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Search Engine Optimization: For Dummies®, 3rd Edition

Book Description

Why do some sites pop to the top when you search? How do you make yours one of them? You create sites that make search engines happy — that’s what search engine optimization is all about. Search Engine Optimization For Dummies has been the leading resource on how to make that happen, and this third edition is completely updated to cover the newest changes, standards, tips, and tricks.

This handy guide shows you how to get more visitors by getting more visibility for your Web site. Find out which search engines matter most, what they look for (and what they hate,) how to get your site included in the best indexes and directories, and the most effective ways to spend your advertising dollars. You’ll discover how to:

  • Plan a search engine strategy

  • Build pages that offer visibility

  • Make your site rank high with the most important search engines

  • Avoid things that search engines don’t like (and tricks that might actually get your site penalized)

  • Use Google universal search, image search optimization, XML sitemaps, and more

  • Choose the right keywords

  • Track and measure your results

  • Increase your exposure with shopping directories and retailers

  • Boost your position with popular links and social networking sites

  • Use pay-per-click in ways that get the most bang for your advertising buck

Search Engine Optimization For Dummies, 3rd Edition also helps you skirt some of the pitfalls and become a savvy advertiser. With this book at your side, you’ll never need to fear search engines again!

Table of Contents

  1. Copyright
  2. About the Author
  3. Author's Acknowledgments
  4. Introduction
    1. About This Book
    2. Foolish Assumptions
    3. How This Book Is Organized
      1. Part I: Search Engine Basics
      2. Part II: Building Search Engine-Friendly Sites
      3. Part III: Adding Your Site to the Indexes and Directories
      4. Part IV: After You've Submitted Your Site
      5. Part V: The Part of Tens
      6. Appendix
    4. Icons Used in This Book
  5. I. Search Engine Basics
    1. 1. Surveying the Search Engine Landscape
      1. 1.1. Investigating Search Engines and Directories
        1. 1.1.1. Search indexes or search engines
        2. 1.1.2. Search directories
        3. 1.1.3. Non-spidered indexes
        4. 1.1.4. Pay-per-click systems
        5. 1.1.5. Keeping the terms straight
        6. 1.1.6. Why bother with search engines?
      2. 1.2. Where Do People Search?
      3. 1.3. Search Engine Magic
        1. 1.3.1. How do they do it?
        2. 1.3.2. Stepping into the programmers' shoes
      4. 1.4. Gathering Your Tools
        1. 1.4.1. Search toolbars
        2. 1.4.2. Alexa toolbar
    2. 2. Your One-Hour Search Engine-Friendly Web Site Makeover
      1. 2.1. Is Your Site Indexed?
        1. 2.1.1. Google
        2. 2.1.2. Yahoo! and MSN Live Search
        3. 2.1.3. Yahoo! Directory
        4. 2.1.4. Open Directory Project
      2. 2.2. Taking Action If You're Not Listed
        1. 2.2.1. Is your site invisible?
        2. 2.2.2. Unreadable navigation
        3. 2.2.3. Dealing with dynamic pages
      3. 2.3. Picking Good Keywords
      4. 2.4. Examining Your Pages
        1. 2.4.1. Using frames
        2. 2.4.2. Looking at the TITLE tags
        3. 2.4.3. Examining the DESCRIPTION tag
        4. 2.4.4. Giving search engines something to read
          1. 2.4.4.1. Eliminating Flash
          2. 2.4.4.2. Replacing images with real text
          3. 2.4.4.3. Using more keywords
          4. 2.4.4.4. Using the right keywords in the right places
      5. 2.5. Getting Your Site Indexed
    3. 3. Planning Your Search Engine Strategy
      1. 3.1. Don't Trust Your Web Designer
      2. 3.2. Understanding the Limitations
      3. 3.3. Eyeing the Competition
      4. 3.4. Going Beyond Getting to #1
        1. 3.4.1. Highly targeted keyword phrases
        2. 3.4.2. Understanding the search tail
      5. 3.5. Controlling Search Engine Variables
        1. 3.5.1. Keywords
        2. 3.5.2. Content
        3. 3.5.3. Page optimization
        4. 3.5.4. Submissions
        5. 3.5.5. Links
        6. 3.5.6. Time and the Google sandbox
      6. 3.6. Determining Your Plan of Attack
      7. 3.7. Two Things to Remember
    4. 4. Making Your Site Useful and Visible
      1. 4.1. Revealing the Secret but Essential Rule of Web Success
        1. 4.1.1. The evolving, incorrect "secret"
        2. 4.1.2. Uncovering the real secret
        3. 4.1.3. Showing a bias for content
      2. 4.2. Making Your Site Work Well
        1. 4.2.1. Limiting multimedia
        2. 4.2.2. Using text, not graphics
        3. 4.2.3. Avoiding the urge to be too clever
        4. 4.2.4. Don't be cute
        5. 4.2.5. Making it easy to move around
        6. 4.2.6. Providing different routes
        7. 4.2.7. Using long link text
        8. 4.2.8. Don't keep restructuring
        9. 4.2.9. Editing and checking spelling
        10. 4.2.10. Ugly doesn't sell
  6. II. Building Search Engine-Friendly Sites
    1. 5. Picking Powerful Keywords
      1. 5.1. Understanding the Importance of Keywords
      2. 5.2. Thinking Like Your Prey
      3. 5.3. Starting Your Keyword Analysis
        1. 5.3.1. Identifying the obvious keywords
        2. 5.3.2. Looking at your Web site's access logs
        3. 5.3.3. Examining competitors' keyword tags
        4. 5.3.4. Brainstorming with colleagues
        5. 5.3.5. Looking closely at your list
          1. 5.3.5.1. Obvious spelling mistakes
          2. 5.3.5.2. Synonyms
          3. 5.3.5.3. Split or merged words
          4. 5.3.5.4. Singulars and plurals
          5. 5.3.5.5. Hyphens
          6. 5.3.5.6. Geo-specific terms
          7. 5.3.5.7. Your company name
          8. 5.3.5.8. Other companies' names and product names
      4. 5.4. Using a Keyword Tool
      5. 5.5. Using Wordtracker
        1. 5.5.1. Creating a Wordtracker project
        2. 5.5.2. Adding keywords to your initial project list
        3. 5.5.3. Cleaning up the list
        4. 5.5.4. Exporting the list
        5. 5.5.5. Performing competitive analysis
        6. 5.5.6. Finding keywords more ways
      6. 5.6. Choosing Your Keywords
        1. 5.6.1. Removing unhelpful terms
          1. 5.6.1.1. You missed the target
          2. 5.6.1.2. Ambiguous terms
          3. 5.6.1.3. Very broad terms
        2. 5.6.2. Picking combinations
      7. 5.7. Yet More Keyword Tools
    2. 6. Creating Pages That Search Engines Love
      1. 6.1. Preparing Your Site
        1. 6.1.1. Finding a hosting company
        2. 6.1.2. Picking a domain name
      2. 6.2. Seeing Through a Search Engine's Eyes
      3. 6.3. Understanding Keyword Concepts
        1. 6.3.1. Picking one or two phrases per page
        2. 6.3.2. Checking prominence
        3. 6.3.3. Watching density
        4. 6.3.4. Placing keywords throughout your site
      4. 6.4. Creating Your Web Pages
        1. 6.4.1. Naming files
        2. 6.4.2. Creating directory structure
        3. 6.4.3. Viewing TITLE tags
        4. 6.4.4. Using the DESCRIPTION meta tag
        5. 6.4.5. Tapping into the KEYWORDS meta tag
        6. 6.4.6. Using other meta tags
        7. 6.4.7. Including image ALT text
        8. 6.4.8. Adding body text
        9. 6.4.9. Creating headers: CSS versus <H> tags
        10. 6.4.10. Formatting text
        11. 6.4.11. Creating links
        12. 6.4.12. Using other company and product names
        13. 6.4.13. Creating navigation structures that search engines can read
        14. 6.4.14. Blocking searchbots
    3. 7. Avoiding Things That Search Engines Hate
      1. 7.1. Dealing with Frames
      2. 7.2. The HTML Nitty-Gritty of Frames
        1. 7.2.1. Providing search engines with the necessary information
        2. 7.2.2. Providing a navigation path
        3. 7.2.3. Opening pages in a frameset
      3. 7.3. Handling iframes
      4. 7.4. Fixing Invisible Navigation Systems
        1. 7.4.1. Looking at the source code
        2. 7.4.2. Turning off scripting and Java
        3. 7.4.3. Fixing the problem
      5. 7.5. Flush the Flash animation
      6. 7.6. Avoiding Embedded Text in Images
      7. 7.7. Reducing the Clutter in Your Web Pages
        1. 7.7.1. Use external JavaScripts
        2. 7.7.2. Use document.write to remove problem code
        3. 7.7.3. Use external CSS files
        4. 7.7.4. Move image maps to the bottom of the page
        5. 7.7.5. Avoid the urge to copy and paste from MS Word
      8. 7.8. Managing Dynamic Web Pages
        1. 7.8.1. Determining whether your dynamic pages are scaring off search engines
        2. 7.8.2. Fixing your dynamic Web page problem
      9. 7.9. Using Session IDs in URLs
      10. 7.10. Examining Cookie-Based Navigation
      11. 7.11. Fixing Bits and Pieces
        1. 7.11.1. Forwarded pages
        2. 7.11.2. Image maps
        3. 7.11.3. Special characters
    4. 8. Dirty Deeds, Done Dirt Cheap
      1. 8.1. Tricking Search Engines
        1. 8.1.1. Deciding whether to trick
        2. 8.1.2. Figuring out the tricks
        3. 8.1.3. Do these tricks work?
      2. 8.2. Concrete Shoes, Cyanide, TNT — An Arsenal for Dirty Deeds
        1. 8.2.1. Keyword stacking and stuffing
        2. 8.2.2. Hiding (and shrinking) keywords
        3. 8.2.3. Hiding links
        4. 8.2.4. Duplicating pages and sites
        5. 8.2.5. Page swapping and page jacking
      3. 8.3. Doorway and Information Pages
      4. 8.4. Using Redirects and Cloaking
        1. 8.4.1. Understanding redirects
        2. 8.4.2. Examining cloaking
      5. 8.5. Tricks versus Strategies
      6. 8.6. Paying the Ultimate Penalty
    5. 9. Bulking Up Your Site — Competing with Content
      1. 9.1. Creating Content Three Ways
      2. 9.2. Writing Your Own Stuff
        1. 9.2.1. Summarizing online articles
        2. 9.2.2. Reviewing Web sites
        3. 9.2.3. Reviewing products
      3. 9.3. Convincing Someone Else to Write It
      4. 9.4. Using OPC — Other People's Content
      5. 9.5. Understanding Copyright — It's Not Yours!
      6. 9.6. Hunting for Other People's Content
        1. 9.6.1. Keywords
        2. 9.6.2. Product information
        3. 9.6.3. Web sites and e-mail newsletters
        4. 9.6.4. Government sources
        5. 9.6.5. Content-syndication sites
          1. 9.6.5.1. Geeky stuff you must understand
          2. 9.6.5.2. The problem with automatic updates
        6. 9.6.6. Traditional syndication services
        7. 9.6.7. RSS syndication feeds
        8. 9.6.8. Open content and copyleft
        9. 9.6.9. Search results pages
        10. 9.6.10. Press releases
        11. 9.6.11. Q&A areas
        12. 9.6.12. Message boards
        13. 9.6.13. Blogs
      7. 9.7. A Word about Duplicated Content
    6. 10. Finding Traffic via Geo-Targeting
      1. 10.1. Understanding Geo-Targeting's Importance
      2. 10.2. Looking Through Local Search
      3. 10.3. How Does Local Search Work?
        1. 10.3.1. Search terms
        2. 10.3.2. Partner sites
        3. 10.3.3. IP numbers
      4. 10.4. Reaching People Locally
      5. 10.5. Registering for Local Search
      6. 10.6. Finding More Local Systems
  7. III. Adding Your Site to the Indexes and Directories
    1. 11. Getting Your Pages into the Search Engines
      1. 11.1. Determining Why Your Pages Aren't Being Indexed
      2. 11.2. Linking Your Site for Inclusion
      3. 11.3. Submitting Directly to the Major Systems
        1. 11.3.1. Why submitting is safe
        2. 11.3.2. Submitting for free
      4. 11.4. Submitting an XML Sitemap
        1. 11.4.1. Creating your sitemap
        2. 11.4.2. Submitting your sitemaps
          1. 11.4.2.1. Submitting by using the Webmaster account
          2. 11.4.2.2. Pinging search engines
            1. 11.4.2.2.1. Sitemap Notification Received
        3. 11.4.3. Webmaster tools, too
      5. 11.5. Using Paid Inclusion
        1. 11.5.1. Excluding inclusion
        2. 11.5.2. Using trusted feeds
      6. 11.6. Submitting to Secondary Systems
      7. 11.7. Using Registration Services and Software Programs
    2. 12. Submitting to the Directories
      1. 12.1. Pitting Search Directories Against Search Engines
      2. 12.2. Why Are Directories So Significant?
      3. 12.3. Submitting to the Search Directories
        1. 12.3.1. Submitting to Yahoo! Directory
          1. 12.3.1.1. The 1–2–3s of getting listed
          2. 12.3.1.2. Picking a category
        2. 12.3.2. Submitting to the Open Directory Project
        3. 12.3.3. Understanding different link types
      4. 12.4. Submitting to Second-Tier Directories
        1. 12.4.1. Finding second-tier directories
        2. 12.4.2. Avoiding payment — most of the time
    3. 13. Buried Treasure — More Great Places to Submit Your Site
      1. 13.1. Keeping a Landscape Log
      2. 13.2. Finding the Specialized Directories
        1. 13.2.1. Finding directories other ways
        2. 13.2.2. Local directories
        3. 13.2.3. Bothering with directories
        4. 13.2.4. Getting the link
          1. 13.2.4.1. Should you pay?
          2. 13.2.4.2. Why not?
          3. 13.2.4.3. You don't have to pay
      3. 13.3. Working with the Yellow Pages
      4. 13.4. Getting into the Yellow Pages
  8. IV. After You've Submitted Your Site
    1. 14. Using Link Popularity to Boost Your Position
      1. 14.1. Why Search Engines Like Links
      2. 14.2. Understanding Page Value and PageRank
        1. 14.2.1. PageRank — One part of the equation
        2. 14.2.2. The PageRank algorithm
        3. 14.2.3. Huge sites equal greater PageRank
        4. 14.2.4. Measuring PageRank
        5. 14.2.5. Leaking PageRank
      3. 14.3. Page Relevance
      4. 14.4. Hubs and Neighborhoods
      5. 14.5. Trust in TrustRank
      6. 14.6. Inserting Keywords into Links
        1. 14.6.1. The Googlebomb lives
      7. 14.7. Good Links and Bad
      8. 14.8. Recognizing Links with No Value
        1. 14.8.1. Identifying links that aren't links
        2. 14.8.2. Identifying nofollow links
      9. 14.9. Recalling a Few Basic Rules about Links
    2. 15. Finding Sites to Link to Yours
      1. 15.1. Controlling Your Links
      2. 15.2. Generating Links, Step by Step
        1. 15.2.1. Register with search directories
        2. 15.2.2. Ask friends and family
        3. 15.2.3. Ask employees
        4. 15.2.4. Contact association sites
        5. 15.2.5. Contact manufacturers' Web sites
        6. 15.2.6. Contact companies you do business with
        7. 15.2.7. Ask to be a featured client
        8. 15.2.8. Submit to announcement sites and newsletters
        9. 15.2.9. Send out press releases
        10. 15.2.10. Create a little "linkbait"
        11. 15.2.11. Find sites linking to your competition
          1. 15.2.11.1. Google Toolbar
          2. 15.2.11.2. Google Search
          3. 15.2.11.3. Yahoo! Search
          4. 15.2.11.4. Link popularity sites
          5. 15.2.11.5. Link popularity software
          6. 15.2.11.6. Asking for the link
        12. 15.2.12. Ask other sites for links
        13. 15.2.13. Make reciprocal link requests
          1. 15.2.13.1. Making the contact
          2. 15.2.13.2. Should you use links pages?
          3. 15.2.13.3. Finding links with high PageRanks
          4. 15.2.13.4. 3-way and 4-way linking
        14. 15.2.14. Use link-building software and services
        15. 15.2.15. Respond to reciprocal link requests
        16. 15.2.16. Search for keyword add url
        17. 15.2.17. Contact e-mail newsletters
        18. 15.2.18. Mention your site in discussion groups
        19. 15.2.19. Respond to blogs
        20. 15.2.20. Pursue offline PR
        21. 15.2.21. Give away content
        22. 15.2.22. Advertise
        23. 15.2.23. Use a service or buy links
          1. 15.2.23.1. Caution! Google doesn't like purchased links!
        24. 15.2.24. Just wait
        25. 15.2.25. Fuggetaboutit
    3. 16. Even More Great Places to Get Links
      1. 16.1. Got Content? Syndicate It!
        1. 16.1.1. Four ways to syndicate
        2. 16.1.2. Getting the most out of syndication
        3. 16.1.3. Getting the word out
        4. 16.1.4. Syndication services
        5. 16.1.5. Syndicating utilities
      2. 16.2. Social Networking
      3. 16.3. Video sites
      4. 16.4. And More . . .
      5. 16.5. The nofollow Curse
      6. 16.6. Who's Going to Do All This Work?!
    4. 17. Using Shopping Directories and Retailers
      1. 17.1. Finding the Shopping Directories
        1. 17.1.1. Google Product Search
        2. 17.1.2. Yahoo! Shopping
        3. 17.1.3. Shopping.com
        4. 17.1.4. PriceGrabber and PrecioMania
        5. 17.1.5. BizRate & Shopzilla
        6. 17.1.6. NexTag
        7. 17.1.7. Pricewatch
        8. 17.1.8. PriceSCAN
      2. 17.2. More Shopping Services
      3. 17.3. Third-Party Merchant Sites
      4. 17.4. Creating Data Files
        1. 17.4.1. The data you need
        2. 17.4.2. Formatting guidelines
        3. 17.4.3. Creating your spreadsheet
        4. 17.4.4. Getting those product URLs
        5. 17.4.5. Creating individual sheets
        6. 17.4.6. Creating and uploading your data files
    5. 18. Paying Per Click
      1. 18.1. Defining PPC
        1. 18.1.1. The two types of ads
        2. 18.1.2. Pros and cons
        3. 18.1.3. The three PPC tiers
          1. 18.1.3.1. Tier 1
          2. 18.1.3.2. Tier 2
          3. 18.1.3.3. Tier 3
        4. 18.1.4. Where do these ads go?
        5. 18.1.5. It may not work!
      2. 18.2. Valuing Your Clicks
        1. 18.2.1. The value of the action
        2. 18.2.2. Your online conversion rate
        3. 18.2.3. Figuring the click price
        4. 18.2.4. Different clicks equals different values
      3. 18.3. They Won't Take My Ad!
      4. 18.4. Automating the Task
  9. V. The Part of Tens
    1. 19. Ten-Plus Ways to Stay Updated
      1. 19.1. Let Me Help Some More
      2. 19.2. The Search Engines Themselves
      3. 19.3. Google's Webmaster Pages
      4. 19.4. Yahoo!'s Search Help
      5. 19.5. MSN/Live Search's SEO Tips
      6. 19.6. Ask.com FAQ
      7. 19.7. Search Engine Watch
      8. 19.8. The Official Google Webmaster Help Group
      9. 19.9. Google's Inside Scoop
      10. 19.10. WebMaster World
      11. 19.11. HighRankings.com
      12. 19.12. Yahoo!'s Search Engine Optimization Resources Category
      13. 19.13. The Open Directory Project Search Categories
      14. 19.14. Get the Search Engine Buzz
    2. 20. Ten Myths and Mistakes
      1. 20.1. Myth: It's All about Meta Tags and Submissions
      2. 20.2. Myth: Web Designers and Developers Understand Search Engines
      3. 20.3. Myth: Multiple Submissions Improve Your Search Position
      4. 20.4. Mistake: You Don't Know Your Keywords
      5. 20.5. Mistake: Too Many Pages with Database Parameters and Session IDs
      6. 20.6. Mistake: Building the Site and Then Bringing in the SEO Expert
      7. 20.7. Myth: $25 Can Get Your Site a #1 Position
      8. 20.8. Myth: Google Partners Get You #1 Positions
      9. 20.9. Mistake: You Don't Have Pages Optimized for Specific Keywords
      10. 20.10. Mistake: Your Pages Are Empty
      11. 20.11. Myth: Pay Per Click Is Where It's At
    3. 21. Ten-Plus Useful Things to Know
      1. 21.1. Creating Multi-Line Search Results
      2. 21.2. What Is Enhanced Image Search?
      3. 21.3. Checking Your Site Rank
      4. 21.4. Checking for Broken Links
      5. 21.5. Google Toolbar
      6. 21.6. Alexa Toolbar
      7. 21.7. Install Firebug
      8. 21.8. Seeing What Search Engines See
      9. 21.9. Finding Your Keyword Density
      10. 21.10. Analyzing Your Site's Traffic
      11. 21.11. Checking for Duplication and Theft
      12. 21.12. More Tools
      13. 21.13. Using 301 Redirects
      14. 21.14. What Is Universal Search?
      15. 21.15. Don't Forget the Search Engines
  10. A. Staying Out of Copyright Jail
    1. A.1. If It's Really Old, You Can Use It
    2. A.2. If the Guvmint Created It, You Can Use It
    3. A.3. If It's Donated, You Can Use It
    4. A.4. It's Only Fair — Fair Use Explained
  11. BC. Bonus Chapter Search Techniques You Should Know
    1. BC.1. Google Search Techniques
      1. BC.1.1. Find All of the Words search
      2. BC.1.2. Find the Exact Phrase search
      3. BC.1.3. Find at Least One of the Words search
      4. BC.1.4. Find common words
      5. BC.1.5. Search for synonyms
      6. BC.1.6. Omit pages with particular words
      7. BC.1.7. Search the page text
      8. BC.1.8. Search between TITLE tags
      9. BC.1.9. Search between <TITLE> tags and elsewhere
      10. BC.1.10. Search the URL
      11. BC.1.11. Search the URL and elsewhere
      12. BC.1.12. Search within a Web site
      13. BC.1.13. Ignore a Web site
      14. BC.1.14. Find a page in the index
      15. BC.1.15. See what's in the Google cache
      16. BC.1.16. Find pages linking to the specified page
      17. BC.1.17. Search Froogle for products for sale
      18. BC.1.18. Topic- and domain-specific searches
      19. BC.1.19. Search in a particular language
      20. BC.1.20. Specify and ignore file formats
      21. BC.1.21. Look for recent changes
      22. BC.1.22. Ignore sexual content
      23. BC.1.23. Find similar pages
      24. BC.1.24. Find the definition of a word
      25. BC.1.25. Search for a stock ticker symbol
    2. BC.2. Other Google Searches and Products
      1. BC.2.1. Google Image Search
      2. BC.2.2. Google Groups
      3. BC.2.3. Google Directory
      4. BC.2.4. Google News
      5. BC.2.5. Google Alerts
      6. BC.2.6. And more
    3. BC.3. The Other Search Systems