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The success of your web site is influenced by a variety of factors. The articles in the marketing tips collection will help you to get the most out of your web sites.
Some search engine optimization companies and software developers use unethical tricks and techniques to artificially boost the search engine rankings of a web site. This dilutes the quality of search results and the accuracy of search results becomes questionable.
For this reason, the search engines are continuously trying to trace out the spam techniques which webmasters might be using and penalize or ban them.
They continue to reconstruct their algorithms to prevent spammers from flooding the results page with irrelevant or low quality content.
If you use a web site promotion tool that uses these unethical tricks and techniques, you’ll put your web business at severe risk.
Ethical search engine optimization is about everyone winning
Ethical search engine optimization leads to a symbiotic relationship:
- Search engines: They win as they are provided with pages that are easy to understand and that contain the quality information that their visitors search for.
- Searchers: They win as they are getting what they ask for from the search engines. They search for “green widgets” and get a page about green widgets.
- Web site owners: They win as they are getting quality visitors who are interested in what their web site has to offer.
Filter words and stop words
Google and other big search engines ignore common words such as ‘the’, ‘of’, ‘where’, as well as certain single digits and single letters. These words are called “filter words”. They are ignored because they tend to slow down a search without improving the results.
Of course, every search engine has its own list of filter words. We’ve found out that the following words seem to be ignored by most search engines:
|a, about, an, and, are, as, at, be, by, from, how, i, in, is, it, of, on, or, that, the, this, to, was, we, what, when, where, which, with|
What does this mean to your site?
Search engines consider keywords in the title, in the body text and in link texts of a web page as an important ranking criteria.
Be careful when you choose your keywords for the title and the rest of your web page. If your web page title contains a list of filter words you won’t get any results. You might also dilute the effectiveness of your other keywords if you include too many filter words in the title.
Many search engines recommend limiting the number of letters in the title and in the meta tags. If your web page title or the meta tags contain too many filter words, you might reach the character limit before your important keywords begin.
Some words can get you banned on search engines
While filter words might dilute the effectiveness of your other keywords, some words might get your web page banned on search engines. These words are called stop words.
Adult words and phrases that contain sexual content are the most common stop words. However, some search engines build custom stop word lists to penalize web sites that use “keyword stuffing“. Some sites use the same keyword over and over on their pages to get a high rank for that keyword on search engines, even if it is not related to their content.
Of course, search engines try to find those sites and they penalize web pages that use keyword stuffing. Unfortunately, some sites are penalized although their webmasters didn’t try to spam the search engines just because they use a keyword too many times.
That’s why keyword analysis and the right keyword density is very important for a successful web site. If the keyword density is too low, you won’t get a good ranking, if it’s too high, your site might get accused of keyword stuffing.
- Use your most important keywords at the beginning of the title, meta tags, link texts and body text.
- Avoid using filter words to increase the effectiveness of your keywords.
- Make sure that your web pages have the right keyword density and don’t contain stop words.
The right keyword mix on your web pages will help you to improve your ranking on all important search engines. To find the perfect keyword density for your web site, use IBP’s Top 10 Optimizer.
Frames and search engines
It’s very difficult to get a good rankings on search engines if your web site uses frames.
The problem is that search engines do not index framed web sites well. Actually, the search engines do such a poor job of indexing frames that we recommend rebuilding your web site without them. For some search engines, rebuilding your site without frames is the only way to get a good ranking.
If you must use frames on your Web site for some reason, make sure you use the NoFrames tag so that search engines can find some text to index. The NoFrames tag is a tag specifically for search engines that cannot read the actual pages in your frame set.
Some search engines will be able to index the text you enter in the NoFrames tag. The contents you enter there should be text that is related to your site. It should contain your most important keyword phrases, but should remain readable to your Web site visitors.
You should place the NoFrames tag just before the </frameset> tag in your frameset, for example:
|<frameset cols="25%,*" border="1">
<frame src="this.html" name="this"><frameset rows=”*,5*”>
<frame src=”that.html” name=”that”>
<frame src=”whatever.html” name=”whatever”>
<h1>All about fishing equipment</h1>If you’re looking for fishing equipment, you’ll find it
here. We offer rods, reels, lines, flies, waders, vests
and apparel, tubes and boats and more.<p><a href=”this.html”>More about fishing equipment</a>
An easy way to do this is to create a new not framed web page for your site that describes your products and services. Often the content can be taken directly from one of your existing framed pages.
Once you’ve created the new page, view the HTML source of the page and copy everything from within the <body> and </body> tags. Then paste the new content within the <body> and </body> tags found within the NoFrames tags of your frameset.
Note that the text between NoFrames tags in our example contains a link to the main frame set page. That way, Web surfers with older browsers that don’t support frames will also be able to visit the page.
Don’t use a list of keywords within the NoFrames tags and don’t try to overuse this tag because the search engines might penalize your web site for that.
Even if you use the NoFrames tag, it’s still difficult to get a good ranking for a web site that uses frames.
If at all possible, avoid frames on your site.
Can SEO companies guarantee rankings?
Some SEO (search engine optimization) companies guarantee that you get a special search engine position if you let them do the work for you. Actually, this is not possible. No company can guarantee search engine listings.
If a company makes such promises, take a closer look at the guarantee. The catch is often that the company selects the search terms. You’ll be listed for obscure search terms that nobody searches for. If you have a unique company name or a unique product name, it’s relatively easy to get high search engine rankings for that term.
Before paying a company to get high search engine rankings for you, try it yourself with Softwares which are trusted. You’ll find out that you can get high search engine rankings for yourself.
The only way to get high search engine rankings and staying there is good web page content any playing by the rules.
How often should you submit your web site?
You’ve probably seen them on the web and you’ve probably received many spam email messages from them: services that promise you to submit your web site to thousands of search engines and that tell you that your web site will get high search engine rankings if you just submit your web site often enough.
The frequency of your search engine submission is not important
When you submit your web site URL to a search engines, you basically ask the search engine spiders to visit your web site and to evaluate it. If the search engine spiders cannot find anything useful on your site, they won’t list your web site. It doesn’t make sense to submit your web site again and again if it isn’t search engine ready.
Search engines must be able to find out what your web site is all about. They need to find text and links on your web pages and they also need to find the keywords for which you want to have high rankings on your web pages.
Submitting alone doesn’t guarantee visitors
Submitting your web site to search engines is important, but it is not the most important step in your search engine marketing campaign.
It’s much more important that your web pages are optimized for search engines. Many web sites are designed in a way that prevents them from showing up in search engines.
If your web pages are not search engine ready, it’s pointless to submit them. If the search engines index your web site at all, it will be listed on position 17,352 or worse. With a listing on that position, you won’t get any visitors.
The key to successful search engine submission
Before submitting your web pages to search engines, you must make sure that they are optimized for your important keywords and for the special search engine you target.
If your web pages are prepared for a special search engine and for a special keyword then it’s much more likely that your web site will receive high rankings.
Make sure that your web pages contain enough text and that search engine spiders can find the pages of your web site trough normal text links. Don’t use web site intros and don’t use too many Flash elements on your web site. It is extra work to optimize your web pages for search engines but it is well worth the effort.
Professional search engine submission takes some time
Don’t fall for services that promise you to submit your web site to thousands of search engines. It will only result in thousands of spam messages. Invest some time in optimizing your web pages before you submit them and then submit your site to important search engines. You’ll get much better search engine rankings
Some SEO Software like Web CEO, IBP etc helps you to optimize your web pages for high rankings on Google, Yahoo and other major search engines and it also helps you to submit your web site to all important search engines. Use XHTML Optimizer to optimize your pages before you submit them.
How to choose the right web page title
The title of a web page is one of the most important elements. Good web page titles can remarkably increase the effectiveness of your web site.
The title of a web page is the text that is written between the <TITLE> and </TITLE> tag in the HTML code of a web page. If you write the right text between these tags, your web site can get more targeted visitors.
Why are web page titles so important for your web site success?
- The titles of your web pages are important for search enginesTo many search engine spiders the title of a web page is more important than other web page elements. If your web page title contains your most important keywords, it’s likely that the web page will have a good search engine ranking for these keywords.
- The titles of your web pages are important for web surfersThe title of your web site is the first thing web surfers will see from your web site. Many search engines display the title of a web page as the main link to a web site in the search engine result pages.In addition, the web page title is used when a web surfers bookmarks your web site.
While most search engines don’t allow you to influence the description of your web site, the title of your web site is often listed without any changes.
What does this mean to you?
It’s important that your web pages have compelling titles that are compelling to web surfers and that contain your most important keywords.
For example, if you have a sports shoe shop in London, don’t use this title tag:
Welcome to Smith & Son
People probably won’t click on that link because they don’t know who you are. That web page title doesn’t look very attractive to the average surfer. Better use this title:
Buy sneakers and sports shoes at competitive prices in our shop in London. Nike, Adidas, Reebok and all other major sports shoe brands.
Why is the second title better than the first one?
The second title has many advantages over the first title.
- The second title contains keywords that are important for a sports shoe business: sports shoes, sports shoe, sneakers and several brand names.The inclusion of these words in the title increase the change of good search engine rankings for these keywords.
- The second title informs web surfers about the purpose of the web site and it gives them a reason to click: Buy sneakers and sports shoes at competitive prices.
- The second title includes geographical information: …in our shop in London. People who live in Chicago are probably not interested in a shop that’s based in London.The inclusion of “London” in the web page title allows people to quickly find out if it’s worth to visit the web site. In addition, it’s more likely that the web site will be found for a search term such as “shoe shop London“.
Good web page titles can help you to increase your search engine rankings and to get more people to click on your link.
How to convert visitors into sales
Even if you have obtained high search engine rankings for your web site under your important keywords, and even if you have hundreds of visitors per day, web surfers still might not purchase something on your web site.
Why do visitors sometimes don’t convert into sales? We’ll give you several reasons that can prevent surfers from buying on your web site.
Reason 1: Your web pages don’t load fast enough
Web surfers hate to wait for slow loading web pages. If your web pages don’t load fast enough, many web surfers will go away without taking a look at them.
No matter how great your product is: if your web site is not fast enough, web surfers won’t see it. Fast loading web pages are crucial if you want to sell something on the Internet.
There are several things you can do to speed up your site. Of course, you should make sure that your web host provides fast and reliable servers. In addition to hosting your web site on a fast server, you can do the following to improve the loading time of your web pages:
- Reduce the number of graphicsA large number of graphics on your web pages can considerably slow down your page. For each graphic on your web page, the web browser has to make another connection to your server. If you cannot reduce the number of graphics on your web page, then try to combine several graphics to a single bigger one. Use the same graphics on your other web pages so that web browsers can load the graphics from the browser cache.
- Specify the dimensions of your graphicsAlways make sure to include the height and width dimensions of your graphics in your HTML code. This means that every IMG tag should have the WIDTH and HEIGHT attributes specified. If web browsers doesn’t have to figure out the dimensions of your graphics, they can already display placeholders and start displaying the text of your web page before loading the graphics from the server.
- Make the top of your page interestingIf a web page takes a long time to load, make sure that the top of the page contains something interesting because visitors will see that part first.
- Divide your tablesWeb pages that use a single large layout table take a long time to render in web browsers. Break up huge tables into several smaller ones.
- Specify the dimensions of your tablesIf you specify the WIDTH and HEIGHT attributes for your tables, then web browsers don’t have to load the complete table code to calculate the dimensions of the table.
- Double check cell widthsTake a moment to check the individual widths of each table cell. If the total is more than the specified table width, then web browsers will have problems displaying your table.
It’s important to know the download times of your web pages. In general, your home page should load in 20 seconds on a dial-up connection and the top of your page should be displayed within 5-8 seconds.
Fast loading web pages are the most basic factor of a successful web site. If your web pages are displayed and rendered as quickly as possible, people will have more time to read the actual content of your web pages and eventually they’ll buy something on your page.
Now that people can see your web page content, it’s important to keep them on your site.
Reason 2: Is your web site trustworthy?It’s very important that your web site visitors have trust and confidence in your company. Your customers must trust you. They won’t buy from you if they don’t.On the World Wide Web, you cannot speak face to face with your customer so you have to establish credibility in other ways.
- Make sure that your web pages have a professional designYour web pages have to look perfect. If necessary, hire a professional web designer. Don’t use blinking text, funny animations or flashy banners on your page. Make sure that all links on your web site are intact.Don’t use automatically created web pages. Some software programs allow you to automatically create pages that are “optimized” for a special keyword. These doorway pages don’t work anymore on search engines (its simply spamming).In addition, human web surfers are turned away by that kind of pages. While doorway pages might look attractive to software programs, web surfers usually hate them. Automatically created doorway pages usually look ugly to human web surfers. Often, they consist of nothing more than a list of buzz-words. You won’t get good results with this method because human web surfers will quickly close such a web page.
- Offer free trials and show your refund policyThe most common things to establish trustworthiness is to offer a free trial and a money back guarantee. If your customers know what they’ll get, they’ll be more likely to purchase.
- Use testimonials.
- Its far better if other people say nice things about you than you saying nice things about yourself. Testimonials from satisfied customers will show how your business can do a better job than your competitor when it comes to customer satisfaction.
Reason 3: Is your web site content convincing?
It’s important that your web pages are interesting to your visitors. Every visitor wants to get a prompt answer to the question “what’s in it for me?”. In the first paragraph of your web page, you should tell your visitors the following:
- what you do
- why people should stay on your site
- what’s in for your visitors
If you don’t answer these questions quickly enough, people will go away.
People aren’t necessarily interested in your product or in your company. You must convince your web site visitors with good sales copy.
Before starting to write sales copy, make sure that you know your product and that you’re passionate about it. You have to fully believe in your product. If you don’t, you shouldn’t sell it. You cannot write convincing sales copy if you don’t stand behind your product. You must be sure that you’re doing your customers a favor by offering them your product.
- What’s in for your customers?Your customers want benefits. What can your product do for them? What can it do for them now? The benefits of your product should be the first words on your site. Make them bold and make them big. If your visitors don’t know what’s in it for them after the first few seconds, they’ll leave your site.People don’t read everything on your page. They scan it for interesting information. Grab their attention with benefits.
- Don’t mix up features and benefitsYou must differentiate between features and benefits. Features are the attributes of your product, benefits are what your product promises. For example, if you sell a solar-powered clock, then the feature is “uses new 38/12 solar cells”. The benefit to the buyer is “you save money because you don’t have to buy batteries anymore”.Don’t bore your potential customers with technical details. Tell them what your product will do for them. How they will feel when they tried your product. Maybe your product or service will make them more money, maybe it will save them time. Tell them and don’t be shy.
- Killer headlines will grab your visitors attentionNobody will read your entire page. Make it easier for your customers by dividing your page into paragraphs where each paragraph has a headline. Your headlines should make clear what to expect in the next sentences and they should grab your visitors’ attention.Use words like “free, proven, benefit, first, discover, complete, exclusive” and avoid words like “should, could” and “but”. Make sure that you use “you” more than “I” or “we”. Remember: Your customers don’t really care about you and your business. They only want to know what’s in for them.
- End your sales copy by telling the reader what to do
- At the end of your copy text, you must tell your visitors what to do next, for example “Click here to order now for immediate delivery”.
Use these tips to write as persuasively as you can, but remember not to deceive your customers in any way. You’d risk poor word of mouth, legal action, no repeat business and refund requests.
When people have finally decided to purchase your product, you must make sure that your order page doesn’t drive them away.
Reason 4: Is your order page easy to use?
Statistics show that more than 60 percent of online shoppers abort the ordering process. If your order page isn’t easy to use, all other web site promotion efforts will be in vain.
Here are the most important points for a successful order page:
If your order pages are easy to use and secure, they won’t hinder or deter customers from completing their purchase.
It’s very important that your order pages are a secure place to shop for your customers. Use as much encryption as you can and join the additional security services that are offered by some credit card companies.
How to rank well with Flash sites
Flash movies are a popular way to make web sites more compelling. They are useful if you want to impress your web site visitors or if you offer web design services.
Unfortunately, if you use Flash movies, or if you even design your complete web site based on the Flash technology, your odds of getting listed in the search engines are greatly reduced.
Search engines can only “see” pure text. They are not able to recognize text on an image or text that appears as a graphic in a Flash movie.
Google advises on its webmaster guidelines page: “If fancy features such as [...] Flash keep you from seeing all of your site in a text browser, then search engine spiders may have trouble crawling your site.“.
So how can you achieve high search engine rankings in spite of Flash contents?
First of all, you should re-consider using Flash on your web site. Keep in mind that many visitors still use slow dial-up connections to access web pages. They don’t like to wait 1-2 minutes only to see your company logo fancy animated. Your Flash movies must carry invaluable information to the visitors, otherwise they will be disappointed.
Entry pages that only show your company logo are becoming more and more annoying to users. Using web pages like company brochures only show that your company didn’t get the whole Internet idea.
Keep in mind that not everyone has installed the Flash player. Always add a link to a web page that contains the same important information as found in the Flash movie in plain text.
For these reasons, not using Flash or building a duplicate site without Flash are the easiest ways to make sure that your web site visitors and the search engines can access your web site.
If you really must use Flash on your web site, the following tips can help you getting your Flash contents indexed by the search engines:
- Provide links to alternate pages that contain a lot of text and some keywords that the search engines can index.
- Place some text above and below your Flash movie that contain your keywords. Along with your title and maybe your meta tags, this gives the search engines some contents to index.
- If you embed the Flash movie in your HTML code, use your most important keywords in the movie filename using the HTML tags <param name=”movie” value=”movie-filename.swf”> and <param name=”src” value=”movie-filename.swf>.
- You can use the <object standby=”your message to show while loading”> attribute to include some text that is displayed while the Flash movie is being loaded. In addition, you can use the <object title=”your movie title”> attribute to include a keyword-rich movie title.
- Use the <noembed> tag to provide text for web browsers which don’t support the Flash plugin. Use it to describe the contents of the Flash movie as search engines can index that description.
- You may want make your Flash movie transparent and place it “over” your web page using CSS layers. However, some search engines might consider this spamming.
- Some search engines offer pay for inclusion programs that guarantee the inclusion of your web page regardless of the contents. Note that these search engines still need text to index.
- You could provide an alternative, “pure text” web page solely to search engine crawler programs. However, this technique is called “cloaking” and search engines don’t like it (click here for details).
- Link from other pages of your web site to your Flash page with a keyword-rich link text.
- Use the Macromedia Flash Search Engine SDK to convert a Flash file’s text and links into HTML for search engine indexing.
Macromedia, the developers of the Flash technology, have recognized the difficulties in getting Flash contents indexed. For this reason, they have developed an accessibility kit that helps you to embed pure text and links in the movie file.
Macromedia hopes that search engines will learn over time to read the embedded text.
Keep customers on your site with custom 404 error pages
You’ve probably seen many “404 not found” pages when surfing the web. A “404 not found” page is the page that comes up when someone tries to access a web page that doesn’t exist.
This usually happens when someone types a wrong URL or follows a link to a page that does not exist. A typical 404 error page looks like this:
|HTTP 404 Not Found
The requested URL was not found on this server.
The exact wording of this error may vary, but it is normally unintuitive and unfriendly. It is unlikely that the person explores your site further.
People who come to a “404 not found” web page are usually lost visitors. These visitors don’t see your web site information and they cannot buy your products.
A custom 404 error page keeps visitors on your web site
Most web hosts allow you to create a custom “404 not found” page. If you haven’t done it yet, you should create a custom 404 error page now.
A custom 404 error page is an easy way to keep visitors on your web site. It also allows you to redirect your visitors to the pages of your choice.
For example, you could use the following HTML code for your own 404 error page:
<meta http-equiv=refresh content="2;URL=http://www.YourWebsiteName.com">
Sorry, this page doesn't exist. You'll be redirected to our index page.
This HTML code simply redirects people to the index page of your web site so that they can find what they’re looking for (replace “www.YourWebSiteName.com with the URL of your own web site).
You could also create a custom 404 page that tells your visitors that the page is not available anymore. It also makes sense to give your visitors some choices.
A custom 404 error page is important to the success of your web site
People often mistype URLs and some web sites have links to non-existent pages. This can happen when redesigning a web site or just through typographical errors. See this example
With a custom 404 error page, you make it easier for end users to find where they want to go on your web site.
How link popularity can help your search engine rankings
If you have optimized your web page for high search engine rankings and it still doesn’t get better listings, it is very likely that your web site has low link popularity.
Link popularity is a very important factor for all major search engines. If your web site doesn’t have good link popularity, it is very difficult to get good search engine rankings.
Note that link popularity alone is not enough. The content of your web site is also important so that search engines know what your web site is about.
A combination of optimized pages and high link popularity will bring your web site to the top of the search engine results.
What exactly is link popularity?
Link popularity refers to the total number of links that a search engine has found for your web page. The more web sites link to your web page, the higher the link popularity of your page. High link popularity contributes to a high search engine ranking.
The idea behind the link popularity concept is simple. The more other web sites link to your web site, the more important your site must be. Other sites wouldn’t link to your site if there wasn’t something interesting on your site or if your web site didn’t contain any special content.
It’s nearly impossible to manipulate link popularity. Previous ranking algorithms that took META keywords or similar factors into account have been quickly abused to mislead the search engines. On the other side, it’s very difficult to manipulate the number of links that point to a site.
That’s why link popularity is now one of the most important factors for search engines when they rank a web page.
However, you cannot get high link popularity by submitting your web site to thousands of FFA (free for all) link pages. Not all links are considered equal by the search engines. It does matter who links to you and how they link to you.
Not all links are considered equal
The more web sites link to your web site, the higher your link popularity. However, not all links are equal. Some links count more than others. Links from important web sites have a greater effect on your link popularity and your search engine rankings.
A link from www.Yahoo.com to your web site has more weight than a link from a small private web page. A link from a web site with high link popularity is better than a link from an unknown web site.
It’s also important that the web site that’s linking to you has a similar topic as your web site. Imagine that you sell shoes on your web site. A link from another web site that is all about shoes will count much more than a link from a web site that links to all kind of web sites.
Finally, it’s important how the link to your site looks like. For example, one of your important keywords might be “white leather shoes”.
|<a href="http://www.domain.com">White leather shoes</a>|
leads to much better search engine rankings for the keyword “white leather shoes” than the following link
|<a href="http://www.domain.com">Sashi and Partners</a>|
By the way, many people think that they can increase their link popularity by submitting their web site address to FFA (free for all) link pages and link farms (Web sites that link to all kind of web sites). This doesn’t work.
More and more search engines recognize FFA pages and link farms and choose to ignore these pages. Usually, submissions to FFA pages are a waste of time that only results in many spam email messages.
In addition, you should avoid services that promise you 2000 links to your site within a week or so. If they link to you at all, these 2000 links are of poor quality or they don’t have a similar topic as your web site.
Use common sense. Offers that sound too good to be true probably aren’t true.
- try to get links from important web sites
- try to get link texts that contain your important keywords
- don’t use FFA or link farm pages
- don’t use services that promise lots of links within days
- focus on quality links, not on quantity
How to find good potential link partners
As explained above, it’s important who links to your site. web sites that have a similar topic as your site are more important than web sites with different topics.
In addition, if you can convince web sites with a similar topic to link to your site, you’ll also get targeted traffic from these sites.
People who visit your topic partner sites are usually interested in what you have to offer. They are more likely to come to your site and to buy something. It’s the quality of the traffic that counts, not the quantity.
Building a good link popularity requires some work but the results will pay for it. Link popularity is already one of the most important factor for search engines to rank web sites.
The sooner you start with your linking campaign, the better the results for your business.
Search engine spiders and your web site
Are you sure that search engines understand your web site? Search engines see your web pages with different eyes than web surfers.
If you have a great looking web site that is meaningless to search engines, you won’t be able to achieve high search engine rankings with that web site – no matter how good and interesting your web site content is.
In general, search engines cannot see content that is presented in the following file formats:
- images (GIF, JPEG, PNG, etc.)
- Flash movies, flash banners, etc.
- other multimedia file formats
Some search engines can index some of these file formats but in general, it’s very difficult to obtain high search engine rankings if your main web site content is presented only in these formats.
Search engines need text to index your web site. They cannot know what’s written on your GIF or JPEG images or in your Flash movies. If you use a lot of images on your web site, you should also create some web pages that contain a lot of text.
If you want to find out how search engines see your web site, you have to use a search engine spider simulator tool. A search engine spider simulator tool emulates the software programs search engines use to index your web site. They show you what elements of your web site are visible to search engines.
The importance of valid HTML code
Many webmasters overlook a very important aspect of web site promotion: the validity of the HTML code.
What is valid HTML code?
Most web pages are written in HTML. As for every language, HTML has its own grammar, vocabulary and syntax, and every document written in HTML is supposed to follow these rules.
Like any language, HTML is constantly changing. As HTML has become a relative complex language, it’s very easy to make mistakes. HTML code that is not following the official rules is called invalid HTML code.
Why is valid HTML code important?
Search engines have to parse the HTML code of your web site to find the relevant content. If your HTML code contains errors, search engines might not be able to find everything on the page.
Search engine crawler programs obey the HTML standard. They only can index your web site if it is compliant to the HTML standard. If there’s a mistake in your web page code, they might stop crawling your web site and they might lose what they’ve collected so far because of the error.
Although most major search engines can deal with minor errors in HTML code, a single missing bracket in your HTML code can be the reason if your web page cannot be found in search engines.
If you don’t close some tags properly, or if some important tags are missing, search engines might ignore the complete content of that page.
How can you check the validity of your HTML code?
Select the “HTML validator” in W3C Validator or Total Page Validator main window. Total Page Validator or Dreamweaver Validator will connect you to an offical HTML validator that will check the code of your web pages.
Although not all HTML errors will cause problems for your search engine rankings, some of them can keep web spiders from indexing your web pages.
Valid HTML code makes it easier for search engine spiders to index your site so you should make sure that at least the biggest mistakes in your HTML code are corrected.
The right search engine optimization strategy
WebCEO, IBP etc are professional web site promotion solution that helps you to achieve high search engine rankings for your web pages. High search engine rankings result in more visitors, more customers and more sales.
The right strategy is crucial to the success of your search engine optimization activities.
Search engine users are some of the most qualified and motivated visitors to your web site you will ever have. After all, they have taken the initiative to hunt for online resources on a certain topic. And then they clicked your link to learn more.
However, getting listed in a search engine doesn’t do you much good if you’re number 415 of 1,259,000 search results. Surprisingly, it doesn’t even help you much if you’re result number 11. Most search engines display 10 results on the first page, and relatively few searchers click through to look at the second page.
With IBP, your web site will get the best possible search engine rankings and you’ll get as many visitors as possible. High rankings contribute greatly to the success of your Internet business.
The key to high search engine rankings is to do the right things in the right oder:
- Find the right keywords for your web site.
- Optimize your web pages for these keywords so that they can get high search engine rankings.
- Submit your web pages to all important search engines and directories so that web surfers can find you.
- Get links from other web sites and make sure that these links contain your keywords.
- Track the results.
The robots.txt file
Although the robots.txt file is a very important file if you want to have a good ranking on search engines, many web sites don’t offer this file.
If your web site doesn’t have a robots.txt file yet, read on to learn how to create one. If you already have a robots.txt file, read our tips to make sure that it doesn’t contain errors.
What is robots.txt?
When a search engine crawler comes to your site, it will look for a special file on your site. That file is called robots.txt and it tells the search engine spider, which web pages of your site should be indexed and which web pages should be ignored.
The robots.txt file is a simple text file (no HTML), that must be placed in your root directory, for example:
How do I create a robots.txt file?
As mentioned above, the robots.txt file is a simple text file. Open a simple text editor to create it. The content of a robots.txt file consists of so-called “records”.
A record contains the information for a special search engine. Each record consists of two fields: the user agent line and one or more Disallow lines. Here’s an example:
This robots.txt file would allow the “googlebot”, which is the search engine spider of Google, to retrieve every page from your site except for files from the “cgi-bin” directory. All files in the “cgi-bin” directory will be
ignored by googlebot.
The Disallow command works like a wildcard. If you enter
both “/support-desk/index.html” and “/support/index.html” as well as all other files in the “support” directory would not be indexed by search engines.
If you leave the Disallow line blank, you’re telling the search engine that all files may be indexed. In any case, you must enter a Disallow line for every User-agent record.
If you want to give all search engine spiders the same rights, use the following robots.txt content:
Where can I find user agent names?
You can find user agent names in your log files by checking for requests to robots.txt. Most often, all search engine spiders should be given the same rights. in that case, use “User-agent: *” as mentioned above.
Things you should avoid
If you don’t format your robots.txt file properly, some or all files of your web site might not get indexed by search engines. To avoid this, do the following:
- Don’t use comments in the robots.txt fileAlthough comments are allowed in a robots.txt file, they might confuse some search engine spiders.”Disallow: support # Don’t index the support directory” might be misinterepreted as “Disallow: support#Don’t index the support directory“.
- Don’t use white space at the beginning of a line. For example, don’t write
placeholder User-agent: *
place Disallow: /support
- Don’t change the order of the commands. If your robots.txt file should work, don’t mix it up. Don’t write
- Don’t use more than one directory in a Disallow line. Do not use the following
Disallow: /support /cgi-bin/ /images/
Search engine spiders cannot understand that format. The correct syntax for this is
- Be sure to use the right case. The file names on your server are case sensitve. If the name of your directory is “Support“, don’t write “support” in the robots.txt file.
- Don’t list all files. If you want a search engine spider to ignore all files in a special directory, you don’t have to list all files. For example:
You can replace this with
- There is no “Allow” command.Don’t use an “Allow” command in your robots.txt file. Only mention files and directories that you don’t want to be indexed. All other files will be indexed automatically if they are linked on your site.
Tips and tricks:
1. How to allow all search engine spiders to index all files
Use the following content for your robots.txt file if you want to allow all search engine spiders to index all files of your web site:
2. How to disallow all spiders to index any file
If you don’t want search engines to index any file of your web site, use the following:
3. Where to find more complex examples.
If you want to see more complex examples, of robots.txt files, view the robots.txt files of big web sites:
Your web site should have a proper robots.txt file if you want to have good rankings on search engines. Only if search engines know what to do with your pages, they can give you a good ranking.
Top 10 tips for high link popularity
Link popularity has become an important factor in the ranking algorithms of most search engines. If many quality web sites link to your site, you’ll have a good position in the search engines.
There are a number of ways to improve the link popularity of your web site. Here are the top 10 tips for high link popularity:
10. Cross-link your sites
An easy way to improve your link popularity is to add a link from your own popular web site to a less popular site of your own.
However, it’s very important that one site is not only a duplicate of the other and that both sites are related to each other. For example, unionics.com links to hubtank.com and vice versa. Both sites are different but they offer related content.
9. Give testimonials
Everyone has some favorite software tools and utilities. Contact the publishers or developers and explain why you like their software programs. Some of them will request a permission to display your testimonial on their web site, along with a link to your site.
You can also contact web sites that don’t offer software programs but interesting articles. Just make sure that you really stand behind what you say as it can backfire to you if you recommend bad products.
8. Awards for you and other sites
You can submit your web site to sites who offer awards. If they reward you their award, then they’ll probably link to your site. Just search Google for “awards directory your-keyword” (replace “your-keyword” with a keyword that is important to your business).
You can also offer an award for other web sites. Submit your awards page to the above-mentioned awards directories to make it popular. The web sites who receive your award will link back to your site.
7. Participate in newsgroups and discussion forums
When you post to newsgroups and discussion forums, add a signature file with a link to your web site.
An easy way to post messages in newsgroups is to create a Google account and to post via their web interface:
To find good discussion forums, just search Google for “forums directory your-keyword”. For example, if you want to participate in a marketing forum, search Google for “forums directory marketing”.
6. Provide a link directory
Offer a link directory on your web site which links to quality web sites with a similar topic. Your visitors will appreciate such a resource and you’ll provide incentive for other sites to link to your site.
You can add a “link to us” page to your web site on which you promise to add other complementary sites to your link directory if they link back to you first.
5. List your web site in the Yahoo directory
If you have a business web site, you might want to pay US$299 yearly to Yahoo to have your web site listed in the Yahoo directory. The Yahoo directory is independent from Yahoo’s main search engine:
If you have a non-business site, you can submit to Yahoo without paying: http://docs.yahoo.com/info/suggest/
4. List your web site in the Open Directory Project (ODP) directory
If your web site is listed in the popular directory ODP, then your web site will have a good base for the link popularity.
Rumor has it that Google starts crawling web sites with the web sites listed in the ODP directory. Best of all, you can add your web site to ODP without paying a fee.
for example demoz.org
3. List your web site in regional and industry-specific directories.
A link in regional and indusstry specific directories is good for your web site because your link will appear on a related page. Links from related pages are much better than links from unrelated pages.
2. Write articles for your audience
Write articles about the topics that your web site visitors are interested in. After a while, other web sites will link back to your articles.
You can also send your articles to syndicate web sites. They’ll offer your articles to other web sites. Just make sure that your article contains a link to your web site so that other sites who publish your article will automatically link to you.
1. Get reciprocal links from complementary sites
Search the major search engines for your keywords. They will return many web sites that don’t compete with your site, or which offer complementary things.
Visit their site and then write them an email message to request a link to your site. If you link back to them first, they’ll be more likely to link to you.
Use sitemaps to improve your web site
Which page on your web site is the most important page? The product page? The contact page? Or the order page? Whatever it is, the sitemap page is among the most important pages on your web site.
A sitemap page is a navigation help for your visitors. It contains links to all important pages of your web site and it gives web site visitors an overview of your web site structure.
Check out these examples for well designed sitemaps:
If you don’t have a sitemap page on your web site yet, you should create one. It’s enough to create just a formatted list of links to the pages on your site to gain these benefits:
- If you submit your web site to the search engines, submit your sitemap page instead of the home page. Sitemaps provide links to all important pages of your web site. This allows search engines to find all your pages and to index them easily.
If a search engine requires the submission of your main page, make sure that your main page links to your sitemap page.
- Sitemaps allow you to use your most important key phrases in the description text of the links that point to your important pages. Many search engines rank those web pages higher that have links pointing to them containing the search term in the link text.
- Many people can’t find what they’re looking for on a web site. If you provide a prominent link to your sitemap on every page of your web site, you can help your visitors to find what they’re looking for.
A good structure for a sitemap is first a paragraph describing your company, your products and your philosophy, then a formatted list of your links, along with short descriptions for every link.
In summary, a sitemap helps visitors and search engines to find the most important pages of your web site. Don’t miss the chance of improving your search engine rankings with such a simple tool.
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