Thursday, April 5, 2012

How to Optimize a Site Before Starting SEO

Getting started checklist : Here’s list of things you should be thinking about when starting to build or optimize your website. It’s not an exhaustive list, but each item will take you time to research, plan and execute. If you manage to cover them all, you’re doing very well.

Ready to get started driving more traffic to you site? We've brought together key information to help you get up and running quickly. For each of the five main areas we touch on (Crawlability, Site Structure for SEO, On-Page SEO, Content & Links) ask yourself if you have performed the task. Some of these will be easily handled, while others may require more planning and work to implement. If you hit a wall and simply cannot accomplish something on the list, don’t panic.



Move on to something else.
Crawlability
  • Create XML sitemaps and upload them to the root of my site
  • Ensure navigational structure can be accessed by search crawlers
  • Ensure content is not buried inside rich media (Adobe Flash Player, JavaScript, Ajax)
  • Ensure a clean down-level experience to expose content when rich media is used
  • Ensure a clean, keyword rich URL structure is in place
  • Create a robots.txt file and place at the root of my domain
Site Structure for SEO
  • Ensure content is laid out in a logical hierarchy
  • Ensure content is well linked to with internal links
  • Ensure a clean, keyword rich URL structure is in place
  • Ensure URLs contain no extraneous parameters where possible (sessions, tracking, etc.)
  • Create both HTML & XML sitemaps for humans and search crawlers respectively
  • Ensure JavaScript/Adobe Flash Player/rich media does not hide links from crawlers
On-Page SEO
Inside the Head Section
  • Titles should be unique, relevant, and approximately 60 characters long
  • Descriptions should be unique, relevant, grammatically correct, and 160 or fewer characters
  • Must have only one title and description per page on my site
Inside the Body Section code
  • Body Should have only one tag name h 1 - content held in tag should be keyword rich
  • tags should be available for all content-related images. They should contain content that explains the image and uses targeted keywords
  • Ensure the keyword targeted by your page appears within the actual content of the page
  • Use targeted keywords in anchor text when pointing links to other internal pages
Content
  • Ensure content is built based on keyword research to match content to what users are searching for
  • Ensure a dedicated down-level experience exists to enhance discoverability of content held in rich media
  • Ensure as much written content as possible is kept out of rich media and images
  • Produce deep, content rich pages; be an authority for users by producing excellent content
  • Set a schedule and produce new content frequently
  • Be sure content is unique – don't reuse content from other sources
  • Use 301 redirects to transfer value to new pages when content is moved or retired
  • Use the tag to help engines understand which duplicated pages should be indexed and have value attributed to them
  • Use 404 error pages to help cleanse old pages from search engine indexes
Links
  • Plan for incoming & outgoing links – plan how to encourage users to link to content
  • Create a plan to manage internal links ensuring the engines see deeper content
  • Create a social media plan to promote content via social spaces
  • Be sure to manage anchor text to help define content inside the site
  • Avoid buying links in an attempt to influence search rankings

Source : Bing Help Home - Bing Webmaster Tools Table of Contents

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Google Sending Warnings About “Artificial” Or “Unnatural” Links


Have you recently gotten a warning from Google about having “artificial” or “unnatural” links pointing at your site? Google says this isn’t a fresh crackdown on link networks but rather a change from bad links being “silently distrusted” to being more vocal about this type of penalty.

Warnings Issued

Many people have reported getting messages from Google regarding link violations. If you scan the Google Webmaster Help forums, for instance, you will see many examples of these being posted.
Here is how one reads:
Dear site owner or webmaster of ….
We’ve detected that some of your site’s pages may be using techniques that are outside Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
Specifically, look for possibly artificial or unnatural links pointing to your site that could be intended to manipulate PageRank. Examples of unnatural linking could include buying links to pass PageRank or participating in link schemes.
We encourage you to make changes to your site so that it meets our quality guidelines. Once you’ve made these changes, please submit your site for reconsideration in Google’s search results.
If you find unnatural links to your site that you are unable to control or remove, please provide the details in your reconsideration request.
If you have any questions about how to resolve this issue, please see our Webmaster Help Forum for support.
Sincerely,
Google Search Quality Team

Links No Longer “Silently Distrusted”

Last month, Google appeared to take action against several blog/link networks. Are the messages going out because of that? Google told us no. Rather, it is that Google’s choosing to report penalties about bad linking issues more now than in the past. ( http://searchengineland.com/ )
A Google spokesperson emailed this statement:
The majority of the increase in messages to webmasters is not due to messages about links. Rather, Google recently started sending messages to sites even for egregious or “blackhat” violations of our quality guidelines. The vast majority of the increase in messages is thus due to expanding the types of messages we send, not because of more warnings about links.
It is true that actions on link networks have been more visible lately, but there’s an important disclaimer to that. Google has been able to trace and take action on many types of link networks; we recently decided to make that action more visible. In the past, some links might have been silently distrusted or might not have carried as much weight. More recently, we’ve been surfacing the fact that those links aren’t helping to improve ranking or indexing.
Earlier this year, Google said that it significantly increased the number of messages they have sent through Webmaster Tools in 2012.