Archive for January, 2009

Matt Cutts’s Advice On URLs & Page Names

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

While there are many important factors to “on page” optimization, most all optimization will start with the file name or page name - that’s of course after you’ve done your keyword homework. There are many nuggets of advice I myself could give on the subject by I thought in particular you might want to hear some of the things Matt Cutts (Google employee) has to say on the subject with regards to ranking in Google. Below I’ve compiled some key notes Matt has made on the subject from various sources.

  1. One type of file extension is not preferred over another.
    This means .php is not preferred over .asp or .html over .htm. They all have equal value as far as Google is concerned.

    source: http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/dont-end-your-urls-with-exe/

  2. Don’t end your URL in .exe or other extensions used mostly for binary data.
    Ending your URLs with .exe or another ending commonly used for binary data may cause Google to not index the file or may cause other problems as it might think the URL is to an actual binary data file.

    source: http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/dont-end-your-urls-with-exe/

  3. Use a dash instead of an underscore in file names.
    Pretty self explanatory, Google seams to like the dash better as the underscore was used at one point in computer languages to depressant a combined word not two separate words. So in this case if you had the URL test_word.htm that could be interpreted as you use the word “test_word” in the URL not the words “test” and “word”.

    source: http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/dashes-vs-underscores/

  4. Google algorithm does not penalize for dashes in the URL.
    There is no penalty for this but of course if you have a really long URL using this it might raise other flags.

    source: http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/dashes-vs-underscores/

  5. Use the same URL consistently across your entire site.
    You do not want to vary the URL you are using across your site as this could be internated by Google as duplucate content. For example if you have your home page as yoursite.com/.index.html you want to use that all through your site and not vary this and have one link going to yoursite.com/ and other to yoursite.com/index.html.

    source: http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/seo-advice-url-canonicalization/

  6. You should 301 redirect to default file names
    Variations of default or common URLs should be 301 directed to one URL. For example if yoursite.com/, yoursite.com/index.htm, yoursite.com/index.html all go to the same place then you should 301 redirect them all to one of those URLs.

    source: http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/seo-advice-url-canonicalization/

  7. A www and non-www version of your site can be treat differently
    This is another issue with duplicate content and minimizing the chance of it. Google can treat a www and non-www URL as totally different pages. So you should make sure you are using only one of those in your links and possiably 301 redirect the one your not using to the one you are.

    source: http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/canonicalization-update/

  8. Google treats static and dynamic URLs in the same way.
    Self explanatory, Google does not give static or dynamic URLs more weight over one or the other. But having keywords in the URL will currently give you an SEO advantage.

    source: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6860320126300142609

  9. Page Rank flows the same to static and dynamic.
    Again pretty self explanatory, Google flows PR the same way to each of these types of URLs.

    source: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6860320126300142609

  10. Only try to use 2 or 3 parameters in dynamic URLs
    Matt suggests only have about 2-3 parameters in your dynamic URLs.

    source: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6860320126300142609

  11. Try not to use numbers in dynamic URLs
    It’s suggested that you don’t numbers in your URLs as they could be seen as session ids and confuse the Google bot when crawling your site.

    source: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6860320126300142609

Why Link Exchanges Are Devalued

Friday, January 9th, 2009

If you’re reading this post you’ve most likely came across it because I’ve emailed you a link to it as you’ve requested a link exchange with one of my clients’ or one of my own websites. I applaud and admire your enthusiasm to increase the ranking of your website but currently disagree heavily with link exchanges and you should understand why as it will help your site too.

After receiving countless numbers of such emails and requests I’ve decided the best way to respond was to write this post on why I will not participate in your link exchange and why current link exchanges usually offer no or very little value to a site.

As many website owners, webmasters and SEOs know link building is one of the pillars to success in organic search engine optimization. And the methods and ways they go about obtaining links can be as varied as colors in the rainbow. But over the evolution of search engines and SEO some methods of obtaining links have been depreciated or devalued due to their negative effects from spam and quality control. Among those devalued link building techniques is link exchanges.

In the early days of search engines and optimization, link exchanges where an effective means of link building. During that primitive time a website could indeed optimize a few factors on there website and then trade a few links with high PageRank or authoritative sites and ZIPPP! your at the top of the search results. But as time went on search engines got wiser and spammers becoming more vigorous. As more and more people caught on to this so did spammers only they took it to another level. Search engine spammers created massive link exchanges offering little or not actual value but just many… many pages of links. Quickly search engine caught on to this and begun making steps towards recognizing and devaluing such types of links.

In fact here is what Google currently says about link exchanges:

…some webmasters engage in link exchange schemes and build partner pages exclusively for the sake of cross-linking, disregarding the quality of the links, the sources, and the long-term impact it will have on their sites. This is in violation of Google’s webmaster guidelines and can negatively impact your site’s ranking in search results.

So as you can see link exchanges can not only be totally non-effective at counting as a link pointing to your site but also can have rather harmful ramifications on your rankings in the search engines. There have even been many reports that sites have been severely penalized for participating in link exchanges and even gone as far as being banned from search engines.

I have confirmed with MSN Search staff (Janine Crumb) that my site [titled] Most Popular Sites was banned from MSN Search for having a link exchange forum area.

Due to this devalued response to link exchanges from search engine many leading SEOs have written and said many things including warning against participating in such activities. I’ve listed below some response to link exchanges that these industry leading SEOs have said.

I think most link networks are not worth participating in…

…don’t waste your time getting on someones “Links” page…

But what about 3-way link exchanges, you might ask. Well same goes for 3-way exchanges, it would be rather dimwitted to concluded that Google and other search engine could not figure out that you have participated in a 3-way link exchange. Their algorithms and interpretation of websites’ link structures are very advanced from what they once where. In fact here are some statements on this from other expert SEOs.

3 way linking is usually bad because most sites that need to use it are not worth linking at and do not have links which carry much link weight…

So now you understand that link exchanges are a poor means of link building. But many of you now I’m sure now have no idea what to do in order to obtain links. Well not to worry, there are so many methods of link building I would be hard pressed to leave 1/4 of them on this blog post. But so as not to leave you totally out in the dark I’ve provided a list of several currently effective link building techniques. Each has it’s own set of rules and scale of effectiveness, it’s up to you now to decipher which will work best for your site.

  1. Social Media Links - obtaining links through popular social media sites. Examples include Digg.com, flickr.com, wordpress.com
  2. Submit Articles - write informative articles and submit them to article directories and sites.
  3. Submit Press Releases - write or have someone a press release about your company and get it published on a PR site.
  4. Create a Useful Tool, Theme or Widget - come up with and create something that other would find interesting and useful enough to link back to you.

If you have any questions, need help or want someone to preform link building services for your website please feel free to contact us and we’ll give you a free consultation on what we can do to improve your link building.

Please link to this, spread the word, and feel free to email others this post when they send you link exchange requests. It’s the only way to stop yourself from receiving annoying link exchange requests and it will effectively help make better search results.

PageRank Calculator

Monday, January 5th, 2009

I just got done putting together a neat little SEO tool that calculates how much Google PageRank you’ll need to get from links to obtain a specific PageRank. I call the tool a Google PageRank Calculator. To best explain what it does lets look at an example.

Lets say you want a PageRank of 6 and you currently have a ranking of 1 then this tool will calculate how much PageRank you’ll need from links pointing to your site to get to PR6. Which in our example would be ~297 PR1 links pointing to your site to increase your PR1 site to a PR6 (using the default settings on the tool).

The tool gives you a nice total of the complete amount PR you’ll need and then breaks it down father into how many PR1, PR2, and combination of PR2 and PR1 links that would be. In the future I might make it break that down further or have some sort of options were you can chose how many max or min links of a specific PageRank.

The benefit of this tool is that it will allow you to have some estimation of what type of effort it will take to get your site up to a point at which it’s considered an authority in Google. PageRank is really just a measure of that, that page’s authority. Although of course that has gotten lost a little bit with people buying links and obtaining them in other ways but that is really the original purpose of what PageRank shows. And so this tool really just gives you some prediction on what it would take for you to get there.

For more information on how exactly this SEO tool works just check out the tool’s page and scroll down a little bit and you’ll find an explanation of how the calculation is done. And thanks to my brother who help with the Calculus and Algebra.

Also I’ve set it up so you can post comments about the tool on that page. Just scroll down to the bottom and you’ll see the comment area.