Showing posts with label SEO. Show all posts
Showing posts with label SEO. Show all posts

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Improve your Search Engine Position with Sitemaps

While we are exploring using the Internet to market your position in the Surrogacy Agency world we should be looking at Sitemaps. Once again this information I am sharing with you is invaluable and, best of all, its FREE! Some website building tools already have the ability to build in a sitemap for you (like E-direct) however if not here are some tips to do it yourself!


Improve your Search Engine Position with Sitemaps

A sitemap is a little-known secret to enhancing your Web site's position in the search engine listings. No, it's not a killer secret that will draw in thousands of new visitors overnight, but it is an important addition to your toolset, and not hard to implement. This article will tell you why you need a sitemap, and how to create one and submit it to the search engines.

The term "sitemap" can refer to two different things. Many large, complex Web sites provide a visual sitemap that visitors can use for quick navigation, if they already know roughly where they want to go. If your site is large or complex, you should provide one of these sitemaps for your visitors.

But this article is about the other kind of sitemap: The kind that is made for the search engines, like Google, to use in indexing your site. There are several forms that these sitemaps can take, but we'll get to that a little later.

First of all, let's consider why you even need a sitemap. Google and the other search engines will index your site even if you don't have a sitemap. However, there are four main advantages to having a sitemap:

1. If your site uses non-HTML links, such as Macromedia Flash menus or JavaScript menus, the search engines will not be able to follow these links, and so they will not find all of your pages. A code-driven site must use a sitemap.

2. A sitemap tells the search engines which pages on your site are more important, and which are less important. This prevents the less important pages from competing with your own pages in the listings.

3. A sitemap tells the search engines which pages on your site are updated more frequently than others. This enables the search engines to ignore your static pages, increasing the likelihood that they will have the most current data on your most dynamic pages.

4. A sitemap enables you to tell the search engines when you have added or updated your site's content. To some extent, this puts you in control of making the search engines aware of your latest content. Of course, it doesn't force the search engines to do your bidding, but it tends to make it easier for users to find your new pages more quickly.

So, what is a sitemap?

As mentioned above, there are many possible forms of sitemaps, but we'll concentrate on the most useful kind, the XML sitemap format created and promulgated by This protocol, currently known as "Sitemap 0.90," is maintained and endorsed jointly by Google, MSN, Yahoo, and Ask, so you know it is pretty much a universal standard.

An XML sitemap consists of a list of pages on your Web site, and standard information about each page. Here is an example:

< url >

< loc >< /loc >

< lastmod >2008-04-07< /lastmod >

< changefreq >never

< priority >0.3

< /url >


< url >

< loc >< /loc >

< lastmod >2008-04-07

< changefreq >weekly

< priority >0.8

< /url >


Don't worry about the technical details of formatting the XML. We'll talk about tools that will create this for you in a moment.

There are three things to notice about each entry:

1. LastMod. Tell the search engines the last date (and time) you changed this page. That will tell them which ones they ought to index right away, and which ones they can ignore.

2. ChangeFreq. In case you're not updating your sitemap all the time, this will give the search engines a clue as to how often they ought to check each page.

3. Priority. This tells the search engines the relative importance of this page, compared to all the other pages in your site.

In assigning a value for "Priority," on a scale of 0.0 to 1.0, determine which pages are most important and which are least important within your site. We're not telling the search engines that this "Services" page is in the 80th percentile of all pages on the Web, but it is far more important than the "Index" page within this site. That's where we want our visitors to end up.

It's easy to identify pages within your site which are lowest priority. Some examples:

- Privacy Policy - "Contact us" - "About us"

Please don't misunderstand this. It's not that your "Privacy Policy" page is unimportant and so you might as well not have one. It's that your "Privacy Policy" is important enough to take for granted: Your visitors will find it when they need it. But for search engine purposes, you'd rather direct them to the pages where you actually do your business.

So, how do you create a sitemap?

There are a number of software tools that will create a sitemap by reading your site's content. You will have to adjust the results, especially the "Priority" settings, but most of these do a pretty good job. Search the Web for "sitemap generator," or for any of the following specific free tools:

- SitemapDoc - XML-Sitemaps - AuditMyPC Google Sitemap Generator

And once you have your sitemap, what do you do with it?

There are three things to do, in sequence:

1. Place the sitemap file into the root directory of your Web server, alongside your main "index" file. And each time you update it, place the new copy there.

2. Notify the major search engines of your new sitemap file each time you update it. For Google, this means to submit it from within "Webmaster Tools." For other major search engines, search on that search engine for "submit sitemap," and you'll probably find where to enter the URL of your sitemap file.

3. Place a reference to the sitemap file in your robots.txt file, as "Sitemap:". This will make sure that any search engine will find it, even those that you did not submit it to directly. You only need to do this once, unless you change the name or location of your sitemap file.

Once you have your sitemap created and submitted, don't forget to maintain it. Each time you add a page to your Web site, add it to your sitemap. Each time you update a page on your Web site, update its "lastmod" setting in your sitemap. Try adjusting the "priority" of your pages from time to time to see if it improves the performance of that particular page. And each time you modify your sitemap, resubmit it to the major search engines.


About the Author: Charles J. Bonner is the founder and principal project manager of For a complete list of resources for creating and using sitemaps, visit

Monday, March 30, 2009

Want Free Search Engine Traffic? Choose the Correct Keywords!

Just so you know, I used the information below to change/add to my Keywords and Meta Tag list! I used the Wordtracker and KeywordDiscovery...both worked great and best of all it's FREE! Because we have been on the topic of marketing your website, we also need to address how to get that Search Engine Traffic! So I hope this helps you as much as it helps us at!


Want Free Search Engine Traffic? Choose the Correct Keywords!

If content is king, make your keywords your servants! It's pretty simple; good keywords bring lots of traffic, bad ones don't. If you want that free search engine traffic, the first thing you need to do is to find out what exactly it is that people are searching for in the area that you are interested in. Then you pick key words that relate to your topic of interest, and that people are really searching for. You can have the best content in the world, but if you optimize for the wrong keywords you still won't get that sought after traffic.

For example, let's assume I am going to build a site about water heaters, and I want people to come to my site. I need to find out what kind of information about water heaters that people are looking for so I can build pages optimized for the keywords that people are really using.

The first thing I do is go to a keyword tool to do my keyword research. There are a number of keyword tools online, my favorite is Wordtracker. Others include KeywordDiscovery, and the Google AdWords suggestion tool There is simply no substitute for doing your keyword research. With these tools you can put in a seed word or phrase, and the tools will provide you with lists of related keywords and keyword phrases that are searched for, and how many times per month they are searched for. Using these tools there are ways to estimate the size of the market for products and services, ways to optimize you web pages, find new niche markets, and much more.

With Wordtracker I find quickly that many more people search for "tankless water heater" than search for water heater...which surprises me. Nearly as many people search for "hot water heater" as search for "water heater". Wordtracker also informs me that there are far fewer websites trying to be ranked high for "hot water heater" than for "water heater". Ah-Ha! I'll be sure to optimize a few pages for "hot water heater". In fact, I find that the terms "tankless water heater", "tankless hot water heater", "tankless water heaters", "electric tankless water heaters", and "tankless heaters" all have more people searching for them than "water heater".

Single word keywords are very difficult to get high rankings for, so it's wise to shoot for longer keyword phrases. Three and four word phrases are what I use most often.

After finding out what information people are looking for, and what keywords they are using to find that information, you can build the appropriate pages and optimize them for those keywords that have significant traffic searching for them.

Now that we have our keyword list and we are ready to build our pages, where do we put the keywords?

The first and probably one of the most important places to have your keywords are in the title tag. This is one of the tags in the head section of the html code of your web page and lists the title that is displayed in the web browser. Internet Explorer displays this tag in the top bar of the browser window. It's very important that you always write for humans. The search engines are getting smarter and smarter, and they are looking for sites optimized for humans, not search engines.

Get some of your keywords into the keyword meta tag, not crucial but it won't hurt.

Make sure you have some keywords in your Alt tags for your images...don't overdo it though. Write it for humans, but try to work a few keywords in if you can. Alt tags are displayed as a popup when you pass your mouse over an image.

The Description Meta Tag is still a valuable place to use your keywords. Many search engines will look at the description Meta tag for keywords to compare against your body copy. Yahoo uses your description tag as the description of your site in their listings. Consider the description tag just like it is named, a concise description of your site. Keep under 50 words.

Your body copy is obviously a very important place for placement of your keywords. Remember, write for humans. If your keywords don't appear in your body copy, you won't place high in the search engine results for those keywords. Work your keyword into the text appropriately. Select one or two keywords and make the page specifically about those keywords.

Use your keywords appropriately for humans on your site where you can. This will increase your search engine effectiveness.


About the Author: William Lund has been a webmaster since 1998. His website provides free information about website design, development, promotion, and monetization. For more about keywords and other website topics visit: Lund One Web Marketing and More. Mr. Lund Also has a blog: Pondering Everything