Happy 2006 to all, and welcome to the first ZooNews of
the New Year! We hope you enjoy this issue of the monthly
newsletter from Montreal
Web design company Zoonini Web Services
and encourage you to send
suggestions and feedback.
We've reached the final installment of our three-part crash
course in search-engine optimization (SEO): linking
(If you missed either of the first two parts, check out our
tips and advice on optimizing Web
We will look at three elements of linking strategies:
internal site links, incoming
links from relevant sites,
and directory links.
Although it may not seem obvious,
links within your own site can help boost your search-engine
results. These include links in your site navigation
and site map page, as well as links within the text of your
site leading to other pages in your site. In each of these
contexts, the words you apply the link to should include
your targeted keywords wherever possible. For example, if
you sell frozen fish and your homepage gives a product overview,
take that opportunity to link any relevant keywords (i.e. "halibut")
to the specific page within your site focusing on that particular
fish, such as your page devoted to the mighty halibut.
Another factor contributing
to your search-engine ranking is whether other quality, relevant
sites are linked to your own. For example, get your frozen-fish
site listed with a link at as many food- and fish-related
sites as possible. Search engines like to see incoming links
from industry organizations and other sites that are relevant
to your business in some obvious way; it gives your site
added credibility. Other possibilities could include sites
in related industries, such as dipping sauces and gourmet
Incoming links are also sometimes referred to as "backlinks" and
are most valuable if the words being linked to your site
include your targeted keywords. For example, a link from
the words " XYZ High Seas - gourmet frozen fish" is
more valuable than a link from "XYZ High Seas Inc."
Steer clear of so-called "link farms" – sites
filled with unorganized links to masses of unrelated sites.
Not only are these sites useless in terms of SEO, if a link
farm is blacklisted by a search engine such as Google, your
site's ranking could be negatively affected.
Another issue worth mentioning is that getting a spate of
incoming links very quickly – especially if your
site is new – may cause your site to be "sandboxed" – flagged
as potential spam and removed from the search-engine index
until a human being can verify its legitimacy. Slow and steady
is the recommended approach to building incoming links.
site to general and specialized directories, in the appropriate
category. DMOZ (aka
the Open Directory)
and Zenome take
free submissions but make no guarantee as to when your site
will be listed. Yahoo! currently charges US$299/year to submit
a commercial site to its directory, but submission to its
search index is free.
Directories are organized within a hiearchical category
system, similar to a library. Submit your site to the most
appropriate category possible, since a human being evaluates
each submitted site to make sure the category fits and the
proposed description meets the directory's criteria. (In
contrast, search engines are databases of sites collected
by automated "crawlers" or "robots" that
scour the Web for new sites.)
For our frozen-fish emporium, this category in DMOZ may
be a good fit:
Business: Food and Related Products: Meat and Seafood: Seafood:
In addition to general directories, submit your site to
more specific directories such as regional listings (country-,
province- or city-specific), professional associations and
networking groups you belong to, and any other place where
it makes sense for your business to be found.
You may be wondering, "So when do I submit my site
to Google?" Well, if you've followed the advice
in our three-part series – and now have a well-optimized
site – Google will find
it soon enough, and you don't need to worry about
submitting it. If it makes you feel better, you may use their
Hungry to learn even
more about SEO? Luckily, there are a wealth of online resources
to explore; here are a few good places to start:
Even if it's taken us three issues, we've really only scratched
the surface of the constantly changing, sometimes controversial,
topic of search-engine optimization. Although we haven't
covered everything (for example, we barely touched the
subject of paid listings) we hope this overview gives you
a good sense of the SEO basics.
Many thanks to my colleague Charlotte
Riley for allowing me to borrow from the handout she prepared for
an SEO round table we led last fall.
Earlier we spoke about the importance of putting keywords
into linked text. Anchor text is
the term for the linked text itself. For example, you may
have noticed that in the past three issues of ZooNews, we
linked the words "Montreal
Web design company" in the intro paragraph to Zoonini's
homepage, and I've done it again right here. These linked
words show you how we might use keywords in anchor
text to try to boost Zoonini's ranking for these
particular search terms.
Another way to easily get more valuable anchor text links is
to avoid putting links on the words "Click here." Why
waste a valuable internal link on keywords as generic and meaningless
as "click here"? Use the opportunity instead to include
some keywords in the anchor text, for example by linking from
the phrase "buy gourmet frozen food here" instead.
a technology term you'd like
demystified in ZooNews?
Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last month we unveiled a new site for Montreal professional
organizer Catherine Desjeunes's kaosZAPP.
Featuring a colourful but clean layout, this site illustrates
how keeping a Web design simple can often achieve handsome
and effective results.
For over three years, I worked full-time at online search
where I first met my trusted SEO partner Charlotte Riley.
While evaluating thousands of sites during that time, we
saw both the worst and the best, and learned what works and
what doesn't. Since then, we've worked together to create
well-optimized sites that achieve excellent results for our
clients. Follow our advice to give your site the best possible
chance at being found among your many Web competitors!
À la prochaine,
aka Kathryn Presner