Thereâs a ton of search engine optimization, keyword phrase strategies, and
page ranking advice out there that promises to get your website booming with
traffic from Google, Yahoo!, and Bing (formerly Live, formerly MSN).
Unfortunately, much of the free help is dated and discusses a system thatâs
long been revolutionized since the major search engines took over.
Some of the alleged top Google listing tips, tricks, and services are just flat
out wrong, misleading, and can be harmful to your online business. If you really
want to increase targeted traffic to your website, you should ignore the
following SEO adviceâ¦
What to Avoid and Ignore When Optimizing Your Website for Search Engines
1. Hiding lists of links on your page to be picked up by web crawlers.
Google looks for keywords in specific areas on the page. Mainly in the title and
within the content itself. Listing a bunch of keywords somewhere outside the
content, especially in a way that cannot be seen by visitors, wonât help you
and might even get your website penalized. Tags being an exception.
If it doesnât read like a decently formatted narrative, then the web crawlers
probably wonât think it is either. Thatâs what theyâre designed to do -
decipher which webpages contain the information to help people typing in queries
in their search engine to get to what theyâre looking for.
2. Believing that filling your meta tags with keywords will help you.
Donât be naive enough to think that you can tell the search engines what your
webpage is about, which is what many meta tags do. Google and the other engines
donât even use them to determine page ranking anymore (Google never did), and
so itâs already an obsolete method. Google also uses the text around keywords
in the content to determine the page descriptions, so its not necessary to
include. However, if you want a more standard description for search engines,
you can still use the description meta tag and Google will pick it up to be
displayed in listings.
3. Using link exchanges to create backlinks.
Itâs true that inbound links from other webpages greatly enhance your high
search engine listing position probability, but only if theyâre from related
sources. Google wonât consider a link back from a website about hiking as
reliable if your website is about role-playing games.
The web crawlers have gotten good at cross-referencing content and they know the
difference between an apple and an orange.
People will usually only go to related links as well, so most people visiting
the site giving you the link will not visit you anyway.
4. Trying to rank for keywords that are not related to the content on your page.
Just because you use the keywords, doesnât mean youâre going to get ranked
for them, especially if your page talks about something completely different.
Just like the engines cross-reference between websites, they also cross-
reference within topics. If you tried to place keywords for âAmerican
literature during World War IIâ to be picked up and the page really discusses
âHow YouTube became popular,â your page will probably just get buried in the
depths of cyberspace.
Again, even by chance you do rank for the term, once people see your site does
not match their search, they will either not click on it, or immediately leave
the website once the land on the first page.
5. Falling for schemes that will submit your website to âthousandsâ of
search engines and directories.
There are only a handful of search engines out there and anything else is most
likely already controlled by Google, Yahoo!, Bing, or Ask. The first three
comprise of almost 100% of the searches on the Internet. The web crawlers for
these search engines are also very efficient at what they do, so as long as
youâre already linked in to the Internet (have at least one inbound link) and
made your pages accessible to visitors, your website will get indexed (listed)
anyway. You donât need to submit to anyone, let alone pay for it.
6. Falling for schemes that guarantee or promise number 1 spots on search
Thereâs much you can control to get ranked - keywords, optimizing your website
for crawlers, content, and some inbound links. Thereâs much you cannot control
as well - inbound links of competing websites and pages, the strength and
popularity of the competitorâs domain, and the age of pages to name a few. In
the end, the only people who know exactly how the web crawlers operate are the
web crawling programmers. Thereâs countless variables used to determine page
rankings that we just donât know about, so no one can guarantee or promise
high rankings. At the very least, a good SEO specialist can give your pages a
higher probability of being ranked on the first page, but not much more.
7. Focusing on Google's "PageRank" number for your website.
This number tries to place a numerical popularity value on your page and in
large part represents the number of inbound links. However, do not get the cause
and effect confused. The number indicates page popularity, it does not create it
or boost it. Also, PageRank does not necessarily account for every possible
keyword phrase you might be ranking for with a given page. Simply focusing on
this number can be misleading. Think of this as more of a score to see how well
you are doing overall with that page relative to other pages on the Internet.
Even Google announced people should not focus on it, so they removed it from
their Webmaster Tools.
8. Listening to "Experts" who say your page won't list well because of its web
mix of any of these, search engines will be able to index your pages. Now, there
can be some exceptions, if your pages are coded poorly etc, but don't fall for
schemes of SEO specialists wanting to redesign your entire website because it's
in asp.net. Pure myth.
9. Trusting "SEO experts" because they ranked well for a keyword.
Many SEO specialists like to taut their ability to rank well for a specific
keyword phrase, claiming that this example proves they can get your pages rank
as well. However, you need to do your research. Many of these specialists find
keywords no one or very few people type into search engines. On top of that,
very few people in the field use the phrase. With no competition and no one
interested in trying to rank for the keyword because people do not use phrase,
of course someone can step in, target that phrase, and rank well for it.
In these cases, it does not matter how many inbound links the competing websites
bring in, because those websites do not directly relate or target the keyword.
Also, watch out for SEO specialists who focus on search results. For example,
people who claim they ranked #1 in a search engine listing for a phrase with 4
million other results. Search engine results account for not just all the
websites using that phrase, but all the websites using any combination or
individual words in the phrase. So, if someone searches for "big red hats in
London" then websites using "big red hats in London" as well as websites
containing "big red hats" or "big" "red" "London" and every other variation you
can think of, will also be listed. Most of these websites do not relate to the
search and really do not matter in the grand scheme of things.
It does not matter how many websites show up in the search if no one searches
for that phrase, no one targets the phrase, and most of the websites only show
up in the list because their content contains snippets of the phrase.
Ask for real proof and real results. Ask for client data where the SEO
specialist got a page listed in a top position for a targeted, relevant, and
commonly used keyword. If they cannot provide such evidence, time to look
Where can you check out how many searches a keyword gets in a month? Start by
visiting Google's Keyword Tool.
Start thinking organic and natural.
If you come across anything that sounds like itâs a cheat, a work-around, like
itâs trying to pull one over the web crawlers and trick them into getting your
page ranked, then itâs probably a bad idea. It wonât work and the search
engines might even punish your page for the attempt to fool them.
You need to start thinking organically, thinking how your page would succeed
Make sure you alwaysâ¦
Write content on pages that bring real value and useful information to your
Use keywords that relate directly to your subject matter. You can watch the
importance of using relevant long tail keywords right from the source at Google.
Get links from websites in your own market or field and hope that others will
also find your information worthy for them to share with others.
When in doubt, review Google's website guidelines. To get an idea of what Google
focuses on, you can also read about their technology overview page for searches.
Stay away from SEO specialists and consultants that tell you to use any of the
methods to avoid mentioned here. Trust your gut on their advice and donât be
afraid to get a second opinion.
The search engines want to find your useful information and pages to share with
the world. Start writing about what you know best and format it the best and
most accessible way you can and youâll already be ahead of most of the game
SEO Tools â Scripts That Help And Ones That Flunk
Itâs hard enough to find good resources and programs out there to help your
web pages get ranked on Google, Yahoo!, and Bing without needing to worry about
the numerous services that donât work or give you inaccurate information.
Check out these free SEO tools, scripts that while target useful information, do
not live up to their promises, and others that do!
Domain Age Checker
The guys over at WebConfs.com host a plethora of pages to plug in info and get
the data you need. Unfortunately, while domain age matters, with older websites
seen as more trustworthy by search engines and more difficult to knock out of
the top ten search results for a keyword, their Domain Age Tool flat out lies.
So bad, in fact, that it can be as much as 6-7 years off! Given the Internet
only really started booming in the 90â²s, thatâs a huge margin.
Lucky for us, SEOLogs.com hosts a similar program that actually reports good
estimates. Of course, if you want the best information, you can always look up
the domain at www.whois.com.
For years people heralded (and man still do) Alexa as the gold standard when it
came to traffic rankings. When considering the ability to rank a page for a
keyword, domain strength and popularity matter, the volume of inbound traffic
matters. As a webmaster for multiple clients, I can easily cross-reference
actual traffic and Alexaâs rankings. I can tell you with certainty that Alexa
at times gave clients who received triple the traffic a lower score and position
in comparison to clients who received substantially less traffic. Itâs a
faulty system that sometimes works and many a time does not. People need to stop
promoting it and using it. The same goes for Compete.com.
Quantcast does much better, but thatâs because it requires a script much like
Google Analytics, and then can only serve people when comparing sites within
itâs own circle. So unless Google releases itâs own Alexa, itâs a
crapshoot trying to sort out rankings amongst these three resources. Googleâs
PageRank might be the only alternative, but with a range of 0-10, itâs hardly
First off, do not buy a program to generate keywords for you. You know your
market best, you know the lingo being used, you should build your own list and
then branch out from there. Second, do not bother with Wordtrackerâs Free
Keyword Suggestion Tool. The tool only gives you data based on people who type
words into the tool, not into search engines! You can guess that only people
concerned about keywords then, not your actual market, would be feeding it
information. Wordtracker does not even supply an ample list. For example, I
typed in âSEO Tipsâ and it gave me three phrases âseo tips,â âfree msn
seo tips,â and âseo copywriting tips.â I donât know which search engines
theyâre useful for, what my competition might be like, nothing.
Your best free option, straight from the source, would be Googleâs AdWords:
Keyword Tool. Originally designed for Adword campaigns, it uses search
information directly from Google, directly from 67% people searching online, for
itâs estimates. It tells you the monthly search volume, the current search
volume, and how many competitors target the word (assuming businesses know their
stuff, high competition means difficult to rank for due to high website usage of
the term). It also lists many variations of the phrase, related phrases, and
even slightly related phrases. It truly lets you know whether or not youâre
wasting your time trying to rank for keyword phrases people rarely search for.
It also lets you specify results by language and region and you can even get
recommended terms pulled directly off websites. Itâs awesome and the best
keyword tool youâll find!
Lastly, Donât be a Tool Yourself!
Thereâs plenty of dishonesty and bad SEO practices going around. Donât let
some SEO specialist or consultant pull your chain and waste your money. If your
gut starts giving you the signs and you donât see any good results, it might
be time for a second or even a third opinion! And remember, Iâm always around
for a bit of hand holding too. Feel free to send a question my way!
Duplicate Articles â Search Engine Listing Suicide
So youâve decided to give blogging and article marketing a shot to increase
traffic, create inbound links, and improve your listing position on the major
search engines. Youâve already written a handful of articles in your niche
market to distribute to high traffic publication sites. But then after you
submitted them, you noticed many did not rank in Google and other search
engines, even though you optimized them for keywords, and found the articles
listed in the engine.
Now ask yourselfâ¦.
How many websites did you submit each individual article to?
Youâve probably fallen victim to the duplicate articles dilemma.
Rewind to a few years ago when âInternet marketing gurusâ were pushing their
viral marketing strategies and encouraging people to submit the same article to
every known article directory they could get their hands on. Well, guess what?
They were encouraging countless people to essentially spam the search engines
with their writings and trick a system big on copyrights and original content.
Everybody knows how huge a taboo spam is. Eventually, Google and the other guys
caught on and implemented algorithms in their web crawlers to weed out and bury
And who can blame them? How reliable would users consider an engine that listed
the same exact information in the top ten spots for a search, just on different
websites? Thatâs like a library only offering different editions of the same
book when someone was looking for research on a particular topic. What if
someone turned in a paper with a works cited for 10 sources all essentially the
same piece of information? Intelligent people would find a new library and the
guy who wrote a paper would probably fail the assignment.
Google wants to bring value to their users and offer a service second-to-none,
thatâs how they climbed to the top in the first place. So, if youâre trapped
in the habit of creating duplicate content, you should ask yourself the same
question - are you creating any real value for people?
The Reality of Article Submission
Most of the article databases receive very little relative traffic to begin with
and return a low residual effect. Their traffic rankings cannot compete with
more prominent sites like universities and news sources, or high traffic
directories and blogs. If youâve spent several hours on a top notch article,
why publish it on www.most-awesome-articles.com (not really a website) where it
wonât get ranked, it wonât be found by the website users, and when other
sites like WordPress, HubPages, Squidoo, and EzineArticles are around? If you
wanted to include a guest piece in your magazine or paper, which source would
you rely onâ¦ one from a prominent editor at CNN or a random letter received
Google thinks in a similar fashion on their end. Why list an article from
www.most-awesome-articles.com when they already have a version from HubPages?
You might be thinking to yourself - what about Reuters? What about authorized
syndication? Itâs true that Google and the other engines allow some room for
syndication from common news sources, but most of us do not operate in those
circles or have access to that content to freely use, so why take the chance?
Probability dictates that Google will pick up one of your articles, but the rest
will get lost in the engine and with them all the time spent submitting to
dozens of useless directories.
Truth betold, no one can guess why Google keeps one version of web copy over
another. It could be related to the age of the page (how long itâs been live
online), the reliability of the source, the code to text ratio compared to the
other versionsâ¦ and sometimes, the engine will list more than one copy. Itâs
all guess work, but you can bet that more often than not, only one version will
The Solutions That Almost Saved You
But then there came in the works a hybrid solution to try and trick the engines
again! Re-write the article so the web crawlers think itâs something new, so
one can submit almost the same article to at least the top publication sites
without needing to create something fresh. And so began the age of
www.dupecop.com and similar services like Article Checker to check the
percentage difference between docs.
Here too though, writers beware, Googleâs web crawlers are more sophisticated
than people give them credit for, and even an article that appears to be 50%
different can be picked up as a dupe. To safeguard this technique, a service
like QuoteFinderhttp://blogoscoped.com/quotefinder/ is recommended. Just change
the sentences that show more than one online source in your new article.
The Best Solution for Duplicate Contentâ¦ Doh!
I however, have an even better solution! Stop creating duplicate articles
completely and start writing original and unique content that really offers
value to your readers and hopefully potential clients. Nobody likes a fraud, a
hack, or a two-timer â and thatâs what youâll look like if the smarter-
than-you-think readers find out youâre duplicating content out there, or
worse, simply rehashing someone elseâs. Donât destroy your potential
credibility, visibility, and profitability because of laziness. Make each
article you write count and make sure itâs one-of-a-kind.
The following benefits of blogging and article marketing can be yoursâ¦
Higher page position in search engines (with inbound links)
Increased webpage traffic
Increased clients and customers
But if you duplicate content all youâll do is lose the above benefits plusâ¦
What to do with your now unwasted time?
Search engines also like pages to stay fresh! Update your articles from time-to-
time. Add in new information, take out parts now obsolete, add in some graphics,
optimize the keywords, and keep editing until you get ranked on the first page
for your targeted keywords. A well maintained and fully tweaked article can
bring in more traffic and more business than 15 hurried and forgotten pieces any
Online publication and writing can be one of the strongest methods to market
yourself and your business online as well as improve your search engine listing
position. So do continue with your blogging and article marketing, and do submit
your awesome work so people can find it at EzineArticles, your blog, or other
sites, but steer clear from tendencies to submit duplicates â in the end,
youâre just committing internet marketing suicide. And like spam, we know how
deadly that can be.
You can read more from the source over at Google and their warnings and
guidleines about duplicate content.