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Search Engine Optimization

(cont'd)

Key Phrase is the keyword or set of keywords someone types into the little 'search' field in Google or Alta Vista or any other search engine.

A URL is the address of one page on your site. Most search engines display keyword search results and provide a link directly to the page most relevant to those results, rather than your home page. It's very, very important to keep that in mind when you build and optimize your site.

Legitimate Practices is a pet peeve of mine. A true search engine optimization campaign will not use practices such as page or content cloaking, redirects, or lists of links (so-called 'link farms') but relies on good coding practices, well-written content, steady link popularity work and site features that will be every bit as valuable for site visitors as for search engine ranking. Anything less is a short-term fix that will likely reduce your rankings more often than increase them.

So, the long version of the definition would be:

Search Engine Optimization
Using keyword analysis, good coding practices, well-written copy, link popularity analysis and careful site organization to move a web page as close to the number one search results position as possible for a given key phrase, in both search engines and directories.

Hey, that's not so bad after all. But how do you get started? First, you separate reality from myth...


SEO Urban Legends

There are quite a few SEO myths out there. Here are my favorites:

The Keywords META Tag Matters. Mostly wrong. Only Inktomi pays any attention to the keywords meta tag. You should do something basic, but don't bother putting in keywords that aren't supported by your page content.

Search Engines can read Flash, images and video. Sorry, and Ford isn't selling a flying car yet, either. Search engines can read one thing: Text. Anything else, while perfectly legitimate as a design tool, will not help your ranking. And relying too heavily on Flash or images may reduce your site's visibility. Google is one partial exception -- they can read some links in Flash, but still have very limited ability to read Flash content.

Mirroring my site in multiple locations will improve ranking. Actually, just the opposite. Duplication of content will generally have no effect or, worse, reduce your ranking in major search engines. Most search engines now have rules against this form of 'spam' and may reduce your ranking or ban your site altogether.

'Doorway' pages improve ranking. Pages that have lots of keywords but then quickly redirect to the main site will not help you in major search engines, such as Google. And, if someone catches you and reports you to Google or the other search engine, you may be banned altogether. A 'landing' or 'bridge' page, though, that's designed to be as useful for users as for search engines, and does not redirect the user, can help by providing keyword-rich content that's genuinely worthwhile.

 

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