Basic SEO Wisdom – Story Time

This is a story about a poor guy with an inept domain that wanted to build a site geared for a very competitive keyword and his long, agonizing journey toward the true light of SEO wisdom.

Here’s a little foundation for what I’m about to cover here. A while back I bought a stupid domain name. It was one of those fairly useless domain names that might have been good for maybe selling cellphones or something. The thing is, though, I’m a poor guy. I don’t have time to taylor a site for cellphones with the pitiful amount of money I have. This was my thinking not long ago at least.

After sitting on this domain name forever I decided to put a site up there and give myself to the study of SEO or search engine optimization. It seemed like an interesting subject and I knew to those that managed to learn SEO, marketing, and some web design would fall infinite riches. It really sounded good to me.

So I went for the throat so to speak. More precisely I picked out some search terms that I will probably never be able to get traffic for in my lifetime. Smart I know. This had the grand side effect of having the site sandboxed by Yahoo and Google until pigs flew.

Recently they flew, however, and I’ve come out of the sandbox altogether and hit face to face with a few SEO surprises. I did manage to get a tiny trickle of traffic but not from the terms I tried to get it from. After trying to optimize those pages for the key terms I received traffic from I got more traffic. This of course started me down a long road of speculation and hair pulling.

After many a night of such I’ve come up with a few things that I believe will give anyone the power to eventually pull traffic off the net and covert it into a good decent living. I’ll probably write an ebook and make millions one of these days.

Optimize by the page
Don’t fall into the trap of focusing totally on building this far flung and far reaching site that will rule the world or make you millions instantly. Unless you have lots of money you’re going to need to work for your traffic. Plan your site out carefully and make sure each page is a precision crafted piece of art.

I love serverside scripting and dynamic websites but I’ve come to realize there is a danger that people will overuse it. I know I have. If your site is dynamically generted, make sure every page isn’t a total cookie cutter image of every other page. It’s good to have the same navigation and same general layout but each page also needs to be special. Each page should have careful, proven SEO techniques applied to maybe a single key phrase.

Don’t try to optimize one page for a handful of phrases. Just focus on one phrase. Do your keyword research and, whatever you do, don’t haul off and pick a key phrase with 2 billion wealthy competitors in Google. Pick something that can be attained and can get you some traffic relatively fast. Select a phrase that is as specific as possible to your particlar niche and still gets a couple thousand or so searches per month from Yahoo.

Whatever you do, make sure that one web page has good, solid, desirable content that is keyword rich and one of a kind. This will help make it special. At the same time your content obviously needs to lead the customer toward your intented goal for monetizing your traffic.

Keep it simple
I’ve found to my dismay that building a complex web site with all the content management stuff and all the database thrills isn’t exactly what really gets the attention of search engines. Weirdly enough this can be true for internet surfers too. A nice, clean layout with very accessible content and intuitive navigation will be recognized by both search engines and surfers alike. If you can figure that part out you’ve just pinned down about 90% of SEO in my opinion.

Engineer your site for your traffic
When you start getting search engine traffic to your site take a very close look at what they are searching for. I assume you have some kind of statistics program and can mostly see what search terms people are using to get to your site. When someone comes in on a keyword or phrase you haven’t optimized for do a little research. Does the page they are coming to need touched up to include the search term or would this search term merit its own search engine optimized page to handle the traffic.

Conclusion
With every page you add you are gaining another potentially valuable piece of internet real estate. If you’re doing your job right then eventaully each page should get its own traffic and you should begin to attain your goals. Patience and learning are the name of the SEO game.

Google Page Rank And Alexa Rank

So, you’ve heard a few things about SEO and now you are trying to learn some more about what SEO actually is and what your goals actually are.  Well, your main two goals in SEO are to increase your websites position in the search engine results pages(SERP’s) and increase website traffic.  Google Pagerank represents how important your website is compared to all other websites and Alexa Rank is how many visitors your website gets in relation to all other websites on the Internet.  You are aiming to get a high Google Pagerank (commonly refered to as PR) and a low Alexa Rank.  What looking at these two measured elements does is give you some idea of how well, or how badly, your website is doing in comparison to all other websites.  Lets explore these two rankings in a little more detail.

What is Google Page Rank?

The co-founders of Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, describe Google Page Rank as a tool designed to rank a website that is listed in the Google search index.  A Pagerank of a web page is given on a scale of 0-10.  0 is the lowest possible score for a website and conversely a 10 is the highest score possible.  A high Pagerank is defined by the amount, importance(PageRank) and relevance of web pages that link to the web page in question.  When a web page links to another web page, Google consider that to be a vote for the page in question and therefore of some importance.  There is a formula associated to how PageRank is calculated but for the purposes of this article it is too indepth, but if you are interested in the theory behind PageRank (PR) then a quick search on Google will provide fruitful.

What is Alexa Rank?

The Alexa Rank is different to Google PR; Alexa rank websites based solely on traffic to the website.  Alexa rank websites in descending order towards 0, where the most highly visited website on the Internet is given a rank of 0.  At this point in time the top three ranked websites (most visitors) on Alexa are, 0 – Yahoo, 1 – Google and 2 – MySpace.  According to Alexa these 3 websites get the most traffic on the Internet.  Alexa Rankings vary from 1 to a billion.  Every web site in the world is included in the Alexa Rank, so the scale on your Alexa ranking is constantly changing in relation to other websites on the Internet.

Black Hat SEO

Black Hat search engine optimization is usually defined as techniques that are used to get higher search rankings in an unethical manner. Either by tricking visitors or search engine spiders.

The most common forms of black hat seo are:

Keyword stuffing: Keyword stuffing is the overuse of keywords in a piece of content. Generally, this is repeating the same keywords over and over just to achieve a higher search engine ranking.

Invisible text: Quite a few cheap sites use this tactic, which involves making keywords to be the same color as the background, so readers can’t see the massive amounts of keywords, but search engine spiders can.

Doorway pages: These are pages that regular visitors cannot see, but search engine spiders can. They are used to trick the search engines so that the site gets a higher ranking. Not only do they go against the rules, but they also hurt the visitor’s experience. Who wants to see a site stuffed with keywords?

Cloaking: Its a deceptive method used to cheat search engines in order to rank well for certain keywords. A user identified as search engine is shown a specifically prepared and optimized website with only purpose to rank well for desired keywords. If a user is not a search engine they are presented with the “real” websites content which is often spammy and of lesser quality.

Cloaking is also used to trick users to visit websites based on their description in search engines. For example a user searching for a particular product could click on a website in search engine due to its description and title. The site in question will not be the one described in SERP’s. It can be totally different or irrelevant.

RSS Spamming: I recently noticed more and more people using their RSS feed in comments instead of their blog’s URL. What that does is tricks people into subscribing to your feed when they only wanted to visit your blog By doing so people don’t realize they can get their IP black listed from any site in a click. So don’t try it, it’s rude.

Does Black Hat SEO Work?
Yes is it does but only temporally. Eventually the search engine spiders catch on and your site can get permanently banned from search results. It might look like a good idea to the novice but it hurts your site and its credibility on the long run.

Why is Black Hat Unfair?
Black hat practices do not not follow the rules and regulations of search engines. Black hat tricks spiders and users into clicking and viewing content with poor quality or content. This in turn leads to a poor user experience, what Google is striving to avoid. Lets keep the web a fun place filled with useful information.

Technorati authority Vs. Page Rank

Technorati authority

Technorati Authority is the number of blogs linking to a website in the last six months. The higher the number, the more Technorati Authority the blog has.

It is important to note that we measure the number of blogs, rather than the number of links. So, if a blog links to your blog many times, it still only count as +1 toward your authority. Of course, new links mean the +1 will last another 180 days.

Technorati Rank is calculated based on how far you are from the top. The blog with the highest Technorati Authority is the #1 ranked blog. The smaller your Technorati Rank, the closer you are to the top.

Since at the lower end of the scale many blogs will have the same Technorati Authority, they will share the same Technorati Rank.

The Technorati Top 100 shows the most popular 100 blogs based on Technorati Authority. The #1 ranked blog is the blog with the most other distinct blogs linking to it in the last 6 months. If your blog’s rank is, say 305,316, this indicates that there are 305,315 blog ranks separating your blog from the #1 position.

The best way to increase your Technorati Authority is to write things that are interesting to other bloggers so they’ll link to you. Linking to source material when you blog is also a great way to engage in conversation and help others find what you find interesting.

Finally, if you want to let your readers see your Technorati Authority on your blog, install the Technorati Authority widget. It’s a little bit down the page so scroll down to find out how to get it.

Pagerank

Devised by Google, it measures not only how many links point to a website, but the “quality” of the sites providing the links. This index that values Web pages on a scale of 0 to 10 also affects search rankings

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