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Ryerson University
HTR 741
Norman Shaw

Chapter 12 – Tagging your website Why is site tagging important - HTML tags tell search engine crawlers much more about a site than its content. How site tagging works - Basic tags such as Meta tags, heading, body, and title should be included in every page that you want search engines to find. - Container Tags - It tells crawlers or web browser where a specific type of formatting should begin and end - Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) – o A formatting method. o Used within HTML to define the style of a document on the web. o Very easy to incorporate into a website and more efficient than HTML tags Additional HTML Tag - Nofollow tag: o Represented by o It tells search engine crawlers not to follow a certain link on a website. o Nofollow tag is not essential but could prevent your site ranking from being lowered - tag translates into bold formatting. - tag translates into italics formatting. - tag: o This tag makes your framed website appear to search engine crawlers as if it has no frames. o Crawlers can’t read frames so if you have frames on your website, it will be hard to be ranked on search engine result pages. - Deprecated tags are tags that no longer useful. o They have either been replaced by better ones or are not used enough to be considered good form. o Don’t use deprecated tags in a website design as they may cause the search engine ranking to drop because the site may appear poorly maintained. - Table Summary Tab o Provides web crawlers and screen readers with alternative text for the table - Abbreviation tags or o This tag tells the web crawler or text reader that an acronym or an abbreviation has been used and what the full text for that abbreviation is. - Virtual include o A tag that enables you to use repetitive information on your site without having to code it multiple times. o Example: having the same navigation bar on every other page. You can use virtual include to repeat the navigation bar without coding it repeatedly throughout the site. Social bookmarking - A way for Internet users to store, share, classify, and search Internet bookmarks. - It is often referred to as web 2.0 services, because they involve a high level of social interaction. - Bookmarks appear to web crawlers as links to a page and this makes them very valuable to SEO tools. Using redirect pages - Three types of redirect pages: o 301 redirect – A permanent redirect page. The page appears to users as they are directed from one site to another or from one webpage to another. The original page that is not available is removed within a few weeks when 301 redirects are used. o 302 redirect – A temporary redirect page. This page displays to users as they are redirected from website to another. The original page is temporarily unavailable. When the 302 redirect is removed, the user goes back to the original site instead. o 404 error pages – It redirects users to a page that displays an error message. - Can create redirects using any of these methods: o Mod_Rewrite: This is a URL rewriting module. It’s useful for ensuring that all the URLs used to access your site are uniform. o IIS: Internet Information Services. This requires that you create a redirect folder in the 
Information Services Manager. o ColdFusion o PHP o ASP o ASP.NET o CGI Perl o Ruby o Ruby on Rails What is .htaccess? - A simple text file that you can include in the code of your web site to give directions to search crawlers. - The .htaccess file can be useful for a lot of different actions on your web site: o Password-protecting folders o Creating custom error pages
 o Changing file extensions
 o Banning users according to IP address
 o Preventing a site from inclusion in directory listings o Using an alternative index file Chapter 13 – The Content Piece of the Puzzle How website content affects SEO: - Content must be fresh and original in order to be most effective. - Content strategy o It is a plan by which you’ll infuse your site with the right type of content at the right time. o It starts with determining how to reach your target audience. Once you have figured out which words and phrases your target audience are likely to use to find your web site, those will be some of the keywords you’ll use in your content. o Determine which users will benefit from visiting your site. o What do you do that’s different from your competition? o Determine what type of content you plan to include on your site to meet all the needs that have been defined by the preceding questions. o There are several different types of content:  Licensed content: Licensed content is what you might buy from a content broker. For example, if you’re looking for a quick way to populate your site with articles, you might turn to a company that offers many different articles you can use. The problem with this type of content is that it’s often repeated all over the Internet.  Original content: Original content can be what you write and share with others free or it can be content that is distributed freely by visitors to your
site. This original content can take the form of comments on your site or forum message boards. This type of original content is an excellent addition to your SEO efforts because it tends to be focused on a specific subject.  Dynamic content: Dynamic content can be licensed or original. Blogs are the perfect example of dynamic content. Elements of Competitive Content - Certain types of copy both draw more return visitors and please search engines. o Blogs - The most important of those types is content that updates and changes frequently. - Here are some additional guidelines/elements to follow when creating your web site content: o Make sure any content that you include on your site is contextually relevant. It also helps if the content addresses a need the customer has. o Use original content whenever possible. Original content is much more valuable than articles that have been distributed to you and all your competitors. o Ensure that all your content uses proper spelling and grammar. o Use mostly short sentences, with 10 words or less. If you must use a medium-length sentence, try to incorporate it with shorter sentences around it. Users don’t have a lot of patience for long, rambling sentences in print publications, and even less patience for them on the Web. o Use short paragraphs with a lot of white space in between. Reading on the screen is much more difficult for most people, so the extra white space helps them keep their place in the content. o Use bulleted and numbered lists as often as possible without interrupting the flow of the article or the other content on your site. They provide the at-a-glance content that readers love and make it easy to find quickly the information they need. o Break up your content with interesting titles, headings, and subheadings. o Use keywords where possible, but don’t overdo it. o Use a call to action. Users will not take action if you don’t invite them to, so invite them. Using duplicate content - Types of duplicate content: o Reprints: This is duplicate content published on multiple sites with the permission of the copyright holder. These are the articles that you or others create and then distribute to create links back to your site or to sites that are relevant to the content of yours. Reprints are not bad duplicate content, o Site mirroring: This is the kind of duplication that can cause one or more of your sites to be delisted from a search engine. Site mirroring is keeping exact copies of your web site in two different places on the Internet. Web sites used to practice site mirroring all the time as a way to avoid downtime when one site crashed. o Content scraping: Content scraping is taking content from one site and reusing it on another site with nothing more than cosmetic changes. This is another tactic used by spammers, and it’s also often a source of copyright infringement. o Same-site duplication: If you duplicate content across your own web site, you could also be penalized for duplicate content. This type of duplication can be managed by simply using a partial post, called a snippet, that links to the full post in a single place on your web site. - Of these types of duplicate content, two are especially harmful to your site: site mirroring and content scraping. - By using the robots.txt or noindex files, you can prevent duplicated pages from being indexed by the search engine. - noindex tag (which is a meta tag) o Be placed in page header for the page that you don’t want to be indexed Search Engine Spam - Yahoo! defines it like this: ‘‘Pages created deliberately to trick the search engine into offering inappropriate, redundant, or poor-quality search results.’’ - Search engines will penalize your site if they perceive any element of the site as being search engine spam and the penalty can be delisting your site from search rankings entirely. - Doorway Passage o They are created specifically for search engines with the intent of increasing search engine results rankings. o Usually it use some form of redirection so that when visitors click through the link in the search engine results and land on the page, they are immediately taken to another page. This is accomplished with a fast meta refresh, JavaScript, or server-side redirection. o Traffic numbers will be high, but conversions will generally be low. - Hidden and Tiny Text o Accomplished by including keyword-rich text that is the same color as the background of your site. - SEO Submission o Submitting your sites to search engines and directories is one tactic that some web site owners use to ensure that their sites are detected by search engine - Page Jacking o A method of search engine spam that’s similar in nature to scraping. o The difference between scraping and page jacking is that with page jacking, whole pages or even whole web sites are copied for the purpose of increasing search ranking and traffic for another site. - Bait and Switch o The practice of creating an optimized web page specifically for search engines with the intent of obtaining good rankings. o When those rankings are obtained, the company replaces the optimized site with one that’s less optimized and more normal - Cloaking o Cloaking a site is a method of delivering a page based on who is requesting the page. o For example, if a web site is using cloaking, when a regular visitor comes to the site, that visitor will see one page. But when a search crawler comes to the site, it sees a much more relevant, better- optimized site. o Search engine crawlers don’t like cloaked sites and your site will be penalized if you choose to use cloaking for any reason. - Hidden Links o Created using the same methods used to create hidden text o The difference between hidden links and hidden text is that with hidden links, the search crawler can follow the links to other sites or to other pages within the same site Considerations for Multilingual Sites - Some guidelines that should serve as reminders of what you should plan to do during the SEO process: o Translate keywords into the new language o Translate existing web content o Apply all the same SEO rules: Everything you have learned for your English content is equally valid for your foreign content. o Include the proper links o Make language options clearly available Content Management System - A tool used to create, update, publish, discover, and distribute content for your web site. - CMS is designed to maintain your content in an orderly manner, it can help to solidify your content strategy and your web site structure. Understanding and Using Viral Content - Viral marketing begins with good content — viral content. The content spreads virally by social networking. - Dozens of social bookmarking applications have sprung up because Internet users find that social bookmarking is often a more reliable way to find the information they’re looking for. Chapter 14 - The basic concept of Web 2.0 is that the Web is socially driven, rather than technologically driven. The Value of Communities - Communities provide a dialog, and most Internet users today demand that dialog. They also provide access to information that you might not think of pro- viding to your web site visitors. - Community Statistics: o 58 percent of millennials (that’s the 18- to 25-year-old crowd) expect to create their own content online. o At least 25 percent of matures (that’s the 61- to 75-year-old group) want to contribute o More than 40 percent of all consumers want to interact online through communities such as forums, reviews, comment functions, and media-sharing applications such as YouTube User Expectations - First, they expect to be able to participate. They expect to be able to create content, only they don’t think of it as content but as sharing their knowledge and opinions with other people who are interested in what they have to share. - Second, community members also expect to have a reasonable amount of freedom to express their own thoughts and opinions. - Third, your community visitors will expect you to participate. Participating means being active in communities other than your own, with the intent of helping the community as a whole. - 66 percent of Internet users trust user-generated content more than they trust any communications directly from a company. Leveraging Communities for SEO - Communities give you an opportunity to create optimization for Long Tail keywords without having to spend a lot of time doing it. - A community forum, blog comments, and any other method that enables your visitors to contribute to the conversation will bring Long Tail phrases into the picture, because people tend to use those phrases when they’re discussing a topic. Creating a dialogue - Users are more willing to share their thoughts about your existing products or services in
 a community setting. Improving Keyword Effectiveness - Tagging applications enable users to categorize your content using their own terms so that other visitors can browse according to the tags. - Tagging helps visitors and crawlers to find the article based on the terms that readers think are important. Without the tagging, the article might appear as the first result for the phrase I used to search, but would require additional input from the web site owner in the form of optimizing the site for that particular keyword. - Forums are particularly useful for optimizing Long Tail search terms. - Customer reviews are one of the most powerful tools you can employ if you own a product web site, because customers will review your products and services and potential customers trust those reviews more than they trust your marketing materials. Choosing the right type of Community - Comment-enabled blogs: great for sites that are largely content based, and should usually be used in conjunction with other types of community forums that enable visitors a little more freedom of discussion. - User forums: Message boards and discussion lists are two user forums that tend to generate a lot of traffic. Discussion lists (those that are strictly e-mail-based) aren’t as effective for SEO as message boards, but they do give your site visitors a way to communicate with you and participate in a community. - Product reviews: Product reviews also work for service web sites, travel, and many other types of services available online. - Content sharing: Content sharing can be video, graphics, or even just simple text. Proper Care and Feeding of Community - Prelaunch Preparation o A community interface should be not only usable for site visitors, but also useful for your site. o Tools:  Example: Jive Software’s Clearspace Community offers both usability and usefulness.  Choosing a tool that makes it intuitive for users to participate in the community you design o Building Buzz:  One way to build buzz is for you, or a representative of your community, to actually begin participating in other related communities.  Use proper etiquette when posting in other communities  Publish content across the Internet that announces the opening of the community. o Beginning in beta:  It is your trial run for your community before opening to the public.  It enables you to invite only select members, who are relatively well known in your industry, who are most likely to actually participate in the community, to participate in that community - Once your community goes live: o You (or your representatives) need to continue to participate in other communities. - Maintaining your Community over time: o Must maintain a presence in your own community in order for it to remain valuable to your community members or else they are likely to quit too. o Encourage participation Chapter 15 – Understanding the Role of Links and Linking - Link strategy - How you populate your web site with links will determine how useful they are in improving your search engine rankings How links affect SEO - Links are the foundation of topical communities, and they have as much, if not more, weight with search engine crawlers than keywords do. - The purpose of links is to connect your web site to others that are relevant to the information included on your site. - Links provide a method by which traffic to
 your site is increased - Links are so important because the links into your site from other web sites serve
 as votes for the value of your site. - The more links that lead to your site, the more weight a search engine crawler will give the site, which means better search engine ranking. - Links that lead to other web pages and links that enable visitors to surf from page to page within your site are also important. How links and linking work - A dangling link is a link that leads into a page that has no links leading out of it. - Links that lead to your site — called inbound links —are viewed by search engines as votes for your site within a particular community of sites. - Need to know how to have links without going overboard, leading the crawler to label your site as a link farm. - Snagging Inbound Links: o Requesting links: The oldest method of gaining inbound links is to request them. This requires you contact each one of the sites that you discover and ask it to link to your site. o Writing articles: One of the most effective methods of gaining inbound links is to offer an article for other companies to freely use as long as they include information at the bottom that credits you and provide a link back to your site. o Blogs: Another way to get links back to your site is from bloggers. o Press releases: Press releases are one of the mainstays of any marketing program. o Affiliate programs: Affiliate programs are a type of paid advertising. o PPC and paid links: Pay-per-click advertisements are an acceptable business practice. PPC links are not direct links to your site but paid links are different from affiliate links — you pay to have a direct, or flat link, placed on a page. o Links to yourself o Create a gadget or mini-app: You create a small program or application that users can find value in and post it on your web site for free download. - Some search crawlers look at the length of time that an incoming link has been placed to your site. Long-standing incoming links show that another site has found your content to be valuable over time, which is another vote of confidence for your
 web site. - Creating Outbound Links: o Outbound links also help to establish your expertise in a particular area. o Keep your links relevant: It doesn’t mean you can link only to pages that are in the same industry as your own but if you do link outside your industry, make sure there is some logical reason for sending your visitors in that direction. o Don’t overuse links o Use keyword anchor text as often as possible when creating your links: Using the phrase click here won’t gain you any leverage with a search engine crawler. Using a link that reads gourmet ingredients, when that phrase is one of your key phrases will help improve your search engine ranking as long as the link leads to a page that truly is about gourmet ingredients. o Be careful whom you link to: don’t want to link to low-quality sites, because some search engines will penalize you for that. o Don’t create pages that contain only links o Monitor links and update broken ones: A broken link is worse than not having a link at all. When the search engine crawler follows the links on your page and finds a broken link, this reflects badly on your site. Taking advantage of cross-linking - Cross-linking is the practice of linking several sites together, usually sites that are owned by the same company or individual, although that isn’t always the case. - Happens most often with people or companies who own multiple web sites, which also gives the search engine reason to doubt the validity of the links. - Cross-linked sites create a circular linking scheme that can be read by search engines as a trick to increase rankings. - How do search engines know when one person owns all the sites that are cross-linked? o The structure of a set of cross-linked sites – A group of sites that have naturally occurring links is not as symmetrical or organized as a cross-linking scheme. o The IP address of the site and the WHOIS information - Ensure that the cross-linked sites aren’t all on the same server. - Keeping cross-linking a legitimate linking strategy by having unique content. The Skinny on Link Farms - Link Farm – Collections of links that lead to other web sites, or sometimes to other link farms. - Search engines don’t like link farms because they offer no information that’s of any value to the people who perform searches. - Indications of a link farm: o Link farms have no connection at all to your site, either in topic or in actual relation to the content that’s on your site o Link farms have long; complex URLs, and links are often stored in deep directories so that it’s harder for search engine crawlers to find them. o Link farms will usually accept any link that is sent to them, so it’s not unusual for links to be unrelated. o Link farm owners will sometimes send you an e-mail stating they have linked to you and would like a link to their page in return. The Basic of Link Building - Link building is a time-consuming process. - Your linking strategy will be far more successful if you create links (both inbound and outbound) that are high quality Using Internal Links - Internal links are those that lead people from one page to another within your web site. - Internal links are more natural links that occur in the text on your web pages. - The most effective methods of internal linking are: o Text links – Those with which you can use anchor tags and keywords. o Links within the footers of your pages o Inline text links – Links most often contained within the body of some element of your site content, such as articles and blogs. Chapter 19 – The Truth About SEO Spam - Spam in SEO operates under the same principle, except SEO spam fills the search engine results pages with results that have little or no value to the searcher. - Clear-cut case of spam, which is usually classified as black-hat SEO What Constitutes SEO Spam? o Don’t do anything that makes you worry that you’re doing something wrong o Don’t make your website appear to be something that it’s not o Don’t trust someone who says that a certain practice is acceptable if you even suspect that its not - SEO spam is also called spamdexing, and it appears n all sizes and shapes - The list of spamming techniques is huge, but a dozen or so items on - that list are always present: o Transparent links: These are links that are included in the page, but that users can’t see because they’re the same color as the background. o Hidden links: These links are on the page but are hidden behind elements such as graphics. o Misleading links: Misleading links are those that appear to lead to one place but actually lead to another o Inconspicuous links: These links appear on a page but they’re usually unnoticeable because they’re represented as graphics that are 1×1 pixels in size. o Keyword stuffing: This is loading the content or the meta tags of a web site with key- words that are repeated over and over. o Meta tag stuffing: This is stuffing meta tags with keywords that are repeated over and over. o Doorway pages (or gateway pages): These pages are designed specifically to draw search crawlers but are essentially useless to visitors. Often, a doorway page will have only the visible text click here to enter. o Scraper sites: These are web sites that scrape, or copy, their content from other pages on the Web. o Machine-generated pages: These are web pages put together by a program that grabs the content from other web sites o Links in punctuation: This is a clever scheme. Some unethical SEOs create a hyperlink that’s contained in a piece of punctuation. o Cloaking: This technique is used to make a highly optimized version of your page appear to search engines, but a user-friendlier page appear to site visitors. o Excessive cross-linking: Excessive cross-linking can be a sign that a company has created multiple domains strictly for the purpose of building a false linking structure with a single web site. o Hidden text: This text is the same color as the background of a web page so that users can’t see it. o Duplicate content: Duplicate content on a web site is construed as being a ploy to trick a search crawler into thinking the site is more relevant than it actually is. o Link-only pages: These pages contain only links and should be avoided. o Redirect pages: Redirect pages are usually coded for SEO, but they’re useless
to site visitors. o Link farms: Link farms are simply pages of links that are created just to artificially boost a linking strategy in an effort to speed the appearance of the web site in the top search ranking positions. o Spamblogs: These are machine-generated blogs and their only purpose is to draw search engine rankings. o Page hijacking: accomplished by copying a very popular page on the Web and using it to represent your site to search engines. o Sybil attacks: created when a spammer creates multiple web sites that are all interlinked for the purpose of creating a false link structure. o W
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