Article | Topic: SEO Advice

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SEOs: Part 1 - Pitfalls & Advice

With some 11 billion participants on the web,
it is no wonder that there are thousands of companies offering guarantee of rankings for your web site. There are certainly some very clever and even advisable methods for getting your new or existing web site increased traffic. Not to put too fine a point on it, Neo•Paradigms web creations employ many of the advisable methods by default. The purpose of this article, however, is not to plug the parent company, my employer, but rather to shine a light on the otherwise murky shadows created by ignorance and exploited by unscrupulous SEO companies.

Bear in mind that the information that I impart to you does not represent some fabled arcane voodoo or black magic. This information is freely available to everyone - well, everyone willing to poke through the documentation provided by the major search engine authorities.

SEO Primer

Let me begin by identifying the fact that SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is a necessary part of web design and publication. At a minimum you should provide supplemental information to the browser and the internet at large about what your page is all about. This is referred to at 'meta' data. You identify this information via NAME and CONTENT paired string in HTML 'META' tags. These take the form of

<META NAME="identifier" CONTENT="information string">

Not too difficult, really. Like most of the tasks in web development, it isn't "rocket science." We have many folks to thank for the standardization that has made this task very easy (and since I, personally, do not know their names, we'll all just take a quick second of silence to reflect on all their hard work . . . ok, now let's move on).

If you are not familiar with meta tagging and want to make sure you have a minimum level of bases covered do the following:

  1. From your browser menu select "View -> Source"
  2. The contents of this page will open in your default text editor.
  3. Find and place your cursor at the end of this line:
    <META name="Robots" content="All">
  4. Hit the ENTER Key
  5. Hold Down the CTRL and the SHIFT keys
  6. While still holding the above keys down, Press the END Key (located above your ARROW keys. This selects the rest of the page.
  7. Press DELETE.
  8. Save the resulting text somewhere useful and continue reading.

The portion of the file you saved (after the HTML and HEAD tags) is decent base set of meta tagging information you can use as a template in your own pages. You do not need them all, certainly, but at a minimum your pages should include

<title>Page Title</title>
<meta name="Description" content="detailed phrase">
<meta name="KeyWords" content="sensible key words">
<meta name="subject" content="short(!) description">

If you actually want your pages to be searchable, then you must add these as well:

<META name="robots" content="index, follow">
<META name="robots" content="all">
<META name="revisit-after" content="15 days"> (15 days is arbitrary)

The above line instructs the robots (a BOT means the automated search engine software run from the servers at GOOGLE, MSN, etc.) read the pages, follow the links of the pages - from which they read and evaluate your content for search preference - read ALL the pages and return and do it again in 15 days to see if the content has changed.

The last tag, Revisit, is not terribly useful once you begin an aggressive SEO campaign. Search Engines read active links from every two days to as little as every two hours!

QUICK TIP: Do not submit your site until it is completed!! Once submitted, do not get into the habit of changing it regularly - updates, yes but no sweeping alterations of content topic. You will lose hard won page rankings by changing the content. Rankings can be compared to wine; they improve with time!

Part 2: SEO Companies, The Good, The Bad, The Worst!

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