SEOmoz Beginners Guide To SEO Ch9 Review
Myths and Misconceptions About Search Engines
This chapter is about clearing up the confusion about how search engines operate.
It starts with some history of how one used to be able to apply or submit to the search engines to optimize your site. That practice no longer applies.
Then the chapter goes into a rundown on Meta Tags, Keyword Stuffing, Paid Search and Search Engine Spam
The video and guide go into detail about what you need to know about each subject.
Title tags and meta descriptions are in, keyword density and stuffing are out.
Paid search has no effect on organic search and spamming never pays off in the long run.
Page Level Spam Analysis,manipulative linking,cloaking,low value pages are all covered to let you know what to do to avoid problems with the Google and Bing.
Domain Level Myths
Up to now the information has been about page level optimization.
Of recent, domain level issues are important to know about.
Linking practices, content value and trustworthiness all apply at the domain level’
That means for example that a few bad pages on a site with otherwise great content can have a negative effect on ranking and trustworthiness.
How To Know If You Have Been Hit
The chapter goes on to give you some points to cover if your website has been hit with penalties and lays out the process to ask for redress/
All in all this is more of an informational chapter and it has some good advice about how to avoid penalties and what to do to turn things around.
So watch the video and for those who want it, read on for the transcript.
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Chapter 9 is really about myths and misconceptions. This is really more of an informational chapter. It’s going to take some of the concepts we’ve already talked about in the first eight chapters and kind of bring them together. It gives you a little history here on the open. It says in the old days you could submit your site to the search engines using a form and then they would index you. That’s really no longer relevant, doesn’t happen anymore, so that’s the gist of that.
Meta tags; it comes in here and repeats that certain meta tags count other meta tags don’t so it simply reinforces the fact that a title tag is vital, a meta description tag is vital, your meta keyword tag is of very little or no use. I still put keywords in a meta tag. You never know. Things could change in the future and if it does you would have to go back again and start redoing things, so I just do it anyway, but it doesn’t really have much value.
Keyword stuffing, keyword density, the practice of repeating a keyword so many times and fitting it into a formula of so many keywords per 100 words doesn’t work. Just write naturally. Use the keyword that you’re trying to rank for naturally, put it up in the early part of the contents and you’ll be fine.
Paid search. This is the concept that if you do pay-per-click and you’re targeting a keyword that you’ll rank better in the search results for that keyword if you’re doing pay-per-click. Not so. There’s no relationship between the results of pay-per-click and organic search. It’s not uncommon, however, to see that sometimes the people at the top of the pay-per-click are also on the top of the organic search. That is just by the implications of what is being written here a good SEO practice, a good PPC practice. You can make the judgment for yourself what that is.
Search engine spam. Nobody likes spam. Search engines don’t like it and humans don’t like it so don’t do it. That’s basically the gist here. Sometimes there could be financial incentives and sometimes spamming works in the short term, but over the long term when you get caught you get nailed. It’s not worth it.
It says here in the second part that search engines are getting smarter. There are concepts like TrustRank which means that the closest you are in links, levels, to the trusted sites like .edu’s, .gov’s, the CNNs the New York Times, there’s a whole bunch of sites that are highly trusted. The closer you are to them the better your ranking will be. There are other concepts here that they talk about HTIS, the statistical analysis historical data, these are all ways of establishing your trust if you understand what those concepts are. Fine.
It mentions the Google Panda update. The Goggle Panda was a change in the algorithm that targeted low content, low valued content sites, especially content farms like article directories. Even Squidoo and places like that that kind of were carrying a lot of lousy content. So those sites got demoted and they got hit.
There’s another update called the Penguin Update that went after link farms and linking practices so you should be aware of those. You should read the Google Webmaster Guidelines and the Bing Webmaster Guidelines. We are refer to them earlier in one of the videos, it tells you to do it there.
Then it goes on to tell you what happens if it takes the same concepts we just went over and it says they apply at the page level and we’re also going to say they apply at the domain level which is something new. The page level you want to avoid keyword stuffing. We already know what keyword stuffing is, we talked about that. Just write naturally. And you do want to put your keyword in a title tag, in a meta description. You want it in a header in a H1 through H6 somewhere, preferably at the top of the content. And you want it in the URL. If you do those four things you’ve got page optimization and you’re in good shape. Write naturally and to your own style and it will go fine.
Manipulative linking. So they mention reciprocal link exchanges, link schemes. There was a practice that would say that you want to build all these little satellite sites and they all link back to your main site and these kinds of artificial link networks don’t work anymore. Paid links, you can pay people to send you links. Some of these services make it look very natural and in the short term you probably won’t get caught. But over the long haul they hire the same services to try to figure out how to get them out of the equation so eventually that will get caught.
Low quality directories. There’s all sorts of ways to list your site with a directory. In many cases that just doesn’t work.
Cloaking. That’s the practice of putting a piece of code in the HTML that tells the search engines and then showing the humans something else. Don’t do it. Now, there is some kind of cloaking that is white hat and they’ll refer to it here and you can go read this article that will tell you the kind of cloaking that is proper, that you can practice.
Low value pages. This comes back again to web spam and content. You want to make sure that your content is unique. That’s really it.
Domain levels. So now the same concepts apply at the domain level. In other words, some domains may have very good pages and do everything right and then there might be pages in there that are really cruddy that have bad linking processes, they may be kind of spammy, they’re trying to sell something and they’re over linking or whatever, or they’re content is scraped from somewhere. So if you’re mixing bad content on a site with good content you’re going to pay for that. You don’t want to do it. So that’s really the gist of what that means. They’ve started to penalize sites at a domain level.
Then they tell you what do you do if you’ve been bad. So if you notice your site’s disappeared. So you want to go look for errors that you’ve made. Maybe you’ve got a robot.txt preventing the tool from crawling you. You want to go into the Google Webmaster tools and see what they tell you. And I showed you the Google Webmaster tools in an earlier video.
You want to see what kind of changes you’ve made that may have affected your site. You want to go back and look at your back link profile. You want to see if there’s any duplicate content. The duplicate content will always be there so you want to make sure. We went through how to get around that with 301 redirects or conical URLs.
Then it gives you a flow chart to figure out what your steps would be if your site disappears. If you’re still indexed or if you’re not indexed. If you’re indexed it sends you to the next step. If your site can still rank for its domain name, yes, you go on to the next one, no, you take a look and see what steps they tell you. And then if the sites has a search for five or six relatively unique terms, title tags. So it gives you a process you can follow and you can follow that.
Then it goes on to explain what do you do. There’s seven steps to get your penalties lifted. It takes you back to the Google Webmaster tools an then Bing Webmaster tools to see if they can give you information to help you along. You can file a reconsideration document with Google to try to fix things.
And then you’ve got to wait for the granddaddy, the Big Maha to decide change their minds. Dan Theis from the SEO braintrusts, one of his recommendations, because it happened to him in one of his early sites, was just bag the site and start a new domain. So that may be the only solution.
And that really is kind of the gist of Chapter 9. So it gives you an indication of what the myths are, what you should be doing and not doing, and it brings together some of the ideas from the proceeding eight chapters ahead of you. That’s it.
So read it and get a good feel for it. A lot of this is an ongoing debate in the SEO community. You can follow that debate to see how that all falls out. So that’s it.
This is Claude Pelanne of Affiliate Starting Line. I hope this video has been helpful. Stay with it, stay well and we’ll talk to you soon.