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Your single best SEO strategy
MonkeyFace




msg:4264384
 9:40 pm on Feb 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

If you were to choose only one SEO strategy as the most recommended, what would be it? It is common knowledge that multiple factors play in multiple possible manners to affect SERP, but you are to recommend only one.

Mine would be focus on semantics. I have not read or heard this anywhere, just an intuition.

 

balistreri




msg:4267767
 4:36 am on Feb 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

Here's a thread burner

Want great organics? Stop using word press.

almighty monkey




msg:4267891
 11:07 am on Feb 16, 2011 (gmt 0)


Here's a thread burner

Want great organics? Stop using word press.


Ok, I'll bite.

How come?

mhansen




msg:4267926
 12:14 pm on Feb 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

Want great organics? Stop using word press.


I can definitely prove that point wrong. I have -90 day old WP powered sites attracting several thousands of organic visitors every day. In addition, it has become the main choice of most local small business websites.

Want great organics? Fill a void with great content!

viggen




msg:4267927
 12:33 pm on Feb 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

Not wasting time on projects and tasks that generate little or no profit, but focus on things that make me money

pageoneresults




msg:4267934
 1:34 pm on Feb 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

Let's have a contest...


Put your money where your mouth is. ;)

Anyone want to wager who's site ranks better? Really, off the top of your head who do you think wins the contest?


Your example has flaws. Let's do it this way. Let's make both sites equal from an inbound link perspective. But, let's make one valid, the other invalid, with certain HTML errors. Who do you think wins that contest - huh?

Pleaaaaaaase stop giving people really bad advice, please. Validated code doesn't even count.


You know, I'm willing to place a rather "large" wager on this. I'm tired of folks dissing validation and ignoring the underlying reasoning. It's like having a performance vehicle and telling the owner that "you don't need a tune (validation), you have nitrous (links), you'll kick their arse." You just might in the short-term. But, in the long-run, who is going to withstand the test of time?

Stop giving people bad advice?


There are probably at least 2-3 folks reading this topic whom I've taken through an HTML ground up renovation. If you saw their results after performing these renovations, you might tend to think otherwise. If you folks are around, please do chime in and let these naysayers know what happened. Especially the one that has 100k+ visitors per day. ;)

This isn't off topic...

Ever see a blank page in cache and wonder why it isn't displaying properly? I have and 9 out of 10 times it was HTML errors that prevented the page from displaying.

mrguy




msg:4267937
 1:58 pm on Feb 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

In some cases where the HTML error prevents the site from being crawled or viewed correctly, then yes it will perform worse than a site that is valid.

However there are many non valid sites that view and are crawled just fine that out perform sites that are valid because they are better optimized than the valid sites.

It all depends on just what the errors are with the site.

Also, Wordpress works just fine for sites as I have many that are #1 and have been #1 for years beating other sites that are validated.

mhansen




msg:4267943
 2:19 pm on Feb 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

I look at valid code the same way I do page load times, being slow-loading or dirty-coded won't really hurt you too bad in serp's if you are the authority on the topic... but being fast-loading and code-tight may definitely help your cause!

In other words... I cannot think of a single reason why anyone would NOT want to validate code. Its a few minutes to a few hours of time, that will have no negative effect.

fenway




msg:4268142
 8:36 pm on Feb 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

My primary SEO strategy is to build sites in verticals where most marketing departments are still operating in 2004. That way all I have to do is build it with SEO principles of 06.

I built a quick site just over a year ago with whatever version of HTML it was I learned in 2001. Ranks #1. 20 clicks, 2 or 3 leads a day. It IS an exact match domain.

JohnRoy




msg:4268159
 8:58 pm on Feb 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

> Want great organics? Stop using word press

Want great organics? [StART] using word press!
add content, content, content. Link, link, link. Repeat. Don't "stop"!

Jane_Doe




msg:4268165
 9:14 pm on Feb 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

Want great organics? [StART] using word press!


I don't have any specific research on this, only my own testing and gut feel, but you can make an HTML site look like Wordpress if you want but not the reverse. HTML gives you much more control over the flow and navigation of the site so you can experiment with a wider variety of page and ad layouts.

Just my 2 cents.

In other words... I cannot think of a single reason why anyone would NOT want to validate code. Its a few minutes to a few hours of time, that will have no negative effect.


Because there is no money in doing so? Sites with really old HTML code and tables still rank just fine. I am not privy to Googles' ranking factors but I don't get the sense that things like validation are all that important.

TheMadScientist




msg:4268188
 10:09 pm on Feb 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

P1R You make me laugh.

Which comes first in your example the links or the validation?
I'll let the readers decide which is more important.

Here's a couple more links for the readers:
Overstock.com's Google Rankings - any ideas on what they did? [webmasterworld.com]

HINT: They didn't fix their validation issues:
[validator.w3.org...]

g1smd




msg:4268210
 11:30 pm on Feb 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

For the extra time it takes to write valid code, there's no excuse not to do the job properly.

Truth is, it takes no extra time.

freejung




msg:4268211
 11:32 pm on Feb 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

The problem with talking about validation as an "SEO technique" is that, on the one hand, certain kinds of coding mistakes can prevent you from being indexed properly at all or prevent juice from flowing properly through your site. If that's what's holding you back, then fixing those errors would be the #1 priority and do great things for your SEO.

If that's not what's holding you back (if your indexing and juice flow are fine) then fixing obscure validation errors like having more than one element with the same id is probably not going to help much.

So it's a great tactic _if_ you have major problems with it, but not otherwise.

With the other approaches discussed (info architecture, link building etc.), there is almost always room for improvement.

CanadianGuy




msg:4268222
 11:45 pm on Feb 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

In a word: Long-tail.
Long-tail keywords are the ones that convert and they're the ones you won't know about until someone dreams them up & searches for them ... and then buys from you.

Yes, it's biased in favour of eCom & publishers.

annej




msg:4268230
 12:16 am on Feb 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

"for search engines sure, but mostly for users"

I love that old book, "Don't Make Me Think". The techniques may have changed some but it's still true that if you site isn't easy to navigate and find things people won't stay.

It's not so much a matter of if you build it they will come but more the question if you build it will they stay? People who stay talk about your site to their friends and in forums, FB, etc. If they have a site or blog they are more likely to link. Good content and easy navigation are the key to getting quality links and interested visitors.

balistreri




msg:4268236
 12:32 am on Feb 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

@mhansen
You can't prove anything wrong in my assertion by stating what you did
Read again what I wrote then look at what you wrote.

g1smd




msg:4268239
 12:42 am on Feb 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

So it's a great tactic _if_ you have major problems with it, but not otherwise.

Until you press the button to find out how many and what type of errors you have, you'll have no way of judging whether it's an issue or not.

There's another effect, unmentioned so far: the effect that thousands of errors have on the error correction routines inside the rendering engine of the users browser.

I'll really like to hear from the designers of those systems, as to how much the browser rendering performance degrades as the number of errors increases.

There's a number of sites that barely load on my netbook: some of that is down to ajax code bloat, but in several instances the sites also have thousands of HTML errors on every page.

balistreri




msg:4268288
 4:42 am on Feb 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

@g1smd
Clearly validation is not the end all. If the vertical your working requires it then for a feel good, spread entry go for it. Being am seo thread, it's our job to determine meaninful trends as a best practice tool on behalf of paying clients everywhere... Or anywhere. Valid code is easily found via wordpress, validator.w3.org is useful for the static project; heck... Even the last several versions of IE have had built in vdlidators.
But for some clients, the absolute best Seo practice is to not fock with that ancient validator failing wedgee board of a website.

And There you go.

If you don't know what your doing the best Seo practice is to not practice Seo.

McMohan




msg:4268359
 10:46 am on Feb 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

Well, shall I try an analogy?

Google > Tennis Match
Website > Tennis Player
Valid HTML > Proper Tennis Apparel
An Inbound Link > An hour spent at practice
Useful Content > Talent

To me, valid HTML is something that is expected of a website, just as proper apparel for a match is expected of a player. If you wear soccer jersey instead, you might still win the game, but you may or may not be allowed to play the game, depending on the organizers. Google allows. But, if you wear a tuxedo for the game (read broken links, etc), you might lose the game.

Added: For me, wearing proper apparel wouldn't be a strategy, a protocol, but practicing an extra hour is a strategy.

[edited by: McMohan at 11:16 am (utc) on Feb 17, 2011]

Shaddows




msg:4268361
 11:01 am on Feb 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

Well, shall I try an analogy?

Good stab, but I think a fencing match is better. The proper apparel might save you from hurting yourself, although other apperal might not not actually hurt.

Wearing the proper apparel would therfore be the sensible course of action, without necessarily influencing the outcome

Kirby




msg:4268633
 8:06 pm on Feb 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

Want great organics? Stop using word press.

I acquired a site that was ranking on page two for competitive query. Moved it over to custom version of WP and 90 days later had #1 ranking. WP was not a hindrance.

I love that old book, "Don't Make Me Think". The techniques may have changed some but it's still true that if you site isn't easy to navigate and find things people won't stay.

Excellent read. Site navigation architecture should be idiot proof - for both your human and SE users.

Regarding valid html - I have a past client who's site was a markup nightmare (over 300 errors and 40 warnings), mostly because of bad design. His designer clung to the theory that markup was unimportant. To prove otherwise, I started with a basic WP theme and outranked the other site in a few weeks with just few low quality links. Draw your own conclusions.

My take on the OP? Reread Goodroi's comments.

JohnRoy




msg:4268663
 8:54 pm on Feb 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

you can make an HTML site look like Wordpress if you want but not the reverse.
Many templates out there can be easily customized to look like old good html.

> Want great organics? Stop using word press
Want great organics? [StART] using word press!
The point is not which cms you use. WP or other. It's the idea that it does not matter!

Just add content & link.

freejung




msg:4268744
 11:36 pm on Feb 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

Until you press the button to find out how many and what type of errors you have, you'll have no way of judging whether it's an issue or not.

I absolutely agree. Indeed, I would completely agree that all of your code should validate unless you have a specific reason to do otherwise and you know exactly what you're doing.

Maybe code validation should be considered as more of a prerequisite to doing SEO rather than an SEO tactic in itself. If you do it badly wrong, you're going to fail, but getting it right will not necessarily lead you toward success.

xtremeux




msg:4269915
 9:34 pm on Feb 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

There is no single most strategy for Google rankings. I recommend to focus on great content, keywords in Title, Meta description, H1 tag, keywords spread in content and make website strong through internal linking. These are the essential for Google. Also, good site structure and navigation helps in rankings.

BuzzBomb




msg:4269968
 3:47 am on Feb 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

Hi Tedster,

You said:

"Watching internal site search reports for queries that get zero results - this has been excellent for some sites. The idea is this. If visitors are looking for a topic, then we ought to have something for them. It's a real demand from real people. When we create supply for that demand, the amount of SE traffic can also be amazing."

Does google adsense offer the internal site search report that you're referring to? I went into the backend but was unable to locate it. If google doesn't offer this info, can you please advise of a good site search program I can use in order to derive this information?

Thanks in advance!

BB

tedster




msg:4269985
 5:52 am on Feb 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

The best site search utility for you will probably depend on your site's technology. If your site already uses a database such as mysql, then there are most likely many possible site search scripts or plug-ins easily available.

Google has a site search offering [google.com] that starts at $100 a year. And there's site search functionality available within Google Analytics, too. But there are many other solutions as well - from free to very intense. Any decent site search utility is going to give you access to this kind of reporting.

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