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SEO: Objectives, Process, Tips and Tools

Get a head start on SEO process and techniques

SEO "Don’ts"

Till now we have seen things that should be done, but there are few things that should be avoided  are given below:

1.      Avoid use of  multiple frames, JavaScript (use <NOSCRIPT> instead ), cookies, session IDs, frames, DHTML, or Flash , pop-ups, install malware (i.e. spyware, viruses, Trojans)  as  spiders/crawlers/bots may have trouble crawling the site or they might ignore it also.

2.      Avoid creation of  different content or URLs for users and search engines. This process is called as cloaking.

3.      Avoid making frequent changes in the page URL, even if it is required then set up the page's original URL to direct to the new page, and inform whether the move is permanent or temporary.

4.      Avoid using hidden text, hidden links, and tiny text as some search engines might remove site from their listing.

5.      Avoid using keyword(s) in Meta refresh tag and author tag, filling comment tags with keyword phrases only, use of link farms,  creating identical pages, doorway pages, duplicated contents in a page, etc for improving keyword density and inward traffic.

6.      Avoid having broken links in web pages. There are various tools which are available which helps in finding broken link for e.g. http://validator.w3.org/checklink , http://www.dead-links.com/, Firefox plug-in linkchecker.

7.      Avoid over usage of Keyword(s)/phrases in keyword Meta and ALT tags as search engines might drop page or site from their listing or even they banned them for life.

8.      Avoid interlinking sites that come from similar IP address as they will regarded as artificial links for improving the page ranking and search engines can drop these types of links from their listing.

9.      Avoid making frequent changes in links provided in Page.  The rate with which links on a page change over a time is called as Link Churn.

10.  Avoid doing html and JavaScript error and also does image optimization as if these are  not followed then it make negative impact on page loading time and some search engines doesn’t like this..
 

Search-friendly URLs
 
SEO techniques are not just limited on what information is to be placed or where is to be place or how is to be placed but also includes how it is accessed. WebPages are accessed using URL and with every day more and more websites are coming up which also have some dynamic pages in addition to static HTML pages. As we know dynamic pages are pages which get generated based on certain parameters passed to them. It is required that we should also make these dynamic pages SEO friendly because they also contain vital information’s that should be searchable. In addition to above given guidelines we also need to make Dynamic page URL a search friendly URL. Generally spiders/bots doesn’t crawl pages which had certain characters like “?”  i.e. they just don’t crawl pages which accepts query parameters but still up to certain level we can still make a search friendly URL and tips for the same are given below.

1.      Uses identified keyword(s)/phrases in URL of page and filenames and replace the id with text names (keywords) in URL for e.g. URL http://www. myexample.com /product/Mens_Short_brown is preferred over http://www. myexample.com /productPage?id=122 even when both are pointing to same.

2.      Avoid using parameters like 'sessionid' and 'id' if possible as some spiders/bots just ignore them.

3.      Try to limit the number of parameters and length of URL as some spiders/bots puts certain restrictions on these.

4.      Every page should be reachable from at least one static text link.


Other Tips (includes Marketing, Register and Hosting tips)
 
1.      Use of relevant Domain Name and extension – Domain name should be easier to remember and with primary keyword(s) (if not the company name) without hyphens. Choice of Domain extension should be made based on targeted market segment and business category in which site falls in like .com for commercial Global Market, .co.in for commercial Indian market, gov.in for government site (India), etc

2.      Domain Name Registration time duration – Longer the duration for which domain is registered for better it is because in this case search engine considered it as genuine site.

3.      Appropriate Hosting Location – Choice of location for hosting should also be based on main targeted region e.g. hosting site in INDIA if main targeted region is  India, Hosting site in US if region targeted traffic is US.

4.      Site, Page and Link’s Age – older the site, page and links better would be the page rank if they are not much changed. 
 
All the above discussed techniques helps us in creating a good quality search friendly website or web pages but still there is a need to  ensure certain other things to increase traffic  and make site more easily searchable.
 
1.      Site should be separately submitted with targeted search engines - Each search engine has a way of letting it know about the site. Submit the URL like to be included in the index or feeds like RSS, ROR etc. Each search provides its own way for submission for e.g. Google , Yahoo, and Microsoft Live Search.

2.      Link Bait – “Link Bait is more or less anything you create anywhere on the Web that inspires other people to link to it. They can link to it via a Web page, a blog, social bookmark site, tagging site, e-zine, newsletter, IM, email or any other method that tells others about the bait” as described by Eric Ward. Link bait is not a new concept and with this higher traffic can ne attracted to site your  site and which results in  higher search engine rankings. This can be achieved by publishing interesting articles, some funny humor, special reports, something controversial, building useful tools, etc. For more information on link bait read http://www.famousagents.com/link-bait-success. and http://www.jimwestergren.com/link-bait/.

3.      Providing Blog Feature at website: BLOG is short for Web log, where people publish their personal information, thoughts, experiences, web links, news on a particular subject, etc and the information is displayed in reverse chronological order. For more information read Blog Wiki page.
Blog help in attracting lots of traffic and increase the usage of site. It would be good idea to provide blogging facility at your website at least for a limited user of your domain for i.e. blog page facility would be provided for registered user or user who fulfills certain business criteria of your company. For e.g. if you owns a B2C site then it would be good idea to allow registered user to have blog page where they are allowed to share their personal & contact information Past purchase, Gift Lists, favorite products and link, their reviews . It not only helps in increasing traffic to site but also helps other buyers in doing on line shopping in some ways.
 
4.      Do marketing for the site like putting online and offline advertisements. PPC is another very effective mechanism for increasing traffic. PPC (Pay-Per-Click) is a type of search marketing where search engine that allows advertisers to pay for positioning in search results and advertisers pay a set amount every time their ad is clicked. For more information on PPC visit http://www.payperclickuniverse.com/
 
5.      Register the site with industry related yellow pages, business directories, associations, etc.

6.      Effectively utilize or participate in Social Networks Forums, Blog sites related to the Market Sector, publish expert content on third party websites.

7.      Use of Ping services like Pingomatic  will ping a variety of websites to notify them that page is updated which also results in informing search engines know that page is update which will trigger their bots.

8.      Perform SEO testing for webpage or site. Few of the tests that can be performed are below:

a.       Standard Complaint testing – Some tools are listed at  http://www.w3.org/QA/Tools/, http://www.w3.org/QA/2002/07/WebAgency-Requirements

b.      Browser Compatibility Testing- Make webpage /site is viewable in most of the browsers. So test site on text based browsers, JavaScript disabled browsers.

c.       Page Resolution testingTry to make pages viewable at most of resolutions on different browsers.

d.      SEO friendly URL testing and Spider testing .For e.g. SEO book Spider test tool can be a good starting point.

e.       Broken link or Dead links testing for e.g. Linkchecker

f.        Page loading Testing , etc

g.       HTTP header testing – Online tools like SEO Consultant tool , vipsem tool  and plug-ins like tools like ieHTTPheader, LiveHTTPheaders can be used.

h.       Spilt testing - Split tests are usually performed to determine the better of two content variations and it is an ongoing process. Few tips for performing spilt testing is given at http://www.seoegghead.com/blog/seo/3-tips-for-seo-aware-split-testing-p160.html
 
Lots of tools are available which can be used of SEO testing but only very few of them are mentioned here for e.g.  SEO Book , SEOpen, Meta tag, iWebtools, Clickability tools, vipsem tools, webconfs tools,  firefox extensions, making firefox browser behaving like spider by adding  following line in firefox.js
pref("general.useragent.override", "vspider");
 
As stated earlier SEO is continuous process and will continue till the time we decided to have online presence. In order to perform consistently good, a regular monitoring and analysis of site and marketing campaign performance in terms of SEO is required followed by appropriate corrective actions. This can be achieved by regularly reviewing web site statistics which are available from hosting service provider and using marketing research tools. Some of the tools are listed below:

a.       Tools like MarketLeap marketing tools  help in finding how our site is performing in comparison to our competitors.

b.      Tools like Yahoo Site Explorer provides the information what all pages of website are index by search engines.  Similarly Google and MSN also provide this information. To view the index list open search page of targeted search engine and then search for “site:www.<site name>” . For e.g. if we want to know which all pages of “www.hcl.in” are index by yahoo then open yahoo search page and search for  “site:www.hcl.in”. 

c.       Alexa is a powerful tool used for doing following analysis:

                                             i.      Reach -Percent of global Internet users who visit this site
                                           ii.      Rank - Alexa traffic rank based on a combined measure of page views and users (reach
                                          iii.      Page Views - The number of unique pages viewed per user per day for this site.
                                         iv.      Comparisons with other websites.
 
Alexa ranking ranks websites based on traffic quantity that a particular site receives from visitors that have the Alexa toolbar installed. For more information about Alexa ranking please read “About the Alexa Traffic Rankings” article.
 
d.      Some more useful SEO tools like SEO plug-in for firefox, etc are also available http://tools.seobook.com/.
 
There are lot many SEO companies, forums, blogs and tools are available which provides very useful information and help on SEO. Few sites which I found to be informative and interesting and they are worth to be visited for more information and techniques are Search Engine Watch, SEO workers, SEO techniquesYahoo site explorer , Integrated resource Mgmt SEO Tips  - pretty old (Last Updated: 3/8/05) but still informative, Yahoo Search Blog   Google Search BlogMSN Search Blog , Search engine watch Blog, http://www.searchengineforums.com/, Search engine watch  forum.
 
All the techniques discussed above are not the only available SEO techniques, but definitely these are widely used effective SEO techniques. In addition these it is suggested to have a look at the targeted search engine SEO guidelines and following those would help further in achieving better indexing and ranking of the site in search engine. It is also suggested to have a look at the webmasters tools of the targeted search engines.

For some of the widely used search engines guidelines visit Google webmasters guidelines , Yahoo guidelines, MSN live search guidelines and for webmasters tool visit  Google’s Webmaster tool , MSN Webmasters tools .  Outcome of SEO is not immediate, but after few months only you can see the outcome of this especially if you are small in size  and going online for the first time. So have patience - and happy SEO!
 

References

a.       SEO Book
d.       W3C Compliance and SEO
e.       Search Engine Guideline documents - Google webmasters guidelines , Yahoo Guidelines ,MSN Live search Guidelines
f.        Search engine Guide
g.       SEO Excellence
h.       SEO techniques
i.         ROR Web and Sitemap.org

More Stories By Rahul Kumar Gupta

Rahul Kumar Gupta is a postgraduate in Computer Applications, graduate in Business Management and 10 certifications including PMP, SCEJA and JCP. He has 10 years IT industry experience and works as Sr. Technical Manager with Indian IT giant HCL Technologies, NOIDA (INDIA). He was also a co-technical reviewer for Professional Java Ecommerce, Professional EJB and Professional JSP Site Design books for Wrox. You can catch him at [email protected] He blogs at http://rahgup.blogspot.com/.

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Most Recent Comments
Loganathan 07/02/08 08:37:58 AM EDT

Excellent article with complete insight on what is SEO , do's and donts for a beginer in SEO like me.

thanx
Logs

Vikas Wadehra 01/15/08 11:34:22 PM EST

The article provides an excellent insight into the SEO space, the tips provided are very useful. Also the guidelines mentioned in the article are to the point and very well stated.
Overall the article is an excellent knowledge base to understand and appreciate the SEO process.

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