Articles, tips, and resources for webmasters

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SEO 101:
Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Myths & Facts
  • Submission and Spidering
    • Submission
    • The spider keeps on comin'
    • Removing barriers to spidering
  • Keywords
    • Avoid single-word terms
    • Avoid terms that are too broad
    • Avoid terms that are too specific
    • Avoid terms that are unpopular
    • Avoid highly-competitive terms
    • Mine your server reports
    • Target word variants and word order
  • Ranking Factors
    • Content is King
    • One-page factors
    • Page Weight
    • Dead Links
    • META tags
    • Unknown Factors
  • NON-Ranking Factors
    • META Keywords
    • ALT text
    • Title attribute
    • Web Standards
    • Dedicated IP address
    • Changing hosts or IP's
    • Adsense
    • Resubmitting a site
  • Penalties
    • Over-Optimization penalties
    • Non-WWW penalties
    • Black Hat SEO penalties
    • Paid Links penalty
    • Duplicate Content penalty
    • Why did my site disappear?!
  • Black Hat SEO
    • Invisible text
    • Cloaking
    • Keyword stuffing
    • Doorway Pages
    • Orphaned Pages
    • Spam
  • Links
    • Anchor Text
    • Links in the body copy
    • Internal Links
    • PageRank
    • Backlinks
    • Reciprocal Links
    • Link Farms and Directories
    • Buying and Selling Links
    • Pages not passing PR
    • Link Age
    • Relevance and Authority
    • Suspicious Activity
    • Splitting PR (removing or forcing theWWW)
    • Summary of link factors
  • Changing domains, and renaming pages
    • Move a whole site
    • Move a directory to a new domain
    • Move specific pages
    • Advanced Redirecting
  • Hiring professional help
  • Summarized recommendations
  • Further Resources

How to get good search engine rankings

« Part 11: How to hire an SEO

Part 12: Summarized Recommendations, and Further Resources

This is part 12 of 12.
Thanks for reading!

Summarized Recommendations


  • Focus on creating the best site possible. If you create quality, the rankings will follow.
  • Create useful, high quality pages. Try to build a new content page every day (or week, or month), as you're able.
  • Think in broad, general terms, not specific ones.
  • Understand that a good ranking isn't the end-all and be-all. If you have a commerce site what you ultimately want is more sales. You're wasting the extra traffic you get if visitors don't buy because your site isn't customer-focused.
  • Target keywords that are specific enough to produce targeted traffic, but not so specific that nobody searches on them.
  • Put your keywords in the <TITLE>, heading tags, body copy, and ALT parameters of your pages. Make sure your keywords are reasonably near the top of the page. Include at least 250 words on each page at a minimum.
  • Make your pages lean and fast-loading.
  • Link up your site well internally. Each page of the site should link back to the home page as well as a handful of the most important pages on the site, as well as pages related to the page in question.
  • Link to high-quality sites which you think will be of interest to your visitors, whether those sites link back to you or not. Link from your content pages when appropriate as opposed to from a links page.
  • Solicit links from high quality sites whose content is related to your own, but never make your link to them contingent on whether they link to you.
  • Submit your site to directories (not link farms) particular to your industry.
  • Understand that the SERPs are fleeting. Never assume that a change in ranking was because of something you did, something your competitor did, or because of a penalty by the engine.
  • Plan ahead when setting up your site structure so you won't have to rename filenames or pathnames.
  • Use 301 Redirects if you have to move pages, but don't count on that to preserve your rankings in every case.
  • Consider changing dynamic URLs to static ones.
  • Share what you know with others.


  • Don't focus on getting good rankings. It's counter-intuitive, but you can have more success by focusing on quality and letting the rankings take care of themselves.
  • Don't obsess over optimizing to the detriment of creating content. Often the time you spend tweaking for the engines could be better spent making new pages or adding to existing ones -- which may result in more traffic.
  • Don't focus on the specifics (the trees instead of the forest).
  • Don't believe in magic bullets that can get you fantastic rankings.
  • Don't assume that any change you made was what accounted for a change in your rankings.
  • Don't believe that any ranking you see, good or bad, is permanent.
  • Don't put up roadblocks to the spiders, such as links in Javascript or Flash with no corresponding text links.
  • Don't employ Black Hat methods such as cloaking, invisible text, keyword stuffing, or doorway pages.
  • Don't link to another site just because they link to you. And don't link to PR0 sites.
  • Don't put all your outbound links on a separate Links page. Link from your content pages.
  • Don't sell links. If you want to sell text ads, sell paragraph ads.
  • Don't rename pages or directories gratuitously. Definitely don't rename and then fail to put in a 301 Redirect.
  • Don't hire an SEO without verifying that they're not a black hatter, talking to satisfied clients, and getting a meaningful guarantee in writing.

Further Resources

  • Webmaster World is a free forum where webmasters can share information about all aspects of webmastering, including search engine rankings. Here's their incredibly helpful Google FAQ. To get the most out of WebmasterWorld I recommend a few things:
    • Don't go there if you are seeking magic bullets. There is no such thing.
    • Read through the forums for at least a couple of hours before you make your first post. There is a lot of archived material on WW. You might not find the answer to your question, but you will get a better idea of what questions can and can't be answered.
    • If you take my advice and first do some reading on WW, you'll see that questions such as, "Does Google give preference to sites that do X?" are all but useless. They are often met with a barrage of differing answers, but more to the point, how are the forum readers supposed to know the answer to the question? None of us work at Google. WW is a great resource but if you go there looking for specific Google tricks (or even very specific answers to how the ranking works) you will likely be disappointed. Again, think in general terms, not specific.
  • High Rankings Advisor. Jill Whalen publishes a free email newsletter with good information about the art of SEO. She's excerpted this article in her newsletter.

I hope this article has been useful to you. Good luck!

« Part 11: How to hire an SEO
Part 12: Summarized Recommendations, and Further Resources
This is part 12 of 12.
Thanks for reading!

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