Friday, November 10, 2006

SandBoxed!


Interesting fact - my Mike, Russ and Monty site has been sandboxed by Google. It has gone through the honeymoon period, but I did something wrong and Google doesn't like me at the moment :-)

My thought is that I either (or all) was too aggressive too soon in getting links, or I was inconsistent with my link getting, or didn't update my content after the initial putting on, or they didn't like the only having 3 pages.

I'll try remedying the problem and I'll let you know the results.

Mike Haydon.

Friday, November 03, 2006

The Benefits of Search Engines Coming Frequently to Your Site


I saw a post on a forum recently asking about search engine spidering frequency. It seems there is a common misconception that the more frequently a search engine spiders your site, the more popular your site must be. This is not technically the case. In fact, the reverse is true: if your site is popular, there is a better chance a search engine will spider your site more frequently.

Why does it matter how often your site is spidered? If your site regularly has fresh content added, the spiders will come back more frequently and over time you will probably see an increase in your search engine ranking. That is not the only benifit. If your site is visited regularly (some of the very popular sites get spidered pretty much every hour!), any changes you make will be immediately reflected in the search engines.

Frequent spidering helps with SEO testing, as you get feedback within hours, rather than days.

The most important benefit frequent spidering carries with it is if you have an ecommerce store. Say you decide to offer a discount to the first 200 customers to purchase from your site, if you were not regularly visited by the search engine spiders, it could potentially take a week or more before your offer hit the search engines. Now that might be fine if you wanted to give a bonus to your loyal customers, but if the purpose was to attract new customers... well you get the point.

Not being spidered frequently is not going to kill you. Frequent spidering will help you and the more help the better right?

I'll explain later how to get spidered frequently, but for now, getting the search engine spiders knocking on your door regularly is a good thing.

Until next time...

Mike Haydon.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Title Tag - Search Engine Optimization


One of the most important factors in "onpage" search engine optimization is your title tag. The following is an example of what a standard HTML code looks like:

<HTML>
<HEAD>
<TITLE> Your title goes here </TITLE>
</HEAD>
<BODY>
The content of your page.
</BODY>
</HTML>

The title tag is the <TITLE> title here </TITLE>.

It is essential that your title tag contains the keywords you are trying to rank for with that page. Forget putting your company name in the Title, unless you are trying to brand your product (branding is a whole different topic and will be covered at a later date). What are people searching for that the page you are working on is relevant to? Put those keywords or keyword phrases in the Title.

Remember too, that with most of the search engines, your title is what appears as the listing when someone does a search. So test longer and shorter keyword phrases.

NOTE: A wise man once said - if you are ranking #1 for your target keyword search, don't change the title.

In effect, what I am saying is that when you decide to start optimizing your site, first work on your title, and you will probably see a marked improvement in your rankings.

Until next time.

Mike Haydon.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Blog Strategy to Get Faster Ranking on the Search Engines


I was at a restaurant with a few mates and we were discussing how difficult it would be to rank #1 for certain phrases and how long it would take.

To cut a long story short, I bet $50 that I could get to #1 within 4 weeks for some random phrase we decided on. It took 3 weeks from buying the domain to being #1. Now of course, there is virtually no competition for this, so I'm not bragging about it as anything special.

We have this thing where we go to Sizzlers, which is a restaurant chain in Australia and some other countries, and they give you a few pieces of complimentary cheese toast. We occasionally try to push the boundaries of how much they will give us (it’s just a bit of fun – they seem to get as much of a laugh out of it as we do!). Anyway, you can read the full story here.

My purpose for this post is how I did it. It revealed something rather unusual...

I am #1 in Google and Yahoo, but not even in the MSN index!

Have a look for “World Cheese Toast Champions”, or just “Cheese Toast Champions” on the engines. You need the quotes for Yahoo, but not for Google (I’ll write why another time). If you search for my domain name on MSN, at the time of writing, you will not find it.

With all my other sites, I have gotten ranked on MSN first and get good rankings for that, then Google gets on board and finally Yahoo.

That got me thinking - and it struck me when I looked at the date Google had cached my site. At that date, I had only made a post from this blog (which was set up at the same time) with a link to the site. I pinged pingomatic.com and then added this blog to my MyYahoo page.

So I'm thinking (and obviously need to test some more), that if you can't get links from a decent value site, at least start with a blog post, ping, then MyYahoo, and who knows... maybe that will get your site crawled quicker than otherwise.

Anyone has ideas on this, put a comment in and have your say. (For those of you who understand what this means, I have disabled the rel=nofollow for this blog )

To our online success!

Mike.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

To Hyphen or Not to Hyphen

I recently came across an article by Brad Fallon that discusses, among other things, the benefits of hyphenating your web address and page links.

Say you have the following two pages:

http://www.aesopresources.com/fable/boywolf.php and http://www.aesopresources.com/fable/man-lion.php

The keywords in the first page that the search engines would see are:
aesopresources
fable
boywolf

In the second, the list would be:

aesopresources
fable
man
lion

See the difference a hyphen can make? It works just as well if your domain name is hyphenated. For example,

http://music.hot-multimedia.com/mp3-music-online-download.html

is viewed as:

music
hot
multimedia
mp3
music
online
download

If there were no hyphens, there would be no real keywords.

What is the purpose of my explaining this? Glad you asked :)

When someone links to your site or one of your pages, the words they use in the hyperlink are extremely important. This is called the "anchor text". They are basically telling the search engines that your site is relevant for those keywords. When someone does a seach for those keywords, the search engine "thinks", "I remember someone telling me that site X was relevant for these keywords. I will place it higher."

Fairly often, someone might provide a link to your site that only contains the site address. It is very common when you submit an article. If your address consists of keywords, they are in effect telling the search engines that you are relevant for those words.

Which brings one final admonition: Be Careful What Keywords You Use In Your Address. Make them as relevant as possible and you will be rewarded.

Free For All Links

I spoke in the last post about improving your Search Engine position as the best way to improve your profits.

The most important aspect of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the links pointing to your site. Here, as with most things, quality is more important than quality. If you have a link to your site from a high-traffic, popular site, it will be worth more than hundreds of links from Free For All (FFA) sites.

Trust me when I say this: DON'T waste your time with FFA submission. The people who market FFA submission make it sound really tempting I know. Who wouldn't want hundreds of links pointing to their site? In my early days, I went on a campaign to get as many FFA links to my site as possible. The only thing it achieved was that I got so many useless emails each day, that I closed down that email account.

I have found out subsequently from some of the masters of SEO (like John Reese) that it may even be likely that some of the major search engines actually penalise a site that has many FFA incoming links. What I do know is that even though I had possibly 1,000 incoming FFA links, not one of them appeared as a link in the major search engines. It seems reasonable to conclude that even if the search engine doesn't penalize you for having FFA links incoming, at least all that work to get the links is wasted. In case you were wondering, no I didn't go out and manually submit to heaps of FFA pages: it was all done through submission software.

Let me say this again ... get good incoming links to your site. Without them, you will never be high on the search engine rankings. How do you know they are good? Get the Google Toolbar and enable PageRank viewer. While it is not a 100% accurate reflection of a site's search engine ranking, at least you can see whether a page has a high page rank. I will give some tips for getting links from high quality sites in a later blog, but for now, just know that you need quality links and don't bother getting worthless links.

Public Domain Websites

I personally think that one of the fastest roads to success on the internet is to use public domain works to easily develop content and work on your Search Engine Optimisation skills.

The most critical aspect of internet marketing would have to be your site's visibility. You are the one who has control over that. There are many different ways to optimise your site. The main thing is to get started immediately.

If no one can see your site, it might as well not exist, or you have to pay a fortune in advertising. I have been in this game for a sufficient length of time to know that however you want to go, you can make money on the internet.

I have tried Google Adwords, article marketing, Search Engine Optimisation, posting to forums with a link back to my site, etc, etc. In fact, they all work. However, when you put them all together and combine it with a well designed webpage, the success is phenomenal.

If you have extensive web programming ability and a budget of absolute zero, along with a healthy scepticism for whether you can make a go of this, I highly suggest you find some public domain works and build a site based on them. Resources that I have used and found VERY useful for this are: Public Domain Empires and the Public Domain Report. You don't need to spend a fortune to get in on this. If you have more time and don't want to spend any money, search Google under Public Domain Works and you will be able to glean the information you need.

Just to give you an example of what I mean by a public domain website, take a look at my Aesop's Fables site. I have only just started it a few weeks ago, and after minimal optimisation it has risen to 47th on Google for the major keyword "Aesop's Fables". Other less common searches have it in the top 5 results.

Get some Public domain content, grab a template and away you go.