Problogger Interviews Aaron Wall

If you have been building websites for a little while you have probably heard of Aaron Wall. He wrote a popular search engine optimization book called, appropriately enough, SEOBook. If you are interested in SEO at all I would recommend reading through Aaron’s ebook. It is the only ebook I have bought that was actually worth the money. If you are interested in buying the book you can pick up a copy over at SEOBook. Be sure to read Aaron’s blog as well, it is another one of the blogs I check in my RSS reader on a regular basis. He has some good insights.

On to Darren Rowse interview with Aaron. You can read part one and part two over at Problogger. The question and answer that jumped out at me from the second part of the interview was “What’s the best link building strategy you ever used?” The short version of Aaron’s answer “Creating free software and giving it away.” Sounds a lot like what I was saying in What I Learned from McDonald’s about Getting More Links.

Head over to Problogger and enjoy the read.

Whitehat SEO Tips for Bloggers

This video has Matt Cutt’s doing a presentation at WordCamp 2007 with search engine optimization tips for bloggers.

It is a long video, just over 1 hour in length so you might want to just put the headphones on and let it play while you are working on something else.

There is a lot of good, basic information in the video that will help all people that run blogs and websites. Aside from the basic information about SEO, Matt encourages people to be creative to find ways to get links. He also has a great security tip using an .htaccess file to protect the WordPress admin folder. Make sure you change the IP address of your home computer and your work computer.

Put this .htaccess in /wp-admin/ (not in your root directory!

AuthUserFile /dev/null
AuthGroupFile /dev/null
AuthName “Access Control”
AuthType Basic order deny,allow
deny from all
# whitelist home IP address
allow from
# whitelist work IP address
allow from
Read more at:

Title Tags – A Search Engine Optimization Cornerstone

There is a great article on title tags for your website over at Search-This. It is amazing how often title tags are ignored, even by the big web development companies. This is such a simple and easy thing to do.

The post has six main points about what the title tag should or should not contain:

  • should contain the keywords for that particular page
  • should not include your blog or company name
  • should be short and concise
  • should have the most important keywords first
  • should not include words like “the”, “by”, “that”
  • should be unique for every page

Read the whole article Title Tags – A Search Engine Optimization Cornerstone at Search-This.

This is a great list, but I slightly disagree with having the blog or company name in the title. If your blog or company name has the keywords that you want to optimize for, it actually makes sense to have the blog or company name in the title tag. A quick example is this blog. The title is LGR Webmaster Blog, a quick search on Google places me on page two of the search engine results for webmaster blog (today anyways).

Of course if your company or blog name has nothing to do with the keywords you are trying to optimize for leave it out of your title.

Make Your Wordpress Blog Search Engine Friendly

I stopped by this morning and he had a link to this search engine optimization how to video for Wordpress from Graywolf’s SEO Blog. There are some very good tips in the video, not just for Wordpress, but you can easily use some of them for Blogger and for non-blog websites as well.

Duplicate content is a hot topic these days. Aside from Wordpress, I have found that by restricting Googlebot from indexing pages with duplicate content and only allowing it to index the pages with the original content that the number of indexed pages will actually rise. Combined with making sure that page titles, descriptions and keywords are unique for each page the pages will not be placed into the supplemental index and have more value in Google’s index. This is a whole other post that I will tackle some day soon.

.html Versus .php for SEO

I was asked the other day if search engines favor a .html file extension versus a .php file extension? The answer I gave the client was no, it makes no difference, search engines will index pages with both file extensions the same, but there are some things that can make a difference. If you are using a GET query string on the .php page then the Google Webmaster Guidelines suggests that the parameters should be kept short and limit the number. I suggest no more than three, but some people say up to five is fine. It is also suggested to keep session ids out of the URL.

If people are serious about not using a .php file extension, there are other solutions. If you are just using php to template your website, you can just process .html as .php and no one will know the difference. If you are passing parameters in the URL you should consider using mod_rewrite to create friendly URLs. You can learn more about mod_rewrite by reading the DigitalPoint mod_rewrite FAQ, and of course the Apache 1.3 documentation or Apache 2.0 documentation.

SEO Friendly Directories

There are a great deal of directories out there. How do you know which ones are worth submitting your website to and which ones are not worth your time. If your goal is to increase the number of links back to your website, and possibly your PageRank, you should look for SEO friendly directories. SEO friendly directories are those directories that link directly to your website without using a rel=nofollow attribute on the anchor tag. The best list of SEO friendly directories I have ever found is at Info Vilesilencer. The directories are listed alphabetically along with PageRank of the directory home page. You can also download a copy of the list as a spreadsheet, so you can use the list offline. It is a great resource to help build some links to your website that are SEO friendly.

WWW or Not: That is the Question?

Most people don’t realize that there website can found by using both and Why is this important? The search engines will index both the www site and the non-www site, providing the search engine an identical set of pages which could lead to a penalty. While most search engines will eventually sort this out why wait for them to do it. Don’t give them a choice in what they index.

Create a .htaccess file and place it on the web root folder. Include the following lines of code:
RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^mywebsite\.com$ [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$$1 [R=301,L]

This will redirect all requests for pages at to giving only one copy of your website for the search engines to index. Give it a try on this blog. All requests to are redirected to

Simple SEO for Everyone

The world of search engine optimization is huge and depending on what you read the messages can be very different. You don’t have to be an SEO expert to do some of the things that professional SEO’s do.

Here are some things that you can do to help improve your websites ranking in search engines.

  1. Update Your Site.
    It can be hard to update your site regularly but search engines love new, fresh, unique content so give them what what they love.
  2. Check Your Title/Meta Tags
    Check your title and meta description and keyword meta tags and make sure that they describe the pages content properly. Don’t over due it though, watch out for keyword stuffing in your title tag. Some SEO’s have written off meta tags saying that they have little effect on search engine ranking. While they may be less important now than in the 90’s they are still being used. Lately they have been shown to possibly keep pages out of Google’s supplemental index.
  3. Get Links
    Links to your site are still very important. Not only do they help get the search engines to visit your website, every link will help to increase your websites ranking the search results. Look out for sites like link farms and “bad neighborhoods”.
  4. Think of Your Users
    Remember you are building your website for people not other computers. Think of them first and build the site for them.
  5. Use Well Formated HTML
    Make sure your site is properly coded and is functional. Check for broken links, images etc and fix them.
  6. Submit a Sitemap
    Create and submit a Google Sitemap. It can help make sure all your pages are indexed. It won’t guarantee that your site is number one, but they will get indexed.

This is just a brief summary of simple things that anyone can do to help the search engine optimization of their website. Every webmaster should read the Google Webmaster Guidelines. They remind you of the solid website building techniques that will help your websites. The last thing you need to remember is to be patient. It takes time and will not happen overnight. Keep working at it and eventually you will see results.

A Beginners Guide to Google Pagerank

In my work as a web developer and lately as an SEO I am going over the basics of PageRank with clients on a regular basis. I thought I would put some of the usual things that I tell them here for others to read and as a resource that I can give to my clients. I try to keep things simple, without a lot of geek speak. For those of you who have been involved in SEO for sometime this will probably be a very simplistic overview of PageRank.

People have often heard about Google PageRank, or have the Google toolbar and they see the different PageRanks of websites as they surf. People want to see their website getting a good PageRank because they see it as an indicator how popular their website is. This may or may not be true, but it almost never fails though when their site is finished the next question well be “How come my site does not have PageRank?” at which point I have to try and explain that Google updates their toolbar PageRank roughly every four months. In an effort to explain Google PageRank to clients this is often what I will say when they ask. I always remind them that I am not an employee of Google and what I say might not be entirely accurate. It is my opinion.

What is Google PageRank
In short a number between one and 10 of Google’s ranking of the web pages importance on the internet.
Why Does My Website/Page Have No Pagerank?
Google updates the visible PageRank on the Google toolbar roughly every four months. If your site is new it will take time before it will be assigned a visible PageRank on the Google toolbar. If your site has been up for a while and you still don’t have PageRank you might need more incoming links to your website.
How Do I Get PageRank?
While the exact formula for how PageRank is calculated is only known to Google it is known that links to your website will help you get your site included in the Google index and be assigned PageRank.
Do I need a high PageRank to get better listings in Google?
Most people would say no. While PageRank has some bearing on Google seach results there are many factors that determine Google search results.
Can I buy PageRank?
The short answer is no.
If links are important can I buy links from high PageRank pages?
Yes and no. While many sites that have high PageRank often sell links to help raise funds, and those links may help to increase a pages PageRank it might not be as beneficial as one might think. Google favors natural linking and frowns upon bought links to increase PageRank. A bought link from a high PageRank page might help in the short term as Google’s algorithm picks up on possible bought links it could potentially hurt a pages PageRank.

It is important to not worry about PageRank. There are many websites out there that have low PageRank and do great. The most important thing is to focus on your website, and what it has to offer. Focus on what matters, your websites content or service and PageRank will come as people naturally link to your website.

More reading on PageRank around the web: