mean? First, it means that this Thursday or Friday we can expect yet another update to correct some of the issues we've seen rise out of the most current round. This shouldn't surprise anyone too much, we've been seeing regular updates out of Google quite a bit over the past few months.

But what does this mean regarding the aging of domains? While I truly feel that an aging delay or “sandbox” is a solid filter on Google's part – it needs to have a maximum duration. A site from 2000 is not, by default, more relevant than a site from 2004. After a year-or-so the trust of a domain should hold steady or at most, hold a very slight weight. This is an area we are very likely to see changes in the next update.

As far as backlinks go, we'll see changes in the way they are calculated unless Google is looking to revert back to the issues they had in 2003. Lower PageRank, high relevancy links will once again surpass high quantity, less relevant links. Google is getting extremely good and determining relevancy and so I assume the current algorithm issues has more to do with the weight assigned to different factors than an inability to properly calculate a links relevancy.

And in regards to PageRank, Google will likely shift back slightly to what worked and give more importance to PageRank, at least while they figure out what went awry here.

In short, I would expect that with an update late this week or over the weekend we're going to see a shift back to last week's results (or something very close to it) after which they'll work on the issues they've experienced and launch a new (hopefully improved) algorithm shift the following weekend. And so, if you've enjoyed a sudden jump from page 6 to top 3, don't pop the cork on the campaign too quickly and if you've noticed some drops, don't panic. More adjustments to this algorithm are necessary and, if you've used solid SEO practices and been consistent and varied in your link building tactics – keep at it and your rankings will return.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

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