Monday, June 8, 2009

Search Engine Optimization FAQ's

I found some useful information while surfing the internet. Please go through the questions might be of interest to the newbies in the SEO/ SEM Indusrty.

FAQ) What are SERPs?
SERPs is an acronym for Search Engine Results Pages. Basically they are the search results you receive when doing a search at a search engine.

FAQ) What is anchor text? Why is it important?
Anchor text is the visible hyperlinked text on the page. For example, let's examine this code:
Webmaster Forums
The anchor text for this link is "Webmaster Forums". This is important in search engine rankings because the search engines use anchor text to help determine the relevance of a page being linked to for those keywords. By having this link pointing to their forum's web page, SitePoint Forums will perform better in searches for the phrase "webmaster forums" (and other similar phrases as well).

FAQ) How do I get a lot of backlinks to point to my site?
A good place to start is to submit to directories. Start with the free ones and then decide whether pay ones are worth it for you. Here's a great place where you can find a free directory listing that sorts them by PR, Alexa rank (worthless), and more: http://www.tipsntutorials.com/Top-Directories/ and also check out http://www.isedb.com/ as it lists thousands of places you might find worth submitting to.

FAQ) How do I get a lot of backlinks to point to my site?I was thinking of doing to my site but I'm afraid the search engines might think it is spam. Should I do it?
No. Why? If you're not sure if it will get you in trouble with the search engines or not then it's probably something you shouldn't be doing. Another good reason not to do it is accessibility. Many webmasters employ hacks and tricks in an effort to increase their search engine ranking. Often times these tricks are at the expense of the usability of their website. Not only to those who have disabilities but to anyone who's trying to navigate their site.

FAQ) How many keywords should I put into my <title>, <a>, and <h1>..<h6> tags?

You should only put the few keywords that are most relevant to your pages. The more you put in each tag, the more you dilute the value each keyword is given.

<h1>Advanced PHP Programming</h1>

is better then

<h1>Advanced PHP Programming Is Really Cool And Stuff Dude</h1>

Meta Tags

The large majority of search engines do not use Meta Tags as part of their ranking algorithm. Some will claim Google uses Meta tags in its algorithm. This is entirely untrue. Google, however, will use a meta description tag if it is unable to discern a description for a webpage on its own (if the page has no text and no description in the open directory [dmoz] it is likely Google will use the meta description tag in its SERPs). Please note that it is only using this description in its SERPs, not its algorithm.


FAQ) Should you use Meta Tags in your site? Yes. They do have some affect in some search engines and even though that effect is almost zero it is still more then zero so is worth the time.


FAQ) How much time should I spend on my Meta Tags? Ten minutes. Write a nice concise description of your page and throw in a sampling of keywords (which you should have handy if you've optimized your pages properly). You should spend no more time then this on them. Use your time to promote your site and get quality inbound links.


FAQ) How many keywords should I use? As many as you want. If you start to think you may have too many, you probably do. This means you need to divide your page into subpages with each one taking its own topic.


FAQ) What happens if I use includes for my pages? Will the search engines see them?The search engines don't care about what server side technology you use. All they see is the (x)HTML your server side code generates. To see what they see simply load your page in your favorite web browser and then view the source. What you see is exactly what they see.


FAQ) Should I submit my website to the Search Engines by hand or use software?Do it by hand. It will not take long to do and will ensure that you are successful in submitting each form with the correct information. There is a constant debate about how search engines feel about automated submission software. Since there is a reasonable chance these are frowned upon by the search engines, and since you can do anything they can do on your own, you might as well avoid them.

But, if you're going to use software, these title seem to be the most common ones recommended: Addweb, Web Position Gold, Web CEO


FAQ) How often should I submit my website to the search engines?Once. Resubmitting your url does not get you indexed faster or improve your rankings. Also, resubmitting your site will never cause your site to be banned. If so, then all you would need to do is submit your competitors' sites repeatedly until they were banned.


FAQ) How often should I submit my website to the search engines?This is a very common myth that is 100% untrue. The file extension does not affect your rankings in any way. After all, no matter what server side programming language you use, and what extension you choose to use with it, they all just spit out HTML in the end. That's all a web browser will see and that all a search engine will see.


FAQ) Sites with .com rank higher then with <tld>This is another common myth that is untrue. The only time a domain extension can affect your ranking is if the search is based by country. The country-specific TLDs (e.g. .co.uk) will have priority over non-country specific TLDs (e.g. .com or .net).


One observation many make is that .coms tend to rank higher then other domain extensions. They assume it is because .coms are given preferential treatment. This is a poor assumption. .coms seem to rank higher then other extensions because they are by for more popular then any other domain extension (there are more .coms than .net, .org, .biz, .edu, .gov, and .info combined) so they naturally have a greater chance of ranking higher vs other domain extensions through sheer quantity alone. .coms also tend to be older sites so they have had a chance to establish themselves whereas newer domain extensions have not. They have also used this time to acquire more backlinks which is an important factor in search engine algorithms.

It is also commonly believed that .gov and .edu sites are given preferential treatment from search engines. This is also untrue. Web pages on .edu and .gov domains tend to rank well because they contain quality content and many webmasters will link to their content as a result. Both of these are key elements in SEO. But the fact that they are .edu or .gov domains does not benefit them directly in the SERPs.

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