Dynamically These are less of a problem than they used to be, generated pages but some spiders can have trouble with dynamically generated URLs that contain too many parameters? Words are the key to unlocking the power of search The key to effective SEO is knowing what people looking for your products, services or information are typing into that little box on the search engine home page. Known as keywords or keyword phrases which consist of two, three or more keywords , these form the foundation of your SEO efforts. Choosing effective keywords So how do you go about choosing the right keywords for site optimization?
What would you type into the box? They give you a starting point to work from. Take these keywords and play around with them. Type these into the engines and look at the results. Examine the sites that are ranking highly for your chosen keywords. There are a lot of different keyword research tools and services available.
What you believe people will search for and what they actually type into the search box are often two very different things. Get a group of people together — if possible representative of your target market — and start brainstorming keywords. The results will probably surprise you. I have my initial keyword list; now what?
What do you do with them all? What constitutes a manageable size will depend on your situation — on how much time, money and resources you have available for your SEO effort. That will give you a solid foundation from which to build your optimization efforts and your SEO expertise. To whittle your list down to size, start by eliminating all of the words or phrases that are much too general. Search users are using more sophisticated search queries to narrow down the results they get back.
These days two, three or even more words are becoming increasingly common. Exploiting that trend in your choice of optimization keywords can yield real dividends. Long-tail versus short-tail keywords Keywords in SEO fall into two broad categories. Short-tail keywords are simple one- or two-word phrases that are typically very general in nature and attract a large volume of individual search requests. Effective search marketing campaigns tend to put a lot of effort into discovering effective long-tail terms, particularly for use in sponsored listings PPC campaigns.
Laying these foundations and allowing them to grow according to what you, your team and your visitors think is the key to successful opportunities to rank. That means that what you put in the title tag is incredibly important for the following reasons. First, the title tag is one of the most important on- page factors used by the search engines to rank your page. At this stage most, if not all, SEO experts agree that appropriate use of the title tag is a key factor in ranking well in the SERPs, and advise weaving your primary keyword s for a page into the title tag whenever possible. Giving your pages concise, compelling and informative titles will entice more users to click through to your page when it appears in search results.
Meta- data were once used extensively by search engines to gauge what a page was about — especially the ones obsessed over meta-keywords tags. Figure 4.
As with most things in search, the opinion of leading experts in the SEO community is divided as to just how valuable the meta-description tag is in terms of search engine optimization. While it is widely acknowledged that the tag does little, if anything, to improve your page ranking, it can help to boost your click-through rate CTR when your page does appear in the SERPs. Use of the meta-description text by search engines is inconsistent. The rules applied vary from engine to engine and even between different types of query on the same engine.
Content — the most important thing on your site Content is the single most important thing on your website, period. Unique, relevant, informative content is what sets your site apart from the competition. Your copy needs to be relevant, it has to be interesting, and above all it has to provide the answers the user is looking for. At the end of the day, though, they all combine to measure just two things: the relevance and authority of your page content in the context of what the user typed into the search box.
Search engine optimization for sustainable high ranking, therefore, hinges on the production of great original content that appeals to real, live people. Keywords in content The subject of keywords in content is something that generates a lot of debate in SEO circles: where to place them, when and how often they need to appear on the page and lots more besides. Focus on writing compelling copy that addresses the needs of your target audience while keeping your target keywords for that page in mind, and the search engines will do the rest.
Search engines are now more than intelligent enough to understand the semantic relationships between words and phrases, so trying to assist them with certain keyword densities is a fruitless effort. Leave them to their algorithms, and simply enjoy the rewards that their efforts can deliver to you and your website.
But wait a minute — if nothing is more important than links, why did we just say in the heading that links are second only to content? Simple: because creating outstanding content is the most effective way of attracting high-quality inbound links from authoritative online sources. Why are links so important? Votes from different pages carry more or less weight depending on the perceived importance or quality of the source page, the type of link, the anchor text used in the link and a host of other factors that are taken into account by the search engine ranking algorithms.
When you consider the tangled skein of interconnecting links that make up the world wide web, you begin to appreciate the complexity inherent in assessing the relative importance or quality of all of those pages in relation to one another. Fundamentally, though, what it boils down to is that incoming links in general are a good thing and play a critical role in determining your search engine rankings. A single link from, say, the CNN. The search for success 83 The role of internal and external links Internal links and external links are both important for boosting the ranking of individual pages within your site.
External links are links that reside on pages that do not belong to your domain — in other words, links from other websites. Internal links are the links that reside on pages that belong to your domain or subdomains — in other words, links between pages on the same website, or pages that reside in subdomains of the primary domain.
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All of these links are important. Getting good links There are a huge number of ways that you can encourage people to link to your site. There are, of course, some quicker, easier ways to secure incoming links, but such links tend either to be of poor quality hence of little SEO value or to violate search engine guidelines. For sustainable, long-term rankings, focus instead on building high- quality links through ethical means, concentrate on your content, and build your site with your end user in mind.
Search engines love them and see them as a genuine endorsement of one site by another. As your site becomes more visible, the content will organically attract more links, which in turn will improve your visibility, attracting even more links. When it works, this process is self-perpetuating, leaving you free to concentrate on quality content, while the links look after themselves.
Promote your site at every opportunity, especially in places where you know there are other website owners. Use the medium to your advantage. Online communities, forums, social networking sites and e-mail lists all offer great opportunities to get your site URL out in front of people who can link to it.
More notable content marketing trends
Try submitting a few poignant comments to high-ranking blogs in your sector do this responsibly; aim to add real value to the discussion rather than simply promoting your site — see Chapter 7 for more on using blogs to promote your site. If people look at your site and like what they see they may well link to it.
Surrounding content helps to put a link in context, both for the user and for the search engines. Directory dir. Be creative!
Although they are less useful in terms of SEO value than they used to be, they can still be used effectively in moderation. While the power of reciprocal links to boost your rankings has been diluted, they do help to establish relevance and authority in your subject area — just be sure that you link to relevant, high-quality sites, and only swap links with a few of them. If you want to kick-start the indexing process, by all means go ahead and manually submit your home page and one or two other important pages.
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The other thing you can do that will help search engines to crawl all relevant pages on your website is to submit an XML sitemap that adheres to the sitemap protocol outlined on www. Web crawlers usually discover pages from links within the site and from other sites. Sitemaps supplement this data to allow crawlers that support Sitemaps to pick up all URLs in the Sitemap and learn about those URLs using the associated metadata.
Using the Sitemap protocol does not guarantee that web pages are included in search engines, but provides hints for web crawlers to do a better job of crawling your site. The sitemap protocol was originally introduced by Google in June to allow web developers to publish lists of URLs for search engines to crawl. Google, MSN and Yahoo! And start all over again. Unfortunately not! You have to optimize your pages based on those keywords, and deliver compelling, high-impact content.
You have to attract incoming links. Optimization is a dynamic and iterative process — and if you want sustained results it needs to be ongoing. To learn more, check out some of the links under SEO in the resources section on www. For example, you might make a change to something on a page of your site and a few days later notice that your ranking in Google for a particular keyword phrase has changed.
You might naturally assume that your page change is what caused the ranking change. There are numerous reasons why your ranking may have changed, and in many cases they actually have nothing to do with anything that you did. Mixing up cause and effect is one of the most common things new SEOs do. This one is funny to me because about half the people who think that running Google AdWords will affect their organic rankings believe that they will bring them down; the other half believe they will bring them up.
That alone should tell you that neither is true!
That said, the Google guidelines are much better than they used to be and may even provide you with a few good titbits of advice. It would be foolish of them to ban entire sites because they buy advertising on other sites. I used to spread this silly myth myself many years ago. The truth is that the meta-keyword tag was actually designed to be used for keywords that were not already on the page, not the opposite!