what is seo? | seo tips and tutorial 2014

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WHAT IS SEO? | SEO Tips and Tutorial 2014 See all 26 photos What is SEO? What is SEO? - SEO Tips and Beginner's Tutorial What is SEO? Learn what SEO means and discover SEO Tips for on-page & off-page search engine optimization in 2014: definitions, videos, free How-To examples. ____________________________ What is SEO? Definition SEO means Search Engine Optimization. It is an all-encompassing term which is defined as: 1. SEO is the use of techniques within the programming code, the Web content strategy and the Web marketing of a website or webpage to achieve top rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs) for specific search queries (keywords). 2. SEO is the critical element which determines whether a website or webpage will be found by searchers in the vastness of cyberspace or sink irretrievably into a black hole. 3. Search engine optimization is both a science and an art. SEO is the science of discovering the algorithms search engines use to determine which sites are listed in answering queries and in what order they are listed (ranking); SEO is also the art of designing a website or webpage to be the best answer for specific search queries, above all competitors. In this guide you will learn what SEO is and discover SEO tips which are valuable and easy to apply for high rankings on SERPS in 2014.

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  • WHAT IS SEO? | SEO Tips and Tutorial 2014

    See all 26 photos

    What is SEO?

    What is SEO? - SEO Tips and Beginner's Tutorial

    What is SEO? Learn what SEO means and discover SEO Tips for on-page & off-page search engineoptimization in 2014: definitions, videos, free How-To examples.

    ____________________________

    What is SEO? Definition

    SEO means Search Engine Optimization. It is an all-encompassing term which is defined as:

    1. SEO is the use of techniques within the programming code, the Web content strategy and the Webmarketing of a website or webpage to achieve top rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs)for specific search queries (keywords).

    2. SEO is the critical element which determines whether a website or webpage will be found bysearchers in the vastness of cyberspace or sink irretrievably into a black hole.

    3. Search engine optimization is both a science and an art. SEO is the science of discovering thealgorithms search engines use to determine which sites are listed in answering queries and in whatorder they are listed (ranking); SEO is also the art of designing a website or webpage to be the bestanswer for specific search queries, above all competitors.

    In this guide you will learn what SEO is and discover SEO tips which are valuable and easy to applyfor high rankings on SERPS in 2014.

  • See all 26 photos

    Black Hole in Cyberspace

    I. Search Engines

    The Goal of SEO

    The goal of SEO in 2014 is to generate free website traffic which will convert into customers for awebsite's products, services, advertisers, or non-profit mission. This is also referred to as conversionrate optimization.

    Without search engine optimization, a website is solely dependent upon paid advertising andreferrals to send visitors. With expert SEO: If you build a website, they will come. The searchengines will send them to your site in droves. In 2010, Search engines fielded more than 120 billionsearches worldwide, per month. At the end of 2013, searches from the Google search engine aloneexceed 1,200,000,000,000.

    Once optimization is in place, traffic from search engines is free, dependable (though not alwaysconsistent in volume), and measurable.

    According to a forecast report from Forester Research Inc., in the year 2014, spend for SEO servicesin the U.S. alone will exceed $5 billion.

    Google reports a skyrocketing number of search queries for SEO since 2004. The chart belowrepresents these worldwide searches from the Google search engine through the close of 2013.

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    Searches for SEO from Google Search Engine: 2004 - January 1, 2014

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    SEO Cartoon: I just got a big promotion to SEO of a large ecommerce firm ... wanna be myadministrative assistant?

    Source: London Times Cartoon via Amazon.com

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    "SEO is talking to a robot."

    Search Engines and SEO

    Search engines use software programs to copy, store and analyze webpages from the World WideWeb for their indexes. These programs are often called robots, bots, spiders, or crawlers. (TheGoogle crawler is known as GoogleBot.) When a search query is entered on the search engine's site,the engine sorts through its stored index to determine the most relevant and most trusted answers.

    "Search engine optimization is talking to a robot."

    - Writer Fox(TM)

    Sometimes there are literally hundreds of millions of possible results. Out of these, search enginesselect up to 1,000 webpages to offer the searcher.

    Most searchers never look beyond the first 10 results. The majority of people never look beyond thefirst three results. The top three positions on a SERP (Search Engine Results Page) for a highlysearched word or phrase represent the most coveted real estate in Internet marketing.

    SEO Video: How the Google Search Engine Works

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    Google Search Results Page

    Ranking for Organic Search

    Ranking on the displayed results is said to be ranking for natural search or organic search (asopposed to ranking for paid advertising placement). SERP-referred website traffic sent from organicsearch far outpaces that from paid advertising.

    Top ranking for organic search is the critical mission for a website's SEO strategy. Improving a site'sranking for hundreds of queries is an ongoing process for the search engine optimizer (referred to asan SEO).

    II. What is Google SEO?

    Increasingly, search engine optimization means 'Google search engine optimization.' Although there

  • are many general Web search engines, there is little real competition among them. According toindustry figures, at the beginning of 2014, Google's search market share represented 77.74% ofglobal Web searches. In a distant second place is Bing/Yahoo. (Yahoo has been powered byMicrosoft's Bing search engine since August, 2010.) The Chinese language search engine Baidu is inthird place.

    Search Engine Market Share

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    Search Engine Market Share January 29, 2014

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    1999 Production Server at Google.com

    Source: Steve Jurvetson via Wikipedia

    The Google search engine has located over a trillion webpages and stores billions of them in itsindex. It is the most comprehensive index of the World Wide Web and its search results are the mosttrusted.

    Google founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, created Google Inc. in 1998 with this stated purpose:

    "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful."

    With the introduction of its AdSense content-targeted advertising program in 2003, Google becamemore forthright with website owners and SEO consultants about its system for ranking websites.Since advertising is its primary source of revenue, Google has every reason to help webmastersdevelop effective sites for Google search engine optimization in conjunction with its advertisingprogram.

    Google launched its Webmaster Central SEO Blog in 2005 and has allowed talkback comments since2007. It also reaches out to webmasters via its posted Google SEO Webmaster Guidelines andGoogle Webmaster SEO Forum.

    Google also offers private information to website owners about their sites at Google SEO help.Though Google will never reveal all of its secret sauce for site rankings, its considerable outreach tosearch engine optimizers and to webmasters is superior to other search engines.

  • Google PageRank

    The Google search engine's ranking of websites was originally based only upon a patentedmathematical formula, or algorithm, for determining the importance of a webpage based upon thenumber and quality of links to it from other webpages.

    Under the algorithm, every link is seen as a vote, but each carries a different weight depending uponthe quality of the incoming links to the referring page, and the quality of the referring pages'referring pages, and so on. This system of ranking is called PageRank, and the term is a Googletrademark. It was named after Larry Page, co-founder of Google.com.

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    Google Toolbar with PageRank Meter

    Every page on a website has its own PageRank, which indicates Google's opinion of links pointing tothe page. PageRank is only about links and nothing else. The true PageRank of a webpage is knownonly to Google, and it is recalculated as Google continuously crawls the Web. But an estimate ofGoogle PageRank, over an approximate 3-month period, can be obtained for every website byinstalling the Google toolbar for SEO on the Firefox browser or installing a free PageRank developerapp for the Chrome browser. (In 2013, the Google Toolbar was only updated twice.)

    The green bar will display a number between 1 and 10, with 10 being the best PageRank. If the baris grey, it means the webpage you are viewing is not ranked for PageRank in the Google index. Thiscould indicate a new site or a site banned from PageRank, probably for severe violations of Google'sWebmaster Guidelines. If the bar is white and the rank is 0, it means the site is in the index, but iteither has no value according to Google algorithms or is too new to show the most recent update forpublic display of PageRank.

    Google PageRank Meter Close-up

    The green bar will display a number between 1 and 10, with 10 being the best PageRank. If the baris grey, it means the webpage you are viewing is not ranked for PageRank in the Google index. Thiscould indicate a new site or a site banned from PageRank, probably for severe violations of Google'sWebmaster Guidelines. If the bar is white and the rank is 0, it means the site is in the index, but iteither has no value according to Google algorithms or is too new to show the most recent update forpublic display of PageRank.

    n the video on the right, Google spokesman Matt Cutts explains that ordinary Web users have thePageRank meter installed on their browsers and use the information to evaluate the authority ofwebpages as they surf the Internet. In that sense, the PageRank of a webpage is part of the userexperience as well.

  • Although it is no longer the only factor in Google's current algorithm for search results rankings,PageRank is still a significant factor in the ranking formula. According to Google:

    "Webpages with a higher PageRank are more likely to appear at the top of Google search results ...The underlying assumption is that more important websites are likely to receive more links fromother websites."

    It will continue to be a significant factor for high-rankings on SERPs in 2014. However, because it isonly one of over 200 criteria used by Google to find the best webpages to answer a given searchquery, the site with the highest PageRank is often not the very first listing on a SERP.

    _________________________________________________________________

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    Website Magazine

    Website Magazine

    Stay informed with a constant source of information for e-commerce, online marketing, searchengine optimization and website design with a free subscription to Website Magazine.

    Your subscription to this print magazine, including postage, is free for U.S. addresses - othercountries are $30 per year. Not only that, when you subscribe a tree will be planted in your name byReplaceATree.org.

    Get your free subscription to Website Magazine

    ________________________________________________________________

    Google tweaks its algorithms for displaying search results more than once a day; therefore, thedifficulty of Google optimization increases daily. In December, 2009, Google accelerated its use ofpersonalized search, which customizes the search engine results page based upon 180 days of a

  • specific user's search history. Google also customizes site ranking on its SERPs based upon the IPaddress of the searcher.

    Someone searching for insurance from Omaha, Nebraska, will receive different search results fromsomeone searching from New York City or from Tokyo. Thus, ranking on Google now depends uponwho is searching and from where.

    According to Google, as the year 2014 began, there were over 60 trillion pages on the World WideWeb. Of those, Google stores more than 40 billion in its index.

    Competition among webpages is increasing astronomically. The Google index in 1998 stored 26million pages. In 2008, Google software engineers Jesse Alpert and Nissan Hajaj stated:

    "The number of individual webpages out there is growing by several billion pages per day."

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    SEO Tips

    III. SEO Tips: How-To SEO for 2014

    In the ever-changing environment of search engine optimization, defining 'what is SEO' is a movingtarget.

    The SEO Tips below are the most significant things to address for high search rankings in 2014.Almost all of these tips are easy to apply, but don't let their simplicity fool you. Each step in thishow-to SEO guide is a critical element for the overall success of a webpage on search results.

    These SEO Tips are arranged in two categories:

    On-Page Optimization

    Off-Page Optimization

    III. A. SEO Tips for On-Page Optimization

    Answering the question What is SEO? for 2014 begins with on-page SEO. The majority of

  • optimization techniques apply to on-page search engine optimization and these are all things whichthe webmaster totally controls.

    Most of the work of search engine optimization begins before a website or webpage appears online.The common mistake amateurs make is to visit a programming company first, have a site developed,launch the site and then visit a search engine optimization expert 'to optimize.' What happens mostof the time in that scenario is that the site has to be redesigned and relaunched.

    Google's advice posted on its Google Webmaster Central site is:

    "If you're thinking about hiring an SEO [search engine optimizer], the earlier the better. A greattime to hire is when you're considering a site redesign, or planning to launch a new site. That way,you and your SEO [search engine optimizer] can ensure that your site is designed to be searchengine-friendly from the bottom up."

    This How-To SEO guide to on-page SEO addresses the internal issues of the website and thewebpage:

    1. Keywords

    2. SEO Content

    3. Meta Tags

    4. SEO Web Design

    5. On-Page Links

    SEO keyword research is the discovery and analysis of search queries.

    III. A. 1. Keywords

    All search engine optimization begins with keyword research. Wanting to rank number one on aGoogle SERP is a vague desire. For what term(s) do you wish to rank number one on Google? This isthe question that must be answered. The choice of keywords to target can make or break a website'sgoals.

    SEO consultants use several data bases to determine what searchers are searching for, how manysearches are made for specific terms and how many webpages are competing for those terms. Mostof the best data bases are by subscription only, at a cost of several hundreds of dollars per year, perdata base. Google and Bing also provide tools for keyword research based on their advertisingprograms. A keyword can be a single word, such as Internet. Or, it can be a phrase, such as: 'QuotesAbout the Internet.' The majority of online searches are for a phrase of three or four words.

    Longer queries are referred to as long-tail keywords, such as a query for: How do you get Interneton your ipad?

    A site which is already online has the additional advantage of gathering information from itsanalytics programs and server logs to find the keywords which are actually bringing visitors to thesite and further optimizing for those words.

  • Simply knowing the number of searches for a given keyword is not enough information. Forexample, in the image below, a search on Google for the term Internet showed that at least1,570,000,000 webpages were stored in the Google index for the term.

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    Keyword Search Queries

    The odds are impossible that a new site could quickly, if ever, rank on the first 10 search results forthat keyword. Evaluating the competitiveness of a keyword is an integral part of SEO keywordresearch and selection.

    The ideal keywords will have a large volume of searchers and very low competition from otherwebsites targeting the keywords. There are several mathematical formulas that give a prediction ofthe success of a given keyword by analyzing the number of competitors. One such formula wasinvented by Sumantra Roy and is referred to as the Keyword Effectiveness Index (KEI):

    KEI = (Monthly Searches 30) Competing Webpages

    The higher the KEI, the better the chances are for ranking your page for that keyword.

    The ideal keywords will have a large volume of searchers and very low competition from otherwebsites targeting the keywords.

    If a website is totally dependent upon Google AdSense or similar keyword-targeted, contextualadvertising, the keywords chosen should also have a high number of advertisers purchasing ads withthe targeted keywords, high click-through-rates, and high bid prices.

    The Art of SEO (Theory in Practice)

    Click to look inside. "This 500-page book is a comprehensive guide to search engine optimizationstrategies and tactics written by four SEO experts: Eric Enge, Stephan Spencer, Rand Fishkin, andJessie Stricchiola." This great book has comprehensive information on Keyword Research andKeyword Strategy.

    Keywords used in the URL (domain name or website address) of a site can greatly influence searchengines to rank that site for queries using those keywords. This applies to the homepage and to allinterior pages of the site. (Recently, however, Google has cautioned against throwing up quick,shallow-content websites with exact match domain names for competitive, long-tail keywords.)

  • In the evaporating waters of keyword-rich domain names, it may not be possible to find the optimalURL for a site, but you can absolutely create the best URL's for your site's interior pages.

    For example, the word SEO is not found on the homepage URL of the webpage you are viewing, butit is in the URL of this specific page.

    Keyword research can also assist in monetizing a website by revealing income opportunities such asproducts and services people are searching for, which are related to your site's main subject. In thisera of targeted, contextual advertising, keyword research also uncovers opportunities to monetizethe value of keyword-driven, website traffic (using the Google AdSense program, for instance).Understanding the vital role that keyword research plays in search engine optimization is critical todeveloping an effective plan for SEO in 2014.

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    Google Hummingbird Algorithm

    Google Hummingbird Algorithm

    Google applied a new algorithm beginning in August, 2013, called Hummingbird. The company madethe public announcement at its 15th anniversary celebration on September 26, 2013.

    This new algorithm affected 90% of all websites stored in the Google Index.

    This new formula for ranking websites for SERPs goes beyond the actual words used in a searchquery (keywords) and deciphers the meaning behind them. It determines the user's intent for asearch query and gives additional attention to the user's location. It rewards website content whichgives more comprehensive answers.

    Keyword Density

    The keyword density of a webpage is determined by calculating the number of times a keywordphrase is used on a page compared to groups of words on the page with the same number of words.To find the keyword density of a five-word keyword phrase used six times on a webpage of 1,500words, this formula is used:

    1,500

    5

  • = 300

    6

    300

    =0.02

    0.02

    100

    = 2

    Keyword Density = 2%

    The video on the right explains Google's opinion of keyword density.

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    Writing SEO Content

    III. A. 2. SEO Content

    SEO content for a website should be based upon the keyword research. Ideally, the menu navigationand the main categories of the site should use optimal keywords. The potential audience for your sitecan tell you precisely what information your site should contain by the terms used in search queries.

    When the main categories for a site have been identified, keywords should also drive the decisionsmade regarding what webpages within the site should be created. This content architecture is theSEO blueprint of a website.

    After making a list of proposed webpage titles, a sub list of keywords should be developed for eachtitle. These keywords should be used to generate subheadings (heading tags) on the page. Thecontent strategy for each webpage provides the outline structure of an article for the SEO Webcontent writer.

  • The SEO content strategy, based upon keywords, might also include videos, e-books, images, charts,maps, widgets, tutorials, forums, blogs, news, products, services, etc., that searchers want to findand that your site could provide.

    The most successful content plans for SEO include one or two creative ideas that may or may not bediscovered from keyword research. Every effort should be made to find the exceptional, unique ideasfor content that will set a site apart from all others. This content will be essential for securinginbound links for off-page search engine optimization.

    The actual website content writing will be the decisive factor for your success with visitors to yoursite, both humans and search engines. Carefully edit your Web content according to the GooglePanda algorithm.

    III. A. 3. Meta Tags

    Meta Tags (meta elements or meta data) are programming code statements which give informationto search engines about the content of a webpage. Several types of Meta Tags are significant forsearch engine optimization. The following Meta Tags are the ones most important for search engineoptimization.

    Robots Tag

    The Robots Tag gives search engines permission to crawl a site for indexing. Blocking the robotswith this Meta Tag means the site will never appear on a search results page; it's an SEO killer.

    Meta Title Tag

    The meta Title Tag (page title) should use targeted keywords and a lure. The Title Tag appears atthe top of the browser (the blue heading in the image below) when a webpage is loaded. It also titlesthe webpage listing on the search engine results page and, therefore, should be written to persuadea searcher to click on your listing.

    In this example from the bizrate.com homepage, the targeted keyword is Find Deals and the lure iscompare prices, read reviews & save money. (Savvy marketers will note that the word buy is notused. People don't like being told to buy something, but they love to shop and to compare prices!)

    The meta Title Tag should be no more than 60 characters, including spaces. More characters thanthis limit will not appear online. Google's advice is:

    "These 60 characters are an opportunity to tell both users and search engines what the focus of thepage is. There's no need to go past this many characters, as most search engines will display ellipses( ... ) after this limit. Also, search engines may give less weight to words after a certain point."

    The title is used by search engines to identify the content of the page. The content writer must writea unique title for every page on the website. The targeted keywords should always appear first onthe Title Tag. The Title Tag for a site's homepage should also include the business name,organization name or domain name.

    Meta Tag Description

    The Description Tag appears on the search engine results page just below the page title. Google

  • calls this the snippet. The SEO copywriter will spend a disproportionate amount of time writing thewords (no more than 160 characters, including spaces) for a Description Tag. A top listing on theSERPs is of little value if nobody clicks on the link to visit the website. The Description Tag mustpersuade the click-through. It is, then, the ultimate sales pitch challenge and opportunity.

    The description should focus heavily on verbs and keyword nouns. Forget the adjectives. It shouldalso attract the searcher by outlining the benefits he will receive by visiting the site.

    A description that motivates the searcher to click is valuable in another way. More and more, Googleis using the click-through rate (CTR) to determine organic website rankings on the SERPs. It is partof the Google formula which evaluates if the correct search results are given for the search query,i.e., if there are fewer clicks on the site ranked first and more on the site ranked second, then Googleperceives that the site ranked second is the answer preferred by humans. The more the Meta TagDescription successfully encourages searchers to click-through to your webpage, the more yourpage moves up in the rankings.

    SEO Description Tag Example

    Ranking Number One: 50 Essential SEO Tips To Boost Your Search Engine Results

    Click to look inside. "No Tricks, No Voodoo. There are no shortcuts or back doors that will work forany period of time to make your site rank well. While ranking on the first page of Google is the HolyGrail for anyone with a website, it takes patience, hard work and common sense to have the honor ofthe first page - and to maintain it."

    Notice how this short Description Tag for the bizrate.com homepage is loaded with highly-searchedkeywords: comparison shopping, product reviews, merchant ratings, deal alerts, coupons, compareprices, read reviews, top brands. These words aren't in there by accident. The skilled SEO writer,armed with keyword research, weaves the keywords into the description with a natural flow.

    The verbs in this snippet tell the searcher what he can do on the webpage: compare, read.

    The close is the call to action. In this example, the call to click is: Compare prices and read reviewson top brands.

    There are times when the search engines will pull another description from the copy on a webpageand display that instead of the one in the Meta Description Tag. When that happens, the Googlesearch engine has found specific copy on a webpage that is more appropriate to the query and itserves that as the description. In effect, the search engine is showing the searcher why the webpagewas chosen.

    This practice has increased in recent years as searchers enter queries which Google has never seenbefore and, for the most part, no webpage has specifically targeted with an answer.

    According to former Google Vice President Marissa Mayer (now CEO of Yahoo):

    "A quarter of all daily searches on Google have never been seen before."

    For SEO purposes, well written alternate descriptions should be seeded within the copy surroundingsubordinate keywords and potential keywords. This is done naturally by a skilled Web content

  • writer.

    Like the Title Tag, the Description Tag must be unique for each page on a website.

    Alt Tag

    The Alt Tag (Alt attribute or alternative text) is a short description of an image which provides analternative to the graphic for the visually handicapped, for the text-only browser, and for slow-loading Internet connections or hosting servers.

    The Alt Tag also gives content information to search engines, which can't see images either. Use ofAlt Tags is the means of optimizing images for targeted keywords.

    In the video to the right, Google engineer Matt Cutts explains the importance of the Alt Tag tosearch engines.

    For SEO purposes, images provide added content and interest to a webpage, achieve organicranking on their own on a SERP, and are specifically searched for on search engines - all of whichare traffic generators.

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    Alt Tag

    The Alt Tag should be a short description of the picture, not just a title. Most search engines will notread beyond about 10 words of an Alt Tag.

    Alt Tags should be used for every image on a site, including the company logo and images used aslinks. On a webpage, the alternative text will appear in a box when the cursor mouses over an image(try that on any of the images in this article). In this example from Amazon.com, notice the fulldescription in the Alt tag. In this example, the ten words which search engines will index are on thefirst line and the internal Amazon category is on the second line.

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    Heading Tags

    Heading Tags

    Heading Tags (heading elements, Header Tags, or H Tags) are actually document elements and notmeta data. Heading Tags for SEO purposes delineate the most important parts of a webpage andflag them for search engines. There are 6 grades of tags, with H1 representing the most important.For webpages of less than 1,000 words, there should be only one H1Tag used on the page and itshould be identical to the Title Tag.

    The subordinate Heading Tags follow the same hierarchy used as in an outline. The use of HeadingTags will change the font size on the page with the H1Tag displayed in the largest type and the H6Tag in the smallest, though this can be adjusted by a programmer. Most webpages don't need HTags lower than the H3 level.

    Heading Tags are used by search engines to evaluate the categories of content on a webpage, theimportance of the categories and the relevancy to a search query. The keywords used and theiremphasis (according to the number on the H Tag) should be carefully evaluated for SEO when thecontent plan is developed for each webpage.

    Keywords Tag

    The Keywords Tag is used to identify the specific keywords targeted on a webpage. It is used bydirectories, minor search engines, and on-site search features (including the Google SearchAppliance) to identify relevant content. The words used in the Keywords Tag can also be used asblog posting tags and press release tags. Only keywords specific to the page should be used in thetag. The one exception to this is on the homepage, where main keywords used throughout the sitemay be listed.

    It should be noted that the Google search engine no longer uses the Keyword Tag in determiningsearch results.

    The Keywords Tag should be written by the Web content writer when a webpage is created, becausethe writer knows exactly what words were targeted. To create these tags after 100 pages have beenwritten is a tedious endeavor and fraught with error, since many keyword phrases might be missed.The Keywords Tag generally contains between 5 and 25 words and phrases.

  • III. A. 4. SEO Web Design

    SEO Web design usually refers to programming. Programming errors in code or in decisions canderail the best-laid SEO plan for a site. Most website designers who advertise that their servicesinclude SEO are speaking only from the programming side of the SEO equation.

    If you ask a Web designer, "What is SEO?", the answer will be that SEO Web design means clean,crawlable code. This is essential for search engine optimization. If a robot cannot crawl the site, thesite will not be properly indexed. A website's code can be validated with a free tool from the sourceof Web standards, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), at: Coding for SEO. Also, Google offers afree SEO Site Check called Fetch as Googlebot, which allows you to view your website as the Googlerobot sees it.

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    Code is Poetry

    Source: Code for this webpage

    SEO Tips for Web Design

    To facilitate SEO, programmers must avoid:

    *slow page load speed

    *hosting down time and hosting load limits that prevent thorough crawling by robots

    *page sizes in excess of 100K

    *flash or Java script navigation

    *dynamic URL's and session IDs

    *CSS, Ajax and JavaScript that is on-page instead of in an external file

  • *frames

    *drop-down menus

    *site intro pages

    *webpages without text in the tag

    *hidden text and links

    *broken internal/external links

    *pop-ups

    *navigation in Flash, Java or JavaScript instead of text

    *duplicate content pages, especially from print page applications

    *malware, cloaking, JavaScript redirects, doorway pages

    Programmers can make valuable contributions to the search engine optimization of a site by:

    *choosing a canonical URL and redirecting all others with a 301 redirect

    *using breadcrumb navigation

    *creating an XML Sitemap according to the protocol established by Sitemaps.org (instructions atSEO XML Sitemaps) and submitting it to the organization's members, such as Google, Yahoo! andBing.

    *creating an HTML Sitemap for use on the website

    *optimizing images for fast download

    *using the NoFollow attribute on advertising links and irrelevant links (more about this below)

    *viewing the website in multiple browsers, including text-only browsers

    III. A. 5. On-Page Links

    On-page links are a valuable tool for search engine optimization. These are links on a webpagewhich point to other pages on the same website or which point to pages on external websites. Thereare four aspects of on-page links:

    1. Internal Links

    2. Anchor Text

    3. External Links

    4. Paid External Links

  • Internal Links

    Internal links are used primarily for site navigation. The importance the webmaster places on theseinternal links is picked up by search engines. For example, if every page on the site links to thehomepage and to the top menu categories, these are given the most significance by search enginesin determining the featured content within the site. Conversely, placing links on every page forminor categories such as about us, privacy, terms of use, copyright, etc., drains attention away fromthe main content and can bleed the PageRank of more important pages.

    Internal links for SEO purposes can also be effective in drawing attention to specific pages deeperwithin the site. Main category pages should link to every webpage within that category.

    Any page on a website that is buried more than a few clicks away from the homepage will probablynot be crawled by search engines. Internal links provide search engines with the pathways to crawla site.

    Internal links are also a way to point visitors to related articles within the site.

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    Internal Links

    Individual article pages should link to important, relevant content in other articles. The image on theright was taken from an interior article page on CBSnews.com. Notice that other top stories aresuggested. This use of internal linkage is not only useful for visitors, but it is a method of boostingPageRank for interior pages.

    It is important to remember that every page on a site is given an individual PageRank by Google.PageRank is determined by links and internal links play a vital role in the formula.

    Internal links give a webmaster full control over this opportunity to boost a webpage's searchranking. Strategic use of internal links should be a factor in the overall SEO content plan.

    Note this SEO tip: Google reviews the content surrounding the internal link and uses that todetermine the content of the linked page. Links in the CBS News example don't just have a link, butalso include a description of the article.

    Anchor Text

  • Anchor text is the use of words for a link instead of the URL. The most effective internal links forSEO purposes don't display a URL to be clicked, but rather give a description of the content on thepage linked. In the above example from cbsnews.com, notice that the URL is not the link, but thenews headline is the link. Part of the Google algorithm notices the anchor text used in links,especially keywords, and it is even possible to rank for a search term based solely upon the wordingof the anchor text used in incoming links.

    Anchor text used in links should be no more than 10 words or 65 characters with spaces. The code tocreate anchor text is:

    External Links

    On-page external links (or outbound links) are links that point to other websites. For search engineoptimization, providing relevant, quality information through outbound links identifies a site as aresource for its subject. Here, too, anchor text is important. Anchor text for outbound links shoulddescribe the targeted site by using keywords.

    In June, 2009, Google engineer Matt Cutts revealed on his personal blog that the Google searchengine does use outbound links as a factor in evaluating a website. He wrote,

    "Parts of our system encourage links to good sites."

    You will notice many, high-quality external links in the page you are viewing. In listing othervaluable, on-topic references, this page becomes a resource of information and is seen as morevaluable in the eyes of Google. Also, the Google bot hates 'dead end' pages - pages that don't send itcrawling to other sites in cyberspace.

    As Google rewards sites for quality outbound links, it will ban sites from its index which link to spamsites, to sites without related content, to irrelevant sites owned by the linking site, or to sites whichviolate its Webmaster Guidelines. Google considers an outbound link to be an endorsement and areflection of the quality of the linking site. Linking to a bad neighborhood identifies the linking siteas a bad neighborhood.

    Paid External Links

    Paid links are outbound links that have been purchased on a website. Google now considers all paidlinks to be advertisements and requires that they be marked as such. Failure to disclose paid links isa violation of Google Webmaster Guidelines and can result in a site being banned from the Googleindex. Paid links can be indicated by using terms such as sponsored links, advertisement, ads, andthe like. They must also use the NoFollow attribute.

    The NoFollow attribute was introduced by Google in January, 2006, as a method for webmasters toproperly label advertising and affiliate links and also to prevent unintentional endorsement of linkswithin comments - especially in blogs and on forums - and other user-generated content. Until theattribute was introduced, blogs, forums, and Wikipedia pages were hotbeds for link spam. Googleadvises all webmasters to use the NoFollow code for comments sections.

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    External Links

    Wikipedia now uses the NoFollow attribute on most outbound links. The image on the right is takenfrom the footnotes on a Wikipedia webpage. The links highlighted in blue are followed and are all tointernal links to pages on the Wikipedia site. Links highlighted in pink are NoFollow links to externalsites. While the NoFollow outbound links do generate traffic, they do not influence the PageRank ofthe linked sites and are not followed by Google. The Facebook website is another example of a linkwhich might bring traffic to a site but, because it is NoFollow, it will not pass PageRank.

    The code for a NoFollow link is:

    The NoFollow attribute should also be used when linking to sites which you do not fully endorse. Forexample, you might want to link to an article to show an example of bad medical advice. TheNoFollow attribute will tell Google not to consider your link as a vote for the article and not to give itPageRank value for the link.

    The Google search engine recommends a limit of 100 internal and external links combined on asingle webpage. Any link in excess of that number is unlikely to be crawled nor factored incalculating PageRank.

    III. B. SEO Tips for Off-Page Optimization

    The SEO tips for off-page optimization involve links.

    Off-page SEO refers primarily to techniques used to acquire followed backlinks (also called inboundlinks, incoming links, inlinks, off-page external links, or link juice) to a website's homepage orinternal pages. Backlinks are links from other webpages to pages on your site. The process ofacquiring these links is referred to as link building.

    These four topics for off-page optimization are discussed below:

    1. Backlinks: SEO and PageRank

    2. Backlinks and Keywords

    3. Identifying Backlinks

    4. Link Spam and Scam

    III. B. 1. Backlinks: SEO and Google PageRank

    The quantity and quality of inbound links are the major factors determining the Google PageRank of

  • a webpage, and that, in turn, influences ranking on the SERPs. There is a correlation between asite's homepage PageRank and the number of pages within that site which Google will crawl to beindexed. For SEO purposes, the higher the PageRank of a site's homepage, the greater the numberof the site's interior pages which can rank. The more ranking pages = the more targeted keywordsfor searchers to find.

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    Backlinks

    In the video to the right, Google's Matt Cutts explains that PageRank is Google's opinion of thereputation of a webpage.

    In a Stanford University research paper, You Are Who You Link To by Lada A. Adamic and EytanAdar, data from Stanford personal homepages was used to create a graphic (above image) of theUniversity's social structure. In much the same way, search engines traverse the World Wide Web,charting its interconnectivity through links on websites.

    Like the center of a galaxy, hub websites are hotspots of links from major and minor websites in aspecific subject category, each transmitting some of its reputation to the hub site.

    Valuable content from a reputable source naturally attracts backlinks. New or lesser known websitesneed a more direct approach to link acquisition, using online marketing and old-fashioned, offlinepromotion.

    Backlinks to interior pages of a website are called deep links. The homepage is more of an index tothe website; the hardcore information is found on the pages within the site and natural, inboundlinks reflect that. The key to building quality deep links for a site is simply to have quality content: tohave something other people will want to give a referral to with a link. The unique, the exceptional,the hilarious content provide backlink fodder (link bait).

    When link building, seek links from webpages which:

    1. have high PageRank

    2. are related to your topic

    3. don't require a reciprocal link

  • 4. don't require payment

    5. have few external links on the page

    Google Penguin Algorithm

    With the implementation of the Google Penguin Algorithm on April 24, 2012, websites have beenpenalized for spam backlinking strategies. These include mass submissions to low-qualitydirectories, forum and blog spam comments, and links from webpages with non-related topics. Thevideo on the right is a humorous illustration of the new realities in acquiring backlinks.

    Backlinks and Anchor Text

    III. B. 2. Backlinks and Anchor Text

    The anchor text of an incoming link signals search engines about the content of the linked site andwhy it was referenced. Natural, organic linking will have an assortment of anchor text. Anchor textwith desired keywords is the most valuable for search engine optimization.

    A website owner can control the anchor text in links from press releases, social sites, professionalbiographies, syndicated articles, and the like. Every opportunity to use keyword-targeted anchor textshould be exploited. A 'my website' or ''click here' link is of much lesser value. However, recentGoogle algorithm updates (Penquin) have discounted websites with excessive, repetitive, exact-match keywords in anchor links and this is considered spam in the eyes of Google. Buildingthousands of links with the exact anchor text to boost ranking will produce the opposite effect.

    Also, Google takes into consideration the context of the anchor link, evaluating the words in the textsurrounding it and in the linking webpage itself. Therefore, a website which sells hardware shouldn'tsolicit an anchor text link from a site selling children's clothing, but a site selling plumbing fixtureswould be considered relevant.

    III. B. 3. Identifying Backlinks

    Website owners can view Google-indexed backlinks to their sites by logging into their accounts atGoogle Webmaster Tools. Most of the backlinks will be recorded there.

    Some websites with very low Google PageRank scores show literally tens of thousands of backlinks.When this happens, it means that most of those links are disregarded or are considered of littlevalue by Google in its ranking formula (and probably by Bing, too).

    Identifying backlinks for competitor's websites can provide important information regarding theirPageRank and can also identify possible backlinking opportunities for your site. You can find somebacklinks by using free and paid tools such as: the SEO tools on the Blekko search engine, Moz OpenSite Explorer, Ahrefs, and Majestic Site Explorer. None of these tools will list all of the backlinks,but the information they do supply can be useful.

    III. B. 4. Link Spam and Scam

    In an amateur effort to boost a site's rankings on the SERPs, webmasters will sometimes fall victimto link schemes that promise thousands of inbound links for a few hundred dollars. In almost all ofthese schemes, the links are obtained by the use of automated software programs. The links are

  • from insignificant sites, not relevant to a site's subject, and are usually traced to common ownership.The links are worthless, and they are detrimental. Not only will these links not be indexed by Google,but sites participating in linking schemes will be penalized for violating Google WebmasterGuidelines.

    Other linking arrangements considered to be link spam by Google include excessive reciprocallinking (even if routed through a third website), link exchanges, link wheels, automated link systems,undisclosed paid links, cross-linking of sites under common ownership or hosted on a commonserver, blog comment spam and forum spam.

    Related Resources

    SEO is an ever-changing art and science. The rewards of learning effective search engineoptimization are well worth the effort. Following are related resources which give additional SEOTips:

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    Google Panda

    Learn how to optimize your webpages for the Google Panda Algorithm:

    Google Panda SEO

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    Google Penguin

    Read about the Google Penguin algorithm and what to do if your site has been penalized:

    Google Penguin SEO

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    Learn how to write content for your website with search engine optimized copy in this informative,How-To article:

    Website Content Writing

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    Duplicate Content

    Find out about Google's duplicate content penalty and how to avoid receiving one.

    Duplicate Content Penalty

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    News Release Headline

    Learn how to optimize your company's press releases for search engines in this article:

    SEO Press Release Headlines

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  • See all 26 photos

    Map of the Internet

    Read over 100 quotations about the World Wide Web, including quotes about SEO and quotes fromthe founders and employees of Google.com:

    Quotes about the Internet

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    Share don't copy.

    Photos are courtesy of Stanford University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Museum, and,unless otherwise stated, other images are via Shaul Sofer, Ltd., and used with permission.

    ____________________________

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    Last updated on January 29, 2014

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