Chapter 12 – Tagging your website
Why is site tagging important
- HTML tags tell search engine crawlers much more about a site than its
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
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
- tag translates into bold formatting.
- tag translates into italics formatting.
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o They have either been replaced by better ones or are not used enough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
- Table Summary Tab
o Provides web crawlers and screen readers with alternative text for
- 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.
- A way for Internet users to store, share, classify, and search Internet
- 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
- 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 CGI Perl
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
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
o Blogs - The most important of those types is content that updates and
- 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
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
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
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
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
- 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
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
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-
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
- 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
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.
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
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
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
- 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
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
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
- 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
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
- Creating Outbound Links:
o Outbound links also help to establish your expertise in a particular
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
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
- 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
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
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
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
- 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
- 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
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
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
o Redirect pages: Redirect pages are usually coded for SEO, but they’re
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