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SEO Frequently Asked Questions

November 12, 2003

We have created this Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section to better help our users and our clients rapidly find answers to their most-often asked questions. Additionally, it is suggested you use our main search engine located at the top of our web site, as it is designed to scan all of our site and should hopefully deliver you the information you are seeking. Feel free to email us if you happen to have a question that is not listed in any of these three FAQ pages.

What exactly is �cloaking� and is it true it can put me into trouble with the search engines? I know many Webmasters that do it and some seem to have some kind of success with it, or so they claim. What�s your view on this?

Cloaking is NEVER a good idea at all and to answer your question, yes, it can certainly put you and your site in trouble, as far as the search engines are concerned. You will find all the reasons by reading this article.

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How can I make certain that our web site will remain ahead of our competitor's when it comes to online visibility and ease of finding us?

Search engine optimization and marketing is an on-going concern that never ends. Look at it as a permanent, ongoing business challenge if you really need to always stay ahead of your competition. To that effect, part of Rank for $ales's professional consultative services is to carefully assess and evaluate the strengths, the weaknesses and the general overall market reach for your main competitor's web site. Once that has been done, we can better select appropriate optimization strategies that will yield much higher visibility for your site in the most popular search engines.

Please help us! Our website has been banned! I cannot find it anywhere in Google anymore or even in AltaVista for that matter. Since 3 years now that we have been following all the great advice you give us in your newsletter and on your website, I've always been number 3 or 4 on the first SERP of Google, but now I just cannot find my site anywhere! What should I do? My business depends on having a good ranking in Google and about 30% of our sales used to be referred to us by Google and now our sales have dropped a huge amount. Your help will be greatly appreciated.

Under normal circumstances, sites don't "fall off a cliff" like your's seem to have done. Is it possible you may have done some "important experiments" or installed some new and unproven technology on your site recently? For any search engine to ban altogether a whole website takes some serious actions on the part of the webmaster or the site owner. We have seen many sites in the past (and still do) that get penalized for a month or two. But, to get banned altogether seems a bit exaggerated, altough anything is possible.

Our first suggestion to you would be to write a friendly email to Google explaining in detail what has happened and telling them "everything" they need to know, even if there "are" certain things you have done which you know you shouldn't have. The great people at Google are also humans just as the rest of any of us and they know that sometimes, site owners will run into trouble, either by lack of proper knowledge or, as is sometimes the case, there could have been a few violations or abuses in their Terms of Use policies.

We still often "enherit" websites that some of our "competitors" have, let's politely say "abused" and these sites were penalized for a month or two. Things like "invisible text" (You'd think that after all these years they would know better, but apparently not). The first we always do in cases like that is: First we check everything and anything that could have been in violation with any search engine, and then we correct it with the right and accepted procedures, and we always follow every step "by the book". Once we have rectified and corrected all there was to be corrected, normally, after a 30 to 60 day period, these sites usually re-appear in the Google database and all the others for that matter.

To help speed-up things a bit, once we are finished with the "damage control" and once all "fires are extinguished", we will write a friendly email to Google explaining them the Before / After scenario and tell them everything we know and normally everything is fixed afterwards. It may take 3 to 4 weeks, sometimes a bit more, but what is important is that the site gets back in the index and it usually does on most times.

Myself and nobody else here has ever heard anything about SEO until I came to the Rank for $ales web site!

Relax- If you have never heard of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), you are certainly not alone. We hear and see it every single day. There are very few web site design companies that truly offer genuine SEO services. A recent study done by Oneup Web on the top ranking website design firms in both Google and Lycos revealed that fewer than 17% of the firms surveyed even mention the mere importance of the major search engines in important subjects such as e-commerce and online marketing. Many other industry analysts agree on these important numbers too.

Most Internet companies and web site design firms are ill equipped to handle your search engine promotion needs, let alone plan it ahead. If by any chance some do offer SEO services, they still may not be as versed in the practice as the top professional, full-time SEO firms are. Design firms are concerned primarily with building your web site the way you asked them to build it and getting it out on time.

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How does Rank for Sales define Search Engine Optimization? What is your general view on the subject?

The practice known as Search Engine Optimization itself is a delicate mixture of science and art in order to increase your Web site's visibility and exposure in the major search engines such as Google, Yahoo, DMOZ and all the others, across a precisely defined set of keywords and keyphrases that apply specifically to the products or services offered on your web site.

What's the difference between search engine positioning and optimization? Aren't they related?

That is a question we keep getting all the time! Search engine positioning are actually the exact keywords and key phrases or search terms used that your prospective customers will typically write in the search box when looking for a particular product or service. For example, if we go to Google and type in "new houses", that is a typical two-word search query. To get targeted traffic from search engines, you need to know exactly what your users are searching for and just wich companies you are effectively competing against. This may sound pretty basic to most people but it's so important if you want your web site to rank high in the engines. Search query determination really gets down to finding an almost perfect balance between targeting, popularity and direct competition.

For example, car dealerships could be tempted when they find out how many people search for "new cars" to believe that this is a perfect set of keywords, but instead, experience has shown us they are often misled by this. "New cars" could very well be a very popular search keyword in itslelf, but unless a specific car dealership sells new cars all over the world, it is not specific enough to seriously reach a targeted audience.

Certain individuals can come up with very good and targeted keywords in their search terms using basic common sense but it is always better to prepare for the "unexpected". At Rank for $ales we have specialiazed tools that help us do that, combined with research we do for that particular industry or market segment.

Search engine optimization
Search engine optimization is the process of putting selected keywords into a given web site, using proper placement techniques and carefully using the correct wording, in direct response to what was said earlier on positioning. That's all it really means basically. In most SEO circles right now, there is a great deal of confusion on this subject so, in order to clear this uncertainty, let's start by clearly defining search engine optimization.

Search engine optimization can be defined as the rather "less complicated" part of the whole process. The first thing you need to understand is we only use one or two search keywords to optimize each individual page on any given web site. Once we have selected a page to optimize and the exact search keywords and key phrases we are going to use, all that is left for us to do is insert these keywords in their proper places and we have pretty much completed the optimization process.

Now you may ask: "Where is the best place to place our keywords"? Here is the answer to that question:

     The page's title
     The keywords & description meta tags
     In the 1st paragraph of the body text
     In the text of any links that point to the page
     In a heading tag such H1, H2, or H3 at the top of the page

This is the true difference between search engine positioning and search engine optimization.

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We have a computer programmer in-house here and he's not too busy. Could we ask him to do our SEO instead of hiring Rank for $

Trusting your SEO to a person that has no previous experience in the professional optimization of a corporate web site is a risky proposition at best. Also, using a do-it-yourself SEO software is an inexpensive approach to search engine positioning. This type of arrangement typically provides you with some limited tools to carry out certain basic functions of search engine optimization and positioning initiatives in-house. However, this option requires an internal "expert" to carry out the search engine positioning and optimization software. One major downside to this is that this option is likely to provide very minimal results at best. The whole success of this strategy is limited to the efficiency, the knowledge and the overall effectiveness of your in-house practitioner.

Furthermore, if that in-house person happens to leave your company, your search engine optimization program will end abruptly and without warning. In such case, you must start all over from the beginning. Additionally, a comprehensive search engine optimization strategy requires a full understanding of all major search engines and their algorithms, plus that person needs a lot of expertise and in-depth research capabilities that is very difficult to achieve in-house, if not impossible. It takes years to become a good search engine optimization professional, plus it takes all the specialized tools and complex processes.

Please click here to read page two of our Frequently Asked Questions.

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Rank for $ales strongly recommends the use of WordTracker to effectively identify all your right industry keywords. Accurate identification of the right keywords and key phrases used in your industry is the first basic step in any serious search engine optimization program. The keywords you think are the best may be totally different than the ones recommended by WordTracker. Click here to start your keyword and key phrase research.

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