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Thread: SEO Basics

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    410

    Default Some thoughts on SEO Basics

    It has always been my belief that if you want to be successful in anything you must first learn the basics. After several weeks of activity with SEO basics I have come to a preliminary hypothesis that SEO and usability share many aspects. Since usability is my area I have to be careful with my conclusions. However, if one were to begin with the premise that the search engine is just another user who whats to be able to quickly find information relevant to his or her search then such a premilitary hypothesis has surface validity.

    Here are some of my thoughts on basic SEO. Please feel free to improve on or add to them.

    1. Design architecture. - Build on a strong foundation. When building a house you build on a strong foundation, certainly it's the same principal with building web sites. The strongest foundation you can build on is xhtml and css (Cascading Stylesheets). (see http://www.devarticles.com/c/a/HTML/...tion-to-XHTML/ for an introduction to xhtml. With xhtml/css you can separate content from layout. This has many advantages among them: search engine and user friendliness; easy to edit and maintain; and future compatibility with web devices. Ironically, web site architecture is often ignored by "SEO experts."

    2. Meta Tags: Title and Meta tags. In SEO there is agreement on the importance of title tags and meta tags for the description. While other meta tags may play a role in SEO Title and description are the two that demand the most attention. Use individualized title tags and descriptions for each page of your site that you want to optimize.

    3. Content: After design architecture, content is the most important aspect of your optimization because it is the reason why a user will visit your site. Assuming your content is relevant, your pages need to be easily accessible to your visitor. Remember I started with the premise that the search engine is a visitor. I suggested above that you use CSS for layout, now here is what css can do for your content: CSS-driven web pages download faster than table-driven pages; Web pages laid out with CSS have better accessibility and cross browser compatiblity making your pages usable on a broad variety of web devices; CSS-driven web pages have higher search engine ranking because they contain a far greater content to code ratio than table-driven ones making it easier for search engine spiders to access page content.

    4. Linking: Linking is an important aspect to any optimization program, but instead of linking for the sake of linking think of linking as something that will be of value to your visitors. Whether or not search engines rate you equally on relevant and non-relevant links there is no user value to a link that is not relevant to web pages and your content. Link to pages that make sense and request links from web pages that have relevancy. In the long term only relevant links will prove to be valuable to a visitor including the search engine spider.
    Last edited by frobn; 03-13-2005 at 04:38 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    61

    Default What works for me... poor mans seo

    Get the Google toolbar for page rank and page info tools.

    I Study the competitions page titles and meta tags that Google has listed in the first 5 positions.

    Put a lot of thought into what my customer is going to type in to find my site. I also look for niche keyword phrases to get as many of my other pages to show up during searches.

    If possible put keywords in the domain name.
    domain name ex. www. wilmingtonrealestate .com

    Every page gets its own keywords placed in the page titles and multiple times in the web page content.

    Every page gets text links at the bottom redirecting to the websites main pages.

    If possible add pages to cover for misspelled keywords or reversed phrases
    keyword ex. wilmington nc real estate
    keyword ex. wilmington nc realestate
    I don't worry about plurals with Google

    Do my meta tags just because I'm anal.

    Put my js, styles, and misc. scripts off page.

    Get links on sites that are being indexed by Google and have a page rank of at least 4.
    link ex. <a href=www.wilmingtonrealestate.com>Wilmington NC Real Estate</a>

    Try to get into the dmoz - Open Directory Project (ODP).

    Monitor Google page rank and adjust as needed.

    Some keywords may have massive competition in a given area and have sites that have been indexed with those keywords since the istone age... early-mid 90's, they are spending the big bucks to get there and to stay on top.
    I can not beat them with my budget nor my customers budget's, so I work hard to find work a rounds and other niches.

    I bought the book Search Engine Visibility by Shari Thurow ISBN:0-7357-1256-5 and frequent http://searchenginewatch.com/ and http://www.highrankings.com when things aren't working out or I need a dose of dry knowledge.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    48

    Default OR Listings going well with Google :)

    I've had great luck with http://support.open-realty.org/showthread.php?t=3351 . I used it in two main places, the Title, and at the beginning of my meta descriptions, followed by my keywords. Actually, I use it again as a CSS scaled down H1 header in my user top, and user bottom. I also experiment with making the most out of my Title, incorporating Key Words for out of town property, and I add pricing, using - dashes - to seperate the keyword phrases from prices. I also added keywords to the bottom of every user bottom, which is a bit spammy, but at MSN it REALLY helped. Especially in the search for neighbourhoods relevant to city. I'd like to figure out how to make a dynamic "neighbourhood specific data" area come up in user bottom view. Google loves my listing pages, even though I'm still in the sandbox. Hope thats a good sign. I went from having 3 documents on my site known by Google to having 144 in less than a week when i added dynamic titles/descriptions/h1 headers, in both my OR listings, and then in my reciprocal links area. Tonite I did the .htaccess MOD as well, perhaps that will help - I admit, I don't really understand it, all I did was add the one line to the end of my .htaccess file, then renamed the .txt file I had upload to: .htaccess. Seems to simple? Hope I didn't mess anything up

    this is how my listings look at Google:

    Kelowna Real Estate Listings, 1502 - 1128 Sunset Drive - $485000 ...
    1502 - 1128 Sunset Drive - $485000, kelowna real estate, kelowna real estate
    listings, kelowna homes for sale, Darcy K. Smith " Guests in Kelowna, ...
    www.kelowna-real-estate.com/ real-estate/listingview.php?listingID=50


    As explained here:
    http://support.open-realty.org/showthread.php?t=3351

    Search Engine Optimization FREE tips - CSS - Table Tricks - Linking
    http://engine-optimization-search.blogspot.com

    Listings example:
    http://www.kelowna-real-estate.com/real-estate/
    Last edited by New2Dev; 03-15-2005 at 10:59 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    410

    Default

    Perhaps I missed the main point of SEO basics, which the following post bring out. Whether you do it your self or hire someone to do it for you it's a ungoing job and a lot of work.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    MI
    Posts
    118

    Default

    I've set up a FSBO site using the blue template, and I had started looking at optimizing. I've noticed that I am nowhere with google, but for Yahoo, if you search for a city that I have a listing in followed by sell by owner, I am near the top.

    I'm not using the google tap mod or anything but standard install, but Yahoo seems to place a premium on the Site title, whereas Google doesn't?

    Here are some search terms for Yahoo where I come up near the top;

    Livonia Sell by owner
    Canton sell by owner
    Ann Arbor sell by owner

    I'm going to try and experiment with some changes to see what happens. I've also noticed that yahoo seems to record the specific pages by ID, but not Google.

    I'm certain I've got a long way to go to understand the way these search engines rank things.

    Ed

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    United States of America
    Posts
    668

    Default

    frobn: Perhaps I missed the main point of SEO basics, which the following post bring out. Whether you do it your self or hire someone to do it for you it's a ungoing job and a lot of work.
    Thats worth repeating, its an all day job just to submit with search engines.

    Nice outline frobn;

    Jared.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Arizona, USA
    Posts
    239

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jaredjritchey
    ... its an all day job just to submit with search engines.
    Jared, are you submitting to "Search Engines"?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    410

    Default Some thoughts on linking

    There appears to confusion over the value of links among "SEO experts." At one extreme there is the opinion that all incoming links are weighted the same regardless of type to the other extreme that the importance of links is quickly diminishing. Logic would suggest that one-way relevant links are more likely natural and therefore more valuable. From a usability perspective I would agree. In my experience, when confusion exists among the "experts" it is prudent to take a middle road. Therefore my suggestion for linking is to have a mix. Let's say 40% reciprocal related, 30% one-way related, 30% local links. The figures are not scientific, they just look good to me. What do you think?

    I am working out some concepts on linking both reciprocal and one-way. These are based on a community approach so it is not for everyone. If interested email or send a PM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    United States of America
    Posts
    668

    Default

    ResaleBroker;
    For clients sure, for my own site no.
    I havn't found reliable automated methods, they don't seem to work now that just about every search engine has "human code" input requirements. I used a product for a while provided by my USP that automated the process, but honeslty, I could check back sometimes weeks later to find no reference to the site I submitted. Thats a little frustrating.

    So I have mixed results and tend to favor submission to a top 20 manually. In addition to cusomization of better meta tags and an in depth site index. I've learned or should I say, discovered that a good site index can really help when submission of dynamic sites is being done.

    However as FROBN has pointed out in one of his posts, mod-rewrite offers a substantial increase in bot-friendly-ness for lack of a better term.

    FYI
    Jared.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    48

    Default re: submission

    Regarding Submissions:

    No, I don't submit to search engines. For a while there I was ping and blogging instead, but that technique seems to have had its effectiveness tapered off.

    Basically, if you have enough reciprocal/backlinks - there should be no reason at all to submit to a search engine. If they know who you are, they will come.

    One except is ca.yahoo.com (for canadians). If a search egine (like Yahoo) has a seperate process for your nation, then I think it's very important. Another is of course DMOZ.org

    My site was published Dec. 24, with OR of course as the backend, and I'm #2 at MSN, and Top 15 at Yahoo. Google, well, I'm sandboxed. I have a really good feeling Google is going to come around though. For Google the .htaccess mod for shorter URL's and dynamic Titles is essential. I am now at 177 pages listed with Google, which includes every last listings. It was, in my opinion as important to include the Title data in with the description. Google doesn't like repititious Title and descriptions.

    Once a site has enough backlinks (mine is at around 990) there is absolutely no need to re-submit to Google, Yahoo, or Msn.

    The rest is plenty work anyway.
    Go for:
    #1 One way backlinks from high PR pages (hard to do)
    #2 recip links from high PR sites
    #3 Optimized code on your home page.

    OR, the main table structure, is, well very poor SEO. If I actually understood how to put the three documents together (one day I'm going to have to print out all three pages, usertop, menu, user bottom etc... if I could see the table as one, I'd fix it. IT is poor because in SEO, you need to get your keywords to the top. Use Lynx to see this in effect. I was at first going to dedicate a lot of time to this, because it is a big issue, however, after some thought, I just opted for having OR reside in a subdirectory instead of being in my main public_html folder. My main page uses a table trick, whereas OR does not. You can tell by how a page looks at delorie.com Lynx view, if it is optimized or not. My home page is loaded, maybe even "too" optmized, I've heard rumors that can actually hurt you a bit.

    I think its worth doing a MOD for, if you want top 10, and your competition is fierce, other than that, its a waste of time. The other thing that makes me say why bother is, OR 2 is still progressing so...

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