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mpmpat19
6th October 2004, 11:53 AM
so i was recently tasked with optimizing a client's site for search engines, the only problem is I don't know what I'm doing. :thumbsup:

i can program html and have a lot of networking/computer experience but I have not done this before. I know what META tags are, but I think those are outdated :confused: I could be wrong.

Any help would be greatly appreciated

Old Welsh Guy
6th October 2004, 12:33 PM
Hiya MPM Pat,

what a first question to ask. :)

Where to start! Well If you do not have a clue, then your going to have to start with the most basic of basics. That is this.

Page Title - make sure that the title contains your keyword exactly as you are attacking them ie 'widgets in colchester' is optimised as a phrase 'colchester widgets' is not the same thing. So make sure at the very least your page title includes your phrase.

Page Content - write attractive page copy that stirs the emotions, leads the reader by the hand to take the action you need, and includes your keywords/phrase exactly as it does in your title. It is fine to use it differently on other occassions within the page as well, in fact, if your writing naturally it would be difficult not to.

Links - make sure that your pages can be reached from your home home page by as few clicks as possible (no more than 2 clicks is best). Have a navigation structure that is both descriptive and spiderable ie not in javascript.

Spidering - Make a site map that links to every page on your site, if there are more than 100 links then break it down into multiple pages with links to them all from each other. Have a link to your ste map from every single page on your site, and call it site map, use the words 'site map' as the anchor text also.

Make sure that your chosen keywords are actually being searched for, and that they are not so competitive that a beginner like yourself is incapable of acheiving off the bat. This tool will help you with your basic research http://www.digitalpoint.com/tools/suggestion/ also your web server stats will tell you what people are already finding you for. If your site has a search facility this data will also help in your keyword research.

Optimise each page as if it were the only page on your site, that is, after researching your keywords, you must match them to the pages that they are best suited for. Then tailor each page to the keywords using the information above. Remember search engines currently rate pages not sites.

Incoming links - You need to include link building in your optimisation strategy. Links are very important to the search engines, especially Google. there are two parts to a lnk, the site it comes from, and the text contained in the link (anchor text). Certain sites have more weight in the eyes of search eninges. A link from the BBC for example would be way more influential than a link from suzies knitting page homesite.

The second element is the anchor text. This is very important, especially in the eyes of google, as the anchor text tells google and the user what to expect if they follow the link. If possible, try to ask that the link to your page use the keywords that you have optimised that page for. Submit your site to the free directories like DMOZ, joe ant, skaffe, gimpsy etc Some might ask you to become an editor, others might only have time sensitive free times, but make sure you get your site out there.

Deep Links - Depending on your site type, it is sometimes suitable to have links from outside that point to pages other than your home page. In fact, it can help no end by having a broad set of links to a broad set of pages within your site. So look at your site pages/sections, and try to build up incoming links to those sections.

That should do you for starters, any specific quetions feel free to ask.

PS sorry about my lousy grammar/spelling, it is a running joke amongst my online friends. ;) Sorry also about it being a bit disjointed, it was typed first draft as it came out. Just coz I cant spell it, don't mean I can't do it lol

mpmpat19
6th October 2004, 12:41 PM
thank you, this looks to be a very helpful board

StupidScript
6th October 2004, 03:02 PM
Welcome, mpmpat19!

When you are done implementing the suggestions made by OWG, you should run your site (all pages) through the HTML Validator found at http://validator.w3c.org .

The validator will let you know where to correct your HTML to make it nice and tidy. Even though web browsers show the pages as you expect, they may be compensating for something that would halt a search engine's "spider" in its tracks, keeping the page(s) from being listed in the "natural" search engine results.

Clean code + good, useful content + keyword-rich content = best chance at good search engine result positioning

Robert
6th October 2004, 09:42 PM
Welcome to the forum mpmpat19! :standingw

BWelford
7th October 2004, 06:21 AM
Well, mpmpat19, I think OWG's just about said it all. You've got some great suggestions for things to do there.

I would add only one small thought. It's always great to see what the competition is doing and steal ideas from them. For example, go look at their websites. Check the code for their home page. They may have a keyword meta tag that will show you what they think are important keywords in your market. Do a Google search on their keywords that seem to make the most sense and see what comes up. Also check their backlinks using a search for link:http:// www. mycompetitor.com (Note that I added in spaces here to avoid creating a clickable link - in real life such spaces will cause you problems) You may find some interesting ideas through this that will spark your creativity.

mpmpat19
7th October 2004, 12:35 PM
metatags???

are they still important, i thought google didn't use them anymore.

Old Welsh Guy
7th October 2004, 05:03 PM
Metas are still important for a raft of other search engines. Yahoo uses both the description and the keywords tag, as does MSN. There are also a load of new directory cgi and php scripts that use the metas, so it is mad not to use them IMO. You are of course right though Google ignores them more or less.

jmjj215
8th October 2004, 08:48 AM
I read (regarding SEO) that you want to keep your pages between 5 and 10k each because the spiders can digest them easier? Is this true?

Another thing that I'm finding to be pretty darn important is content (sorry for stating the obvious). Lots and lots of content. I'm currently working on advice given in this forum for seo on every page. I go to overture (can't afford wordtracker for such a long project) and find a keyword phrase that is attainable. I either slightly alter an article to nail that keyword phrase or I plan on writing an article to that end.

One other generic tip I read from the same article that spoke of the 5-10k rule was to have at least 100 pages of content to get started. Well, I'm nowhere near that so that's another incentive for me to write tons more.

One question. I have a very long article about Active vs. Passive Investing (http://www.youneedabudget.com/step5_passive.php) - would it be SE-wise to break it up into maybe 5 or 10 pages?

copywriter
8th October 2004, 12:32 PM
MPMPAT19, good luck with the optimization. Feel free to use any of the articles in my archive (http://www.marketingwords.com/articles.html) to help with the content part of the process.

Jesse, to answer/address some of the things in your post:

I read (regarding SEO) that you want to keep your pages between 5 and 10k each because the spiders can digest them easier? Is this true?

That "fact" comes and goes around the 'Net. Pay it no attention. Make your pages as long as they need to be for your users.

have at least 100 pages of content to get started.

Huh? Where is the post you read this in, Jesse? I disagree with that 100%. NONE of my sites have anywhere near 100 pages and they are ranked very well on lots of engines.

I either slightly alter an article to nail that keyword phrase or I plan on writing an article to that end.

Uhhh... I'd be very careful about doing that, Jesse. Do you have written permission from the authors to be altering their articles? If not, that's just skirting the edge of copyright infringement. Not to mention it is a very unethical thing to do (unless the author has OK'd it).

jmjj215
8th October 2004, 02:53 PM
Copywriter,
I meant I alter articles that I've previously written. I use very few 3rd party authors :)
I read the 100 pages of content on webmasterworld.com but am having trouble finding the thread again :(. I guess I should understand it more to mean that content is very important?

copywriter
8th October 2004, 03:02 PM
I meant I alter articles that I've previously written.

Oh, whew! Good job then Caryy on :)

Yes, content is very important, but you don't have to have anywhere near 100 pages of content in order to have a successful site. One of my smaller sites (CopywritingCourse.com) has only 2 pages of actual content (5 pages total) and is ranked #2 with Google and #2 with Yahoo. It bounces around from week to week from #1 to about #5 (on a bad day).

Old Welsh Guy
8th October 2004, 06:52 PM
For SEO the only limits you need worry yourself about is , pagesize (this is code not images etc just pure raw code) 100k, this is the maximum (mostly) that Google will cache (although it has cached some odd pages that were more) Yahoo caches 500k. But if your CODE is that big then no one is going to wait around long enough anyhow.

100 links total (internal and external) Google is not fussed about spidering more than 100 links on a page. It sometimes truncates the page (although I have seen it completely index pages with hundreds of links on them. But google does state in their guidelines for webmasters no more than 100 links on a page.

I am not sure if I mentioned this previously (too lazy to look) Don't be a block end. Google hates sites where the only way out is the way they came in. This is a definite no no as you will be seen as a not very important site in the grand scheme of things. So link out to authority sites that are not in competition with you.

StupidScript
8th October 2004, 10:05 PM
OWG: no one is going to wait around long enough anyhow

Spoken like a true old-timer! :)

Dial-up rules! At least from a web development perspective. If it doesn't work well for the dial-up customers, it will be demonstrably-limited in its success.

I tell students 100kB is the maxmum "suggested" size for general public pages. That's about a 25-second download for a decent dial-up connection.

I also mention: The more targeted the page content, the more likely your visitors are to stick around for the download.

What I mean by that is that when a search result click lands on a 500kB page (not counting image sizes, etc.* ) , that visitor is much more likely to return to the result page before the message has been delivered. When the page "snaps" into the browser, the technology fades to invisibility, and the "sale" commences.

When a visitor has delved deeply into your site, not only looking for lyrics to songs, but to the complete catalog of lyrics in one easy-browse page ... they understand that they are requested a large-ish file, and that they could go get a shot of whiskey while waiting.

*Why not include images, etc. in the filesize attributes for this discussion?

We all know that pix are for kids. Robots dream of electric sheep, not digital images of them. A spider don't care about art.

If your page code is under control (<100kB), and you pay attention to optimizing the multimedia, then both your visitor AND the spiders stand a good chance of having a fruitful experience.

IMHO.

susannad
9th October 2004, 07:07 PM
I know that some engines like meta tags and I read around the place that meta tags are dead. Well, if they are dead, I've wasted a bit of time because I pay attention to them .. but the most important thing I've found is the description