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A Quick Kick-Start Guide to Search Engine Optimization (SEO)


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#1 Black_Knight

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Posted 04 March 2003 - 09:39 PM

The Quick Kick-Start Guide to Search Engine Optimization



1. Coming from a design background, the most important thing to take on board is that there are four main browsers to design for: Internet Explorer, Netscape, Opera, and Search Engine Spiders, (and that's not in order of importance).

Search Engine Features For Webmasters is a particularly useful resource here, showing you which spiders and engines can understand which features of web design.

2. Search engine optimization, or search engine marketing for that matter, is a tool of a marketing strategy. It is not an alternative to having a marketing strategy. The key to great SEO results is to know exactly what goals you want to acheive, and with what priorities.
  • You can use SEO to bring high volume traffic.
  • You can use SEO to bring very targeted sales leads.
  • You can use SEO to increase brand awareness.
3. Search engine optimization is a matter of learning as much as you can about search technologies, and tempering that knowledge with a bit of knowledge about the business objectives of the search engines themselves. The latter part helps you to identify not just what technologies are in place today, but more importantly, where they are heading, and what may be in place 3 months down the line when your pages finally are fully indexed.

4. Get ready to read, digest, re-read and research. While many SEOs are generous with their knowledge, the best are those who do their own research to double-check everything for themselves. Just because something was true yesterday will never mean that it hasn't changed by today. Not all tips and advice are up to date, so until you learn enough to know who will have done the research recently, do your own to cross-check.

5. Places to start drinking deeply from the well of SEO knowledge include the legendary SearchEngineWatch.com, Pandia.com, SearchEngineGuide.com and of course, all the forums which you feel offer trustworthy advice.

6. Set up a mail folder for all the newsletters you are going to be subscribing to. From now on, any site that impresses you with its content, and that offers a newsletter, is something you should subscribe to. Not just the SEO ones of course, some of the cool Marketing newsletters keep you abreast of what's going on in the industry at large, often giving you new ideas to try (and examples to follow). You can always unsubscribe from most newsletters that prove to be too slow with news.

7. Research is something that takes time. In my first few years I spent upto 8 hours a day just on researching stuff. There are always new techniques to discover, understand, and evaluate, from both sides of the search business. Know where each search engine began, and how it got to be where it is - it will help you predict its possible future moves.

8. The more a 'trick' is discussed, the more certain you are that the search engines know about it. Be very wary of any technique that the search engines wouldn't like, because if you can read about it, you can bet they have too. As soon as anything is more often abused than used, the search engines will stop paying attention to it.

9. Of all the technologies you must learn to use, tracking is one of the most important. Many companies do not track their ROI as well as they should, and unless they do, they can easily miss the real value of SEO and search engine marketing campaigns.

10. Enjoy it. Search engine optimization and the broader roles of web marketing are a career I dearly love. My sheer enthusiasm helps keep me in constant supply of fresh ideas, and doesn't hurt in gaining new clients either. It can be a career with some bumpy roads, but I have never regretted a single step. :P

The Reading List:

Discussions relating to tracking:
statistics program?
Remote Log analyzer recommendations
Log Tracking Software

Some discussions of particular merit for SEO:
Real New - where to begin in SEO?
Why Is The Answer In Seo Always to Think About Your Audience?
SEO Training - Is it worthwhile?
A philosophy to SEO by
SEO Myths
Title Tags - Consistency on all pages or unique?
Robots META tags
Frames / Framed Sites
All you need to know about multiple domain names
One-Way links
Linking inside a header
Why Don't You Rank on Search Engines?
PR3 page beats PR6 ... how?
What percentage of searches does Google have?
Google sure is sticking it to us!
Should I be concerned (sudden drop in Google rankings)?
Selling SEO services
Does SEO = Spam?

Basic Considerations
Can HTML errors affect SEO?
Word Counts - How many words?
H1 Headings in SEO - how important?


Discussions regarding Link Building:
Linking Strategies
How to Build Backlinks
Link Buiilding with Press Releases


And some podcasts on basics, if you fancy them
Introduction to CSS and Web Marketing
Introduction to Meta Tags and Meta Content

Note: More to follow ...

Edited by Black_Knight, 27 September 2007 - 05:28 AM.


#2 behindTheScenes

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Posted 26 January 2004 - 07:28 AM

I was annoyed because I lost about 6 big keywords completely from Google, But I was more annoyed when a site about coffee was above mine for coffee table fish tanks because they used an auto page generator. All they sell is coffee.! Glad to see they disappeared as well.
But I will tune my sites a little and I'm sure they will rise.

Good to see a North Somerset guy leading the way!

#3 Siddhartha

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Posted 01 February 2004 - 06:32 AM

Hi Ammon, We spoke a while back. I've been lurking ever since and decided to crack on and give this SEO a go. The forums are unbelievably helpful. Can I ask a very (newbie/stoopid!) question? If I register pay for inclusion with FAST/Lycos/Inktomi etc. How do I choose which pages to register. It's possible to spend a fortune. FYI I've built an 'info'site so I can get cracking on SEO and the proper e-comm site launches in March.
Really appreciate any feedback.
And thanks to all who've provided masses of late night reading/learning material!
Sid

#4 Black_Knight

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Posted 01 February 2004 - 10:21 AM

Hi Siddhartha,

We have a few prior discussions about PFI or paid-for-inclusion that could be helpful references to you.

http://www.cre8asite...p?showtopic=535
http://www.cre8asite...?showtopic=4049

I spelt out in this post from last year just how the various inclusion models can fit together to form a holistic SEM campaign

#5 Kali

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Posted 12 March 2004 - 07:32 PM

And how did Opera and Netscape get on the list of important browsers?

If a browser manages less than 5% market share there is NO point in even considering it.

#6 Black_Knight

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Posted 12 March 2004 - 10:10 PM

You seem very negative today, Kali, (I saw your post in the SEMPO discussion), I hope everything is okay for you.

If a browser manages less than 5% market share there is NO point in even considering it.

5 percent is one in every twenty. If there are 400 million native english speakers online, then by ignoring 5 percent you'd have made your site look bad to 20 million people.

Not just any old twenty million people either, but the twenty million who are savvy enough about computers and the internat to have their own individual tastes and not be content to just accept whatever browser was pre-installed.

So, maybe that means you've just made a negative branding experience to perhaps one in five of people who could link to your site, bloggers, directory editors, fellow web developers, reviewers, etc. In short, you're hurting your PR (public relations) by ignoring browsers that have a smaller, but more selective, market share.

In the shorter term, one in twenty of your potential market may well be finding competitors who have also mistakenly ignored them. Therefore, the minority aspect is like a built in niche, where by bothering to look good to these people, you may easily have the best presented site and products to fully one in every twenty people worldwide looking for your product.

Not just any customers either, remember, but the kind who are experienced enough with the net to consider paying for a browser like opera. People who are not overly scared of security risks in purchasing online. People who are usually more prepared to undertake an online transaction.

If we were going to look at a figure like five percent and say, "hey, that's only a small proportion, not worth bothering with" then why would we bother with eCommerce at all, which averages a 2 percent conversion rate? We'd just say "nah, less than 5 percent buy at any given site so why bother?" :(

<added>
Jean has just brought up a closely related discussion in regards to how cross-browser compatibility can have a significant effect on the chances of a site being listed in DMOZ.
</added>

#7 callback

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Posted 22 April 2004 - 05:32 PM

Hi there!

Just read through your summary of SEO and love it very much. Although I do have some experience of SEO, I still feel entertained when I read as if I am starting from zero point.

I particularly love these quotes:
"The more a 'trick' is discussed, the more certain you are that the search engines know about it. Be very wary of any technique that the search engines wouldn't like, because if you can read about it, you can bet they have too. As soon as anything is more often abused than used, the search engines will stop paying attention to it. "

That is truth for an effective SEO.

Now I have a question: What is the most crucial step towards achieving top rankings?

I think knowing search engines is the one. Most webmasters know the importance of keywords and they usually say "choosing keywords" are the most crucial step. I disagree. Knowing keywords does not mean your webpages containing keywords can reach top listings. I would say how you embed keywords into title, tags and the copy is the most important step to SEO. Only if your page is search engine friendly can it be liked by search engines.

Do I make sense?

#8 Black_Knight

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Posted 22 April 2004 - 05:57 PM

What is the most crucial step towards achieving top rankings?  

I think knowing search engines is the one. Most webmasters know the importance of keywords and they usually say "choosing keywords" are the most crucial step. I disagree. Knowing keywords does not mean your webpages containing keywords can reach top listings.

Great discussion point, callback.

I'd have to say that there are two sides to good effective SEO. One side is knowing how the engines work. The other which is just as important is knowing how people will use them. The reason that keywords are so often given the edge of importance is that this is one thing that applies to both sides, although more so to the 'how people use engines' side.

Knowing how to get top placement for a phrase no-one uses is ineffective. It will never pay off. Knowing how people use the search engines at least lets you use PPC.

Of course, the real value is in understanding all sides of the equation: How people attempt to find information. What information they need and expect. How the resources they use provide that information. What people will use that information to acheive. How to help them shorten the path to their eventual goal. How to give people a good, memorable experience of your site and services. These things all inter-relate. We call this the holistic approach. The knowing big picture and where you fit into it.

#9 A.N.Onym

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Posted 17 May 2006 - 08:38 PM

I'd like the following links added to the list in the first thread:
how to build backlinks?
linking strategies
Link building with a press release

I am advising to read these threads over and over again. It'd be much easier for me and helpful to others to refer the folk here.



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