Optimization Bing


Ever since Microsoft launched its Bing search engine, it has drawn a lot of interest (and speculation) from the SEO community. On one hand, this is quite logical because Bing is intended to be one more heavy-weight player and it is expected to cut some share from Google. On the other hand, this is hardly the first time a new heavy-weight player comes to the ring, so maybe the expectations that Bing will put an end to Google's monopoly are groundless. Still, Bing is quite different (in a positive way) from the other search engines and this is its major strength.

Is Bing Really That Different?
The first impression you get when you go to Bing.com is that it is different – the background makes it cute but sure, there have been many other cases of search engines with tons of graphical frills to disguise their irrelevant search algorithms. However, when you type a search term, the results you get are a pleasant surprise because they are relevant.

It is this relevance of search results that worries SEO experts. The results you get when you search with Bing are relevant, yet they are very different from Google's. Actually, no matter if you search with Google or with Bing, you get relevant results and the two sets are very different from one another.

One of the most important things SEO experts are curious to know about Bing is its algorithm. Obviously, Bing's algorithm is different from Google's because when the search term is the same but the set of results is different, a difference in the algorithm is the obvious answer. Actually, the question is exactly what is different between the two algorithms and if the difference is so drastic that it makes it mandatory to reoptimize a site for Bing.

What Do I Need to Do In Order to Optimize My Site for Bing?
Wait. This is the first thing you need to do. Right now it is too early to say what steps (if any) are required in order to optimize your site for Bing.

Additionally, no matter how promising Bing looks, it is still early to predict if it will become a real competitor to Google or if it will become one more failed attempt to dethrone Google. Let's see how users react – will they start Binging more or will they stick to Google. When it becomes clear that Bing will be able to make it, then it will make sense to optimize for it as well. So for now the best you can do is wait.

Which Factors Make a Site Rank Well With Bing
As you probably guess, the exact algorithm of Bing is not publicly available and because of that there is a lot of speculation about what weighs more for Bing (in comparison to Google) and what weighs less. Many SEO experts test different search queries, analyze the results, and based on that try to figure out what of the known SEO tactics works with Bing.

Some SEO experts even think that Bing is actually Live Search in new clothes (i.e. user interface), while others say that there are noticeable differences between Live Search and Bing. But there is no doubt that for now Bing is a significant improvement over Live Search in terms of relevance of search results.

Bing is hardly the first time when there is no agreement in the SEO community about the intricacies of the algorithm but if we can summarize, here are some factors, which are (or at least are strongly believed to be) of importance when Bing optimization is concerned :

  • Backlinks are of less importance. If you compare the first 10 results in Bing and Google, it is noticeable that all equal, the winners in Bing have less backlinks than the winners in Google. It is unclear if nofollow matters with Bing.
  • Inbound anchor text matters more. The quantity of quality inbound links might be of less importance for Bing but the anchor text certainly matters more. Actually, since anchor text is one of the measurements of the quality of inbound links, it isn't much different. Get quality anchor text and you will do well in both Bing and Google.
  • Link spamming won't do much for you on Bing. Since the quantity of backinks (even if they are of supreme quality) seems to be of less importance to Bing, link spamming will be even less effective than with Google.
  • Onpage factors matter more than with Google. This is one of the most controversial points. Many SEO experts disagree but many also think that onpage factors matter more with Bing than with Google. Still, it has nothing to do with the 90s, when onpage factors were definitive.
  • Bing pays more attention to the authority of the site. If this is true, this is bad news for bloggers and small sites because it means that search results are distorted in favor of older sites and/or sites of authoritative organizations. Age of domain is also very important with Bing – even more than with Google.
  • PR matters less. When you perform a search for a competitive keyword and you see a couple of PR2 or even PR1 sites among the top 10 results, this might make you wonder. On Google this is hardly possible but on Bing it looks quite normal.
  • Fresh content matters less. Bing looks a bit conservative – or maybe it just can't index sites that quickly – but it seems that fresh content is not so vital as with Google. This is related to the age of domain specifics and as a result you will see ancient pages rank high (but these ancient pages are relevant to the search query).
  • Bing is more Flash-friendly. Optimizing a Flash site for Google is a bit of a SEO nightmare. It is too early to say but it looks like Bing is more Flash-friendly, which is good news to all sites where Flash is (still) heavily employed.

For now it is too early to say which factors are of primary importance with Bing. But the fact that their search results are relevant means that their algorithm is really precise. Well, maybe the relevant results in Bing are due to the fact that web masters were taken by surprise and they haven't had the time to optimize for Bing. As a result, the content is authentic, there are no SEO gimmicks and artificial pumping. We'll see if this will stay so in the future, when web masters learn how to optimize for Bing as well!


Google Sandbox


It's never easy for newcomers to enter a market and there are barriers of different kinds. For newcomers to the world of search engines, the barrier is called a sandbox – your site stays there until it gets mature enough to be allowed to the Top Positions club. Although there is no direct confirmation of the existence of a SANDBOX,

8 Tips on How to Start an SEO Campaign

Several small & mid size businesses contact us daily for SEO consultation and helping their websites rank well on search engines. One common question we always hear is:
"Where and how do I start my SEO Campaign from?"
A couple of points to note before we start - We are assuming that you already have the domain name because finding a good domain name would be a separate topic.
Here are some of the most important steps that you can yourself take care of before going to any SEO company to manage your search engine marketing campaign.


1. Find your targeted keywords
The first and most important step is to determine what are the most important keywords for which you want your website to appear on search engines? You know your business more than anyone else. You know your target audience. So find out 10 phrases which you think that your prospective customers will search for.

2. Set the title of your website pages right
After you have decided on your keywords, the next step is to set them up properly. The title of your web page is the very first thing that any search engine crawler will read and take as a factor to rank your website. Your homepage title should contain your targeted keyword. All the other pages of your website should have title related to the content of that respective page. For e.g., the title of the registration page should be “Registration”. Keep in mind that you are not promoting your “registration” page. The idea is to “set things right”.

3. Set up meta keywords and description
Though Google has said they do not read meta tags content we still advise to put your targeted keywords in meta name=”keywords”/ field and one line description of your website in meta name=”description”/ field in your header tags. Many other search engines will still read them and Google won’t give you negative marks for that.

4. Unique content for the home page
Your website’s homepage should have a unique content describing your business. This introductory text should have the phrases that are in the title of the page. Experts say that you should use your targeted keyword 2-3 times in every 200 words so as to not get caught up for keyword stuffing. If possible, put your local business address and phone number on home page & contact us page to get noticed on "local business results" on Google.

5. Business Blog
Google loves a blog and so do the other search engines. Having a business blog pays – and this is something you should always remember. Whatever business you have, you must write 1-2 posts every week about your business. The articles can be about an industry news, a website update, a new recruit in your company – anything that relates in some way or the other to your business.
We recommend using wordpress because they are easy to set up and the come up with various SEO Plugins that help in optimizing your blog for search engine rankings.

6. Install Web Analytics
Once your website is up, you would definitely want to monitor your traffic. Any analytics software will show you how many visitors come to your website daily, where are they coming from and which keywords do they use on search engines to get on to your website. These are the most important metrics.
We suggest using Google Analytics!

7. Monitor your website rankings
Of course you are just starting your campaign. You might not be in top 100 on Google but sooner or later if you do the right things at the right time, you will find yourself in top 10 for that elite group of your targeted keywords.
We, at KPMRS, offer this service for free. You can register your website with your targeted keywords and we will monitor your rankings on daily basis. You can be rest assure to get notified by email as soon as your rank has changed for Google, Yahoo or Bing. This will even help you track the work done by whichever SEO company you have chosen for your campaign.

8. Setup business profiles on social media websites
Twitter, Facebook, Digg, Delicious are some of the buzz words today in social media industry. Setting up your business profile on these & similar websites are must for a starter. Maintaining & optimizing them is again a different topic of discussion about which we will soon post here.
We hope that you found this list a good starting point to help you set up your SEO Campaign. We also advise our clients to educate themselves by spending 30 minutes daily in reading latest news in the SEO world. You may not be professionals but you sure don’t want to appear dumb when you talk to a SEO Company. Official blogs of Google, Bing, & Yahoo are good starting point but there are hundreds of freelance bloggers that can provide really valuable information as well a few ones that we love
http://www.addme.com (Highly Recommended)
http://www.dailyseoblog.com
http://www.seo-theory.com
http://www.seomoz.org
http://www.webmasterworld.com (Highly Recommended)
Well, we have finished our part. Time for you now to add more points which you think would be useful for a beginner in the SEO world.

source: addme.com


Get Traffic from Social Bookmarking

Sites like digg.com, reddit.com, stumbleupon.com etc can bring you a LOT of traffic. How about getting 20,000 and more visitors a day when your listing hits the front page?
Getting to the front page of these sites is not as difficult as it seems.

1. Pay attention to your Headlines
Many great articles go unnoticed on social bookmarking sites because their headline is not catchy enough. Your headline is the first (and very often the only) thing users will see from your article, so if you don't make the effort to provide a catchy headline, your chances of getting to the front page are small.
Here are some examples to start with :-

Original headline : The Two Types of Cognition
Modified Headline : Learn to Understand Your Own Intelligence

Original headline: Neat way to organize and find anything in your purse instantly!
Modified Headline : How to Instantly Find Anything in Your Purse


2. Write a meaningful & short description
The headline is very important to draw attention but if you want to keep that attention, a meaningful description is vital. The description must be slightly provocative because this draws more attention but still, never use lies and false facts to provoke interest. For instance, if your write “This article will reveal to you the 10 sure ways to deal with stress once and forever and live like a king from now on.” visitors will hardly think that your story is true and facts-based.

You also might be tempted to use a long tell-it-all paragraph to describe your great masterpiece but have in mind that many users will not bother to read anything over 100-150 characters. Additionally, some of the social bookmarking sites limit descriptions, so you'd better think in advance how to describe your article as briefly as possible.

3. Have a great first paragraph
This is a rule that is always true but for successful social bookmarking it is even more important. If you have successfully passed Level 1 (headlines) and Level 2 (description) in the Catch the User's Attraction game, don't let a bad first paragraph make them leave your site.

4. Content is king
However, the first paragraph is not everything. Going further along the chain of drawing (and retaining) users' attention, we reach the Content is King Level. If your articles are just trash, bookmarking them is useless. You might cheat users once but don't count on repetitive visits. What is more, you can get your site banned from social bookmarking sites, when you persistently post junk.

5. Make it easy for others to vote / bookmark your site
It is best when other people, not you, bookmark your site. Therefore, you must make your best to make it easier for them to do it. You can put a bookmarking button at the end of the article, so if users like your content, they can easily post it. If you are using a CMS, check if there is an extension that allows to add Digg, Del.icio.us, and other buttons but if you are using static HTML, you can always go to the social bookmarking site and copy the code that will add their button to your pages.
Here is a link that should help you add Links for Del.icio.us, Digg, and More to your pages.

6. Know when to submit
The time when you submit can be crucial for your attempts to get to the front page. On most social bookmarking sites you have only 24 hours to get to the front page and stay there. So, if you post when most users (and especially your supporters) are still sleeping, you are wasting valuable time. By the time they get up, you might have gone to the tenth page. You'd better try it for yourself and see if it works for you but generally posting earlier than 10 a.m. US Central Time is not good. Many people say that they get more traffic around 3 p.m. US Central Time. Also, workdays are generally better in terms of traffic but the downside is that you have more competitors for the front page than on weekends.

7. Submit to the right category
Sometimes a site might not work for you because there is no right category for you. Or because you don't submit to the right category – technology, health, whatever – but to categories like General, Miscellaneous, etc. where all unclassified stuff goes. And since these categories fill very fast, your chance to get noticed decreases.

8. Build a top-profile
Not all users are equal on social bookmarking sites. If you are an old and respected user who has posted tons of interesting stuff, this increases the probability that what you submit will get noticed. Posting links to interesting articles on other sites is vital for building a top-profile. Additionally, it is suspicious, when your profile has links to only one site. Many social bookmarking sites frown when users submit their own content because this feels like self-promotion.

9. Cooperate with other social bookmarkers
The Lonely Wolf is a suicidal strategy on sites like StubleUpon, Digg, Netscape. Many stories make it to the front page not only because they are great but because they are backed up by your network of friends. If in the first hours after your submittal you get at least 15 votes from your friends and supporters, it is more likely that other users will vote for you. 50 votes can get you to the top page of Digg.

10. Submit in English
Linguistic diversity is great but the majority of users are from English-speaking countries and they don't understand exotic languages. So, for most of the social bookmarking sites submitting anything in a language different from English is not recommendable. The languages that are at an especial disadvantage are Chinese, Arabic, Slavic languages and all the other that use non-latin alphabet. German, Spanish, French are more understandable but still they are not English. If you really must submit your story (i.e. because you need the backlink), include an English translation at least of the title. But the best way to proceed with non-English stories is to post them on where they belong.

11. Never submit old news
Submitting old news will not help you in becoming a respected user. Yesterday's news is history. But if you still need to submit old stuff, consider feature articles, howtos and similar pieces that are up-to-date for a long time.

12. Check your facts
You must be flattered that users read your postings but you will hardly be flattered when users prove that you haven't got the facts right. In addition to sarcastic comments, you might also receive negative votes for your story, so if you want to avoid this, check you facts - or your readers will do it.

13. Check you spelling
Some sites do not allow to edit your posts later, so if you misspell the title, the URL, or a keyword, it will stay this way forever.

14. Not all topics do well
But sometimes even great content and submitting to the right category do not push you to the top. One possible reason could be that your stories are about unpopular topics. Many sites have topics that their users love and topics that don't sell that well. For instance, Apple sells well on Digg and The War in Iraq on Netscape. Negative stories - about George Bush, Microsoft, evil multinational companies, corruption and crime also have a chance to make it to the front page. You can't know these things in advance but some research on how many stories tagged with keywords like yours have made the front page in the last year or so can give you a clue.

15. Have Related Articles / Popular Articles
Traffic gurus joke that traffic from social bookmarking sites is like an invasion – the crowds pour in and in a day or two they are gone. Unfortunately this is true – after your listing rolls from the front page (provided that you reached the front page), the drop in traffic is considerable. Besides, many users come just following the link to your article, have a look at it and then they are gone. One of the ways to keep them longer on your site is to have links to Related Articles / Popular Articles or something similar that can draw their attention to other stuff on the site and make them read more than one article.

16. RSS feeds, newsletter subscriptions, affiliate marketing
RSS feeds, newsletter subscriptions, affiliate marketing are all areas in which the traffic from social bookmarking sites can help you a lot. Many people who come to your site and like it, will subscribe to RSS feeds and/or your newsletter. So, you need to put these in visible places and then you will be astonished at the number of new subscriptions you got on the day when you were on the front page of a major social bookmarking site.

17. Do not use automated submitters
After some time of active social bookmarking, you will discover that you are spending hours on end posting links. Yes, this is a lot of time and using automated submitters might look like the solution but it isn't. Automated submitters often have malware in them or are used for stealing passwords, so unless you don't care about the fate of your profile and don't mind being banned, automated submitters are not the way to go.

18. Respond to comments on your stories
Social bookmarking sites are not a newsgroup but interesting articles can trigger a pretty heated discussion with hundreds of comments. If your article gets comments, you must be proud. Always respond to commends on your stories and even better – post comments on other stories you find interesting. This is a way to make friends and to create a top-profile.

19. Prepare your server for the expected traffic
This is hardly a point of minor importance but we take for granted that you are hosting your site on a reliable server that does not crash twice a day. But have in mind that your presence on the front page of a major social bookmarking site can drive you a lot traffic, which can cause your server to crash – literally!
I remember one of the times I was on the front page on Digg, I kept restarting Apache on my dedicated server because it was unable to cope with the massive traffic. I have many tools on my site and when the visitors tried them, this loaded the server additionally.
Well, for an articles site getting so much traffic is not so devastating but if you are hosting on a so-so server, you'd better migrate your site to a machine that can handle a lot of simultaneous hits. Also, check if your monthly traffic allowance is enough to handle 200-500,000 or even more visitors. It is very amateurish to attract a lot of visitors and not be able to serve them because your server crashed or you have exceeded your bandwidth!

20. The snowball effect
But despite the differences in the likes of the different social bookmarking communities, there are striking similarities. You will soon discover that if a post is popular on one of the major sites, this usually drives it up on the other big and smaller sites. Usually it is Digg posts that become popular on StumbleUpon and Reddit but there are many other examples. To use this fact to your best advantage, you may want to concentrate your efforts on getting to the front page of the major players only and bet on the snowball effect to drive you to the top on other sites.
An additional benefit of the snowball effect is that if your posting is interesting and people start blogging about it, you can get tons of backlinks from their blogs. This happened to me and the result was that my PR jumped to 6 on the next update.



Improve Google Rankings in One Easy Step


Having a Top Rank in Google is the holy grail for anyone who has a website. Organic Google traffic is free advertising and how most bloggers (especially those just starting out) achieve visitors and traffic to their site. It all comes down to a simple numbers game. Essentially, more traffic = more money-making opportunities from your blog. The question is, how do you get ranked higher for my blog posts using Blogger?

Before I tell you how, let me give you a quick lesson is search engine optimization (aka SEO). There are two main components: “off-page” and “on-page” optimization. “Off-page” SEO refers to tactics such as link building. The more websites that point their links to your blog/website, the better. It’s a democratic way of showing Google that your site must be important if lots of people are pointing to it. Even more important with “off-page” inbound links is the actual link text (anchor text) that is used to point to your site.

Here’s my proof. If you search Google for the term “click here” you’ll see that Adobe Reader and Apple’s Quicktime software are in the top 3 results. Why? Because so many other sites are linking to these two sites with “click here” as the anchor text to download their software. That’s the power of “off-page” SEO which you as a blogger can’t do much about besides writing such great unique content that generates lots of links.

So with “on-page” SEO you have complete control over how well you’re optimized for Google. This includes keywords in your post titles, title tags, using header tags (h1, h2) and other tactics. Now the one we’re going to focus on in this article is the blog title tag.

Title tags are one of the most (if not the most) important “on-page” elements to ranking high in Google. Search engines such as Google weigh the importance of each word in the title from left to right. So ideally you want your blog post title all the way to the left and your actual blog name to the right. Below is a perfect example of how this should look in your browser :
Improve Google Rankings in One Easy Step | Web Link

Blogger templates by default don’t come with search engine optimized (SEO) title tags meaning you aren’t maximizing your blog to rank better in Google. If you take a look at your existing Blogger title you’ll see that blogger displays the blog name first then followed by your post title. They have it backwards so let’s get your blog setup properly.

We’re going to have to make a quick edit to your Blogger template which might intimidate some of you but it’s very small and painless. All I ask you to do first is to backup your template just in case you make a boo boo. That makes it easy to revert back without much headache.

Step 1
In your Blogger dashboard, go to “Layout” --> “Edit HTML”.

Step 2
In the template code, do a search for this: <title><data:blog.pageTitle/></title>. It’s usually in the first 5-10 lines of code in your template near the top.

Step 3
Replace that bit of code with the following code:
<b:if cond='data:blog.pageType == &quot;index&quot;'>
<title><data:blog.title/></title>
<b:else/>
<title><data:blog.pageName/> | <data:blog.title/></title>
</b:if>


Step 4
Save your template and go back to your blog. Click into any individual post and look at the page title.
All your blogger posts are now much better optimized to rank higher in Google. I’m not going to promise you a night and day difference but you’ve taken a step in the right direction. Now just go post unique high quality content so people searching Google will find your blog first!


Get Traffic from Facebook


Facebook is not the first social network but it is the most popular one. There have been many other social networks before Facebook and while some of them were popular at some point in time, none could reach the popularity of Facebook. In addition to keeping in touch with your friends, Facebook can be (and is) used for business. You can use it to promote your products and services, to acquire new clients, or to get traffic to your site.

Like Twitter, Facebook is just one of the many ways to get some traffic to your site. Many marketers believe that it is just a matter of time for the traffic from Facebook, Twitter and the other major social networking sites to surpass the traffic their sites get from Google.

While this time might come, don't take this as a promise that even if you do everything right, Facebook, Twitter, or any other similar site will do traffic miracles for you. For some people Facebook works like a charm, for others it doesn't work at all. The same applies to Twitter. You can't know in advance if Facebook and/or Twitter will crash your server with traffic. Just try both and see which one (if any) works for you.

Unlike Twitter, which is very simplistic, Facebook offers more possibilities. Yes, you might need more time in order to explore all the possibilities and take advantage of them but hopefully these efforts will have a great return in terms of traffic. Here are some tips that can help you turn Facebook into a traffic monster:

1. Your profile is your major weapon
As with Twitter and any other social network, if you don't make your profile interesting, you will hardly become popular. Give enough background information for you and don't forget to make your profile public because this way even people, who don't know you, when they encounter your profile, they might become interested in you and become a supporter of yours.

2. Include information about your site on your Wall and in the photo gallery
Facebook gives you the opportunity to write a lot about you and your endeavors, as well as to include pictures, so use all these opportunities to build interest in you and your products. It is even better to post videos and fill in the other tabs, so if you have something meaningful to put there, just do it.

3. Build your network
As with other social networking sites, your network is your major capital. That is why you need to invite your friends, acquaintances, and partners and ask them to join as your supporter. You should also search for people with interests similar to yours. However, don't be pushy and don't spam because this is not the way to convince people to join your network.

4. Post regularly
No matter how interesting the stuff in your Facebook profile is, if you don't publish new content regularly, the traffic to your Facebook profile (and respectively the Facebook traffic to your site) will slow down. If you can post daily, it is fine but even if you don't post that regularly, try to do it as frequently as you can. If nothing else, updating your status regularly is more than nothing, so do it.

5. Be active
A great profile, an impressive network, and posting regularly are just a part of the recipe for success on Facebook. You also need to be active – visit the profiles of your supporters, take part in their groups and other initiatives, visit their sites. You are right that all this takes a lot of time and you might soon discover that Facebooking is a full-time occupation but if you notice an increase in traffic to your site, then all this is worth.

6. Arrange your page
Unlike other social networks, Facebook gives you more flexibility and you can move around many of the boxes. If you put the RSS feed with the links to your blog in a visible space, this alone can generate lots of traffic for you.

7. Check what Facebook apps are available
Facebook apps are numerous and new and new ones are released all the time. While many of these apps are not exactly what you need, there are apps, which can work for you in a great way. For instance, MarketPlace widget/plugin or Blog Friends widget are very useful and you should take advantage of them. You can also use the widgets for crossposting (i.e. posting directly on Twitter from Facebook) because this saves you time.

8. Use Facebook Social Ads
If you can't get traffic the natural way, you might consider using Facebook Social ads. These are PPC ads and starting a campaign is similar to an Adwords campaign.

9. Start a group
There are many groups on Facebook but it is quite probable that there is a free niche for you. Start a group about something related to your business and invite people to join it. The advantage of this approach is that you are getting targeted users – i.e. people, who are interested in you, your product, your ideas, etc.

10. Write your own Facebook extensions
While this step is certainly not for everybody, if you can write Facebook extensions, this is one more way to make your Facebook profile popular and get some traffic to your site.

11. Use separate profiles
Unfortunately, social networks do expose a lot of personal information and you are not paranoid, if you don't want so much publicity. Many people are rightfully worried about their privacy on social network sites and that is why it is not uncommon to have one personal profile for friends and one business profile to promote their business. You can have one single profile for both purposes, but if you have privacy concerns, consider separating this profile in two – you'd better be safe than sorry.
Facebook is changing all the time and no matter how hard you try to follow these changes, there will be new and new possibilities for you to explore. That is why it is not possible to compile a complete list of all the tactics you can use in order to drive traffic from Facebook to your site. Anyway, if you try just the basics for Facebook success we listed here, chances are that you will see a considerable traffic increase.


Robots.txt


It is great when search engines frequently visit your site and index your content but often there are cases when indexing parts of your online content is not what you want. For instance, if you have two versions of a page (one for viewing in the browser and one for printing), you'd rather have the printing version excluded from crawling, otherwise you risk being imposed a duplicate content penalty.

Also, if you happen to have sensitive data on your site that you do not want the world to see, you will also prefer that search engines do not index these pages (although in this case the only sure way for not indexing sensitive data is to keep it offline on a separate machine). Additionally, if you want to save some bandwidth by excluding images, stylesheets and javascript from indexing, you also need a way to tell spiders to keep away from these items.

One way to tell search engines which files and folders on your Web site to avoid is with the use of the Robots metatag. But since not all search engines read metatags, the Robots matatag can simply go unnoticed. A better way to inform search engines about your will is to use a robots.txt file.

What Is Robots.txt?
Robots.txt is a text (not html) file you put on your site to tell search robots which pages you would like them not to visit. Robots.txt is by no means mandatory for search engines but generally search engines obey what they are asked not to do. It is important to clarify that robots.txt is not a way from preventing search engines from crawling your site (i.e. it is not a firewall, or a kind of password protection) and the fact that you put a robots.txt file is something like putting a note “Please, do not enter” on an unlocked door – e.g. you cannot prevent thieves from coming in but the good guys will not open to door and enter. That is why we say that if you have really sen sitive data, it is too na├»ve to rely on robots.txt to protect it from being indexed and displayed in search results.

The location of robots.txt is very important. It must be in the main directory because otherwise user agents (search engines) will not be able to find it – they do not search the whole site for a file named robots.txt. Instead, they look first in the main directory (i.e. http://mydomain.com/robots.txt) and if they don't find it there, they simply assume that this site does not have a robots.txt file and therefore they index everything they find along the way. So, if you don't put robots.txt in the right place, do not be surprised that search engines index your whole site.

The concept and structure of robots.txt has been developed more than a decade ago and if you are interested to learn more about it, visit http://www.robotstxt.org/ or you can go straight to the Standard for Robot Exclusion because in this article we will deal only with the most important aspects of a robots.txt file. Next we will continue with the structure a robots.txt file.

Structure of a Robots.txt File
The structure of a robots.txt is pretty simple (and barely flexible) – it is an endless list of user agents and disallowed files and directories. Basically, the syntax is as follows:

User-agent:

Disallow:

“User-agent” are search engines' crawlers and disallow: lists the files and directories to be excluded from indexing. In addition to “user-agent:” and “disallow:” entries, you can include comment lines – just put the # sign at the beginning of the line:

# All user agents are disallowed to see the /temp directory.

User-agent: *

Disallow: /temp/

The Traps of a Robots.txt File
When you start making complicated files – i.e. you decide to allow different user agents access to different directories – problems can start, if you do not pay special attention to the traps of a robots.txt file. Common mistakes include typos and contradicting directives. Typos are misspelled user-agents, directories, missing colons after User-agent and Disallow, etc. Typos can be tricky to find but in some cases validation tools help.

The more serious problem is with logical errors. For instance:

User-agent: *

Disallow: /temp/

User-agent: Googlebot

Disallow: /images/

Disallow: /temp/

Disallow: /cgi-bin/

The above example is from a robots.txt that allows all agents to access everything on the site except the /temp directory. Up to here it is fine but later on there is another record that specifies more restrictive terms for Googlebot. When Googlebot starts reading robots.txt, it will see that all user agents (including Googlebot itself) are allowed to all folders except /temp/. This is enough for Googlebot to know, so it will not read the file to the end and will index everything except /temp/ - including /images/ and /cgi-bin/, which you think you have told it not to touch. You see, the structure of a robots.txt file is simple but still serious mistakes can be made easily.

Tools to Generate and Validate a Robots.txt File
Having in mind the simple syntax of a robots.txt file, you can always read it to see if everything is OK but it is much easier to use a validator, like this one: http://tool.motoricerca.info/robots-checker.phtml. These tools report about common mistakes like missing slashes or colons, which if not detected compromise your efforts. For instance, if you have typed:

User agent: *

Disallow: /temp/

this is wrong because there is no slash between “user” and “agent” and the syntax is incorrect.

In those cases, when you have a complex robots.txt file – i.e. you give different instructions to different user agents or you have a long list of directories and subdirectories to exclude, writing the file manually can be a real pain. But do not worry – there are tools that will generate the file for you. What is more, there are visual tools that allow to point and select which files and folders are to be excluded. But even if you do not feel like buying a graphical tool for robots.txt generation, there are online tools to assist you. For instance, the Server-Side Robots Generator offers a dropdown list of user agents and a text box for you to list the files you don't want indexed. Honestly, it is not much of a help, unless you want to set specific rules for different search engines because in any case it is up to you to type the list of directories but is more than nothing.


How to Build Backlinks


It is out of question that quality backlinks are crucial to SEO success. More, the question is how to get them. While with on-page content optimization it seems easier because everything is up to you to do and decide, with backlinks it looks like you have to rely on others to work for your success. Well, this is partially true because while backlinks are links that start on another site and point to yours, you can discuss with the Web master of the other site details like the anchor text, for example. Yes, it is not the same as administering your own sites – i.e. you do not have total control over backlinks – but still there are many aspects that can be negotiated.

Getting Backlinks the Natural Way
The idea behind including backlinks as part of the page rank algorithm is that if a page is good, people will start linking to it. And the more backlinks a page has, the better. But in practice it is not exactly like this. Or at least you cannot always rely on the fact that your contents is good and people will link to you. Yes, if your content is good and relevant you can get a lot of quality backlinks, including from sites with similar topic as yours (and these are the most valuable kind of backlinks, especially if the anchor text contains your keywords) but what you get without efforts could be less than what you need to successfully promote your site. So, you will have to resort to other ways of acquiring quality backlinks as described next.

Ways to Build Backlinks
Even if plenty of backlinks come to your site the natural way, additional quality backlinks are always welcome and the time you spend building them is not wasted. Among the acceptable ways of building quality backlinks are getting listed in directories, posting in forums, blogs and article directories. The unacceptable ways include inter-linking (linking from one site to another site, which is owned by the same owner or exists mainly for the purpose to be a link farm), linking to spam sites or sites that host any kind of illegal content, purchasing links in bulk, linking to link farms, etc.

The first step in building backlinks is to find the places from which you can get quality backlinks. A valuable assistant in this process is the Backlink Builder tool. When you enter the keywords of your choice, the Backlink Builder tool gives you a list of sites where you can post an article, message, posting, or simply a backlink to your site. After you have the list of potential backlink partners, it is up to you to visit each of the sites and post your content with the backlink to your site in it.

You might wonder why sites as those, listed by the Backlink Builder tool provide such a precious asset as backlinks for free. The answer is simple – they need content for their site. When you post an article, or submit a link to your site, you do not get paid for this. You provide them for free with something they need – content – and in return they also provide you for free with something you need – quality backlinks. It is a free trade, as long as the sites you post your content or links are respected and you don't post fake links or content.

Getting Listed in Directories
If you are serious about your Web presence, getting listed in directories like DMOZ and Yahoo is a must – not only because this is a way to get some quality backlinks for free, but also because this way you are easily noticed by both search engines and potential visitors. Generally inclusion in search directories is free but the drawback is that sometimes you have to wait a couple of months before you get listed in the categories of your choice.

Forums and Article Directories
Generally search engines index forums so posting in forums and blogs is also a way to get quality backlinks with the anchor text you want. If the forum or blog is a respected one, a backlink is valuable. However, in some cases the forum or blog administrator can edit your post, or even delete it if it does not fit into the forum or blog policy. Also, sometimes administrators do not allow links in posts, unless they are relevant ones. In some rare cases (which are more an exception than a rule) the owner of a forum or a blog would have banned search engines from indexing it and in this case posting backlinks there is pointless.

While forum postings can be short and do not require much effort, submitting articles to directories can be more time-consuming because generally articles are longer than posts and need careful thinking while writing them. But it is also worth and it is not so difficult to do.

Content Exchange and Affiliate Programs
Content exchange and affiliate programs are similar to the previous method of getting quality backlinks. For instance, you can offer to interested sites RSS feeds for free. When the other site publishes your RSS feed, you will get a backlink to your site and potentially a lot of visitors, who will come to your site for more details about the headline and the abstract they read on the other site.

Affiliate programs are also good for getting more visitors (and buyers) and for building quality backlinks but they tend to be an expensive way because generally the affiliate commission is in the range of 10 to 30 %. But if you have an affiliate program anyway, why not use it to get some more quality backlinks?

News Announcements and Press Releases
Although this is hardly an everyday way to build backlinks, it is an approach that gives good results, if handled properly. There are many sites (for instance, here is a list of some of them) that publish for free or for a fee news announcements and press releases. A professionally written press release about an important event can bring you many, many visitors and the backlink from a respected site to yours is a good boost to your SEO efforts. The tricky part is that you cannot release press releases if there is nothing newsworthy. That is why we say that news announcements and press releases are not a commodity way to build backlinks.

Backlink Building Practices to Avoid
One of the practices that is to be avoided is link exchange. There are many programs, which offer to barter links. The principle is simple – you put a link to a site, they put a backlink to your site. There are a couple of important things to consider with link exchange programs. First, take care about the ratio between outbound and inbound links. If your outbound links are times your inbound, this is bad. Second (and more important) is the risk that your link exchange partners are link farms. If this is the case, you could even be banned from search engines, so it is too risky to indulge in link exchange programs.

Linking to suspicious places is something else that you must avoid. While it is true that search engines do not punish you if you have backlinks from such places because it is supposed that you have no control over what bad guys link to, if you enter a link exchange program with the so called bad neighbors and you link to them, this can be disastrous to your SEO efforts. For more details about bad neighbors, check the Bad Neighborhood article. Also, beware of getting tons of links in a short period of time because this still looks artificial and suspicious.


Jadilah Facebooker dan Blogger Sejati


Jika sejumlah perusahaan dan instansi melarang penggunaan Facebook dan situs pertemanan lain di tempat kerja, tidak demikian dengan Australia. Pemerintah di Negeri Kanguru ini justru mendorong pegawainya aktif di dunia maya. Apa pasal?

Pemerintah di Negeri Kanguru ini mendorong pegawainya untuk aktif di dunia pertemanan maya, seperti di Facebook, Twitter serta blog. Alasannya untuk menghilangkan tembok pembatas antara pemerintah dan masyarakat umum.

Dunia maya dipercaya pemerintah Australia dapat menjadi jembatan antara aspek-aspek negara mereka. Lebih jauh lagi, bukan hanya memandang jejaring sosial sebagai hiburan semata, pemerintah Australia melihat peluang situs-situs tersebut sebagai tempat mendiskusikan ide-ide serta mendapatkan feedback.

Selain di Facebook, setiap instansi publik diharapkan pemerintah untuk lebih akrab dengan situs populer lain seperti situs ensiklopedia Wikipedia dan situs video YouTube. Untuk urusan blog, pemerintah melihat layanan ini sebagai wadah yang tempat bagi publik untuk menyalurkan komentar terhadap kebijakan yang mereka keluarkan.

"Akses ke jejaring seperti email dan pesan singkat membuka kesempatan yang kuat untuk menjalin kerja sama, terutama saat pihak-pihak yang diajak kerja sama terpisah secara fisik. Begitu juga dengan Twitter, Facebook, serta blog turut memberikan akses ke informasi yang penting dan membuka komunikasi," demikian beberapa pernyataan dalam draft yang disusun pemerintah Australia.


Membangun Backlink


Benarkah Backlink itu begitu penting agar kita sukses di dunia maya?
  • Pertama: Link sangat penting karena agar situs kita terjaring oleh robot dan akhirnya terindex di Search Engines. Selanjutnya tugas mereka adalah menentukan rangking sesuai dengan terms (kategori) situs atau blog.
  • Kedua: Link akan memperkokoh relevansi halaman blog kita. Dengan memperbanyak link dengan situs lain yang relevan berarti kita mempermudah halaman situs kita ditemukan oleh Google yang kemudian akan di-indeks dan di rangking. Jadi setiap Google melakukan inspeksi ke situs Tukar Link misalnya, maka ia akan menemukan link kita di sana. Akhirnya situs kita dianggap ngetop dan ditempatkan di rangking yang tinggi untuk terms (kategori) tertentu.

Untuk mengetahui lebih jauh, kita perlu mengetahui juga dua konsep penting yaitu Link Popularity dan Link Reputation.
Link Popularity menekankan pada berapa banyak link berkualitas yang menuju suatu blog atau web.
Link Reputation menekankan pada keywords apa saja yang dipakai dalam anchor text. Apakah ada relevansinya satu sama lain? Kalau saya boleh memberi istilah yaitu variasi kata kunci yang berkaitan. Variasi keywords berkaitan tersebut penting karena setiap pengunjung tidak selalu menggunakan kata yang sama sebagai keywords untuk mencari informasi lewat Search Engines. Misalnya: A menggunakan kata Situs Tukar Link sebagai keywords untuk mencari informasi Tukar Link. B menggunakan istilah Web Link untuk mencari informasi yang sama. Jadi informasi Tukar Link mempunyai variasi beberapa keywords seperti: situs tukar link dan web link. Jika sudah optimal, mau pakai keyword Situs Tukar Link atau Web Link, maka situs kita akan tetap nangkring di urutan atas (setidaknya halaman pertama) Google. Hebatkan?

Oleh karena itu kedua konsep itulah yang harus diperjuangkan? Pertama adalah mendapatkan sebanyak mungkin link berkualitas dan kedua adalah membangun banyak variasi kata kunci yang relevan untuk situs kita.

Nah, pertanyaan berikutnya yang muncul, bagaimana caranya untuk mempunyai backlink? Selain melakukan Tukar Link, tidak ada salahnya kita menuliskan sebuah artikel dan memberikan komentar pada Forum, artikel dari salah satu situs, terutama yang DoFollow supaya dianggap backlink.

Lalu apakah berarti kita harus mengecek satu per satu status situs yang akan kita beri komentar? mungkin iya. Tapi bila ingin menggunakan strategi lain, bisa menggunakan BacklinkWatch. Situs itu berfungsi untuk menghitung backlink dari sebuah URL dan menampilkan situs-situs dimana URL tersebut muncul sebagai backlink.