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SEO Website Audit

Twitter Question of the Week

April 6, 2011
To go along with this week's article on SEO tactics that don't help bring more targeted search engine traffic to sites, I asked my Twitter followers:

++Name a common SEO tactic that doesn't actually move the needle in terms of rankings or traffic++

Here's how they responded:

joehall: Meta keyword tag.

TonyVerre: Submitting your site to search engines (i.e., Google, Yahoo, Bing, and meta-crawlers).

JulieJoyce: Meta keyword tag. Or, what Joe Hall said.

marknunney: Keywords tag, submitting to article sites, keyword density.toad bird

SEOMalc: Free directory submissions ;)

hugoguzman: XML sitemap submission to GWT.

dongalbraith: Sitemaps.

Nilaye10: I will have to say alt text and strong tags.

andybeal: Keyword stuffing the TITLE attribute.

jeremy_martin: Hmmmm... keyword stuffing alt tags.

Yannick_Veys: Meta keywords, over-optimizing of CMS, H1/H2 use, Adwords spending & for ranking meta description optimizing doesn't work.

brianscoop: Great question. Robots.txt? Meta keywords, as others have said, for sure, but maybe that's less common today.

kevinjgallagher: The description meta tag?

Jill's Response: Glad to see many of the same tactics listed here as I had in my article. But @kevinjgallagher, while the meta description tag, while perhaps not helping rankings (and that's still debatable), it can bring traffic. And @brianscoop the use of a robots.txt can be important to SEO for some sites.

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 Greg Smith said:
I don't really know that much about SEO, but if Google don't use the XML sitemap, why do they encourage you to submit it in Webmaster tools? I don't diagree with you all, but why would google use up processing power on something they don't use?
 Jill Whalen said:
@Greg because their goal is to get as much information about your site as possible.
 Alex Miranda said:
Trading Links and better yet these snakeoil SEO companies that offer say, "100 links for $19.99" don't fall for those link farm traps!!
 Terry Van Horne said:
@Greg smith there is discovery signals (site maps, tweets,toolbars) and there are ranking signals (InBound Links, title, Keywords in copy). Realizing what may be used for discovery with little use for ranking is what separates the Real SEOs from the pretenders and posers.
 Brian Cooper said:
Oh I agree that robots.txt can be important on some sites, and useful on most. But I don't think it's ever responsible for "bringing traffic" or directly moving the needle on rankings. And much of the time, one can achieve the same effects of robots.txt through other means. I still advise clients to have one of course! :)
 Laurie Lacey said:
It's often difficult to separate "discovery signals" from "ranking signals" because they go together. Site Maps are a good example. If a site map helps Google or any search engine to find your pages, then, clearly, it's a ranking factor in the overall SEO of the site. To say otherwise is simply playing semantics.
 Brian said:
I get a lot of traffic from image searches on 1 site. The images on that site use relevant keywords in the alt text, and keywords show up in the searches for those images- ALt tags do seem to help in some cases although I have never officially tested it. Have you?
 Leah Rae said:
@Brian - One of my clients gets a huge amount of traffic from image search. It all boils down to relevancy.

Is the picture well named?
Is the picture relevant to the persons search?
Does the page the picture is located on give information & answer questions the visitor might have (stickyness)?
Is the page lean & the pictures download fast?
Etc...

I don't think that Alt tags work on their own. They have to work in synergy with other page factors to boost their helpfulness, so I wouldn't really rely on them.

I also suspect that Google looks at the pictures meta data (forensically) & perhaps is using some sort of optical recognition rather like OCR on a pdf. They filed a patent for reading text in images, so I don't think I'm being too X-files.

This is just my opinion, I could be wrong :)

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