Free Website Content
By S. Housley
According to Matt Cutts, there are over 100 factors
that affect search engine ranking. For those of you
who don't know, Matt is a Google guy guru, he is employed
by Google but writes an independent blog and shares
information related to Google and search engine optimization.
Unfortunately, of those 100 items that account for search
engine ranking, there are only a few that webmasters
can actually control.
Unless you are a interested in an exercise
of futility, it is important to only focus on those
ranking factors that you, as a webmaster, can control
What are Search Engine factors do webmasters
Outside of the obvious (webpage title and description)
those items which the webmaster has the most control
are: PageRank, TrustRank, Anchor Text, Keyword Density,
Domain Age, URL, and Relevant Links.
How can a webmaster use these items
to help ranking?
First off--the obvious, each and every web page should
have a descriptive page specific title and description.
The title, description, and header tags are channels
to communicate the most important details of a specific
webpage. They should be used effectively, but not be
abused. The web page should make use of h1 and h2 tags
(header tags) to emphasize pertinent keywords and phrases.
Particular attention should be paid when
formatting urls. Keywords related to the webpage can
and should be used in the webpage urls. Use hyphens
rather than underscores between the keywords. Search
engines are designed by developers and programming languages
will recognize a hyphen and distinguish separate words,
while an underscore blends the words. Keywords in the
URL should not be abused, as search engines do not appreciate
excessively long urls. Avoid using characters like ID=
in the URL as many search engines will see it as a unique
session ID and not spider the contents of the webpage.
The website's navigation depth should
not exceed 3-4 levels. The shallow website depth will
make a search engines deep crawl easier, ensuring that
will be able to spider the entire contents of your website.
If you add a new page and wish for it to be spidered
quickly add a link to it from an existing spidered web
Domain hosting and location do matter!
A .uk domain and a webhost located in the UK will increase
the domains search engine position in any .uk search
engine. If you are targeting a specific region or market
consider purchasing a local domain.
Obviously you control the websites content;bad
content or no content means no incoming links. Good
content has the potential to attract good quality unsolicited
What kinds of content generally attract
The idea is develop quality content that will result
in incoming links. Think of JibJab, http://www.jibjab.com
they portrayed a controversial subject in a humorous
way without alienating their audience. While JibJab
was able to garner a lot of attention, its a tricky
tight-rope to walk. Consider adding tutorials that explain
a specific technology, create a niche directory or a
topic specific glossary, post industry news, maintain
a blog with fresh content, or write how to articles.
Take advantage of your content. If you
write a press release don't just send it to the editors,
add it to your website in a press center. Submit the
press release to public relations websites. There area
a number of press related websites like PRWeb that are
really good and all will result in good quality incoming
links back to your website. Also add your press release(s)
to an RSS feed, not only with this communicate with
your customers that new products or updates are available
but you will also benefit from links from RSS search
engines and directories.
When you post a release or content that
has genuine value, use social bookmarking tools (like
digg, del.icio.us, furl) to bookmark the contents. These
social bookmarking sites are becoming increasingly important
in weighing the value of a site. The large search engines
do not yet use social bookmarking in their algorithms,
but it is quite possible and highly likely that they
will in the future. If the webpage/content has genuine
value others will social bookmark it as well. The bookmarks
are viral and with increasing popularity there is more
emphasis placed on the content. Additionally, bloggers
notoriously skim social bookmarking sites for content
to write about which will result in additional links.
Keep in mind that in order to bookmark a webpage, it
really must have genuine value.
Before we talk more about links, there
are a few warnings worth mentioning.
What are the link warnings?
The first is to attain links gradually, search engines
prefer links obtained over time rather than links achieved
all at once. Avoid link schemes, link farms, or overt
reciprocal links, they can be time consuming and have
very little benefit. Avoid links on the C block. If
you own multiple domains, be sure not to triangulate
links. Search engines have become wise to this and they
prefer a linking scheme that is more like a star (or
What keywords should you optimize for?
When determining what keywords to optimize a website
for, there are a number of tools that will assess the
number of times that a keyword or phrase is searched
on, the number of websites/webpages competing for that
keyword or phrase, and rate the phrase. Obviously, the
terms that have more searches and less competition are
the best to optimize for--if, and only if, they relate
to your product or service. If you optimize for terms
that are either too broad, you will likely increase
traffic but decrease your conversions. It is really
a balancing act. Two of the more popular tools available
are Keyword Discovery and Word Tracker. Also, talk to
friends or family members and ask what phrases they
would use to describe your product or service. You might
be surprised with the terms they use. Consider optimizing
for regional variations, look at the variety of terms
used to describe soda - tonic, pop, soda, soda pop,
or cola all are relevant and popular but only within
a specific region. Examine web logs to determine what
your users are using, look at the language used in emails
and forum posts and consider optimizing specific pages
for popular descriptive terms.
And finally, use competitive intelligence
to locate links and keywords. What are your competitors
using? Analyze the adwords they bid on, look at their
meta tags, look at their anchor links.
There is a wealth of information out there,
no real mystery to it, so use it to your advantage.
About the Author:
Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll http://www.feedforall.com
software for creating, editing, publishing RSS feeds
and podcasts. In addition Sharon manages marketing for
a wireless text messaging software company.
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