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From the folks who brought you High Rankings!

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#8939 Tips For New Seos

Posted by Scottie on 12 September 2003 - 02:39 PM

UPDATE 2012: For the Most Up-to-date SEO Tips, please see the latest archived SEO Articles
- Jill

Jill's search engine optimization articles pretty much cover everything you need to know to optimize. Some are slightly dated, but they do have dates on them and Jill's been updating many of them over the past months.

Start with the 10 Tips to the Top of the Search Engines article.

And there are a few newsletter articles that are a good place to start and Jill's other SEO articles.

A good one is the Art of SEO which helps to explain why there's no specific formula to getting high rankings.

For Link Building Advice, see our pinned Link Popularity Articles thread.

I'm going to add my own Successful Sites Articles because they are written for newbies as well. If you are just getting started, I'd recommend reading:
The Hungry Little Spider and
Threads of the Web- Linking for Success and
The Secret Sauce in Web Site Marketing.

Also, if you think you need a submitting service, don't miss Search Engine Submission is a Scam.

If you've been working at SEO for a while, you may want to read Superstition and Sacrifices: Cause and Effect in Search Rankings Hard to Determine
  • gregorysmith, Julie, Graham and 4 others like this

#92878 Tips For New Seos

Posted by Jill on 31 August 2004 - 11:50 AM

When you're done with those articles, you probably will want to start on Karon's Copywriting Articles.

Oh, and if you want to save yourself some wasted time and speed up the learning process, be sure to read my Evolution of a Search Marketer article.

Just realized that we should be pointing out the SEO Frequently Asked Questions as well.

Here are the questions from the FAQ, which may very well answer whatever is on your mind:Jill
  • gregorysmith, gaganmasoun, Julie and 2 others like this

#338616 How Do You Know When Links Are "bad" From A Categorical Perspe

Posted by torka on 11 March 2015 - 09:03 AM

Alrighty I know with all the Google updates linking from an unrelated site is a big no no.

Says who?


What makes a site "unrelated"? And what makes you think Google cares about "sites"? They don't rank sites, they rank pages.


Beyond that, what's "related" is very much in the eye of the beholder, which is why Google really doesn't care. Seriously, they don't.


To clarify why, let's start with outbound links.


If on one page of your site, you link out to an external page that contains useful information which the people visiting that page on your site would be interested in, then that's a good link. For instance, if you run a website that sells shoes, on your product support page you can link to a page on a crafting site that contains a great article about how to repair scratches in leather. It's useful and interesting information that your site visitors might like to know, to help them maintain and care for the shoes they bought from you. And because you were the one who clued them in to this tip, they might be more inclined to come back to you the next time they need footwear.


On the surface, you'd say a shoe store site and a crafting site are not "related." In fact, the leather-care article is quite relevant for leather-shoe-owners. And the link is good, both for you (because it helps keep your customers happy and might eventually help you make more sales) and for the crating site (because it sends them more visitors, some of whom might stick around and read more of their content).


You know what? Google doesn't care if the two pages appear on the surface to be related or not. What they care about is that the shoe store page linked out to the leather-care page all on their own, because they liked the page's content. That's called an "editorial link" and it's the kind of thing Google wishes everyone would do. (Instead of all this focus on "link building" and "link juice" and "PageRank" and all.)


It works the same way with inbound links. Don't worry about whether the "site" is related. Remember that both links and rankings take place at the page level. Stop thinking about "building links" and instead focus on "building relationships" (with webmasters of sites that attract the same audience you want to attract). Once they get to know you and your excellent content, they may be inclined to grant you an editorial link or two. And those are the kinds of links that will help you, not only with rankings but also with sending direct traffic. They are what Google calls "good links."


--Torka :oldfogey:

  • Jill, Ron Carnell, chrishirst and 1 other like this

#338592 What Exactly Is It That Makes A Blog Seo Friendly?

Posted by Michael Martinez on 10 March 2015 - 10:33 AM

There are many blogs that do NOT "rank higher" and thousands of Webmasters who have failed to build strong search referral traffic have expressed disappointment in blogging through the years.


It's not that a blog is better for SEO.  It is about what you do with your Website that determines whether it is optimized for search.


But I think that people mistake "optimizing for search" as being synonymous with "build more search referral traffic".


A badly optimized site can receive a huge amount of search referral traffic.


A well-optimized site can receive hardly any search referral traffic.


You have to create a Website that attracts searcher interest once it is shown in the search results.  The optimization can improve your chances for doing that but it doesn't guarantee you any traffic.


On the other hand, if you're chasing keywords then you may be making some beginner mistakes, such as chasing keywords that are highly competitive.  You need experience and resources to compete in such high-traffic expressions.  And you also need to know how to filter out the high-traffic queries that won't produce the kind of visitors you want (that varies by site and owner).


A blog is a content management system, which means that it makes it easy for you to publish content.  You don't have to know how to code HTML documents by hand.  That is the chief advantage of using a blog to publish a Website.


All the standard features or capabilities of blog software have been criticized and praised by people through the years.  What is inadequate by one person's standards has been celebrated as miraculous by someone else's.


In general what makes a Website popular and successful is that you publish:

  • Content that makes YOU feel passionate about what you are saying

  • Content that brings something new to the discussion for at least a few of your readers

  • Content that reflects/or conveys who you are, your personality, and your feelings indirectly

  • Content that makes people laugh, cry, angry, sad, bitter, happy, etc.


The Search Engine Optimization is useful once you have an idea of what you are going to do with your blog, but the less passionate you are about whatever you publish the more you expect from the SEO in terms of compensating for the weakness of your content.


For example, if you're just trying to get in on the action in some well-established set of queries (a query space) as an affiliate or feed-driven reseller, you probably think that you need to use SEO to make the site successful.  But SEO cannot make prunes from prunes.  You have to start with plums, which means that you have to deliver rich, useful, relevant content that someone out there will be interested in.  If you're just hiring freelancers, or writing topics around some set of keywords you researched, it's going to be really hard for you to care about what you put on that blog.


The mechanics of the blog can work for or against you.  For example, you can set up Author, Category, Monthly, Weekly, and Tag archives on your blog but these can both hurt and help a Website.  Are you creating unnecessary archives?  Are you using too many archives for each post?  Do you republish the entire post on each archive?  Are you trying to squeeze dozens or hundreds of archive links into your navigation?  Think about what you as the blog visitor can benefit from and try to build a blog structure around those parts of the blog you yourself like to use.  Just because you can do all these things with a blog does not mean you should.


The blog can also publish an RSS feed.  RSS feeds are important resources in helping search engines and blog directories discover your new posts.  But other sites may use your RSS feed to republish some or all of your content.  Can you live with that?  Does it bring you traffic?  Do you feel confident in your blog's ability to rank well in the search results for its own name and the unique titles of its own articles?  Some people disable the RSS feed, and that hurts discovery but it can also protect against unwanted duplicate content.


Some people like to include meta descriptions in their HTML documents.  These are not required for SEO but if you like meta descriptions then you either have to choose a blog platform that allows you to create and edit them or you else you have to find a plugin or module that adds such an ability to your blog.  But you don't want to leave it to the software to autogenerate the meta descriptions because if they are broken or duplicated across many articles/pages and you cannot change them that is not going to be good for you.


SEO is not the solution for any Website.  It is a process you bring into play to enhance your site's native ability to appear in search results that are relevant to whatever you are publishing.  If you are not publishing much then SEO cannot do much for you.  If you ARE publishing a lot of content then you have to make sure it's useful and interesting content, and not just a lot more of the same stuff you have already published.


Many people are learning the hard way that frequency of publishing is a two-edged sword.  On the one hand it IS good to publish frequently and more often if you allow your blog to use PINGs to notify the search engines of new posts.  On the other hand, if you're just publishing a lot of articles because you read somewhere that it's good to publish frequently and more often then you are most likely doing it wrong, too much, and hurting yourself more than you are helping yourself.


Never publish anything you don't care about.  Always be willing to go back through your old posts and remove any that you feel are no longer relevant.


Don't worry about the minutiae of technical SEO until you are very comfortable with these first steps and ready to take it to the next level. Trying to jump into intermediate or advanced SEO from the start is not only inadvisable, it's counter-productive in most of the situations I have reviewed.  The people who succeed on their first or second try at the more advanced stuff are very, very fortunate and quite rare in my experience.

  • Jill, torka, chrishirst and 1 other like this

#336825 Is Link Building Necessary?

Posted by Michael Martinez on 11 October 2014 - 11:11 PM

Link building is a legitimate part of Website promotion;

Not really, promotion does not mean 'link building'.

Yes, REALLY, since I didn't say that promotion means link building. There is nothing wrong with building links to a Website.

Link building is NOT just for search engines; link building is for whatever purpose you intend.

If you're linking to your site from your social media profile, that is link building.

If you're Tweeting your latest articles, that is link building.

If you post a link to your articles on Facebook or Google Plus, that is link building.

If you start a second Website and link back to your first Website in any way, that is link building.

Whether you use "rel='nofollow'" or block the page with the link in "robots.txt" or just let the search engines do whatever they want with the link data is irrelevant.

Link building predates all attempts to manipulate search engines and the vast majority of link building continues to happen quite naturally and happily without taking search engines into account. That will never stop; nor should it.
  • Jill, torka, n0tSEO and 1 other like this

#341344 Big City Vs Small Satalite City - Which Should I Reference?

Posted by Mikl on 17 December 2015 - 06:31 AM

Just as an aside, I like the idea that your city "orbits around the larger city". It must make commuting very interesting.



  • torka, chrishirst and MSMedCon like this

#340421 Traffic Problem

Posted by torka on 09 September 2015 - 11:47 AM

Please Note: This is a general rant and is not directed at any specific individual or website.


I'm sure when Ann said to spend relatively little time creating the content and most of your time promoting the content, she didn't mean to spend those 1-2 hours creating boring, repetitive, unremarkable, unoriginal or otherwise low-quality content. I challenge anyone to show me where Ann ever said that crappy content is a good foundation for content marketing.


What she's saying is that you can spend all day crafting the most insightful, entertaining, impressive articles -- but if you never tell anybody about them, it's unlikely you're going to get a lot of readers. (It could happen, but that's sort of like sitting around waiting for lightning to strike. Not the best business plan, frankly.)


So, yes, you should be spending more of your time promoting your content instead of devoting all day to crafting perfect articles and posts and then just waiting for others to discover it on their own, by telepathy or osmosis or something. At some point, your article is good enough and when you get to that point you need to do what it takes to let others know it exists.


But "content marketing" starts with remarkable, excellent, interesting content. Without that, it's like trying to construct a building on a foundation of quicksand.


Your job is even harder when you're producing content in a crowded market. Have you ever seen videos of the trading floor at the New York Stock Exchange, back in the days before electronic trades? It was chaos. Hundreds of people clustered around various trading "pits," all jumping and yelling and waving slips of paper in the air. To the untrained eye, it was almost impossible to understand how anyone could keep track of what was going on, much less conduct a profitable business in that environment.


That's what the search results are like when you're in a competitive market. Crowded, chaotic, and overwhelmingly noisy. Your content has to be able to cut through the noise, overcome the chaos, rise above the crowd. You can promote all you want, but if your content is merely ordinary, it's not going to get the job done. Merely "good" is not good enough. Your content has to be great. Preferably (in the words of Steve Jobs) insanely great.


Otherwise, it won't take long before the people who see your social media posts come to realize that the articles behind those posts don't have anything interesting, useful or innovative to offer... making your promotion efforts less and less effective, as more and more people reach this realization and begin ignoring your updates.


Look, nobody likes to admit they have an ugly baby. And nobody likes to think their content is pedestrian, ordinary or even boring. But the fact is, the majority of content on the web is exactly that: merely mediocre. If you want to succeed with content marketing, your content needs to be extraordinary. Give it an attitude, a point of view, a "voice." Something to stand out from the crowd.


Promotion works best if you have something worthwhile to promote in the first place. :thumbup:


My :02:


--Torka :oldfogey:

  • Jill, chrishirst and AvyGuttman like this

#339610 Similar Title & H1 Tag Wording Across Most Pages On A Site

Posted by Mikl on 09 June 2015 - 06:28 AM

For what it's worth, on most of my sites all the title tags happen to be the same as their respective H1 tags. And the same text is also used for the anchor text of links from other pages on the same site.


I didn't do this for any SEO advantage. It's just seemed a natural thing to do. The title is what people would probably see in their bookmarks, on their browser tabs, and in search results. It seems obvious that they should see that same text as the main heading in the article itself.


I can't say whether that's a good solution for you, but it definitely seems right to me.



  • chrishirst, AvyGuttman and DLO7357b like this

#338095 Why Do I Have To Write My Own Articles In Order To Get Ranked?

Posted by torka on 27 January 2015 - 08:54 AM

There's an old saying -- one of my favorites -- that applies here: "There's fast, there's cheap and there's good. You get to choose TWO."


You have three alternatives:

  • Cheap and Good -- use your own time to write articles. No out of pocket costs, and you already know that this works well in terms of getting the results you're looking for. Downside: You give up on Fast. This choice takes time away from other business activities that might be more productive for you.
  • Fast and Cheap -- continue to cheap out on articles written by others. At least this way you don't have to spend much of your own time creating the articles, and on a per-article basis it doesn't cost much. Downside:You give up on Good. You're not getting the results you want and potentially damaging your brand by posting lower-quality articles. Plus, you're totally wasting your money. Granted, it's not much for any individual article, but it doesn't take long for those wasted $20's to add up.
  • Fast and Good -- hire experienced, qualified local writers at market rates to create high quality articles for you. You will have at least a chance of getting articles comparable in quality to what you write yourself -- and quite possibly better (maybe a lot better) because these will be written by professionals. Downside You give up on Cheap.: It will cost you more than $20 per article. Possibly a lot more.

As another old saying goes: "You get what you pay for."


--Torka :oldfogey:

  • Jill, michael611 and khairbabu61 like this

#337723 Switching To Https - Do I 301 Every Single Page In My Site?

Posted by lister on 18 December 2014 - 11:30 AM

OK - we are switching to HTTPS and no - don't worry - I'm not asking the forum for any SEO 'benefit' from HTTPS - for us it is 100% cosmetic - it just gives a 'safe' experience...

So, with that being said, we have a checklist of things that we are keen to get right to keep our rankings...

- Do we have to 301 every single URL that we have and place that in the .htaccess?


  • DwightKt, Patrickwer and AlbertPr like this

#337713 Redirect Site Map To Fix The Crawl Errors

Posted by BloominHuman on 17 December 2014 - 10:51 PM

I recently opened a google.com/webmasters account to better manage my website. Over the years I have accumulated about 50 crawl errors that are reported in my account. Most of these are the result of URL changes I have made.
I wish to "redirect" these old URLs to the current URLs. My guess is that I need to provide Google with a redirect site map to fix the crawl errors. I was able to download the errors which opened on my system as an Excel file. Is there some format I need to follow, perhaps inserting the current URLs in the Excel file and sending it back.
My question is how do I do this?

  • Phillipet, MichealNus and Johnnydut like this

#337088 Facebook Likes

Posted by chrishirst on 30 October 2014 - 11:34 AM


Here is the thing; My boss gave me a challenge, "get 500 Facebook likes on our page within 1 week and

You have an idiot for a boss.

  • Mikl, KickBoostSEO and MatchingHtmlPatterns like this

#337022 Please Help: Google Dropped Me From Their Search Results (No Manual Ac

Posted by Michael Martinez on 25 October 2014 - 09:33 AM

Looking at your Website, I would say you are trying to use "SEO tricks". I'm glad you're happy about recent changes to your Google visibility but you seem to be very naive about the risks you're taking. For example, you have a post on your blog that reads:

YouTube, which is owned by Google, has a high PageRank of #9. Because of this, YouTube videos will naturally rank higher on Google search over the same video on, let’s say Vimeo, with the same SEO efforts. But, as most of us are aware, the social media platforms with high PRs like Facebook, Twitter, etc...

Wedding photographers don't need to be fussing about "dofollow" links on YouTube.

BTW -- you cannot prevent people from copy-and-pasting your code or your images. There are multiple ways that people can get past your safeguards. I did not type the above into this post by hand, for example.

Using SEO plugins is not going to give you much of an advantage, either. If you spend enough time to learn about how to do search engine optimization properly you won't need SEO plugins; but then, you have to decide whether you want to be an SEO or a wedding photographer.

The best business model you can build for your site is to learn to live without Google because sooner or later you're going to become so dependent on that Google traffic you will do anything for it. And that is when you'll get into trouble.
  • Jill, torka and chrishirst like this

#336709 Domestic Keyword Research

Posted by chrishirst on 04 October 2014 - 10:55 AM

It is no more complicated than;


Use the words or phrases (all of them) that your target audience are likely to be using.




But I want to make sure I get it 100% right this time before I start.

Never going to happen.


Real SEO is about trying, testing, improving, ... trying, testing, improving, ... trying, testing, improving  ...

  • Kroeriks, johnklok and MohammadReza like this

#335958 Buying Relevant Expired Domains !

Posted by qwerty on 07 August 2014 - 08:11 AM

If you're asking not about a domain name that in and of itself indicates that a site is about graphic design (in your example), but a domain name that (no matter what that name might be) previously hosted content about graphic design and has links and other citations indicating that it is/was a good source for information about that topic, then yes, there can be some benefit to it. You can either take over that site and continue to publish information about that topic there, or just set up 301 redirects from URLs on that domain to URLs on another domain that publishes content about the same topic. Basically, you'd be getting the algorithmic benefit of those links that someone else earned.


But you know what? There's a real difference between buying a business and buying a domain name. If people felt that ABC Graphic Design was a great company and deserved attention, they told people about it and linked to it. If I take over ABC Graphic Design, even if I make changes to the company to make it my own, as long as I'm transparent about what those changes are, I'm carrying on the business. People can decide for themselves whether I've ruined the company or if it's still worth recommending.


If I just buy the domain name in order to benefit from whatever's out there pointing to it, that's kind of deceptive, in my opinion. I'm taking credit for recommendations I did nothing to earn and probably don't deserve. I didn't buy the business, so I certainly don't deserve the reputation that business built. The business doesn't exist anymore. Or maybe the business still exists, but they don't have a web presence anymore. But I'm still claiming that those links are about me. Basically, I'm self-serving scum, trying to take credit for someone else's work.


And I may not realize it, but maybe ABC Graphic Design wasn't quite as squeaky clean as I thought. While I think I'm going to get the benefit of the links they earned, I might in fact be exposing my business to the toxic links they bought, and instead of getting credit for something I didn't earn, I'm about to get penalized for some nasty business I had nothing to do with.


If you're going to buy a domain name, do your due diligence to make sure you're not buying something dangerous, but only buy it because it's a name you like and can brand, not because of what it previously hosted or because it contains keywords.

  • Jill, torka and reseo like this

#335481 Reason Behind Sudden Increase In Alexa Rank

Posted by torka on 07 July 2014 - 08:48 AM

You are seeing a prime example of why Alexa rank is worthless.


If the number of visitors to your site has stayed the same, why do you care what changes might have shown up in this useless made-up number?


Why it changed... most likely, someone who was visiting your site uninstalled the Alexa toolbar. Or maybe it's you: if you have the toolbar installed and just stopped visiting your own site so often, that could have caused the change. I once "improved" my Alexa rank by several hundred thousand points simply by installing the toolbar and visiting my own site three or four times a day for a month.


See, that's how the application determines your "rank": by counting the number of visits from people who have their stupid toolbar installed. (Including you, the site owner.) And since the vast majority of real people don't have the toolbar installed, the Alexa rank simply measures the number of visits from a tiny minority of people who are either (1) too oblivious to realize they have the toolbar installed, (2) too technologically challenged to figure out how to uninstall it and/or (3) too obsessed with Alexa ranking to understand they're wasting their time with trying to influence it.


Want to "recover"? Make sure you have the Alexa toolbar installed and start visiting your own site several times a day. Recruit a couple of friends to do the same. It won't help you make any more sales or do anything even remotely worthwhile for your site, but if it makes you feel better, go ahead and waste your (and their) time with the project.


In summary: The Alexa "rank" is a meaningless number. There is no reason I can think of to even check this number, much less worry over changes in it. Focus instead on metrics that actually mean something (number of visitors, conversion rate, revenue or leads generated) and stop wasting time obsessing over useless "rankings" that have nothing to do AT ALL with anything worthwhile.


--Torka :oldfogey:

  • Mikl, Harshada and iliyaamin like this

#335183 Seo Post Description Snippet

Posted by Jill on 13 June 2014 - 10:53 AM

Your meta description will generally be the one that shows up on social media sites such as Facebook and G+ so you want it to be a great, compelling sentence or two that describes what the blog post is about. (See link Chrishirst posted above.)

  • Sarastron, smolly and Adinawatson like this

#334923 Changing Which Page Shows Up In Specific Search

Posted by Mikl on 28 May 2014 - 08:03 AM

Rather than trying to arrange things so that Google shows your "default page" (whatever that is). wouldn't it be better to fix your content so that, no matter which page a visitor lands on, they will immediately be enticed into the site, and they will be able to quickly find the information they need about your products and how to order them?



  • Jill, torka and chrishirst like this

#328269 Forum Posting For Back Links - Am I Doing It Wrong?

Posted by Michael Martinez on 21 March 2013 - 09:51 AM

If the forums have dedicated marketing/classifieds sections then using them is an acceptable practice in itself (especially if they nofollow the links or block crawlers from the marketing sections, which many do these days).


But copying the same ad to each and every forum is generally frowned upon (I would not like that in my own forums although I know it happens from time to time).


These kinds of advertising sections work best for actual, productive, active, long-term forum members.  The other members of the community know your history and are more likely to trust you.


As far as "link building" goes, that is a path fraught with peril.  Yes, everyone in the SEO world says you need to build links (opinions vary on how many, how, and for how long, etc.).  Nonetheless, link building leads to a huge majority of the penalties and downgrades that Websites suffer in the search indexes.


It's better to write about your business, products, and services on a public blog that is quickly indexed by the search engines so that people find your site organically.  By building up visitors to your site gradually over time you earn their trust and from their feedback you learn how to publish the kinds of articles that they will share for you.


You can compensate for a lack of organic traffic through pay-per-click advertising (although if you need a lot of traffic right away it's better  to hire a professional to help you manage your campaigns than try to do it all yourself).


There are tons of ideas for attracting links published across the Web (most of them very bad ideas).  You should first read through the Google and Bing Webmaster guidelines so that you understand what is basically permitted; then begin experimenting on a small scale with simple ideas for attracting links and gradually improve your knowledge and skill.


Rapid link acquisition is your worst enemy.  Don't let anxiety about your competitors' "progress" drive your business plan.

  • Jill, torka and MikeBanawa like this

#328243 Title Tag Length

Posted by Michael Martinez on 19 March 2013 - 04:51 PM

People are way overthinking their page titles.

  • Jill, torka and chrishirst like this

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