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Search Engine Optimization : SEO BOOK.

Chapter 2

Your One-Hour Search -Engine-Friendly Web Site Makeover

A few small changes can make a big difference in your site's position in the search engines. So rather than force you to read this entire book before you can get anything done, this chapter helps you identify problems with your site and shows you how to make a significant difference quick fixes.

Is Your Site Indexed

It's important to find out if your site is actually in a search engine or directory. Your site doesn't come up when someone searches at Google for rodent racing? Can't find it in the Yahoo! Directory? Have you ever thought that perhaps it simply isn't there? It is tried to explain how to find out if your site is indexed in few different systems.

Google: Our starting will be with Google. Open your browser and load a page at your site. For now, Start with your site's home page,although you can seee this technique for any page, and then follow these steps.

· Click The I Icon on the Google Toolbar: If you are using internet explorer download the google toolbar - available at    toolbar.google.com - to your computer. If u don't have the toolbar don't worry, I explain a non-toolbar method in a moment.
· Select Cached Snapshot Of Page from the drop-down list that appears : If you are lucky, Google loads a page showing you what it   has in its cache, so you know Google has indexed the page. If you are unlucky, Google tells you that it has nothing in the cache for   that page. That doesn't necessarily mean Google hasn't indexed the page, though .A cache is a temporary storage area in which a   copy of something is placed. In the context of the web, a cache stores a Web page.
  If you don't have the Google Toolbar,you can instead go to Google site and type the following into the Google search box:
  Cache:http://yourdomain.com/
  Replace yourdomain.com with your actual domain name. When you click search, Google checks to see if it has the page in its   cache. What if Google doesn't have the page? Does that mean your page is not in Google? No, not necessarily. Google may not   have gotten around to catching it. Sometimes Google grabs a little information from a page but not the entire page.

Now try this. Search google for the following:
Site:yourdomain.com -pppppp

This tells Google to find all the pages on the yourdomain.com site that don't have the text pppppp. The dash (-) before the text tells Google to omit pages with this text. You can also replace pppppp with any text that you are sure doesn't appear on you site.Google should show you all the pages on your site that it knows about. For some reasons, if you change the garbage text, Google will provide a different result; site:yourdomain.com -pppppp is not same as site:yourdomain.com -oiuiyiy) What if google doesn't return any search results? Try removing or adding the www. bit; that is, if you searched for site: yourdomain.com -pppppp then try site www.yourdomain.com -pppppp or vice versa. Sometimes Google returns results one way but not the other. Also, make sure that you didn't mistype the search string; try again to be sure. If nothing works, then Google doesn't know about your website.


Yahoo! : At the time of writing, Yahoo! Search results are provided by Google, so you don't need to check Yahoo! However, by the time you read this, yahoo! May be providing its own search results. Here's how to check. Go to Yahoo! And type any keyword into the search box and clicksearch. When results page appears, go to the bottom of the page and look for the text Search Technology provided by Google,or something similar. If you don't see this message, Yahoo! may be using its own index. If this is the case, use a technique similar to some of the others to see if you can ind your site in the Yahoo! Index.

You must also check whether your site is listed in the Yahoo! Directory. You have to pay to get a commercial site into the Yahoo! Directory,so you may already know if you are listed there. If someone else may have registed the site with Yahoo!, you may not whether it's there or not. Here is how to find that.
· Point Your Browser To dir.yahoo.com. This takes you directly to the Yahoo! Directory search page.
· Type your site's domain name into the Search text box All you need is yourdomain.com, not http://www. or anything else.
· Make sure that the Directory option button is selected and then click search If your site is in the Yahoo! Directory, Yahoo! Displays   that site's information on the results page.

The Others

To find out if your site is listed with the other search systems, simply go to the search site, type the domain name, and click the Search button. In the case of all the major systems, the result page will contain an entry for the specialized domain if it's in the index. Other results may be placed on the page, too, but the first entry is the specified Website if the information is available.

What if You Are not Listed

First, if your site is not in Yahoo! Or the Open Directory Project, you have to go to those systems and register your site. What if you search for your site in the search engines and cant find it? Here are two possible reasons why your site is not being indexed in the search engines:

· The search engines haven't found your site yet. The solution is relatively easy, though you won't get it done in an hour.
· The search engines,whether or not they have found your site,can't index it.

 How To Tell If Your Site Is Invisible

Some web sites are virtually invisible.a search engine might be able to find the site,by following a link, But when it gets to the site,it cant read it or can read only part of it. The question is how does a website become invisible. In most cases,the problem is that the site is dynamic - that is, a page is created on the fly when a browser requests it. The data is pulled out of a database, pasted into a web page template, and sent to the user's browser. Search engines often won't read such pages.

How can you tell if this is a problem? Take a look at the URL in the browser's location bar. Suppose that you see something like this.

http://www.yourdomain.edu/rodent - racing - scores/march/index.php

This address is okay. It's a simple URL path made up of a domain name, two directory names, and a filename. Now look at this one:

http:www.yourdomain.edu/rodent - racing/scores. php? prg=1

The filename ends with ? prg=1. This parameter is being sent to the server to let it know what information is needed for the web page. If you have URLs like this, with just a single parameter, they are probably okay, especially for Google; however a few search engines may not like them. Here is another example:

http://yourdomain.com/products/index.html? & DID=18&CATID=13&ObjectGroup_ID=79

This one is real problem even for the google, which does a good job of indexing dynamic pages. This URL has too much weird stuff after the filename: ?&DID=18, CATID=13, and ObjectGroup_ID=79- which is too many. This URL is similar to a URL from one of the clients'sites. Google cannot or will not index this page.
Another problem is caused by session IDs - URLs that are different every time the page is displayed. Look at this example.

http://yourdomain.com/buyAHome.do;jsessionid=07D3CCD4D9A6A9F3CF9CAD4F9A728F44

Each time someone visits this site, the server assigns a special ID number to the visitor. That means the URL is never the same, so Google won't index it. Google probably can get to databased pages, but chooses not to.If google sees links to a page that appears to be dynamic, it doesn't know whether the URL willchange between sessions or whether many different URLs point to the same page. Google doesn't want to overload the site's server and also doesn't want garbage in its index. If you have a clean URL with no parameters, the search engines should be able toget to it. If you have a single parameter in the URL, it may or may not be okay. Two parameters also may or may not be a problem, although they are more likely to be a problem than a single parameter. Three parameters are almost certainly a problem.


Picking Good Keywords

Getting search engines to recognize and index your website can be a problem, another huge problem is that many companies have no idea what keywords they should be using. They try to guess the appropriate keywords, without knowing what people are really using in the search engines.

Here is how to do a quick keyword analysis;
· Point your browser to www.overture.com
· Click the advertiser center link at the top right of the page.
· In the new page that appears,click the tools button.(It's a small tab near the top of the page)
· In the new page that appears, click the Term Suggestion Tool Link. ( A small window opens with a search box).
· In the search box, type a keyword that you think people may be using to search for the sorts of products or services your site   provides and then press enter.
  The tool returns a list of keywords, showing you how often that term and related terms are used on the Overture advertising   network.

You may find that the keyword you guessed is perfect . Or you may discover better words or even if your guess was not good,find several other great keywords.

Examining your Pages

Making your web pages "search engine friendly" was probably not uppermost in your mind when you sat down to design your web site. That means your web pages and the web pages of millions of others have a problem in the search engine friendly category. These problem are easy to spot but others are more troublesome.

Are you using Frames: In order to examine your pages for problems, you need to be able to read the pages' source code; for that you would need to be able to understand HTML! To see the source code, choose View Source in your browser.

When u first peek at the source code for your site, you may discover that your site is using frames. You may see something like this in the page.
<HTML>
<HEAD>
</HEAD>
<FRAMESET ROWS="20%,80%">
<FRAME SRC="navbar.html">
<FRAME SRC="content.html">
</FRAMESET>
<BODY>
</BODY>
</HTML>

When you choose View source in internet explorer, you are viewing the source of the frame definition,which is the document that tells the browser how to set up the frames. In the preceding example, The browser creates frame rows,one taking up the top 20% of the browser and the other taking up the bottom 80%. In the top frame, the browser places content taken from the navbar.html file; content from content.html goes into the bottom frame.

Framed sites don't do search engines much good. Search engines generally won't index the pages that are going to be placed into the frames, though they will index the frame-definition document…. Which has keyword rich indexable content.

Here are a few quick fixes:


· Add TITLE and DESCRIPTION tags between the <HEAD> and </HEAD> tags.
· Add <NOFRAMES> and </NOFRAMES> tags between the <BODY> and </BODY> tags, and place 200 to 300 words of keyword-rich   content between the tags. The NOFRAMES text is designed to be played by browsers that can't work with frames,and search   engines will read this text,although they won't rate it as high as normal text.
· Include a number of links,in the text between the NOFRAMES tags,to other pages in your site to help the search engines find their   way through.

Look at the Title Tags:

TITLE tags tell a browser what text to display in the browser's title bar,and they are very important to search engines. Quite reasonably, search engines figure that the TITLE tags may indicate the page's title - and therefore its subject.
Open your site's home page and then choose View source to view the page source. A text editor opens, showing you what the page's HTML looks like.
<HTML>
<HEAD>
<TITLE>Your title text is here</TITLE>

Few problems may be there with TITLE tags.
· They're not there! Many pages don't have TITLE tags.If these tags are not there, you are not giving the search engines one of the   most important pieces of information about the page's subject matter.
· They're in the wrong position. Sometimes you find the TITLE tags, but they are way down in the page. If they are too low in the    page,search engines may not find them.
· They're there, but they're poor. The TITLE tags don't have the proper keywords in them.
   Your TITLE tags should be immediately below the <HEAD> tag and should contain useful keywords. Have around 40 to 60    characters between the <TITLE> and </TITLE> tags and perhaps, repeat the primary keywords once. If you are working on your    Rodent Racing Web site, you might have something like this.

<TITLE>Rodent Racing Info. Rats. Mice. Gerbils. Stoats. all kinds of Rodent Racing </TITLE>

Examine The Description Tag

The DESCRIPTION Tag is important because search engines often index it and in some cases,may use the DESCRIPTION tag to provide the site description on the search results page. Google usually doesn't us the DESCRIPTION tag to provide the description in the search results. Instead, it finds the search words in the page, grabs a snippet of information from around the words, and uses that as the description. If Google can't find the keywords in the page , it may use the DESCRIPTION tag.

Assuming that you have the HTML of your home page laid bare for all to see, you can take a quick look at the DESCRIPTION tag. It should look something like this.

<META NAME = "description" CONTENT = "your description goes here">
Since often have the same problems with DESCRIPTION tags as they do with TITLE tags. The tags aren't there, or they are hidden away deep down in the page orthey simply aren't very good.
Place the DESCRIPTION tag immediately below the TITLE tags and create a keyworded description of upto 250 characters.e.g.

<META NAME="description" CONTENT ="Rodent Racing - Scores,Schedules, everything Rodent Racing. Whether you're into mouse racing,stoat racing,rats or gerbils, our site provides everything you'll ever need to know about Rodent Racing and caring for your racers.">

While sometimes Web developers switch the attributes in the tag, putting the CONTENT=first and then the NAME=like this:
<META CONTENT ="your description goes here"
NAME="description">

Make sure that your tags do not do this.

Can The Search Engines Get Through

Many sites have perfectly readable pages, with the exception that the searchbots can't negotiate the site navigation. The searchbots can reach the home page,index it and read it, but they can't go any further. If, when you search google for your pages, you find only the home page, this is likely the problem.

A few simple ways you can help search engines find their way around your site, whether or not your navigation structure is hidden:

· Create more text links throughout the site: Many websites have a main navigation structure and then duplicate the structure by using simple text links at the bottom of the page.you should do the same.
· Add a sitemap page to your site: This page contains links to most or all of the pages on your web site.Of course,you also want to link to the sitemap page from those little links at the bottom of the page.

Do the pages have anything for search engines to read?

You don't necessarily have to pick through the HTML code for your web page to evaluate how search engine friendly it is. It can be find out by just looking at the weg page in the browser. Determine whether you have any text on the page. Page content - text that the search engines can read is essential, but many web sites don't have any page content on the front page and often very less on interior pages. Here are some problems :

· Having a flash intro on your site.
· Embedding much of the text on your site in to images, rather than relying on readable text.
· Banking on flashy visuals to hide the fact that your site is actually light on content.
· Using the wrong keywords in the text that you have

If you have these types of problems, they can often be time consuming. The next several sections detail ways you might overcome the problems in the preceding list.

Eliminate Flash:

Flash are the silly animations which are seen when you arrive at any site, with a little skip intro link hidden away in the page. Words and pictures appear and disappear, scroll across the pages and so on.You create these animations with a product called Macromedia Flash. In most cases these flashes are nothing but an irritation to the site visitors and hardly serve any purpose. It is suggested to kill those flash intro on your site.

Replace Images With Real Text:

If you have an image-heavy website, in which all or most of the text is embedded onto images, you need to get rid of the images and replace them with real text. If the search engine can't read the text, it can't index it.

It may not be immediately clear whether text on the page is real text or images. You can quickly figure it out a couple of ways:
· Try to select the text in the browser with your mouse. If it's real text, you can select it character by character. If it's not real text, you simply can't select it - you'll probably end up selecting an image.
· Use your browser's view ? source command to look at the HTML for the page and then see if you find the actual words in the text.

Use More Keywords:

The light-content issue can be a real problem. Some sites are designed to be light on content, and sometimes this approach is perfectly valid in terms of design and usability. However search engines have a bias for content, for text they can read. The more text with keywords, the better.

Use The Right Keyword In the Right Places:

Getting search engines to recognize and index your website can be a problem, another huge problem is that many companies have no idea what keywords they should be using. They try to guess the appropriate keywords, without knowing what people are really using in the search engines. Where keywords are placed and what they look like are also important. Search engines use position and format as clues to importance. Here are a few simple techniques you can use.

· Use particularly important keywords - Those that people are using to search for your types of products and services - near the top   of the page.
· Place keywords into <H> (heading) tags.
· Use bold and italic keywords.
· Put keywords into bulleted lists.
· Use keywords multiple times on a page, but don't use a keyword or keyword phrase too often.

Make sure that the links between pages within your site contain keywords. Think about all the sites you have visited recently. How many use links with no keywords in them? They use buttons, graphic navigation bars, short little links that you have to guess at. Click here links, and so on. Big mistakes. It is suggested if ever, use a link with only the words click here in the link text, then keywords should be included in the links.

Getting Your Site Indexed:

Now the pages are ready but the indexing problem is there. Pages are to put in bluntly, just not in the search engine! How do you fix that problem?

For Yahoo! and the Open Directory Project, you have to go to those sites and register directly, but with Google and the other major search engines, the process is a little more time consuming and complicated. The best way to get into the search engines is to have them find the pages by following links pointing to the site. You can ask or pay the search engines to come to your site and pick up your pages, but you face two main problems with this.
· If you ask search engines to index your site, they probably won't do it. And if they do come and index your site, it may take weeks or months .
· If you pay search engines to index your site, you have to pay for every URL you submit. The problem with paying , of course is that you have to pay.

You can get often indexed by some of the search engines very quickly. Find another websites to link to it. Call several friends, colleagues and relatives who own or control a web site, and ask them to link to your site. You want sites that are already indexed by the search engines. The searchbots have to follow the links to your site.

When you ask friends, colleagues and relatives to link to you, specify what you want the links to say. No click here or company name links for you. You want to place keywords into the link text. Something like visit this site for all your rodent racing needs - mice ,rats ,stoats, gerbils and all other kinds of rodent racing.

After the sites have links pointing to yours, it can take from a few days to a few weeks to get into the search engines. With Google you place the links right before Googlebot indexes one of the sites, you may be in the index in a few days. But it may also take weeks to index a site on Google. The best way to increase your chances of getting into the search engines quickly is to get as many links as you can on as many sites as possible. Google has an enormous index, currently around 3.3 billion pages. Most other indexes, with the exception of AlltheWeb, are much smaller, so getting your pages indexed with them is more difficult. Fewer pages in the index mean fewer pages to channel searchbots from those search engines to your site. And there is less room in the index to hold your pages. A small index doesn't hold many pages.



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