Many people think link popularity equates to the number of incoming links a website has linking to it. In other words, how many other websites are linking to your website.
But, link popularity is much more than just the number of incoming links you have coming to your website. Factors can include, but are not limited to, the quality and type of website linking to you, whether you link back to that website or not, the reputation of the website linking to you, and if it appears that you paid for the link or not. And Google has just made the distinction between quality links vs. non-quality links even more pronounced with their latest algorithm update.
On a very simplistic level, a website's link popularity is designed to increase as the number of other websites linking to your website increases. Google's original inspiration with this concept was based on the fact that Google believes if other websites were linking to your website, you must have something good to link to. In other words, others are giving your website a vote of confidence.
However, as in all aspects of Search Engine Marketing, website owners and SEO specialists found ways to manipulate Google's Page Rank (Google's indicator of your link popularity.) Many website owners actively seek other websites that will "exchange" a link with them. "If you link to me, I'll link to you." So many times the links are completely irrelevant to the content on the two sites. The reciprocal link arrangements are simply established in order to try to increase their link popularity and thereby their Google Page Rank. There have been entire businesses built on helping websites exchange links with each other to boost their Google Page Rank.
Of course Google is not blind to this manipulation of their algorithm. So it goes without saying that they would eventually figure out a way to help stop, or at least minimize the abuse of their link popularity approach to ranking websites...read more about link popularity.
MySpace.com in Number 1 Position - July, 2006!
According to data released by Hitwise for the week ending July 8, 2006, MySpace topped Yahoo and Google for website visits.
Market Share of Website Visits -
Week Ending July 8, 2006
Source: Hitwise, 2006
|Website||Market Share (%)|
|2. Yahoo! Mail ||4.42|
|3. Yahoo! (homepage)||4.25|
|5. MySpace Mail||2.85|
|6. MSN Hotmail||2.39|
|9. Yahoo! Search||1.36|
|10. MSN Search||0.93|
Results for a ranking in May 2006 by comScore Media Metrix showed Yahoo in the number 1 position with Google as number 4 and MySpace as number 7...
Top 10 Online Properties, May 2006
Source: comScore Media Metrix, May 2006
|Rank||Property||Unique Visitors (000)|
|2||Time Warner Network||119,206|
|9||New York Times Digital||40,342|
|10||Verizon Communications Corporation||36,238|
What Google Said
Google wants to create quality search engine results just as badly as you want to acquire high search engine rankings. Fortunately for us, Google provides web masters with plenty of guidelines and tips for building a Google-Friendly site.
Unfortunately, many web masters simply aren't listening. Most web masters seem to be pulling tips and strategies from almost every source but Google itself. However, Google has some of the most beneficial SEO tips to be found online.
Here are just a few of the questions that you can find answered directly by Google.
Q. Does Google index dynamic pages?
A. Yes. Google indexes dynamically generated pages. This includes pages with the following file extensions: .asp, .php, and pages with question marks in their URLs. However, these pages can cause problems for the Googlebot and may be ignored.
Fortunately, there is a solution. If you feel that your dynamically generated pages are being ignored, you may want to consider creating static copies of those pages for the Googlebot. Keep in mind, if you choose to do this, be sure to include a robots.txt file that disallows the dynamic pages so that Google doesn't see those pages as duplicate content.
Q. Does Google index sites that use ASP?
A. Yes. Google is able to index most types of pages and files with very few exceptions. This includes pdf, asp, jsp, html, shtml, xml, doc, xls, ppt, rtf, wks, lwp, wri, swf, cfm, and php. This is not a complete list, but it gives a good overview.
Q. Does Google index sites that use Macromedia Flash?
A. Yes. Google indexes pages that use Macromedi Flash. However, Google may have problems indexing Flash pages. If you are concerned that your Flash content is inhibiting Google's ability to crawl your site, you may want to consider creating HTML copies of those Flash pages. As always, you will need to include a robots.txt file that disallows the Flash pages so that Google does not recognize those pages as duplicate content.
Hotel Web Sites; the missing link(s)...
There's a Fifth Element to building online revenues from your hotel web site, and without it you will never appear on page one of Google, Yahoo or MSN for the highest volume search terms...a Fifth you say? And the first Four Elements are?
Well, the first Four Elements are: a search-engine-friendly technical site structure, rich original content, appealing design and conversion techniques focussed on converting lookers to bookers...but even if you get these first four completely right, and you can, you still won't appear on page one of Google, Yahoo or MSN for high traffic generating search terms. Highly frustrating I know - been there, done that, got the t-shirt; this is the answer you have been looking for...
The Fifth Element has nothing to do with anything actually on you hotel web site; the Fifth Element involves actively building more Inbound Links to your web site from other web sites. In the simplest of terms, a Search Engine sees a link to your web site as being like a vote of confidence in your web site. Search Engines believe that if other websites are linking to your web pages, you must have something good to link to and they will rate the page being linked to positively.
Search Engine robots or spiders continuously travel virally from web site to web site following links like an enormous daisy chain; in fact Search Engines initially discover your web site via a link from another web site. Once your hotel web site has been found, each page of your site is then ranked by Search Engines based on a complex set of criteria known as an algorithm; a piece of computer code that takes into consideration on-site and off-site factors collected by the robots or spiders. Data is then assembled, collated and evaluated in order to come up with a Page Score or Rank. This is how a search engine determines which sites to present when someone types in "Hong Kong hotel with harbour view" or "New York five star lodging near Wall Street".
All things being equal, when two hotel web sites have similar structure and content, the site with the best links will be served up first. Note that I wrote "best links" not "most links".....read more about Hotel Web Sites »
You've heard of the olden days when people would hunt for
potential link partners. Well, those days are long gone
and smart web masters are moving on to greater things,
while decreasing their reciprocal link building effort.
If you are wondering what this new technique could be, it's
actually quite simple... in theory. It is known as
linkbaiting. This is a strategy that brings links to a
website simply because of the unique and popular
content on a website.
With the rise of the blogosphere and social bookmarking sites,
all it takes is one person to notice an interesting page and
link to a site. Once a link is passed around once, it becomes
easier for it to spread further.
Bloggers around the net constanly use linkbait to encourage
other bloggers to mention them or to get their content passed
around the blogosphere. However, many traditional web masters
have not quite latched on to this powerful technique.
The benefits of creating quality, unique, or even controversial
content go way beyond what one might first imagine. When a web
site offers true value to the visitor, they can create hundreds
and even thousands of backlinks without even asking.
Unfortunately, simply having good, quality content on your site
doesn't always work. To gain the full potential of linkbaiting,
you need a good hook. Some of the most popular ones include:
SEO - Will Decision Makers Finally "get" it?
Thanks to a ground-breaking agreement between Dell and Google, SEO may soon be a mainstream topic of conversation. Dell, the world's leading maker of personal computers, has announced that it is testing a pre-installed package of Google software, including a Google-powered Dell home page, Google Desktop Search, and a Google Toolbar.
While the home page and Desktop Search will be an undeniable boost to Google's share of the Search market, and maybe even a threat to Microsoft's desktop dominance, it's the pre-installation of the Google Toolbar that will be of most interest to SE marketers and optimizers around the world.
Currently a specialist 'industry tool' used predominantly by SE practitioners, the Google Toolbar may soon be automatically available to hundreds of thousands of mainstream computer users. As a result, Google PageRank and, by extension, search engine marketing and optimization look set to become part of mainstream vocabulary. (Well, maybe that's a little optimistic... Perhaps they're more likely to become part of the vocab of the computer savvy mainstream.)
So what does this all mean to SEO and SEM? In my humble opinion, the four most important implications of the Dell-Google agreement are:
1) Business decision makers will finally 'get' SEO
Although not overly helpful to SEMs and SEOs, Google PageRank is an ideal hook for busy decision makers. It's very simple (in that it's just a mark out of ten) and measurable, and it's just THERE; you don't have to go out of your way to see the PageRank of a site. It's exactly what decision makers need to get their collective heads around SEO. They don't have the time or inclination to understand the complexities of SERPs, IBLs, spiders, indexing, keyword phrases, metatags, article PR, SEO copywriting, etc. For better or worse, PageRank eliminates all shades of gray, leaving the two colors many decision makers understand best: black and white.
2) Business will become aware of the importance of PageRank
While most business decision makers are aware that a good search engine ranking is good for business, they're not yet aware that a bad PageRank is bad for business. But with the Google Toolbar at their disposal, they soon will be. Decision makers will immediately start to use PageRank as a one-shot assessment of the credibility and authority of every website they visit....read more »
Selecting The Right Search Engine Keywords
Think of the right keywords as the Open Sesame! of the Internet. Find the exactly right words or phrases, and presto! hoards of traffic will be pulling up to your front door. But if your keywords are too general or too over-used, the possibility of visitors actually making it all the way to your site - or of seeing any real profits from the visitors that do arrive - decreases dramatically.
Your keywords serve as the foundation of your marketing strategy. If they are not chosen with great precision, no matter how aggressive your marketing campaign may be, the right people may never get the chance to find out about it. So your first step in plotting your strategy is to gather and evaluate keywords and phrases.
You probably think you already know EXACTLY the right words for your search phrases. Unfortunately, if you haven't followed certain specific steps, you are probably WRONG. It's hard to be objective when you are right in the centre of your business network, which is the reason that you may not be able to choose the most efficient keywords from the inside. You need to be able to think like your customers. And since you are a business owner and not the consumer, your best bet is to go directly to the source.
Instead of plunging in and scribbling down a list of potential search words and phrases yourself, ask for words from as many potential customers as you can. You will most likely find out that your understanding of your business and your customers' understanding is significantly different.....read more about selecting the right Search Engine Keywords »
Monitor Your Search Engine Positions!
Each search engine uses a formula to compute website rankings. When a search engine changes this formula in any way, it may raise or lower your ranking. Some search engines use a number of different formulas, rotating them so that a formula doesn't become overused or outdated. Depending on which formula is being applied, your search engine position may suddenly drop or rise in rank significantly. Therefore, you must check your positions frequently in order to catch when a search engine changes formulas and what effect it has on your positions.
You must also deal with your competition - a crucial factor you must always be vigilant about. Your competitor's position may suddenly rise, automatically lowering your position. Or their position may drop, pushing your position higher. Each month, expect position changes due to the continual changes that are occurring in your competitor's position, and be prepared to adjust your marketing strategy to compensate for decreased rankings. Monitoring these fluctuations will also give you vital information about how to improve your website to increase your position in search results.
Of course, you must discern what the most popular search engines are in order for your monitoring efforts to be effective. Right now, there are ten popular search engines that direct most of Internet traffic to your sites. The challenge you face is that these top ten may change from month to month.
This means that your must not only monitor your search engine positions, but you must also keep track of the ranking popularity of the search engines you are monitoring. Find out which search engines people use most frequently every month and be sure to live in the present! People are fickle about their favourite search engines, and it takes constant vigilance to follow their dalliances. The search engines they loved when you first launched your campaign may be old news in the next few months. You must adjust your list of engines according to the whims of the Internet users.....read more »
ci-Interactive accepts article submissions for publication on our travel and leisure portals - Authors and travel writers interested in submitting articles should email firstname.lastname@example.org - Currently our portals include New England, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Islands (worldwide), Florida, California, Chicago, Orlando, Miami, Key West, Washington DC, and New York - Florida Fishing, Florida Golf and Florida Outdoors, and Tropical Island Weddings or Unique Destination Weddings. Sites that will be launched in 2006 are Michigan, Wisconsin, Tropical Island Spas, Georgia Golf, and Florida Artist's Gallery. Please check our submission guidelines - click here.
Is Email Marketing Effective?
How do we determine whether an email marketing campaign is effective?
The bread & butter of a campaign is its' ability to be opened and read. Unlike print material, email provides tracking tools to gauge visitor statistics and click through rates. A true email campaign will strive to seek as much customer data as possible. Add a response form to your emails or invite newsletter subscribers to join an online message board. Droves of customers registering to your online community can highlight your emails ability to attract. Add links to your newsletter and observe its click through rate with tracking software.
The savvy email marketer will investigate trends and tricks for time tested email campaigns. For instance, HTML format emails are more visually pleasing than plain text emails - run a campaign using both formats and see which gets the most click rates! Will offering discount couples for opt-in list subscribers do the trick? If you own an online store, run a promotion where subscribers can receive a code via email to use for discount purchases on your site! For example, a site selling pheromones, is currently offering 20% off anything on their product list for newsletter readers only. Not only does this encourage customers to purchase off your site, but also you'll know who your loyal customers are.
Another way to determine whether your email campaign is off the charts or not is to compare what you've received from a special campaign with the amount of money you've spent. Is your discount sunglasses newsletter generating $100 a month off click throughs and on-the-spot purchases versus spending $12 on paying a freelance writer for article writing and $3 on target email addresses? If so, your email campaign is paying off! Are members of your opt-in list clicking more on Discount Coupons for All Purchases¨ than the title ¨The History of Sunglasses?¨ Discount coupons lead to big purchases, so try to launch promotional opportunities more often!....read more»
Clearing your Cache - What is cache? Plus, step by step instructions and screen shots for CLEARING your cache.
12 Free SEO Tools
Effective SEO strategies require a lot of effort and time. Although in the search engines market exist very advanced tools that cost a lot, there are many free SEO tools which can help the novice and advanced SEO marketer to save valuable time.
Here is a list of free and proven for their effectiveness SEO online instruments:
1) http://www.alexaranking.com . It displays multiple domains instead of one. Therefore, you can have instant traffic results from Alexa Rankings instead of typing and search each time separately.
2) http://www.xml-sitemaps.com . Sitemaps are extremely important for websites because they help search engines crawl and index them. This is a free xml sitemap generator......read more »
Google's Big Daddy
While Google has a strong focus on getting the best search results for users, it's getting tougher all the time to get better results for your website with Google. Many smaller businesses with limited resources are likely to find themselves at a disadvantage due to the constant algorithm changes.
At the end of March '06, Google completed another algorithm update called "Big Daddy". Algorithm changes are made on a regular basis by Google-sometimes twice a year-with the aim of getting the best results for Google search users.
What will this latest change mean to you and your website? For some of you it will make very little difference, for others it will impact considerably because the number of pages from your website listed within Google's search results will have diminished....read more about Google's Big Daddy
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