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Deverill

Something About Keywords.

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This is something I hope turns into a series of posts about search engine optimization and web site marketing. I want to start with the disclaimer that I am not an expert on these topics but I do spend a great deal of time and occasionally money investigating such things. Everyone has a point of view and I daresay that none are totally right. I am no different. Please take this for what it is along with my hopes that it will help you bring additional visitors to your web sites.

 

Keyword phrases should be chosen based on what you think others will be looking for when they should find your site.

 

Single keywords are almost totally ineffective and should be replaced with keyword phrases of two or three words related to your topic. For instance, a site that sells blue widgets in Portland Oregon at very affordable prices should not use simply "widgets" as a keyword.

 

Instead, better keyword phrases may be:

  • Portland widgets
  • affordable widgets Portland Oregon
  • affordable blue widgets
  • etc.

If you go overboard you may become less effective at drawing traffic because the keywords have been dilluted by the others. Additionally you may run the risk of a search engine seeing it as an attempt to spam them and they may rank you very low or not at all.

 

If you don't choose enough words you may restrict visitors as well. If you use "affordable widgets" and someone enters "affordable blue widgets" then you may not show as highly or at all in the results.

 

Another consideration is what words would people use to search? You may think that "Fishing Key West" would be a great phrase but currently there are an estimated 9 searches per day versus 412 searches a day for "Key West Fishing".

 

The bottom line is that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a whole science based on a guessing game. The factors that affect your successfulness are guaging the terms searchers are using, finding terms that are searched for but not so competitive you would be a needle in a haystack, placing the terms in the right places on your page to draw the attention of the search engines and I'd add a good bit of luck.

 

Remember, the search engines are always changing the rules so don't follow the latest fad you hear about - it will probably be different tomorrow. If you put good solid content in your site that people will use and benefit from then the search engines will like you automatically. Then all you have to do is a little tweeking and you should be able to get consistent high ranking. There will always be ups and downs in the search engine results, but they are temporary.

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Google doesn't look much at your meta keywords at all. They're all about the link text. Those become search words.

 

So when I used one particular Norwegian word over my link to one sub page on my personal site, from my high traffic site, that page immediately became the number one result on Google, even without a cache.

 

The results can be instantaneous, depending on the competition.

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Annie,

You are right that Google doesn't give any extra weight to meta keywords. The keywords of which I wrote, however, can be placed anywhere on the page. They can do a great deal of good in the page title, headers, boldfaced within the text, normally within the text, in alt attributes, etc.

 

Remember also that Google has a nasty habit of making "new" pages rank higher for a short period of time and then dropping them back to "normal" later.

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They're all about the link text

 

That isnt ALL they are about. And some engines do use those tags so I would continue to use them, dont limit yourself to just one engine when optimizing.

 

Jim, just too fast for me.

Edited by TCH-Rob

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This topic seems to be heading towards the same path that similiar topics have. That is to say Google,Google,Google. What you need to keep in mind is that alot of visitors to a site can barely turn on there computer, much less care about Google. You will find that many use what ever search engine that is provide by there ISP (e.g. AOL,MSN). Also Search engines can change the way the crawl and index sites and this can be hard to keep up with. So design your site for the user and don't worry about the search engines.

Anyway, we all know I'm no expert at anything but here are my thoughts.

  • Content,Content,Content
  • Avoid link exchanges
  • Always have a Site Map
  • Use descriptive Page Titles
  • Good internal links
  • ALt tags
    e.g. Say you have a image of an arrow for navigation. Don't use ALT="Arrow", use ALT="Next".
  • Use different Meta tags for each page
    Note: PHP-Nuke users should edit the file "meta.php" in the "includes" directory. Find the line
    echo " And replace the default keywords with your own.
  • Content,Content,Content

I probally shouldn't reply,as I haven't done half of that on my personal site. :P But maybe we can all come up with a "best practices" guide for Site Optimization(and no I didn't mean Search Engine Optimization)

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Just to add, if you look at what Dick said and the explosion of how weblogs are treated by google and the phenomena of 'google bombing' you'll note that it is content that rules that. Most bloggers wouldn't know a meta tag from their armpit. Or proper SEO.

 

The same theory does hold true for other search engines, in my experience. Content is Queen. =)

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This topic seems to be heading towards the same path that similiar topics have. That is to say Google,Google,Google.

You are right, Dick, that anyone new to search engines focuses exclusively on Google and that's a big mistake. At the same time I wrote down my thoughts about keywords I also wrote an article about whether Google's the only game in town. Since you posted before I did I stole your title for it: Google Google Google :P

 

To your other points:

Content is indeed the stuff good sites are made of. It is content that sells your product, shares your opinions or gathers a community of like minded folks. As someone I know said "Has Google ever bought anything from you? Who cares what Google likes."

 

Having links to your site can not hurt you - otherwise a competitor would just submit you to every link farm in existance to eliminate you. The sites you link to are the ones you must be careful with. If you link to trash the engines will think you are trash.

 

A site map is important to get all of your pages looked at by the search engines and to help visitors find things. If you have one, link to it from your home page and make sure it links to all of your pages you want publicized. That way the spiders can follow it.

 

Page titles are one thing that people get lazy and forget about a lot. If you have a site about blue widgets then my recommendation would be to put "Blue Widgets" in the title along with the company name if you are looking for branding. Many search engines look hard at titles and it's something most people don't even consciously see.

 

Internal links are important for visitor navigation and spider travelling. It's not necessary to link every page to every other page but there should be a good solid internal structure that makes sense.

 

Alt tags are important for spiders, but more importantly for visually imaired visitors that are using screen readers and people on slow links that have images turned off.

 

Not only should meta tags be focused on your intended topic but the content as well. Don't recycle titles, headers, etc. unless it really makes sense.

 

These are all good points, Dick! Your point that there's more to it than keywords and there's more to it than Google in "spot on" as our English folks would say.

 

Above all, do things that make sense. If it makes sense to put your keyword phrase in your page 100 times then do it. If not (and it probably doesn't :() then don't do that. Aim for your customers/visitors and give them some meat to chew on instead of fluffy tags and headers that don't make sense and the rest will work itself out. You can always tweek a little here or there to help the search engine rankings but if it looks dumb people won't come back.

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Having links to your site can not hurt you - otherwise a competitor would just submit you to every link farm in existance to eliminate you.  The sites you link to are the ones you must be careful with.  If you link to trash the engines will think you are trash.

The main reason I said to avoid link exchanges(link farms) is that their websites are not relevant to yours. If you choose to use them, find one that is relevant to your site or business. If you have a script for sale, you want to place it on site like hotscripts.com not on a link farm. In other words, there are many ways to obtain revelant links back to your site other than link farms.

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In other words, there are many ways to obtain revelant links back to your site other than link farms.

Such as???? Could you give a few examples? My site is to display and sell my art and to publicize my workshops and shows. How can I get other related and relevant sites to link to me?

 

VI

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When I say Link Farms, I mean sites that contain links to totally unrelated sites. If you want to use something similar try SuperPages.com which is more of a directory. This will give you links back to your site and list you with related sites. You will also have the benefit of avoiding I AM A SPAMMER links and having a listing for your local area.

Try to find a page where a link to your site would fit into the page's content. For example, I found this on ArtShow.com.

Edited by TCH-Dick

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Submitting to directories is a great first step. Do a search on "Art directories" or something a little more specific to your type of art if applicable.

 

Also, I would look for a cool-site-of-the-day type of thing for artists. I'm sure there are some that would hilight your pieces from time to time.

 

You could make some of your art available for use on something like Webshots which would bring links to you.

 

Use the search engines to your benefit. Look for art communities or art resources or art showcases etc.

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Thanks to both of you.... I'll do all of those things.

 

Rock Sign

 

VI

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