THE ABCs OF SEO - Search Engine Optimization

Written by Joanne Glasspoole

If you want to be found inrepparttar search engines, it is important that you add search engine optimization to your action list. In a nutshell, search engine optimization--or SEO for short--isrepparttar 128038 process of making your web pages "search engine friendly."

SEO is a relatively new marketing industry. Although there are many purported experts, most of us who call ourselves SEO specialists are learning. The search engines are constantly in flux, so SEO techniques that worked yesterday may not necessarily work tomorrow. As a result, it is exceedingly important to keep up withrepparttar 128039 fervent pace ofrepparttar 128040 Internet, andrepparttar 128041 search engines in particular.

One ofrepparttar 128042 frustrations of search engine placement is that your rankings are constantly fluctuating. The key to a successful search engine optimization campaign is creativity, perseverance and practice, practice, practice. Do not try to foolrepparttar 128043 search engines by "tricking" them with unsavory techniques (e.g., keyword stuffing, cloaking, hidden text) because you will risk having your web site lose favor withrepparttar 128044 search engines, or worse, getting banned altogether.

If you are developing a new web site or redesigning an old one, now is a good time to think about search engine optimization. This article will describerepparttar 128045 process of optimizing your web pages forrepparttar 128046 search engines, as well as highlight some ofrepparttar 128047 other components that are important for a successful search engine marketing campaign.


I'm sure you've heardrepparttar 128048 old cliché: Content is king. Well, you know what, it is! Althoughrepparttar 128049 Internet is graphic-rich, it is a text-based medium. Information is what your visitors are seeking. If you web site doesn't presentrepparttar 128050 information they want, don't forget your competitor's web site is only one mouse click away.

Search engines need copy to know what your web site's theme is and how your site should be indexed in their directory. If your home page consists solely of a Flash movie or an image map, there will be nothing forrepparttar 128051 search engines to index. Flash is cool, but it is not so cool when your web site doesn't come up in search engine results.

So, how do you write keyword-rich copy?

The first thing you need to do is identifyrepparttar 128052 keyword phrases that are important and relevant to your web site. For instance, how would you describe your company, products and services? More importantly, how would your visitors describe your company, products and services? Althoughrepparttar 128053 answer may seem like a no- brainer, it really isn't, because you need to think outside ofrepparttar 128054 box. You need to get into your visitor's head and think like your visitor. What search terms would they use to find your web site?

A good place to start your keyword research is by looking at your log files. What search terms are your visitors using to find you? Armed with this information, you can begin researchingrepparttar 128055 popularity of those terms. Researching your keywords is a very important task, because if you targetrepparttar 128056 wrong terms, your traffic will suffer. Although your site may rank number one for some obscure term, if no one is searching for that term, your site will not be found inrepparttar 128057 search engines.

There are a number of handy tools available online to help you begin building your list of relevant keywords. Overture (formerly offers a Search Term Suggestion Tool on its web site that will not only tell you how many times a particular keyword phrase was queried inrepparttar 128058 past month, it'll also present you with a list of alternative terms to consider for your search engine optimization campaign.

In addition to utilizing keyword suggestion tools to research your keywords, I highly recommend brainstorming keywords with your co-workers, employees, friends and family members. Better yet, ask your clients and customers what terms they would use to search for your web site. Brainstorming keywords will teach you a lot about how others think and userepparttar 128059 Internet to find information.

Once you have identified your keywords, you will need to integrate them intorepparttar 128060 body of your web page. Your sentences need to be intelligible and grammatically correct. Don't forget: Your web copy will be read by human beings, as well asrepparttar 128061 search engines. If your web copy doesn't make sense, your visitors will hit their back button never to return again. Bad web copy will defeatrepparttar 128062 whole purpose of your search engine optimization campaign.


The most important tag inrepparttar 128063 header section of your web page isrepparttar 128064 title tag. The title tag is displayed inrepparttar 128065 bar atrepparttar 128066 top of your browser window--aboverepparttar 128067 toolbar. Many webmasters do not userepparttar 128068 title tag properly. For example, their page will be titled "Home" or "Welcome," or worse yet "untitled," because they don't include a title at all. The search engines place a lot of relevance onrepparttar 128069 words contained withinrepparttar 128070 title tag, so be sure to include your targeted keyword phrases when writing your title tag. This tag is generally limited to 60 characters, so choose your words with care.

The next important tag inrepparttar 128071 header section isrepparttar 128072 description meta tag. This tag is used to describe your web page. Likerepparttar 128073 title tag, many ofrepparttar 128074 search engines will extrapolate this information to summarize your web site. Again, be sure to include your targeted keyword phrases.

The third and least important tag inrepparttar 128075 header section isrepparttar 128076 keywords meta tag. Because of abuse by unscrupulous webmasters,repparttar 128077 keywords tag is ignored by many ofrepparttar 128078 search engines. Even so, some do use it, so it doesn't hurt to include it. Like your title and description tag, choose your keywords carefully. Do not include keywords that are not included inrepparttar 128079 body of your web copy or irrelevant torepparttar 128080 theme of your site.


Much is said about link popularity, but what is it exactly?

A few years ago, people were joining "link farms" to increase their link popularity, but today that is frowned upon and can actually be detrimental to your quest for higher rankings inrepparttar 128081 search engines. Nowrepparttar 128082 emphasis is more onrepparttar 128083 quality ofrepparttar 128084 links pointing to your web site versusrepparttar 128085 quantity.

New InSites into the FAST Search Engine . . . an interview with Stephen Baker of Fast, Part 2

Written by Robin Nobles

(Continued from Part 1)

Next subject . . .

What about free submissions to FAST? Are they a thing ofrepparttar past?

According to Baker, "Free submit will continue to operate. There will be no effect on pages (already) inrepparttar 128037 index. The inclusion service is simply a guarantee that your pages will be indexed regularly and are guaranteed a reservation inrepparttar 128038 FAST index. The trick with free submit isrepparttar 128039 amount of spam we receive through that channel. It makes it difficult to keep up with all ofrepparttar 128040 submissions. PartnerSite provides an economic incentive to NOT submit spam."

How quickly does FAST index free submissions?

Mr. Baker answered, "Usually within 2-6 weeks. However, 95% of what comes through free submission is spam, and that's what causesrepparttar 128041 bottleneck. Also, there's no guarantee onrepparttar 128042 refresh rate of those sites that we pick up through free submit. Unfortunately, it'srepparttar 128043 5% ofrepparttar 128044 submitters that are spammers that ruin it forrepparttar 128045 rest of us. The extent that people go through to spamrepparttar 128046 index is truly amazing."

Is there a penalty for submitting your site through their free Add URL?

Baker replied, "Not really. Freshness does effect rank, but only marginally. I have never seen freshness boost ranking more than 1 or 2 spaces."

What does FAST consider spam? As stated earlier, FAST estimates that an amazing 95% ofrepparttar 128047 submissions through their free Add URL page are spam.

Baker further explained, "Unfortunately this isrepparttar 128048 case. We believe there are approximately 30 million crawlable servers globally, two-thirds of which have been blacklisted as spam servers."

Whew! Think about it: 20 MILLION crawlable servers globally are blacklisted as spam servers. If this is really true, it explains whyrepparttar 128049 engines have collectively gone to such great lengths in their efforts to curtail spam.

Atrepparttar 128050 Dallas Search Engine Strategies Conference in November, FAST introduced their new spam policies. Baker explained that according to FAST, spam comes in three different categories:

* Page Spam, which consists of any measures to boost ranking, such as link farms, etc. * Spam stuffing, such as keyword stuffing, invisible text, etc. * Offensive content, which is not so much spam, but is something that we detect and flag as such.

You can access and read Fast's entire spam policy at:

And, if you're so inclined, you can report spam to FAST by emailing

The ultimate fear of a search engine marketer: your site has been banned. What recourse is there for a site that gets on Fast's spam list and becomes banished fromrepparttar 128051 engine? Is this forever?

Baker replied, "This really is handled on a case by case basis. We have worked with sites that have contacted us and informed us that they have cleaned up their act. Obviously, this is very time consuming, sorepparttar 128052 combination of PartnerSite,repparttar 128053 spam guidelines, and not having your site hosted on a banned server should enable a site to get inrepparttar 128054 index through a variety of means if they think they have cleaned up their act."

Translated: If your site is hosted on one ofrepparttar 128055 20 million servers tagged for spamming, you'd best move it to a different server before you initiaterepparttar 128056 kiss-and-makeup ritual with FAST.

Baker further explained, "What really matters isrepparttar 128057 server whererepparttar 128058 submission is coming from. So many servers have been completely blacklisted due torepparttar 128059 proliferation of spam. I suggest 'know thy neighbor.' The crawler will take care ofrepparttar 128060 rest."

This again underscoresrepparttar 128061 importance of your site having its own unique IP address to insure against problems caused by an unruly site sharingrepparttar 128062 same IP.

How does FAST feel about cloaking? In Dallas, Mr. Baker and I had a long discussion about cloaking and howrepparttar 128063 FAST engine feels about it. We even served on a panel where a question came up about cloaking and about responsible cloaking guidelines.

As I mentioned to him, from our position as SEO's, we seerepparttar 128064 issues from opposite perspectives. Of course, we don't have a front row seat torepparttar 128065 parade of spam but, even so, our viewpoint is dictated by that of legitimate businesses trying to ethically compete in arenas that are often very competitive and sometimes dominated by nefarious position jockeying. Therefore, onrepparttar 128066 issue of cloaking, I pointed out instances where it'srepparttar 128067 only tool available that prevents our work from being stolen. My thinking is there's no harm done provided that a person follows all ofrepparttar 128068 engine's guidelines and does not spam in any way.

Baker's response: "Unfortunately,repparttar 128069 20% of sites that use redirects maliciously ruin it forrepparttar 128070 rest. Redirects and cloaks have become such a hassle that we can't afford to risk indexing them. We do work through PartnerSite IV customers to index cloaks. However, they are sent through a rigorous spam-detection process."

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