Beginners SEO Guide

Vicky Khobragade   November 5, 2012   No Comments
 

Everybody searches something on Google or a different search engine almost every day. Let’s say you go to Google and search for a particular word or a phrase. Google gives you a list of results and you open the first or may be the second result in the list. We barely go to the second page on Google result lists because the results on the first page are always reliable and informative. A website that appears on the first search result page has a good ranking and visibility for a specific keyword. There are various tools and methods through which one can improve one’s website’s visibility and ranking. The process of improving the visibility and ranking of a website in a Search engine is called as Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Depending on how frequently a website appears in the search results of a search engine, it receives more and more visitors from that particular search engine’s users.


SEO is basically an Internet marketing strategy that improves a website’s ranking and visibility through study of how a search engine works, what people search for, what terms and keywords are searched for and what the targeted audience’s preferred search engine is. There are numerous SEO tactics that involve editing a website’s content and HTML in order to amplify its relevance to a keyword or promoting and publicizing the site to increase the number of its backlinks.
White Hat and Black Hat SEO techniques

A website that follows the guidelines of the search engine, it has valuable and unique content and a good design follows the white hat SEO and it is approved by the search engine. Websites that follow white hat SEO can get ranked well in Google and its search results while they remain there for a long time. However there are websites that do not follow the guidelines and perform unethical SEO activities and they follow black hat SEO Activities. Such SEO activities can make your website rank well for a while but they cannot last for long and they eventually get banned from the search engine permanently or temporarily. It is best to follow guidelines given by a search engine to maintain a good position and ranking for a long time.

Here are some of the Reasons why Google would ban your website. (Penalty attracting SEO activities): -
There are numerous guidelines that help you improve your websites ranking and if you follow the guideline set by the search engine your website will be just fine. However there many reasons that your website could attract penalty or even get banned. Here are the some of the SEO activities that you should always avoid.

 
Bad neighborhood – If your website’s IP address shows that it is located in a bad neighborhood where there are other websites with adult content and other types of unethical content, it attracts penalty from the search engine and you could possibly get banned.

 
Mini-nets – Mini-nets are a network of websites and blogs that are built only for one purpose which is to help and support one website by giving it back links.

 
Duplicate content – Duplicate content refers to copying down content of a different website and posting it as your own content on your website. Duplicate or similar content also means taking content from a website and making a few small changes to it and posting it to your website.

 
Cloaking – Cloaking is a black hat SEO activity in which the webmaster shows the search engine content while it shows the user a completely different content.

 
Hidden text or links – In this, the webmaster keeps keywords or links in the content but it has the same color as the background which remains hidden from the visitors.

 
Keyword spam and keyword stuffing – This is one of the black hat SEO Activities that is most likely to get you banned. Keyword stuffing refers to repeat the main keyword in the content too many times to make sure the search engine knows what the article is about.

 
Doorway pages – Doorway Pages are another black hat SEO activity which involves redirecting a page to another. This is generally done to pages with keyword stuffing and useless content.

 
Redirect pages – Redirect Page is quite similar to doorway page. Generally keyword stuffed pages with no actual content are redirected to another page. So in a way these pages fool the users by showing up in the search results but once they are clicked they are redirected to another page which is completely irrelevant to what the user was looking for.

 
Buying links – Buying links is to pay a website in order to get a backlink from it. This is considered as black hat SEO.

 
Code Swapping – Code Swapping refers to keeping an SEO friendly code content ratio for your website’s page rank but changing it after it’s been crawled by a search engine. This is a temporary method and after the search engines revisit the website, it will see the changes and give you penalties.

 
Link farms – Link farms, also known as network of sites that are interlinked to each other and have no benefit for the user. Their only purpose is to boost the popularity and ranking of the sites are known as link farms. They are used to increase the Google Page Rank of a website.

SEO Methods
 
On-Page-Optimization – In order to get good ranking, a website must be “search engine friendly”. Search engine friendly is a term which describes a websites design, navigations, content management system, image search optimization and other elements which are all a part of On-Page-Optimization. There are numerous factors involved in creating a SEO friendly website and they should be all taken into consideration.
 
HTML – Use Title Tag, description and keyword tags for all your articles.  It is also important to properly use heading tags for your article. You should know that the Heading of your article should include the most important keyword in your content.

Navigation – Navigation bar icons are generally arranged on top of a web page or on the side and they direct users as well as search engine’s spiders thorough the website. The navigation system of a website is very important as it can get visitors to go deep inside a website. A SEO friendly Navigation system should be in a way that the most important pages of the website are only one or maximum two clicks away from the home page.

Content management system – Content management System or CMS is a system which allows a website owner to publish, edit and modify his/her content from a central page. CMS are programs or software such as WordPress, concrete5, ExpressionEngine, Textpattern, Joomla! Etc.

Image Search Optimization – It is important to maintain images in the content of a website. You can utilize images for SEO activities by use of Alt tag. People who are disabled or blind use page readers to browse the web. These page readers cannot read images unless they have been captioned by use of Alt tag in HTML coding. You can also get page views through images but only if the image consists of the right caption, URL and title. The title of the image must be same as the keyword used in the content. Use of Alt tag is also quite necessary when you put up an Image on your website.

Code content ratio – Code content ratio refers to ratio of amount of coding comparing to content of a website. The more the content of a website the better the ranking is.


Keyword density – This refers to the occurrence of a particular keyword on a webpage. The more the keyword appears, the more the weight the search engines assigns to that particular keyword.

Canonicalization – Canonicalization is basically the process of specifying parent pages from the rest of the pages. Let me explain in a simpler language; When you are browsing a website you go through the menu bar and different categories and find a page that you have been looking for. When you find the page you want to read through a websites navigation system rather than by directly entering the page’s Parent URL you will find that there is something different about the page’s URL. For example: -

  • Parent URL: website.com/abc.php
  • Through navigation system: website.com/abc.php? p=1; I = 10

For a user there is no difference between the two as the content of the pages are one and the same but as for a search engine these are two different URLs while they have the same content.  This attracts penalty from the search engine due to duplicate content. In order to avoid such unnecessary penalty from the Search engine one has to specify the parent page. Here is how: -
<html>
<head>
<rel type=”canonical” href=”website.com/abc.php”/>
</head>
</html>

Prevent Crawling – In order to avoid unwanted content in the search indexes, you can block certain search engines not to crawl certain files by using the standard robots.txt or .htaccess. Let’s explain it in a simpler language; when search engines that do not bring any traffic or benefit index your website, they use up your server bandwidth which you are charged for. This is unnecessary and unbeneficial for your website and that is why you should block Search Engines that are not beneficial to your website. For example; if you are based in United States, then you do not need a Chinese search engine crawling your website. It is best to block it. Here is how: -

  • By robots.txt –
  1. 1.       Block all web crawlers from all content

User-agent: *
Disallow: /

  1. 2.        Block a specific web crawler from a specific folder

User-agent: BotName
Disallow: /foldername/
E.G: -
User-agent: Googlebot
Disallow: /articles/

  1. 3.       Block a specific web crawler from a specific web page

User-agent: Googlebot
Disallow: /article/blocked-this-page.html

  1. 4.        Allow a specific web crawler to visit a specific web page

User-agent: *
Disallow: /article/seo-techniques.html
User-agent: Googlebot
Allow: /article/seo-techniques.html

  1. 5.       Sitemap Parameter – You can also guide bot for sitemap location on your server.

User-agent: *
Sitemap: http://www.example.com/location/sitemap.xml

  1. 6.        To remove a specific image from Google Images, add the following:

User-agent: Googlebot-Image
Disallow: /images/dogs.jpg

  1. 7.        To remove all images on your site from Google Images:

User-agent: Googlebot-Image
Disallow: /

  1. 8.       To block files of a specific file type (for example, .gif), use the following:

User-agent: Googlebot
Disallow: /*.gif$

  • By .htaccess –

Redirecting non-www to www

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^www.
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.%{HTTP_HOST}/$1 [R=301,L]

Redirecting www to non-www
RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^my-domain.com$ [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://my-domain.com/$1 [R=301,L]

——————

The first line sets a condition: only if the condition is true, the second line will be processed. The condition could be ‘translated’ to: “if the host name doesn’t start with www.”. The regular expression !^www. means this:

! = not
^ = start
. = . (the backslash is the escape character, because dots have a special meaning in regular expressions, and therefore must be escaped)

So !^www. means “doesn’t start with www.”.

The second line is the actual rewrite rule: again it uses regular expressions to match certain urls, and then rewrites them to something else. The first part is the regular expression:

^(.*)$

This means: anything! You already know the ^ sign. The (.*) bit means zero or more characters (the dot means any character, the asterisk means zero or more). The final $ means ‘end’.

Then comes the bit that says how to rewrite the url:
 http://www.%{HTTP_HOST}/$1 [R=301,L]
 %{HTTP_HOST} will be replaced by the host name (i.e. example.com).
$1 references whatever was matched in the regular expression between the brackets, which in this case is everything.
The [R=301,L] means “inform the user agent that this is a permanent redirect (HTTP 301 code), and don’t process any more rewrite rules (if there were any after this one).

Interlinking – Interlinking refers cross linking pages of the website to each other. For example you are writing an article about SUVs. In this article you will mention BMW X6 and you already have an article about BMW X6. You can link the article about SUVs to BMW X6 since the topics are related and relevant.

Keyword and Competition Research – You should always remember to give relevant and reliable information in the content of your website. You can research about the most frequently searched keywords about a topic and used them in your content. You should also check the competition that you will be facing for that particular keyword from other similar websites.

Presentation – How you present your images and content to the readers are also important factors. Use of bolting, paragraphing etc contributes to your on-page-seo activities and increasing your website’s prominence.

Sitemap – Sitemap is one of the important factors of SEO. There are numerous tools available online which will generate your website’s Sitemap in XML, HTML, ROR and .GZ form. After Sitemap has been generated you can upload it to your server and make it available for the search engine to read.
Broken Link 

Off-Page-Optimization -

Off-Page Optimization refers to optimization of your website through sources and tools on the web rather on your actual website. Activities such as directory submission, back-linking etc.

Getting Indexed – Getting indexed in search engines is the first step in SEO activities. Before even considering Rankings, you need get your website indexed in the main search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo. When a website is indexed in a search engine it appears on the search results of that particular search engine. Before bloggers had to wait for quite a long time to get their websites indexed by main search engines such as Google but now it can be done in a few days. Here is how to get your website indexed by Google: -

  1. Complete your website and make sure that it’s ready.
  2. Use keywords related to your website content. You can optimize your website for keywords by using the main keywords in file name of each page, Meta tags, heading of the page and in first paragraph.  Use the related keyword in your content throughout the page.
  3. Create a sitemap and upload it to the website root directory.
  4. Log in to Google Webmasters Support Tools and add your Website’s URL as well as site map URL in the provided fields.

 Link building –
Social Bookmarking
 Social Bookmarking is a method of organizing and keeping bookmarks of websites for internet users but webmasters use it for SEO. One can submit the website page URL to different social bookmarking websites and get backlinks. However this is not a very effective method of SEO but it contributes to an extent. Some of the most well known social bookmarking sites are as follows: -

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • BuzzFeed
  • Delicious
  • Tweetmeme
  • FARK
  • Slashdot
  • Friendfeed
  • Clipmarks
  • Newsvine
  • Diigo
  • DZone

Directory submission
 Directory Submission is quite similar to bookmarking in a way that you can submit your website’s URL. But a Directory is different from a bookmarking site and one backlink from a Directory is much more valuable than one from a social bookmarking website for SEO.
Widgets
By generating widgets or building useful tools and hosting them on your website you can get backlinks from the websites that use your widget.
Article submission
Review writing and contributed articles are a part of article submission. There are websites in which you can submit articles to as a guest writer and link it to your own website.
Research and Survey
 You can do a thorough research and survey on a particular topic and create a form of infographic with the result of the survey. This infographic can be provided to other websites for free while they can give you a link from their website page.
RSS newsfeed
You can create an RSS newsfeed on your website which updates those who have subscribed for your website regularly. This way you can get frequent and regular visits.
Social media pages
Social Media pages are pages that you can create to promote your website on a social networking website such as facebook, twitter, Pinterest etc.
Create Wikipedia page
You can also create a Wikipedia page for your business by writing an article about it and submitting it to Wikipedia.

Source: Plunto

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