Tag Archives: SEO

Link exchange for SEO

SEO manual – Good Link Exchange Practices

Link exchange is great way for small and medium businesses to make their website known and liked by Search Engines. Big companies typically don’t have to worry about this, because the back-links come in naturally as a result of usual business flow.
While link building is a good way to get higher in Search Engine rankings, this is not about links only. It is about establishing your image, creating content and ultimately improving the user’s experience.  
Here are the basic rules on healthy link exchange.

Inaccessible Link Pages

Check the reciprocal links often. Unscrupulous webmasters remove the links after a while. Use a back-link checking script.

Make sure the reciprocal link is easy to find on the other site. Sometimes the link-exchange directory is hidden and there is no link to it. If there is now way to navigate from the site’s home page to its links page, then the search engine spiders will have the same problem. The reciprocal link to your site will have no value.
Sometimes webmasters do not do this on purpose they are unaware of the missing navigation to their links page, and just need a reminder. Others will do this deliberately.
Furthermore if the links/directory page has a Page-Rank greater than 0, you know that search engines already spidered this page.


Focus on exchanges with Related and Relevant Websites

Do not start a desperate link-exchange campaign and accept any link exchange just for the sake of it. Be selective and concentrate on websites related to yours. This way the link exchanges will carry more relevancy; Search Engines have ways to compare your theme with the themes where your site is listed. Although many unrelated links will not do any direct harm to rankings and it will help a little with your rankings, it will not help a lot. Having to manage a lot of irrelevant links and running the risk that your links are considered unnatural is not worth the little advantage.

Links are about Content – Give Content

Try that your link exchange looks more like an articlette, (small article), rather than a simple link. This will add more contextual value to your placed link. Make sure your articlettes base is ample enough so that you don’t get duplicate content issues.

Invalid or Indirect Links

When exchanging links, check each new link to your site to make sure that it is a valid link that will contribute link popularity (and PageRank) to your site.

One thing to look out for is links that link to a script on the other site (and the script then redirects to your site). These links do not help you. Another trick to look out for is links that include the nofollow tag, which tells search engines not to follow the link at all. These links will likewise do you no good.

I recommend using an automated program such as LinkMachine that will check your reciprocal links for you and will not count indirect or nofollow links.

Do not Link to Banned Pages

If you link to a page banned by Google, it can lower your site’s ranking. Avoid including on your site any links to sites that have been banned by Google. Look up the site’s domain in Google, and if nothing comes up, you know the site’s been banned and it’s best not to link to it. There are other ways to check this.

The Anchor Text has a Great SEO Value

Use various anchor text for your link exchanges. There are many reasons for this. Google interprets this lack of diversity as the result of artificial linking, and reduces its positive influence on search rankings. Another reason is that you will gain popularity for only the text you are promoting through your link exchange. Let’s say you sell a Help-Desk software that includes an inventory system and a Remote Control Console. You need to rotate your anchor text to change such as all of your three features are published.  Furthermore the three variants should vary, (for instance “Computer Inventory” should be rotated with “IT inventory”).

Purchasing Linking

Purchasing links is banned by Google and is against Google’s TOS. This being said, there are many sites which buy and sell links. It is very difficult to determine a link resulted from such a transaction.  

Do not use Doorway Pages and Cloaking
Don’t use black SEO techniques such as "doorway pages", ("advertising pages" or "promotional pages"), or "cloaking" to generate unnatural links to your site. They are prohibited by Google and they will result in your site being banned by Google and other Search Engines.

Use Software or Scripts to Manage your Link Exchange

Don’t try to manage your link exchanges manually. It is a tedious work and it will take your focus from the most important activity on your site – the content.
A good script for managing links is LinkMachine. LinkMachine has many features that allow you to manage Link Exchange in an elegant way.
Another good option is Axandra’s software – IBP, a leader on the Market. IBP facilitates the optimization of all the SEO aspects and it has an included link exchange Manager. Read more about IBP.

How to use 301 Redirect for moved or missing pages

What is 301 redirect?

301 redirect is a method of redirecting pages on your website to other pages on your site or elsewhere.

Why would you need to redirect content?

It is a method to retain search engine rankings for a page. If a page has previously been ranked by search engines and you changed the file name during a major redesign, or moved some of the content to another website the ranking is lost if you just move the page. If instead you do a 301 redirection the old ranking will be passed on to the new page.
Another use is to redirect traffic for deleted content somewhere on your website so that the traffic is not lost. Sometimes you need to remove outdated content and since you are still receiving traffic for those pages you would like to keep those visits.

What means a 301 Redirection?

301 redirect means “moved permanently”. When a search engine accesses a file marked as “Moved Permanently” it will note the new address and consider the new location as the valid one, passing on the ranking for the new page.

How to do a 301 Redirection

Apache 301 Redirection
Look for the .htacces file on the root of your website’s directory.
If there isn’t one create it. On Windows you might have difficulties to create a file with an empty name and only the extension. But once the file created, for instance on the host operating system you can edit the file using notepad or wordpad.
The simplest method is to place the following line into your .htaccess file:
redirect 301 /old-directory/old.htm http://www.mywebsite.com/new.htm
Don’t add the whole address on the first part, (the www) as the server uses its root directory as the referral point and not the http address.
Copy paste the statement below and modify it to reflect your needed redirection.
Upload the file on the server or overwrite the old file if you use direct access.
Test the redirection.

What if you want to redirect all of your files to another address? Fortunately you don’t need to add a redirect for each of your files. You can use the Apache’s URL Rewriting Engine module, which can handle complex redirections using regular expressions.

Redirect for a Moved Website

A rule that will redirect ALL of the files on your web server to another address:
redirectMatch 301 ^(.*)$ http://www.domain.com

A rule that will redirect http://mywebsite.com to http://www.mywebsite.com for SEO purposes:
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^mywebsite\.com
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.mywebsite.com/$1 [R=permanent,L]

Redirect to a Different File Extension

A rule to redirect your .htm pages to .php pages:
RewriteBase /
RewriteRule (.*).htm$ /$1.php

Redirect an Entire Directory

Redirect An Entire Directory/Folder to a single page. You got rid of the old content and you want to keep your visitors and keep the ranking of your old pages.
RewriteBase /
RewriteRule ^old-directory/(.*) http://www.mywebsite.com/new-directory/ [R=301,L]

You moved content in another folder or on another webpage and you would like to redirect visitors to exactly the same page at the new address.
Another use of this, is if your test site got indexed by search engines and is ranking better or the same as the regular website. It happened to me… Somehow my robots file got overwriten
RewriteBase /
RewriteRule ^old-directory/(.*) http://www.mywebsite.com/new-directory/$1 [R=301,L]

Redirection Troubleshooting

Make sure that you leave a single space between the different elements of the statement.
Make sure you have “RewriteEngine on” on your .htaccess file, without it your rules will not function.
Regex Tip:
The content between the round brackets is kept in memory and called when needed with the syntax $1 for the content of the first bracket, $2 for the content of the second bracket, etc.

What if I don’t have an Apache server? I use IIS.
The alternative for IIS is ISAPI_Rewrite for IIS. ISAPI_Rewrite gives you all the nice features that you have with Mod_Rewrite.

More on the Rewriting Engine module and the regex here:
http://httpd.apache.org/docs/1.3/mod/mod_rewrite.html

Social bookmarking as a way to increase your Website’s traffic

What is Social Bookmarking?

Social bookmarking is a great way to improve your website’s ranking and traffic in Search Engines.

SB are websites that provide subscribers a way to save their bookmarks on a central server and retrieve them from any computer. The nice thing about it is that you can share some of those bookmarks with other users, based on interests or friendship. Google and the other Search Engines take these SB sites very seriously because that is the user’s choice and they want to provide users with the best service. It’s obvious that the more users bookmark your site the better your ranking.

Improve your rankings using SB

-First create an account to all major Social Bookmarking services and bookmark your own site.
-Second ask your friends to signup for these websites and bookmark your site. This should be done personally by all your friends. You can provide them with a list of keywords to be used in the description text. Your friends can recommend your website to other friends, etc… This is something that the SEO spammers do, but they do it unnaturally by spamming. The rest of us do it as a social activity. It is not recommended to use multiple accounts to the same Social Bookmarking site as is considered spam. And the Search engines will figure out is spam, by matching the description for all the fake accounts, and penalize your rankings. However if the description is different, there is no way that the Search Engine figure out that you cheated.
Be an active participant and give back the community, show your interest, it’s the best way to attract visitors.
Place a navigation bar on your site with links to all major Social Bookmarking sites.
What would be a good list of Social Bookmarking sites? Here are a few of them:
http://digg.com/
http://del.icio.us/
http://reddit.com/
http://www.furl.net/
http://www.blinklist.com/
http://www.stumbleupon.com/

I should probably mention that stumble upon is a great tool not necessarily for rankings, but for free traffic. If you are getting voted positively by the community you are being pushed in their rankings and they will send invitation to people with an expressed interest in that area. If you have a good site that you think it deserves more traffic and better rankings in SE send me an email with the link and the suitable keywords.

If you have an idea and you would like to blog it here, please contact me.