Posts in "SEO"

RIP Pagerank – No More Pagerank Updates?

Pagerank. It’s a little green bar that can mean the difference between your site earning thousands of pounds a month and nothing. Well, that has been the story up until now. An entire link buying industry has sprung up around the little green graphic.

Google was “supposed” to update the pagerank of all the sites in mid July. Now, 3 months later and there is still no sign of this happening. Pagerank is not being updated.

Further research has led me to conclude that Pagerank as we know it is dead. Google has constantly stated that it doesn’t rank websites according to pagerank (it’s a very common misconception that higher pagerank automatically means higher rankings), and Matt Cutts, an engineer at Google, has said that pagerank is not a big deal in Google and exporting the data to the toolbar is seen as a none event.

There’s no official word from Google as of yet on the status of Pagerank and it’s future, so it might not be officially dead, but they’ve never taken this long to update the toolbar before.

Still, pagerank had it’s uses. You could gauge the level of popularity of a website if it had a high PR and determine whether it was worth getting those valuable backlinks. Now that PR is dead (but certainly not forgotten) it leaves webmasters and internet marketers to rely on other sources, namely Alexa and Compete.

Both of these sites try and estimate the level of traffic to a site and quite frankly, both of them do a rubbish job. They take their sample data from users that have installed their toolbar. This means that if a site gets 100,000 visitors a month but none of them have the toolbar, and another site gets 1,000 visitors a month and 10% of them have the toolbar installed, the latter website would be ranked higher.

So what are we left with now to determine the value of a link or advertising on a website? It’s very difficult. Say what you want about Pagerank, but it was an exceptionally useful tool for determining the cost of a link or advertising.

Creating The Perfect SEO Optimized Website

On one of the forums I visited recently someone asked what was the perfect website design for SEO. It got me thinking because although I have a good idea what makes a perfect (or at least a best guess perfect because who really knows how the search engines work) design, I’ve never sat down and created one.

What’s more, I don’t have any evidence to suggest that a search engine optimized layout will do any better in the search engines than a normal HTML layout. Using an SEO layout could be wishful thinking for all I know.

With that said, here are the ingredients that in theory make up the perfect SEO website layout.

  1. The code has to be as clean as possible. This means using tableless CSS to define the layout rather than tables because it makes the website much ‘lighter’ and the content becomes the dominant factor rather than the table dividers, rows, font attributes etc.
     
  2. The should be as little text and or code from where the body starts to where the content starts. Again, this is the case for using tableless CSS as you can virtually have the content be the first thing the spider reads as it crawls your site while still maintaining an attractive design
     
  3. Your H1 and H2 tags should be as close to the beginning of the code as possible. This is to make sure the spider reads it first as the H1 tag is often given a lot of prominance in the search engine rankings. It’s like a big neon sign that says “this page is about ABC”
     
  4. Make your content appear before the menu in your code. This makes sure the spider doesn’t get distracted by all the other keywords in your menu and indexes all your content before it moves on to another page
     
  5. Use the title attribute in your h1, h2, a and img tags. The title attribute enables you to add a few more relevant keywords about the page and increase the keyword density of the page
     
  6. What ever method you use to code the website (HTML/XHTML) make sure it is valid code. It is often said that Google will rank a valid code website above a non-valid one, however, I don’t have any evidence to support this. But hey, it can’t hurt, right?

Using the pointers above, i sat down and attempted to create my first XHTML/tableless CSS valid website that was extremely optimized for the search engines. Here’s what I came up with…

Screenshot of my SEO Template

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Top 5 Paid Directories

Link directories are becoming (if not become) the number one way for webmasters on a budget to get hundreds, sometimes thousands of one way links. The vast majority of these directories are free to list your site but many offer a paid upgrade with premium options like deep linking to some of your pages.

With so many directories to choose from, how can you know which directories are the best ones to part with your hard earned dollars?

Well, here’s run down of what I consider to be the top 5 paid directories…

#5 Alive Directory
Cost: $49.95 (per year) or $74.95 (per year)
PageRank: 6
Page Strength: 7.5
Alexa Traffic Rank: 16799
Alive Directory has just had a facelift (about time) and is run by dedicated owners who ensure timely approval of submitted links. However, as with most paid directories their standards are high so don’t go submitting knock off adsense sites! Expect to be approved within 24-48 hours.

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Top 5 On-Page Optimization Tips

When most people think of search engine optimization (well ok, only those that are actually nerdy enough to know what it is of course!) they immediately think about meta tags, keyword density and doorway pages.

Like many things when it comes to SEO, what once worked no longer does.

Take meta-tags for example. Way back when the internet was still a baby, meta tags were introduced to help search engines (at the time the big search engine was AltaVista…Google hadn’t even been invented) work out what the site was about. It wasn’t long before people started abusing the Meta Tags and when the next generation of search engines came about the importance of the meta tags diminished forever.

There are some self styled gurus that will tell you that you need the optimum keyword density to rank well in the search engines. The truth is, if there were an optimium density then it would be very easy to rank in the search engines. The best thing to do is to keep your writing natural and focus on the reader first, search engine second.

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Are You Making These Top 5 SEO Mistakes?

To the average internet user the acronym SEO is just yet another bit of gobbledegook internet jargon tossed around by web geeks and nerds. To some of us web geeks and nerds SEO is the be all and end all of internet promotion. The holy grail of appearing at number one spot on Google is a dream many of us aspire to bring in to reality…but often fall dismally short in Supplemental Hell.

So often the different between getting a good ranking and a bad ranking is down to how you approach the optimization of your site. As with most things in life there’s a right way and a wrong way. Do it the wrong way and you’re looking at a life in Supplementalville, do it right and you get to live on the converted home page bringing in so many visitors you won’t know what to do.

Sidenote: Google’s Supplemental Index are results that it gives when it can’t find anything definite that you are searching for. Web pages in the supplemental index are pages that don’t have enough inbound links for Google to ‘trust’ the page enough to serve it up as a main result.

If you want to get good rankings, then make sure you avoid these top 5 SEO mistakes:

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Excellent SEO Resource

This following resource is fantastic for anyone who wants to promote their website and build up hundreds of free one way links (which are very important for SE rankings).

The website is Vile Silencer

This site provides a massive directory of over 300 search engine friendly link directories. A search engine friendly link directory is something that links directly to your website, it doesn’t use a redirect to count the hits out.

They also provide you with a downloadable XLS excel spreadsheet file that has all the directories categorised by the letters of the alphabet, and by niche market. They even go and give you the Page Rank of the directory.

The best way to use this information is to download the XLS file and each week submit your site(s) to all the directories under a single letter of the alphabet. So the first week you would submit to all ‘A’ directories, the following week to all ‘B’ directories etc.

It takes about 1/2 hour to submit your site to all the directories under each letter.

You should also go one step further and use your main keyword (the keyword you want to optimize for) in your title. Each week, vary the keywords and description that you give (but obviously make sure they are related to your target market!).

If you keep this up each week, then within 20 weeks you’ll have over 300 one way links to your site and you’ll easily have a Page Rank of 3 or 4.

This is just one method you should be using to promote your website and become number one in the organic search results.

I might tell you about another method some other time, so check back often :~)

Here’s the link to the site again:

The website is Vile Silencer

Sibling Rivalry Determines Child’s Success?

This is a bit of an oddball post as it doesn’t tie in with everything else that I write – but I’ve been told I should start commenting on interesting/offtopic news stories more…so here goes.

I’ve just read an article on MSN (click here for the article) that says the pecking order in which you were born has a strong link with how successful you will become and your type of personality.

It claims that first born children are more ambitious, agressive and successful (they want to rule the world), middle children are better at communicating and building bridges to other camps, but don’t always have the drive for success, and the last born child associates with the underdogs and will rebel a lot more as they strive for attention (they want to change the world).

click here for the article

Now taking this theory, and applying it to my own family, I’m the eldest of three siblings. I run (or at least walk) a successful online business and have great ambitions to be successful in this world.

My brother, the middle one of the three, he’s currently at University studying to become an architect. While growing up, he was always the quiet one who was pushed aside as I strove to be the center of attention.

Now my little sister is the black sheep of the family. Where my brother and I grew up, sailed through our teens, excelled at academic studies and popped out the other end relatively unscathed, my sister has quit school (because she hates teachers), goes out drinking, and generally has caused my parents more aggro than my brother and I put together! She’s a very arty, rebellious and independant young lady.

So it seems to me, that the article has got the pecking order just right, and me and my siblings fit into the pigeon holes they have created for us perfectly 🙂

If you have read the article, and can identify with it, or think it’s utter rubbish, I’d love to hear your comments (that means you too, mother!)

Will Yahoo Sneak Ahead of Google?

Talking to various webmasters, it is apparent that Google Adsense program has not been paying well this month. Pennies are being earned where once it was dollars. One unfortunate fellow tells me that he is seeing a 1/3rd less Adsense earnings in January than for all other months.

Even on my sites I’ve noticed a definite down turn in earnings. The funny thing is, I’m getting more clicks and impressions than ever, but the click value has plummeted, sometimes to 5 cents or less.

This is not good for Google, when they have the likes of Yahoo Publisher snapping at their heels. For those that are not aware, Yahoo Publisher is Yahoo’s version of AdSense. You put Yahoo code on your website (the code looks pretty much the same as Googles) and it servers up contextual ads based on the website content.

Seeing how Yahoo have a good two years catch up to do, the obvious way to achieve this is to pay webmasters more than what they would be earning if they used AdSense. Us webmasters are fickle fellows, if company X is paying more than company Y for the same thing, we’d head over to company X in our millions.

So, is it worth signing up to Yahoo Publisher? I have a friend who certainly thinks so. She runs the incredibly popular Halo 2 movies directory called Halo 2 Spy (don’t ask me where the ‘spy’ comes into it). It basically is a massive directory of movies that gaming nerds have made of themselves playing the xBox game: Halo 2.

It’s incredibly popular and receives thousands of page impressions every day. When she was using Google Adsense she was recording hundreds of clicks a day but only earning a handful of dollars.

She heard about the Yahoo Publisher program and decided to give it a go, and what do you know? Her impressions and clicks remained the same but her earnings went up 3 fold. Is it because Yahoo was serving up better ads or are they just paying more per click? I couldn’t tell you the exact answer, but the fact is, they are paying more. Much more.

Unfortunately at the time of writing the Yahoo Publisher is only open to US residents (for payment), but it should be around soon for those of us in the rest of the world. So probably we’ll start seeing less of “Ads by Gooooooogle” and more “Ads by Yahoooooooo”.