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New to SEO... what have I gotten myself into?
James2



 
Msg#: 4197560 posted 10:03 am on Sep 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

Wow, just what have I gotten myself into?

I'm just getting into SEO and have done a fair bit of research and realise it is an ongoing battle but I do have a couple of quick questions.

1. SEO is, I realise, an ongoing thing that needs to be done very often and there are several ways of achieving a higher ranking (keywords, metatags, links etc I'm sure you know more than me) but what actually is it that you do very often? I don't understand how it takes months to notice any changes yet you have to be on it all the time. What is it that your supposed to do? Check and change keywords? content? I just don't understand WHAT it is I should be doing on a daily/ weekly basis.

2. I've just had a call out of the blue to get a sponsored listing right at the top of the page for a month for £120. Is this a good price?

3. How do you find out when Google has changed their algorithm?

4. I went to list our company on Google places (maps) and missed the call back to verify it as I'm new at the office and the call didn't get through. How the hell do I pick it up again? I've just got lost in an endless downward spiral of the cycle of links on the google page that doesn't go anywhere.

I really need to learn this and am keen to do so but I'm finding it really frustrating that most of the stuff I'm finding on the net is less about actual content and more about how a little bit of SEO knowledge is a danger in the wrong hands.

Many Thanks.

 

MrFewkes



 
Msg#: 4197560 posted 10:34 am on Sep 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

Dont get involved - get another job seriously.
SEO is a joke these days - the goofle ranking algo looks like this
Position=RNDx5000000

In answer to 3 - One way is when you get shafted by them - you lose positions, revenue, face, confidence, all your hard work is gone to nothing.

Get out before you start - it aint worth it.

James2



 
Msg#: 4197560 posted 10:41 am on Sep 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

Er, cheers dude.

I'm afraid I'm in it now so I'm not backing out. I'm doing the marketing for a company and think SEO will be a big part.

I will say this though, I am slowly learning to hate google and the monopoly it seems to have.

topr8

WebmasterWorld Senior Member topr8 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4197560 posted 11:01 am on Sep 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

Welcome to WebmasterWorld JAmes, you're in the right place.

i've been hanging out here one way or another since 1999 and i'd say everything i've learned of value (regarding seo) i've learned here.

there are a few things to be aware of though that are not mentioned very often here, one of which is that working with sites in extremely competitive areas is totally different from working in non competitive fields - and most people who think they are in a competitive market are not!

there are also different ways to go about things, one type are algo chasers who are constantly making tweeks and changes - i'm not saying that is a bad strategy, just it's not for me!

personally these days i think if you are in an average market, then building websites where the html markup makes sense semantically, adding sensibly written content - that is written for the user not overoptimised for a search engine - and doing a few link exchanges with other sites like yours is enough to get you up and running.

finally a word of warning - weigh up all the posts you read here and elsewhere ... not all are correct, imho there is a lot of out of date info and worse there is a lot of stuff written that is just plain wrong or comes from a total misunderstanding of various concepts.

topr8

WebmasterWorld Senior Member topr8 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4197560 posted 11:07 am on Sep 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

>>I will say this though, I am slowly learning to hate google and the monopoly it seems to have.

my goodness, hate is a strong word! i suggest you learn to work with the tools that exist and google right now is the biggest of them all ... personally i'm very happy with them, they send me lots of traffic

emmab21



 
Msg#: 4197560 posted 11:16 am on Sep 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

Hi James,

I feel your pain, I really do! I've been in Marketing about 3 years now but in the last 5 months I have changed to a more SEO intensive role. I'm the only person who deals with our online marketing so I find reading forums like this is great for gaining knowledge.

I'm increasingly finding that SEO is very much trial and error. It would seem that a lot of what I currently understand about SEO is changing. Google's algorithms change all the time without warning. This is how they stay ahead of the online marketers; and why people can only speculate about why their pages were doing well one week and then not the next.

Just keeping an eye on what people are saying on here will keep you clued up, give you ideas for things to work on or research each day. It's hard when you're just starting out as a lot of the time you read about stuff and think "I don't understand!" but you'll find plenty to fill your time. Personally I could spend all day looking at Google Analytics.

Spencer

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4197560 posted 11:21 am on Sep 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

Honesty is the best policy James. Build your site naturally, promote logically and compete honestly ... choose your keywords carefully and if you ever feel a bit naughty about some piece of SEO genius that you've just undertaken ... backtrack quickly ;-)

James2



 
Msg#: 4197560 posted 12:14 pm on Sep 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

wow, thank you for all your replies, much appreciated!

could someone explain 'html markup' please

HuskyPup



 
Msg#: 4197560 posted 1:10 pm on Sep 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'm doing the marketing for a company and think SEO will be a big part.


Do I assume you have taken over this position in a company with an already well-established presence or possibly on-line for quite some time yet the site has almost no presence?

Is the site totally looked after in-house? I assume so since you have gotten the job!

Just how much time and effort are you/your employers willing to give it?

I have lots of questions, let's know the starting point.

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4197560 posted 2:51 pm on Sep 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'm increasingly finding that SEO is very much trial and error

And it always was - it's just that there is an accumulated body of discoveries that are sometimes taken as "the gospel". But things change and there is no gospel. There is only vigilance: new trials to confirm what we think we know, or to explore what we might learn.

could someone explain 'html markup' please

HTML is an acronym that stands for Hypertext Mark-up Language.

There is a key concept here that took several years to fully sink in for me. But you can bet that it's the key underpinning for any search engine's approach.

First there is a document of some kind. Then various parts of the document are "marked up" with tags that add information about how those parts relate to the whole.

HTML is not a layout application - it's a way of adding semantic structure to raw information. In other words "content is king" - or maybe "content is the grandfather".

milosevic



 
Msg#: 4197560 posted 2:53 pm on Sep 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'd say the best place to start is to read sites like searchengineland and sphinn. If you go looking for online SEO guides in Google you'll probably only get out of date rubbish.

Just read stuff on those sites every day, follow links inside blog posts to older articles where you think you might learn something, and always be sceptical and read the comments etc in case you are looking at total BS (which wouldn't be that rare).

Don't skip out on learning HTML and CSS. CSS doesn't seem that relevant but so many people write crap HTML that's poor for SEO purely because they don't know the easy way to code what they want to achieve using CSS. The WC3schools site is a great resource.

Try and think from the Search Engine's perspective too. Way too many people are so stuck in the mindset of getting better rankings for their site and the competitive side of things, they forget that the idea of a search engine is to return the most relevant and valuable results to searchers and improvements to algorithms etc are carried out with that general aim in mind.

MrFewkes



 
Msg#: 4197560 posted 3:44 pm on Sep 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

Ok - well - I warned you. So in the words of Ash in the film Alien.
"I cant lie to you about your chances.............but you have my sympathies."

bwnbwn

WebmasterWorld Senior Member bwnbwn us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4197560 posted 5:35 pm on Sep 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

James2
Wow what have I gotten myself into?
The most exciting, frustrating, hair pulling, confused, hard to figure out industries in the world.
I wouldn't do anything else love it, hate it, enjoy it, bored with it but stay with it. Times are different now SEO is a different animal than the Google dance years.
You will have to adapt with the ever changing world of SEO. Nothing makes ya fell better than launch/take over a site and watch it climb crawl upwards in the serps. Nothing makes ya feel as bad as one day ya wake up and you went "Poof". There will be days the best thing to do it nothing get away and just chill cuz you can get burned out in this business real quick.

Ya gotta have grit, patience, work ethics, think out of the box, determined, and most of all be able to understand the fundamental aspects of SEO and put them into place before trouble. Eliminate every weakness before you competition can use it against you.

Welcome to our world you will do fine just don't rush into anything you will latter regret.

When in doubt ask because the only stupid question is the one that was never asked.

Welcome to WebmasterWorld

Lapizuli

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4197560 posted 7:56 pm on Sep 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

...what actually is it that you do very often? I don't understand how it takes months to notice any changes yet you have to be on it all the time. What is it that your supposed to do? Check and change keywords? content? I just don't understand WHAT it is I should be doing on a daily/ weekly basis.


Hi,

It takes months because content takes time to "mature."

There is stuff to do because, as in most projects, the first draft isn't usually the polished one, and because you don't know whether something's working or not right away, and when you study the stats and they tell you it's not working, then you need to fix things.

I started to answer the "what do you do" in this thread, then realized it was sort of its own thread. So I started one here: [webmasterworld.com...] . Maybe people who've had many years of experience in webmastering will respond.

jimbeetle

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jimbeetle us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4197560 posted 8:07 pm on Sep 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

Welcome, James2.

One of the recent threads you should definitely read is Taking SEO Advice Blindly Can Kill Your Business [webmasterworld.com].

dvduval

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4197560 posted 8:38 pm on Sep 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

It's easy to become jaded when changes in SERPS trample upon your success, but you have to keep learning and trying to figure out who has the best information, and learn about what they are doing successfully. Often it is more of a 3-5 year plan, not a 3-5 week plan. Getting in too much of a rush is generally the biggest "noobie" mistake.

Yellow_Sun



 
Msg#: 4197560 posted 11:27 pm on Sep 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

What is it that your supposed to do?


That is a very loaded question, but your questions look like you are on the right track.

1. Do lots of research on what keywords you want to target for each page on your site, make sure you focus the most time on your homepage and other pages you feel are most valuable.

2. Write/add high quality and unique content pages with your keywords in mind.

3. Get quality links from quality sites focusing on your overall site and the keywords you are targeting.

You could spend 24 hours a day on those 3 things alone. All 3 topics are very complex, but hope that answers your question enough to help and get you started.

Always, quality over quantity, best of luck!

James2



 
Msg#: 4197560 posted 9:07 am on Sep 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

Thanks again for all your answers and hello's. I think I've struck gold here.

Husky Pup - 'Do I assume you have taken over this position in a company with an already well-established presence or possibly on-line for quite some time yet the site has almost no presence?

Is the site totally looked after in-house? I assume so since you have gotten the job!

Just how much time and effort are you/your employers willing to give it?

I have lots of questions, let's know the starting point.'

I do the marketing and started about 6 weeks ago, (I have no previous marketing experience but have been a courier and have worked in press offices) it's a new role Iím in and I am making it up as I go along but think SEO will be a big part. There is no one to tell me anything so I have to learn it all myself. The website is done in house by one guy who doesn't really do SEO. Heís been here about 8 months and has changed it as it was absolutely shocking and now just needs a bit of tidying it up, although I would still describe it as pretty poor (donít tell him I said that though). It is 8 years, 2 months old but hard to find.

I am very confused as to why the home page doesn't show up when you type in our company name. There's a forum on the site which I've taken off as it wasn't doing anything so was counter productive. This page is the first result for our company on google and still is even though itís been removed.

I'm redoing all the text for it and have done a flow chart for how I want the site to work as it's a real mess, my version will be a lot simpler to navigate.

I work for a courier company so there is very little I can do for regular updates or adding content really. There is another company I know of who are bang into their social networking etc but I don't really see it as being anything anyone would actually read. A blog about couriering? I've tried to read them and I couldn't and it's my job!

However I have thought of an alternative to blogging. I want to have a page on it where people send in pictures on their mobiles of things in and around London (where we are). They could be scenic, quirky etc. anything apart from offensive really. Anyway, so there will be a different picture every day which I can add and add meta data for (I think thatís what I mean) and then each month a winner will get a mug with their picture on one side and our logo on the other. Already found a printer to do this for free on an ongoing basis in exchange for a link to their business on that page. I think it could be quite fun if it works and hopefully people might just check it on a daily basis anyway which would hopefully get traffic rather than sales but that would still help right?

Phew, long post, thanks for reading if you made it this far.

maximillianos

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4197560 posted 11:42 am on Sep 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

My philosophy is to make as little changes as possible regarding seo once my design is finalized.

Most of our pages have not been changed in years besides a few random users adding comments every now and then.

What I do work on:

1. Blocking scrapers
2. Site performance and speed
3. Creating new content and services that people want to use
4. Always striving to improve user experience

maximillianos

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4197560 posted 11:48 am on Sep 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

Ps - I would not remove any sections of your site until you really understand their role in bringing traffic to your site. That forum may not be used often, but do you know how many of it's pages are indexed?

FranticFish

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4197560 posted 1:14 pm on Sep 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'd echo Maximillanos' comments. Look but don't touch until you're sure you know what you're doing. If your site has been around for eight years then it might have some great links to pages that you are removing or renaming.

First thing, before you do anything else:

Using Analytics or another stats program, look at where your traffic currently comes from. What sites are in your referrer log? What pages are bringing in traffic? On what terms?

Next, find out who links to you. A good start is the Yahoo SiteExplorer Tool, but there are others (N.B. all of the free tools are based on the Yahoo data, but you might prefer some of their user interfaces). Google Webmaster Tools will give you some information. It will also show ranking data. There are competitive tools that aim to give complete data because they crawl the web independently of Google and have their own link data set. At least one of the two I know is free for your own site. I've PM'd you details (not affiliated with either).

Check how many pages you have in Google, and which ones. Check your error logs for 404s. Make sure that people aren't linking to pages that don't exist. Either put the pages back or at least put a 301 redirect to an equivalent page that offers the same or similar content.

That's before you touch one thing on your site! Understand what's happening first.

Next comes keyword research, which will inform your SEO strategy as regards content for the site, links to it and other activity.

James2



 
Msg#: 4197560 posted 1:54 pm on Sep 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

My cup runneth over, I really appreciate all your replies.

If you could send me a PM I'd be much obliged Frantic Fish. If you have, it's not showing up. But this forum is set out a little different to what I'm used to. I'm still not sure how to quote on here.

Milosevic - The WC3schools site you suggested has been incredibly helpful, ta!

Sgt_Kickaxe

WebmasterWorld Senior Member sgt_kickaxe us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time



 
Msg#: 4197560 posted 7:03 am on Sep 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

#1 - Create solid content and know which keywords/pages your traffic is coming from.
#2 - No, it's not, the best links are free and given based on merit, not cash.
#3 - Your traffic level changes, if it doesn't the change likely didn't impact you.
#4 - Save yourself the trouble, Google will list you in time.

Robert Charlton

WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4197560 posted 7:31 am on Sep 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

#4 - Save yourself the trouble, Google will list you in time.

That's true for organic, but Google Places involves claiming your local listing. While Google might list you without your input on a Place Page if you're a local business, you should do everything you can to claim the listing and control it. Otherwise, someone else can and probably will change something. It happens all the time.

Here's the Google Places home page...

http://www.google.com/local/add/analyticsSplashPage [google.com]

I'd suggest posting questions about Local Search in WebmasterWorld's Local Search forum...

http://www.webmasterworld.com/local_search/ [webmasterworld.com]

Definitely pay attention to Sgt_Kickaxe's #1, 2, and 3 suggestions. They're at the core of what SEO is about.

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 7:40 am (utc) on Sep 9, 2010]

wildbest

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4197560 posted 7:37 am on Sep 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

Honesty is the best policy James. Build your site naturally, promote logically and compete honestly ...

Spencer, that's the 100% losing strategy. Confirmed!

I've been following those principles for years and our websites were gradually displaced from Google's serps by black-hat, SEO-aggressive competitors. Finally, I've got to the point where customers search Google for our company name and they are asked by Google 'Do you mean [our-direct-competitor-company-name]?'. Please, note that names are not very similar!

If you listen to the official Google they'll tell ya to build your website naturally - i.e. not for search engines, but for your visitors/customers. On the other hand, however, they do everything they can to attract and keep your attention constantly engaged on matters of SEO. Unmistakable act of hypocrisy!

[edited by: tedster at 4:54 pm (utc) on Sep 9, 2010]
[edit reason] member request [/edit]

FranticFish

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4197560 posted 8:24 am on Sep 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

James, I've PM'ed you again, hope you got it this time.

johnser

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4197560 posted 10:13 am on Sep 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

Yellow_Sun's 3 points are the best comments on this page.
After 10 years of SEO, they still hold true in every sector I've touched (hundreds).

Be sure to educate your boss / colleagues etc re how G works.
When the shtf as it inevitably will at some point, there's going to be a whole lot less pressure on you if they understand how it works - even though they won't want to know about Google until there's a problem. Scare / educate them NOW with the power of Google when you're in a position of strength - not after your rankings & credibility have dropped.

Also - Read non-stop. Everything SEO-related you read that's any good will be a nuanced point under 1 of the 3 headings that Yellow_Sun has said.

yaix2

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4197560 posted 10:30 am on Sep 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

1. SEO is, I realise, an ongoing thing that needs to be done very often and there are several ways of achieving a higher ranking

Good content that people search for and a technically correct site with no broken links, no duplicate content, no confusing layout or structure, and meta information users like to click on. That's mostly it. For the following few months swap some links with related sites.

2. I've just had a call out of the blue to get a sponsored listing right at the top of the page for a month for £120. Is this a good price?

It's probably a good price for the seller. However, if the mail came from Yahoo and the page is their homepage, it would be an awesome price. If it came from some link directory with tons of spam (more likely) then even £0 is not.

3. How do you find out when Google has changed their algorithm?

Look at your Analytic stats (or your AdSense/Aff income stats or bank account). Or have a look at your search terms in GWT.

leadegroot

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4197560 posted 11:26 am on Sep 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

There's a forum on the site which I've taken off as it wasn't doing anything so was counter productive.

and is this url now returning an error or have you redirected it an appropriate page?
Read through some of the results from searching for
how permanently redirect a page 301
for more information :)

beebware

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4197560 posted 12:40 pm on Sep 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

2. I've just had a call out of the blue to get a sponsored listing right at the top of the page for a month for £120. Is this a good price?


Which search engine and what sort of search term? If they are offering a Google Adword for a broad term such as "widget", which is relevant to your industry I'd grab it like a shot, if it's Google for a very specific term "yellow small widgets in city" avoid like the plague, if however it is for a small search engine for a specific term then your it's your choice (I think a certain yellow company has approached your for a directory listing, I've never heard anyone say that the paid listing is worth it).

Google do not charge for Adwords management, but you may find that it's worth finding an Adwords Management company to help assist making the most of your budget (as they "know" Adwords and can tweak your keywords and campaign setting to maximise clicks whilst minimising costs) - however, they do charge a fee for their services (but a good company will be able to save you at least that!)

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