Monday, June 13, 2011

Statistics and Monitoring

What percentage of people click on the first listing in Google?

Only Google knows for sure, but estimates range from about 40% to 50%. AOL once released their data, which suggested that 42% click on the first listing. “Heat map” studies tend to lean more towards 50% or more.

How do I use Google alerts to monitor the SERPs?

All you have to do is get a Google account and then go to Google Alerts. There you enter the keywords you want the tool to monitor the SERPs for, choose “comprehensive,” choose the frequency you want to receive the alerts and then enter your email address where you want to receive the alerts.

Once you’ve completed those simple steps, you’ll get alerted when new pages that use your keywords appear in the search engines.

You can also use this tool to monitor your backlinks as they appear in Google. Just enter this search term into the alerts field:

Replace the above URL with your actual link, of course.

How can I track the number of backlinks I have?

There are a variety of tools available to you, such as using the Yahoo! Site Explorer, Google Webmaster tools (check the links report) and SEO Quake.

Using these tools is preferable to searching directly in Google. That’s because searching manually generally yields only a sample of the sites that are linking to your site.

Ultimately they’re all wrong! Don’t obsess about tracking these things just focus on building more.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Lesson Six: Indexation

How do I get my site indexed?

Don’t bother submitting your site through the traditional methods. The fastest way to get a site to appear in Google’s index is to create backlinks to it. Use social bookmarking sites to create lots of easy win links from sites that are spidered regularly and submit any RSS feeds you’ve got to directories.

If you’re really keen to get indexed as fast as humanly possible –

  • Stick Adsense on your pages (even if you remove it later) as this forces Google to spider you.
  • Setup an Adwords campaign to your domain (Google has to spider you to determine your quality score).
  • Search for your domain name.
  • Perform site: and link: searches on your domain.
  • Visit your site using accounts with some of the most widespread ISPs (eg AOL) since their logs are used to find new content.
  • Email links to your site to and from a Gmail account.

How do I get my backlinks indexed?

The slow way is to wait for the search engines to naturally find them. The faster way is to ping the page after you leave a backlink. For truly fast backlinking social bookmark them or create RSS feeds with links in.

How can I tell if my site has been visited by a spider/bot?

By checking your traffic logs and statistics. Most traffic analyzing software will recognize and label the bots and spiders that crawl your site. You can also recognize these visitors manually, as the “user agent” is usually labeled something obvious, such as “Google Bot.”

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Lesson Five: Advanced Link Building

What is link velocity?

This refers to how quickly you gain backlinks. For best results, maintain a consistent link velocity.

Most importantly don’t build a load of backlinks (especially with fast indexation techniques) and then stop. Google sees this as a news article that was interesting for a short period of time but no longer relevant so stops ranking it. “Too many links” or “links built too fast” are rarely a problem but inconsistency is.

Can I build links too fast?

Yes and no. If you’ve got a brand new domain name and you fire up some of the more powerful link spamming automation software you’ll get you domain flagged quicker than you can say, “help me my site is gone”.

If you’re building links manually or controlling your usage of serious spam software you’ll be hard pushed to build links too fast on any domain that’s already been aged a bit. Just be consistent.

If you think you can build links too fast on any site here’s an experiment for you next time you’re having a slow weekend. Go out and buy the fastest, spammiest link building software you can lay your hands on and pick a Wikipedia article that currently ranks quite well. Go nuts. All you will do is strengthen its position.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Lesson Four: Link Building Basics

What is a backlink?

This is when a third-party website links to your website. For example, if you write and submit an article to an article directory, then you’ll have an incoming link – a backlink -- from the directory.

The search engines prefer one-way incoming backlinks from high-quality, relevant websites.

What is anchor text?

When you create a link, the anchor text is the clickbable part of the link. For example, in the phrase, “go to Google,” Google is the anchor text.

The reason this is important is because you want to use your keywords as your anchor text on incoming links. So if you’re trying to rank for “gardening secrets,” then those two words should make up the anchor text for several of your backlinks.

What is a do-follow/no-follow link?

There are two types of “nofollow” attribute. The robots meta tag version –

<meta name="robots" content="nofollow" />

Monday, June 6, 2011

Lesson Three: Google and Page Rank

What is Page Rank?

Page Rank (PR) is a numeric value from 0-10 that Google assigns to your individual web pages, and it’s a measure of how important that page is. 

Google determines this importance by looking at how many other high quality, relevant pages link to a particular page. The more links – and the better quality those links are – the more “votes” a page gets in terms of importance. And the more “votes” a site gets, generally the higher the PR.

How often does Google update Page Rank?

It used to be every 3 months but it’s becoming more and more erratic.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Lesson Two: Other factors about Advanced SEO

What other factors affect rankings besides backlinks?

Where you’re getting your links, the quality of these links, the relevancy of these links, how many links you have and what keywords you’re using as the anchor text all affect your rankings. But there are other factors that affect your ranking, including but not limited to:

  • On page optimization factors – this is how well you’ve optimized your tags, content, formatting, keyword proximity, site map, and links on your web page. This also includes whether you use your keywords at the top of your page and in your “alt” tags (both good things).
  • Having a lot outgoing or reciprocal links pointing to “bad” sites (like link farms) – can negatively impact rankings.
  • Whether you have unique content (which the SE’s like).
  • How frequently you update your site. Faster isn't necessarily better. Check what ranks well for your niche and aim to match it.
  • Whether your domain includes your primary keywords.
  • Your domain’s age, reputation, IP address and whether it’s a top level domain (e.g., a .com is better than a .info although probably not by much).
  • Shady practices such as keyword stuffing or using text that’s the same color as the background can negatively affect your rankings. Only an issue if your site gets manually inspected and you don't have a legitimate reason for it.
  • Showing one page to the search engines and other page to visitors negatively affects your rankings. (Cloaking and doorway pages.)
  • Frames negatively affect your rankings.
  • Using content that the search engines can’t read, like audios, flash, videos, graphics (without alt tags), etc.
  • Whether you have a robots.txt file that tells the search engine bots to stop crawling or indexing your site.
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