Link Exchange and Search Engine Optimization

Link Exchange and Search Engine Optimization

Here’s an overview of how exchanging links can improve our search engine ranking.

I believe Exchanging Links is one of, if not “the” best way to market your site online! Read below to see why.

Some people believe that in order to be successful online they have to direct thousands of targeted visitors to their site. TRUE
They also believe that they have to spend all their time adjusting the scripts and contents of their pages, to make the search engines spider them and rank them well. FALSE!

They believe that if they do this it will improve their ranking and automatically drive targeted visitors to their site by the ship load. Partly TRUE, but after viewing some server logs belonging to a top ranking (first 1 – 5 sites on the first page, in his niche)
I saw that only a small number of visitors came from search engines!
And the major majority of clicks came from reciprocal links.

It’s true that there are some quick and easy scripts and txt files etc… that you can place in all your pages, and on your server, that will guide the spiders to keep coming back and also guide them to index your pages, this doesn’t take long to do and I believe it helps a little. But the search engines are smart and always changing there systems so someone could work for weeks, too tweak a site for SEO, only to find out that the rules have changed again and their site is no where to be found! So focusing purely on SEO can be risky!

Should we focus on getting high ranking as a priority? Or should high ranking be seen as the result of other marketing and promotional strategies that bring even more visitors that are even more targeted.
The result of having more visitors being that our ranking will increase.
Not by using strings and mirrors to “fool” the search engines into thinking we have a great site, when really, we don’t have many visitors which is why we’re trying to trick the search engines, and don’t have great content or services, because the visitor has come to our site looking for some that we tricked the search engine into thinking that we had! This is like putting the cart before the horse.

If we focus on building a network of “reciprocal links” (that’s a link from you to someone and a link from them to you) we add valuable content to our users and we have other businesses in our target market niche, sending highly targeted and motivated users to our site.
The search engines like this because there are more sites saying, this is a good site, and every time those sites get spidered the bots find our link and keep on coming back to our site!

So that helps with search engine ranking, and driving targeted traffic, and adding valuable content.

We want our prospects, users, and customers to “bookmark” or save our site in “favorites” they will do this if they are interested in our “Niche” and learn that they can get all the information they ever need from our site. Of course they are more likely to read our newsletters and take notice of our promotions etc, on the home page.

If someone goes to Google and does a search, that person will find that most of the top ranking sites have a “Link Directory” this is a directory of reciprocal links. Doesn’t that tell you something?

Here’s another reason to create a link directory, when you create a directory it is created around sites that are related to your business market niche, therefore, when your site gets crawled by the spiders, they see that you’ve done their job for them, they also like this.

So to summarize:

Search Engine Optimization, is important, and helps to bring more visitors.

Link Exchanging, is important because it can drive more visitors then search engines, once established. Directories ad valuable content for your customers/visitors, and this it improves your SEO.

There are many other free strategies for promoting your online business; this is just an overview of two of them. Obviously another way to promote your business for free, is Article submissions, this is also one of the quickest and most effective free advertising strategies available online.

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Quality SEO Strategies

Quality SEO Strategies

SEO may not be that difficult, but it certainly is not easy either. If you want to rank well in the search engines there are some rules that you need to adhere to. When it comes to ranking well in serps the common perception is that MSN is the easiest followed by Yahoo and then Google. The thought is that Google places too much value on older pages. That means that even if your website has a lot of relevant content it may not rank in the top ten for your main keyword.

All right, let’s get to the point. The first thing you need to work on is links. You need links and lots of them coming from sites that are relevant to the content on yours. For some search engines relevancy does not matter as much as others, but for Google is matters big time.

Now where are these links going to come from? That is the question. They can come from quality web directories, article directories or from other sites that relate to your niche. You gain the relevancy in directories by submitting to the most relevant category to your website. With directories you should be careful of any site that has more than 20 outgoing links listed per page, displays excessive ad-sense or banner ads. Plus some other more advanced items to look for in SEO enhancements, unique on-site content and additional features.

You can also receive back links by writing and publishing relevant articles on article directories. Make sure that you include keywords that you are targeting within the article itself. When writing the article keep it on point and have fun with it to make it something people want to read. You can use examples to make your points and bring more credibility. Most of all include the link back to your website within the author resource box. Without that the whole process is kind of pointless. Once the article is written search for some article directories and start submitting.

Reciprocal linking is not recommended as Google frowns on this activity. Excessive reciprocal linking could result in punishment in the search engines or even banning. If you take part in this activity do so with moderation and extreme care. Three way linking was developed to get around being able to detect the link exchanges, but Google claims to be able to find those kinds of reciprocal linking activities also. Frankly with the minimal reward of reciprocal linking the risk is too great.

Good optimization for search engines will take time. It does not happen overnight so prepare for a consistent hard approach to it. There is a certain amount of enjoyment in achieving goals and modifying strategies as the search engine algorithms change. Keep in mind that if you focus on Google the rankings in the other search engines should also follow.

SEO does not have to be expensive, but it will take an investment of some part from you. Either money or time, if you choose to go low budget be prepared to invest your time.

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Search Engine Optimization (SEO) The Myth?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) The Myth?

Search Engine Optimization. Big words. Sounds Important. What is it? If you do a search in google for the web definition of search engine optimization, you get a lot of different results.

Some simply say that search engine optimization is the generic term for making sure your site is optimized to appear as one of the top ranking web sites on a search.

Others get more detailed with their definition and say search engine optimization is the term used to describe the marketing technique of preparing a web site to enhance its chances of being ranked in the top results of a search engine once a relevant search is undertaken.

A number of factors are important when optimizing a web site, including the content and structure of the web site’s copy and page layout, the HTML meta-tags and the submission process.

Is it important? That also depends on which definition you believe and who you ask that question to. If you ask someone who runs a business and charges for search engine optimization, they will tell you it is the most important thing you will ever do for your website.

At each SEO website, they will tell you they are the number 1 SEO company on the web, even though each of them has a completely different method of optimizing your website.

If you ask many self-appointed webmaster gurus in some of the webmaster forums, they will tell you the same thing, then each one will tell you a different way to do it and they will all disagree on the most important aspects of search engine optimization.

So the confusion continues for the average user and the SEO companies love it that way. If the consumer doesn’t understand what you are doing, you don’t really have to do very much and just say you are doing a lot. Most of them would never work on your website on a contingency payment plan, one based on actual results and performance. Some say money back guaranteed, but read the fine print.

A lot of these businesses are based on the fact that people who are new to the web and even some of those who have been online for awhile do not know what search engine optimization is. They know that with more and more people coming onto the web for the first time, their business is secure. They can continue to tell people that without their service the website will fail.

I’m not saying all search engine optimization companies are rip-offs. Some of them really do their best to get good rankings for their clients and know what they are doing. A lot of them still really believe that search engine optimization is the key to success on the web.

It isn’t. How’s that for a statement? I know a lot of web designers will disagree. I know a lot of SEO companies will disagree. But simply put, search engine optimization of your WebPages is not the most important thing you need to do to succeed on the web.

Let’s break down some of the things that are included in the phrase search engine optimization.

Metatags are one of the things these gurus tell you is important. Metatags are all but dead. Search engines, especially google, ignore metatags for the most part.

Having them in does not hurt you, but go do a search on any topic besides web design or search engine optimization, etc. and you’ll find that IF the websites at the top of the search results have metatags at all, they usually only have the description and keywords metatags.

Well they also have the title tag, which is sometimes referred to as a metatag, but it is actually the only metatag you need to have.

Keyword Optimization is something the gurus will tell you is very important. Some will tell you they know the exact percentage of text that should be your keywords. Yes, keywords are very important. Do they know what percentage the search engines will want to read for the best results? No.

When writing copy for your website, you must be conscious of the keywords you wish to promote. Don’t pick too many keywords and try to optimize each page of your website for twenty different things. If you do, it will not be relevant for any of them. That isn’t guru talk, that’s just plain old fashioned common sense.

Remember that search engines crawl web pages, not web sites. If you choose just one or two keywords per webpage that you wish that page to be optimized for, then you can optimize the page easily and write text the user will want to actually read.

Write your sales text the way you would with only the user in mind and with making sales in mind. Then go back and reread the page.

Find places where you can add in your keyword without destroying the flow you created when you wrote the text in the first place.

Now, do you need to hire an SEO company to do that? Do you know your product? Do you know how to sell your product? Then you need to write the text. If you do not wish to write the text, then hire a writer. You still don’t need a search engine optimization guru.

Some search engine optimization experts will tell you they can increase your link popularity. They use a variety of methods. They create websites where they put all of their clients website links so you will have links to your website. The search engines call these link farms and discount any value they may have had in the past.

Those methods, along with many others, are simply tricks that temporarily work. Alot of search engine optimization companies all keep up with the latest tricks and shortcuts. They may even get you some good results in the short-term. But what happens when the search engines catch onto the trick?

I’m glad you asked. They stop letting that trick or shortcut work. They may even penalize the websites that used it. They penalize you, the customer, not the search engine optimization guru who used the trick and charged you for it.

Whenever one of these companies tells you it has “inside information”, “ex-search engine company employees”, “guaranteed search engine placement”, guaranteed top 10 placement”, or “secret methods”, a red flag should go up in your mind right away.

If you start a business offline, like a restaurant or a store, you know that besides the money you will have to put up, you will also have to work to make it a success. It is no different when you start a business online. You have to work at it, if you want to be successful.

If search engine optimization is not the most important thing you can do to become successful, what is? Again, I’m glad you asked.

Promotion. Do not depend solely on being found by the search engines. Search engines are fickle creatures and what is today’s #1 can be tomorrow’s #100 just because they decided to change the way they give relevance to websites. Continually chasing this dream is a total waste of time.

There are other sources of traffic out there. Would you rather have 1000 hits from a search engine for one of your minor keywords or have 100 hits from someone who read an article you wrote and came to your website because they liked what you had
to say?

If you chose the thousand hits, you don’t get it yet. Out of that 1000 hits you might convert 2 of them into sales. Out of the 100, you may get as many as 20-25 people who want to buy from you. Conversion rate is more important than how many hits you get to your website.

Write articles about your website, about your products, about relevant topics to your products or services you wish to sell. Distribute or submit those articles to article submission websites that provide free content to webmasters.

You may write one article like the one I am writing now and have 100 webmasters want to use it as content for their website. That would mean there is suddenly 100 other websites on topics related to your product that now contain a link to your website. (see the footer below contains links to my website and is to be included when this article is reprinted.)

That increases your link popularity without the need for a company to optimize you. Just by submitting your article to several article submission websites, you increase your link popularity, but when those webmasters start to republish your articles, you will see a huge increase in your page rank and the quality of your traffic.

Some people write one article per month and others write one or more per day. It depends on you. How fast do you want your website to grow?

How much time do you have to invest? If you are not good at writing articles or do not have the time, hire a writer to ghost-write them for you with your byline and your links in
the footer.

So that we are clear. Search engine optimization is necessary, but by no means the most important thing you can do for your website to make it successful. I would not pay a lot of money for this service. Promoting your website IS the most important thing you can do. Articles are just one of the methods you can use to promote your website.

Advertising, buying links on relevant websites, posting in forums and blogs with related topics, putting your link in your signature line, are some of the other ways you can promote your website.

My Checklist:

1. Be conscious of the keywords you wish to target with each webpage you build. Write your text for the reader, then go back and add your keywords without destroying the flow of your text.

2. Make sure the website is easy to navigate and user-friendly. Don’t assume the customer knows the web site as well as you do. Make it simple. Make it easy to find the buy button!

3. Once the website is built, quit worrying about the newest search engine trick or optimization technique as some like to call it.

4. Search for blogs and forums with related topics and sign up for them and participate in discussions with your link in your signature line.

5. Write articles about related topics and submit them everywhere or buy a service like isnare.com that will do the submissions for you. If you cannot write the articles, hire someone to do it for you.

6. Don’t do link trades with websites that have less traffic than you do. Buy links on websites that have more traffic than you and are on a topic related to your products or services.

This article in no way claims to have listed all the ways you can use to promote your website. What I have done here is tried to explain to you what is or is not important to creating and maintaining a successful website. I hope this helps you.

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Organic SEO

Organic SEO

When people refer to “organic SEO” (search engine optimization), they almost always use it as a blanket term to describe the unpaid, algorithm-driven results of any particular engine. However, a sophisticated search engine optimization company will often take the meaning of “organic” one step further. To such companies, the description of “organic SEO” is not limited to what shows up in the “natural” search engine results – it includes the methodologies used to achieve such rankings.

A search engine optimization company usually falls into one of two camps. A “White Hat” search engine optimization company will use a largely content-based approach and will not violate the terms of service of the major search engines. A “Black Hat” search engine optimization company will use a largely technology driven approach and often ignore the terms of service. Neither approach is invalid (as I have said many times before, there is nothing illegal about violating a search engine’s terms of service), and both can achieve high rankings. But a search engine optimization company that takes the word “organic” literally believes that the “Black Hat” approach is anything but “organic SEO.”

There’s an “old” saying in the SEO industry that “content is king.” This is not necessarily true. In my experience, good content is king. Study after study has shown that when people use search engines, they are primarily seeking one thing: information. They are not seeking to be impressed by fancy flash sites. They are not looking for a virtual piece of art. A search engine optimization company that is truly practicing “organic SEO” recognizes this fact and will refuse SEO work when prospects insist that content addition is not an option. “Artificial SEO” firms, which embrace a technical loophole philosophy, will allow a company to leave its website exactly as it is, because the work that such firms do is by and large technical and is designed to trick the engine into showing content that it would not otherwise. Certainly, there are acceptable (from the engine’s standpoint) technical aspects that any good search engine optimization company will use, such as relevant page titles and meta tags. But there are many more unacceptable technical methodologies than acceptable ones, including cloaking, redirects, multiple sites, keyphrase stuffing, hidden links, and numerous others. A company practicing “organic SEO” will avoid these.

As any search engine optimization company knows, inbound links are critical to the success of an “organic SEO” campaign. But there are different ways to go about it. Firms that practice true “organic SEO” will look at the website itself and say “how can we make this site something that other sites would want to link to?” A search engine optimization company using “artificial SEO” will ask “how can I get links pointing to this site without adding anything of value to it?” The latter approach usually leads to reciprocal linking schemes, link farms, the purchase of text links, and more – anything save for making changes to the website that entice others to link to the site without the link being reciprocated, without paying the website owner, or without asking “pretty please.”

There is a stark contrast between “organic SEO” and “artificial SEO.” Of course, any decent search engine optimization company will make certain that a site is listed in all the popular directories, such as the Yahoo Directory, the Open Directory Project, and Business.com. A good search engine optimization company will also continually seek any industry specific directories where your site should be listed. But truly using “organic SEO” means evolving your site into something that holds actual value to your prospects. In my opinion, this is much more beneficial in the long run than the artificial methodology of trying to garner incoming links that the site does not truly deserve.

Search engines change algorithms frequently, and for two reasons. One is, of course, to improve their results based upon their most recent user studies. The other, which is obviously related, is to remove sites that are ranked artificially high. Such updates raise panic in the SEO community – particularly among “artificial SEO” practitioners who have just discovered that their most recent and cherished trick no longer works (and may have gotten their clients’ sites removed from the engines altogether). It is not uncommon on the search engine forums to see the owner of such a search engine optimization company threatening to “sue Google” over a recent update. Not uncommon, but always amusing.

There is, with only a few exceptions, a common denominator in the websites that remain highly ranked throughout these algorithm shifts. They offer something of value to their visitors and are considered a resource for their industry. “Organic SEO” practitioners generally do not have to worry about going back and redoing work because of an algorithm shift. While an “artificial” search engine optimization company desperately tries to re-attain the rankings it lost for its clients (or to get the sites re-included in the search engine at all) because it was dependent on technical loopholes that have now been closed, “organic SEO” firms continue adding valuable content to a site, strengthening its value and bolstering its rankings.

A common argument from companies when advised by “organic SEO” practitioners to take this approach is “we aren’t trying to provide a resource for our industry – we are trying to sell products or services.” This is, in my opinion, shortsighted. Remember, you are trying to reach prospects in all stages of the buying cycle, not just the low hanging fruit ready to buy now. Let your website be their resource to learn about your industry, rather than your overpaid salesperson. Prospects are very likely to call you when they are ready to buy – after all, you’ve done so much for them already!

In addition, taking advantage of “organic SEO” to make your website an industry resource provides a tremendous natural boost to your rankings for your individual product or service pages. This means that with “organic SEO”, you’ll get the best of both worlds. You’ll reach people early in the buying cycle, educate them, and steer them toward your solution by using your website instead of your sales personnel. You will also reach the low hanging fruit because your individual product or service pages, which are intended for people who are ready to buy now, will get a significant rankings boost.

Search engines conduct very expensive and frequent studies on what their users want to see when they enter search queries. Obviously, no company has a more vested interest in serving up the type of results that their users want than the engines themselves. “Organic SEO” firms will take the “piggyback” approach. A search engine optimization company that uses “organic SEO” will try to learn what the results of these studies were by examining the sites that figure prominently in search engine results over long periods of time. In this way, the search engine optimization company is using “organic SEO” to make the website not only better for search engines, but also for the user- presumably, the engine’s internal research has shown that these sites have what their users have consistently desired, study after study. “Artificial SEO” practitioners have no real interest in these studies- they are instead expending a great deal of energy finding the next technical loophole to exploit after their most recent one has failed.

The latter approach can make results erratic, but it also raises a larger issue – the goal of the campaign. If an “artificial” search engine optimization company finds a temporary loophole in an algorithm that brings your site to the top, but does not take the time to delve into the user experience once a user gets to the site, it will defeat the original purpose. You may get plenty of visitors, but a large percentage of these will be short-term visitors who do not find what they want on your site and back out without a second thought. The search engine optimization company did not “piggyback” on the engines’ research to learn what type of content users wanted to see when they entered their query.

A search engine optimization company that takes a true “organic SEO” approach will actually take the Merriam Webster definition literally. A good website does have the characteristics of an organism and does develop in the manner of a living plant or animal. It builds upon itself. It learns how it should behave for its own benefit. Most importantly, it establishes its territory at the top of the search engine results. And as the organism thrives, artificial machine after machine fades into obsolescence.

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Link Building for SEO On A New Site

Link Building for SEO On A New Site

Ah, the joys of link building and search engine optimization. If you have a new site, here is a tip that you might want to consider. Then again, you may just want to pitch it.

Link Building for SEO On A New Site

Link building simply refers to an issue known as relevancy. When ranking sites in search engine results, Google tends to list the site that is the most relevant. There are a lot of factors that go into determining relevancy, but the number of other sites linking to yours is one of them. This is why a site like the one for the IRS is high in search results for tax issues even though it does not trade links per se.

Ideally, you want only inbound links from other sites that are relevant to the subject of your site. If you have a plumbing site, you want links from other plumbing or home improvement sites. Despite all the junk email you receive, links from casino and pharmacy sites are not going to help the rankings for your plumbing site. They will hurt the rankings because they are not relevant.

When building links to your site, Google favors a slow, steady increase in links. If you want top rankings on Google, you should follow this mantra with one exception. If you have a new site, you need not be a slave to this approach.

As you probably know, new sites are not ranked by Google. Instead, your site will sit for six months or so in the much discussed Google sandbox. Given this fact, you really don’t need to worry about Google for the same period of time when it comes to your links. Google isn’t going to rank you anyway, so picking up the pace isn’t really a problem.

With a brand new site, I prefer to create as many legitimate, relevant links as possible as soon as possible. The reason is I find it beneficial to start aging the links as soon as possible. Links to your site tend to grow in value the longer they exist on another site. From my point of view, why not maximize the number as quickly as possible? It isn’t like it is going to hurt your rankings on Google. You aren’t going to have any!

In taking this approach, I am not suggesting that you purchase links, use link farms or so on. I am just suggesting that you maximize your link trading efforts immediately to build up as many links as possible and get the aging process rolling. As you approach month four in the sandbox, you can start scaling back your efforts to a more slow and steady approach. Its worked for me.

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