You are previewing The Complete Idiot’s Guide® To: Search Engine Optimization.
O'Reilly logo
The Complete Idiot’s Guide® To: Search Engine Optimization

Book Description

You know that if your website doesn't appear at the top of a search engine's results list, traffic is going to be pretty slow. Get your site up to speed with the hit-boosting strategies in The Complete Idiot's Guide® to Search Engine Optimization. Learn how search engines work and how you can optimize your site's keywords, tags, and designs. Discover jargon-free tips for making blogs and videos search engine friendly.

Table of Contents

  1. Copyright
    1. Dedication
  2. Introduction
    1. Who This Book Is For
    2. What You’ll Find in This Book
    3. How to Get the Most Out of This Book
    4. Let Me Know What You Think
    5. Acknowledgments
    6. Special Thanks to the Technical Reviewer
    7. Trademarks
  3. 1. Understanding Search Engines and SEO
    1. 1. How Search Engines Work
      1. How Information Is Stored on the Web
      2. The Old Ways to Search
      3. The New Ways to Search
        1. Manual Organization with Web Directories
        2. Automatic Organization with Search Engines
      4. How Search Engines Index the Web
        1. How a Typical Search Works
        2. How a Search Site Builds Its Database—and Assembles Its Index
        3. Ranking Search Results (Google Version)
      5. What Search Engines Have Trouble Finding
        1. Dynamic Pages
        2. Images and Media
        3. The Least You Need to Know
    2. 2. How Search Engine Optimization Works
      1. What Search Engines Look For
        1. Keywords
        2. HTML Tags
        3. Links to Your Site
      2. Ten Key Factors for Improving Your Search Rankings
        1. Number One: Know Your Customer
        2. Number Two: Improve Your Content
        3. Number Three: Create a Clear Organization and Hierarchy
        4. Number Four: Fine-Tune Your Keywords
        5. Number Five: Put the Most Important Information First
        6. Number Six: Tweak Your <META> Tags
        7. Number Seven: Solicit Inbound Links
        8. Number Eight: Submit Your Site
        9. Number Nine: Create a Sitemap
        10. Number Ten: Use Text Instead of Images
      3. Who Should Optimize Your Site?
      4. When Are You Done?
        1. The Least You Need to Know
    3. 3. Google, Yahoo!, or Microsoft: Which Search Engines Should You Target?
      1. Getting to Know Google
        1. Ranking Google’s Results
        2. Evaluating Crawling and Link Quality
        3. Evaluating Other Factors
        4. Optimizing for Google Search
        5. Using Google’s SEO Tools
      2. Understanding Yahoo!
        1. Ranking Yahoo!’s Results
        2. Evaluating Crawling and Link Quality
        3. Evaluating Other Factors
        4. Optimizing for Yahoo! Search
        5. Using Yahoo!’s SEO Tools
      3. Introducing Microsoft Live Search
        1. Ranking Microsoft’s Results
        2. Evaluating Crawling and Link Quality
        3. Optimizing for Microsoft Search
        4. Using Microsoft’s SEO Tools
      4. Evaluating Other Search Engines
        1. Looking at AOL Search
        2. Asking About Ask.com
      5. Which Search Engines Should You Target?
      6. Optimizing for Different Search Sites
        1. The Least You Need to Know
  4. 2. Optimizing Your Website for Search Engines
    1. 4. Optimizing Your Site’s Content
      1. Why Content Matters
        1. What Is Quality Content?
        2. Why Does Quality Content Matter?
      2. How Content Affects Your Search Ranking
      3. How to Improve Your Site’s Content
        1. Providing Authoritative Information
        2. Writing Engaging Copy
        3. Crafting SEO-Friendly Content
      4. Adding Content to “Noncontent” Sites
        1. The Least You Need to Know
    2. 5. Optimizing Your Site’s Keywords
      1. What Is a Keyword—and Why Is It Important?
      2. Choosing the Best Keywords
        1. Performing Keyword Research
        2. How Keyword Research Tools Work
        3. Choosing a Keyword Research Tool
      3. Using Keywords in Anchor Text
      4. Using Keywords in HTML Tags
        1. Using Keywords in the <TITLE> Tag
        2. Using Keywords in <META> Tags
        3. Using Keywords in Heading Tags
        4. Using Keywords in Other Tags
      5. Using Keywords in Your Site’s Body Text
        1. Determining the Right Keyword Density
        2. Keyword-Oriented Copywriting for the Web
        3. The Least You Need to Know
    3. 6. Optimizing Your Site’s HTML Tags
      1. Working with the <TITLE> Tag
        1. Why Your Page’s Title Is Important
        2. Creating the <TITLE> Tag
        3. What to Put in Your Title
        4. What NOT to Put in Your Title
      2. Working with <META> Tags
        1. Working with the DESCRIPTION Attribute
        2. Working with the KEYWORDS Attribute
      3. Working with Header Tags
        1. The Least You Need to Know
    4. 7. Optimizing Your Site’s Design
      1. SEO Tips for Page Design
        1. Use Text, Not Pictures (or Videos or Flash ...)
        2. Put the Most Important Stuff First on the Page
        3. Use Headings and Subheadings
        4. Simplify Long URLs
      2. SEO Tips for Keyword Assignment
        1. Determine Which Keywords Go on Which Pages
        2. Make Every Page a Gateway Page
        3. Use Keywords in Your File and Folder Names
      3. Tips for Site Organization
        1. Be Shallow
        2. Avoid Duplicate Content
        3. Link to All Important Pages in Your Main Navigation
        4. Avoid Dynamic Content
        5. Test Your Site Structure
        6. The Least You Need to Know
    5. 8. Optimizing Links to Your Site
      1. Why Inbound Links Are Important
      2. How to Increase the Number of Sites Linking to Your Pages
        1. Creating Linkworthy Content
        2. Getting the Word Out
        3. Making Link Requests
        4. Automating Link Requests—or Not
        5. Engaging in Link Trading
        6. Purchasing Links
      3. Beyond Quantity: Increasing the Quality of Your Inbound Links
      4. Optimizing the Other Links—Between Pages on Your Site
        1. The Least You Need to Know
    6. 9. Optimizing Images and Videos
      1. Making Images Visible to Search Engines
        1. Using the ALT Attribute
        2. Using the TITLE Attribute
        3. Optimizing for Image Search
      2. Getting Search Engines to Notice Your Videos
        1. Using YouTube
        2. Optimizing for Video
        3. The Least You Need to Know
    7. 10. Submitting Your Site to Search Engines and Directories
      1. Submitting Your Site to Google
      2. Submitting Your Site to Yahoo!
      3. Submitting Your Site to Windows Live Search
      4. Submitting to Other Search Engines and Directories
      5. Using Website Submittal Services
      6. How to Remove Your Site from a Search Engine Index
        1. The Least You Need to Know
    8. 11. Mapping Your Site for Best Results
      1. How Sitemaps Work
      2. Why a Sitemap Is Important for SEO
      3. Creating a Map of Your Site
      4. Referencing Your Sitemap from the robots.txt File
      5. Submitting Sitemaps Directly to the Major Search Engines
        1. Submitting Your Sitemap to Google
        2. Submitting Your Sitemap to Yahoo!
        3. Submitting Your Sitemap to Windows Live Search
        4. The Least You Need to Know
  5. 3. Other Types of Optimization
    1. 12. Optimizing Your Site for Local Search
      1. What Is Local Search—and Why Is It Important?
        1. Local Search with the Major Search Engines
        2. Localized Search and Mapping Sites
        3. Local Directories
        4. Yellow Pages Directories
      2. Where Should You Submit Your Site for Local Search?
        1. Submitting to Local Directories and Search Engines
        2. Submitting to General Web Directories
        3. Submitting to Local Websites
        4. Submitting to Business Information Providers
      3. How Do You Optimize for Local Search?
        1. The Least You Need to Know
    2. 13. Optimizing Your Site for Mobile Search
      1. What Is Mobile Search—and Why Is It Important?
        1. Searching from a Mobile Phone
        2. Mobile Search Is Big—and Getting Bigger
        3. Which Search Engines Are Important for Mobile Search?
      2. What Does Your Site Look Like on a Mobile Phone?
      3. How Do You Optimize for Mobile Search?
        1. Performing Mobile Search Optimization
        2. Creating Mobile Sitemaps
        3. The Least You Need to Know
    3. 14. Optimizing Your Site for Social Media
      1. What Is Social Media?
        1. Social Networking Sites
        2. Social Bookmarking Services
        3. Blogs
        4. Online Communities
      2. Why Is Social Media Important?
      3. What Is Social Media Optimization—and How Does It Work?
        1. Improve Your Linkworthiness
        2. Make Bookmarking Easy
        3. Participate in the Communities
        4. The Least You Need to Know
    4. 15. Optimizing Your Blog for Search Engines
      1. How Blogs Differ from Traditional Websites
      2. The Many Different Ways to Search for Blog Posts
        1. Traditional Search Engines
        2. Blog Search Engines
      3. How to Optimize Your Blog for Search
        1. Optimizing the Blog Template
        2. Optimizing Blog Posts
      4. Submitting Your Blog to the Major Search Engines
        1. Understanding Site Feeds
        2. Submitting Your Site Feed
        3. The Least You Need to Know
  6. 4. Analyzing Your Site’s Performance
    1. 16. Tracking Search Engine Performance
      1. What Data Is Most Important?
        1. Visitors
        2. Pageviews and Landing Pages
        3. Visit Length
        4. Referring Sites
        5. Queries
        6. Inbound Links
      2. The Ultimate Metric: Search Engine Rank
      3. Why It Pays to Improve Your Performance
      4. Tracking Google Performance with Google Analytics
        1. What Google Analytics Analyzes
        2. Activating Google Analytics
        3. Using the Dashboard
        4. Additional Reports
      5. Tracking Google Performance with Webmaster Tools
        1. Viewing Overview Information
        2. Viewing Diagnostic Information
        3. Viewing Statistical Information
        4. Viewing Link Information
        5. Viewing Sitemap Information
        6. Using Other Webmaster Tools
      6. Tracking Live Search Performance with Webmaster Tools
        1. Viewing Summary Information
        2. Updating Your Site Profile
        3. Viewing Keyword Ranking
        4. Viewing Outbound Links
        5. Viewing Inbound Links
        6. Adding a Sitemap
      7. Tracking Yahoo! Performance with Site Explorer
        1. The Least You Need to Know
    2. 17. Using Third-Party SEO Tools
      1. Analyzing Website Statistics
        1. GoStats
        2. MindViz Tracker
        3. Mint
        4. StatCounter
      2. Viewing Site Performance
        1. SEO Trail
        2. Xinu Returns
      3. Monitoring Your Search Ranking
        1. Google PageRank Prediction and Search Engine Position
        2. GoRank Online Keyword Rank Tracking
        3. Rank Checker
        4. Search Engine Rankings
      4. Tracking Your Competitors
        1. Search Analytics
        2. Site Analytics
      5. Scrutinizing Inbound Links
        1. Backlink Summary
        2. Backlink Anchor Text Analysis
        3. Backlink Builder
      6. Working with Keywords
        1. KeywordDiscovery
        2. Wordtracker
        3. WordZe
        4. Keyword Density Analyzer
        5. Keyword Density Checker
        6. SEODigger
      7. Examining Other SEO Tools
        1. Search Engine Spider Emulator
        2. Similar Page Checker
        3. URL Rewriting Tool
        4. Xenu’s Link Sleuth
      8. Investigating SEO Tool Suites
        1. SEO Chat
        2. SEOmoz
        3. The Least You Need to Know
    3. 18. Avoiding the Most Common Search Engine Mistakes
      1. Understanding What Search Engines Don’t Like
        1. Long and Complicated URLs
        2. Splash Pages
        3. High Keyword Density
        4. Hidden Text
        5. Duplicate Content
        6. Bad Outbound Links
        7. Images, Videos, and Animations
        8. Big Pages
        9. JavaScript Code
        10. Too Much Code
        11. Messy Code
      2. Identifying the Five Most Common SEO Mistakes
        1. Mistake #1: Targeting the Wrong Keywords
        2. Mistake #2: Underusing Keywords in Your Content
        3. Mistake #3: Ignoring the <TITLE> Tag
        4. Mistake #4: Ignoring Your Site’s URL
        5. Mistake #5: Not Maintaining Your Site
      3. Avoiding Black Hat SEO Techniques
        1. Keyword Stuffing
        2. Link Bombing
        3. Doorway Pages
        4. Link Farms
        5. Mirror Websites
        6. Scraper Sites
        7. Link Cloaking
        8. Link Masking
        9. The Least You Need to Know
    4. 19. Maintaining SEO on an Ongoing Basis
      1. Why You Need to Maintain Your SEO
      2. Developing an SEO Maintenance Plan
        1. Performance Tracking
        2. Competitive Site Analysis
        3. Keyword Evaluation
        4. Content Updating
        5. Structural Analysis
        6. Inbound Link Development
      3. Planning for Various Contingencies
        1. Reoptimizing for New Content on Existing Pages
        2. Reoptimizing for New Pages
        3. Reoptimizing for New Competition
        4. Reoptimizing to Improve Site Performance
        5. Reoptimizing to Correct Problems
        6. Reoptimizing for Changed Goals
        7. The Least You Need to Know
  7. 5. Managing a Complete Search Engine Marketing Plan
    1. 20. Creating an SEO Strategy for Your Site
      1. Planning the Project
        1. Why Plan?
        2. Setting Objectives
        3. Setting Budgets
        4. Setting Tasks
        5. Setting Schedules
      2. Analyzing the Situation
        1. Current Site Analysis
        2. Competitive Analysis
        3. Keyword Analysis
      3. Implementing the Optimization
        1. Design the Navigation Structure
        2. Create the Site Content
        3. Rewrite the HTML Code
        4. Create and Submit the Sitemap
        5. Solicit Inbound Links
      4. Monitoring the Results
      5. Should You Do It Yourself or Hire a Professional?
        1. Advantages of In-House SEO
        2. Advantages of Professional SEO
        3. Choosing a Professional SEO Firm
        4. SEO Firms to Avoid
        5. The Least You Need to Know
    2. 21. Integrating SEO into Your Online Marketing Plan
      1. Understanding the Components of an Online Marketing Plan
        1. Search Engine Marketing
        2. Pay-Per-Click Advertising
        3. Display Advertising
        4. E-Mail Marketing
        5. Blog Marketing
        6. Social Media Marketing
        7. Online PR
      2. Where SEO Fits into Your Online Marketing Mix
      3. Making All the Elements of Your Online Marketing Plan Work Together
      4. Melding Online and Traditional Marketing
        1. The Least You Need to Know
    3. 22. Integrating Shopping Directories into Your Plan
      1. How Online Shopping Directories Work
      2. Examining the Major Online Shopping Directories
        1. BizRate
        2. Google Product Search
        3. Live Search Cashback
        4. mySimon
        5. NexTag
        6. PriceGrabber
        7. Pricewatch
        8. Shopping.com
        9. Shopzilla
        10. Yahoo! Shopping
        11. Other Online Shopping Directories
      3. Submitting Your Listings to the Shopping Directories
        1. Signing Up for Merchant Services
        2. Paying for Your Listings
        3. Creating a Data File
        4. Uploading Product Information
        5. The Least You Need to Know
    4. 23. Integrating Pay-Per-Click Advertising into Your Plan
      1. How Pay-Per-Click Advertising Works
        1. Purchasing Keywords
        2. Placing Ads in Context
        3. Paying by the Click
        4. Sharing Ad Revenue
      2. Evaluating the Big PPC Ad Networks
        1. Google AdWords
        2. Yahoo! Search Marketing
        3. Microsoft adCenter
        4. Other PPC Ad Networks
      3. Creating a PPC Campaign
        1. Selecting the Best PPC Ad Networks
        2. Choosing Keywords
        3. Calculating Optimal Cost Per Click
        4. Writing the Ad
      4. How PPC Advertising Integrates with Search Engine Marketing
        1. The Least You Need to Know
    5. 24. Evaluating the Performance of Your Online Marketing Plan
      1. Setting Goals Beforehand
      2. Evaluating Individual Components of Your Plan
        1. Search Engine Marketing
        2. Pay-Per-Click Advertising
        3. Display Advertising
        4. E-Mail Marketing
        5. Blog Marketing
        6. Social Media Marketing
        7. Public Relations
      3. Evaluating the Plan as a Whole
      4. What Constitutes Success?
        1. Return on Investment
        2. Traffic
        3. Sales
        4. Market Share
        5. Brand Awareness
        6. The Least You Need to Know
  8. Appendix: Glossary