SEO Winning the Search Engine Wars - The UnFair Advantage book
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SEO Winning the Search Engine Wars - The UnFair Advantage book

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SEO: Search Engine Optimizer ...

SEO: Search Engine Optimizer
An SEO is someone who understands how search engines work in the online marketplace, An SEO optimizes web site and web pages to rank highly within the search results. As an SEO you will inevitably , also become an SEM, that´s a Search Engine Marketer; a person who understands how to use the art of SEO. You are in for an exciting adventure because, once you learn and master the skills within this course, literaly, the sky is the limit for you!

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SEO Winning the Search Engine Wars - The UnFair Advantage book SEO Winning the Search Engine Wars - The UnFair Advantage book Document Transcript

  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars March 2011 —Version SE177 All Rights Reserved © Copyright 1997-2011 Planet Ocean Communications, Inc. 75-1027 Henry St Suite 11A #301 · Kailua-Kona, HI 96740-3154 Planet Ocean® is a registered trademark of Planet Ocean Communications, Inc. All other logos contained within are the property of their respective Trademark owners
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 2 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 Congratulations for taking your first BIG step toward becoming an accomplished SEO! Search Engine Optimizer (SEO) An SEO is someone who understands how search engines work in the online marketplace. An SEO optimizes Web sites and Web pages to rank highly within the search results. As an SEO you will, inevitably, also become an SEM. That's a Search Engine Marketer; a person who understands how to use the art of SEO (search engine optimizing) to 'market' products and services online, over the Internet. You are in for an exciting adventure because, once you learn and master the skills within this course, literally, the sky is the limit for you! In other words, once you complete this course along with all of the Advanced SEO Tutorials within our membership site at SearchEngineNews.com, you'll have the knowledge you need to: Position your own Web sites and Web pages to rank at the top of the search results. In our opinion, owning your own business is the way to go. Putting your business 'online' is a necessity. It‘s hard to imagine any business 'making it' if they do not have a prominent online presence. And, being found at the top of the search results - exactly where your customers EXPECT to find you, is critical to the success of your business. Position OTHER PEOPLE's Web sites to rank at the top of the search results. The knowledge you‘ll gain from this course will provide you with a marketable skill for which you can charge a healthy fee. You'll be primed to perform a valuable service to any business that has, or wants, an online presence. It‘s not the slightest bit unusual for an SEO to earn $25, $50, $75 per hour or more (oftentimes much more) for their services. Consult for a fee to any person or business that has, or wants, an online Web presence. Although you will likely need to get some experience under your belt before you can expect to demand top dollar for consulting services, the fact remains that our own Planet Ocean SEO consultants command a hefty $500/hr (yes, that's Five Hundred Dollars per HOUR) when we do SEO/SEM consulting. Obviously your earnings aren‘t likely to be that high in the beginning, and perhaps never. However, if you do go on to become an Expert, your earnings could be even higher. Some SEOs and online marketing consultants charge as much as $6000 just for doing an SEO Web site audit. The point is that SEO consulting is immensely valuable to businesses that operate online BECAUSE the money those businesses make with the information we provide, greatly exceeds any $500/hr or $6000 site-audit fees that we charge them. But please! Don‘t construe any of the above as income promises or estimates of your future earnings. Nobody can really tell you how much *money* YOU will make as a result of the education you‘ll receive from this SEO course. Suffice to say that, if you are diligent in your studies and industrious in your efforts, then this course can become the threshold of an almost unlimited opportunity to duplicate, or even exceed, the successes of
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 3 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 others who have gone before you. After all, this whole ‘internet thing’ is just now really taking off. Incidentally, the earnings stated above are based on our own experience and the experience of others who have published their fee structures on the Web. They are accurate, verifiable and, if you like, we will be happy to provide details. Contact our customer service for specifics. Your Membership Explained You are now looking at Part ONE, of your Basic SEO Course. 1. This eBook is Part One of your SEO Course. When you complete this section, you‘ll have reached the level of Intermediate SEO. 2. The Advanced SEO Tutorials comprise Part TWO of this course. Once you‘ve completed Part Two, you‘ll have reached the level of Advanced SEO. This eBook section assumes you‘re starting at the beginner level. It will lead you up through the level of Intermediate. The Advanced SEO Tutorials will then elevate your knowledge to the Advanced level at which point you would likely feel ready to begin working on your own Web sites and, perhaps, even accept clients on a hourly or fee basis. In other words, once you have finished this book, and studied all of the referenced reports and tutorials, you should feel ready-to-go as a budding Professional SEO. Sure, you will then need to acquire some experience and gain some successes before you might have the confidence to demand top dollar. But, unquestionably, you will have at your disposal all of the information that is necessary to optimize your own Web sites and to charge a fee for doing it for others. In fact we promise. That is why this course comes with a guarantee. If you feel otherwise at any time during the term of your membership, please ask for a refund. Here at Planet Ocean, we are far more interested in your success than we are in your money. So, tell us if you aren't happy. We'll take good care of you, either way. Please note that your membership also includes your subscription to SearchEngineNews.com We suspect that you‘ll soon agree your SearchEngineNews.com subscription is the most valuable part of this package. That‘s because on the first day of every month you will receive ALL of the important tactical changes, new strategies, and trend forecasts that emerged over the prior 30 days and are relevant to search engine optimization and marketing (SEO&M). In other words, this means that you can literally ignore all of the daily SEO & SEM noise that would otherwise distract you away from earning your living. Rest assured that you can count on us to deliver everything that is strategically important so that you don't have to wade through all of the forum chats, blog posts, and industry- news-clutter to find those golden nuggets that you absolutely, do indeed, NEED to know.
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 4 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 WE DO THAT FOR YOU EVERY MONTH SO YOU DON'T HAVE TO! Within SearchEngineNews.com you will find the SEO intelligence you need on the first day of every month. You can count on it! ...and we've been doing this every month, and never missed a deadline, since February 1997! As a subscribed member of SearchEngineNews.com, you will need your monthly membership access information which is currently: Expect to receive a NEW monthly password on the first day of every month that you remain a member. Your password will arrive from: senews@se-news.com — right now would be a good time to flag your email account or inform your ISP so your password doesn‘t get inadvertently lost in your spam email. – Whitelisting Instructions. (And, we promise not to send you junk email — only the stuff you'll need to stay informed, like your password and other search engine related info.) Need Customer Service? http://www.searchenginenews.com/contact/customerservice/ (800) 334-5662 Toll Free U.S. (808) 329-5700 International Need technical help? http://www.searchenginenews.com/contact/tech/ Need a receipt? …your monthly password? Need to update your billing or contact information? Log into the Planet Ocean Member Center (Use your email address and your personal password you set up during purchase to log in) Remember, we love you and we‘re here to help! …so don‘t hesitate to ask! SearchEngineNews.com Membership Username: (your email address) Password: magic (Password good thru March, '11) Site: http://www.SearchEngineNews.com
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 5 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 Table of Contents Critical Preparation to Begin this Course....................................................................................................8 How to Use This Book ...............................................................................................................................10 Lesson 1: Getting Listed in the Major Search Engines, and their Order of Importance ......... 11 Chapter 1 - The Only Important Search Engines Are................................................................................11 Chapter 2 - Relevancy: The Critical Ingredient of High Ranking Web Pages ............................................11 Chapter 3 - Getting Your Web Pages Listed..............................................................................................13 Chapter 4 – What about Paying for Instant Traffic?.................................................................................13 Chapter 5 – Organic vs. Sponsored Results ..............................................................................................14 Chapter 6 - What about Search Directories?............................................................................................16 Lesson 1 Review........................................................................................................................................17 Lesson 2: All About Keywords .............................................................................................. 17 Chapter 7 - The Three Basic Steps to Dominating the Search Rankings...................................................17 Chapter 8 - What are Keywords?..............................................................................................................18 Chapter 9 - The Importance of Keywords.................................................................................................19 Chapter 10 - Finding the Money Keywords That Trigger Sales.................................................................19 Chapter 11 - How to Find All the Right Keywords.....................................................................................21 Chapter 12 - Keyword Placement: The Location of Your Keywords Count! .............................................27 Chapter 13 - Keyword Density: An Enduring SEO Myth............................................................................33 Lesson 2 Review........................................................................................................................................35 Lesson 3 - Link Building…The Most Critical Element of Top Scoring Pages........................... 36 Chapter 14 - Beware of OLD Information.................................................................................................36 Chapter 15 - Linking Basics .......................................................................................................................37 Chapter 16 - Inbound & Outbound Links..................................................................................................38 Chapter 17 - Reciprocal Links....................................................................................................................38 Chapter 18 - Link Popularity: An Evolving Concept...................................................................................39 Chapter 19 - PageRank and the Google Toolbar.......................................................................................40 Chapter 20 - Essential Strategies for Building & Structuring Inbound Links.............................................42 Chapter 21 - Choose Your Links Wisely.....................................................................................................43 Chapter 22 - Get Links from Pages that Match Your Topic.......................................................................43 Chapter 23 - Count the Number of Links on the Referring Page..............................................................44
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 6 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 Chapter 24 - Maintain Format Consistency of Your Incoming Link URL's.................................................44 Chapter 25 - Get Your Keywords into Your Anchor Text ..........................................................................44 Chapter 26 - Go for Deep Links.................................................................................................................45 Chapter 27 - Beware of the nofollow Attribute........................................................................................45 Chapter 28 - Don't Get Involved with Run-of-the-Site Links ....................................................................46 Chapter 29 - Avoid Link Farms, Web Rings, & Site Networks...................................................................46 Chapter 30 - Be Careful Who You Link To!................................................................................................47 Chapter 31 - Remember Your Primary Goal  Profits!............................................................................48 Chapter 32 - The Best Place to Start Getting Links ...................................................................................48 Chapter 33 - Acquire On-topic Links.........................................................................................................49 Chapter 34 - Link outside the Box.............................................................................................................50 Chapter 35 - The Problem with Reciprocal Links......................................................................................51 Chapter 36 - Evaluating the Quality of a Link ...........................................................................................52 Chapter 37 - Buying Links..........................................................................................................................56 Chapter 38 - How to Buy Links without Getting Penalized by Google......................................................56 Chapter 39 - Buying Ads in Ezines and Newsletters to Build Links...........................................................57 Chapter 40 - Article Links and the Value of a Good Writer.......................................................................58 Chapter 41 - Writing Your Way to a Higher Search Rank .........................................................................58 Chapter 42 - Syndicating Your Articles to Build Links ...............................................................................59 Chapter 43 - Using Forums to Reach Customers and Build Links .............................................................59 Chapter 44 - Blogging Your Way to Top Rankings ....................................................................................60 Chapter 45 - Distributing Press Releases to Build Links............................................................................60 Chapter 46 - Buying Abandoned Web Sites to Gain Links Quickly ...........................................................60 Chapter 47 - How to Obtain Valuable Links from .edu and .gov Domains ...............................................61 Chapter 48 - Providing Tools & Resources to Attract Links ......................................................................62 Chapter 49 - Using your Affiliate Program as Link Magnet.......................................................................63 Chapter 50 - Social Networking to Build Links..........................................................................................63 Chapter 51 - Discover Who's Linking To Your Competitors......................................................................63 Chapter 52 - LinkBaiting via Social Media: the fastest & safest way to acquire links in bunches ............64 Chapter 53 - Finding the Right Link Balance .............................................................................................64 Chapter 54 - Is Having a Great Site Enough? ............................................................................................65 Chapter 55 - Here's Your Link Building Roadmap!....................................................................................66
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 7 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 Lesson 3 Review........................................................................................................................................66 Lesson 4: Critical Competitive Analysis................................................................................ 69 Chapter 56 - How to Use the SSI Tool to Analyze your Competition, So You Can Beat Them in the Rankings....................................................................................................................................................69 Chapter 57 – Tricks and Traps of the SEO Trade.......................................................................................74 Lesson 5: Choosing the Right Domain Name ........................................................................ 77 Chapter 58 - What's In A Name?...............................................................................................................77 Chapter 59 - In Search of the Ideal Domain Name ...................................................................................77 Chapter 60 - Domain Names that Please Customers and Search Engines................................................80 Chapter 61 - Choosing a Domain Extension: .com? .net? .org? .biz? .info? .............................................81 Lesson 5 Review........................................................................................................................................82 Lesson 6: Site Architecture; Making Your Web Site Easy for Search Engines to Index ......... 82 Chapter 62 - Designing Search-Friendly Pages .........................................................................................82 Chapter 63 - Keep Your URLs Simple ........................................................................................................84 Chapter 64 - Meta Tags: Do They Matter? ...............................................................................................85 Chapter 65 – How to Customize the Way Your Listings Appear in Google ..............................................87 Chapter 66 - Be Careful with Session IDs and Dynamic URLs ...................................................................88 Chapter 67 - Sitemaps: What, Why, and How ..........................................................................................89 Chapter 68 - Sitemaps for Large Sites.......................................................................................................90 Chapter 69 - XML Sitemaps; How to Get Your Difficult-To-Index Pages Fully Listed................................90 Chapter 70 - XML SiteMaps as an Alternative to mod_rewrite................................................................91 Chapter 71 - How to Use Robots.txt for More Targeted Web page Indexing ..........................................92 Chapter 72 - Be Careful with using Frames, JavaScript, and Flash ...........................................................94 Lesson 6 Review........................................................................................................................................97 Lesson 7: The Pinnacle of SEO Expertise: You! ...Becoming an EXPERT................................ 98 Chapter 73 - You are now here! Look how far you've come!...................................................................98 You are now armed with at least 18 actionable linking sources and strategies: .....................................98 Chapter 74 - Becoming an Advanced SEO ..............................................................................................100 Chapter 75 - Becoming an SEO Expert....................................................................................................101 And now, a word from the legal front…..................................................................................................102
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 8 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 Critical Preparation to Begin this Course ike any industry, SEO (search engine optimization) involves a lot of trade terms and jargon. The same can be said about SEM (search engine marketing). Relax; this book provides simple understandable meanings for all the industry trade terms, jargon, and acronyms as you go. BUT if you ever get stumped about the meaning of something, you have our online SEO Glossary to help you clearly understand exactly what we (and others) are talking about. The SEO Glossary is located at: http://www.searchenginenews.com/se- news/seo-glossary/. This link should log you in automatically. If not, then use your email address and current month‘s password to gain access. In fact, you should go there now and bookmark it. Later on, when you need to look something up, you'll be really glad you did. It‘s Real, not Theory! Please note: the examples we use in this book are real, they are not theory. Most, in fact, have been taken from our ongoing experience with very successful websites that we've developed for ourselves and our clients. You should also note that we have, within our organization, more than a dozen researchers and search optimization specialists that are continuously feeding information into our collective brain-trust here at Planet Ocean® and SearchEngineNews.com. Summed up, this collective represents thousands of professional hours spent accumulating information while testing and applying the various strategies and tactics dating all the way back to 1996—the year when version #1 of this book was originated. Yes, we have been doing this search-engine-thing that long! Therefore, you will notice this course is written from a "we" perspective and reflects the collective effort that keeps this course on the cutting edge of today's competitive search engine strategies. We mention this to help you understand how much time and ongoing research we continue to pour into this SEO course to make it the world's most valuable, effective, authoritative, and up-to-date training resource for ranking at the top of Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft‘s Bing (formerly Windows LIVE Search). Please forgive us, there‘s no ―hype‖ in this book! Period. And, unless you are, well …stupid, then you already know there is no such thing as a magic wand that will wave your Web site into top rankings (darn!). Instead, successful results are the product of weaving together all of the effective ranking tactics into one strong Web site while carefully avoiding the common mistakes that can literally sink all of your good efforts. And, like baking a cake, the critical element of time is essential for you to reach your desired result. Then, as the search engines adjust to the ever-changing market, you‘ll be strategically positioned to make your own timely adjustments as needed. These course materials, combined with our monthly publication of strategic updates (included with your membership at SearchEngineNews.com) will keep you abreast of ALL of the forthcoming adjustments. L
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 9 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 Cautionary Note: Be sure to read the book completely before you start constructing, deconstructing, or making changes to your Web site. You may find that you already know some of these strategies and techniques, especially in the early lessons of this book. That‘s because we start with the most basic and then move on to the more complex. If you already know the basics, great! Your knowledge will give you an added advantage because you'll already have that experience to build on. This will enable you to comprehend the value of the more subtle, yet most valuable, refinements contained within—as well as provide you with a solid foundation to build your expertise. Rest assured you will learn many useful strategies that you do not know; in fact, we guarantee it. By keeping an open and inquisitive mind you'll be more likely to find those subtle changes that will make a HUGE difference in your Web site's rankings. On the other hand, if everything in this book is new to you, that's okay too. We are starting from the beginning. Assuming you‘re at least somewhat comfortable with your computer, and have some idea of what the Internet is about—and aren't afraid to experiment with HTML documents (aka, Web pages), then you will succeed. Even if you‘re an Internet beginner, the information contained within this book will start making sense to you once you begin to familiarize yourself with the Internet, Web page design, and source code. In fact, you'll likely even gain an unfair advantage over many of the so-called pros.
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 10 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 How to Use This Book This book is divided into Eight Lessons: We highly recommend that you read this entire book before attempting to ―SEO‖ your Web site for ranking high in the search engines. And, by the way, to search this book, use Ctrl+F and then enter whatever you‘re looking for in the search box at the top. Try it out right now to see how it works...search for anything you wish or just enter the phrase: anchor text) Lesson 1 You are Here Lesson 2 Getting Listed in the Major Search Engines, and their Order of Importance Lesson 3 All About Keywords Lesson 4 Critical Link Building Strategies Lesson 5 Critical Competitive Analysis Lesson 6 Choosing the Right Domain Name Lesson 7 The Site Architecture of Top Ranking Websites Lesson 8 Becoming an Expert SEO
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 11 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 Lesson 1: Getting Listed in the Major Search Engines, and their Order of Importance Chapter 1 - The Only Important Search Engines Are... e are sure this is no surprise, but if you were to focus on only one search engine, that would have to be Google. They are miles ahead of their only two rivals, Yahoo and Microsoft‘s latest search engine, Bing (formerly Window's LIVE Search). Google receives more than 65% of all searches and their market share keeps growing. Even YouTube, which is owned by Google, gets more searches than either Yahoo or Bing. And, 95% of all searches take place on these three major engines. Not only is Google the sole dominant player in its own right, it also provides search results for Internet service providers (ISPs) like AOL, Earthlink, and Time- Warner as well as many other lesser ISP‘s. So, throughout this book, when we use the phrase 'search engines' we are speaking of Google, Yahoo, and Bing—in that order. And the heavy emphasis will always be on Google. If something is unique to either Yahoo or Bing, we will clearly state it as such. Otherwise, think Google! Now that we've put the search engine universe into perspective, let‘s define and outline the strategic process of getting your Web pages listed, and highly ranked, in the search engines. Chapter 2 - Relevancy: The Critical Ingredient of High Ranking Web Pages t‘s important to understand that search engines make their money by showing ads. Basically, that’s their entire profit model. This means they need to show ads to as many people as possible. And the way they get the largest number of people to use their search engine is by giving them the most relevant search results possible. Think about it: If you enter the search query, Maui vacation rental into a search engine, you‘d expect to see the very best pages about vacation rentals located in Maui, Hawaii. If the search engine gave you pages about Jamaican vacation rentals or Maui onions—or even worse, pages about Viagra or online casinos, you‘d probably decide to use a different search engine; one that provides you with more ―relevant‖ search results. Therefore, you should always bear in mind that search engines have a selfish interest in providing the best, most relevant search results possible. Otherwise, people will stop using them, which means they‘ll have no one to show their ads to, and they‘ll eventually go out of business for lack of profits. Your job is to make YOUR Web pages the most relevant pages available for your business related keywords. There are a number of ways to establish your Web page‘s relevancy in the eyes of the search engines. On the one hand, we have the so-called ‘on-page’ optimization strategies. Although we'll talk more about these later, on-page optimization involves placing keywords in strategic locations throughout your Web pages so that search engines know to associate those keywords with your Web page. W I
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 12 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 Important on-page keyword locations include your title tags, header tags, internal link anchor text, bold and italicized text, text in HTML lists, alt and title tags for images and links, and other locations; all of which we will explain in detail in the next lesson. On the other hand, we have the ‘off-page’ optimization strategies. These off-page strategies relate to pages that link to you from other sites. Off-page strategies include: Anchor text: the actual keywords you click in a link that point to your Web site (a subject we‘ll be discussing throughout this book), This is what the paragraph would look like as it is displayed on a Web page… Looking for help grooming your new dog? Check out this great article that shows some must know dog grooming tips. Keyword text within the paragraphs surrounding that anchor text, Keywords within titles of the pages that link to you, Keywords within the body content of the pages that link to you, Directory categories your site is listed in, Directory categories of the sites that link to your page, The authoritative strength of the sites that link to you, The authoritative strength of the sites that link to the sites that link to you. These along with many lesser elements all add up to a successfully optimized Web site. Of all the off-page strategic factors listed above, the inbound link anchor text is currently the most important, but they all play a collective role as factors that add relevancy to your Web pages.
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 13 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 Chapter 3 - Getting Your Web Pages Listed our first steps to getting listed in a search engine are actually very straightforward. Let‘s start with Google, since it‘s the most popular search engine by far. After you've finished reading this book, compiled your keywords, analyzed your competition, and built your Web pages, your next step must be to obtain a link to your site from another site that is already listed in Google! In case you're thinking, "Why not just submit my site to Google?" ...here's why: Google prefers to find pages on its own by following links from other sites. Google places more trust in pages that it finds naturally through links that are pointing at it than it does in pages that are submitted to them. Of course, if this is your first site, then you may not (yet) have an easy way to place a link to it from an existing Google-listed site. But don't worry, in Lesson Three: Critical Link Building Strategies, we'll give you some good ideas for acquiring your first links. The getting listed procedure is exactly the same for Yahoo and Bing. Being listed in the index of any of the major search engines legitimizes your site in the eyes of the others. And, once you have pages indexed in any of these engines, you'll have your very own avenue of entry for new pages and sites. By simply placing links to these new pages from your own Google-known pages, search engines will find these strategically placed links the next time they visit your site to update their index. By the way: after you register a domain name, you might receive emails from businesses offering to "submit your site to thousands of search engines." Avoid these offers like the plague. These are scam artists who prey upon the ignorance of people who do not know that 'submitting' their site to Google, Yahoo, or Bing is a waste of time. And to say they'll get you listed in thousands or even hundreds of engines is the online version of snake oil. That's because these lesser engines are generally redundant and send virtually no significant traffic whatsoever. Chapter 4 – What about Paying for Instant Traffic? f your budget can afford it, and you're looking for immediate traffic to your Web site, then pay-per-click marketing is one way to help build your company's immediate web presence. A Pay-Per-Click (PPC) program (Google's AdWords is a PPC program) can have an ad for your site listed on the front page of the search results (in the Sponsored Listings section) and sending traffic to you within a matter of minutes for a price. However, PPC is not something to be entered into lightly. Since you‘re paying for every visitor a search engine sends your way, it‘s possible to unwittingly rack up expensive click- charges if you‘re not careful. Frankly, we consider the PPC realm to be the battlefield of Advanced and Expert SEOs, and beyond the scope of this course. Y I
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 14 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 Still, when used correctly, PPC is one of the most powerful weapons in an Expert SEO's arsenal. The three major PPC services are Google AdWords, Yahoo Search Marketing and Microsoft's adCenter. Chapter 5 – Organic vs. Sponsored Results he Sponsored Listings that you see on the right hand side of the search results are what we call pay-per-click (PPC) ads. Do not confuse these with the non-paid—aka, organic, natural or regular listings found in the main search results. If driving traffic to your site quickly is your main goal, then there's nothing faster than PPC. Google AdWords can have you receiving traffic in as little as 15 minutes. But, we recommend that you know what you are doing before venturing forward with any PPC campaign. Google‘s AdWords informational page, is here https://adwords.google.com/select/index.html Getting listed in Google‘s organic search results is free; but is not nearly as fast as getting listed in the paid Sponsored Listings via Google AdWords. Bear in mind, however, that ranking well in Google depends greatly on how many inbound links a page has—and it typically takes some time to accrue links. In Lesson Four you will learn Link Building. T
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 15 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 That's where we‘ll reveal in great detail exactly what page elements and link factors are necessary for top scoring pages in Google. For now, we'll tell you that Google assigns relevancy to pages based on a proprietary and continuously evolving algorithm that takes into account the following elements, plus a few others, by assigning them a weighting factor: Some of these factors are on-page and some of them are off-page. For instance, if another Web site links to your Web page with the anchor text, budget widgets, then Google tends to believe that your site is about budget widgets—regardless of what content your page actually has on it. This factor is known as page reputation; and Google places a lot of weight on page reputation. To rank well on Google involves optimizing as many of these on-page and off-page factors as possible. If this all sounds a bit complex, relax. It's easier than it sounds and you'll have a big advantage over your competition once you've absorbed the information in this course. Keep reading because we cover this all in detail later on. For the moment, suffice it to say that getting listed in Google should be a top priority. By the way, Google‘s not the only one in the PPC business. Every major search engine has it‘s own version of PPC. Yahoo! - Like Google, the Yahoo search engine prefers to "find" your Web pages, so site submission is unnecessary. Again, the inbound link concept comes into play. If your site has links pointing to it, Yahoo's spider will find it. If not, then it won't. So, as with Google, your mission will be to GET LINKS! (Remember: we‘ll show you how to do that in Lesson Three). Microsoft‘s Bing – Formerly Windows LIVE, Bing also wants you to wait for their Web crawler to find your Web pages, rather than submitting them. Microsoft also offers their own version of PPC advertising. They call it, adCenter. And because of the current search agreement between Yahoo and Bing, Microsoft adCenter supports both Bing and Yahoo‘s PPC accounts. And, in case you are wondering, paying for listings in Google AdWords or any other PPC Sponsored Listings program will not get you indexed or favorably ranked in Google or any other search engine’s regular search results.
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 16 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 Chapter 6 - What about Search Directories? here are two main search directories and several niche directories that can provide you with a valuable listing. Unlike the three major search engines, directories are more like catalog listings and they require that you actually submit your site (and sometimes pay a fee) if you want to be listed. Submitting to directories is a great way to begin acquiring links and driving traffic to any site, new or old. In fact, Directory submission is where to get started when you are ready to begin building your incoming link structure. In Lesson 3, Chapter 32 we'll provide more details on exactly how to get listed in Directories. However, for now, we'll limit our explanation to a simple introduction to the Web's two main Search Directories. DMOZ -- Otherwise known as The Open Directory Project (ODP), DMOZ is one of the oldest directories. It's free to add your site, but it could take a year or more to actually be included. Frankly, this time lag is a source of frustration for many. Regardless, DMOZ can provide a valuable incoming link (if you can get it) because they supply results to the Google Directory (not to be confused with the organic Google search results). And, the submission-to-indexing delay is just all the more reason to submit your site as early as possible. Because DMOZ is a directory compiled with the help of volunteer editors, it can take a very long time for your site to get listed. The volunteer editors are saddled with an ever-growing number of submissions while working with limited resources. We've had sites wait in the queue for over a year before getting listed. Therefore, submitting your site to DMOZ is something you do and then just forget about. If you happen to check back a few months (or even a year) later, and you've been accepted, then that's great. If not, don't worry. Unless you are prepared to become a volunteer editor (too hard!), there's not much else you can do to speed up the process. Yahoo Directory -- Even though the Yahoo Directory is considered to be the oldest surviving directory on the World Wide Web, it does not provide the search results for Yahoo Search. Those are provided by Yahoo‘s search engine. Therefore, be careful you don’t confuse the two (Yahoo's directory listings are searched via http://search.yahoo.com/search/dir). The value of being listed in Yahoo's Directory lies in the fact that an incoming link from Yahoo‘s Directory tends to increase the importance of your page in the eyes of the major search engines (think Google). Getting listed is free only for non-commercial sites, and good ones can expect to get listed fairly quickly. Commercial sites, however, are charged an annual $299 review fee. And, while a listing isn't guaranteed, you'll receive a response within 2 days. If your site meets all of their guidelines, your listing will immediately go live upon approval. We wholeheartedly recommend getting a Yahoo Directory listing. This is the easiest place to get what is considered to be a highly relevant and important link in the eyes of Google. That alone makes the $299/yr review fee well worth it. One very nice advantage you‘ll gain by being listed in the Yahoo Directory is that your listing quickly gets transmitted to Yahoo's International Directories. In other words, for that single $299 per year payment, you're likely to also get valuable links from directories like Yahoo T
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 17 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 India, Yahoo Asia, Yahoo Singapore, Yahoo Australia, Yahoo New Zealand, and many other country-specific Yahoo related sites. And, while it‘s true that international directory listings may not send you the kind of traffic that will help your sales, the link equity you‘ll receive from these authoritative Yahoo links will help boost your overall rankings in Google. Lesson 1 Review This lesson has provided you with a general Search Engine Strategy Overview where: 1. We‘ve identified the top three, and only important, search engines as Google, Yahoo and Microsoft‘s Bing; and in that order. 2. We‘ve revealed how Web pages actually get listed in the search engines by being found, not by being submitted. 3. We‘ve explained the difference between free, organic (aka, natural, regular) search results and Sponsored Listings which are paid search results also known as pay-per-click or PPC. 4. You now have a basic list of ranking elements that Google uses. They are; incoming links, page content, Web page title tag, keywords in URL, anchor text (i.e. link content), PageRank score; among others and not necessarily in that order. 5. And you‘ve been introduced to the two main search directories (Yahoo & DMOZ). Now you know there‘s a difference between search engines and search directories. Let's move on to the next lesson where you'll learn all about keywords. Lesson 2: All About Keywords Chapter 7 - The Three Basic Steps to Dominating the Search Rankings he secret to building a high-ranking Web site can be boiled down to three simple steps: 1. Targeted Keyword List: Assemble a smart list of relevant search words (aka, keywords) that your target audience is using to locate your products and services; and then strategically insert those keywords into the proper locations within your Web pages. 2. Search-friendly Site: Build your site so that it is easy for search engines to locate and properly index. 3. Get Links: Accumulate the right incoming links coming from the right places. And, this course will show you how to do all three. 1 Targeted Keyword List 2 Search-Friendly Site 3 Get Links T
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 18 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 Regardless of what you may have heard, 95% of professional SEO (aka, search engine optimization) is really all about focusing on these three basic steps. Yes, it's that simple. In SEO-speak, we call this, ―Building a search engine-friendly site using relevant keywords and getting the right inbound links.‖ Soon you‘ll see that SEO is not some black-magic voodoo thing. Top ranking Web pages focus mainly on building a great site with great content that uses the right keywords. This, in turn, tends to attract links which, ultimately lead to dominating the top results for your chosen keywords. Chapter 8 - What are Keywords? he singular term keyword is actually misleading. You'll almost never be optimizing your Web pages for a single keyword because single keywords are typically too general. Single keywords are also highly competitive—in fact so competitive that it is unrealistic to expect that your Web pages can score at the top of the search results for a single keyword search. But, that's ok because you don't need to, nor do you especially want to. The search terms that convert best to sales are typically very specific key phrases comprised of two to five words. Although this is sometimes called a keyword phrase, it is most typically called a keyword. For example, hotel is a keyword. But it would do you no good at all to score at the top of the search results for any single keyword like hotel. That‘s because such generic keywords are far too general. When we search Google using the keyword, hotel, the search results give us a list of hotel directories featuring hotels located all over the world. This is what's known as an untargeted search because the search results we get are not actually very useful. On the other hand, for example, let's say you own the Manago Hotel in Captain Cook Hawaii. Some of your target keywords would be: hotel Hawaii Captain Cook or hotel captain cook Hawaii—both of which reflect the location of the Manago Hotel situated in the little upcountry town of Captain Cook, on the Big Island of Hawaii, in the state of Hawaii. Another keyword possibility could be, affordable accommodations captain cook. Yet another keyword possibility could be, big island affordable accommodations. Notice that, in each of these cases, our keyword is actually a keyphrase. This is almost always the case. So, get used to thinking of each of your unique keyphrases as a keyword. Using our example above, our ―keywords‖ are actually four different keyphrases: hotel Hawaii Captain Cook hotel captain cook Hawaii affordable accommodations captain cook big island affordable accommodations Of course, there are many more keyword (i.e., keyphrase) possibilities which we could potentially target, but you get the idea. T
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 19 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 Chapter 9 - The Importance of Keywords eywords are the cornerstone of search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM). Every aspect of crafting a Web site-for-profit revolves delicately around carefully chosen and strategically placed keywords. Behind the scenes of every top-ranking sales page is a company's systematic campaign to win dominance in an escalating battle over specifically targeted keywords. The stakes can be high. Billions of $$ have already been earned and billions more are in the queue waiting to be tapped. Clearly, keywords are big business. There's much to be gained by getting them right. Be systematic and select carefully! While the effort required can be great, the rewards for mastering the skill of keyword selection are substantial. Know for a certainty that before you take another step toward online profitability, your degree of success will be mirrored by your own comprehension of all nuances that revolve around the concept of keywords: 1. How to find them, AND 2. What to do with them once you have them! And, of course, this course will teach you all three. But, right now, we'll stay focused on the basic explanations of keywords before we actually show you how to use them and where to place them within your Web pages. Chapter 10 - Finding the Money Keywords That Trigger Sales s you now know, keywords are the search words and phrases people use in their online searches. Be aware though, there are three different types of searchers... 1. Academic Information Searchers 2. Product or Service Research Searchers 3. Buyers that already know exactly what they want and are searching to make a purchase right now! To clarify, sometimes the searcher's motives are purely academic, even scientific. For example, they may be looking for information on a medical condition or a geographic location for a school report, or perhaps even a political or science answer—something that does not involve a commercial transaction of any sort at any time, now, or in the future. We call this an academic search. Another type of searcher is a person who is interested in making some sort of purchase at some time in the future; doing research in preparation for making a purchase decision at a K A
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 20 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 later time—maybe 5 minutes, 5 hours, 5 days, or even 5 months later. We call this kind of search activity, research prior to making a purchase. The searcher you really want is a buyer—a consumer who has completed their research and is ready to get involved now with your product or service. In other words, they are ready to pick up the phone and call to make an appointment or, perhaps, place an order for your product(s). They are ready to move forward with a decision that is likely to involve a commitment or purchase of some sort. They have done their research, however brief or long, and they know what they want to purchase. Of course, a Web site is well advised to build Web pages and use keywords that are geared for all three instances. But, if your site is to successfully close the sale, you must realize that it's only in the latter case—when a searcher becomes a buyer—that there's any statistically significant chance for an online company to make a sale in an unbroken buying process that looks like... So, while all three searcher-types involve keywords, only one type consistently converts to sales. That's why today's professional SEMs (search engine marketers) spend the extra effort necessary to identify the keywords that customers are using when they are ready to BUY their product or service. Sure, their secondary focus is to work keywords into their information pages that funnel researchers to sales pages as they're preparing themselves to buy. But the professionals know the difference. They know to focus their efforts on determining exactly which keywords people use to buy and which ones they use to research. Then they reverse engineer the process by building their buy keyword-pages first, before broadening their focus toward crafting their information-pages that'll capture the researchers as well. For example if a consumer is looking to buy a cell phone online, they might keyword search Google for cell phone. Obviously, they'll get results that offer a wide variety of brands with an almost endless selection of features. At this stage they are researching. Soon they may learn about Bluetooth and GPS technology and perhaps also include those keywords in their searches. At some point they learn the Motorola i605 has all of these features. Let's suppose it becomes their cell phone of choice. That's when the savvy online shopper enters a highly specific keyphrase—something like Motorola i605 best price which produces the following search result:
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 21 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 It doesn't take a behavioral science major to figure out that one of these top listed sites (see above) is likely to get that consumer's purchase as soon as the researcher turns into a buyer. Ironically, those informational funnel pages—the pages that scored well for keywords like cell phone, Bluetooth, GPS cell phones, and so forth, are what primed the pump for this sale. But, ultimately, they were left out in the cold like the nice guy on a blind date with the pretty girl who's still pining away over her last boyfriend. While cell phone, Bluetooth, and GPS were important keywords, the page that got the girl, ...uh, sale, was the page with the specific cell phone model coupled with the keyphrase best price. THAT's how buyers behave in the cell phone market. So, your job is to reverse engineer the keyword buying process for your market, making sure your pages score well in the keyword searches your customers are using to buy. Once you've covered that base, then you can build your informational funnel pages to help snag even more buyers. Chapter 11 - How to Find All the Right Keywords tart by making a list of every possible search term that people might use when searching for whatever you're selling. There's a good chance you'll easily come up with a list of twenty or so before you start to run out of ideas. That's the point at which you should resort to the following tips and tools that'll help you continue the brainstorming process of building your raw keyword list. 1. Be specific. When selecting your keywords, you want to avoid stand-alone words that are too general, such as travel. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, you will face very stiff competition. Big money sites like Expedia and Orbitz sites have already spent enormous sums of time and money to secure top positions for such general keywords. Knocking those sites out of the top results can be extremely difficult to impossible. Besides, it would also be unproductive from a sales-conversion perspective because people who buy things don't typically search using only these general keywords. Second, general keywords like travel are so broad they could apply to all kinds of products and services—travel guides, travel insurance, travel accessories, and travel tours are just a S
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 22 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 few of the possible key phrases associated with the keyword travel. Unless you happen to sell every product and service related to travel, you shouldn't waste your time and resources bringing traffic to your site that isn't likely to buy what you are selling. For example, let's say you sell travel packages to Europe. Obviously, you want to attract European travel package buyers. But, rather than targeting the keyword travel, a much better keyword would be travel Europe or European travel packages. By targeting these much more specific keywords, you'll bring a far more targeted prospect to your site—one that will be much more likely to find what they're looking for and to actually buy from you. However, when looking for keywords that are specific to your business niche, bear in mind that sometimes keywords can be too specific. A rule of thumb is that you shouldn't optimize your Web pages for keywords that none of your potential customers are using. Instead, you should focus on keywords that are in the mainstream. Fortunately, there are free keyword tools available (that we'll tell you about in a minute) to help you determine how many people are searching for any given keyword each month. The table below illustrates how the best keywords are those that generate a high volume of searches but have little or no competition because they're generally overlooked by your competitors. And you are likely to find a surprising number of these overlooked keywords once you learn how to look for them. Keyword Value Chart Keyword Category Keyword Value Examples Generic Word or Phrase Low value, Competitive, Poor Sales Conversions Travel, Real Estate, Hotel Category Slightly higher value, Somewhat easier to gain high rankings European Travel, Florida Real Estate Sub Category High value, greater percentage of sales conversions European Travel Tours, Miami Real Estate Specific Topic Highest value: These keywords will be easier to achieve high rankings & Garner higher rate of sales conversions Fully Guided European Package Tours, Miami Beach Luxury Homes Looking at the table you can also see that the more general your keywords, the more competitive they'll be in the ranking wars AND the less effective they'll be for sales conversions. The good news is that intelligently selected, specific topic keywords are not only much easier to rank well for, they also tend to convert to sales better too. 2. Put Yourself in Your Customer's Shoes, ask yourself... What problem does my product or service solve for my typical customer? Sometimes the difference between a company that succeeds and one that fails is simply a matter of talking to its customers and asking the right questions. A while ago we published a critically important article in this regard—The Missing Link to Writing Effective Ad Copy—it‘s included in the Advanced SEO Tutorial portion of this course and you should study it.
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 23 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 Learning how to interview your customers can be the X-factor, the magic bullet, the missing link between failing miserably and succeeding spectacularly. These days people who shop online are abundant and growing. It isn't hard to gather an informal group and watch as they attempt to locate a product or service within your company's sales niche. If you're selling a consumer product or providing a professional service, then friends and family could help in this regard. Sit down with them at a computer, ask them to find your products or services, and see what searches they perform. You may discover a keyword or group of keywords that you and your competitors have overlooked. Remember to keep the customer's perspective in mind. Don't make the mistake of assuming you know what customers call your products. Do the necessary research to find out what keywords that customers are actually using to locate your products or services. Learn to speak like your customers. Real people don't generally use insider terms of the trade (aka, jargon) when searching. So, unless you're selling to insiders within your own industry, you should avoid using industry trade terms. Think about words and phrases that real customers, not industry insiders, would use in a search. On the other hand, if you are selling to industry insiders, then by all means, jargon away! Reading trade magazines is a good way to become familiar with industry catch phrases. You can also scour the indexes and glossaries of books about the business you're in. Be sure to also browse the Internet forums that are dedicated to whatever specific industry, product, or service you're targeting. 3. Glean Keywords from your Web site's Referral Logs Probably the most overlooked source of keywords is your Web site's referral logs. This can be an indispensable source of feedback regarding what keywords your site visitors are using to find you. Referrals coming from search engines will include the keyword query that a searcher used to find your site. People often search using some very creative search queries—terms that you and your competitors might never think to optimize for. Once again, this can give you a leg up on the competition, even in competitive fields, by enabling you to capitalize on overlooked highly targeted keywords. 4. Check out Your Competition Once you've acquired a small list (shoot for about 30 keywords), start entering those keywords into searches on Google and Yahoo. Scrutinize the Web pages that are coming up in the search results—these are your competitors. Scouring their pages can help you uncover the keywords your competitors are actually targeting, some of which you may have overlooked. You can also view the source code of your competitors' Web pages to determine what keywords they're optimizing for. If you are using Internet Explorer (IE) then, in your browser's menu, click View, then Page Source. If you are a FireFox user, use Ctrl+U to view the source code. Once you see the source code, inspect the title tag which looks something like this: <title>Baby Strollers – The best strollers and infant supplies for your baby</title> Notice the keywords sandwiched between the start <title> and the end </title> tags. This title tag is where Web pages generally place their best keywords.
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 24 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 Another source code location for you to check is the <meta name='keywords'> tag, although oftentimes the keywords Meta tag is poorly done or non-existent so you may have to look at several pages before you find anything you haven't already thought of. However, you can still pick up a few good keywords this way. A word of caution is in order here: There are court cases where the use of a competitor's company name, product names, or trademarks, when used as keywords, is being interpreted as trademark infringement. Bear that in mind when scanning your competitor's pages to brainstorm new keywords. If it's questionable, you should consult your own legal counsel for advice on this matter. This book is no substitute for qualified legal advice. 5. Cover All Your Keyword Variations Next, look for variations on keywords you think might be successful. This includes misspellings, plurals, synonyms, merged words, or keywords separated-by-hyphens. Misspellings…Sometimes targeting common misspellings of your keywords can be an easy source of traffic. For example, one estimate says that 20% of Britney Spears related searches are misspelled (why are we not surprised?). In some cases, you may even find the misspelled or non-grammatical version of a keyword gets more searches than the keyword itself. For instance, let's say that you're optimizing your page for the keyword children's clothing. Your keyword research shows there are actually more searches for the non-grammatically correct version childrens clothing when compared to the proper children's clothing. Here is an instance where you should consider optimizing for both versions of the search term. Never mind which one is actually correct. Your customers are always right. Whatever search term they are using to seek your product is functionally correct. Of course, one must also take into account that Google and other engines have factored-in the reality that many people are lazy spellers. That's why they offer their Did you mean: feature, as in... ...where they provide the option of clicking a link that leads to a corrected version of the search term's results. Our research shows that most people actually click this corrected version of the link, since it is so conveniently found above the rest of the search results. Even so, there is traffic to be had from common misspellings of search terms. Whenever your offerings lend themselves to such, you should consider optimizing companion pages that glean traffic from bad spelling and other typical grammar mistakes whenever you know the terms involved are keywords that buyers use.
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 25 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 And, if your ego can stand the dissonance, you might consider placing both versions on the same page. Of course, you could choose to obscure the incorrect versions and even tuck them away inside your keywords Meta tag. Regardless, inexact and incorrect usage of keywords is a consumer reality that online merchants must adjust to. 6. Keyword Variations Plurals and Synonyms - Many search engines utilize a process called word-stemming to identify plural versions of a keyword. In theory, this means that a search engine should recognize charity and charities as being the same keyword. In practice, however, the search results for singular and plural versions of a keyword are rarely ever the same. This means that you should optimize for both versions by working them into the visible text on your Web pages. The same can be said for common synonyms and descriptive terms. For example, a site selling auto parts would ideally optimize for variations on the keyword auto parts, such as car parts and automobile parts. In addition, they should also optimize for the various qualifiers (like best price, high quality, lowest priced) that buyers tend to use when searching. Here's an example of text that works all of the related synonyms with typically descriptive terms into a single paragraph focused on selling car parts... Looking for the best price on car parts and accessories? You've come to the right place. We're your vehicle's one-stop source for the lowest priced auto parts and accessories. If we don't have the high quality automobile parts you're looking for, no one does! Merged and Hyphenated Words - Be aware that some keywords may be commonly merged or hyphenated. An example of a merged keyword would be webhost versus web host. In some cases, both the merged and unmerged versions will garner about an equal number of searches. In other cases, one will far outpace the other. Hyphenated keywords, such as e-commerce versus ecommerce, should also be taken into account. Again, keyword tools are available to help you determine which variation is the more popular. Remember, search engines will treat them as different keywords. So, if your research suggests you should target both hyphenated and un-hyphenated keywords, be sure to work them both into your webpages and your Web pages ;-) 7. Be Descriptive Once you've covered all the variations of what you expect to be your most important keywords, begin adding descriptive terms to augment your existing terms. For instance, cheap, low cost, affordable, or inexpensive can go with most consumer products, as can superlatives like best or cheapest. Sometimes, using reverse descriptive words (words that describe the opposite of what your product does), can work to your advantage. For example, if you're selling fast Internet connections, then slow Internet connection is at least as good a keyword as fast Internet connection, since a person typing the query slow Internet connection has a problem they're actively seeking a solution for. 8. Use Action Words
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 26 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 Try to recreate in your mind's eye how your typical customer conducts their various searches. It's likely that many will use action words in their searches. Words such as buy, find, or purchase are examples of actions words that are widely used by buyers. Depending on your market, it may be well worth appending these types of words to your primary keywords as such: Buy Motorola i605 Find Motorola i605 Purchase Motorola i605 Best Price Motorola i605 Free Shipping Motorola i605 Low Price Guarantee Motorola i605 Many searchers will also phrase their queries in the form of a question. For instance, the query, where can I buy a cell phone, actually receives a fair amount of traffic. As you grow your keyword list, consider using questions for which your site provides an answer in the form of a solution to their problem. 9. Target Local Markets If your product or service is geographically relevant, then be SURE to mention the location in the text at every opportunity. For instance, if your motel is in the little town of, say, Port Angeles, WA, then a normal sentence might begin as: The Uptown Motel boasts an unlimited panoramic view.... A better, keyword laden sentence would be: The Uptown Motel in Port Angeles boasts an unlimited panoramic view... ...even when the reader already knows it's in the town of Port Angeles. When you're selling to a local market, it helps to be familiar with local idioms and unofficial place names. For example, Philly vs. Philadelphia, Big Apple vs. New York, or Big Island vs. Hawaii—and did you know that people living on Michigan's Upper Peninsula refer to themselves as Yoopers? But don't leave out official place names. If you sell mobile homes in San Diego, make sure you optimize for california mobile home and san diego mobile home, in addition to so cal mobile home. You'll also probably want to pull in traffic from surrounding cities and counties, so you could add mission beach mobile homes, la jolla mobile homes, etc... Break out a map and add those relevant place names to your keyword list. 10. Use Keyword Tools to Complete Your Selections Once you've assembled your basic list, you'll need to determine relative keyword popularity. You must know which keywords are the most popular as compared to other related keywords. For example, if you sell coffee, you need to know if French Roast is more popular than Dark Roast, if decaffeinated is more popular than caffeine free, and so forth. Keyword tools are there to help you determine these differences.
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 27 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 When you are ready, be sure to study these two essential, critical, Advanced Keyword tutorials:  Three Good Reasons To Target Long-Tail Keywords!  Five Free Keyword Research Tools to Laser-Focus Your Web Site's Keyword Targeting Campaign! The keyword tools tutorial will provide you with ALL of the information you'll need to sharpen and hone your keyword selection process. These two tutorials will also give you all of the information you'll need to precisely target your Web pages to the right audiences using the right keywords. Consider these tutorials to be a CORE part of the Advanced Section of this SEO course. Chapter 12 - Keyword Placement: The Location of Your Keywords Count! here are numerous places on your Web page where you might place your keywords—and some page locations are much more effective than others. We'll show you how keyword placement can make a big difference in terms of ranking well within the search results. Title Tags — The most critically important location to place keywords is within your Web page's HTML <title> tag. Search engines consider the keywords found in the title tag to be extremely important. These are the keywords that literally tell the search engines what your Web page is about. Therefore, you should always place your most important keywords within the source code of your Web page's <title> tag. You should also avoid wasting valuable space with words like your company name, unless your business is so well known that people use your company name as their primary keyword while searching for what you sell (like eBay, for example). Another mistake that we commonly see in title tags is something like Welcome to our Home Page. This is pointless since nobody will be using that phrase to search for your site. It's hard to overemphasize the importance of keywords within the <title> tag located within your Web page's source code. Here are two important points to remember: 1. Your Web page title tag is the most important aspect of Web page design in regards to ranking well on all search engines. The title tag tells the search engines what your page is about. 2. Your title tag is what Google and most other search engines use as your Web page's link within the search results. It confirms to your potential site visitor that your page has what they searched for. Let's say, for example, that you own a Bed & Breakfast called Kiluhana Inn, located in Hanalei Bay on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai. You should not use Kiluhana Inn as your title tag. If you do, your business will be handicapped in a search for anything related to Hawaii, or bed and breakfast, or Kauai, or Hanalei Bay, because none of those relevant keywords T
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 28 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 appear in your title. You'll more than likely be buried in the rankings by your more knowledgeable competition. A better title tag would be: <title>Bed & Breakfast Kauai - Hanalei Bay & Beach – Hawaii</title> There are three reasons why this is a better title tag: 1. Hawaii, Beach, Bed, Breakfast, Hanalei Bay, and Kauai are all keywords in your <title> that people are likely to enter when searching for this type of service. 2. The keywords Hawaii, Beach, Hanalei, and Kauai are all terms that are entered when people are doing research related to your location. For instance, if someone does a keyword search for hanalei kauai your B&B has a good chance of showing up near the top of the search results. 3. The name of your business, in this case Kiluhana Inn, is almost always very easy to rank well in the search results because business names tend to be somewhat unique which makes them less competitive as keywords. Therefore, it is usually more than sufficient to place your business name within the normal body content (text) of your Web page. This alone will rank your Web pages at the top of the search results when searching for your business name. Stated another way, it is usually considered a waste of title tag space to place your business name within your Web page's title tag unless your business name also happens to be the primary keyword that your customers are using to find your goods or services. Take note that you should limit your title tag to 65 characters or less—usually about 7 to 10 words. Anything longer and you risk getting part of your title chopped off by some search engines. In our example above, we might consider placing Kiluhana Inn at the end of our title tag only if it fits within the 65 character limit and there aren't any better keywords to use in its place. By the way, here's a shortcut to help you find all of the other Web pages that are using your keywords in their titles. Go to Google and enter intitle:"put your title keywords here" into the search field. This will help you get a handle on how many other pages are competing for the same keywords. You should also limit the use of stop words (aka, dead weight words) in your title tags. These are words that have become so common that search engines either ignore them or return results that are hardly relevant. Examples include Homepage or Home Page, www, web, and Web page. Other stop-words that you should avoid using in your title are the, of, that, is, and, to, and so forth—words that have no meaning in a search. They waste valuable character space and do nothing to help your rankings.
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 29 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 Header Tags After your title, your Web page's header (aka, headline) tags are the next most important place for your keywords. Header tags are specified with the following HTML source code: <h1>, <h2>, <h3>, <h4>, <h5>, and <h6>. Generally speaking, an <h1> tag (because it is typically a larger font), is considered more important than an <h2> tag, which is larger and considered more important than an <h3> tag, and so on. Since your header tags will appear as headlines on your Web page, it's important that they look natural and appeal to customers who visit your site. Good examples of keyword-rich header tags would look something like: <h1>Your San Diego Real Estate Resource</h1> <h2>For buying San Diego real estate and selling real estate in San Diego, we're your one-stop source.</h2> Body Text Next on the chain of importance comes your page's <body> text. This is the source code tag that refers to the visible text on your page. Think of this as your Web page's general content that site visitors will be viewing. While it's very important to place your keywords in page titles and headers, it's also beneficial to feature your keywords throughout the rest of your page within the <body> content. Generally, Web pages should have about 200 to 300 words of text with special emphasis on two or three carefully chosen keywords. Within this keyword-rich <body> text, search engines respond favorably to keywords placed within boldface and italic fonts as well as bullet points. The style tags that look like <b>, <strong>, <i>, <em>, and <li> within the source code of your Web page. Here's an example of some keyword-rich body copy for a site that sells San Diego Real Estate: <p>The <b>San Diego Real Estate MLS</b> is your source of information and services for anyone buying or selling <b>real estate</b> in <b>San Diego</b>. We specialize in <b>San Diego real estate</b>and are committed to providing the expertise, professionalism and superior customer service today's market demands. </p> <ul> <li>Buying San Diego real estate?</li> <li>Selling San Diego real estate?</li> </ul> <p><i>Put us to work for you!</i></p> In case that looks like Greek to you, then here's a translation: The <p> tag begins a paragraph, the </p> tags ends the paragraph
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 30 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 The <b> tag begins the bold typeface, the </b> ends it. The <ul> tag begins a bullet section, the </ul> ends the T The <li> begins a bullet point, the </li> ends it. The <i> begins the italic typeface, the </i> ends it. Once you get the hang of it, it's actually pretty simple. The above paragraph would display in your browser, on your Web page, as something like this: As you can see, the tags are invisible when the text is displayed on the Web page. Cool, eh? Link Anchor Text -- When another site links to you, the text they use in their link is called the anchor text. This is an extremely important concept to grasp because Google and the other search engines look for keywords located within the anchor text when ranking Web pages in the search results. Getting your keywords placed within the anchor text of links that point to your pages will be a strategy that we will be discussing frequently within this book. It is arguably the MOST important ranking factor of all! Here is an example of a typical looking link: Homeschool Learning Style Quiz This link shows Homeschool Learning Style Quiz as the anchor text. The actual HTML source code for the link itself looks like this: <a href="http://www.homeschoolviews.com/">Homeschool Learning Style Quiz</a> This link's anchor text tells Google that the page located at: http://www.homeschoolviews.com/quiz/quiz.html is ―about‖ Homeschool Learning Style Quiz And, if there happen to be a lot of Web pages on the Internet that link to this page using Homeschool Learning Style Quiz as the anchor text, then that page will rank well in the search results for any search query that uses homeschool learning style quiz. In fact, this specific keyword strategy is one of the primary tactics for ranking at the top of the search results. Keywords placed in the anchor text of links on your Web pages are given a higher priority by Google and most every other search engine. Whenever possible, you should use The San Diego Real Estate MLS is your source of information and services for anyone buying or selling real estate in San Diego. We specialize in San Diego real estate and are committed to providing the expertise, professionalism and superior customer service today's market demands.  Buying San Diego real estate?  Selling San Diego real estate? Put us to work for you!
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 31 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 this fact to your advantage by placing your best keywords into your own site's internal text (anchor) links – those links that point to each of your Web pages throughout your site. Even better is when other sites link to your Web pages using your keywords in their link anchor text. Therefore, whenever possible, try to influence what keywords are being used in the link anchor text of other sites that point traffic in your direction. This is arguably the single most effective strategy for boosting your page's rankings. The Higher Up on the Page, the Better It's very important that you place some of your best keyword-rich text as high up within the visible content of your Web page as possible. That's because search engines index page content (by looking at your source code) in linear order and the engines give priority to keywords found closest to the top of your Web page. This means placing your keywords within your first headline (aka, header) tag (<h1>, <h2>, etc.) and in the first paragraph of your page. That means that you should avoid, whenever possible, placing images, JavaScript, and other HTML code that precedes your keyword rich text. Combining HTML Tags Now you know that keyword text placed inside <h1> and <b> tags are given more weight by search engines. You also know that link anchor text is given more weight in the ranking equations. So it follows that it can also be beneficial to combine tags whenever formatting allows. Here is an example where we combine a headline (<h1>) tag with the link anchor text, Cell Phones. <h1><b><a href='mypage.html'>Cell Phones</a></b></h1> This link‘s anchor text tells Google the Web page located at mypage.html is definitely ―about‖ Cell Phones. Google then places a high importance on the keyword Cell Phone because this keyword is found within the headline tag and is also being used in the anchor text for this page's incoming link. Whenever the layout of the page allows, you should place a sentence or two of text containing the primary keywords near the top of the page in an <h1> tag and then bold the keywords that you want to emphasize and then make them links too. Important tip: At the risk of sounding complicated, you can use Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to alter the standard appearance of any tag. In such cases, <h1> tags, which are normally very large, don't actually have to be large. Bold <b> tags don't necessarily have to actually make text look bold and links can even be made to not look like links. It all depends on whatever style you've assigned to the tags within your Web page's associated stylesheet.css file. The logic for using an <h1> tag is to lead Google and the other engines to believe that the keywords located within the tag are very important. However, you may find, and we agree, that the <h1> tag makes ugly headlines because they are far too big. That's where CSS comes to the rescue by making the <h1> tag look like a reasonably-sized people-pleasing font – but without sacrificing the ranking advantage you would otherwise have if you had used the ugly big <h1> headline tag.
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 32 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 By the same token, you can also use absolute positioning in CSS to arrange your keyword- rich copy so that it appears at the beginning of the HTML source code, regardless of where it actually appears on the visible portion of the Web page. This means you could actually display an image, like your company logo, at the very top of your Web page above your keyword-rich text but make it look to Google like your keyword rich text is above your logo. Obviously, these are tricks of the trade that require a bit of understanding of HTML and CSS. If you are fluent in this so-called ‗markup‘ language, that‘s great. If not, then pass along this info to your technical Web people. Let them perform these worthwhile tricks. And, if you want to learn how to do it yourself, here are a couple of (separate from THIS course) tutorials that can bring you quickly up to speed.  CSS For Absolute Beginners - Part 15: Absolute Positioning  CSS For Absolute Beginners - Part 12: Properties and Values - The font Property Of course, if you search Google for CSS, then you‘ll also find an abundance of explanations and tutorials. And, for a complete overview on the topic of CSS, then you can search Wikipedia. As you will see, CSS is a powerful design tool for formatting Web pages that are pleasing to the eye of your site visitors while maintaining your competitive edge in the search engine rankings game. PLEASE NOTE: It isn't so important that YOU actually know how to "do" CSS. It's only important to know that you should consider working with, or hiring someone who knows CSS and that you show them this section so they can see how to use CSS for SEO when developing your Web site. Take note that you should be careful when using CSS absolute positioning because you might make your page look very strange if the site visitor uses their browser to resize the fonts for better readability. Be sure to test the look with different browser font-size settings to ensure an acceptable design layout. Use a Small Number of Keywords on Each Page In most cases, each Web page should be focused on no more than two or three keywords and these keywords should be related to each other. There are a couple of reasons to limit the number of keywords per Web page: 1. Your most important keywords should be placed into your Web page's title tag. Since a title tag should be limited to no more than 60 characters, this functionally limits the number of keywords that can realistically be placed within it. 2. If you optimize a page for too many keywords, you'll end up diluting the focus of that page in respect to those keywords. Each page on your site should be tightly focused to rank very highly for a specific set of terms. If you want to rank for a greater number of keywords, then you should increase the number of Web pages on your site. This doesn't mean that your page won't rank for other related terms. Oftentimes keywords overlap. Ranking highly for one keyword can also help your page rank highly for a whole host of related keywords. For instance, if your page ranks highly for the keyword direct marketing, then it's likely to also rank highly for professional direct marketing or direct
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 33 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 marketing services, assuming those keyphrases appear somewhere in your <body> text; the viewable content of your Web page. Piggy backing related terms onto your primary keywords like this is a good way to boost your Wed page rankings for a broader range of searches without diluting the focus of your pages. <Images Alt=" "> Tag - Use it wisely and quickly turn Images into Assets Your company logo may show what you are, who you are, and even state a benefit—but the engines can't index your image (not for keyword purposes, anyway). The search engine's indexing-bot is oblivious to everything but text. The only indexable keyword aspect of images is the text content you place within the <image alt="put text here"> tag. In fact, if your logo image loads higher on your page (when viewed from the linear source code perspective) than your keyword text, then your page starts out with a disadvantage. This is a typical mistake. Whenever possible, avoid placing images higher on your page than keyword text. Regardless, you can turn all images into keyword assets by placing keyword text within the Alt tags. Here's an example... <img src="logo.jpg" alt="Beachfront Hawaii Vacation Rentals - Big Island"> Notice how we've placed the keywords Beachfront Hawaii Vacation Rentals - Big Island into the alt="..." portion of the image tag. Although the search engine cannot ―see‖ or read the image, it most certainly can read the alt portion of the image tag. This enables us to tell Google or any other search engine what that image is about and get just a little bit of keyword relevance help from an image that the engine could not otherwise read. Bear in mind that you shouldn't expect a big ranking boost from this tactic—in fact you may get none at all. However, search engines have been known to index the content of Alt tags in the past, and one never knows when the ranking algorithm will shift back again as it does from time to time. Three more reasons for using the alt tag are: 1. The alt tag content becomes visible when a mouse passes over the image when using Internet Explorer (IE), the most popular web browser. This can be useful information to a site visitor. 2. The alt tag content is displayed whenever the image fails to load which means that people who turn their images off will, instead, see your keywords which can help make the rest of the nearby content make sense even without the image. 3. And the latest HTML specs require that images have an Alt tag. In essence, using the alt tag can sometimes help, and will never hurt, your ranking and web design efforts. Therefore, you should use the alt tag whenever doing so holds any chance of making an image keyword-meaningful and thereby stacking the advantages in your favor. Chapter 13 - Keyword Density: An Enduring SEO Myth
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 34 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 orth mentioning is the often-misunderstood concept of keyword density. In its pure form, keyword density refers to the number of times a keyword appears in relation to all of the other words on the same Web page. For instance, if a page only contained one word of text, say... Chicago, the keyword density for the keyword Chicago would be 100%. On the other hand, if the only text on the page was... Eat at Chicago's finest seafood restaurant ...then the keyword density of the keyword Chicago would be 20% since each word on the page represents one-fifth of the entire text. By the way, search engine's ignore common stop words such as the, at, of, etc. – therefore the word at would not be included in our keyword density calculation. Optimum Keyword density is one of the tactics that some search engine optimizers (SEOs) place way too much emphasis on. They're usually under the mistaken impression there is some magic formula for calculating the optimal keyword density that will appeal to each search engine. While this was true in the past, it has effectively ceased to be a factor anymore. At best, keyword density is only a bit-player in the big algorithmic search engine formula for top ranking pages and no longer worth the effort to factor into your strategies. Regardless, you may still hear stories that Google prefers pages with a 5% keyword density or Yahoo likes pages with a 11% keyword density. There are, however, a number of reasons why this is not an effective strategy for optimizing your Web pages. First of all, the concept of keyword density doesn't take into account the location of the keywords on the page. As you learned in the previous lesson, keyword placement is an important element of optimizing for search engine ranking. To say that a page has a 10% keyword density says nothing about whether those keywords are featured in your title tags, header tags, link anchor text, or any other of the important places to feature your keywords. Secondly, keyword density also ignores the distance between keywords on a page, a concept known as keyword proximity. In general, the closer your keywords are to each other, the better. For instance, the phrase: Your premier resource for San Diego real estate information ...is better optimized for the keyword San Diego real estate, than the following phrase: Your premier real estate information resource for the San Diego area And finally, our analytical research of top-ranking pages in any search engine shows an enormous variation in the keyword density of those pages. Some top-ranking pages have a 50% keyword density. Others have as low as 0% keyword density. Indeed, we've found a few pages that rank highly for a keyword in spite of the fact the keyword doesn't even appear on the page! In such cases, it's the keywords in the anchor text of external site links that point to the page that's causing it to rank at, or near, the top. This alone illustrates just how important it is to get your keywords into the anchor text of offsite links pointing to your Web pages! W
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 35 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 As you might imagine, such a large degree of variation makes it all-but-impossible for anyone to determine just exactly what the "ideal" keyword density actually is. Restated simply, you should insert your keywords into the natural flow of descriptive text without wasting time stressing over the exact number of times a keyword should appear on a Web page. Lesson 2 Review In this Lesson: 1. You‘ve gained a detailed understanding of the importance of keywords: what they are, how to find them and where to place them. 2. You‘ve learned there are three kinds of 'searchers' and how certain keywords (actually keyphrases) appeal more to a specific type of searcher who is ready to buy. 3. You know there is a difference between general keywords and money keywords that trigger sales. 4. You‘ve been given 10 steps for finding all of the right keywords. 5. You‘ve learned exactly where to place your keywords. 6. And you‘ve been given an explanation of Keyword Density and its associated overall lack of importance. Remember, there are Three Advanced SEO Tutorials that are now available to you inside your membership area of SearchEngineNews.com when you are ready to study them. They are:  The Missing Link to Writing Effective Ad Copy  Three Good Reasons To Target Long-Tail Keywords!  Five Free Keyword Research Tools to Laser-Focus Your Web Site's Keyword Targeting Campaign! Once you've grasped the details of this lesson, along with the above referenced tutorials, it's safe to say you'll know quite a bit more about the strategic use of keywords than your competitors. Surprised? ...it's true! Armed with the knowledge revealed within this Keyword lesson, you're ready to move on to the most important lesson of this course: Link Building.
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 36 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 Lesson 3 - Link Building…The Most Critical Element of Top Scoring Pages Chapter 14 - Beware of OLD Information robably the biggest threat to your search engine ranking success is old information. Sure, by now everyone knows the key to high rankings is links! But there are an unbelievable number of places to get bad information about link building. For instance, many seemingly reputable sources fail to report that some inbound links help more than others, while others can actually damage your ranking efforts. And if you think the key is reciprocal links (two sites that agree to trade links) then think again. The sun has long since set on virtually every reciprocal link strategy. In fact, some reciprocal links are like two gunfighters who pull the trigger simultaneously only to succeed in wounding the ranking efforts of each other. We'll talk more about the details of reciprocal links later. In the meantime, you should know that building high-quality incoming links is the single most effective strategy for boosting your site's search engine rankings. Although it may also be the most challenging, it is clearly the most rewarding in terms of ranking well for your chosen keywords and for staying ranked. The challenge for most sites is to accumulate enough incoming links to dominate their niche without tripping any one of the many spam filters that trigger the ranking penalties. The problem is that a lot of search engine optimization (SEO) firms and SEO educational websites are still recommending outdated, potentially damaging SEO tactics. Warning: many of the standard link building strategies that once formed the backbone of an SEO campaign are no longer effective. In fact, some of them are actually detrimental to your Web site's ranking efforts. So, pay very close attention to this lesson. Here you will find ALL of the strategies that can help you, while steering you clear of the tactics that will hurt your ranking efforts. P
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 37 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 Chapter 15 - Linking Basics et's begin by looking at the foundations of link design while identifying the most important elements. Anchor Text A typical link looks something like this: Search Engine Optimization. Here is the HTML code used to generate the above link within a Web page: <a href="http://www.searchenginenews.com/">Search Engine Optimization</a> |---------------------------URL------------------------| |----------Anchor text---------| The most important parts are: 1. The URL (Uniform Resource Locator): This is the web address of the Web page being linked to. 2. Anchor text: This is the visible text of the link (in this case it's: Search Engine Optimization). As we‘ve mentioned several times already, getting your keywords into the visible, aka anchor, text of the links that point to your Web pages is one of the most important rank- boosting strategies you can employ. L
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 38 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 Chapter 16 - Inbound & Outbound Links You'll often hear reference to inbound and outbound links. An inbound or incoming link is a link that points to one of your Web pages. An outbound link is a link *on* one of your Web pages that points to someone else's Web page. To illustrate, let's say that A and B represent two Web pages hosted on different sites. In the diagram above, Web page A links to Web page B. Thus, page A has an outbound link to page B, and page B has an inbound link from page A. We can also say there's a one- way link between pages A and B. Chapter 17 - Reciprocal Links In some cases, Web site owners (or SEOs) may agree to "swap" links with each other. These are called reciprocal links; a term that refers to a situation where Web pages from different sites link to each other. Trading reciprocal links is hard work and their value has been increasingly diminished over the past few years. A few are ok, but to actively pursue them for the sake of just building a large quantity of links is a strategy of the past. Don't waste a lot of your time on this; we'll show you better ways to get better targeted, higher impact links.
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 39 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 Chapter 18 - Link Popularity: An Evolving Concept ot long ago, search engines ranked pages based on the sheer number of links pointing to them. They called this Link Popularity. The reasoning was that good pages attracted lots of links. At that time, it was purely a numbers game—the more incoming links, the better. Unfortunately, this made search engines fairly easy to manipulate. It encouraged sites to acquire large numbers of links from low-quality sites or through aggressive reciprocal links campaigns. The goal, of course, was to manipulate the rankings. Today, link popularity has evolved to place more emphasis on the linking site's "importance" when viewed from the search engine point of view (SEPOV). Pure popularity is still pretty good, provided you aren't trying to trick the engines, but getting links from important pages is even better than just getting lots of links. So, ideally you want the search engines to think YOUR pages are important. Here's how to do that:  Get some links.  Get a few more links from important pages.  Use both 1 and 2 to attract more links. As the cycle repeats itself, YOUR Web site becomes important from the SEPOV. Important websites, by definition, are either linked by a lot of unimportant pages, or else linked by other important Web sites and Web pages, or both. Getting links from important Web sites and Web pages is the quickest and most effective way to get your page highly ranked. In other words, pages that are linked from important pages are themselves considered to be important! And the more important links you have, the better. N
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 40 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 To give you an idea of what we mean, take a look at the following diagram: Page A has three incoming page links. Page B, meanwhile, has just one incoming page link. What page would you rather get a link from, page A or page B? If you answered A, you'd be right. Page A has more incoming links, and therefore is viewed as more important (assuming, of course, that all of those links are from high-quality pages). Even though pages C and D both have just one incoming link each, page C's link is from a more important site. Therefore, page C is going to rank higher than page D. Although this is an extremely simplified illustration of what takes place over billions of interlinked Web pages on the Internet, it captures the basic idea. Not all links are equal. Just a few links, coming from important pages, can do far more good for your ranking efforts than a bushel of links from unimportant pages. Chapter 19 - PageRank and the Google Toolbar ne of the measurements commonly used to gauge the importance of a page in the eyes of Google is known as PageRank. This measurement is displayed within the Google Toolbar once it‘s installed in your browser. To download it, go to: http://www.google.com/toolbar Although toolbar PageRank can be a useful measurement tool when gauging the importance of a site, it is often criticized for not being updated as frequently as some SEOs would like. The gap between what Google really thinks of a site, and the score being reported by toolbar PageRank, is a source of irritation for many SEOs. Suffice it to say that, regardless of the spirited discussion that revolves around Google's toolbar PageRank, the following facts prevail. 1. Once installed, the Google toolbar will produce a PageRank (aka, an importance) score for every page you visit. For instance, Yahoo scores a very high PR=9, while WebMD scores an also high PR=8. This means that Google sees Yahoo as a little bit more "important" page than WebMD. Therefore, an incoming link from Yahoo would carry a little more weight than an incoming link from WebMD. O
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 41 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 2. Although PageRank is an importance score, it should not be confused with, or misconstrued as, a ranking score. It is entirely possible for a low PageRank page to score high on a specific keyword search if that search is more relevant to the page with the lower PageRank. 3. Remember, you want to be linked-to by important pages. That being the case, PageRank remains the best insight you have into 'who's who' from Google's point of view. 4. Here's a warning, though. If a page is showing a PageRank=0, or the PageRank bar is ghosted out, then you don't want a link from that site. It could mean that Google doesn't trust that site — perhaps they've been caught spamming Google's index. However, it's also possible that Google simply doesn't know about that Web page or Web site. Either way, having a link from them, or linking to them, will NOT help your ranking efforts and could possibly hurt them. 5. The graphic below shows what PageRank looks like on your browser interface. 6. As we alluded to earlier, Google isn't updating their toolbar PageRank scores as frequently as you (and others) might like them to. The result is occasionally inaccurate PageRank scores and long waits before you see your own toolbar PageRank score respond to your optimization efforts. 7. If you happen to notice your own toolbar PageRank score slipping, this can indicate that it's time to rethink your optimization efforts. There is a distinct possibility that you're doing something wrong, from Google's POV, and the ranking penalty they've assessed is being reflected in your PR score. If, on the other hand, you have a new Web page and its PageRank isn't going up as fast you'd expect, this could simply mean that Google hasn't updated their toolbar PR scores lately.
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 42 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 Chapter 20 – Essential Strategies for Building & Structuring Inbound Links ne of the trickiest aspects of search engine optimization is the process of building high- quality incoming links. It's also the single most effective strategy for improving your rankings. In raw simplicity, the more inbound links a Web page has, the more popular it is. Search engines like popular pages. The challenge for most sites is to accumulate enough incoming links to appear relevant to the engines without tripping any one of the many spam filters and penalties that are applied to sites that cheat. So, the secret to getting it right is to take the search engine's point of view (SEPOV) when building your incoming link structure. The key point to remember is that search engines like natural link structure—they hate artificial link structure. Therefore, you must know the difference between Natural & Artificial Links. 1. Natural links vary in anchor text while artificial links tend to be identical. 2. Natural links increase gradually as referral sites add links one by one over time; artificial links can sprout in great numbers all of a sudden. 3. Natural Links have anchor text that varies. Artificial links have anchor text that is suspiciously uniform or even identical to one another (they call this over-optimized). 4. Natural links are only occasionally reciprocal. Artificial links are made up of an unnaturally high percentage of reciprocal links. Furthermore, sites with natural links do not link out to other sites that attempt to manipulate the search rankings. They refrain from linking to link farms, web rings, link brokers, mini- nets, or any network of sites whose primary purpose is to exchange links to increase link popularity. As you might suspect, Google is getting very good at detecting these so-called link schemes. Google knows how to find these isolated nodes (i.e. Web page groups that link to each other but lack inbound links from outside trusted sites). Be forewarned: if you participate in link schemes, you are courting disaster within the search rankings. Maybe not right away, but almost certainly, eventually. And Google, with all of their resources for storing information, remembers! ...YOU, your site, your company name and so forth. Getting busted by Google *can* mean that everything you touch will never again rank well in a competitive search ever again. So, be very careful. As previously mentioned, sites designed around natural links don't usually swap links, so their outgoing links tend to point to pages that are known by the engine to be in good standing. Oftentimes these pages have been indexed for many years and may even be O
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 43 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 white-listed; a term used to distinguish trusted sites that never get penalized no matter what they do. Natural links tend not to be reciprocal. Artificial links, however, rely heavily on link exchange tactics, suggesting that the sole purpose of the link is reciprocity—having little or nothing to do with adding value for the site visitor by way of providing worthwhile content. Keeping these facts in mind, one should strive to build the most natural-looking incoming- link structure possible. From a search engine's point of view (SEPOV), the best kinds of links are unrequested links. The engines are looking to bestow high rankings on only those pages that people voluntarily link-to due to their great content – not because some site owner, webmaster or SEO firm has managed to arranged a lot of link swapping. Chapter 21 - Choose Your Links Wisely hile it's true that almost any link from any legitimate Web site will add something of value to your Web page‘s popularity, it's best to get links from authoritative (aka, important) Web pages. Such link-getting Web pages are then also considered important. And, these so-called important pages can usually be identified as important via Google‘s toolbar PageRank scoring system. The higher the Web site’s PageRank means the better the link. Directory examples would include sites like Yahoo and DMOZ. Others like PBS.org, National Geographic, CNN, or ZDNet would be outstanding authoritative site links regardless of topic since each has been assigned a PageRank of 9 (PR=9) or better on Google's ten-point PageRank scale. Chapter 22 - Get Links from Pages that Match Your Topic our next best option is to acquire links from pages that are trusted. Trusted pages are sites that have been indexed for a while and have already been assigned a Google PageRank—usually PR=5 or better. It helps even more if these pages are on-topic—i.e. they match the topic of your page. Links from on-topic, trusted pages can give you a significant boost in rankings. However, if you do gather links from less than PR=5, then the on-topic factor becomes even more important. W Y
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 44 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 Chapter 23 - Count the Number of Links on the Referring Page nother point to remember is; the fewer the number of links on the referring page, the better. Ideally, the referring page would have only one link and it would be to your page. Of course, that's rarely practical. But, having your link on a page that hosts a hundred other links is almost pointless because the value of your link will be divided by the number of links on the page—a condition we call link dilution. While easier said than done, …the ideal would be to get your incoming links from popular, on-topic, trusted sites scoring PR=6 or better but have very few outgoing links. Now, short of the ideal, bear in mind that every link you can get is likely to help you somewhat—and if you can control how those links appear (in terms of incoming URL-format and anchor text), you'll be in even better shape. Chapter 24 - Maintain Format Consistency of Your Incoming Link URL's ven though each of the URLs below will land the site visitor on the same Web page, these are technically SIX different URLs! ...That's right. And, if those who link to you use six different URL formats to point visitors to your "home" page then your PageRank is being diluted by a factor of six – not good! You simply must do everything in your power to standardize your incoming URL-format in order to consolidate your PageRank. Doing so will produce the maximum relevancy-boost possible from your incoming links. Chapter 25 - Get Your Keywords into Your Anchor Text t's very important to get your keywords into the text of the link (anchor text) that other sites are using to point visitors your way. True, this may be difficult with directories unless the name of your company includes your keywords. Regardless, the boost in keyword A E I
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 45 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 relevancy is significant enough that it's worthwhile to contact everyone who is using keyword-poor anchor text to link to you. In such cases you should specify a more keyword- rich text link in your request that they upgrade your link. This will provide better value to their site visitors and better rankings for you. If you happen to be selling model airplanes, then anchor text such as airplane models or model airplanes will be infinitely more valuable to your relevance efforts than anchor text simply saying click here. From the SEPOV, the former states the theme of your page while the latter gives the engine no clue whatsoever what your page is about. A word of caution: it will look more natural from the SEPOV if the anchor-text links that are pointing at your site are NOT identical. Strive to maintain slight variations as would occur if the sites that are maintaining them were generating the anchor text independently. Of course, the nature of your business and the name of your company might dictate the range of options available to you. However, do everything in your power to ensure the text being used to point visitors and engines to your site looks natural from the SEPOV. This strategy can make a HUGE difference. Generally speaking, from the SEPOV, it's the anchor text that determines the theme (topic) of your Web page. Chapter 26 - Go for Deep Links eep links are links that point to your Web pages within your site, your sub- pages; and NOT to your home page. From the SEPOV, a lot of deep links indicate that a site has a lot of valuable content. On the other hand, if all of your incoming links point to your home page, then the engines think that your site is nothing more than a 'one trick pony' ...offering very little content, and therefore, not an important site. From the SEPOV, important sites have lots of deep links. In fact, many important sites have more links pointing toward their deep pages than to their home page. Therefore, you should strive to make at least 20% of your incoming links point to deep pages. And, if you can manage to get even 70-80% of your incoming links to point at deep pages, that‘s even better in terms of making your site look important from the SEPOV. Chapter 27 - Beware of the nofollow Attribute ee to it that your incoming links from off-site pages do not include the rel="nofollow" attribute (often referred to as a tag) within the source code of the link; nofollow renders D S
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 46 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 the link useless to your ranking efforts because Google doesn't credit your page for having that incoming link. When you are ready, you have a couple of Advanced SEO Tutorials available to you that explain and expound on this important topic in detail at:  DoFollow — The nofollow Work-Around For Building Incoming Links by the Truckload!  How to generate a list of dofollow blogs for link building Chapter 28 - Don't Get Involved with Run-of-the-Site Links void run-of-the-site links. These are links where every page on another Web site links to your homepage. When you have, say, 1000 incoming links all originating from subpages within that one external Web site, it appears to Google that your link count is artificially inflated. Link brokers are notorious for selling you run-of-site links. While you should avoid link brokers in the first place, you should be especially cautious that another Web site does not link to you from all of their pages. This will not only look artificial to Google, it will also look like you purchased the links—something that Google does not like (unless the links are nofollowed which means they won‘t help your rankings anyway). Chapter 29 - Avoid Link Farms, Web Rings, & Site Networks ocus your efforts on collecting all the links you can from authoritative sites. Avoid getting links from any site that may look remotely like a link farm or web ring (i.e. Web page groups that link to each other but lack inbound links from outside trusted sites). Linking back to these unnatural linking structures can get you penalized. So always be very careful about what Web pages you link back to. Even if you aren't penalized, any benefit that would otherwise be derived from your incoming link will most likely be diminished due to Google‘s spam-related opinion of the page. And, in terms of building page relevancy, there is rarely, if ever, any benefit to linking back to sites that are insignificant, untrusted, or suspected of behaving badly in terms of SEO protocol. It can even hurt you. A F
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 47 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 Chapter 30 - Be Careful Who You Link To! etting links from off-topic, and perhaps even untrusted, sites may not be your first choice, but at least it won't likely hurt your rankings; they might even help a little. However, beware of getting yourself into a link exchange relationship with these sites; and remember that you should NOT link back to them. Currently, the rule is that: incoming links won't hurt you, but outgoing links to sites that behave badly, can. In other words, if you're swapping links, be sure you do so carefully because linking to a site that has been penalized for policy infractions (i.e. search engine spam) can cause your site to be penalized as well. To help you avoid such a scenario, here are four cautionary steps you should take before linking to another site: 1. Search for their domain name on Google and Yahoo. If they're not listed on one or either of the engines, that's a bad sign. Linking to them could get your site penalized and possibly banned. Besides, even if they aren't a so-called "bad" site, linking to a site that the engines don't know about won't help you in the rankings anyway. However, if they are listed you can proceed to step two. 2. Determine who is already linking to them.  You have available to you a fantastic tool to learn exactly who is linking to who. This tool is located at: http://www.searchenginenews.com/ssilogin/. The next lesson in this course on Competitive Analysis will explain in more detail exactly how to use this incredible, time-saving, intelligence gathering tool. (if the above link doesn‘t automatically log you in, then use your email address and monthly SearchEngineNews.com password to access this tool).  Enter the competitor domain you want to analyze.  Then, once the data is displayed, click: Total incoming links to display which pages are linking to your target page. The more incoming links they have, the more ranking boost you'll receive if you can get a link from them. And, the more important the sites that are linking to them, the better the ranking boost for your own site if you can get a link. Their PageRank score is also one indicator of how important Google thinks the site is. Beware of linking to sites or pages with a PR=0 (zero). This could mean that Google has penalized them. Granted, this warning may not apply to very new sites G
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 48 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 but links from them won't help you right away, anyway. Regardless, if a site has been around for a while, and lacks any PageRank, then you should be wary of linking to it. 3. Avoid linking to sites with controversial topics. Examples of such sites would include gambling, adult, pharmacy, or loan/debt sites (unless you happen to be in one of these industries and the topic matches the content of your page). Remember: You probably won't be hurt by who links to you. However, your ranking efforts can definitely be hurt by who YOU link to. Chapter 31 - Remember Your Primary Goal  Profits! f course, our biggest assumption is that you're optimizing your Web site with profits in mind. That being the case, you'll want to always focus your efforts on strategies and relationships that will generate the most revenue relative to effort. Therefore, look first for link relationships that will produce traffic that fits the profile of your customer market. While it's true that incoming links from just about any site provides a slight boost to your page popularity (leading to better search engine rankings), such links all too often fail to produce targeted traffic which is what you really should be looking for. This is one of the many reasons a link from a topic-related site is immeasurably better than a link from an off-topic site. Chapter 32 - The Best Place to Start Getting Links ou should begin by getting links from directories by submitting your site. You can find a complete list of the top directories within the SearchEngineNews.com membership area at: http://www.searchenginenews.com/se-news/directory-master.html Some of these directories offer free listings and some charge a fee. The Yahoo Directory, (not to be confused with the Yahoo search engine), for example charges a $299/yr review fee. And, considering that you get a link from what Google considers a very important site, it is worth it. This is especially true if your Web site is just getting started building its web presence. As a bonus, when you get listed in Yahoo's paid directory, you'll often get additional links coming from Yahoo's international locations—which are all considered important links. Once again, our Guide to the Major Web Directories provides an updated list of directory sites. You will find that some of them charge a fee but may very well be worth it in exchange for the trusted inbound link they provide. To add your site, look around on the main page of each of O Y
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 49 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 these directories for a link that says something like Add URL, Suggest URL, Add Your Site, or Suggest a Site. Follow that link to get details about exactly how to add your site to their directory. By the way, to avoid unnecessary delays in getting listed, be sure to submit your site to the proper category within each directory. Submitting your site to the wrong category can result in a ridiculously long delay or simply not getting listed at all. Remember that the directory editors receive an enormous number of site submissions. So, save yourself some grief by carefully considering exactly which category your site belongs in before submitting. Another worthy directory is DMOZ. Be sure to review the DMOZ Submit FAQ at: http://dmoz.org/help/submit.html A listing in DMOZ is a worthwhile and trusted link if you can get listed. That's because they supply the results for the Google Directory (not to be confused with Google's main search engine). However, it can take up to a year to get your site approved. So, we recommend you submit it and forget it. Check back every few months. If you get in, great! If not, oh well! Don't stress over it. The editors at DMOZ are volunteers and they‘re swamped. But, if you're lucky enough to get listed, be happy to know it's free. The reason for starting out getting listed in directories is because the submission process is relatively quick, the effort relatively easy, and because each directory link validates your site in the eyes of the search engines. You get an incoming link from a trusted site and another new source of targeted traffic. However, once you get listed in a few of the major directories, the relevancy boost levels off pretty fast. In other words, it isn't important to get listed in all of them. Just get listed in a few and that will give you about as much ranking boost as you can expect to get. Chapter 33 - Acquire On-topic Links inks coming from pages that are topic-related to yours are considered good (i.e., relevant) links in the eyes of the search engines. If your site is about model airplanes, and another site is about airplane history, then each site shares a common topic, namely airplanes. Each of these sites would benefit from having a link from the other even though the links are reciprocal. This is what's known as on-topic links. Once again, directories can be great places to get links whenever the directory is on-topic. So, if your site is about model or radio control airplanes, then you should seek out directories that specialize in hobbies, scale models, airplanes, or radio operated toys and so forth. For a list of topic-specific directories, visit the Internet Search Engine Database at: http://www.isedb.com/html/Web_Directories/Specialty_Directories/ By the way, when getting listed in topic-specific directories, be sure they provide a direct, static link to your site. In other words, you do NOT want a dynamic link—one that is L
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 50 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 processed or created on-the-fly by some tracking software the directory has running on their server. Although this is not a concern with the major directories because they all tend to use static links, many smaller or niche directories like to create their links dynamically. Although this will add to your traffic count, it does nothing to help your search engine ranking efforts. That's because engines fail to see the connection between the dynamic link and your site's actual URL. Chapter 34 - Link outside the Box iguring out where to get your incoming links from is like solving a puzzle. It takes a little creativity while following known formulas and patterns. Ask yourself; who else has a site that might benefit from linking to me? Suppliers you do business with or professional organizations you're involved in might be willing to list you on their referrals page. Legal advisors, accountants, or financiers you do business with might also like to list you as a client or maybe showcase your business in their online portfolio. Your employees may have blogs or personal homepages that could link to you, and so forth. Here are a few more ideas to help you spark that creativity... Many online business owners write articles about topics related to their sites. Then they offer to let other sites use them as content in exchange for a link back to the author's site. You're probably an expert in the business you're in and therefore an authority on certain subjects that may lend themselves to interesting reading that becomes worthwhile information for a basket of ancillary products and services. Whenever you can do so easily, we recommend that you swap links with a partner company that you closely do business with—whose services compliment your own. Look for business partnerships with other websites that are useful to your own customers and whose customers are useful to you. Look for compatible (but not competing) businesses, and then form a partnership where you link to each other actively through mutual promotion. Not only can this bring in new traffic and boost your PageRank, but you may also develop important business relationships this way. Press releases can be a good way to gain relevant links to your company's site. Again, be creative—chances are good there's a number of reasons (product launches, staff additions, promotions, partnerships, new services, etc.) you can find to release news about your company to the press. The engines quickly pick up press releases and the links contained within them are typically trusted. They also tend to remain on the Web for a good long time. Another interesting way to promote your own site is to submit testimonials, along with a link to your site, about products you are really enthusiastic about. If the testimonial is well F
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 51 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 written, the company will often post it on their site. Sometimes they will even link back to you. One of the more under-utilized "secrets" for gaining incoming links is to participate in topic-related forums that allow a text link to your site within your forum signature. Look for topics that you are knowledgeable in and begin posting—asking and answering questions. Assuming that you make legitimate contributions, you'll find that your participation will be a welcomed addition in spite of the plug for your site. Most forum software, but not all, uses nofollow tags on the links. When this is the case, they don‘t tend to help rankings, but they can be a good source for traffic. However, many forums (and blogs) are now providing dofollow links if your contribution is worthwhile. For how to tell the difference, see these two (previously mentioned) Advanced SEO Tutorials:  DoFollow — The nofollow Work-Around For Building Incoming Links by the Truckload!  How to generate a list of dofollow blogs for link building This is of the most potentially rank boosting link-building tips – Find out who's linking to your competitors and convince those Web sites to link to you instead. Use the Site Strength Indicator Tool to quickly determine who is linking to your competitors. Bear in mind that whenever you're successful in getting another Web site to switch their link from your competitor‘s site to yours, you gain twice. Once for gaining a new link, a second time for reducing the incoming link count of your competitor. If the link is an especially good one (authoritative site in good standing with great incoming links, few outbound links, and high PageRank), then discreetly PAY them if you have to. Offer them a better deal than the one they have (if any). Do whatever it takes to get those quality links! Convincing another site owner to switch a link from your competitor to you is one of the single most productive link-building tactics you can use. By using your imagination and dovetailing the nuances of your own business into the mix, you'll no doubt discover an abundance of opportunities for gaining legitimate incoming links. Chapter 35 - The Problem with Reciprocal Links ur best advice when speaking of reciprocal links as a link-building tactic is to be conservative because, when done badly in the eyes of Google, it is viewed as an artificial linking pattern—something that search engines are getting increasingly sophisticated at detecting. O
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 52 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 When you think about it, it makes sense that having a high percentage of reciprocal links would look like an artificial linking pattern because natural links are not typically reciprocal. If Yahoo lists a site in their directory, that site doesn't routinely link back to Yahoo; that's one of the reasons a link coming from Yahoo looks "natural" to Google. Of course there are plenty of exceptions, but, regardless, the engines are looking for pages that rank well due to popularity based on content—and they want to avoid sites where it appears the site owners (or hired SEOs) have put a lot of effort into swapping links. So, look at your incoming links from the search engine's point of view (SEPOV). If CNN runs an article about how great your company is, and your company's site links back to the CNN article, does that look normal from the SEPOV? ...sure it does. Besides, CNN is an authoritative, important site. That reciprocal link looks like part of a natural link structure from the SEPOV. And, your site's page can expect a substantial boost in ranking. On the other hand, if your site (with its PageRank=4 or 5) is linked by Joe Blow's homepage with a PR=1, 2, or 3 and you link back to Joe's page, you shouldn't expect much, if any, boost in your rankings. In fact, it's entirely possible the two links are discounting each other based on an assumed link exchange arrangement that looks contrived because neither page is "authoritative" from the SEPOV. Now, if you had, say, 50 similar link arrangements, and the links were all on-topic, and none of the pages involved had tripped the spam filters, then your page should get a reasonable boost in rankings. Still, you'd fare better simply by getting a single link from an authoritative site like CNN, Yahoo Directory, DMOZ, ZDNet, and so forth. Chapter 36 - Evaluating the Quality of a Link uch of effective link building focuses on topical relevance. In other words, pages linking to each other should, ideally, cover similar subjects. When the two pages are related in subject or topic, the link will look more relevant from the SEPOV. This rule applies both to the sites that are linking to you and to the sites you're linking to. As ranking algorithms become increasingly advanced, search engines are evaluating Web sites in terms of neighborhoods of related sites. By linking to, or being linked from, an unrelated site, you're venturing outside of your neighborhood. Sometimes search engines view this suspiciously unless, of course, the page that is linking to you is considered "important." Otherwise, the most valuable links come from Web pages that feature content related to your site. Links to or from off-topic pages are less useful, and, in some cases, too many of these off-topic links can even be harmful to your site's search engine ranking efforts. M
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 53 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 Stated another way, you should find your linking neighborhood and live there. The more sophisticated the search engines become, the more important it is to get links from important sites within your niche. This trend is likely to stick around for the foreseeable future. Acquiring on-topic links is key to establishing your site as an important destination from a SEPOV. And, although it's been clearly established that links from high-ranking, on-topic Web pages have become the gold standard of link building, there are other factors to consider when judging the quality of a link. For instance, traffic to the linking page is an important factor when you remember that links are not just for improving your search rank, they're also an important source of targeted traffic. The more people who visit a page that links to your site, the more traffic your site is likely to receive. If people like what they see, this can result in more links, more traffic and, ultimately, more sales. You should also bear in mind that Google and others are putting a lot of effort into tracking people's web browsing habits. Our research indicates that highly trafficked sites are receiving a preferred ranking status. One way to get a rough idea of a page's traffic is the Alexa service. On the Alexa siteinfo page, you can enter your target site (the page that you may want a link from), into the Site Lookup field and get a snapshot of their Traffic Rank, Pageviews, and so forth as seen in the screenshot below. Bear in mind that Alexa can only track the Web browsing habits of people who have the Alexa toolbar installed. Since Alexa tends to attract a fairly tech-savvy audience, the Alexa numbers probably don't represent an entirely accurate picture of the relative traffic to a site. Regardless, it's a useful tool to begin gaining a comparative idea of a site's traffic numbers.
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 54 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 Accessibility to Search Engines Obviously, Web pages on external Web sites are good link-prospects only if they are already known to the search engines. If your link-prospect‘s site is architecturally flawed—and therefore inaccessible to the search engine, then their pages may not be indexed. In such cases, a link would be absolutely worthless to you; at least in terms of improving your search engine positioning. To see if a search engine has indexed a Web page, simply select a unique phrase from that page and enter it ("surrounded by quotes") into the search field. The quotes say, "Look for this exact phrase." If the engine has indexed the page, then it will most definitely show up for that search. Assuming you find the page is indexed, your next step is to see how often it is crawled by that search engine. Google has a little link that says Cached next to each of its search results. Clicking that cache link will show you the date Google last spidered that page. The more recent the cached date, the better. A recent cached date indicates that Google crawls this page regularly. As such, it also means that you'll get credit for that link sooner. If your link is already on the page, check to see that your link is in the cached version of the page. If not, something is amiss, and it's likely the page employs some trick to prevent search engines from seeing its outgoing links. Next, make sure that link is a direct link to your Web site. If the link is a JavaScript link, or a redirect, or a nofollow link, then it's of little value to you, ranking-wise. Usually, placing your mouse over the link will cause the destination of the link to appear in the bar at the bottom of your browser (i.e., the status bar), but there are ways to manipulate this feature so it's always best to check your link within the page's HTML source code. Let's say that your site is called www.your-site.com and you're being linked from a site called www.their-site.com. A direct link in the HTML source code would look like: <a href="http://www.your-site.com/">Click here!</a> A Javascript link in the HTML source code would look like: <a href="javascript:void(0)" onclick="window.open('http://www.your-site.com/')" onmouseover="status='http://www.your-site.com/'; return true;" onmouseout="status=defaultStatus; return true;"">Click here!</a> A redirected link in the HTML source code would look like:
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 55 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 By the way: The powerful effect of anchor text can be dramatically demonstrated by searching Google for ―click here.‖ You'll see the Adobe Reader download page grabs the top spot for that search term, even though the words click here aren't found anywhere on the page itself. Instead, Adobe‘s page ranks #1 purely on the power of the anchor text within the incoming links that point to their page. <a href="http://www.their-site.com/redir.php?r=http://www.your-site.com/">Click here!</a> And a nofollow in the HTML source code link looks like: <a href="http://www.your-site.com/" rel="nofollow">Click here!</a> Incidentally, click here is horrible anchor text. Ideally you'll want your keywords to appear in the visible portion of any text link pointing to your site. Getting your keywords into the anchor text of your incoming links is one of the most powerful page ranking strategies available to you. Besides, it's unlikely you'll want your pages found for the keywords click here. However, be advised that a small number of click here links isn't terrible. Having all identical incoming link anchor text indicates to a search engine the possibility of artificial link manipulation, which could result in a ranking penalty for your site. Since your objective should be to achieve a natural looking incoming link structure, it's a good idea to mix up your incoming link anchor text a bit. A few sporadically placed click here links make your incoming link structure appear more natural and diverse than a network of 100% keyword-rich incoming anchor text links. Incoming and Outgoing Links - Remember what we said about keeping your pages in their own topically relevant neighborhood? The same advice applies to the pages that are linking to you. Check the incoming links of those potential link partners, as well as the other pages they are linking to. The more the page stays in its own neighborhood, the more valuable a link from that page will be to you. And, of course, the fewer outbound links the page has, the better. That means more of the page's link equity is focused on your inbound link rather than being diluted by having links to several other pages. In other words, a best case scenario is for the linking page to have only one outgoing link, the link to you. That way your page would be
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 56 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 getting all of the link equity available from that link. Seldom, however, can you get this best case scenario; so go for a link on a page with the fewest outbound links possible. Chapter 37 - Buying Links ccasionally we suggest that you consider buying links. While this can be a very good way to quickly acquire relevant links, there are some guidelines that you must follow or else you risk hurting your rankings and possibly being penalized. 1. Avoid buying links from known link brokers. Google discounts or negates purchased links whenever they know they are purchased. Therefore, unless you are buying the links strictly for traffic, don't. Even so, if the link broker is on Google's radar, having a link from them could result in your site being penalized in the rankings. 2. Whenever buying links for the purpose of ranking better, be discreet. Avoid link brokers or anyone else who is known to be part of a link network. Instead, you should make a private arrangement and keep the purchase details confidential. If Google believes the link is natural, then you are likely to get a rank boosting link-credit for it. 3. When discreetly purchasing a link from another Web site, you should always ask to see the traffic stats for the page your link will be on. The more traffic, the better the link from both a ranking and a traffic generation perspective. 4. Location of the link. Ideally, you'll want your link worked into the content of the Web page. This gives your link the opportunity to be surrounded by lots of relevant keywords (a concept known as keyword proximity) while also increasing the likelihood that someone reading the page will see and click your link. Chapter 38 - How to Buy Links without Getting Penalized by Google t is possible to boost your link popularity by purchasing links but you have to be smart about it. As we‘ve already mentioned, you should avoid buying links from known link brokers. Such brokers typically sell links from sites whose topic is unrelated to yours, and these links tend to be placed in a page template that results in having a link from every page on that particular site. As you now know, these are called run-of-site links and they are assumed by the search engines to be purchased links. It's actually much better to get a single link from the homepage of a site than it is to get 100 links from every single subpage of a site. To accomplish this, it's best to contact the owner of the site directly and discreetly. Offer to pay them to place your link on their homepage or on one of their high-traffic subpages. Remember, you're not just paying for the link popularity; you're also paying for the traffic the link will send you. Don't pay for links on pages with a lower than PageRank=3. Lots of links from unimportant Web pages won't necessarily hurt you, but they're not going to provide enough ranking boost to justify paying for them. One PR=7 link (especially if it's on-topic) is worth dozens (probably hundreds) of PR=1 or 2 links. Links from low PR sites are rarely worth purchasing. O I
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 57 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 If your link is relegated to a sidebar, try to get it placed where it's likely to be seen. The Google AdSense optimization page describes the locations on a page where a link is most likely to be clicked. Google says... "Certain locations tend to be more successful than others." This heat map illustrates these ideal placements on a sample page layout. The colors fade from dark orange (strongest performance) to light yellow (weakest performance). "All other things being equal, ad placements above the fold tend to perform better than those below the fold. Ads placed near rich content and navigational aids usually do well because users are focused on those areas of a page." To clarify, above the fold means the part of a Web page that is visible without the reader having to scroll down. By the way, you'll have to keep those paid links active for at least 3 or 4 months to really see significant improvement since most search engine optimization efforts require about 6 months before they begin to bear fruit. Obviously, this requires patience. But it's worth it because once you get to the top you tend to stay there. The type of page your link is on also plays an important role. A link on a so-called links page, alongside a hundred other links, is pretty close to useless. You may get some mileage out of it, but it would pale in comparison to most other types of links. A much more preferable link would be from an article that mentions your site and then links to you from within the article body. Chapter 39 - Buying Ads in Ezines and Newsletters to Build Links erhaps the best kinds of links to buy are newsletter links. Many sites will send out a monthly or weekly newsletter to subscribers. These newsletters are typically archived on the site that publishes them. This means that, not only do you get the targeted traffic from the original publishing of the newsletter, but you also get a permanent link from the archived version of the newsletter; a link that tends to improve with age. There is strong evidence to indicate that Google puts a time filter on new links, in order to diminish the overall boost people expect to see from purchasing links. This means that you may not receive the full effect of a link until it has been online for several months. If you were to buy an expensive, high-PageRank link on the homepage of a popular Web site, you may have to continue paying to keep that link up for several months before you see any kind of ranking boost. This is why purchasing links in newsletters is good, since such P
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 58 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 links tend to get archived and hang around without requiring payment to keep them online. As those links mature, they become even more valuable. Chapter 40 - Article Links and the Value of a Good Writer ne of the most powerful link-building strategies that search engines love involves content articles. And, if you lack writing talent, then you simply must hire a good writer. Sounds simple, doesn't it. And it is. Providing great content is clearly the most effective part of a search engine optimization campaign. And, every online business needs to have at least one good writer. And we're not talking about hiring someone on the cheap from Elance.com to write boring "filler" articles for $5 a pop about stuff everyone already knows. And we're definitely NOT talking about purchasing some automatic article- generating software to crank out reams of useless and meaningless "content." We're talking about hiring someone who understands your industry and has a flair for creating interesting, useful information that people want to read and link to. Someone who can create articles that build a buzz! …buzz-worthy articles that can be printed on your own site to attract links and are syndicated out to other sites in exchange for a link back to you. Someone who can build a blog that generates a passionate audience of regular readers who can be funneled directly into your sales process. You need someone who can establish your business's identity in the forums and usergroups where your customers are congregating. In short, someone who is contributing real value to the global conversation taking place on the Internet and who is strongly identified as the online face of your business. When done right, this ‗social media‘ approach to building your company‘s online presence is so impressively effective that most people who are doing it won't tell you about it. They don‘t want to lose their UnFair Advantage! ;) Chapter 41 - Writing Your Way to a Higher Search Rank lan for 'good writing' to become an essential part of your online business plan—just as important (maybe more?) as your webmaster or your bookkeeper. The first way you can utilize good writing to boost your search engine rank is to produce articles that can be featured on your site. Leveraging your Web site and content to provide O P The strategy is twofold. 1. Write articles with valuable content for your own site that others will link to. 2. Write articles with valuable content for other people's site with the agreement that the article links back to your site.
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 59 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 information of value, like articles about your industry, how-to articles and tutorials, or interviews with prominent industry figures, will increase your site strength. Find a problem plaguing your customers or other businesses in your industry, solve that problem, and then write about your solution. All of these can make excellent articles, provided they're interesting and useful to your audience (i.e. your current and potential customers, and businesses in your own or related fields). Good articles are link magnets. As an SEO firm, here's the question we hear most often from new clients: Why isn't my site ranking higher? In almost every case, the problem is that the site doesn't have enough incoming links. And the reason the site doesn't have more incoming links is because the site is boring and doesn't provide anything worth linking to. Well-written articles go a long way to solving this problem. Chapter 42 - Syndicating Your Articles to Build Links hile featuring your articles on your site is a great way to attract incoming links, another option is to distribute those articles to other sites in exchange for a link back to your own. However you should be aware there are right and wrong ways to approach this strategy. Done correctly it is reasonable to expect to build links to the exact pages you want and with the perfect anchor text placed into your links back to your site. However, the problems to avoid include: Low quality links, duplicate content problems, and drawing unwanted attention to your site's optimization efforts—something that Google frowns upon as a artificial link-building tactic. The following 'Advanced SEO' tutorial, located inside the membership area of SearchEngineNews.com, gives you all of the details on the right approach to Article Syndication while steering you away from the tactics that don't work or can land you in the penalty box.  How to Build Links, Increase Traffic and Dominate Your Niche with Article Marketing ...and why most people are doing it completely wrong! When you are ready for this tutorial, it will teach you how to find the best article distribution partners, an easy way to produce lots of high quality articles, and how to use Article Directories to your advantage. Be sure to carefully study the tutorial before you embark on Article Syndication as a method for building links. Chapter 43 - Using Forums to Reach Customers and Build Links nother way to utilize your 'hired writer' is to make them the public face of your company in Internet forums. This is a great way to increase your company's exposure and to interact directly with potential customers. Like writing articles, this can also be quite labor-intensive. In order for it to pay dividends, you (or your writer) will need to become W A
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 60 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 established as an authority (preferably a moderator) in the forum before you can expect to have much influence. You'll get a lot more mileage out of forums by contributing helpful, informed advice than you will by promoting yourself or your business. Once you establish credibility, you'll find that forums can be a fairly reliable source of targeted traffic for your business. While it's important to establish yourself in the most widely-read forums that relate to your industry, it's also nice if the forum lets you place within your signature line a link back to your company's site. Not only does this make it easier for people to find your site, it also helps build a small amount of link equity along the way. Chapter 44 - Blogging Your Way to Top Rankings hile it is true that blogs (aka, web logs) are easier to get highly ranked than just about any other type of Web site, it's also true that keeping up with the demand for new and fresh information is far from easy! Blogs are a huge amount of work and anyone who underestimates the nearly superhuman effort it takes to maintain a blog AND run a business is in for a rude surprise. It’s just another reason why it's a good idea to have a dedicated writer on staff. In addition to writing articles that build links to your site, that person can be writing and promoting your company's blog while you're busy running your business. And, yes, when you are ready to learn all about using blogs to boost your overall web presence, which will very likely boost your rankings, you can study the following tutorial located inside the membership area of SearchEngineNews.com:  Blog Stands For Better Listings on Google If you're thinking about starting a blog, this tutorial is a must read. Chapter 45 - Distributing Press Releases to Build Links ress releases, once they are initially syndicated by Google News and other news agencies, can send you a quick burst of traffic; however, after that, these same press releases will often be archived in a number of locations. They typically remain online and indexed in the search engines for years. This, in turn, provides you with mature links that continue to contribute to your Web site's overall web presence and, thusly, your Web page search ranking. Before you begin doing online Press Releases, be sure to study this Advanced SEO Tutorial:  Everything You Need To Know About Optimizing Press Releases for Today's Online Markets Chapter 46 - Buying Abandoned Web Sites to Gain Links Quickly W P
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 61 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 t's been estimated that nearly half of all small businesses started in the U.S. fail within the first four years. While in the brick-and-mortar world this means closing up shop and letting someone else use the real estate, in the online world those failed business can appear to be hanging around for years while the site owner keeps them online in hopes that business will improve. Many such businesses could be ripe for purchase at rock-bottom prices. Sure, their (lack-of) profit model might not be enticing, but what about the links they've already accumulated? In terms of initial cash outlay it might be a bit more expensive than other link-building tactics, but when measured in time savings it could be a bargain. One of the best ways to find those abandoned sites is to do a search in Google for outdated copyrights, such as: "copyright 2003" + your keywords Nothing says a site has given up trying like an out-of-date copyright footer at the bottom of each page. (Hint: to give your customers the impression you're up-to-date, current, and still in business, keep your copyright footers updated to the current year.) Obviously, you can also search for ―copyright 2006‖, ―copyright 2001‖, (include the quotes for exact match) or any other year that's not current. Other good searches to find abandoned or underperforming sites that can be purchased for cheap include ―temporarily down for maintenance‖ or ―under construction‖. Just make sure the domain name hasn't already expired on the site you're thinking about purchasing. Once a domain expires, Google wipes the slate clean, thereby reducing to zero the value of any incoming links or PageRank the site may have acquired. Before venturing out to buy an abandoned Web site, be sure to study this Advanced SEO Tutorial:  Why Buying an Existing Website May be a Smart Way to Jumpstart Your SEO Strategy Chapter 47 - How to Obtain Valuable Links from .edu and .gov Domains hile it's tricky to conclusively prove, there is ample evidence that Google places high value on links coming from .gov and .edu top level domains (TLDs). Because these TLDs are only available to government sites and accredited educational institutions, links that originate from them are somewhat exclusive and difficult for the average person to obtain. Therefore, these links are much harder to manipulate and that's why they are trusted and valued more than links coming from non .gov and .edu domains. In fact, unless you're creative, it's almost impossible to get links from these domains. However, thinking creatively opens up all kinds of possibilities. The .edu domains, especially, offer several opportunities. First, do you have services you can donate to the school in exchange for a link back? Web design and SEO firms are especially suited in this regard, but many businesses can find some way to contribute either products or expertise to a school or their Web site. Second, most schools give their students a small amount of web space in order to host that student's personal Web page. There are literally millions of these personal student Web I W
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 62 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 pages available and getting a link from any one of them can help your site in the search results. In fact, if you attended college, you may find that your school will make one of these pages available to you as an alumnus. You could also consider offering a special student discount on your site. Students can receive this discount if they link back to your site from their personal Web page hosted on an .edu domain. Beyond that, your potential for acquiring links from college students is limited only by your imagination and promotional creativity. (Pizza for links anyone?) Chapter 48 - Providing Tools & Resources to Attract Links t is interesting to note that the homepage for blogging resource provider WordPress.org is a PageRank=9! That's largely because of the huge number of sites that use the WordPress blogging software. You see, the resource cleverly embeds a ‗powered by WordPress‘ link built into its web interface. Multiply that out over millions of blogs and you get a recipe for a very powerful incoming link structure that builds steadily and looks perfectly 'natural' to Google. Your business may not be able to duplicate the extraordinary success of WordPress, but their example illustrates a powerful way to accumulate incoming links by building popular web- based software and distributing it with an embedded backlink in the user interface. The alternative is to build a tool that's a popular resource and host it on your own site in order to attract links. This MarketLeap Link Popularity tool is a good example: http://www.marketleap.com/publinkpop/ That's a PageRank=7 page with over 20,000 incoming links according to our Site Strength Indicator (SSI) tool. Why the large number of links? …because it‘s a valuable, free tool used by a large number of people. Ask yourself; is there a valuable tool you could be offering your customers? I
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 63 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 Chapter 49 - Using your Affiliate Program as Link Magnet tarting an affiliate program can also be an excellent way to build incoming links. As you may know, many affiliate programs use special modified URLs to track which affiliate is responsible for which sales. For example, Amazon has an enormous number of affiliates linking to them with links that look like: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?path=ASIN/123456789 Obviously, each is an incoming link to Amazon. However, in this case, the link is going to a subpage that Amazon probably doesn't care about ranking highly. However, to get better mileage from such an incoming link, you should consider redirecting the link to pass PageRank and link equity to your site's homepage. When you are ready to implement this advanced SEO tactic, you can learn how it's done by studying these two very detailed Advanced SEO Tutorials:  Getting Your Dynamic Sites Completely Indexed - An Introduction to Mod Rewrite  How to Use a 301 Redirect to Keep Your Web Pages from Dropping Off the Face of the Earth The Complete Guide to Mastering the Art of Server Redirection Chapter 50 - Social Networking to Build Links here's an often-overlooked social networking aspect to link building. If you're well-known and have connections within either your industry or one that is closely related, then you should use those connections to get links to your site. Hypothetically, if you had a site that sold bodybuilding supplements and your uncle was Arnold Schwarzenegger, you might consider asking him to link to your site from his own. Of course this tongue-in-cheek example just illustrates the fact that who you are and who you know can also play a significant role in link building. Therefore, remember to seize this opportunity whenever you‘re attending industry conferences or any type of networking function that might lend itself to the link building efforts. Chapter 51 - Discover Who's Linking To Your Competitors he smart marketer knows that competitors have already blazed the trail. In many cases, finding pages that rank well for your keywords, and emulating your competitors‘ link- building strategies, is the place to start building your own links. In other words, your competitors' links could be your links too. And, sometimes, they could be your links instead! By integrating the strategies outlined above, and offering content to sites that are linking to your competitors, you'll soon find your pages are also in the mainstream. In due time, persistence tends to royally pay off. And, sooner or later, you're likely to outrank the competitors from whom you 'borrowed' your link-partner ideas. Later in the next lesson on Competitive Analysis, we'll talk more in detail about how you might implement this strategy. S T T
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 64 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 Chapter 52 - Linkbaiting via Social Media: the fastest & safest way to acquire links in bunches e've saved the best linking strategy for last. Linkbaiting is the ONE strategy that we have not yet addressed and is arguably the most effective at getting lots of links quickly. If there is a problem with linkbaiting it's this: the links you get are rarely on-topic. Nevertheless, Google likes these kinds of links—even when they are accumulated quickly! In a nutshell, this tactic involves creating content that is so compelling that average people feel they simply must tell others about it by linking to it via blogs, forums, email, and so forth. You place content on your site that literally "baits" people into linking to it. 1. Think YouTube. Use humor, outrage, demonstration, and even news. There are seemingly endless examples of YouTube linkbait strategies that have been immensely successful in acquiring links by the thousands! 2. Provide tools and resources that are so valuable they excite people to tell others about them. 3. How to Lists, Top Ten Lists, etc., that are so useful that people feel compelled to share. 4. Writing about a controversial topic in such a way that is either so shocking or so supportive that people are either outraged or impressed enough that they simply can't help themselves; that have to share by placing a link to your content. The term most often applied to this style of incoming link generation is 'viral marketing' which we define as: The online version of word-of-mouth. Viral Marketing relies on self-propagating or self-replicating methods to circulate within multiple networks aimed at trying to reach a large audience in a short amount of time. It is usually spread using email, blogs, and other social networking or marketing channels. To fully grasp the complete picture of how this versatile and powerful method for acquiring legitimate links quickly, you must study all four of these critically important Advanced SEO Tutorials that are located inside the membership area of SearchEngineNews.com:  LinkBaiting: The #1 *Secret* Art Used By Top SEO‘s to Gather Links In Bunches!  How to Build Links and Drive Massive Traffic with StumbleUpon!  How to Create Content, Build Links and Increase Search Rankings by Marketing with the Digg Effect  How to Optimize your YouTube Videos for Search Engine Domination Chapter 53 - Finding the Right Link Balance W
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 65 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 ou'll want to avoid letting your incoming link structure get too homogeneous. Incoming links from only one type of site or only to your homepage or all with identical anchor text are telltale clues that could cause a search engine to flag your site for an unnatural link structure. Ranking penalties could then follow. You should strive to achieve a general 80/20 link balancing act: That means;  80% of your links come from topically relevant sources and 20% from unrelated or marginally related sources.  80% or less of your incoming links going to your homepage with at least 20% (more is better) of your links going to subpages deeper within your site.  80% of your links having your keywords in the anchor text, 20% percent with something less optimized like "click here" or your domain name as the anchor text;  80% of your links are one-way links, 20% are reciprocal. Of course, these numbers are only general guidelines. The point is that you don't want your site to appear overly optimized, so it's important to balance your link ratios. Chapter 54 - Is Having a Great Site Enough? ome "experts" claim that having the best site for your category will be enough to attract all the links you'll ever need. While keeping a straight face, they righteously profess that, time spent on building links is better spent on improving your Web site. At best, this is only partially true. The other side of the discussion states that; If people don't know about your site, it doesn‘t matter how good your content is. And our 12 years of experience has taught us, that's a fact! Clearly there are many, many great sites out there that provide top notch content but get very little traffic because of poor search engine positioning. People would likely link to them IF they knew about them. But, without links, neither the search engines nor people will find them in first place. And, thus, the links never happen. To paraphrase an old saying: it takes links to get links! As your site improves its search rankings, you'll sooner or later reach a tipping point where you'll acquire links without even asking; simply because your site is more visible. Sites on the first page of the search results for any competitive keyword can often acquire large numbers of links without even trying. But, if you're link-poor, it can be an extraordinary challenge to get a leg up without actively seeking links to get the link building process started. Y S
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 66 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 Chapter 55 - Here's Your Link Building Roadmap! hen you are ready to embark on your link building campaign, here is one of the most important Advanced SEO Tutorials for you to study and then implement. It literally maps out your Link Building Strategy!  Your 5-Step Link Building Task Planner for 2009 And, while this may be the shortest chapter in the book, the Advanced SEO Tutorial listed above may be the one that produces your most productive results. Be sure to study it and then implement the strategies step by step. Lesson 3 Review Congratulations! You have just finished the largest and most important lesson of this course. In this lesson: 1. You have been warned to avoid OLD link building and SEO tactics in general because old information that teaches outdated SEO strategies and tactics can truly mess up your chances of ranking at the top of the search results; possibly forever! Beware. 2. You have been taught the Link Basics. The definitions of Anchor Text, URLs, Inbound, Outbound, and Reciprocal Links. 3. You‘ve learned that Link Popularity is an evolving concept and how today’s search engines place more ranking-value on some incoming links over others and they base that value on Web page importance. 4. You‘ve become familiar with Google's imperfect, but widely used, Toolbar PageRank scoring system of rating the importance of Web pages. 5. You‘ve learned the difference between natural and artificial link structure and why it‘s important to keep your incoming links looking natural. 6. You‘ve learned the importance of getting links from on-topic pages and choosing your links wisely. 7. Now you know the importance of link equity and getting your links on high traffic pages that do not already have a lot of outbound links. 8. You‘ve been warned to avoid 'run-of-site' links. 9. You‘ve been taught the importance of maintaining consistency in the format of your incoming link URL's. 10. You‘ve learned the importance of getting your keywords into the anchor text of your inbound links. 11. You now know the importance of getting deep links. 12. You‘ve been introduced to the nofollow link tag and have been warned to look for it when evaluating the quality of a link. W
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 67 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 13. You have been warned to avoid linking to link farms, web rings, & site networks; and generally, to be very careful who you link to. 14. You have been directed to the best place to start getting links; Directories like Yahoo, DMOZ, etc. 15. You‘ve learned the importance of getting 'on-topic' links 16. You have been given a host of alternative, frequently overlooked yet effective potential incoming link sources. 17. You now know the problem with having too many reciprocal links and how to be smart about building these types of links. 18. You‘ve learned how to evaluate the quality of a link; and why it's important that you do so. 19. You have been taught the rules you must apply whenever you buy links. 20. You know a good writer is essential to building your company‘s online presence. 21. You‘ve learned how to write your way to higher listings with article marketing. 22. You now know about building links with Article Syndication. 23. You‘ve learned how forums can be used to reach customers and build links. 24. You‘ve been shown how a blog can be used for better search rankings. 25. You know that Press Releases can be used to build quality links. 26. You know you may be able to gain links quickly by buying abandoned Web sites. 27. You now know how to buy links without getting penalized by Google. 28. You‘ve learned how Ezine and Newsletters Ads can be used to build incoming links. 29. You know the value of links coming from .edu and .gov domains and have great strategies for getting them. 30. You‘ve learned that providing tools & resources are great ways to build links. 31. How your Affiliate Program can be used to attract links. 32. The often overlooked link building aspects of social networking. 33. The importance of knowing who is linking to your competitors and why that can help you get your own links from their list. 34. You‘ve been taught the incredible strategy of LinkBaiting via Social Media and Viral Marketing; the fastest and safest way to acquire links in bunches. 35. You have learned the proper link balance and the dangers of having too many of any single type of link.
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 68 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 36. Why just having 'good content' isn't the key to top rankings; the critical importance of adopting a proactive approach to link building. 37. And you have been directed to Your Link Building Roadmap—likely to be the most productive tutorial in the Advanced Section of this SEO course. Remember Your Advanced SEO Tutorials! Here's your list of the Advanced SEO Tutorials associated with this Link Building lesson. These are now available to you inside your membership area of SearchEngineNews.com. Be sure to carefully study each of them.  DoFollow — The nofollow Work-Around For Building Incoming Links by the Truckload!  How to Generate a List of dofollow Blogs for Link Building  How to Build Links, Increase Traffic and Dominate Your Niche with Article Marketing ...and why most people are doing it completely wrong!  Blog Stands For Better Listings On Google  Why Buying an Existing Website May be a Smart Way to Jumpstart Your SEO Strategy  Everything You Need To Know About Optimizing Press Releases for Today's Online Markets  Getting Your Dynamic Sites Completely Indexed - An Introduction to Mod_Rewrite  How to Use a 301 Redirect to Keep Your Web Pages from Dropping Off the Face of the Earth Social Media Link Building Tactics  LinkBaiting: The #1 *Secret* Art Used By Top SEO‘s to Gather Links In Bunches!  How to Optimize your YouTube Videos for Search Engine Domination  How to Build Links and Drive Massive Traffic with StumbleUpon!  How to Create Content, Build Links and Increase Search Rankings by Marketing with the Digg Effect General Link Building Strategic Road Map Your 5-Step Link Building Task Planner for 2009
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 69 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 Lesson 4: Critical Competitive Analysis Chapter 56 - How to Use the SSI Tool to Analyze Your Competition, So You Can Beat Them in the Rankings. efore you optimize your pages for the search engines, you'd better find out how sophisticated your competition is (or isn't)! The idea is to determine what the top ranking pages are doing within your keyword categories so that you can: 1. quantify their strength, 2. duplicate their efforts 3. and then go one better in order to achieve your success in the rankings. To do so, enter their domain name into the Site Strength Indicator Tool (the screenshot on the right displays sample results). In about 15 seconds, this tool will analyze 12 critical data points and deliver an overall site strength score. In other words, in just seconds you can learn: 1. Domain Birthdate: This refers to the age of a site. The older the site, the more of an advantage in the rankings it will have. Typically, Google treats older sites as more trusted and tends to give them an advantage in the rankings. If the site's 'birthday' is 2003 or older, the site has some advantage. If the site's birthday is prior to 2000, then the site has a distinct advantage in the rankings. B
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 70 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 2. Total incoming links: Exactly what it seems to say. Don't expect the number to be perfectly accurate, but it will most certainly be relatively accurate. If one site is showing 13,705 links and the other site is showing 575, then the ratio is roughly 137 to 6. This is a substantial strength difference between the two sites. 3. Total incoming links to homepage: Exactly what it seems to say; links that go directly to the homepage. And, once again, this is not a perfectly accurate number but rather, a perfectly exact representation of relative strength between sites. Something like 7,709 links to 152 makes it obvious that the latter has some link building work to do before it can be expected to compete with the former. 4. Deep-link ratio: This measures the ratio of links pointing to internal pages within the site—the higher the deep link ratio, the better. A relatively high deep link ratio means the site has links to its internal pages. Google likes sites with deep links. Google believes that legitimate sites have lots of deep links. On the flip side of this equation, Google is suspicious of sites that have all, or most, of its links pointing only to the homepage. In Google's eyes, this would indicate that a site lacks legitimate content if other sites are not linking to its deep pages. An acceptable deep link ratio would be 20%; 40% is better and 60% or greater is very good. 5. EDU Links: Since .edu domains are restricted to accredited institutions of higher learning (Typically U.S. Colleges and Universities), Google tends to trust these links. One way to boost a site's ranking is to collect links from .edu domains. The more .edu links the better. 6. .GOV Links: Likewise, .gov domains are restricted to U.S. government entities. Google also tends to trust these links. One way to boost a site's ranking is to collect links from .gov domains. The more .gov links the better. 7. DMOZ Listings: Since the DMOZ Directory provides Google's *Directory* results (not to be confused with Google's search engine results), Google loves the DMOZ listing and tends to give a listed site a ranking boost. Take note, however, that IF your DMOZ listing happens to be on a DMOZ page that YAHOO hasn't yet indexed, then the SSI tool will not yet show your DMOZ listing. 8. Yahoo Directory listings: This counts the number of links that Yahoo points at the site. Remember that, due to Yahoo's international indexes, it is entirely probable to have multiple Yahoo Directory links pointing to a site. 9. Google PageRank: This refers to the Google TOOLBAR PageRank that rates the importance of a page in the eyes of Google on a scale that runs from PR=0 (low) to PR=10 (high). This metric is important because it gives you a good idea of Google's opinion of a site while indicating how valuable a link coming from the site may be. 10: Google Cache Date: This tells you exactly when Google last crawled a site. A recent date is indication that Google thinks the site is important. On the other hand, if a site's cache date is a month or more old, then Google probably thinks little of the site. Very important sites are crawled frequently, sometimes even daily. Unimportant sites are crawled sporadically, perhaps every couple weeks or once a month. 11. Technorati Inbound Blog Links: This reports the number of inbound links coming from blogs. It's a good way to measure a site's 'buzz'—i.e., how many people are talking about it in the blogosphere. Lots of links indicate the site is doing something blog worthy.
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 71 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 12. Total links from unique domains: This shows you a RELATIVE comparison of incoming links from unique domains based on data coming from Alexa—a respected service who's business is measuring traffic and Web site statistics. Note that this single statistic is never going to be completely accurate in actual number of links, yet it WILL be accurate as a relative link comparison of sites. For instance, if one site is showing links coming from '33 unique domains' and a competing site is showing 411, then it is fairly safe to say that the latter site is beating the former site by a ratio of 411/33 or approx 41 unique domain links for every 3—a substantial difference. As you will also see when you use the SSI tool, each of the listed metrics is a link that provides a look at the source of the information. For instance, if you click #3 — Total incoming links — you will be taken to a page that displays all of the Web pages that are linking to the target site. And, yes! If you are analyzing your competition, this link does indeed give you a fantastic list of potential link partners for your own site. Likewise for almost all of the other metrics. Each link provides a valuable prospecting tool in addition to the competitive intelligence for analyzing your competition. As you test the strength of sites using the Site Strength Indicator (SSI), you will also notice a "Total Score:" rating is given. Here are the ratings explained: 0 – 19 This site has a very limited search engine presence and is getting far less search traffic than it could if it increased its optimization. Building quality links is often the quickest way to improve rankings. 20 - 39 This site has made some progress in achieving rankings, but is still far below achieving its potential. Targeting long-tail keywords is your best bet for traffic at this level. 40 – 59 While there is still a lot of work to do, this site is on the verge of breaking into the arena of major search engine exposure. Creating some viral buzz via Social Media could be enough to push it into the big leagues. 60 – 79 This site is a powerful presence on the Internet. In a small to medium niche it's likely dominating the rankings; but it can still be beat with the right optimization. 80 – 100 This site is among the most powerful and authoritative on the Internet. If this is your site, then congratulations! If it's your competitor's site, they're going to be very tough to beat. The rating scores explained above give you a pretty good idea of how easy or hard it will be to supplant a site that is ranking on the first page of the search results. Let's suppose for example, that we want to place the site: www.homeschoolviews.com somewhere on the first page of Google's search results for the keyword homeschool. Let's take a look at the sites that are ranking in positions #1 through #10. We want to see if any of them are beatable in the rankings based on their lack of overall strength.
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 72 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 *note scores in parenthesis () are for the exact URL ranked in Google for the example keyphrase. Although some of these sites are fairly strong, a few (specifically #8, #5 and #9) are showing weakness and none of them are unbeatable according to the scoring system outlined above. According to the SSI Tool, our example site, www.homeschoolviews.com is currently showing a Total Score of 46 out of 100. It is currently ranking #86 in a Google search for homeschool. And, although it might seem like the site is buried in the rankings, the reality is that it definitely has a good chance of moving all the way up to the first page. All it would take is some serious link building and possibly a viral marketing campaign -- perhaps using YouTube to generate some appropriate buzz. That's because the site strength difference between the lower four of the top 10 pages (52-68) and our example page (52) or (37 for the specific URL in the rankings) is not really all that much. On the other hand, if the pages we were attempting to beat were ALL rated in the 70 to 100 range, then the task would be far more challenging. You get the idea. By the way, You should not expect the SSI ratings to coincide exactly with Google's ranking order. That's because SSI is measuring a site's general strength but NOT exactly for THAT keyword. When we use different keywords, some of these sites are present in the rankings, and some aren't. That's because each keyword search returns different results relevant to that keyword (or keyphrase). And, although a site's "strength" is important, it's far from being the only determinant to exactly what order the sites are listed in the rankings. In other words, if all else were equal (something that virtually never happens) the stronger of the sites would always be at the top of the listings. However, because anchor text and keyword placements are also important factors, the rankings will reflect what may first look like chaos but is, in fact, logical order based on Google's current algorithmic formula. For instance, when we search using a different, yet related, keyword: home school curriculum, our example site, www.homeschoolviews.com is on the top of page 7 in position #61. However, when searching for: home school quiz, our example site, www.homeschoolviews.com, is listed #2 on the first page of the search results. Why? ...because the Web site offers a Learning Style & Teaching Style Quiz Page that other sites have felt compelled to link to.
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 73 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 This is a good example of using link bait to acquire links. And, our example site is one that is actually primed to move up in the rankings for a fairly wide range of homeschool related keyword phrases. All it would take is the implementation and promotion of some additional link bait articles, resources, and fun things homeschool kids and parents might like. This is a perfect example of analyzing a niche that is occupied by fairly strong players yet several of them can be unseated. Yes, it would take some effort but a first page listing for most, if not all, of the homeschool related keywords is achievable. Now, let‘s take a look at the difficult end of the spectrum. Suppose we were looking at achieving top rankings for the keyword: health care. Based on our scale, the only relatively ―weak‖ site in the above list is healthcare.com. Based on our Total Score rating scale, the only relatively weak sites in the above list are #6, #8 and #9, healthcare.com at 60, www.itsourhealthcare.org at 23 and industry.bnet.com at 60 respectively. However, due to the fact that the exact keywords are in the domain name, we'd expect to see them somewhere on the front page of the search results. Obviously, Google places a great deal of emphasis on keywords located in the Top Level Domain (aka, TLD) name. But, as you can also see, there are three pages ranked higher. That means that site strength, is clearly an important factor as well. The bottom line is that it will take a good deal of effort and probably a pretty fat budget to unseat these health care related sites from the top of the search results. Not impossible, but better to shoot for more specific keyword phrases that both fit the profile of what your market is searching for when they are ready to buy, as well as being easier to rank well for.
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 74 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 Now let's take a look at a typical, local style, search — Bellingham real estate. As you can see from the scores above, most all of these sites should be considered beatable. In fact, most of them are ranking well partially because they are using the keyword in the domain name. The scores you are seeing are fairly typical of what you'll find the competition to be in most local service niches. Obviously we could provide literally endless examples. But now it's time for you to try out the SSI tool for yourself and analyze the sites that are scoring well for YOUR target keywords. Then, once you locate the easy targets, you can launch your own plan of attack to displace the weak listings with your own site. Once again, here‘s your link to the Site Strength Indicator Tool. Have fun! Chapter 57 – Tricks and Traps of the SEO Trade iscussions regarding acceptable and unacceptable SEO practices often devolve into a polarized conversation that splits into two groups: White hat vs. Black hat SEO practices. However, we think it‘s a silly conversation. That‘s because, unless you are doing something illegal (which we do NOT recommend!), we think the more productive discussion should center around: What works vs. what doesn’t work and Safe vs. dangerous SEO tactics As an SEO, you need to know what SEO tactics are working. This is especially true if your competition is using it. Never mind that somebody out there is crying ‗black hat‘ …that, alone, should be irrelevant to you. If it isn‘t illegal, you can expect that your competition will use it against you to gain a competitive advantage. Bank on it! The REAL question should be: Is the SEO strategy safe? In other words, will your site be penalized or banned if you get caught applying whatever specific SEO strategy to your Web site’s pages? If the answer is YES, then we advise you to refrain from implementing an ‘unsafe’ SEO strategy. D
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 75 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 Example: Let‘s suppose that you learn, while conducting competitive analysis of your competition, that they are hiding keywords under their images to artificially boost relevancy in the search results. They are also hiding links that direct spiders toward topically unrelated pages for indexing and PageRank purposes. And, as far as you can tell, it appears to be working due to the fact they are ranked on the first page, in the top ten of the search results. In addition, all of the pages their hidden links are pointing toward are indexed and ranking well too. Now, because you have carefully studied our Advanced SEO Tutorial; The Top 10 'On- Page' SEO Spamming Tricks to Avoid Like the Plague! …you know for sure that Google does NOT approve of such a tactic. It clearly conflicts with Google‘s Webmaster Guidelines which specifically states that hidden text or hidden links should be avoided—including text behind an image. However, one must consider that there isn‘t anything illegal about hiding text or links behind an image. So, if your competition is using this tactic to compete, then you at least need to know about it. Now you have some options to consider. 1. Ignore it and take the safer SEO tactical road hoping that Google will eventually discover the ―cheat‖ and penalize your competitor‘s site accordingly. 2. Report your competitor‘s guideline infractions to Google and hope that Google evens the playing field by penalizing your competitor. (Don‘t hold your breath). 3. Match your competition tactic by tactic (regardless of Google‘s acceptable use guidelines) knowing full well you‘re engaging in an unsafe (although not illegal) SEO tactic. So, what‘s our recommendation? We prefer choice #1. Although, we realize you may choose choice #2 for reasons that are entirely understandable. We do not recommend choice #3 for the simple reason that there‘s no guarantee whatsoever that Google will refrain from penalizing your site while leaving your competitor‘s site unscathed. Yes, we know—unfair! …but it happens and there is no easy way to predict what Google will actually do in such circumstances. You also need to know there is something called ‗white-listing‘ a site. In essence, that‘s when a site is considered so trustworthy by Google that they never assess any ranking penalty regardless of whatever SEO tactics such white listed sites may be using. Typically, such sites belong to brand name companies like Microsoft, Nike, Amazon, and so forth. So, if you‘re competing against one of these so-called brand names, then be aware that they may be operating under a less strict set of rules. Yes, we know—again, not fair. But it is the way it is. Make your adjustments and move forward. Here‘s the point. The Profession of SEO is full of tricks and traps—and you absolutely must KNOW what each of them are in order to compete on the big stage. That‘s why we have devoted an entire Advanced SEO Tutorial to the Top 10 ‘on page’ SEO tricks that you absolutely positively need to know about if you are to successfully analyze what your competition is doing to achieve top rankings. When you are ready, be sure to carefully study:
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 76 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 Remember Your Advanced SEO Tutorials! Here's your list of the Advanced SEO Tutorials associated with this Link Building lesson. These are now available to you inside your membership area of SearchEngineNews.com. Be sure to carefully study each of them.  How to Easily Analyze your Competition in Seconds Using the Site Strength Indicator Tool  The Top 10 'On-Page' SEO Spamming Tricks to Avoid Like the Plague!
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 77 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 Lesson 5: Choosing the Right Domain Name Chapter 58 - What's In A Name? s you've no-doubt deduced by now, choosing the right Domain Name can be critically important! Not only does Google currently give preference to keyword-rich domains, so do people when they're choosing which link in the search results to click. Another critical truth to factor into the equation is that you should AVOID changing the domain name of an established site. Once a site (domain name) is established and ranked within the search engines, it is NOT advisable to switch the domain name. That's because switching from an established domain to a new domain can be a tricky process at best. At worst, you will lose all of your investment in time and effort that you've spent promoting the site. In essence, you could find that you are literally starting over. Not good. This can often put your site at a ranking disadvantage for upwards of six months to a year. What‘s more, Google places a high value on old sites—the longer a site has been around, the better. In fact, two of the most important ranking factors in Google are: 1. The quality and age of your incoming links (i.e. the importance of the linking page combined with the length of time the link has been pointing at your site). 2. The age of your site (the length of time your domain name has been online). Compared to having an old and established site, your domain name is often way down the importance-list of ranking factors. So, given a choice between a great domain name and a site that's been aged, we'd advise the latter—the older site over the choice domain name. Although, it is possible to efficiently and properly move sites, (something we'll discuss in the next lesson) our general advice is to *not* change a domain name unless you absolutely have to for legal reasons (such as a domain name containing someone else‘s trademark) or if the new domain is absolutely so amazing that you can‘t pass it up. Otherwise, we advise that you stick with an established domain name if you already have it up and running with incoming links and indexed content. But if you are starting fresh, then you should make every effort to get the best, most keyword-rich, domain name possible. Chapter 59 - In Search of the Ideal Domain Name he ideal domain name exactly matches the primary keyword or short (2 or 3-word) keyword phrase you‘re targeting. Examples of such domain names might include: http://www.HotTubs.com http://www.PetSupplies.com http://www.SalesTraining.com A T
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 78 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 However, in most cases, these keyword-exact-matching domain names are no longer available on the primary market. They are already being used (or held) by other businesses or professional domainers—people whose business it is to buy and sell domains for a profit on the secondary market. (Note: domain names are not case-sensitive. We‘ve capitalized letters in the above domains to make the keywords within them easier to spot.) This means that really good domain names are usually not available for cheap from a domain registrar, but instead, must be purchased directly from someone who already owns the domain. Oftentimes you can contact an owner of the domain directly via the domain‘s WhoIs info or by using contact info on the site (if it exists). To check the WhoIs info (the background information on who owns a site), use a site like domaintools.com: http://whois.domaintools.com/. There you can simply enter the domain name for which you would like to check for availability. You can also buy already registered domains on domain auction sites. Some of the best include:  http://buydomains.com/  http://www.snapnames.com/  http://www.enom.com/  https://www.tdnam.com/ (GoDaddy.com’s Domain Name Aftermarket) Bear in mind, however, that many times these resale domains can cost several thousand dollars to purchase. And, while having a domain name that exactly matches your most sought after keyword can definitely help boost rankings, it‘s not absolutely essential to building a high ranking site. Instead, you might choose a short, catchy name that will be easy to market, both online and off. Just a few well known examples of domain names that have been turned into globally recognizable brands include Amazon, eBay, Google, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and del.icio.us (now, delicious.com). Besides being easier to build a brand around, the shorter name also provides the advantage of being easier to market through other media, such as radio, print, or television. Sometimes you'll get lucky and find a domain that uses your keywords and is short and catchy. If so, grab it! You'll have the best of both worlds. The drawback to the short, brand-able domain name is that, since it lacks keywords, it supplies absolutely no search engine ranking benefit. From an SEO perspective, it does nothing for your site‘s rankings. Your other option is to buy a domain that incorporates your keywords but doesn‘t exactly match the keyword phrase you‘re targeting. Examples might include names like: http://www.HotTubSource.com http://www.PetSuppliesCenter.com http://www.SalesTrainingExperts.com While you may not get the often significant rankings boost you‘d get if your domain exactly matched your most sought-after keyword, using a domain name that incorporates your keywords in some variation will still contribute to high rankings for the following reasons:
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 79 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 Whenever another site links to you, you want them to use your keywords in the visible text of their link (the anchor text). Having your keywords in the anchor text of links pointing to your site is one of the most important aspects of high-ranking pages. Most of the time when other sites link to you they will typically use your domain name as the anchor text. If your domain name already includes your best keywords, that makes it natural for them to use your best keywords in the anchor text. It also saves you the trouble of having to track down those links and request the site to change the anchor text—a task that is awkward at best. In regards to visitor click-throughs, having your keywords in your domain name can make a big difference. When browsing through the lists of links on search engine results pages (SERPs), our studies have shown that people are far more likely to click links that contain the keyword they are searching for in the domain name. Even if your competitor provides otherwise similar-to-equal enticements, if they're lacking the specific keywords in their link, their link is more likely to be passed over. This selective click-through behavior especially pertains to web users who access the net via slow Internet connections. Because of the sometimes excruciating delay between clicking and page loading, users on slow connections tend to study each URL more closely. They look for keywords and evaluate beforehand whether or not a link appears to be worth the time investment it takes for a page to load on a slow connection. As long as your keywords are somewhere in your domain name, search engines will generally assume your domain is relevant for those keywords. The exception to the rule: excessively long and/or multiple-hyphenated keyword-stuffed domain names. For example, a plastic surgeon specializing in breast enhancement in Beverly Hills might consider registering and using this as one of her domain names... www.cosmetic-surgery-breast-enhancement-beverly-hills.com At one time, such a domain had a boosting effect on rankings. But that effect has since been radically diminished in respects to domain names with excessive dashes and characters. As you can see, the above domain name has 49 characters including five hyphens (dashes). Too many characters and too many dashes make this domain name look unnatural or spammy from the SEPOV. Therefore, we recommend no more than one hyphen at most—preferably none; and to create the shortest domain name possible based on what's available and what makes sense to your potential site visitors in relationship to your business. In a perfect scenario, your best domain name is typically your primary keyword or keyword combination. Whenever that isn't possible, at least try to get your most important keyword inserted somewhere into your domain name. The other drawback to domains with hyphens is that they‘re harder for customers to remember. They can also be more difficult to convey by word-of-mouth since people have to say "cheap dash art dash supplies dot com" instead of just "cheap art supplies dot com." When we purchase domains names, we often buy both versions; with and without dashes separating the keywords. By purchasing both versions, you can keep these alternative domains out of the hands of your competitors. It's also a good idea to register common misspellings of your domain name, especially these days when annual domain fees are so affordable; about $10 a year at GoDaddy.com.
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 80 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 Misspelled and other alternate versions of your domain name can then be redirected to your primary domain name so that anybody who inadvertently goes to the "wrong" URL will still end up in the right place (don‘t worry, we'll cover URL redirection in the next lesson). However, you should avoid registering domains with double--dashes separating keywords, like: www.art--supplies.com Not only does this make it even harder for your customers to remember your domain name, but search engines may not even index your sites that use double dashes in the domain name. The reason why is because this strategy has been abused in the past. Overall, buying the .com, .org, or .net version of a domain name that exactly matches your primary keyword phrase is one of the most effective strategies for building a potentially high ranking site from the ground up. Chapter 60 - Domain Names that Please Customers and Search Engines hen designing your site, striking the right balance between a site that search engines like and a site that your customers like can be tricky. Unfortunately, choosing a domain name falls directly into that same tricky category. Here are a couple of guidelines to help you choose: If your intention is to build a long-term online business that will be marketed through a variety of online and offline media, then go with a short, catchy, trademarkable name that you can easily build a brand around. OR If your intention is mainly to get ranked with the search engines, then go for the keyword-rich domain name. Regardless of your exact approach, getting your keywords into your domain name will always boost your search engine ranking—particularly when your domain name exactly matches the keyword or keyword phrase you‘re targeting. Even if your company name is your domain name, such as PlanetOcean.com, it‘s still a good idea to register other relevant keyword-rich domain names pertaining to your goods and services whenever you find them available. For instance, we also own… This gives us the option of setting up specialized sites that place our services in the paths of people who are using the search engines to locate our specialty product or service. It‘s like buying online 'real estate' for the future. There‘s always a good chance the time will come when you'll want to develop these vacant 'properties.' This strategy also keeps these choice domain names out of the hands of future competitors, making it harder for them to enter your market. W
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 81 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 Chapter 61 - Choosing a Domain Extension: .com? .net? .org? .biz? .info? hen researching possible domain names, you should see what‘s available in the .org or .net categories. These are given equal billing with search engines and it may be easier to find the domain you want if you target those extensions. You are likely to find they are generally more available to register, or else can be purchased from the owner for a cheaper price, than the .com version. If you're outside the U.S., or targeting a market outside the U.S., country-specific domains such as .co.uk or co.in are also a good choice. Such domains will typically give you an advantage in ranking for queries performed by people in those countries. However, be aware that the advantage that .com holds over all other domain name suffixes is one of adapting to your visitor‘s habits. People tend to assume that a site's URL will end in .com, regardless of the fact that search engines typically don't care one way or the other. In other words, if you don't control the .com version of your chosen domain name, you could be losing the so-called type-in traffic (i.e., traffic that ensues when a searcher simply types their search directly into a browser’s address bar). If you can't secure your chosen domain as a .com, then you may want to choose a different domain. Whoever controls that .com is going to end up getting some of your traffic. However, if your goal is primarily to rank in the engines, and you don‘t mind that some traffic might bleed off when people inadvertently enter .com by mistake, then .org and .net domains are just as good, ranking-wise, and they‘re generally easier to obtain. If your business is not based in the US, then it also becomes important to acquire a country- specific domain name extension. For instance, if your business is based in the UK and you want your site to be found within Google UK‘s ―pages from the UK‖ search feature, then you must have either a .co.uk domain extension, or else your site must be hosted within the UK. However, even if you do have the country-specific extension, it‘s still important that you also control the .com to avoid losing type-in traffic. You can then forward the .com version of your domain to your country-specific domain. Occasionally you'll see domains with the .info extension. Our advice is to avoid this extension because it‘s been heavily abused by search engine spammers. Such .info domains can be registered for as little as $0.99, making them a prime target for spammers looking for cheap, disposable domains. You can still build a high ranking site on a .info domain, and some people do—but our experience is that this domain-extension has been tainted from the SEPOV and is best avoided. An additional note about domain extensions: There is evidence that Google gives a ranking advantage to domain names with .edu or .gov extensions. However, these extensions are only available to recognized educational institutions or US government entities, respectively, and are off-limits to most of us (though they are extremely valuable sources for incoming links). W
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 82 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 Lesson 5 Review In this lesson you learned: 1. The importance of having the right domain name. 2. How to choose the right domain name. 3. The importance of choosing domain names that appeal to both customers and search engines. 4. How search engines view the different domain name extensions in respects to rankings. Congratulations, you are close to completing the book portion of this SEO course. Only two more lessons to go! ...now you're ready to learn how Web Site Architecture effects your ability to rank well in the search engines. Lesson 6: Site Architecture; Making Your Web Site Easy for Search Engines to Index Chapter 62 - Designing Search-Friendly Pages ow that you know the importance of Keywords, Links, Domain Names, and Competitive Analysis, it's time to understand how your Web site should be set up so that search engines will find it, and list it within their index. After all, the search engines can't rank your pages at the top of the search results if they don't know about them. By the way, Indexing is what search engine spiders are doing when they crawl a Web site to collect data about your Web pages. They store that data in a database called an index. Processing and storing a Web page is referred to as indexing. Therefore, you must ensure your Web pages are as easy for search engines to access and index as possible. Believe it or not, many Web sites are inadvertently or accidently configured to be difficult for search engines to access. And, …some Web sites are actually blocking search engines while their Web site owners are wondering why their site isn't doing better in the search rankings! Little do they know it's because of the indexing-roadblocks they've inadvertently placed in the way. So, pay close attention because here's where you will learn: 1. How to avoid the common mistakes that keep Web pages from being indexed, and N
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 83 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 2. How to ensure that all of your important pages get indexed properly to give them a good chance to rank at the top of the search results. Remember though, making your site search engine friendly, by itself, won‘t propel you to the top of the rankings. A search engine friendly site is actually more about avoiding the mistakes that will prevent you from getting indexed or damage your search engine rankings. To achieve that top rank, however, you must totally understand the critical role that keywords, inbound links, overall site strength, etc. play as you use this understanding to your advantage when designing your site. There are always two important points to remember about search engines and how they relate to your Web site: The first point is: the quality of your site counts. Search engines make their money through advertising. Showing ads to their users is their profit model, and the more users they have, the more money they make. The way a search engine gets more users is by providing the best search results. This means that, if your site is the most useful site to customers in your keyword category, then search engines want to rank you at or near the top of the search results. Indeed, their revenue stream depends on it. The second point to remember is: search engines spiders are really just computer programs. More precisely, search engines run a program called a spider that: 1. visits your Web site, 2. reads the text and links on your Web pages, 3. then decides what to do with your Web pages based on the information it reads. They call this activity crawling your Web site. So, search engine spiders are computer programs that crawl Web pages. And, if you've ever used a computer, you know that computer programs break sometimes, especially if you overtax them. You may have noticed that your own computer starts to slow down and may even crash if you have too many applications open. It's the same with a search engine spider. If your Web site is laid out in a confusing and disorganized fashion, or if the links between your pages are difficult for a search engine spider to find, your site is not going to be crawled as efficiently as you would like. This means that some of your pages will get missed. It also means your site won't be crawled very often and your listings won't be fresh. That puts you at a disadvantage when it comes to getting new pages indexed; and if your pages don't make it into the index, they certainly can't be ranked highly. Remember, there are billions of Web pages on the Internet. And search engines have to make the most of their available time and resources to crawl all those pages. It's your job to make sure crawling your pages is quick and easy for the search engine spiders. Otherwise, you risk having your Web pages ignored by the search engines. Remember, this lesson is focused on making your site spider-friendly. The tactics and strategies covered here won‘t rocket you to the top of the search engines (you'll need to use incoming links and keyword strategies to do that), but they will help you avoid the mistakes that can nuke your rankings by locking you inside the starting gate. In other words, if it's difficult for search engine spiders to crawl your site, you'll be handicapped in the ranking race regardless of all your other good efforts.
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 84 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 Chapter 63 - Keep Your URLs Simple earch engine spiders find the pages on your Web site by following links. They work in similar fashion to the way you use your browser—only much more quickly. They download a page, scan it for links, and store those links in a list. Once they're done scanning the page, they grab the first link from the list and repeat the steps until they've followed all of the links one by one. Of course, this is a simplified explanation, but it essentially defines the process of how a search engine finds Web pages. Many Web sites, especially e-commerce sites, use dynamically generated URLs. These are Web addresses that look something like: http://domain.com/product-id5-cust8&+8=7?gtf. These dynamic URLs are automatically generated by pulling variables out of a database to match the product specifications a customer is looking for. Dynamically generated URLs usually contain lots of non-numerical, non-alphabetical characters, such as ?, &, +, and, =. For example, a site that sells Hawaiian muumuus might have a page with the following dynamically generated URL: http://yoursite.com/index.php?item=muumuu&color=blue&size=large This is opposed to a static-looking URL, which is a bit easier on the eyes: http://yoursite.com/muumuu/blue/large Although most search engine spiders are improving their ability to crawl these long and confusing, dynamically generated URLs, it is best if you can avoid using them at all. When all else is equal, a Web site with short, static-looking URLs is more likely to achieve a higher number of pages indexed by the search engines than a comparable site that produces dynamically-generated (DG) Web pages. However, there are times when the advantages of DG pages outweigh the SEO drawbacks. So, IF your site absolutely must rely on dynamically pulling content from a database to create its URLs, it's still possible to have your URLs appear static by using a tool like mod_rewrite. A mod_rewrite is a tool that can be used to rewrite a dynamic URL as a static URL on the fly. This is commonly done for SEO purposes to improve the pages navigation for spiders. When you are ready to apply this Advanced SEO tactic, be sure to study our extensive mod_rewrite Advanced SEO Tutorial: Getting Your Dynamic Sites Completely Indexed with mod_rewrite By the way, if the tutorial mentioned above seems a bit too complicated for you, then share it with your web or tech people and have them handle the details of turning your dynamic URLs into search engine (and people friendly) web addresses. This is something that you definitely want to get right! And, even though it's a little complicated, it's worth the effort as it magically renders your complex, dynamic, ugly looking URL's into simple links that search engine spiders and PEOPLE just love to follow. In essence, you get to eat your cake and have it too. S
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 85 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 Chapter 64 - Meta Tags: Do They Matter? eta tags are non-displayed text written into the source code of your HTML document intended to describe your page to the search engine for the purpose of cataloging the content of your page. A considerable amount of undeserved attention has been given to Meta tags and an enduring myth has evolved in the process. Meta Tag Myth: Meta tags are what propel pages to the top of the search engines (wrong!). Meta Tag Reality: Meta tags, while potentially useful to describe your Web page contents to a web browser or search engine, have no appreciable effect on actual search engine rankings whatsoever. None! There seems to be this semi-absurd ongoing debate as to whether or not Meta tags should be included in your HTML document. Let's put that debate to rest once and for all. Surprisingly, the answer is a resounding YES! Here's why. While it is true that Meta tags will not help your rankings, it is also true that the Meta description tag should absolutely be included in every Web page document that you want described on the search engine results page. That's because the Meta description tag is used by many search engines as the summary description for your page when your page is listed in the search results. The contents found within the Meta description tag is often the sub-headline and the sales description for your link! (Remember! ...your <title> tag is the headline that is displayed in the search results.) The Meta description tag, when displayed in the search engine results, helps the searcher decide whether or not your page is relevant to their search. It's what compels a real person to click your link. After all, that's the reason for being listed by the search engine in the first place! If you omit the Meta description tag, then the search engine is likely to fabricate a description for your site based on arbitrary text gleaned from somewhere on your page. Here's an example of a terrible, yet real life search engine results description we found when searching for Hawaii scuba diving: Link Title: Scuba Diving Maui Hawaii Summary description: click to go home Now, we're pretty sure that this company didn't really want click to go home used as their page description, but that's what they got because they failed to use a Meta description tag. Another possibility is that the search engine will omit the summary description entirely if it fails to find anything useful within your page to use as a summary. In either case, a potential site visitor is less motivated to click your link if you fail to properly utilize the Meta description tag. Hence, in every case where you want a description for your link within the search engine results, be certain to include a relevant and enticing Meta description tag. The following example illustrates the HTML source code located at the very beginning of a very basic Web page. Below you can see the Meta description tag, and its contents, highlighted: M
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 86 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 <html> <head> <title>Cell Phone Accessories</title> <meta name="description" content="The latest in cell phone accessories at the lowest prices for every known brand of cell phone on the planet!"> <meta name="keywords" content="cell phones, Leather Cases, Cellphone holders, Antennas, antennaes, chargers, batteries, face plates, flashing batteries, hands free head phones, headphones, range extenders, bateries"> </head> The only other Meta tag that is the slightest bit useful to search engines (and only slightly) is the Meta keywords tag as highlighted below: <html> <head> <title>Cell Phone Accessories</title> <meta name="description" content="The latest in cell phone accessories at the lowest prices for every known brand of cell phone on the planet!"> <meta name="keywords" content="cell phones, Leather Cases, Cellphone holders, Antennas, antennaes, chargers, batteries, face plates, flashing batteries, hands free head phones, headphones, range extenders, bateries"> </head> The Meta keywords tag should be used cautiously. Many search engines ignore it (because it has been so abused in the past by SEOs trying to gain an advantage in the rankings), while other search engines place only a very limited value on it. Guidelines for proper use are as follows: Avoid repeating keywords. Use only keywords that are relevant to the theme (topic) of your site. Be aware of trademark infringement and seek legal counsel before listing another company's trademarked terms anywhere in your source code. The typical character limit on both description and keywords Meta tags is 250 characters including spaces and commas. Once search engines reach their character limit they ignore the rest of the tag's contents. In the event a search engine uses less than 250 characters it would be wise to place the most important part early in the Meta tag, just in case the engine truncates the tag. When used properly, the Meta keywords tag can help, and will not hurt, your Web pages. However, when used improperly, a search engine could actually penalize your page by ranking it lower than it actually deserves. That's why many SEOs have ceased using the Meta keywords tag, choosing instead to exercise an abundance of caution. Regardless, we recommend that you include it—but take care to use it properly. By the way, the Meta keyword tag is a good place to put commonly misspelled words just as we did in our Meta keyword example above using the intentionally misspelled words antennaes and bateries (you noticed that, right?).
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 87 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 Oh, and by the way, NONE of the other Meta tags have any effect on search engine rankings, whatsoever! ...never have and probably never will—no matter what you've heard! Chapter 65 – How to Customize the Way Your Listings Appear in Google oogle now provides a way for you to customize how your listings appear in the search results. Previously, you were limited to just titles and descriptions, but now it's possible to get star ratings, product images, prices, business addresses and more included with your search results listing. For example, take a look at this cafe listing from Yelp.com. You can see star ratings, number of user reviews and average price range for a meal. Google is displaying this data using a feature they call Rich Snippets—information extracted from indexed pages that have special tags embedded into their HTML code. Those tags come in two forms, microformats and RDFa. While this might sound complicated, these formats are about as easy to master as regular HTML. And, although developers haven't yet settled on a standard, the fact remains that you can use either microformats or RFDa (we find microformats a little easier). Then you simply denote certain data on your pages by wrapping them in tags with descriptive class attributes. For example, to create the listing above, you would wrap portions of your page's data in tags that describe that data as seen below. <div class="hreview"> <span class="name">Cafe Cakes</span> <span class="rating">4</span> out of 5. <span class="count">28</span> reviews. <span class="pricerange">$</span> </div> Wrapping everything in a hreview div tag lets Google know it's a review. Then you use name, rating, count and pricerange span tags to add the other information. So far, we're seeing these Rich Snippet listings just for restaurants and cafes, but Google is working on rolling them out to more categories. Google provides examples and tutorials on Rich Snippets for the following: G
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 88 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1  Reviews  People  Products  Businesses and organizations Currently, business directories and others sites based upon reviewing and categorizing other businesses stand to gain the most from having Rich Snippets added to their pages. However, as Google expands this program it's likely to become relevant to many other types of Web sites as well. In general, listings that are enhanced with Rich Snippets can expect to increase their click through rate—so we highly recommend them. You can learn much more about how to help your listings get Rich Snippets by reading Google's guide on marking up structured data. Chapter 66 - Be Careful with Session IDs and Dynamic URLs ession IDs are unique identifiers, often embedded in URLs that allow a Web site to track a customer from page to page. For example, when shopping at an ecommerce site, session IDs are used to keep track of the items in your shopping cart. For search engine spiders, however, session IDs can cause a problem because they can inadvertently create a huge number of links for the spider to crawl. The danger is that the spider might repeatedly index what is essentially the same Web page over and over. They can get trapped in a loop as each newly crawled page dynamically generates even more links for the spider to follow. They call this a 'spider trap.' Here‘s how a system that uses session IDs can give the appearance of generating an endless number of pages within a single site. For example, a link with session ID tracking that looks like... http://www.yoursite/shop.cgi?id=dkom2354kle03i ...is served to the spider when it first downloads one of your Web pages. That page is then processed, but when the spider returns to the site to download more pages, it finds another URL that looks like: http://www.yoursite/shop.cgi?id=hj545jkf93jf4k It's actually the same page—only with a different tracking session ID variable. But to the spider it looks like a brand new URL, so the spider can get trapped downloading the same page over and over again. This is why search spiders typically avoid links that look like they might have session or tracking variables embedded in them. They are programmed to avoid spider traps. This means that some of your pages simply will not get indexed if they even remotely look like spider traps. Although Google is constantly striving to improve their ability to crawl session IDs, we recommend you avoid using them whenever possible. However, when you must use them, you should avoid giving search engine spiders access to them. The best plan is to not use session IDs until you actually need to track the state of your customer, such as when they start adding items to their shopping cart. You can also store your session IDs in cookies instead of your URLs. Most web applications can be configured to store user state in cookies. And, once again, if this sounds complicated, then have your web or tech people handle this element of your Web site architecture. S
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 89 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 What YOU need to know is that the more dynamic variables you include in your URLs, the harder it will be for search engines to index your pages. Strive to keep your URLs simple and free of dynamic elements. Chapter 67 - Sitemaps: What, Why, and How Irst lets start out with the simple fact that there are 2 different types of sitemaps. According to Bing, the difference between Sitemap and sitemap is: Sitemap, the capitalized version, refers to the XML-based files created specifically for the search engine crawlers. This version of the Sitemap provides the crawlers the "most important pages and directories within their sites for crawling and indexing." sitemap, the lowercase version, is an HTML-based file that is for both the Web site user and the MSNbot. It's essentially, a simple, clean and organized list of all the pages on your Website. HTML sitemap is an on-site Web page that links to all the other pages on your Web site. It ensures that any spider crawling your site can easily and quickly find and index all of your site's Web pages. This type of sitemap is for spiders first and foremost but it can also be useful for Web site visitors. By linking your homepage to your HTML sitemap, you ensure that each page on your site is only one click away from your sitemap and only two clicks away from your homepage. This is the optimum Web site structure in terms of making Web pages easy for the search engine spiders to find. As you now know, search engine spiders find new pages by following links from the pages that are already in their index. Thus, if you want a spider to crawl a new Web page, it needs to find a link from a page that is already indexed in the search engine. However, unless you have a very small site, linking to every page on your site from your homepage would look messy and unprofessional to your customers. Therefore the HTML sitemap enables you to accomplish this objective cleanly and professionally. Your Sitemap provides a list of links that Google‘s spider can easily follow. This will help you get new pages indexed without cluttering your home page with links. That's assuming of course, that Google has already indexed your sitemap. So, by placing a link on your home page to the Sitemap, and then links from the sitemap to the rest of your important pages, you make all of your site's pages easy to find and index. We‘ve mentioned here the importance of linking to your HTML sitemap from your home page, but, for good measure, you should also place a link to your HTML sitemap on every single page on your site. That way, even if a search engine can‘t reach your homepage for some reason, it can still easily access your sitemap and find all your other pages. By the way, this Web site architectural element should be considered standard operating procedure as the search engines themselves actually recommend you use a Sitemap to ensure that all of your Web pages get indexed. F
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 90 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 Chapter 68 – HTML sitemaps for Large Sites f you have a large site, you may be wondering whether it‘s better to create one large HTML sitemap or several smaller ones. There are a couple of factors to consider: First, the degree to which search engines will index pages and follow links on a page is largely determined by the quality of links pointing to that page (or to the site the page is on). If a site doesn‘t have many incoming links, then it‘s a good idea to make pages smaller and put fewer links on them. A good rule of thumb is to keep your pages under 101k file size of HTML code, and to put no more than 100 links on a page. Popular sites can easily get more of their pages indexed, but to be safe, use 101k of HTML code (don‘t count the file size of images) and 100 links as the upper limit. Therefore, if your entire site is fewer than 100 pages, and you can create a HTML sitemap page smaller in file size than 101k, then it's beneficial to use only one sitemap that points a search engine spider to the rest of your site. There is an advantage to having only one HTML sitemap placed within the root domain. It enables the search engine spider to find and index all of your pages without having to traverse your site any deeper than two links beyond your home page. That's one link from your home page to your sitemap, then one more from your sitemap to every other page on your site. This makes it easiest for the spiders to find every page on your site. However, once a HTML sitemap approaches 100 or so links or the file size of your sitemap Web page file size approaches 101k (excluding images), then it's time to start splitting up your sitemap into smaller ones. We'd suggest linking to each sitemap from all your pages. Five sitemaps, for example, would require five links from each page instead of one. The end result would be that a spider would still only need to follow a maximum of two-links-deep beyond your homepage to reach all your pages. If, for some reason, it isn't practical to place all five links to your five HTML sitemaps on the home page, then we'd suggest a single link on the home page that points to a master sitemap which, in turn, contains the five links to the five smaller sitemaps. This would require the search engine spider to travel three links deep into your site to locate and index all of your pages—which is still quite good. And again, link to your master HTML sitemap from all your pages, not just your home page. Finally, we recommend that you avoid forcing a spider to crawl any deeper than three links beyond your home page to locate the rest of your pages. Using the site structure outlined above should allow you to easily accomplish that objective. Chapter 69 - XML Sitemaps; How to Get Your Difficult-To-Index Pages Fully Listed ou should carefully note the difference between an onsite sitemap (HTML sitemap) and an XML Sitemap. Your Web site should utilize both—as both are an important part of helping your site get, and stay, indexed by search engines. I Y
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 91 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 The regular HTML Web page sitemap (as explained in the previous two chapters) is simply an on-site Web page that links to all the other pages on your Web site. It ensures that any spider crawling your site can easily and quickly find and index all of your site's Web pages. On the other hand, the XML Sitemap (aka a Google Sitemap, although it's used by Yahoo and Microsoft as well) is a special file that provides search engines with specific directives about what pages to crawl and how often. Search engines are not required to strictly obey these directives but they do tend to use them as guidelines. This type of Sitemap is especially useful for very large sites that want to get all their pages listed. A great example of a large site that NEEDS to have a good XML Sitemap is an ecommerce site that wants to get its entire list of product pages indexed and listed in the search results. Please note that neither the HTML sitemap nor the XML Sitemap play any role in where your pages will rank. Both are simply a vehicle for getting your Web pages indexed most efficiently. Where your pages rank depends on your incoming links and other optimization factors. When you are ready to learn how to submit your XML Sitemaps, be sure to study these Advanced SEO Tutorials located inside the membership area of SearchEngineNews.com. How Google's Sitemap Protocol Sets The Standard for Web Page Submissions Getting Google to Accept Multiple XML Sitemaps 7 BIG advantages to submitting an XML sitemap...even when your site is already using an HTML sitemap Chapter 70 - XML SiteMaps as an Alternative to mod_rewrite oogle offers an alternative to using mod_rewrite via their Google XML Sitemaps. Because Google allows you to tell them exactly which Web pages you want crawled, this greatly lessens the risk of Google's spider wasting time guessing about which of your site's dynamically generated pages to index or not. This can be a big help to Google's spiders because they know in advance which pages to crawl. As noted above, when you are ready to tackle this portion of your Web site's search engine presence, be sure to study the following Advanced SEO Tutorial: How Google's Sitemap Protocol Sets The Standard for WebPage Submissions By the way, Yahoo and Bing also subscribe to the XML Sitemap protocol. You can submit your XML Sitemap in the same format that you use to submit it to Google. For more on the Sitemaps protocol and how it can help your pages get (and stay) indexed by the top three search engines, be sure to visit Sitemaps.org: http://www.sitemaps.org Regardless, a Google XML Sitemap is really no replacement for clean and crawlable URLs, so a tool like mod_rewrite still comes in handy (and, if this sounds complicated, give it to your Web or Tech people who will probably tell you, this is actually pretty simple once you do it). G
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 92 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 An important note: If your site is already ranked in the search engines, be very careful about changing your URLs. Carelessly modifying your URLs after your pages have already been indexed and ranked is one of the worst SEO mistakes you can make! And, if you fail to effectively tell the search engine where to find the new location of the page, then the search engine will assume the page has disappeared and will drop it from their index. Not good. However, if you do change any URL, you must redirect the old URL to the new location. Visitors and search engines that are looking for the old URL will then be automatically redirected (sent) to the new URL, saving you lost search rankings while accommodating your site visitors. When you are ready, and especially BEFORE you even THINK of moving a site or changing any URL, be sure to study this Advanced SEO Tutorial on Web page redirection: How to Use a 301 Redirect to Keep Your Web Pages from Dropping Off the Face of the Earth – Complete Guide to Mastering the Art of Server Redirection This specific tutorial may seem a bit technical. If so, share it with your Web or tech people and have them perform the magic. Of course, in a perfect world, you'll never need to move a Web page or Web site. However, if you must, then this tutorial is critical to your success. Without it you risk causing grave damage to your Web site's rankings, especially if your pages are already doing well in the search results. You could easily lose all of your rankings if you get this critical procedure wrong. You have been warned. Note that if you‘re using mod_rewrite to rewrite your URLs, the 301 redirect can be added to your mod_rewrite code, as is specified in our Advanced SEO tutorial: Getting Your Dynamic Sites Completely Indexed with mod_rewrite Chapter 71 - How to Use Robots.txt for More Targeted Web page Indexing our Robots.txt file is a tricky sounding name for a simple text file that is placed in the root directory of your Web site. Its purpose is to provide crawling directions to search engine spiders that are specific to your site. In other words, your robots.txt file tells search engine spiders which pages NOT to index. A common misconception is that a robots.txt file can somehow be used to encourage search engines to crawl a site. Not true! Most pages are eagerly spidered by search engines without requiring additional encouragement. As you are probably now noticing, an important part of SEO is identifying the elements that cause indexing difficulties for the spiders while eliminating these problematic elements. So, why would you ever want to tell a search engine NOT to index some of your pages? Well, because search engine spiders function with limited time and resources when indexing sites. Therefore your site will be better served by focusing on getting your important content, product listings, and sales pages indexed. Y
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 93 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 Case-in-point: Chances are good that you do NOT want a search engine to index your shopping cart. There is typically no benefit to you when your shopping cart checkout pages show up in the search engine results. Therefore, you would use your robots.txt file to make sure search engines don't waste time indexing your shopping cart. That way they are more likely to spend their time on your site indexing your more important sales or informational content pages. Other pages you'll want to keep search engine spiders away from include anything in your cgi-bin folder, as well as directories that contain images or otherwise sensitive company data. Whenever there isn't any benefit to having a Web page (or image) displayed in the search results, then you should forbid the spiders from indexing it by placing the appropriate command within your robots.txt file. That will not only help focus the search engine's resources on your important pages, but will also provide the useful side benefit of protecting your site from hackers who may otherwise use search engine results to acquire sensitive information about your company or site. Search engine spiders are typically voracious about indexing anything they can find on the web, including sensitive areas like password files, so you must be careful. The robots.txt file can help you layer in some of the protection you need. When you are ready, you can access the details of setting up your robots.txt file by studying this Advanced SEO Tutorial: Get Your Web Pages Indexed Faster and Control Google's Spider with Robots.txt By the way, there‘s one more issue to be aware of that relates to the robots.txt file. A surprising number of sites have inadvertently and unintentionally set up their robots.txt files to prevent search engine spiders from crawling any portion of their Web site (oops!). For example, the following two lines when added to your robots.txt file is enough to keep all major search engines from ever crawling your site. In other words, the following command tells ALL search engine spiders to simply go away: User-agent: * Disallow: / This has been an area of confusion for some people. They use the wrong command and then they wonder why they can‘t find their site listed in the search engines. So, be very careful this doesn't happen to you! If you decide that you want to block a specific search engine spider, you should put the name of the spider to block on the User-agent line—NOT the asterisk. The asterisk (*) symbol is a wildcard meaning all. The Disallow line is where you put the directory that should not be indexed. Then forward slash (/) indicates the root directory, in other words your entire site. As you can see, the robots.txt directive above is a total shut-out of all search engines from your entire site. On the other hand, entries like this... User-agent: * Disallow: /cgi-bin/
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 94 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 ...should (we say ―should‖ because it's technically optional for search engines to obey the robots.txt directives) prevent all URL's in the /cgi-bin/ directory from being crawled. Keep in mind that these directives are case sensitive. If you want the spiders to crawl every Web page it can find on your site, there is no need for a robots.txt file. The only time you actually need to use robots.txt is if you want to restrict the crawler from some portion of your site. Google's Webmaster Tools provides a report which will tell you exactly what URLs Google has attempted to crawl on your site but were restricted from crawling by your robots.txt file. You can access Google Webmaster Tools at: http://www.google.com/webmasters/sitemaps To see this report, go to Google‘s Webmaster Tools (sign up and register your site if you haven't already), click the Diagnostic tab, then click the Web crawl link. Finally, click the report that says URLs restricted by robots.txt to see what pages Google is not indexing due to commands in your robots.txt file. Google's Webmaster Tools also offers a special robots.txt debugger which allows you to test specific URLs to see if your robots.txt file allows or blocks spider access. If you're having problems getting pages indexed, be sure to test those pages against your robots.txt file using Google's tool and see if you have a statement blocking Google's spider. If you do, Google will show you what line in your robots.txt the blocking statement is on. Chapter 72 - Be Careful with using Frames, JavaScript, and Flash here are a lot of myths and misunderstandings about the way search engines handle Frames, JavaScript, and Flash pages. The fact is that Web pages using these formats can only theoretically be optimized for search engines, but each presents its own unique challenges and difficulties. As a general rule, they‘re best avoided, since pages that don’t use them are much easier to optimize for search engines. However, if you find that you must use them, or if you‘re optimizing a site that‘s already built around these technologies, here‘s what you need to know to minimize their disadvantages. Frames are a style of Web site architecture that is used to display, aka, 'frame' multiple Web pages within a single displayed Web page. One advantage is that it allows for consistent site navigation; however it can be problematic to search engines when indexing a Web site's content. Therefore, whenever a Web page is reliant upon search engine indexibility, the use of Frames is not recommended. However, if a frame-style Web page must be used, it's possible to use a <noframes> tag within which you can place a description of the content of the frame for the spider which otherwise might have trouble reading the frame. In other words, you would create a <noframes> section of the page for content you want indexed in the search engines. This would leave intact the frames content for your site visitors to see. In this case, the <noframes> section would contain your optimized source code for the engines. The <noframes> section should include meaningful text that is relevant to what is being displayed in the browser window—just in case a search engine employee (we call them a human reviewer) manually reviews the Web page for Terms of Use violations. The <noframes> area of the page is basically invisible to users unless they use the 'view source' option of their browser. T
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 95 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 Also keep in mind that shopping cart pages on a secure server that are wrapped in frames from a non-secure server won't show the closed-lock icon on the browser window. You need to break out of the frame when leading people to the secure pages or they will understandably think the page is non-secure—even though it actually is. This may cost some sales because a lot of customers DO indeed look for that secure lock icon. All in all, the take-away from this topic is to avoid using frames on Web pages that you want indexed in the search engines. JavaScript: While it is true that Google can now find and follow JavaScript links, it is also true that Yahoo and Bing cannot. Therefore, you should think twice about creating JavaScript links. If you feel they are absolutely essential to your Web site‘s overall design scheme, then pay close attention here to ensure you are setting them up properly. JavaScript links typically use a function called an onclick() event to open links when clicked. The onclick() event then calls JavaScript code which tells the browser what page to open. That code can either be on the same page, or it can be embedded in separate file. Currently, if the code called by the onclick() event is on the same page, Google will process the code, crawl the URL listed and pass anchor text and PageRank to that URL. However, if the code is in a separate file, then Google does not process it. Here are some examples of code that Google can understand, with links that will pass both anchor text and PageRank: <div onclick="document.location.href='http://foo.com/'"> <tr onclick="myfunction('index.html')"><a href="#" onclick="myfunction()">new page</a> <a href="javascript:void(0)" onclick="window.open ('welcome.html')">open new window</a> Remember that, even though Google's can process these links, JavaScript is not the ideal format for your links. Neither Yahoo nor Bing can read and process these JavaScript links. In addition, JavaScript links generally fail to display properly on mobile devices and screen readers. You should also be aware that using JavaScript to cloak (aka, hide) links for PageRank sculpting or to prevent paid links from being indexed, now requires that you move your code to an external file if you want to prevent Google from finding those links. Or, you can simply add the nofollow tag to links that you‘d like hidden from Google in order to facilitate PageRank sculpting. Another option is to put the script contents in a remote.js file. Here's how: In your .html page, reference the remote.js file like this: <script language=JavaScript src="javascript/remotefile.js"type="text/javascript"> </script>
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 96 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 Then place your JavaScript code in the remote file (i.e., remotefile.js). The bottom line is that there are plenty of other ways to spruce up your pages. Besides, studies have shown that complex JavaScript and Frames in general tend to actually reduce sales conversions. Macromedia Flash (those animated, eye-pleasing, motion picture style, high end Web pages) cannot be easily optimized for search engines. So you put your site at a ranking disadvantage if your site's architecture relies heavily on Flash. Even though there are work-arounds and exceptions, in general, search engines have difficulty indexing Flash in any meaningful way. As you know, your keywords provide one of the most valuable elements for search engines to determine what your Web pages are about. However it's difficult-to-impossible for search engines to reliably extract keywords from Flash files. This means that any part of your Web page that uses Flash will generally NOT lend itself to top rankings. However, you can still use some Flash on your pages as long as you observe these guidelines: 1. Don't make your entire page one big Flash file. 2. Make sure your page has abundant indexable content outside your Flash file. 3. If you're just using Flash to animate part of your page, and the rest of your page is in normal HTML and contains your keywords, then search engines will know what your page is about by reading that HTML (even though they'll likely ignore the Flash). However, if most of your page is embedded in a Flash file, then it will be very difficult for a search engine to know what your page is about. That puts your Web page at a serious ranking disadvantage. 4. Use the <noembed> tag. This is a good approach to take if you simply must create all Flash pages. Flash programmers know that any link to a Flash file must be enclosed in an <embed> tag. HTML also contains a <noembed> tag. This is where you should put the HTML version of whatever Flash you're using on that page. Not only does this give the search engine something to read, but it also provides an alternative for those users who don't have Flash installed in their browsers. Although Google is getting a little bit better at indexing Flash pages, they still don't do it well. So don't count on Flash pages to put your site on equal footing with non-Flash pages. You'll be at a disadvantage, even with Google. Sure, there are sites like Oprah.com that use heavy amounts of Flash and do quite well in the search rankings. But that's generally due to brand recognition and the accumulation of tons of links that propel them to the top of the rankings in spite of how unfriendly their site architecture might actually be to search engines. If you've got an Oprah-sized brand, and you really want that animated homepage, then by all means take the Flash route. The bottom line is that Flash pages will always be disadvantaged in the rankings. But, if you must use them, then use the methodology outlined above to make sure the keywords you want indexed can be found outside your Flash files.
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 97 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 Lesson 6 Review In this lesson you learned: 1. The importance of designing search-friendly pages using the correct site architecture that, ideally, places every page on your site no more than two links deep, and three links max. 2. How and why to keep your URLs simple. 3. The importance of managing your Session IDs and Dynamic URLs in ways that do not confuse the search engine spiders. 4. You‘ve been taught the ONLY correct way to configure your Meta tags and learned about the dangerous Meta-tag-myths that inexplicably continue to survive. 5. How to control the way your Web page displays in the listings with Rich Snippets. 6. All about Sitemaps; both onsite HTML sitemaps and XML Sitemaps that help get your Web pages more efficiently indexed. 7. How a simple robots.txt file can be used to keep spiders from indexing your unimportant, or potentially confusing Web pages. This enables the spiders to focus on indexing only your important pages. 8. The pro and cons of using Frames, JavaScript, and Flash as any major component of your Web site's architecture. Here's your list of the Advanced SEO Tutorials associated with this lesson that are now available to you inside your membership area of SearchEngineNews.com. Be sure to study each of them when you are ready to know more about these specific topics. Getting Your Dynamic Sites Completely Indexed with mod_rewrite How Google's Sitemap Protocol Sets The Standard for WebPage Submissions Getting Google to Accept Multiple XML Sitemaps 7 BIG advantages to submitting an XML sitemap ...even when your site is already using an HTML sitemap
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 98 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 How to Use a 301 Redirect to Keep Your Web Pages from Dropping Off the Face of the Earth Get Your Web Pages Indexed Faster and Control Google's Spider with Robots.txt By now you are rockin! You've come a long way baby and just for fun, the next lesson, THE FINAL Lesson, gives you a peek at the pinnacle of SEO from the perspective of the SEO Expert. Lesson 7: The Pinnacle of SEO Expertise: You! ...Becoming an EXPERT Chapter 73 - You are now here! Look how far you've come! nce you've finished this book, which is the first portion of this SEO course, you should consider yourself an Intermediate SEO. Then, once you have digested the Advanced SEO Tutorials within the membership area of SearchEngineNews.com, you'll have achieved the threshold of Advanced SEO—the place where you'll literally have an UnFair Advantage over most, if not all, of your competitors! So far, this book has taught you much. You now know all about keywords. You know what they are, how to find them, and where to place them. You've learned the basics and the importance of incoming links. You now know *more* about the nuances of 'Link Popularity' than probably any of your competitors. In fact, just knowing that some links are better than others, and how to tell the difference between natural and artificial link structures, puts you way ahead of some of the so-called "Pros" in the SEO business – believe it! You also know how to evaluate the quality of an incoming link. You know there are certain types of Web pages you should avoid linking to because they can hurt your rankings. And, you even know what the ultimate, the very best link, looks like; ideally the only link on the homepage of an authoritative, high PageRank site. And, although such a perfect "10" link isn't often realistically achievable, this standard gives you the litmus test by which you can evaluate all other links against. You know about buying links. That purchasing some links can get you penalized by Google while others will help you rank better. And where those links appear on the linking page, matters! You are now armed with at least 18 actionable linking sources and strategies: 1. Links from mainstream directories like Yahoo and DMOZ. 2. Specialty directory links within your niche market. O
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 99 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 3. Professional services links from suppliers and merchants with whom you do business. 4. Links from Associations where you are an alumnus or a member. 5. Links placed within your published 'expert articles' and syndicated to other sites. 6. Press Releases that get indexed and build links. 7. Links coming from testimonials you place on other people's sites. 8. Links from your forum comments you place on other sites. 9. Links negotiated from learning who's linking to your competitors. 10. Reciprocal links, when they are on topic, make sense and look natural. 11. Blogging to attract links. 12. Buying abandoned Web sites with pre-existing links. 13. Buying ads in Ezines and newsletters to build long-lasting links. 14. Special ways to procure those coveted links from .edu and .gov domains. 15. Providing specialized tools and resources to attract links. 16. Using your affiliate program to gain links. 17. Social networking to build links. 18. Linkbaiting via social media - viral marketing. You know the importance of hiring (or being) a good writer who can 'write' your Web pages to the top of the search listings, and how to smartly syndicate those articles without running into duplicate content issues. You've learned that:  The number of links on a page matters.  All about run of site links, what they are and how they can hurt your ranking efforts.  The importance of maintaining consistency in your link structure.  How anchor text dictates what keywords that Google and others *think* your pages are about.  Why getting links to your 'deep' pages is better than having links only to your homepage.  What types of links to avoid.  That PageRank measures a site's importance as reported by the Google Toolbar.
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 100 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1  There‘s a rough 80/20 'link balance' that is factored into a page's importance ratings.  It takes MORE than having a great site with great content to dominate the top rankings—you know it takes calculated strategy and implemented tactics to build links to your great site with great content. Only then can you realistically expect to dominate the top rankings! In Lesson 4 you learned about the indispensable SSI tool that evaluates the strength of a site in seconds. And, you learned how to spot the weak sites that you can beat in the rankings as well as how to identify sites that are too strong to compete with for very specific keywords. You also learned there are safe and unsafe SEO practices and that some so- called ―brand name‖ sites are white listed—working under a different set of rules. Lesson 5 gave you everything you need to know about choosing the right Domain Name. You learned that the right name can, not only help your rankings, but can also help you get more clicks from people who recognize the keywords they're searching for within your URL. These are trusted domains from the SEPOV. You also learned which types of domain names to avoid (.info, .biz, too long, too many dashes, double dashes) because they look spammy and the engines tend not to trust them. In Lesson 6 you learned the details about how to build a search-friendly Web site while avoiding the mistakes that will handicap your rankings. You learned about a specialized file (robots.txt) and the importance of managing the spiders that crawl your site looking for content to index. You learned that it is VERY bad to change URLs or move Web pages, so planning your site architecture is crucial. And, you learned that if you DO have to move a site, then you'd better study the corresponding Advanced SEO Tutorial that teaches you EXACTLY how to do it so you don't lose all of your hard SEO work to date. Yes, indeed. Assuming you've studied your lessons well, you have all of this knowledge and actually much, much more, at your fingertips to apply to your Web site or your SEO business — or both! Once again we remind you that you ALSO have the most important time saving, critical analysis, SEO tool at your disposal — The Site Strength Indicator. All of this knowledge does, indeed, elevate your level to *at least* Intermediate SEO! Now it's time for you to move forward... to the Advanced SEO Level. Chapter 74 - Becoming an Advanced SEO As you know, Lessons 3, 4, and 6 of this book referred you to Advanced SEO tutorials -- there are 22 of them ...and they are now ALL available to you inside the membership area of SearchEngineNews.com. These are the tutorials you will need to *master* before you'll confidently call yourself an Advanced SEO. These 22 Advanced SEO tutorials contain the fine tuning that'll give you the confidence to command control of your own Web site's search engine optimization efforts. Then, with a little experience under your belt, we suspect you'll feel comfortable working on other people's websites. These are the tutorials that, once mastered, qualify you to even *charge a fee* for your SEO consultation services if you desire to do so. You may be surprised to learn how much demand there is for truly good SEO services and advice these days.
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 101 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 Chapter 75 - Becoming an SEO Expert... So, what will it take for you to become an Expert SEO? 1. Experience you will gain by doing. 2. Success you will gain over time after you begin doing. 3. Competitive Knowledge - The knowledge and competitive intelligence that is typically gathered and compiled by the SEO 'tools of the trade' that are zealously used by the professionals. These are the tools that immensely accelerate the process of crunching the numbers while doing site analysis AND recognizing trends, as you build your own professional SEO intuitiveness. 4. Advanced Mastery - The additional mastery of PPC marketing is, arguably, the final feather in the Expert SEO's graduation cap. Yes, it's true that some SEOs focus only on the 'organic' rankings while others specialize in nothing but PPC. A great many SEOs do both; and they are able to successfully coordinate the two working in tandem. Regardless of the path you take, you'll have the building blocks in place to excel in PPC marketing once you've built your foundation on 'organic' SEO strategies, tactics, and techniques. Clearly you have come a long way! ...and the adventure continues. Be sure to master the Advanced SEO Tutorials that are referenced within this book and included with your membership—available to you for as long as you remain a member of SearchEngineNews.com. Remember to practice using the Keyword Tools as presented in this tutorial  Five Free Tools to Laser-Focus Your WebSite's Keyword Targeting Campaign! Be sure to practice using the SSI tool to save you a bundle of time as you build your professional intuitiveness while doing your competitive analysis and research. And, once you've completed this journey, we hope to see you as a member of Planet Ocean's Professional SEO site: seoINsites.com ...when you can complete your Expert Training after earning this, your Advanced SEO/SEM graduation cap! So, when you‘re ready, we hope you‘ll join us at the Pinnacle of SEO Expertise, seoINsites.com. Highest Regards! Stephen Mahaney Planet Ocean Founder, CEO / Author-in-charge
  • The UnFair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars 102 | P a g e w w w . S e a r c h E n g i n e N e w s . c o m V e r s i o n S E 1 7 7 : M a r . 2 0 1 1 And now, a word from the legal front… he author and publisher of this book have made every attempt to provide the latest and most effective information possible. However, since search engine strategies are constantly and dynamically changing with frequency, what works today may or may not work tomorrow. In addition, it must be recognized that we have no control over your ability to follow directions. Nor do we have any control whatsoever over the actions and performance of the various search engines and web indices. Therefore we cannot accept any liability beyond the price you paid for this information in regards to the results that you might experience, adverse or otherwise. Although we believe that the techniques, strategies, and tactics suggested in this book will work due to the fact that they have worked in the past, we must make it clear that if you choose to follow the guidelines, examples, and recommendations set forth in this book, you agree to do so at your own risk. If you do not agree to assume this risk, we respectfully ask that you request an immediate refund and we will cheerfully honor your request. This eBook, and any portion thereof, is intended for private use and may not be commercially stored, reproduced, or retrieved by any means, electronic or otherwise, without written permission from the publisher. All Rights Reserved © Copyright 1997-2011 Planet Ocean Communications, Inc. 75-1027 Henry St Suite 11A #301 · Kailua-Kona, HI 96740-3154 Planet Ocean® is a registered trademark of Planet Ocean Communications, Inc. All other logos contained within are the property of their respective Trademark owners T