Putting The Term “Guaranteed Top SERP Ranking” Under The Microscope

Posted by Justin Nwosu in Search Engines on 07-01-2012

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I frequently come across SEO service providers who specifically offer “guaranteed top ranking on Google SERPs” to their clients. This sort of guarantee gets a thinking mind to wonder if it’s possible for a non-Google employee to reverse-engineer its search ranking algorithm, in order to bring a lowly-ranked web page to the top. The truth is while you can do some search engine optimization for a site, you can’t surely guarantee Google’s top ten ranking for a competitive keyword, because so many other webmasters in your niche are relentlessly optimizing their sites for the same targeted keyword. That’s assuming the keyword has a high search volume.

Reasons why non-Google employee without access to the search software cannot guarantee top 10 ranking on its SERPs:

  • The search ranking algorithm is fully automated.
  • SEO providers are outsiders and don’t have the means to reverse-engineer the ranking algorithm.
  • It’s apparent that your competitors (other webmasters and site owners in your niche) are also working to get their websites to the top. And the ones already at the top continue to optimize their sites to remain there.

Some SEO service providers I talked to said the reason why they call the service “guaranteed top 10 SERP ranking” is to attract clients. They complain that their clients generally don’t want to hear “I’ll try” – they literally want guarantees that their websites would be among the first 10 listings on Google search results for their chosen keywords. So, as you can see, clients are also a part of the problem.

But can we call this a form of deception? Well, it depends on how you look at it. An SEO specialist who has brought numerous websites to Google’s first page for competitive keywords can defend his/her use of the term. Still, things can go wrong – they might not turn out the way you want them to. And when that happens, the client can rightly say this is a deception. It’s even worse for an SEO amateur to use that term “guaranteed top 10 ranking on Google SERPs”, because there’s likelihood things won’t work out the way it’s anticipated.

The fact is that serious clients who understand how search engines work don’t demand SEO service providers to guarantee top ranking before hiring them. They go to those specialists who have built strong reputations in the field and have easily-verifiable number of websites they’ve ranked in the past.

Ways to drive sustainable, free traffic to your website

Posted by Justin Nwosu in Search Engines on 01-10-2011

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Simply uploading a newly-designed website to your server doesn’t guarantee traffic from your target audience. The main purpose of creating a website is not only to get your immediate friends to view it, but also to reach a wider audience. But you won’t get much traffic without promoting the site. You need to tell Internet users that the site exists and what it offers. In this article, we’re going to discuss various sustainable ways, including SEO and other means, to generate organic traffic. Unlike paid marketing, these techniques continue to yield positive results long after you’ve implemented them.

Create an affiliate program:
If you sell products and/or services on your site, setting up an affiliate program will help to increase sales. This means your affiliates will be marketing your products/services simply to earn their own commissions. So, just set it up and let others promote your products!

Create a blog related to your business:
Creating a blog related to your niche has lots of benefits: it will help you to position yourself as an authority in your field by writing tutorials, providing information, expressing your personal views on crucial topics, as well as getting lots of relevant backlinks with targeted keywords as anchor texts. If your writings are interesting, many readers will regularly use your blog as a reference point. But before you start writing, perform a keyword research for your niche, and make sure you blend keywords that have high click-through rates with the entire content. I especially prefer to use Google Keyword Tool External for my researches. Some of the keywords should be used as anchor texts while linking back to your business website.

To create a blog that will give you valuable inbound links, host it on a different account than the server on which your business website resides. This is because search engines assign lesser value to backlinks that originate from the same IP as the one being linked to. You can even use free blog hosting sites like Blogger.com or WordPress.com.

Now, you’ve seen that having a blog opens a way for your business site to get targeted backlinks, as well as a stream of visitors who enjoy what you write and want to know more about you.

Embark on article submissions:
Another viable way to get keyword-rich backlinks and huge traffic is to write unique articles and submit to article marketing resources, such as Articlesbase and Ezinearticles. I only recommend submitting to quality article directories that have large user-base and those that allow links in their author’s resource boxes. As a rule, only submit articles related to your niche, so that your backlinks will be relevant and visitors who follow the link won’t be disappointed when they reach your site.

Write and publish press releases:
Publishing press releases has also proven to be a major way to generate enormous, targeted traffic, and also to amass relevant inbound links. Whenever you release a new product and/or service, publish and distribute a PR to help a wider audience to know about it. A single well-written and meaningful press release has the potential to drive thousands of targeted traffic.

Post viral videos at Youtube:
Many businesses, including your competitors, use online videos as a way of marketing their sites. And you might be missing out on a lucrative, free advertising model that helps others to drive traffic to their websites, if you’re not yet involved.

Submit links to web directories:
Human-edited web directories provide a way to get backlinks from pages that relate to our websites. Just weed out the link farms before you start submitting to select few web directories.

How To Perform SEO For Your Website

Posted by Justin Nwosu in Search Engines on 13-01-2011

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Search engine optimization is defined as the process of improving the ranking of a website or web page in search engines via organic search results. This process includes on-page, as well as off-page techniques. Before you can become a search engine optimizer, you need to understand how search engines are programmed to function and the keywords Internet searchers type into search inputs. As a site owner, you should learn at least some basic SEO skills, if you have plenty of time to spend learning and implementing the techniques.

On-page SEO
a) Prioritizing keywords through HTML coding: For a site or web page to rank for any keyword, it must contain the term in its content. Include in the title <title> of every web page the keywords or key phrases it targets. This will help the page to rank well for the key terms, if it has quality backlinks that use the same keywords as anchor texts. Bear in mind that any keyword you use in your title should be present in the body of the web page. Make proper use of heading tags, such as h1, h2 and h3, to show search engine crawlers the important keywords on every page. Bing especially assigns higher priority to keywords contained inside these heading tags.

b) Creating unique and keyword-rich content: Create 100% original content for each web page and after that use Copyscape to check if it has any duplicate issue. Duplicate content attracts some kind of penalty from search engines. Ensure that each web page contains all the important keywords related to it. Nevertheless, never stuff keywords into any web page, to avoid triggering Google’s spam filter.

c) Canonicalization issue: Canonicalization issue occurs when multiple URLs can be used to access a single web page. This causes a colossal challenge to search engine bots in determining the canonical URL the webmaster wants them to index. This issue can be corrected by using 301 to redirect other URL variations to your preferred one.

Off-page SEO
In theory, off-page search engine optimization mainly deals with the process of promoting a website or web page to attract incoming links. But it goes well beyond that! Relevance of a backlink to the linked content is what actually makes a difference. Quality of the page where the link originates counts so much. High quality backlinks carry much more weight in the “eyes” of search engines than poor quality ones.

Become An Authority In The “Eyes” Of Search Engines

Posted by Justin Nwosu in Search Engines on 06-11-2010

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Authorities matter in every field of life’s endeavor. Search engines view authoritative sites the same way humans view and respect them. The factors that determine these authorities are uniqueness of their content and high number of quality inbound links. However, unique content alone cannot earn a site an authoritative status in the “eyes” of search engine bots, since there are countless other unique websites. This is where backlinks come in and play a very significant role. Now let me explain why attracting a lot of quality incoming links matter so much.

The Web Wide Web is called the web because a website needs to connect to a lot of other relevant websites that eventually combine to form a web pattern. So, the more relevant sites connect to yours by casting their votes for yours, the more your site’s authority increases. But not all links are equal! The links that matter to search engines are the ones that do not have the Nofollow attribute placed on them. Since Nofollow links are only for reference purposes, the tag means the originating site does not cast its vote of approval for yours. Even though search engine spiders notice such links, they literally do not follow them to crawl and index the linked web pages.

On the contrary, search bots follow links that do not have the Nofollow tag placed on them, to crawl the linked web pages. All major search engines, such as Google, Yahoo, Ask and Bing support the Nofollow tag. And when a webmaster does not use it on a link, search engine crawlers view it as a vote of approval for the linked page.

So, How Many Sites Link To Yours?
A webmaster’s priority should be to make sure his/her site becomes an authority in the middle of spiders’ web. When your website has many concentric rings of external domains that link to it at the center, then it will become an authority in your web sphere of influence. Technically a site is not supposed to “grab” incoming links by itself. But a webmaster is expected by search engines to provide very unique and enticing content that would make other webmasters want to link to it. This is easier said than done. You can create the best content on the Web and yet nobody links to it.

To get you started, I encourage you to start writing articles related to your niche and submit them to high quality article directories like Ezinearticles and so on. Some of these article resources allow writers to link to their websites in their resource boxes. This is one of the great ways to get high quality and relevant backlinks.

Submitting to quality web directories that adhere to high editorial principles is another way to get inbound links. But stay away from directories that are infested with spam links. Submitting to directories is time-consuming and needs to be done professionally, to enhance high acceptance rate. If you can’t do it yourself, place an order of a reliable directory submission service to do the job for you.

There are many other ways to get links legitimately. If a relevant web page is indexed and allows external links, go after it. Several low quality links from spam-free sites will give your site some level of limited authority, but a few high quality (high PR) links will definitely give your site more authority on the Web.

I believe you now know why your top priority should be to strive to become your niche’s authority in the “eyes” of search engine bots. When your site has attained that status, it will start to do exceptionally well in organic searches. A good example of such authority is Wikipedia – it does very well in several search terms.

What To Expect When MSNBot Becomes BingBot

Posted by Justin Nwosu in Search Engines on 23-08-2010

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It has been officially announced that on the 1st day of October, 2010 the veteran MSNBot will be retired forever by Bing. The change of name for the user agent will be made to reflect the current Microsoft search brand, Bing. Instead of the old web crawler that currently shows up on log statistics as, “Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; msnbot/2.0b (+http://search.msn.com/msnbot.htm)”, the new one will be: “Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; bingbot/2.0 +http://www.bing.com/bingbot.htm)”. And the HTTP header “From” field will also be changed to “From: bingbot(at)microsoft.com”. That means that “From: msnbot(at)microsoft.com” will no longer exist.

Rick DeJarnette of the Bing Crawling and Indexing Team stated on their Webmaster blog that the crawler is undergoing some undisclosed improvements: http://www.bing.com/community/blogs/webmaster/archive/2010/06/28/bing-crawler-bingbot-on-the-horizon.aspx. And we expect this to not just be a mere change of name, but a true improved version of the search engine spider.

Hints of what to expect from BingBot:

  • Bingbot will honor the directives stipulated by webmasters in robots.txt files for msnbot. No one will be required to make any change to reflect the new search engine bot.
  • The beta tag which MSNBot presently carries will be dropped. By October 1st the user agent will show the Internet world that it has undergone a lot of vigorous tests to ensure its stability.
  • If a webmaster gives separate directives to BingBot and MSNBot, only the directive(s) for BingBot will be adhered to.

A typical example of such directives is this:

User-agent: bingbot
Disallow: /mail/

User-agent: msnbot
Disallow: /mail/
Disallow: /admin/

In this type of scenario, BingBot will crawl every other directory on the site, including the “admin” directory. However, it will not crawl the “mail” directory, because a directive specifically restricts it from doing so. As you can see, the directives set for the BingBot overrides the ones set for the retiring user agent in the same robots.txt file. This rule is implemented to avoid any form of conflict.

The areas webmasters expect BingBot to improve upon:

Several webmasters I exchange ideas with hope that some aspects of Bing crawling and indexing can use some improvements.

  • Fast indexing of new websites. MSNBot is a very slow spider and generally takes between three (3) to four (4) months to index new sites. This is a direct contrast to GoogleBot and Yahoo Slurp, which index new websites in less than two (2) weeks. Since Bing will start powering Yahoo search sometime in 2011, we expect faster indexing from its crawler.  This will help it to compete favorably with Google.
  • Bing has a very small indexing capacity when compared to Google and Yahoo. For its search alliance with Yahoo to bring good results, webmasters expect it to increase its indexing capacity. Doing this will help it to be able to index almost all the well-optimized web pages of websites.
  • Bing search results when compared to those of Google lack relevance in some ways. It has to bring better relevant results on SERPs to be able to break the near monopoly controlled by Google. This is an area where BingBot needs improvement.
  • MSNBot is a resource hog. It consumes a lot of bandwidth while crawling websites, and this has some consequences for sites hosted on shared server environments. Hopefully the incoming BingBot will correct this issue.

The Bing Crawling and Indexing Team welcome feedback, positive criticisms, opinions and ideas from the general public. If you have inquiries to make or any suggestion that would help to improve the new search engine spider, BingBot, don’t hesitate to contact the team through the following email address: bingbot@microsoft.com.