Wednesday, November 5, 2008

2 Minute SEO

A Basic Introduction to Search Engines

Nobody knows exactly how Search Engines work, and the algorithms change

Don’t try and design your website to trick the Search Engine

There are severe penalties for trying to trick or game a Search Engine so keep
your sites clean and sensible if you wish to remain a long term optimized website

Note: it is actually possible to “over optimize” your site – especially if you
were to follow every single tip I give you all at once on every page!

I know because I did it on a test site to see what would happen. (And then I
saved that website again by changing it back.)

Most “new to SEO” people go a little bit excessive in the early excitement of
learning all the “tricks”.

Even experienced SEO experts have pages filtered or dropped from the index at
times because the algorithm changes and a previous technique instantly
becomes less valuable.

(Many people got caught out with Link Farms/exchanges, same word anchor
backlinks and keyword density ratios….)

I have had pages get “supplemental” and then brought them back. It is possible if
you know why they got filtered in the first place.

The point I want to make early is this: be careful. Keep an eye on your
website pages regularly and be sensitive to how they rank. When you
notice changes, just observe.

Don’t rush to change things unless you know what you did wrong. If things stay
less than perfect then slowly make the changes I suggest in the SEO section of
this guide to rescue your pages.

Typically this will mean:

· Adding content,
· Changing content,
· Changing key phrases,
· Meta tags or links.

All will be revealed soon. Just know that you are about to get the power to control
your website more than before. You will gain confidence as you see the results
come through.

There are penalties for “over optimization” so again, make sure you understand
how to use these tips for your market. The weaker penalties are “filtering” of your
pages and the harsher ones are complete removal from the index.

If you are trying very “Black Hat” techniques such as Cloaking and Link
Farms then you need to be prepared to throw away your domain name
every so often when you get caught.

I don’t bother with that stuff. Good old fashioned hard and smart work will provide
you with a valuable income producing website. I prefer to take a more natural
approach and build something for the longer term.

How much is too much optimization?

A good rule of thumb is to analyze your competition and stay close to the best
optimized site in that niche. If they are a 7/10 just be an 8/10 to beat them! Don’t
pull out a gun at a fist fight ok?

If you come out guns blazing with all the tricks at once this is a sure sign of
manipulation and it is unnatural. Search Engines like natural.

What do Search Engines want?

Repeat after me: “Search Engines like natural, original, unique, fresh, relevant,
well presented, easy to navigate, friendly, interesting theme related websites that
don’t use tricks and sneaky tactics or manipulative techniques.”

Slow and steady – and have a plan

You will hear marketers talking about “drip feeding” sites. This is the same as
watering your plants. You don’t flood them in the first week with the hose, you
are better to gradually drip feed them over a longer term. They will grow stronger
and healthier. You want to project manage your website with an ongoing

The best thing you can do is plan your site improvement rollout and do it

progressively. Imagine trying to eat one months worth of meals in one sitting,
your stomach would notice right? You will get better results feeding your website

SEO - Search Engine Optimization

The purpose of SEO is to increase your free targeted traffic. When you have
your site indexed that is only the start.

Now you know the Search Engine knows about it, and then you want your
website to appear easily for your target audience in the search results.

The best way to think about this is NOT “how do I manipulate the Search Engine
to show my site above others”.

Rather, you need to consider:

How do I make my website the most relevant and appealing website to my
target audience?

How do I make it easy for them to find my website?

Once they are there how do I get them to take the required action?

In other words, make your website valuable

The reason for this philosophy relates to what the Search Engine is trying to do.
Google wants to make the websites it indexes the most relevant content possible.

So it would be unreasonable for a scant reprint article, keyword stuffed, machine
generated or poorly constructed flea market site to rank well wouldn’t it?

Google in particular is getting very fussy. If there is so much content on the web
(over 100,000,000 websites at last estimate) then they have the choice to
eliminate all but the most useful pages.

I will focus heavily on content in a later section because it is the main reason why
your website will fall or fly. You will see why basic article scraping is becoming a
bad idea.

What will rank well is a website that is unique in content, clearly laid out, site
mapped, easy to navigate and considered of value to others. (One measurement
of which is calculated by how many people link to it).