Category Archives: search engine optimization

Beware of the Black Hat

Beware of using Black Hat SEO such as “link farms”  and “keyword stuffing” in your SEO.

I was going through comments marked spam on this blog, and since I have written several posts about using SEO on your website, I usually check where the comments came from. Many are suspicious, like this one:

This is a comment to the webmaster. I discovered your “The Hydropackulicity Conspiracy Theory hydropackulicity” page via Google but it was difficult to find as you were not on the first page of search results. I see you could have more traffic because there are not many comments on your website yet. I have found a website which offers to dramatically increase your rankings and traffic to your site: http://www.linklegends.com/free-trial. I managed to get close to 1000 visitors/day using their services, you could also get lot more targeted traffic from search engines than you have now. Their free trial and brought significantly more traffic to my site. Hope this helps :) Take care.

Actually, I received this comment twice on the same day from two different email addresses, but the same company. This company advertises SEO help and promises high ranking pages in a short time by using “bulk link building” and “article marketing”. The company promises 10,000 links in the first month. Be skeptical about using a SEO service that advertises like this because they are considered spammy by Google and eventually will penalize your site. Google algorithms can detect a sudden increase in backlinks.

Here is another suspicious comment:

I’m also commenting to make you understand what a really good experience our princess obtained reading through your web page. She came to understand a wide variety of issues, which include what it is like to have a wonderful helping heart to have most people with ease grasp selected problematic topics. You undoubtedly surpassed our expected results. Thanks for producing the beneficial, trustworthy, revealing not to mention unique thoughts on your topic to Kate.

This content is so generic and could apply to any topic but doesn’t really say anything. While the spelling is perfect the grammar and sentence structure is just weird. The website attached to this comment points to a site that looks suspicious with many keywords, but no text.

Building a top ranking website occurs naturally, and it takes time. Having good, useful content with legitimate backlinks is the best way to get a top ranking website. Don’t try to trick the system.

I know what you are thinking – I am not using the best practices by putting the keyword Hydropackulicity in every article I write in order to get top ranking to win a contest. If I were trying to sell hydropackulicity, I would write about it in a way that is useful to people. I am learning alot about what works and what doesn’t so that I can build better sites.

I hope this helps you too!

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Seo for WordPress Revisited

So I was wrong.

I apologize for some misinformation in my previous post (Hydropackulicity Contest draws near 5/7/2012)

It looks like using keywords, tags and category heads have little effect on your page rank for Google. According to my instructor, Categories and Tags in WordPress sites are more for organizational structure to help your readers follow their interests in your posts.

Don’t get me wrong – tags are a good thing. When used properly, Categories are like a file cabinet drawer where you file documents under a topic. Tags are more like a keyword that help people find and cross-reference your posts.  Using alt tags for your images is also helpful for search engines to index your images.

Having useful content, blogging often and developing your blog over time will help you optimize your WordPress site for the Google search engine.

Here are more tips for optimizing your website, especially a WordPress Website:

  • Make sure your default Permalink settings are helpful to your readers. The default setting, http://yourdomain.com/?p=123, is not very useful and you lose the value of keywords in the title of your post or page. This is often overlooked, but easy to change. Try this: select the custom option and set the format to /%postname%/ or /%category%%postname%/. Add the category if you have been  diligent in naming your categories using your main keywords. Otherwise, just use the post name and make sure you use keywords in their titles.
  • Make sure your privacy setting allows search engine indexing when your site goes live. Go to the WordPress “Settings/Privacy” in your dashboard and set your blog visibility to “I would like my blog to be visible to everyone, including search engines (like Google, Bing, Technorati) and archivers”. Also make sure your robots.txt file isn’t set to block the search engine bots.
  • Verify your site with Google using Webmaster Tools. You then add a verification code to your header file which gives the search engine a way to verify site ownership and then you can gather useful information for your site. Once your site is verified, you can install the Google (XML) Sitemap plugin and activate it. All the major search engines will provide information on your site such as keywords to find your site, incoming links to pages, broken links and other useful information for your site. Using Google Analytics will also help to give you useful information on how visitors use your site and which pages are more popular so that you can create a better experience for the user.

I hope this clarifies SEO.

Hydropackulicity Contest draws near

For those following the Hydropackulicity SEO contest at HTC, we are in the last stretch. With one final week to go, I am clinging on to the bottom of the first page of the Google search, currently number 9 as of this writing. Sarah Johnson remains the one to beat. I still haven’t figured out if it is by sheer luck, or if she has some tricks up her sleeve.

Sorry if there was some confusion in my hydropackulicity contest countdown, there was a discrepancy about what our last class date was, and the contest ends on our last class date. I have reset the countdown clock to end on May 14 at 5:30 p.m.

My strategy for SEO basically to add new content at least once a week, and that is really hard to keep up with a busy schedule. I have tried to get good backlinks and that also proved to be difficult, because most legitimate businesses won’t link to you unless you are a good business partner, but not in conflict with their business. A link from the StarTribune would have been great, but the editor I talked to wasn’t very excited about a story on SEO unless there was new information I could provide. I thought I could get a link from HTC website that sounded promising initially, but then my contact failed to follow through. One thing you don’t want to do is get backlinks from spammy sites. Google will put you on the black list. I have found t requires a lot of work to get decent backlinks.

Strategies that may be working best for me are consistent posting and using Categories, Tags and  Key Words. They help Google do a comprehensive search. However the content needs to be current because Google likes to position trending information towards the top. I won’t divulge other strategies until the contest ends.

It has been interesting, to say the least. Our class has created a new word that Google now recognizes as a legitimate thing. Google will now fill in the rest of the word when you start typing hydropackulicity in the search field. Google search results are now about 9,800. That’s cool to think in a few months time, you can create a whole new search subject.

Pinterest with Hydropackulicity

I have been hearing so much about a site called Pinterest lately.

Pinterest is an online pinboard where you can share and organize the things you love. The site was launched in March 2010 and by March 2012, it moved up to number 4 in social networks, ranked by number of visits, according to Hitwise.

I think this is a great idea for a collector like me. It’s a fun way to organize all the stuff I love on the web without making a ton of bookmarks that you can’t remember who they are or why you saved them. I love to collect recipes, scrapbook and card ideas, crafts and more. Lately my interests have been more involved with web design, collecting tutorials, fonts, photoshop brushes and other freebies. I think this will be a great way to organize and collect those kinds of things, and boy, do I need to get organized.

You can “pin” many types of items: photos, videos, discussions and more. Pins can then be grouped into “boards” to organize by theme.  Pinterest can be accessed by adding the “pin it” button to the desktop bookmark bar. The nice thing about this is when you pin an item from a website, it grabs the source link to give credit to the original creator. You can also pin with “follow me” and “pin it” buttons added to your personal website or blog pages, and the Pinterest iPhone application available through the App Store.

My Hydropackulicity meter turned on as I had a great thought—this could be another great marketing tool via social media and possibly a way help get a higher page ranking for my site. It definitely helps retailers advertise products when people pin items. I am going to explore Pinterest further.

Happy Hydropackulicity!

Improve Your SEO

Making your websites Google friendly is one of the most important ways to get noticed among the crowd of websites clogging the internet. Why Google? Because the All Powerful Google controls over 90% of the web search traffic, so it only makes sense to base your SEO strategies with Google in mind. Google uses certain algorithms to determine page ranking and they are kept as secret as the recipe for Coke.

While Google doesn’t divulge exactly how it ranks websites, there are a few ways to help your website obtain a higher ranking. Creating a quality website will help you obtain the optimum top positions in searches.

Google uses PageRank, a numerical value representing the importance of a page of the web. PageRank matters because it is one of the factors determining a page’s ranking in search results. You can determine your website’s page rank by using one of the many ranking tools available online. I like http://www.prchecker.info, where you can check any website ranking quickly by entering the url of the site you wish to check. You can also use the tool to install page rank icon buttons on your site.

Ways to improve your Google website ranking:

Page Links

Relevant, quality, inbound links can affect page ranking. Quality links are freely-volunteered, and merit based. The more popular the site, the better. When one page is linked to another page, it is like a vote casted. Google calculates the importance of a page by the number of votes cast, and also the importance of the page casting the vote.

Not all links are counted the same by Google. The algorithms filter out links from known link farms. Only link to quality, non-spam sites. Page rank calculation can become very complicated. Rank seems to depend on the PageRank of the page linked to yours, in addition to the number of links on the page. The greater the number of links on a page, the less PageRank value your page will receive from it.

Be descriptive in the words you use in your links. These links can be used as a way to emphasize keywords. Instead of saying “click here”, say “Read more about Hydropackulicity”.

Title Tags

Giving your page a descriptive title in your <title> tag is necessary for good search results. Google uses the title to display search results as a link to your site. No one is going to bother with a link called “untitled”. Keywords in a title carry more weight than keywords in the body text. The title is most important for users because Google search results list the title first. The title should be appropriate to the page content.

Keyword Phrases

Don’t just focus on single keywords, use keyword phrases. Stick to one subject per page, and one keyword phrase per page. The phrase should be clear, so that it is easy to search and easy to read. Keyword “density”, or how often the keyword or phrase is used, is important, but don’t try to trick the search engine by repeating the word over and over or making the text “invisible”. Trying to trick Google could get your website banned.

Good Content

Having well-organized pages that are coded well with good content can be a benefit to page ranking. Well designed pages become popular, which tends to rank sites higher. Use <alt> tags on your images for accessibility and it is another way to add keywords where Google can see them.

Hydropackulicity is here!

Interest in Hydropackulicity is gaining ground. On Monday, January 9th, 2012, day one of our Web Production Class SEO Contest project, there were no results found for a Google search of the word “Hydropackulicity”. Results started trickling in and by the next week, January 16, there were around 218 results, and by Wednesday January 18, there were about 277 results found.

I have lots of work to do. Currently this site is ranked at #11, which brings it to the 2nd page. The goal is to get it up to the 1st page, preferably in one of the top 3 spots. One thing our instructor stresses is the importance of having strong inbound links, a link from an external site linking back to your site. You can help bring my website closer to the top of the list by creating an inbound link from your site to mine. I will reciprocate by adding a link to your website. Please contact me for more information.

What in the world is Hydropackulicity?

Could it be…

An awesome new water park in the Wisconsin Dells?
Summer Bash V by Kash_if

Nope!

A radical eighties punk rock band??

Nope!!

How about a strange, exotic orchid that grows on the river banks of the Zumbro River???

IMG_3839 by beggs

Sorry, wrong again!!!

Hydropackulicity is (drum roll, please):

HYDROPACKULICITY is a made up word that web design students at Hennepin Technical College (HTC) are using to test Search Engine Optimization (SEO) ranking. There is a contest in instructor Jeff Lin’s Spring 2012 semester Web Design/Production class to see which student can get to the top of a Google search list with their optimized website using the key word “Hydropackulicity”. Lin is also founder and developer of Bust Out Solutions, a web and mobile development company.

Here’s how the Hydropackulicity SEO contest works:

On the first day of class there were zero search results in Google for Hydropackulicity. Students will have 16 weeks to use SEO strategies they have learned to help rank their website(s) to the number one spot on a search of the term “Hydropackulicity”. The student owning the site in the #1 spot will win a grand prize and site owners in the #2 and #3 spots will also win prizes, tbd. I suggested a new car for the grand prize, but that didn’t go over too well with the instructor.

The Hydropackulicity SEO contest rules are explained more thoroughly on the class website, Bordernone.