Google says - ask yourself these questions

After the recent panda update, engineers at google released a blog post with some guidance on what counts as high quality content.


When it comes to SEO, the  best mantra is to optimize website for a better user experience.


In that post, google engineer Amit Singal posted some questions that we must ask ourselves while developing web sites.

Let us analyze these questions and try to figure out what we can do to meet those specifications:



  • Question: "Would you trust the information presented in this article?"
  • Some of the factors that influence the "trust" factor:
    Site design a good website design with neat design and good color combination should be used. A website with images certainly seems more trustable  than a plain HTML website using flashy colors. Brand name This certainly is important. People usually tend to click more on site names they already know about. Wikipedia, About.com, YouTube are some examples which are recognized more as compared to other websites.
    • Question: "Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?"
      Once we read an article we tend to ask ourselves weather we should trust it or not.
      An article should contain information about the author, his qualifications and experience. It improves the article's credibility.

      So make it a point to mention author details along with the content, e author with verifiable and believable credibility.


    • Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?

      Google has repeated it many times that sites with duplicate and scraped content will be penalized. Sure, you can take risk and go ahead about build sites using bulk PLR content. But it

      If you have any pages on your website which repeat the same content, delete the extra copies. It is pretty evident that duplicate content, even on the same domain is going to get negative impact on your website


    • Would you be comfortable giving your credit card information to this site?
      Not all websites are trust-able enough to give credit card information. Especially if your website is new you can do following to encourage people to use credit card on your website

      Use Logos of payment gateway: If your payment gateway allows you must put the logo on the payment page. People who buy online usually identify the popular payment processors like paypal, google checkout etc.

      You can even use logos of Visa, mastercard etc if you accept them.

      SSL Certificate: Many regular online buyers know about SSL and would trust a website if they see SSL certificate. Even some web browsers warn people if the SSL certificate is not valid on a website.

      Highlight customer care section in details: When people buy stuff online they would like to know where the company is physically located. They also like to know how can they contact the customer care section just in case if there is any trouble in the payment process. A live chat feature or Toll Free number highlighted somewhere near navigation menu is a good sign of credibility.


    • Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?
      This is very evident, as human beings we can make mistakes while writing. But it is a lot more easier to spot mistakes. Spelling errors creates a bad impression.

      What you can do
      - Use spell checkers- there are many spell checkers available as software in Microsoft word and elsewhere. It is wise to use them as they will catch the mistakes fast for you

      - Calculate flesch reading score - Flesch reading score is a tool that measures text's readability. If the text is more readable people will spend more time reading it.



    • "Are the topics driven by genuine interests of readers of the site, or does the site generate content by attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?"
      One of the common mistake by web designers and content writers is that they repeat the keywords everywhere in the website.

      It is easy for Google's algorithm to find pages that repeat same set of keywords. It is hence advisable to maintain a good keyword ratio.




    • "Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?"
      This topic is discussed in our previous post.   You should not just repeat the post.




    • "Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?"

      Some simple and easy ways to add value:
       -- Add relevant external links Link to related sources of information. It will help visitors to find more information on the subject.
      --- Add images, a single picture is equal to thousand words.




    • "How much quality control is done on content?"
      Quality control refers to reduce redundancies, repetition, and mistakes.



    • "Does the article describe both sides of a story?"Generally, good journalism provides information on both sides of the story and let the readers decide on what they think about an issue.

      It is advisable to present facts rather than trying to make conclusions in your writing.




    • Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?
      Certainly, here Google engineer is pointing out to article spinners and re-written articles that don't add any value to website.



    • Was the article edited well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?Good editing is MUST for good readability.




    • For a health related query, would you trust information from this site?If you are running a health related website, you must back up claims through either mentioning the writer's qualifications. Another good way is by quoting authoritative external sources.




    • Does this article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
      This question translates to the fact that long articles which contain more information and cover all aspects of the topic will get better value.

      So you must write more detailed and informational content that covers everything!



    • Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
      Some things we can do to make articles more interesting-

      - share facts-  facts and figures are always more interesting in general. If you are writing about increasing facebook popularity, then it would be nice to share how many users of facebook has increased over past.

      Show images Use images that are relevant to the topic.




    • Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend? - This usually happens when a website contains really valuable information. People share information when they find it worthy enough.




    • Does this article have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?
       Some websites that are full of advertisements look cluttered and sometimes its even hard to differentiate between navigation links and ads.

      People find it obtrusive and leave the page without clicking around too much.



    • Would you expect to see this article in a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?
      If an article is published in a printed media then the writer and editor would check thoroughly for any mistakes about errors.




    • Are the articles short, unsubstantial, or otherwise lacking in helpful specifics? Articles that are not helpful and do not explain the specific contents are not going to get higher ranking in search engines.



    • Are the pages produced with great care and attention to detail vs. less attention to detail? 
      To make pages interesting and more usable you must do some sort of thinking and planning on how to design the page. You should plan properly on how and where to put related links on the website.



    • Would users complain when they see pages from this site?
      People complain when they are not able to find information easily and when they are greeted with a cluttered interface. So a clean interface should be liked by all.




    How to increase readability of your website content

    Flesch reading score is a method of calculating readability of any given text.

    The basic principles of good reading is>

    1. Using Short sentences is good. 
    2. It is advisable to limit the number of words in each sentences to upto 14 words.
    3. Using active voice rather than passive 
    4. Using simple words 


    A high score means that the text is not easy to read. 

    
206.835 - 1.015 \left ( \frac{\mbox{total words}}{\mbox{total sentences}} \right ) - 84.6 \left ( \frac{\mbox{total syllables}}{\mbox{total words}} \right )
[7]
    Scores can be interpreted as shown in the table below.
    ScoreNotes
    90.0–100.0easily understood by an average 11-year-old student
    60.0–70.0easily understood by 13- to 15-year-old students
    0.0–30.0best understood by university graduates


    Tools to measure readibility:

    • Microsoft word has inbuilt readability score checker
    • Flesh - readability calculator - free open source cross platform 



    How to come up with a unique Domain name

    The problem while thinking of a domain name is weather the domain would be available or not. Most of the English letter words in the dictionary are already been registered on the internet.

    So the only option you are left with is to either register domain name with a combination of keywords or come up with a unique word in itself which has no meaning and hence could be called "abstract" domain name.

    Benefits of abstract meaning domain name:

    • Unique
      An abstract name is unique. This can help you in many ways like creating a differentiation amongst your competitors.
    • Short in size
      Most of the short English words have already been registered. The only option that is left with people who don't want to buy them at a premium price is to think of abstract names which are short so that people can easily type them in the search bar without mistakes./
    • Easy to remember
      If you find a name which is short and rhymes easily. Then it will be easy for your audience to remember the name. It will help in getting some direct traffic.
    • Easy to brandAn abstract name could mean anything and can evolve it's own meaning. For example, Orkut was a abstract name for India when the social networking site was launched.

      Soon the website became popular and a key term for social networking.
    Here are two tips to find abstract names

    • Combine two words or Mix them up. It would be a good idea to include more vowels, that will help you to come up with domain names that are easy to pronounce.
    • "CAPTCHA": usually captcha words that you have to see on many sites these days do not have a meaning associated.

      It is a good way to find random words for your domain name.

    Keeping the eye on current events while blogging

    On the blogosphere everyone will link to you if you are the first one to hit the news. It can not only bring substantial amount of traffic but many free incoming links too.


    Be the first one to write the news
    So it's a good idea to stay updated from the news sources, through RSS feeds and news websites. The sooner you write about an event, more the chances of traffic and incoming links.



    Subscribe to RSS feeds of news sources
    For being the first one to tell the world about the event, you should be able to know first about it.
    • RSS Feeds The quickest way to know about a news is through RSS feeds, for instance if you have a technology blog you should sign-up with RSS feeds of Google/Adobe/Microsoft's RSS feeds so whenever there is a new announcement you can be aware about it and report it on your website.
    • Google Alerts Google alerts will alert you about a keyword in the email or your RSS feed whenever there is new content.If you write about Microsoft, you can create alerts like Microsoft, Windows, Bill gates. This will send you any new information that is posted on the internet.
    • Google Trends Google trends tells you the upcoming popular searches 

    Unique content – An introduction

    Here are a few points which elucidate, unique content
    • Unique content is simply put- "The Content, that is not copied as it is from elsewhere."

      There are many websites which copy content from other free sources. For example from Wikipedia. Search engines are smart enough to identify that the content is copied.

      Search engines are also managed by humans to some extent, so if they think that a site has duplicate content it may lose SEO score.
    • Quoting is all fine-
      "It is always fine to take some part of information as it is from the original source. As a Quote!

      As long as you add-in your own original thoughts and words in it, you will continue to be a good in front of Google!

    • The underlying principle
      The underlying principle behind unique content is that you should not only have copied content on your website!The search engine spider can tolerate some sentences that are ALSO available on other sites. But if the spider does not find anything "original" or unique to your site. It won't like your site much then!
    More info on Content
    • What is unique content?
    • Importance of unique content
    • What are the types of unique content, you can create?
    • Why is content most important?
    • Can you use automated content generators to get traffic?
    • You have good content but not getting enough traffic?

    Repeating the news is not so good thing to do

    We have talked about the types of unique content before. Also how can content be the single most important thing for the success of your website.

    In this article we talk about why one should not "repeat the news"

    "Whenever there is a new story or event, every blogger/website are covering the same topic but with a different language. While there is no bad ranking in such a case, but not so good from a user's perspective.
    What to do?
    If there is a new event, instead of reporting it like a newspaper if we add a new angle or a benefit to it we can create unique story.

    For example, let's talk about launch of New version of Google earth 5. When this version was launched every other blog was writing about it's features.

    So to stand out from the crowd we can write a post which contains how it can help your reader in daily life. For example,
    Instead of heading like "Google earth launched with sea and space view" we can write
    "Now you can go scuba diving with Google earth 5"
    OR Breathe into space with the new Google Earth 5 "

    By giving a new angle to the story we create a "unique" angle and hence differentiate the content from other websites. 

    Fresh content is loved by all

    Be consistent and update your site with new and fresh content more often. Crawlers come back to check for updates. If they don't find anything new, they get disappointed. This may lead to a lower SEO score.


    Do you have a site which you have not updated since a long time?
    Don't worry if you have not updated your site often in recent days. You may start doing it now. Be regular. As soon as crawlers see that you are regular, they will start visiting your site more often.


    How often should you post new content?
    Around 5-10 articles daily is good! Be sure that you don't lose on quality. It's good to have less, but quality content.

    However if you can have both quantity and quality, nothing like it!

    Importance of Unique content in SEO

    Content is the king. If you have and useful content that is unique you can be Google's favorite.

    Wikipedia Says,

    "..... content is called 'king'. High quality, unique content is what search engines are looking for and content development specialists therefore have a very important role to play in the search engine optimization process." 
    On the internet, people are looking for information.
    If you present information in a well laid out manner then users will spend more time on your site.

    A website that really has usable information automatically gets backlinks from relevant and high quality sources.

    How to find dropped Domain names

    Dropped domain names are domain names that have expired because the owner has not renewed it.

    There are almost 35,000 domains that are dropped everyday. If you are looking for a domain name for your website. It may be a good idea to search amongst the dropped list so that you might find a domain name that is:

    • Short and easy to pronounce.
    • Has google incoming links
    • Is popular on the internet
    Another good thing about dropped domain names i that as they have been used they hold some importance. Many a times the owner does not realize the worth of domain name and let it go away.

    How to Find Dropping domain names?
    JustDropped is a website where you can search for deleted domain names. The best thing is you can specify the type of extension, number of words and other details to search a comprehensive list that you can send to your email too!

    Also read:
    How to find random domain name ideas

    Name of site- Trademark considerations

    Should you include a keyword in your web site's name for more traffic from search engines?

    Keyword rich domain names helps! BUT don't worry if you don't have one.

    You can still get as much traffic or even more traffic than the ones which contain a domain name.

    For example
    • Do www.google.com contains "search" in their domain name? NO! 
    • Does www.youtube.com contains "video" in their domain name? NO!
    • Does www.flickr.com contains "photo" in their domain name? No!
    Still these websites get most traffic. They are on the top of listings for those keywords.

    Conclusion
    Having a .com domain for the keyword does helps a lot BUT is not the only way to get top search listings.

    Also read:

    Name of the site for seo

    Should you include a keyword in your web site's name for more traffic from search engines?

    Keyword rich domain names helps! BUT don't worry if you don't have one.
    You can still get as much traffic or even more traffic than the ones which contain a domain name.

    For example
    • Do www.google.com contains "search" in their domain name? NO! 
    • Does www.youtube.com contains "video" in their domain name? NO!
    • Does www.flickr.com contains "photo" in their domain name? No!
    Still these websites get most traffic. They are on the top of listings for those keywords.

    Conclusion
    Having a .com domain for the keyword does helps a lot BUT is not the only way to get top search listings.  In fact if you want more repeat visitors and create a unique brand name then you must register abstract meaning domain names.


    How to get more traffic from Yahoo

    While most of the traffic on many blogs comes from google, we should still NOT forget yahoo and msn, they still occupies rest 18-20% of the search engine market. If these two are not happy with your site you might lose a large amount of traffic and new potential regular visitors.


    Listing it in major search engines

    Here is a collection of direct link to submit your blog or website to major search engines on the internet.



    Promoting the site on directories

    There are two main benefits of listing your website on directories:
    • Helps to increase PageRank
      PageRank is a quality score of a webpage given by Google on the scale of 1 to10. The higher the PageRank better it is. 
      there are many web directories on the internet with a very high page rank. If you get to list your site in those web directories it may get you a very good PageRank

      If your web site has a higher page rank then it will be given preference for broader keyword searches.

    • Targeted Traffic
      Many new search engines refer to the web directories to fetch data for their database.

      Even if you are unaware your web site would get listed in these new search engines and web directories and hence gets you more traffic.

      Many time users search for websites through a directory. It is a nice idea to get listed in these directories so that you get more visitors on your website.
    Should you pay for getting listed on these directories?

    While getting listed on these directories helps. But it is not the only way to increase traffic of your site.

    Incoming links are just one of the factors to measure the quality of a website. It is not the end of the world. There are many other ways you can get incoming links.

    The simplest of them being writing good and unique content. If you have good content people will link to your website.

    Web web Directories: www.dmoz.org

    List of DoFollow Blogs

    InLineSEO Is a website where you can search for blogs which allow posting comments with links to your blog with do follow attribute.

    So if you post a comment, you will get a vote for your blog and your search engine rankings and traffic will increase.

    To get good rankings in Google and other search engines, one of the most important aspect is how many people link to your blog,

    But because of the nofollow tag the vote does not gets counted as practiced in most of the blogging platforms...

    Example of a no-follow link-
    < href= "www.techpogo.com" rel="nofollow"> Link here < / a>


    This code does create a link but as the rel attribute is set to nofollow the vote does not get counted
    < href= "www.techpogo.com" rel="nofollow"> Link here < / a>

    Why to get incoming links ?
    Most people want to have more incoming links to their site to increase their Page Rank in google, yahoo, msn and other search engines. This gives their site more weightage and traffic.

    How much value do links from dofollow blogs add?
    Depends primarily on the pagerank of blog where you are posting a comment, also the number of links the blog is sending out, more the numbers lesser the value.

    Other good source of dofollow blogs
    Nickooshare List

    How to find good keywords

    What are keywords?
    Keywords refer to search terms, that users enter into a search engine to find information. In "search engine optimization" process, keyword research holds great importance.

    Why should you find good keywords?
    With good keywords you can not only increase your traffic. But also get more targeted visitors.

    Finding keywords is both a science and art. If you can find those keywords which people are searching for but less information is available about them on the web. You can receive lots of potential traffic.

    Even if your page rank is low, or you don't have incoming links on other websites. IF you include specific keywords, you may definitely win more traffic.

    What are good keywords?

    • Keywords should be specific
      You should always select keywords that are longer, for example:

      "How to get a home loan" instead of "Home loan"
      "list of hotels in New York" instead of "hotels"

      The more specific you get with the keywords, the more relevant your site would be and hence give you good traffic not only in terms of quantity but quality too!
    • Finding keywords
      1. Google keyword tool
        Google, the king of search engines recently launched a tool which gives you information on how much searches were made from which country.

        It also tells you related keywords, advertiser's competition and number of searches for a given keyword.

      2. Google Suggest
        Google suggest shows you related keywords based on broad terms you may enter.It's a good way to find related keywords to a certain topic. It also shows you the number of results available.
      3. Wikipedia Statistics Tool
        Wikipedia receives the largest amount of traffic, especially for broad keywords. It can help you estimate the scope of keywords that you may want to include.

      4. Overture Keyword Suggestion Tool
        Keyword suggestion tool by overture (Owned by Yahoo). It is quick and easy to use. However the estimates are not as reliable as Google.

      5. Watching your competitor:
        Don't copy them, but keep a watch. What is in practice is successful. Find how others are ranking well by searching in Google. Try to implement good things in your site.Scan their content, notice how much keywords do they use in every post. Also check back links to their page.



      6. Other tools:

      • Free Tool available at SEOBOOK
      • Forums
        Find your niche forum, watch kind of information people search for. This way you may directly find out, what people are looking for. Write to solve their problems. Answer their questions.The best place to start is Yahoo Answers. Here you can see what people actually type when they are searching


      • - Digital Point forum's keyword research tool

      • Paid services
        You may also use paid services to research keywords. These tools are not available to everyone as they are paid for. So you get exclusive list of the best keyword that are less competitive and may get you more traffic!-

        Keyword Discovery
        Keyword Intelligence
        Wordtrackerr

    Last but not the least
    The best way to think of "keywords" is put yourself in the shoes of the target user.

    For example if you have a hotel website, the person will not search for the hotel name but your city. So the city name where your hotel is located should be your targeted keyword and you should optimize for it.

    How much keyword density is good for SEO?

    Keyword density refers to the number of keywords you write on your webpage.(Keywords: words that people enter into search engine box)

    Myth -- "The more keywords you include in your webpage, more traffic you will get." While including the keywords is important, i would never recommend to build content based on keywords rather than including a few in the original content.

    Including more than required keywords is also known as "search spam" and "keyword stuffing"

    Here is what Google has to say about keyword density
    --------------------------------------------------------
    Keyword stuffing

    "Keyword stuffing" refers to the practice of loading a webpage with keywords in an attempt to manipulate a site's ranking in Google's search results. Filling pages with keywords results in a negative user experience, and can harm your site's ranking. Focus on creating useful, information-rich content that uses keywords appropriately and in context.

    (Link)

    --------------------------------------------------------

    It is clear from the above statement
    • You should create the content on your site keeping in mind what users would be searching for. (The process of identifying those words is called keyword research
    • But never stuff your page with lots of keywords. (This may result into negative effect)
    • Always try to create content which creates good user experience.
    • Some blackhat techniques include repetition of keywords and making them bold. Search engines have already evolved techniques that can identify these and may penalise such webpages or remove from the index.
    Check your keyword density now!
    You may check % of keyword density you have on your page using Keyword Density checker.

    Also Read: How to find good keywords

    Importance of RSS Feed

    RSS feeds are important in terms of SEO as it pings the search engine, about new content posted on your site...

    Posting new and fresh content is very important for good SEO. Not only you should post more content when you are trying to reach the top. You should continue posting more relevant content for the users to stay there!

    RSS Feeds are XML based, with RSS syndication, search engine come to know about the latest content. Recently, there was a question raised about the freshness of the content in search engines. Search engines then evolved this system to update their databases as soon as the content is posted.

    You can submit your own RSS feeds to search engines.

    How do i set up an RSS Feed?
    If you are on a blog, you probably already have one. Or you may use third party tools like feedburner.

    How to Submit RSS feeds to Search Engines?
    You should submit your RSS Feed to webmaster tools . Once you submit, you can also view the reports.

    One note of caution
    If you are running a blog, please note that as soon as you publish an article. It goes live on the RSS feed and stays for sometime. So make sure everytime, you post new content you don't make any spelling or logical mistakes. As the article would reach the audience as soon as you click "post".

    Creating Site map

    A sitemap helps a visitor to track down the ecology of a site. It helps finding fast, what the user is looking out for.

    Your site map can act as a "table of contents" for a search engine. It helps the crawler to find the unknown pages on the site. And find the latest ones.


    When your site will get popular, the structure will be shown on the results page itself. This does not for all websites, but selected ones. So create a site map which is well defined and link to all the sections in your site.

    If your site contains > 50 pages ..
    Never create a site map on a single web page if you have more than 50 links to place. Be aware that search engines ignore web pages with too many links.


    Source of traffic

    While most of the traffic on your site might be from Search Engines. You should consider other traffic sources too. Especially with social media, your traffic can increase a lot.


    Why is varied traffic source good?
    Visitors may have Google OR Yahoo toolbar installed in their browser. This toolbar sends browsing information to the search company servers. So even if the visitor is not coming directly from a search engine, it will still help increasing your rankings. As the information is tracked via toolbar.


    A few "other" sources of traffic:
    • RSS Feeds:
      I read so many blogs. It is difficult for me to keep a track of new articles on every blog. To get newest articles from all the blogs, I subscribe them through a RSS reader. (like Google Reader)

      A high percentage of web users have already started using RSS Readers. Many others are just about to do so. It's a convenient way to read your favourate content at one place!

      So, always offer a RSS feed service on your blog and promote it often. If you want to set up a feed for your site, you may use third party services like Feedburner

    • Social Bookmarking sites
      Sites like digg, delicious.com helps users to share their favorite sites with their friends. And keep all of them at one place. Participate in such forums actively. You will get more traffic and quality incoming links.
    • Video Sharing sites
      With YouTube amongst the top 5 popular sites in the world. No internet marketeer can deny the importance of video sharing media.You can create screencasts, show it on YouTube. Or you may upload videos that are related to what you are selling.

      You can link to your blog and get more traffic.

    • Forums
      It's human nature to interact and socialize.

      People socialize on the internet via forums. Forums are a place where people with similar interests meet and interact. They seek and offer information.Find forums that are related to your website.You can interact and promote your site. Also get some quality incoming links though digital signatures.

    Validation of HTML/CSS etc

    Never leave HTML errors on your web page. Open and check your website in different web browsers. Make sure things are aligned well, there is no font missing and colors are visible.

    If your site has HTML errors, the Search engine spider might not be able to crawl properly. Also the usability of your site will decrease. So it's better to keep a check on the code. Make it error free.


    Top 3 Reasons your code should be error free:
    1. Search engine spiders won't be able to crawl your site easily. They calculate page download time. So you might receive a lower SEO score. 
    2. Browsers behave very different for single code. Check code for IE and a Firefox user might receive an error or might not be able to view the page at all. This can result into higher bounce rates.
    3. You will get negative points, if you have broken links in your site. Also if the links lead to pages that does not exist at all.
    Tip: How to find broken links in your blog or website

    The best way to check that your code is correct:
    Make sure that your website or blog complies to World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) standards and guidelines. W3C is the organization which sets standards for various internet technologies like HTML CSS and others


    Freshness of the content

    Be consistent and update your site with new and fresh content more often. Crawlers come back to check for updates. If they don't find anything new, they get disappointed. This may lead to a lower SEO score.


    Do you have a site which you have not updated since a long time?
    Don't worry if you have not updated your site often in recent days. You may start doing it now. Be regular. As soon as crawlers see that you are regular, they will start visiting your site more often.


    How often should you post new content?
    Around 5-10 articles daily is good! Be sure that you don't lose on quality. It's good to have less, but quality content.

    However if you can have both quantity and quality, nothing can beat that!

    Age of the site for SEO


    Age is one of the 200 parameters a search engine considers to rank your site. You get higher score if you site is older.

    Older trusted sites tend to gain more respect in eyes of search engines.


    The idea is that if the site thrives for longer time, probably means it has something good. Though, this is not a very big factor and you cannot rank a site just because it is old, but still is a lot more easier to get an old website ranked higher while other factors are equal.



    So if you are just starting out to create a new website, think again! If you have an existing site which could be used, use it. You will have easier chances for better and higher rankings.


    PS:
    Want to check the age of a site? Use this Wayback Machine tool here

    Know “dofollow” and “no follow” attributes

    Do follow is a HTML TAG which tells search engines weather to follow the link or not

    Example of dofollow
    Suppose you have a blog where you link to amazon.com to recommend your readers to buy books

    For doing so... you will write following HTML code:
    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    < ef="www.amazon.com ">The best place to buy books< / a >
    -------------------------------------------------------------------Will look something like this: The best place to buy books


    Now this is the important part. When google's crawler visits your site. It will register a vote for amazon.com for "best place to buy books" keyword.

    The abuse of linking:
    When people came to know about this feature. They started spamming. They would spam for links everywhere. In the web directories, forums, blogs etc.

    To avoid this abuse, search engines came with the concept of dofollow and nofollow attributes.

    While dofollow means - "Yes i vote for this site, please visit this site"
    " " nofollow " " - "I am not voting, just linking"


    The result
    :
    Most websites now specify "nofollow" tag automatically. Well... not all, but still most of them do.

    So how can you get more dofollow links?Here are some tips, to get more incoming links:

    • Create good contentContent is the king. If you have good content, more people will link to you. This is the most easiest way.
    • Find dofollow blogs (Here)
      Some blogs allow "dofollow" links in their comments, so if you post comments on these blogs, you will get more links.
    • The buzz factorCreate a buzz that is unique to your website. Run a contest OR conduct "interviews". People WILL link to you when they talk about anything that is uniquely yours!

    Choose a niche topic and be a master of that category

    I will advice you to create a niche topic site. Avoid a general purpose one. Search engines love sites which have loads of info about one thing, rather than little bit on various topics.


    Specialization is important, I repeat... very very important. Especially if you are starting new with less content. Focus on a niche category first! Please do that!

    Let me explain it further:



    Instead of "Fishes" create a site on "whales" (Sub-category of fishes)
    Instead of "Travel" create a site on "travel in Europe" (Sub-category of travel.
    Instead of "Cars" create a site on "Rolls Royce" (Sub-category of cars)

    The more deeper you delve into the category, the more you win! Get specific and comprehensive about just one thing.

    User's point of view:
    People need specialized services. They spend their time and money for the best thing. They won't come to your site, until you promise specific solution for their problems.

    The best example is Google itself. When you think of Yahoo (it reminds of email, chat, financial portal, job search and along the list .. a search engine too!). Think of google (The first thing that hits your mind is... search).

    Create your identity about one single topic, master it! Not only search engine crawlers, people will also follow you. (And remember, you need traffic other from the search engines too!)

    ..and Have you heard about word of mouth publicity? (it can do wonders)

    Your own Perspective


    Not even Alexender the Great had all the resources to capture the world. Especially if you are just starting out in the WWW, you might have less time, very little or no money. Why would you want to try something "big" and reach nowhere?

    It's better to eat pizza in smaller bites, than to put it in mouth all at once.

    If you are writing on specific topic, you can easily manage things. You can make clear plans. You can be sure of what you are doing. So, I would... suggest you hike the small mountain first and you will hit the apex soon and easily!


    Search Engine's point of view:

    Search engine do calculations on 200 parameters. One of them is "content". If you have the content which talks more about one thing, you will get more preference.


    So what do you think now?


    I know you will ask me this: "If i choose a smaller category, how am I going to make good money?". My answer is "That is a myth" only because you cannot capture the broad audience does nt mean you can't make good money.

    What would u choose amongst the following options:

    a) 10,000 untargeted visitors p. m. - 100 sales OR
    b) 5,000 targeted visitors p.m. - 200 sales

    I would go with second one!

    It is a fact, you sell more if you sell one thing and people want to spend their hard earned money and precious time on the best thing.

    So why not provide the users what they want? At the end of the day all SEO activity is for the users only!

    Naming convention of html, images and other files

    What's in the name?
    Key to better rankings.

    Name it right, to get rankings higher. Name the various html, image, mp3 and other files in your website along with the keywords. Include them and rank higher.


    If you are creating a site for hotels in Mumbai name the files like this:

    "new-york-hotel-rooms.html instead of a01.html
    india-mumbai-tourist-info.html instead of toinfo.html
    mumbai-map-guide.jpg " instead of mp.jpg


    Make sure u follow this tip especially for .zip or .pdf files. Many times people search for specific files and put extensions in their searches.

    It would work best if you have just started building your site. Not if you already own one. You may still consider a re-design. It would be worth your time and effort.

    Search the keywords, use them as names to get better SEO Score. If search engines find more relevant information in any form, it will send more visitors to your site.

    Interlinking of pages within the site

    Why should you interlink pages on your site:
    Interlinking is linking to the different pages on the same site, it helps in building good SEO score, let us see how



    • Reason 1- With links people navigate the site easily

      These internet users don't want to think too much. They can't remember always which link is where. If they are reading about Bill Gates, they might never know that you also have an article on Microsoft (which they probably be interested in) until you link to it right there!

      On blogs 1 out of 1000 th visitor goes to archives. They usually come on your site searching for a topic. Link to other articles on your site with same topic. They will have a reason to spend more time with you.

      They will find a reason to stay on your site, this will help in reducing "bounce rates" and increase "average page visit per user"
    • Reason 2 Crawlers too find it easy
      Crawler, crawls through links. They meet your home page first! Then the home page connects it to other pages via "links".

      So make sure u have enough links on your site. All your pages should be interconnected. Having done so, you will never get a chance to complain about pages not being cached.

    This is to increase "average user time spent". Search engines record this time. According to search engines: "If a user spends more time on your site, your site is more useful"

    Alt image tags - Remember to use them wisely!

    Are Alt Tags really important for seo?
    Suppose you have a website on Taj Mahal. If you put an alt attribute "Taj Mahal" on to the front image, then google will think that you page contains relevant and comprehensive information.

    Hence, it will improve your search engine rankings.

    How to
    use "alt" tags effectively ?
    Do the research, find good keywords, the idea is to make available on your website what people are looking for!

    By both the content and technology, if you can make google and other search engines believe that you have got what users are looking for. You will get more respect.

    What are alt tags?
    You might not know what alt tags are, especially if you are new to html, here is an example

    If i have to optimize my Taj Mahal Site for "Taj mahal agra hotels " keyword, I would specify this keyword as an alt tag to the image

    Please move your mouse over this image to see it working:

    Taj Mahal Agra hotels

    The code:

    < src=" t aj_mahal.jpg" alt = "Taj Mahal Agra hotels" / >

    Why are these alt tags important?
    Search engine calculates the relevancy of a page considering almost more than 200 parameters, some we have discussed here, alt tag is one of them. So it is really important for a healthy SEO to include alt tags in images.

    Not only alt tags helps in SEO, but it also helps disabled people to surf your site which is an additional advantage.

    Using webmaster tools

    Webmaster tools are made available by the search engines to help webmasters "communicate" the site with the crawlers and get detailed reports that would help in boosting your rankings

    Webmaster tools links for major search engines:

    Here are a few things you can do using webmaster tools:
    • Find Broken Links
      If your site has a broken link (link leading to a page that does not exist) you will get a report of such pages, it again counts in overall search engine rankings, SO you should try to find out
    • Set Crawl RatesCrawl is the process when the search engine software stores new pages of your site in their index. If your site gets updated often, it would be a better idea to request faster crawl rates. You can do so by using Webmaster tools and this would help in getting all your pages crawled well and on time.
    • Submit your site map/ FeedsYou can submit XML site map and once you do that chances are high that all the URLS would be crawled and stored in the index.
    • Get Detailed information related to your website, which you may not know:

      - Which are the top ranked pages of your site
      - Reports on incoming links
      - Number of Indexed pages in your site
      - Links reports (outgoing and incoming)

    Average time spent by users on your site


    Average time spent by the user is= Total time spent by all the users/ Number of users
    This gives us the average time spent, if more time is spent by the users, the better.

    This is a very important aspect considered by the search engines to rank your site. More the time spent, means the site is more relevant

    Here are a few things you can do to increase the time spent by the user:
    • Design your site in a way that it is easy for eyes and text is more readable 
    • Create relevant content, the title should be giving a clear preview of the content available.
    • Use simple language which anyone can understand... don't use difficult words, write simple and concise, the idea is to cover all the points you want to with minimum possible number of words.
    As you will go through this site you will realize that website design and SEO is about creating site with users in mind. I would suggest you to learn more about "design principles" and "user experience" before even start building a website. 

    The best SEO activity is to create a site which has relevant content, useful content. And this content should be easy to navigate and find! That's the key to getting a successful website!

    Importance of site design


    Site design is important for ranking well in search engines too! However, no search engine is directly going to evaluate your site's design, but it is still related to it. Let us see how...

    Why is design important for good SEO?



    Reason: If the design is not good, the user might close the site in less time and this would have an adverse effect on your site's "average time spent points". So your design strategy should be geared towards a design which would entice the user to spend more time on the site.

    Now this is the secret of search engines! If a user is not spending more time on a site, the search engine would down rate the site and gradually decrease its ranking.

    Design Tips to hold visitor on to a website!
    Here are some design tips which you should consider to make users stick to your site.. these are points every webmaster SHOULD consider to make the site "user oriented"
    • Importance of proximityInformation should be easy to locate, and related info should be placed together; starting from most important to least important.
      If the design is simple, the user would be able to spend more time on the site without straining his eyes. If the average time spent on the site increases, your SEO score will increase.

      One good Example:
      A perfect example is YouTube, it has a clean and simple user interface. Almost anyone can start using YouTube,

      Just open the Video page and the only thing you get to see is... what you are looking for! This makes you hook on to the page and you love spending time watching videos on the site.

      In YouTube:
      --> All the related videos come on the Right hand side of the screen, separate to the main video and comments section. It makes it easy to find what else i can watch if i finish with the present video.

      --> Comments come on the bottom of the video, there are no advertisements and useless buttons between the video and comments.

      --> White background color on the website, is the best, it's cooler on eyes and the text is easily readable.

    • Placement of various sections
      Placement is important, it's good to keep related set of information in separate boxes. People read from left to right and top to bottom, so you should place the Title on top left corner of the screen (that is where most websites place their logo)

      This heat map shows the most looked important areas of a webpage:


      The darker red areas are most "first looked" areas of the site. These are the areas where the user looks at when he/she comes for the first time.

      Red are the places where the eye movement start and hence are important, lighter colors (yellow) are the areas with least importance.

    • Catching the attraction (Very Important)
      To catch the attraction you should.... 1st write an attractive title and then use an image which would tell the users "what is available"

      User does not start reading the whole page BUT makes a glance to evaluate what information is stored and whether it is the same thing that he is looking for or not!

      So the title should tell the user -"Hey we have got what you are looking for" then only user would continue reading otherwise if he gets an impression that the information is not relevent; he would simply close the webpage and move on to the next search engine result.

    • Use of Graphics:
      Compress your images as much as possible, this will decrease the download time of the web page and hence would add to the better user experience.


    Clean HTML programming for SEO


    After the site download speed importance, we will here talk about the HTML programming style every dot com owner should consider to improve the performance and rank well in the search engines.

    Here is the quick tip: HAND CODE and keep the code less. Use CSS extensively to do that.

    Here are a few more tips about the html tables and layers etc:

    • If you are NOT a programmer
      And you have hired a programmer to do the job for you, instruct him that you want no extra tables or layers, tell him that you want clean and simple things.
      If 5 layers do the job instead of 7, use 5 the number of code lines should be as small as possible
      Don't pay the programmer for the number of lines written! You won't gain much from it. Instead tell him that you would pay for the "best code"

    • If you are a programmer Plan in advance how things would be placed onto the webpage, don't comment too much (even that adds up to the page size), keep the code concise and to the minimum.

      Using an external CSS sheet is a good idea as it helps in adding colors to the webpages without adding much to the size of individual pages.

      Div tags are good, tables are not, for the simple reason, that tables are not so flexible in their positioning and use. To get something done through a table tag might require you more code than that through simple div tags


      The idea is to keep the code less! Less coding decreases site load time. It is easier for search engine spiders to understand the content on the website. 

    Site download speed

    Site download speed is a important parameter which is considered by search engine spiders to see weather the site is good in terms of usability or not.


    Speed is what everyone likes, especially if you are online, you would never sign up for a mail service which is slow, you love google because it's fast. YouTube is cool because you don't have to wait till the video gets downloaded. Patience to keep is only with the saints and not that much with the internet users.

    The same is with your site, try and make your site adhere to this, never never never do silly things that would make your site slower.

    In simple steps here are some ways you can reduce the download speeds

    • Choose a good webhostI know what you might ask, "How do I know which one of them are good" that's a good question, ummm... on the top of my mind i would recommend godaddy, one.com, register.com, dreamhost (especially for blogs). Remember the bigger the better, if a company has a big infrastructure it would be more reliable, this is a thumb rule.

      In future if you do reach to a point, when your site visitors increase and you start making big bucks, PLEASE host the site on your own servers, this will help you cut out the competition.
    • Design the website through handcoding, avoid WYSWYG html editors

      Don't look for an easier way of designing the website, being a professional i would suggest you to handcode the website all throughout! Notepad should be your ultimate tool for creating html pages, this would really help you to write manageable code for your website.

    • Optimize the images, get a photoshop or photoshop like program

      Those small images can really take a lot of space, if you try to compress the images you will really end up in getting amazingly low sizes with descent quality.

    • Visit the W3schools website and learn about the standards
      When you handcode remember to create the site on standards set up by the World wide web consortium. Search engines do make a count on that.
    • Check your websites in major browsers, CSS can act differently
      CSS the style sheets are used extensively these days, they really help in designing nice and manageable sites. But there is one issue along with them, it can act differently of different browsers, so would suggest you to download the most popular browsers (at least to least Internet explorer, Firefox and Safari).

    Basic SEO concepts

    To start with, let us first simplify some of the basic terms used in the world of search engine optimization:
    • SEO- Search engine optimization, the process of marketing, designing a website in such a way that it can communicate well with the search engines and hence increase in targeted traffic.
    • Keyword - Search terms that users enter into the search box to find information
    • Search engine spider the search engine program that scans a web site to get the content in it's database(Index)
    • Crawl The process of indexing the content by a search engine spider program.
    • Bounce Rate related to time spent by a user on the site.
    • Direct traffic when there is no referral (search engine or other linking website) for the user's visit.
    • Webmaster Tools are a set of features provided by search engines to help webmaster in the search engine optimization process.
    • PageRank site's rating on the scale of 1 to 10 by Google. The more the page rank, the better traffic you can get on your website (other factors being equal)

    • Link building - the process to get more incoming links to improve page rank

    Find monthly searches for any topic on the internet

    Knowing what people are searching for online is the key of making successful websites!

    Are you a Blogger? A  Marketing Manager OR  a Web designer/SEO Manager 
    or anyone interested in "how many times a term is searched for on the internet"!

    Any good SEO campaign starts with good research of, what people are searching on the internet. If you want to find out what your potential customers are searching for in google.  Then following tools can get you that information>

    1. stats.grok.se  A database site which contains wikipedia statistics and So if you know how many times a page was viewed on wikipedia you can estimate the demand of that keyword

    2. semrush.com
      is a website that provides data and information regarding organic traffic of search engines. It is a paid service but u can get upto 10 queries a day for free. It is almost accurate!

    3. google keyword tool
      This is an advance keyword tool provided by google for adwords customer. Google keyword tool is the best keyword research software and probably most accurate too!

    Other sites >


    Do you know of any other nice keyword tool that helps in finding out number of searches for keywords? If yes, then please share with us through comment section!