Cerberus SEO 101 Guide - Search Engine Opitmization

Discussion in 'SEO, Traffic and Revenue' started by Cerberus, Oct 13, 2011.

  1. Cerberus

    Cerberus Admin Talk Staff

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    This is pretty basic, but for those who do not know much about SEO will be a great help. This is my checklist that I use and a guide that has be cultivated for over 10+ years.

    Step 1) Picking your domain
    Most people don't know that they seriously hurt their sites with bad domain choices. I see it time and time again. The best way to choose a domain is to choose one that is relevant to your content. For example if your making a site about oranges..Then www.oranges.com = GOOD , www.apples.com = BAD. I know that sounds stupid, but the point is that you should always include your main keyword in your domain name. This will help you 100% when attempting to SEO your site.

    Step 2) Duplicate content and choosing www. or no www.
    The second thing you should always do is to decided which you want to use www or no www. Doing this now saves you from dealing with problems later on. I would suggest doing this right away after setting up hosting and pointing domain and all. You can do this a couple ways, one is through your hosting panel, and another is using htaccess. If you have cpanel its very easy to do in the panel, but for those DIY types here is the code:

    Simple create a txt file called .htaccess in notepad. Don't forget the . in front of name and then save it as all files. Then enter the correct code for your choice and save it. Then upload to the root directory of your site

    This is for no WWW:
    Code:
    RewriteEngine on
    
    RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www.example.com$ [NC]
    RewriteRule ^(.*)$ [URL]http://example.com/$1[/URL] [R=301,L]
    This is for WWW:
    Code:
    RewriteEngine on
    
    RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^example.com$ [NC]
    RewriteRule ^(.*)$ [URL]http://www.example.com/$1[/URL] [R=301,L]
    
    Step 3)Quality Content
    This pretty much goes without saying, but I like to put it on the list. You want to have some good quality content chock full of keyword rich descriptions and such. You should know before you build the site what keywords your going to target, so you want to sneak those in, but not overdo it. Its kind of like a game. Keyword stuffing is BAD, but just enough is fine. I on a rule try to keep all my keywords I want to target at about 5 to 7% density on a page. I do this just because this is what I learned way back when. And I am a stubborn person who is set in my ways. Also, another good tactic which has never been proven positive or negative is surrounding you main keywords with the
    Code:
    <strong> 
    tag, for example
    Code:
    <strong> keyword</strong>
    . I do this all the time just out of habit. I have no idea the pros and cons. Some people still use Bold tags, but I like strong.

    Also, just to kill 2 birds with one stone, you want to work in some adsense targeting here, assuming you will be using addsense. So, you would want to add weight to your main content, like so :

    The HTML tags to emphasize a page section take the following format:
    Code:
    <!-- google_ad_section_start -->
    stuff
    <!-- google_ad_section_end -->
    
    Or you can take it away..
    Code:
    <!-- google_ad_section_start(weight=ignore) -->
    stuff
    <!-- google_ad_section_end -->
    
    Doing this assures you better content relevant ads from adsense. Not always, but hey they say do it and we will reward you. So its worth doing it.

    Step 4)Meta Tags
    People sometimes forget these still do matter. Every engine uses them for something. Most of them use them to pull description from for your Serps. And can leave you with ugly looking Serps if you don't take care of this, plus if you take the time they can also help you in the engines. You want to have relevant Meta for every page of your site. Luckily, like on a forum using variables and such we can bypass having to do this manually, but if your doing it manually then you will have to do it by hand in HTML or whatever it is your coding in. That blows, but hey these are still important.

    Step 5)Sitemap
    I am hoping everyone knows what a sitemap is, so I am not going to talk much about it. But once you have all your content ready and your ready to submit to the engines, then create a sitemap. There are tons of tools you can Google for this, so use Google :)

    Step 6)Robots.txt
    This is very important in helping you weed out the crap on your site. Alot of sites have pages that really serve no purpose or value for Google. They are only there for the users. And so we use a simple robots.txt to weed them out. I cant talk much about this because not everyone is going to be the same. But, if your using vbulletin I will show you what we are using.Also, always include a valid link to your sitemap at the bottom of your robots.txt. This is very Pr0 :)

    http://truecheaters.com/robots.txt

    Step 7)Submitting to engines
    This is your last step. You have everything ready and now its time to send your site out into the world. And to this you just submit it to the engines. We are lucky that on most forum software type sites it does this for us. But, I suggest still signing up to the major engines webmaster tools and submitting it yourself at first.

    Google Webmaster Tools
    Msn Webmaster Tools
    Yahoo Site Explorer

    Also, these are great for gathering and checking data. It helps you as a guide to make sure your keeping on top of everything. I would also recommend google analytics, because its free. And does a good job tracking everything. But, its not a must have. You can use whatever you want to keep track of data and such

    Step 8)*Optional* Validate your pages
    If you coded up all your pages on your site in HTML I would definitely recommend this, but its not a must.

    W3C Validation

    I never take the time to do it, because I don't know. I never was much into validating every page. Maybe just the most viewed ones if have time. It will help you to SEO your images better if do it though.

    And that's it. My basic guide to SEO. I think I covered all the important basics, but feel free to comment and ask questions.
     
    A.Chakery, pixelek, Sedat and 9 others like this.
  2. Brandon

    Brandon Regular Member

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    Thanks for the guide bro, I'll "like it" when I get back to a computer.
     
  3. Tonyoo7

    Tonyoo7 Regular Member

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    Thanks for this.
     
  4. bosconian

    bosconian Regular Member

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    This is a very instructional post. I'm a total SEO newbie and this is very helpful. I'll start following this advices right now.
     
  5. BennyCurry

    BennyCurry Regular Member

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    Very nice guide. I would recommend for anyone who is thinking of hiring someone to SEO their site to at least learn the basics of SEO because some SEOers can really do more harm than good. This is especially true with some kids (no offense to the younger crowd) whose idea of SEO is scrapebox or xrummer which can really harm a site. If you at least know some basics you'll be able to determine what is a good service from what is a bad one, as well as be able to get an idea as to whether or not the SEOer knows what the heck they are doing in the first place.
     
  6. ConfabIt

    ConfabIt Regular Member

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    Thanks for the guide, very helpful. I'm curious though; how does this work for forums? Only my keyword density is all over the place with there being so much varied content on there. Also, "forum" has 100% relevancy which I'm not sure is a good or bad thing. xD
     
    Brandon likes this.
  7. andyred

    andyred Regular Member

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    This is a great guide to get started with!

    I particularly like your tips on Bolding and setting a Strong Font on main keywords and important phrases within my sites content, I will give this a go and see if it has any effects.

    As regards to the Adsense targeting, I had no idea you could target a certain part of content text on your site to give Adsense an idea on what ads to show, pure genius and I salute you for adding that! :)
     
  8. Zerth

    Zerth Regular Member

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    Thanks for the guide, very well explained and easy to understand.
    Especially with the 'www.' bit, always wanted to know how to do it.
    But what are the benefits of adding the 'www.'?
     
  9. Cerberus

    Cerberus Admin Talk Staff

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    I usually go without www.. There is no real benefit to either. One is shorter is all. But, you should do it to stop duplicate content and cookie problems on your forums where people are logging into both with and without.
     
  10. nightsparks

    nightsparks Regular Member

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    I was looking for something like this the other day. It's not necessarily an in-depth, detailed guide, but it's a great checklist for starting SEO. Thanks!
     
  11. SimplySidy

    SimplySidy Website Consultant, Developer and Strategist

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    Looks like a good starting point. Thanks for this wonderful writeup. I loved the codes for the .htaccess. Unfortunately, the Link to yahoo site explorer doesnt work for me. No worries, I would try out via the Search for the same. And yes, the MSN Webmaster Tools is now Bing Webmaster Tools (glad that I already submitted my site with them).
     
  12. carlalexander

    carlalexander Regular Member

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    Thanks for sharing and the tips, there is usually so much to do with onsite and of site SEO that we usually tend to forget about some little points that are really important.
     
  13. thebrad

    thebrad Regular Member

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    Great guide just done a sitemap, done metawords and put my site into bing and google this has helped a lot mate very good work 10/10!
     
  14. wowtgp

    wowtgp Regular Member

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    Wow! So much info on this thread. I will have to bookmark it for later reference. Thank you so much.

    I agree with what you have put up- here. Google bots are hungry for quality content over quantity. Feed 'em what they want and they will give you what you want - better ranking and as a result, more traffic.
     
  15. rodserd

    rodserd Regular Member

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    This is a good common sense guide.
     
  16. Octer

    Octer Regular Member

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    Thank you very much for this guide!

    I have a question regarding duplicate content. I have this.COM and this.NET that both point to the same site. Will I be penalized for duplicate content?
     
  17. Cerberus

    Cerberus Admin Talk Staff

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    No, as long as you use the proper redirect. One needs to be the main site and the other should redirect to the main. Google likes 301 redirects. So, I would suggest as long as it is done right you are fine
     
  18. Jack Rouse

    Jack Rouse Regular Member

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    This should be unpinned.

    A lot of what is said is common sense, but now since Panda, Penguin and Panda 4, it needs to be updated.

    There is no need to alter your .htaccess non http:/www will take you to exactly the same place as www, the difference between the two stopped years ago.
    As far as I know no major search engine will favour a site that surrounds it's keywords with <strong> tags, against one in the same niche that doesn't, it's probably one of those SEO myths that crop up from time to time, like having a keyword in your domain name, if that were true why is the forum "Red Cafe" more popular than the official forum on manutd.com ? they are both forums about man utd ?

    Robots.txt is a must if you want to keep search engines out of places you don't want it to see, bear in mind that not all bots obey Robots.txt.

    The validity of sitemaps is also a grey area, whilst they are helpful, the question is if they are essential anymore, submit your site to Google, and it will crawl and index the pages anyway, some say a sitemap slows this process up because Google or any of the big four then don't need to crawl those pages.
    What you have to remember is that when a search engine crawls your site, that isn't it, it can take up to week for those pages to be submitted to the index.

    MSN & Yahoo are now Bing, so those links will not work.

    Unless you use a platform that is already W3C validated, it is unlikely that you will get validation, I would also argue that 99.9% of members on forums have no idea what it means anyway.
    The major engines check for Markup and HTML errors anyway.

    Things that you should concentrate on now, in no order of importance are:
    Backlinks from sites within your niche

    Good content with author details that you can use the Google highliter to pick up

    Start using HTML5 when constructing pages, this allows you to use more than one <h1> tag in a document, and the <article> tag which replaces <div> tells search engines that it is a separate section about similar things, so now you can construct pages with various <h1> and <article> tags.
    http://webdesign.tutsplus.com/artic...ple-h1-tags-in-the-html5-era--webdesign-16824

    Because content in a forum changes on an almost hourly basis, it's more important now for them to have static pages in the form of tutorials, articles and the like, these will get a forum to the top if written properly and the proper SEO methods are used.

    That's my two cents !
     
  19. Cerberus

    Cerberus Admin Talk Staff

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    Most of it is still relevant. I would disagree with the backlinks idea though. Google has moved more towards content than inbound links. Too many inbound links are now considered spam, thank god. I have bitched about that for years and even had long conversations with Matt about them taking weight from backlinks.I have always seen it as spam. But, had you followed my information years ago you would not have seen a decline during the Panda updates. I have older clients, whom reaped tons of rewards on the updates. They instantly shot to the top of google due to my SEO and concentration on OnPageSeo. The Static vs Dynamic is an interesting argument though. I do not see any real proof of one versus the other, but I would love to discuss it more if you have any valid proof. As to html5 being better, again no real proof. Also, the strong tag, another either way thing, but it looks nice. And who knows if it still matters, it did at one point. But, it helps the visitors find what they want easier, content sticks out more. I should probably update some of it though.. Maybe when I get some free time
     
  20. Jack Rouse

    Jack Rouse Regular Member

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    It wasn't meant as a criticism for the article for the time it was written, I was just trying to make new admins aware that certain things have taken on a greater priority than they had only two years ago.

    Content as normal is king, but some admins see that as quantity rather than quality, and the same can be said of backlinks, you need to get those "in niche" backlinks, because Google knows that you need to have a viable reliable site in order to get them.

    I'm still not sure the <strong> tag had any relevance, and although I haven't tried very hard, I can't find any evidence to support or kill the claim.
     

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