SEO Guide for Beginners

Everybody searches something on Google or a different search engine almost every day. Let’s say you go to Google and search for a particular word or a phrase. Google gives you a list of results and you open the first or may be the second result in the list. We barely go to the second page on Google result lists because the results on the first page are always reliable and informative. A website that appears on the first search result page has a good ranking and visibility for a specific keyword. There are various tools and methods through which one can improve one’s website’s visibility and ranking. The process of improving the visibility and ranking of a website in a Search engine is called as Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Depending on how frequently a website appears in the search results of a search engine, it receives more and more visitors from that particular search engine’s users.

SEO is basically an Internet marketing strategy that improves a website’s ranking and visibility through study of how a search engine works, what people search for, what terms and keywords are searched for and what the targeted audience’s preferred search engine is. There are numerous SEO tactics that involve editing a website’s content and HTML in order to amplify its relevance to a keyword or promoting and publicizing the site to increase the number of its backlinks.

White Hat and Black Hat SEO techniques

A website that follows the guidelines of the search engine, it has valuable and unique content and a good design follows the white hat SEO and it is approved by the search engine. Websites that follow white hat SEO can get ranked well in Google and its search results while they remain there for a long time. However there are websites that do not follow the guidelines and perform unethical SEO activities and they follow black hat SEO Activities. Such SEO activities can make your website rank well for a while but they cannot last for long and they eventually get banned from the search engine permanently or temporarily. It is best to follow guidelines given by a search engine to maintain a good position and ranking for a long time.

 

Here are some of the Reasons why Google would ban your website. (Penalty attracting SEO activities): –

There are numerous guidelines that help you improve your websites ranking and if you follow the guideline set by the search engine your website will be just fine. However there many reasons that your website could attract penalty or even get banned. Here are the some of the SEO activities that you should always avoid.

 

 Bad neighborhood – If your website’s IP address shows that it is located in a bad neighborhood where there are other websites with adult content and other types of unethical content, it attracts penalty from the search engine and you could possibly get banned.

 

 

 Mini-nets – Mini-nets are a network of websites and blogs that are built only for one purpose which is to help and support one website by giving it back links.

 

 

 

 Duplicate content – Duplicate content refers to copying down content of a different website and posting it as your own content on your website. Duplicate or similar content also means taking content from a website and making a few small changes to it and posting it to your website.

 

 

Cloaking – Cloaking is a black hat SEO activity in which the webmaster shows the search engine content while it shows the user a completely different content.

 

 

 

Hidden text or links – In this, the webmaster keeps keywords or links in the content but it has the same color as the background which remains hidden from the visitors.

 

 

 

Keyword spam and keyword stuffing – This is one of the black hat SEO Activities that is most likely to get you banned. Keyword stuffing refers to repeat the main keyword in the content too many times to make sure the search engine knows what the article is about.

 

 

Doorway pages – Doorway Pages are another black hat SEO activity which involves redirecting a page to another. This is generally done to pages with keyword stuffing and useless content.

 

 

 

Redirect pages – Redirect Page is quite similar to doorway page. Generally keyword stuffed pages with no actual content are redirected to another page. So in a way these pages fool the users by showing up in the search results but once they are clicked they are redirected to another page which is completely irrelevant to what the user was looking for.

 

 

Buying links – Buying links is to pay a website in order to get a backlink from it. This is considered as black hat SEO.

 

 

 

 

Code Swapping – Code Swapping refers to keeping an SEO friendly code content ratio for your website’s page rank but changing it after it’s been crawled by a search engine. This is a temporary method and after the search engines revisit the website, it will see the changes and give you penalties.

 

 

Link farms – Link farms, also known as network of sites that are interlinked to each other and have no benefit for the user. Their only purpose is to boost the popularity and ranking of the sites are known as link farms. They are used to increase the Google Page Rank of a website.

 

 

SEO Methods

On-Page-Optimization – In order to get good ranking, a website must be “search engine friendly”. Search engine friendly is a term which describes a websites design, navigations, content management system, image search optimization and other elements which are all a part of On-Page-Optimization. There are numerous factors involved in creating a SEO friendly website and they should be all taken into consideration.

 

 

 

 

HTML – Use Title Tag, description and keyword tags for all your articles.  It is also important to properly use heading tags for your article. You should know that the Heading of your article should include the most important keyword in your content.

 

 

Navigation – Navigation bar icons are generally arranged on top of a web page or on the side and they direct users as well as search engine’s spiders thorough the website. The navigation system of a website is very important as it can get visitors to go deep inside a website. A SEO friendly Navigation system should be in a way that the most important pages of the website are only one or maximum two clicks away from the home page.

Content management system – Content management System or CMS is a system which allows a website owner to publish, edit and modify his/her content from a central page. CMS are programs or software such as WordPress, concrete5, ExpressionEngine, Textpattern, Joomla! Etc.

Image Search Optimization – It is important to maintain images in the content of a website. You can utilize images for SEO activities by use of Alt tag. People who are disabled or blind use page readers to browse the web. These page readers cannot read images unless they have been captioned by use of Alt tag in HTML coding. You can also get page views through images but only if the image consists of the right caption, URL and title. The title of the image must be same as the keyword used in the content. Use of Alt tag is also quite necessary when you put up an Image on your website.

Code content ratio – Code content ratio refers to ratio of amount of coding comparing to content of a website. The more the content of a website the better the ranking is.

Keyword density – This refers to the occurrence of a particular keyword on a webpage. The more the keyword appears, the more the weight the search engines assigns to that particular keyword.

Canonicalization – Canonicalization is basically the process of specifying parent pages from the rest of the pages. Let me explain in a simpler language; When you are browsing a website you go through the menu bar and different categories and find a page that you have been looking for. When you find the page you want to read through a websites navigation system rather than by directly entering the page’s Parent URL you will find that there is something different about the page’s URL. For example: –

  • Parent URL: website.com/abc.php
  • Through navigation system: website.com/abc.php? p=1; I = 10

For a user there is no difference between the two as the content of the pages are one and the same but as for a search engine these are two different URLs while they have the same content.  This attracts penalty from the search engine due to duplicate content. In order to avoid such unnecessary penalty from the Search engine one has to specify the parent page. Here is how: –

<html>

<head>

<rel type=”canonical” href=”website.com/abc.php”/>

</head>

</html>

Prevent Crawling – In order to avoid unwanted content in the search indexes, you can block certain search engines not to crawl certain files by using the standard robots.txt or .htaccess. Let’s explain it in a simpler language; when search engines that do not bring any traffic or benefit index your website, they use up your server bandwidth which you are charged for. This is unnecessary and unbeneficial for your website and that is why you should block Search Engines that are not beneficial to your website. For example; if you are based in United States, then you do not need a Chinese search engine crawling your website. It is best to block it. Here is how: –

  • By robots.txt –
  1. 1.       Block all web crawlers from all content

User-agent: *

Disallow: /

  1. 2.        Block a specific web crawler from a specific folder

User-agent: BotName

Disallow: /foldername/

E.G: –

User-agent: Googlebot

Disallow: /articles/

  1. 3.       Block a specific web crawler from a specific web page

User-agent: Googlebot

Disallow: /article/blocked-this-page.html

  1. 4.        Allow a specific web crawler to visit a specific web page

User-agent: *

Disallow: /article/seo-techniques.html

User-agent: Googlebot

Allow: /article/seo-techniques.html

  1. 5.       Sitemap Parameter – You can also guide bot for sitemap location on your server.

User-agent: *

Sitemap: http://www.example.com/location/sitemap.xml

  1. 6.        To remove a specific image from Google Images, add the following:

User-agent: Googlebot-Image

Disallow: /images/dogs.jpg

  1. 7.        To remove all images on your site from Google Images:

User-agent: Googlebot-Image

Disallow: /

  1. 8.       To block files of a specific file type (for example, .gif), use the following:

User-agent: Googlebot

Disallow: /*.gif$

  • By .htaccess –

Redirecting non-www to www

 

RewriteEngine On

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^www.

RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.%{HTTP_HOST}/$1 [R=301,L]

 

 

Redirecting www to non-www

RewriteEngine On

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^my-domain.com$ [NC]

RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://my-domain.com/$1 [R=301,L]

 

——————

 

The first line sets a condition: only if the condition is true, the second line will be processed. The condition could be ‘translated’ to: “if the host name doesn’t start with www.”. The regular expression !^www. means this:

 

! = not

^ = start

. = . (the backslash is the escape character, because dots have a special meaning in regular expressions, and therefore must be escaped)

 

So !^www. means “doesn’t start with www.”.

 

The second line is the actual rewrite rule: again it uses regular expressions to match certain urls, and then rewrites them to something else. The first part is the regular expression:

 

^(.*)$

 

This means: anything! You already know the ^ sign. The (.*) bit means zero or more characters (the dot means any character, the asterisk means zero or more). The final $ means ‘end’.

 

Then comes the bit that says how to rewrite the url:

 http://www.%{HTTP_HOST}/$1 [R=301,L]

 %{HTTP_HOST} will be replaced by the host name (i.e. example.com).

$1 references whatever was matched in the regular expression between the brackets, which in this case is everything.

The [R=301,L] means “inform the user agent that this is a permanent redirect (HTTP 301 code), and don’t process any more rewrite rules (if there were any after this one).

 

Interlinking – Interlinking refers cross linking pages of the website to each other. For example you are writing an article about SUVs. In this article you will mention BMW X6 and you already have an article about BMW X6. You can link the article about SUVs to BMW X6 since the topics are related and relevant.

Keyword and Competition Research – You should always remember to give relevant and reliable information in the content of your website. You can research about the most frequently searched keywords about a topic and used them in your content. You should also check the competition that you will be facing for that particular keyword from other similar websites.

Presentation – How you present your images and content to the readers are also important factors. Use of bolting, paragraphing etc contributes to your on-page-seo activities and increasing your website’s prominence.

Sitemap – Sitemap is one of the important factors of SEO. There are numerous tools available online which will generate your website’s Sitemap in XML, HTML, ROR and .GZ form. After Sitemap has been generated you can upload it to your server and make it available for the search engine to read.

Broken Link 

Off-Page-Optimization –

Off-Page Optimization refers to optimization of your website through sources and tools on the web rather on your actual website. Activities such as directory submission, back-linking etc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Getting Indexed – Getting indexed in search engines is the first step in SEO activities. Before even considering Rankings, you need get your website indexed in the main search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo. When a website is indexed in a search engine it appears on the search results of that particular search engine. Before bloggers had to wait for quite a long time to get their websites indexed by main search engines such as Google but now it can be done in a few days. Here is how to get your website indexed by Google: –

  1. Complete your website and make sure that it’s ready.
  2. Use keywords related to your website content. You can optimize your website for keywords by using the main keywords in file name of each page, Meta tags, heading of the page and in first paragraph.  Use the related keyword in your content throughout the page.
  3. Create a sitemap and upload it to the website root directory.
  4. Log in to Google Webmasters Support Tools and add your Website’s URL as well as site map URL in the provided fields.

 

Link building –

Social Bookmarking

 Social Bookmarking is a method of organizing and keeping bookmarks of websites for internet users but webmasters use it for SEO. One can submit the website page URL to different social bookmarking websites and get backlinks. However this is not a very effective method of SEO but it contributes to an extent. Some of the most well known social bookmarking sites are as follows: –

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • BuzzFeed
  • Delicious
  • Tweetmeme
  • FARK
  • Slashdot
  • Friendfeed
  • Clipmarks
  • Newsvine
  • Diigo
  • DZone

Directory submission

 Directory Submission is quite similar to bookmarking in a way that you can submit your website’s URL. But a Directory is different from a bookmarking site and one backlink from a Directory is much more valuable than one from a social bookmarking website for SEO.

Widgets

By generating widgets or building useful tools and hosting them on your website you can get backlinks from the websites that use your widget.

Article submission

Review writing and contributed articles are a part of article submission. There are websites in which you can submit articles to as a guest writer and link it to your own website.

Research and Survey

 You can do a thorough research and survey on a particular topic and create a form of infographic with the result of the survey. This infographic can be provided to other websites for free while they can give you a link from their website page.

RSS newsfeed

You can create an RSS newsfeed on your website which updates those who have subscribed for your website regularly. This way you can get frequent and regular visits.

Social media pages

Social Media pages are pages that you can create to promote your website on a social networking website such as facebook, twitter, Pinterest etc.

Create Wikipedia page

You can also create a Wikipedia page for your business by writing an article about it and submitting it to Wikipedia.

 

SEO Tools

AlexaAlexa Internet, Inc. is a company of Amazon.com that provides the user with analytic information on a website. Alexa calculates traffic rankings through analysis of Web usage of Alexa toolbar users and other sources of data. After a thorough computation the collected information we get the traffic rankings in the Alexa service.

Backlink

  • Anchor Text Backlink Checker By using this tool you can check your backlinks and the anchor text used in them. Anchor text is the word which is used to link to your website.
  • Backlink analyzer This tool will help you in research and analyzing websites for their link quality, indexed pages, links to websites, EDU &. GOV links, domain age & Expiration, Google page rank, Alexa traffic rank, DMOZ listing.
  • Backlink Anchor text Analyzer – By using this tool you can determine the backlinks of your website and link text used by the backlinks to link to your website.
  • Backlink Builder One of the important elements of Search Engine Optimization is building quality backlinks. Getting backlinks from a reputed website is called as a quality backlink. One quality backlink is more valuable than have numerous low quality backlinks.

Domain Popularity, Domain Stats Tools –

  • Domain Age Tool  By using this tool you can see the approximate age of a website and view how it looked in the beginning of its operations. 
  • Domain Dossier – This is a tool through which you can check a domain and it IP address.
  • Domain Popularity – by using this tool you can see all the backlinks of a specific domain, host IP and Google PageRank.
  • Domain Stats Tool  by using Domain Stats tool, you can analyze all statistics of a competitor’s domain including Alexa traffic rank, age of domain, Yahoo WebRank, Dmoz Listings, indexed pages in Google, Yahoo, Msn etc.
  • HTTPS header check
  • View HTTP Headers
  • View HTTP Path

Other SEO Tools: –

  • Google Advanced Searches By Using Google Advanced Search you can search in various ways using keywords, phrases and numbers.
  • Google Pagerank with this tool you can check the Google ranking of a specific website or URL.
  • Pagerank by Google data center – check your websites Pagerank from different data centers.
  • Google Adsense Keywords & YPN Keywords Search ToolBy using these tools you can find keywords and key phrases that will focus your content to monetize your website and increase its traffic.
  • Google Adwords Keyword Tool – Through Google keyword tool you can research on related keywords to your content and find out the number of searches that happen throughout the globe for that particular keyword as well as for similar keywords.
  • Google Banned Tool – By using Google banned tool you can see if your website has been banned on Google. You have to enter your website’s URL to check if it’s been banned or not.
  • Google Keyword Ranking Tool
  • Google Page Rank Checker – You can simply check your website’s page rank through this tool.
  • Google Sets
  • Page Rank Authenticity Check – You can check the page rank of a specific domain as well as the authenticity of the page rank.
  • Visual PageRank – This tool views all links and their corresponding PageRank.

Keyword Tools –

  • Keyword Density CheckerThis tool gives us the number of times that a keyboard has been used in content of the given domain.
  • McDar Keyword Analysis Tool – You can display a specific URL’s PageRank and backlink pages for the top 10 websites.
  • Keyword Difficulty Tool – This tool will help you analyze the competition that you have for a specific search term, keyword or a phrase.
  • KwMap.net – This is a keyword Map on the internet.
  • Keyword Suggestion Tool – By using this tool you can choose the right keywords and keyword combinations for your website.
  • Website Keyword Suggestion  This tool suggests the right keyword according to study of your website and its theme.
  • Ontology Finder – This tool will help you find related keywords and phrases to a given keyword or a website.

Analyzing Links –

  • Link Popularity Check – By using this tool you can check a website’s online awareness as well as its overall visibility on the internet. This tool also shows you how many websites are linking their websites to you.
  • Link Validation Spider
  • Link Price Calculator – Through link price calculator you can determine the amount you should be charging or paying per month for a link from each page of your website.
  • Link Value
  • Reciprocal Link Check by using this tool you can make sure that your linking partners are linking back to your websites as well. You can also determine the anchor text used by the link partner in their website’s content.
  • Site Link Analyzer – This tool provides you with information about outbound links and their anchor text in tabular format.
  • Deep link Ration tool – This is in a way another tool that helps you check the quality of the backlinks that you get. If a backlink that you are getting from a website is on the home page or only 1 or 2 clicks away from the home page, this means that it is a good quality backlink. By using Deep link Ratio tool you can determine the backlink page deep click count.
  • The Link Reputation Measurement Tool – This tool helps you find the URL of the backlink with link Suryvey, Link Reputation Score, anchor text etc.
  • Outbound Links  You can see all the outgoing links from a specific domain through this tool.
  • Meta Tag Generator – If you do not know how to write HTML code for creating title, description and keyword tags then you can used Meta Tag Generator which will read your page and specify the common words from it  and create meta tag keywords. By using this tool you can also creat search engine friendly head tag for your website.

Other SEO Tools –

  • Directory Submission Manager – by using this tool you can track your submission to various web directories.
  • Copyscape You can use this to find copies of your webpage on the internet.
  • Site Analysis  This tool provides you with a complete analysis of your website with link popularity.
  • Sitemap Generator Sitemap Generator will create your website’s Google Sitemap Online.
  • Similar Page Checker  With this you can check if your content is similar to the other websites on the internet or it is duplicated. Search Engines Penalize websites with duplicate as well as similar content on a website.
  • Speedtester By using this tool you can see how long a given website takes to load and if slow it should be optimized and some ISP should be changed.
  • Mod_rewrite RewriteRule Generator 
  • URL Rewrite (mod_rewrite) 
  • User Agent Cloaking Detector 
  • What is Hosted on that IP 

Search Engine optimizing tools –

  • Google vs. Yahoo Graph – With this tool you can find the similar search results in both Yahoo and Google. This tool gives you a graphical presentation of all the results that are there in both the search engines.
  • Search Engine Position Checker  With this tool you can check if your URL is positioned in the first 50 search results of a given keyword.
  • Search Engine Spider Simulator By using search engine spider simulator you can  see all the information that a search engine spider takes from your website.
  • Marketleap Search Engine Verification Tool – This tool checks if a website is in the top three pages of search result for a given keyword.
  • Number of Pages Indexed – By using this tool you can see how many pages of your website has been indexed by most of the major search engines like Google, Yahoo, MSN, Alltheweb, Hotbot, AltaVista, bing etc.
  • Search Engine Ranking Report 
  • Serps Position – With this tool you can find out the ranking of your domain for a specific keyword. You can also compare it with first 100 search results in the major search engines such as Google, MSN and Yahoo.
  • SERP Tracker – This tool keeps a track and reports the performance of a website on search engine results over time.

SEO Analyzing and Scanning tools–

  • Free SEO Tools (SEOToolSet) 
  • Cool SEO Tool! – This tool finds the top 10 ranked websites in Google and compares their ranking in different search engines like Yahoo and MSN.
  • SEO Analyzer – This tool can detect how your website’s design is optimized and how it is search engine friendly by using a complicated algorithm.
  • SEO Scanning – This tool provides you with SEO analysis, SEO tracking and reporting.

Robots.txt Tools –

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