Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Strategies For Search Engine Optimization

Strategies For Search Engine Optimization

A web site does not stop with ownership. Work has to be done such as getting it optimized for search engines. Your web site has to be made search engine friendly, that is to say, it must meet certain expectations of the "crawlers" or "spiders" of search engines. The index that these crawlers have created will be used in ascertaining the status of your web site in terms of relevancy to the requests of users.
Good strategies for search engine optimization that should be fully implemented include the following:
(1) Credible domain name
Acquire a domain name that is not too long or difficult to remember. It should relate to the content of your web site. Within the domain name, there should preferably be keywords that a crawler will understand. Abbreviations, dashes, underscores, numerals and other meaningless characters should all be avoided. Always opt for a .com name if possible, simply because it is a more common term that customers think of.
(2) Titles should be rich in keywords
The titles for all of your pages should be keyword-rich. They should be easily understood by visitors, and more importantly should contain keywords that will relate to whatever your customers may want to search for. In search engine optimization, search engines often use the [TITLE]; element as the text for their link to your site. Emphasis is placed by search engines in this area of optimization because it enables them to determine the relevance of your page to a visitor's search. The titles for your pages should preferably be less than 50 characters including spaces. This enables you to select a title that is precise, and one that will not be truncated in search results for reason of length. For immediate impact, include your call to action, so that attention of visitors can be captured.
(3) Include META elements
Description and keyword properties should be included in your headers' META elements. META name="description" content="[brief description of your site]" is often used by search engines to find out what your site is all about. It will be beneficial to put yourself in the shoes of your customers. You can think about how they will go about searching for information, and you can subsequently choose appropriate terms that will capture traffic to your site. A great research tool to use is Wordtracker.
(4) Quality of content
It is imperative to provide good and rich content on your web site. The content should always be keyword-rich, as this facilitates good classification of your pages by the search engines. It must be interesting and entertaining. Quality is the keyword as far as content is concerned. This is one strategy for search engine optimization that should be given heavy consideration. Content should therefore be fresh and should never be a duplicate. Search engines now include in their search algorithm ways to effect measurement of freshness of content on all sites. Do note that spiders cannot read images, so remember to use < ALT > tags for images if you need to use them to increase your site traffic.
(5) Links leveraging
Web sites that get incoming links do get a higher ranking. If these incoming links originate from a site with higher ranking and which perform well for key phrases that are related to your content, these are good links of quality that will push up the ranking of your site. They will greatly benefit your site. It will be to your advantage to request them to link back to your site. Everything on your site must be properly linked; all links must be functioning, because this will enable all of your content to be indexed. This shows a good strategy for search engine optimization in operation.
(6) Site registration
Your site must be registered with major search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, and Open Directory Project (DMOZ.org) once it is sufficiently optimized. Instructions given by each search engine are different from one another, so it is important to follow instructions closely, to avoid having your site improperly indexed. For best results, do it right - straight from the beginning.
(7) Play it smart
Ensure that your site can be easily indexed by search engines. Your pages must be crawler-friendly. Avoid the application of spamming strategies such as irrelevant metadata and hidden text. Better be safe than sorry. Play it smart when you are in your zest aiming for higher search-engine rankings. Avoid strategies that offer the easy way out for getting good ranking.
(8) Virtue of patience
Patience pays. It may take some time to reach Google No 1 spot. The time spent on search engine optimization for your web site will definitely not be lost just because the top spot is not reached yet. There are still numerous other ways of capturing traffic besides performing a little more tweaking of your site.
In conclusion, your web site must be optimized for search engines, as this will help you secure a better search result, better site ranking, and not forgetting increase in site traffic. For your desired results, you will need to apply the strategies for search engine optimization listed above.
What is the benchmarking service?
Benchmarking is an optional Google Analytics service that shows how your website's statistics compare against other industry verticals. In the beta version of this service, you are able to compare your site's Visits, Pageviews, Pages per Visit, Bounce Rate, Average Time on Site, and New Visits data against benchmark data from categories of other participating websites. You can use this data to gain broader context for your site so you can identify additional opportunities to improve your site's metrics.
This service is located under the "Visitors" section of your reports. Select "Benchmarking (Beta)" to view this report. Please note that it will take up to two weeks for the data to appear since it is being categorized and collected for your reports

How do I enable benchmarking?
To enable the benchmarking service for your account, the Google Analytics account administrator must first opt in to share the account data in an anonymous, aggregated format. There are two ways to do this:
Select the option to share your Analytics data "Anonymously with Google and the benchmarking service" from the Edit Account and Data Sharing Settings page. To get to this page, click the link that says "Edit Account and Data Sharing Settings" from the Analytics Settings page (the first page you see after logging into your Google Analytics account).
Navigate to the Benchmarking report below the "Visitors" section of your reports. Click "Accept" directly from the Benchmarking report page. This option will only appear if you have not already opted in to share your data anonymously from the Edit Account and Data Sharing Settings page.

Please allow up to two weeks for the benchmarking data to appear in your account once the data sharing settings changes have been saved. If you do not opt in to share your Google Analytics data anonymously, benchmarking will not be enabled for your account.

Note that benchmarking will be enabled for all profiles in your account. Since the selection is at the account level, you cannot enable individual profiles and not others.

http://www.google.com/support/googleanalytics/bin (Read)

Improve your Search Engine Position with Sitemaps

A sitemap is a little-known secret to enhancing your Web site's position in the search engine listings. No, it's not a killer secret that will draw in thousands of new visitors overnight, but it is an important addition to your toolset, and not hard to implement. This article will tell you why you need a sitemap, and how to create one and submit it to the search engines.
The term "sitemap" can refer to two different things. Many large, complex Web sites provide a visual sitemap that visitors can use for quick navigation, if they already know roughly where they want to go. If your site is large or complex, you should provide one of these sitemaps for your visitors.
But this article is about the other kind of sitemap: The kind that is made for the search engines, like Google, to use in indexing your site. There are several forms that these sitemaps can take, but we'll get to that a little later.
First of all, let's consider why you even need a sitemap. Google and the other search engines will index your site even if you don't have a sitemap. However, there are four main advantages to having a sitemap:
1. If your site uses non-HTML links, such as Macromedia Flash menus or JavaScript menus, the search engines will not be able to follow these links, and so they will not find all of your pages. A code-driven site must use a sitemap.
2. A sitemap tells the search engines which pages on your site are more important, and which are less important. This prevents the less important pages from competing with your own pages in the listings.
3. A sitemap tells the search engines which pages on your site are updated more frequently than others. This enables the search engines to ignore your static pages, increasing the likelihood that they will have the most current data on your most dynamic pages.
4. A sitemap enables you to tell the search engines when you have added or updated your site's content. To some extent, this puts you in control of making the search engines aware of your latest content. Of course, it doesn't force the search engines to do your bidding, but it tends to make it easier for users to find your new pages more quickly.
So, what is a sitemap?
As mentioned above, there are many possible forms of sitemaps, but we'll concentrate on the most useful kind, the XML sitemap format created and promulgated by sitemaps.org. This protocol, currently known as "Sitemap 0.90," is maintained and endorsed jointly by Google, MSN, Yahoo, and Ask, so you know it is pretty much a universal standard.
There are three things to notice about each entry:
1. LastMod. Tell the search engines the last date (and time) you changed this page. That will tell them which ones they ought to index right away, and which ones they can ignore.
2. ChangeFreq. In case you're not updating your sitemap all the time, this will give the search engines a clue as to how often they ought to check each page.
3. Priority. This tells the search engines the relative importance of this page, compared to all the other pages in your site.
In assigning a value for "Priority," on a scale of 0.0 to 1.0, determine which pages are most important and which are least important within your site. We're not telling the search engines that this "Services" page is in the 80th percentile of all pages on the Web, but it is far more important than the "Index" page within this site. That's where we want our visitors to end up.
It's easy to identify pages within your site which are lowest priority. Some examples:
- Privacy Policy - "Contact us" - "About us"
Please don't misunderstand this. It's not that your "Privacy Policy" page is unimportant and so you might as well not have one. It's that your "Privacy Policy" is important enough to take for granted: Your visitors will find it when they need it. But for search engine purposes, you'd rather direct them to the pages where you actually do your business.
So, how do you create a sitemap?
There are a number of software tools that will create a sitemap by reading your site's content. You will have to adjust the results, especially the "Priority" settings, but most of these do a pretty good job. Search the Web for "sitemap generator," or for any of the following specific free tools:
- SitemapDoc - XML-Sitemaps - AuditMyPC Google Sitemap Generator
And once you have your sitemap, what do you do with it?
There are three things to do, in sequence:
1. Place the sitemap file into the root directory of your Web server, alongside your main "index" file. And each time you update it, place the new copy there.
2. Notify the major search engines of your new sitemap file each time you update it. For Google, this means to submit it from within "Webmaster Tools." For other major search engines, search on that search engine for "submit sitemap," and you'll probably find where to enter the URL of your sitemap file.
3. Place a reference to the sitemap file in your robots.txt file, as "Sitemap: http://www.freelancesubmit.com/sitemap.xml". This will make sure that any search engine will find it, even those that you did not submit it to directly. You only need to do this once, unless you change the name or location of your sitemap file.
Once you have your sitemap created and submitted, don't forget to maintain it. Each time you add a page to your Web site, add it to your sitemap. Each time you update a page on your Web site, update its "lastmod" setting in your sitemap. Try adjusting the "priority" of your pages from time to time to see if it improves the performance of that particular page. And each time you modify your sitemap, resubmit it to the major search engines.

Maximize Traffic With 10 SEO Power Tips
How do you know what type of content is really going to attract the right searchers?
In this article I wanted to cover a few very basic tips that you can keep in mind when building high-performance strategies. Remember that good search engine marketing is not about trying to manipulate or "fool the search engines." Good SEO skills are more about creating genuine relevancy for well-written content that deserves to be found because it is truly the most relevant and useful to your audience of readers.
What students quickly discover in the 5-Day classes is that the optimization skills are not nearly as hard as many people make them out to be (even for the most competitive phrases,) once you've been trained and understand the full scope of influences that are at work. The biggest advantage that we have had is all about the "accuracy of information."
1. Write content that your audience is already looking for within the last 90 days.
True keyword research is not about 'guessing at keywords' but its all about researching actual data. How are your SEO research skills using Wordtracker or Keyword Discovery? At the SEO Workshops we teach much more than the traditional "keyword research" methods. We help students learn "Keyword Forensics" and how to quickly tap into the hidden niche trends that 99% of most Webmasters never even notice.
2. Does your Web copy speak to the reader or does it speak about yourself?
Remember that your Web site should be focused on your audience first and appeal specifically to a niche interest. When writing your Web copy, you need to dialog in an appropriate tone and format for the right audience. Some of the most interesting content will have more appeal if it speaks to your audience in terms of "you." You can, you might, you will, yours, your and you're INSTEAD of we, ours, we're, we will, we can, etc.
3. Focus on writing for the human audience first and search engines second.
While search engine optimization is important to your visibility, try writing your content first. Most people don't write their best when trying to optimize and create content at the same time. Focus on creating highly useful content that is extremely focused on one topic per page. Once you have completed your writing so that you are pleased with it, then go in to do a mild re-write for the search engines.
4. Tips for triggering idea generation and giving your strategies a unique twist.
While many people seem to spend time exploring their competitor's Web sites, we encourage you to lead the way with new ideas. Try not to be obsessed with what the competition is doing, but be creative and start your own new trends. Spend just a little more time working on your projects this week than you did last week. Setting yourself apart from the competition is easier than you might think and gives you a huge advantage over others.
5. Creating your content so that it "speaks" to a specific audience of visitors.
Think of how your Web copy reads and ensure the dialog flows smoothly. Read your work out loud and see if you can improve the tone of your message with natural expression. Keep your specific audience in mind. How you write for senior citizen (in tone and in format) may differ considerably from writing for an audience of for example "new parents." Always ask yourself "what is important to these readers?" Rely on researching accurate data to eliminate guess work.
6. Remember strong calls to action
Without a firm call to action, don't expect the reader to naturally guess at what you want them to do next. Plain ordinary dialog that asks the reader to take the next action will usually work best. Dialog that is written for voice (similar to the way a broadcaster writes to project their personality.)
7. Build your search engine optimization skills in the beginning with the "stress free" approach.
If you are new to SEO, you may want to focus on the long tailed niche phrases since most searchers are doing fairly descriptive and intelligent searches these days. Ideally you want to attract those who already know what they are looking for and just need to find your pages more easily. With practice and the right training you can go after highly competitive phrases too but you'll find that the best conversions nearly always come from the niches. Also remember that it is the basic SEO skills that carry you through and must come before any of the advanced strategies. The result will be stable top rankings that stand the test of time with minimal fuss.
8. Give your readers a non-threatening reason to respond right now.
What is the objective for your page and does your Web copy work effectively at fulfilling that objective? It may not always be about trying to sell a product or a service. It should not be about fulfilling your needs first but it should be about meeting the needs of why that searcher first conducted a search. Meet their needs and deliver up something that satisfies their search first and then give the visitor a non-threatening reason why they might respond to you. Do you want their e-mail address? Or do you just want them to pick up the phone and call? Never lose sight of the fact that the Web is a marvelous two way interactive experience, if you want it to be. Make your Web site a vehicle for relationship building and remember that many readers may actually have the desire to interact and participate through Blogs or other "User Generated activity." Give your visitors something that involves their participation.
9. Remember that your readers always want to feel like they are in control of their Web experience.
People often use the Web for researching topics of interest or doing preliminary price comparisons or for looking up information. While most people explore the Web for their own purposes, the more that you put them in control of their experience the better. If appropriate, you may want to consider adding additional tools or functionality to your Web site in order to enhance its usability for your specific audience.
10. Did you know that if you write your content so that it naturally "reads very well."
You will naturally gain some bonus for having created content of quality. By this, I mean content...that reads well to a human being. Don't stuff keywords all over the place. Instead, use moderation in everything you do. One of the things you need to understand is that "theme based" search engines like Google, are actually using a measure of artificial intelligence (AI) to measure how well your article "reads" based on all of the overall context of your body text (other than the keywords) based on data that a search engine has gathered concerning a specific topic. This is great news for writers because if you are making a transition to writing for the web, you'll find some search engines are literally rewarding pages that are "well written."

Orphan files:
Note: Links that aren't spidered (e.g. webforms, dynamically generated links, and links from within stylesheet files) will appear as orphans in this list.

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