Google places a very strong emphasis on the quality and relevancy of their search results. As the undisputed leader in the world of search engines, they know that in order to stay on top they must make sure that their users are satisfied with the quality of the search results provided. To that end, they do not take kindly to several techniques used by many webmasters and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) experts. These techniques can and will get a site banned from Google or at the very least result in a Page Rank (PR) penalty. (PR will be discussed in more detail later.) A list of the most common (and dangerous) techniques is below:
Submitting multiple URLs for the same site – An example would be submitting mysite.com and mysite.com/index.html to their database, thereby essentially trying to get two search results for the same page.
Cloaking – Cloaking is having two separate pages, one optimized for the search engines and a different one optimized for the viewer. In other words the search engine sees one page but the user is redirected to a different page when the link is clicked. Cloaking is a big no-no with Google.
Doorway pages – In order to get a good listing in the search engines, some webmasters will load the home page with keywords. But a page filled with keywords comes across as nonsense to a human viewing the page. Therefore the webmaster will do a redirect to another page that is much easier to read (or have the user click a link to get to that page). This is basically cloaking. And as we now know, cloaking is a no-no.
Hidden text – Some webmasters will place hidden keywords on a page and make the font color the same as the background color (for example white text on a white background). This renders the text invisible to the human eye but the search engine spiders can still see it. This results in a higher Page Rank and search engine listing for those keywords. Hidden text is often used on a doorway page. Using hidden text is a sure way to get banned from Google fast!
Hidden links – The number of pages that link to one of your pages has a direct effect on how high your page appears in the search results (and that page’s PR). As with hiding text, hiding links will also result in a ban or PR penalty.
Link farms – A link farm is loosely defined as a page that lists links solely or mainly for the purpose of achieving a high Google PR. Free-For-All links pages are often considered link farms by Google. Be careful who you link to! Realistically, you can’t control who links to you, so incoming links will not hurt your site’s ranking. But you control directly who you link to so Google will ban or penalize your site for linking to a “bad neighborhood”.
Spamming – Don’t send unsolicited commercial emails (SPAM). Enough said.
Selling PR – Blatantly advertising the fact that your high PR site will sell a link to another site in order to boost that site’s PR is another big no-no. Selling advertising in the form of a link on your site is perfectly acceptable. Selling a link for the stated or implied purpose of increasing a site’s PR is not.
Multiple identical sites – In order to increase PR, some webmasters will create and interlink multiple pages all with identical or very similar content. This is not allowed.
Multiple domains – Creating multiple domains that redirect to one page is not allowed. Also, creating multiple domains with the same or nearly the same content and then interlinking them is a no-no. If you have multiple sites place unique content on each site. Doing otherwise will result in a ban or penalty.
Excessive links – Google recommends having no more than 100 links on any given page. Having more than 100 links won’t result in a ban but it can result in a lower PR.
If you refrain from using any of the above techniques you can avoid a Google penalty. The best way to attain a high PR and placement in the Google listings is to stay on Google’s “good side”. Now that we have the “don’ts” out of the way, let’s get started with the “do’s”!
Many people think of search engines and directories as the same thing. In reality there is a big difference between them. While the difference between them is pretty much un-noticeable to a person who is searching the web, understanding the difference is critical to getting your site displayed highly in the search results.
A directory is a searchable database of web pages that are reviewed, selected, and categorized by humans. A search engine “crawls the web” by following links from web page to web page and website to website. You don’t even have to submit your site to a search engine in order for it to “find” your site and place it in the index for searching.
Yahoo is the most well known directory on the web. Yahoo searches provide a major source of traffic (visitors) to a website. Submitting your site directly to Yahoo is an option, but for a commercial site there is a $299 fee just for having Yahoo evaluate your site quickly and give you a yes or no answer. Paying the fee in no way guarantees that your site will be accepted for inclusion. It only guarantees that your site will be considered and a decision will be made. Later on you will find out why submitting directly to Yahoo is unnecessary.
Another very important directory is the Open Directory Project (ODP). Getting your site listed in the ODP is almost guaranteed to get your site indexed automatically by Google. The web is packed with tons of directories, but Yahoo and the ODP are by far the most important ones when it comes to attaining website traffic and getting listed in Google.
Google is by far the most used search engine on the web. Getting listed in their massive database is an absolute must for any commercial website. Another very important search engine is Lycos. You may submit your site to Lycos, but they charge a fee of $31 or so. But if you are patient, your site will be crawled and added to their listings automatically after following the instructions in this guide.
Note: This section is subject to change. As this is being written Google is undergoing some changes that may affect the names and IP addresses of the spiders.
Spiders (also called “bots”) move from website to website and page to page by following links. The Google spider (known as Googlebot) does a monthly “deep crawl” into the interior pages of sites that are already in its database. The deep crawl is what Google uses to index many or all of the interior pages of your website.
You can tell whether your site has been deep crawled by looking for the annotation “Googlebot” in your visitor logs (check with your web host for information on accessing your log files). You can also identify the Googlebot by looking for an IP address that begins with 216 (i.e.. 216.xxx.xxx.xxx).
Google also sends out a spider called “Freshbot” between the monthly deep crawls. The Freshbot does a “shallow crawl” of websites looking for any changes that have been made since the last crawl. The new version of your page(s) is then placed in Google’s cache for your site. Once your site has been indexed by Google, you can view the latest version of your site that is in Google’s cache like this:
Search for your website URL on Google. After the description, you will see the word “cache”. Click on it and you will see the version of your web page that Google has cached last.
You can identify visits from the Freshbot by scanning your visitor logs for the term Freshbot or an IP address beginning with 64 (i.e.. 64.xxx.xxx.xxx).
These spiders are the best friends that a webmaster can have. In order to get listed in Google quickly (and most other search engines as well), all you have to do is get a few other websites that are already in Google to place links to your home page on their site (usually on a links page).
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There are several things that you can do to make your site “friendly” to the search engines, especially Google. First of all, make effective use of your page’s title Meta Tag. Choose a title that reflects your business and includes 2 or 3 of your primary keywords. For example, the title of our site is:
RLROUSE Birdhouse, Birdfeeder, & Crafts Directory
This title has 4 of our most important keywords in it: birdhouse, birdfeeder, crafts, and directory.
Another very important Meta Tag is the description. The description tag shouldn’t contain just a list of key words. It should be a logical sentence that contains your keywords. Again, we’ll use our description as an example:
Directory of the best birdhouse, birdfeeder, and craft vendors on the web. Lots of interesting articles about birds and lawn & garden topics.
This description contains our primary keywords yet it reads like a coherent sentence.
In order to make it very easy for the search engine spiders to crawl your site, if possible place links to all of your pages on your home page as well as every other page on your site. Also create a Site Map page and link to it directly from your home page. On your Site Map page place links to every other page in your website. This guarantees that every page on your website can be reached with a maximum of two mouse clicks or “link follows” by the spiders.
First of all, remove any of the “bad techniques” described in the section titled “How To Prevent Getting Banned From Google”. Next, change your title and description to a keyword rich format as described above. Add lots of unique keyword rich content to your pages while removing any excessive affiliate links.
Now, continue on…
As previously stated, all you have to do to get your site listed in Google is to get a few (the more the better but at least 3 or 4) websites to link to your site. The easiest and fastest way to do this is to offer a link to their site from your site in return. This is called “reciprocal linking”.
If done properly, the reciprocal linking process is the single best way to enhance your page’s PR and traffic flow. Reciprocal links allow you to share your traffic with other quality websites. In return, you also receive “targeted” traffic from the websites of your linking partners.
But the value of reciprocal links goes much farther than just an increase in traffic. The number of external web pages that link to yours has a direct relationship to your pages’s PR value as calculated by Google.
Be very careful about who you choose to do a link exchange with however. As discussed in the previous section about Link Farms, linking to a “bad neighborhood” such as a site that has been penalized by Google, will get your site banned as well or result in a lower PR.
A web page’s PageRank is a number from 1 to 10 (as shown in the Google Toolbar) as calculated by Google for that page. The PR value is basically what Google deems to be the importance of your page when compared to other web pages in your category. If your site is listed in a competitive category, a 5 might be an excellent PR. If it is listed in a non-competitive category you need to aim for a higher PR. In general though, when it comes to PR higher is always better.
Google takes over 100 factors into account when calculating PR for a given page. One of those factors is the amount of unique original content on your page. In general the more content the better Google likes it as long as the content is original and unique (not replicated on other sites). Your pages should include actual content and not just a list of affiliate links.
Keywords are also very important in Google’s PR algorithm. You should have your main keywords (as much as possible) in your page’s title and description, as well as scattered throughout the text of your page. This is called keyword density.
Finding the best keyword density can be tricky, but the results are well worth the effort. In general, try to work as many keywords into the text of your pages as possible while still making sure that the pages are readable, interesting, and have the ability to sell.
After all, it does little good to get tons of traffic to your site if your visitors leave without buying. Keep tinkering with your text and keyword density until you feel that you have found the right balance.
Perhaps the most important factor used by Google in calculating PageRank is incoming links to your page from other web pages. Linking strategies will be discussed in Part 11 of this tutorial.
Near the top of your page, you should use your primary keywords in an H1 header tag. Google gives extra weight to text located within header tags when computing PR. Also use a couple of H2 tags on your page because they count as well (although not as much as the H1.
H1 Distinctive birdhouses and birdfeedersH1
An H2 tag would look like this:
H2 We offer the finest in handcrafted birdhouses and birdfeeders H2
Photos do not help your ranking. But you can use ALT tags to describe your photos. If you can use a keyword or two in your ALT tag that is even better. but be careful here that your ALT tag accurately describes the photo or Google may consider it to be SPAM which of course is not good. Here is an example of an ALT tag:
img src=”birdhousepictures/bird.gif” ALT=”Small Bird” ALT tags are intended to give a description of a photo in cases where the web browser either cannot display photos or the photo display option has been turned off. If you use these tags properly, your site’s visitors will be able to see the description of an un-displayed photo (a good thing). But even more importantly your ALT tags will help your search engine ranking.
Google loves to spider new pages and she loves lots of high quality content. Try to add at least one new page to your site each day. If you simply can’t add a new page each day, add one whenever you can. But don’t put up junk. Make sure the pages are useful to your visitors and “friendly” to the search engines.
An analysis of the top ranked pages on Google suggests that Google prefers short, concise pages as opposed to long, rambling ones. This is good news for you as a webmaster! It’s pretty easy to create a short page on a particular topic (if possible built around one of the keywords that you wish to target).
If you already have a long page (or several) on your site, consider breaking the longer pages up into several shorter pages. Your visitors will find your site easier to understand and navigate. And of course having lots of shorter, concise pages will help your search engine rankings.
As stated earlier, virtually any website at all can link to your page(s) without adversely affecting your PR. This is because generally you have no control over who links to your site. But the PR of the page(s) that link to your page(s) has a great deal of influence on your page’s PR.
For example, if a webmaster decides to link to your page from a page on her site with a PR of 6, this will help your page’s PR be higher than if she links to your page from a PR 4 page.
In other words, it isn’t just how many links you have to your page, but also the “importance” of those pages that helps boost your PR. A dozen links from PR 6 sites is often better (at least for the sake of PR) than 100 links from PR4 sites.
How do you determine a page’s PR (even your own)? If you use Internet Explorer, you can download the Google Toolbar for free.
After you have downloaded and installed the Google toolbar, restart your browser. You should now see the toolbar near the top of the screen. Click the wordGoogle on the left edge of the toolbar. Click Toolbar Options on the dropdown menu. Place a checkmark in the box beside PageRank Display. Now click the OK button at the bottom of the page.
Your toolbar is now configured to display the PR value of the current page. On the right-hand side of the toolbar you will see the word PageRank.
Below the word PageRank is a bar that is either gray (no PR for the current page), all white (the current page has a PR of 0), or part white and part green. The more green in the bar the higher the PR.
If you place your mouse pointer over the bar under the word PageRank you will see the numerical value of the current page’s PR.
And now, back to reciprocal linking. Your goal is to exchange links with as many quality websites as you can as quickly as you can. For our purposes, I’ll define quality websites like this:
Â· They have a PR of at least 5.
Â· They aren’t using hidden text, hidden links, doorway
pages, etc. (No linking to a bad neighborhood,
Â· The “theme” of their sites compliments yours and
The theme of your link partners’ websites is very important. PR is Google’s estimate of the importance of your site. So your site will be deemed more important if a lot of quality websites in your same general field link to your site.
For instance, if your website sells custom made curtains, your theme would be “home decor”. You should make an effort to exchange links with other “home decor” related sites, such as interior designers, landscapers, and sites that sell furniture.
Do not exchange links with a direct competitor however or you will lose sales to your competition. For example, if you sell wind chimes don’t exchange links with another site that also sells wind chimes. Instead, exchange with a site that sells lawn furniture or other products that compliment yours without directly competing with you.
Set a goal of exchanging links with a minimum of 100 other websites that meet the above criteria and you’ll be well on your way to a great Google listing.
1 – Create a page for your website and name it Links or something to that effect. If you already have a links page, purge it of all links that lead to a page that has a PR less than 5 or is a “bad neighborhood”.
Place a link to your links page somewhere on your homepage. I recommend placing the link near the bottom of the page so that your website’s visitors won’t see it until after they have finished reading your home page. After all, why invite people to leave your site prematurely?
Even better than a links page is a professionally designed Directory script, such as the one that we use on this site:
Hot Links Pro.
A top-quality Directory script will give your site a professional quality and encourage link exchanges. To see how our Directory looks and works, click the Directory link in the navigation links on this page.
2 – Surf over to Google and do a search on your theme (home decor, woodworking, etc). The search results page is your mine for digging up quality reciprocal linking partners. Visit the first site on the list.
3 – Does the site have a PR of 5 or higher? (Sites near the top of the search results page almost certainly will.) If not, visit the next site on the list and repeat this step.
4- After you have found the next site with an acceptable PR, check to see if their home page has a link to a links page or a stated link exchange policy. If not, visit the next site on the list and repeat the process beginning with step 3.
5 – Check to see if the site uses any of the “bad techniques” listed in the “How Not To Get Banned From Google” section above. If so, move on to the next site on the list.
6 – After you have found a site that you wish to exchange links with, place a link to their home page on your links page. Do this before you attempt to contact the other webmaster.
7 – Email the webmaster (look for a Contact Us link or an email address on their site). Create a form letter asking for the link exchange, but personalize the letter for each webmaster that you are sending the letter to.
If the webmaster’s name is listed on the site, address him by name. If not, just use “Dear Webmaster,”. compliment him on the quality of the site.
Mention a distinctive feature or two about the site so that he can tell that you actually made a serious visit. Explain that you feel that a link exchange would benefit both of you and explain why.
You might need to do a little “educating” here as many webmasters have no idea about the usefulness of link exchanges. Send your link information along with your email. You should include the following link info:
Site name: ABC, Inc.
Description: blue widgets at the lowest prices!
Contact email address: JohnDoe@justaname.com
Be sure to include a couple of your main keywords in the link text (the “clickable” part of the link). This will help increase your PR!
8 – Send the email and wait for a reply from the webmaster. Of course, while you’re waiting you should be contacting other webmasters in the same way. If he responds with a “no thanks”, or hasn’t responded at all after a week or so, remove his link from your links page and move on.
If he agrees to the exchange, he’ll respond with a link to the page on his site that contains your link. Send him a pleasant email thanking him for the exchange.
9 – Repeat this process until you have successfully completed at least 100 link exchanges with quality sites that share your theme. If you have over 100 links, split them up onto two or more links pages. You can even split the links up into categories if you wish.
Note: Google is currently making the transition from a monthly update process to a more or less “continuous” update process. This means that some of the information in this part of the tutorial may soon be out- dated. The procedures described in the tutorial will still be valid however.
Google’s Googlebot spider performs a “deep crawl” around the first of every month. Googlebot starts with the web pages that are already in the Google database, usually following each link on each page on the site.
The external links are then followed which will lead Google directly to your site. This procedure takes place without you having to submit your URL to Google at all.
You can submit your URL if you like, but if you follow this guide your site will be found and indexed before your manual submission is even processed . Once Google has spidered and indexed your site, it won’t actually show up in the search listings until the next update (at the end of the month).
Depending on the current month’s schedule for spidering and indexing, it could take up to 6 weeks for your site to be added to the Google database and actually show up in the search results.
Of course just getting your site into Google is only half the battle. It does no good to get listed unless your site shows up near the top of the search results. That is where working on your site’s Page Rank (PR) comes into play.
Follow the steps mentioned previously and you will achieve a great PR and show up on the first page of the search results.
While Yahoo has lost their dominance to Google, they are still the 2nd most used search vehicle on the web (and a close 2nd at that). Getting your site to show up in the Yahoo search results is imperative for a successful business website. The good news is that if you’re in Google, you’re already in Yahoo too!
When a Yahoo user does a search, the results are actually provided by Google. Therefore, if you’re in Google you’re automatically in Yahoo! Of course your site won’t show up if the user clicks the Yahoo Directory link, but guess what? Virtually no one clicks the Directory link.
They use the Google supplied search results which are the default. What all of this means is that paying $299 to have your site considered for inclusion by Yahoo is unnecessary and a complete waste of money. Don’t do it! Save your money for promoting your website in other ways.
While most of your traffic will come from search engines and directories (mostly Google and Yahoo), there are many other excellent ways to get even more traffic to your website. And most of them are free!
The single best source of free website promotion is one that you already have in place by now: Links to your site, reciprocal and otherwise. While links from high quality websites (as defined earlier) are essential to attaining a good Page Rank, any link to your site has the potential to bring in more traffic.
The key is not to link back to a lower quality website. You’re probably asking yourself “How in the world am I supposed to get webmasters to link to me if I don’t offer to link back to them?”. The answer is simple: Just ask them for a link.
Many webmasters will be more than happy to link to you just because they like your site or because your site has information and resources that are of value to their own site’s visitors. Ask away, all she can say is no. But you’ll be surprised how often she’ll say yes!
In order to raise your level of success with one-way linking requests, you can sweeten the pot by offering something other than a link back to the webmaster in return. You might offer her a free email account or other free service that your site happens to offer.
If you sell e-books that you have written you can offer one to the webmaster for free in exchange for a link to your site. The opportunities are endless. Just use your imagination.
Another excellent source of free traffic is your own website. Place a “Tell A Friend” script on your site and let your visitors and customers advertise for you. There are many sites on the web where you can go to download powerful scripts for free. A list of links to some of those sites is provided at the end of this document.
Also don’t forget to use a signature file with your email program. You can send out a free advertisement to everyone that you send an email to. Just be sure that the email has another primary purpose besides just advertising your site.
SPAMMing is very much frowned upon and can get a person into a whole heap of trouble! But if used properly, a signature file can bring in lots of free traffic.
Another source of free traffic is free classified ad sites. The effectiveness of classified ads varies from site to site, but hey, it’s free! Just do a Google search on “free classified ads”.
Last but not least, you can offer a free newsletter to visitors who come to your site. And of course your newsletters will include an advertisement or two! Just be sure to collect the email addresses with an opt-in newsletter sign-up form.
Collecting email addresses any other way will lead to charges of Spamming. The first and last lines of each newsletter should include unsubscribe instructions.
PPC sites allow you to place an ad with a link on their site. You select and bid on keywords that will drive visitors to your site. The higher your bid for each keyword, the higher on the page your ad will appear when that keyword is searched on by someone looking for your widgets.
Bids start as low as $.01 per click, but most of the better PPC sites start the bidding at $.05 to $.10 per click.
Another excellent source of paid advertising is Ezines dedicated to your field or website theme. These ads can be very inexpensive and they allow you to quickly reach several thousand potential targeted customers. Again, just do a Google search on “ezine advertising”.
If you plan to advertise in ezines (and you should), we highly recommend 2 Bucks An Ad. Every time they place ads for us our traffic and sales increase substantially for the next few days after the ads are published.
For only $2 per ad, you can advertise to 800,000+ ezine readers who have already proven to be interested in the topic of your site.
Last but not least, you can sometimes purchase a link on a large related website. Why pay for a link? Most large, popular websites won’t do reciprocal links with other smaller sites. But many will gladly sell you a link for a pretty hefty price.
A site with a Page Rank of 6, 7, or higher will usually have traffic measured in the million + hits per month range. A well-placed text ad link purchased from one of these sites can drive your hit counter crazy.
To request a link purchase, just send an email to the advertising department and ask! But remember, you should ONLY purchase an advertising link for the sole purpose of gaining traffic and customers, not for increasing your Page Rank.
Purchasing a link in order to boost PR skews the quality of Google’s search results. Because of this Google will ban any site caught doing it.
But the products and services that you offer on your website aren’t the only avenues to profit available to you. Your website traffic itself can be an excellent source of revenue. You can use your site to:
Â· Sell banner or text ads to other businesses.
Â· Sell advertising in a newsletter or Ezine.
Â· Earn commissions through affiliate links and banners.
A new advertising vehicle that works very well for sites with lots of content is Google Adsense. All you have to do is apply for an Adsense account with Google.
They’ll review your site, and if accepted, you just add a short snippet of code (provided by Google) to your site where you want the ads to appear.
Google will then spider your page(s) and start serving relevant ads in short order. No keywords to fool with! All you do is add the code to your pages and Google does the rest.
Then when a visitor comes to your site, she’ll see the Google ads. If she clicks on one, you’ll get a commission. It’s really that simple!
If you sign up with Adsense, be sure to read the directions, user agreement, and FAQs carefully so that you can be sure that you’re in compliance with their rules.
I’m sure there are many other ways to earn money through your website’s traffic. Just use your imagination and Google to find them!
Overture – Quite simply the largest and most used PPC search engine on the web. If you want to get lots of highly-targeted traffic we highly recommend Overture. One of our favorites!
Ah-ha.com – Several advertising options including PPC. An excellent company to do business with. Very professional.
Kanoodle – RLROUSE.COM uses Kanoodle for many of our Pay-Per-Click campaigns. They’re inexpensive, easy to use, and very effective at driving highly-targeted traffic to your site.
GoClick – Another great pay-per-click search engine that we use a lot. You can get started with a deposit of only $10 and the minimum bid is only $.01/click!
Google Adwords – Excellent PPC option from Google. No deposit is required to start using the service. Super service from the #1 name in search.
List-Advertising.com – Email list advertising resource center
EzineAdvertising.com – You can reach over 10 million targeted customers through their associates Ezine lists
FreezineWeb – An excellent resource for Ezine advertisers
Ezine-Universe – A large directory of Ezines
Ezine Advertising – Excellent tutorials on advertising in Ezines
A-1 Newsletter and E-Zine Promotion – Start up, publish, and make money with your E-zine
FFAs may sound like a great way to get lots of free traffic to your site, but you should avoid these pages at all cost.
Why? Several reasons:
1. They are almost useless as a source of traffic. Very few people searching for a topic on the web will use an FFA page. Instead they will use a search engine or directory.
Think about it for a moment. Where do you go when you want to find something on the web? If you’re like most web surfers, you use Google, Yahoo, MSN Search, AOL Search, etc.
FFA pages are usually just a long list of unrelated and unorganized URLs which makes finding what you’re looking for virtually impossible.
2. Most FFA pages require you to register with your email address before you are allowed to add your link. The owners of the pages then use the email address that you registered with in order to send you loads of Spam.
Even worse, they will often sell your email address to other Spammers. If you choose to use FFA pages, prepare to receive a never-ending flood of SPAM in your email inbox.
3. Using FFAs can lead to your site being banned from Google’s search engine index. Many FFA pages require a reciprocal link from your site to theirs before allowing you to place your link.
Google considers most FFA pages to be link farms, and we have already learned what Google thinks of link farms!