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Returning to SEO after 5 years - please bring me up date

 5:48 am on Jun 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

I have been away from SEOing sites for so long I would not know where to start. Is this stuff still recommended: keywords in title, description, keyword meta tag, headlines, alt tags, bodytext including underlining and bold text

I am not trying to make first page results. Just to have the basics in place and play it safe.



 7:23 pm on Jun 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

Probably the best thin would be to read up on Panda and Penguin.

Also, put your users first. Make your site as USEFUL to your users as possible.


 8:01 pm on Jun 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

What Planet13 said is good advice.
I don't focus on "SEO" and do OK. Of the elements you ask about specifically:

keywords in title
The Title is supposed to be a short headline about what the page is about, the scope of the page. The length and accuracy can decide if your title is even seen in the serps or if it gets altered to something else.


Should be a brief, accurate description of what is on the page. It is longer than the Title but it also has length limits and if is seen as overly keyword rich can make the page seem spammy - in some cases even the description gets replaced in the serps with a snippet of text from the page's content.

keyword meta tag
forget it - not used by major search engines, it just bloats the head.

H tags are important if used properly, they help the bots understand the important information on a page, just like title, it should be accurate and useful.

alt tags
Are a usability factor, they should be brief and useful description of what the image is. For the blind, these tags are read to describe the unseen image.

bodytext including underlining and bold text
There is no secret sauce in here, but if they are not used in a spammy way they probably don't hurt, either.


 2:57 am on Jul 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

Both gave good advice to implement.

Things of the past to no longer do: Press Releases (Panda victim), Keyword stuffing, source code order, footer links, site wide links and being unconcerned about page speed.

Huge meta tags of every variation of keyword usage are also no longer done. Make your meta-description the reason why they should click to find out about your blue widget. If it takes less than the old standard number of characters, so be it. Lean is in ;-)

Write natural sounding pages that are ultra useful for the user but don't repeat your target keywords over and over. Instead spend your time in making it feature rich: add a video (or two), a picture (or many) and even outbound links to authoritative sites (if needed) to link yourself to a credible web neighbourhood.

Check out competing pages of the same keywords and make yours twice as good. Ask your friends for an honest opinion to verify your success in making it twice as good. Listen to their suggestions and implement them.

Pitch your page as a reference to be linked to on sites lacking citations, a replacement for an existing link gone 404 and a replacement to a sub par reference that another site already links to. Tell you friends to read it and if they like it to link to it. DO NOT suggest link placement or anchor text (another 2008ish SEO item gone away).

Lastly - humility. What was a perfect page (in 2008) of sufficient length (~300 words) with an OK depth of coverage is now considered sub par. Don't blow it out to a 10,000 word dissertation but get it to a point where almost all will think your page was THE MOST USEFUL one on that topic.

Those that think this is too much work in 2014 will likely be found on page 2 of the search results.


 3:55 am on Jul 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the comments. I kinda had a feeling it was going in this direction.


 7:07 am on Jul 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

Pretty much throw out most of what you knew. What was white, grey and black hat were pretty muddy concepts five years ago. Since the zoo animal penalties came down, I feel like there is a lot less misinformation with regards to SEO best practices.

SEO is largely just online PR at this point. Ignore the search engine as much as possible and focus on your user. Create great, well researched, long form content on topics that are largely neglected on the Internet and learn how to effectively promote them. Key in on social media channels and find which work best for your audience. Look to setup partnerships with other blog owners. Contribute articles where you can on complementary sites with high readerships. Nofollow the link or just tag your brand name, but see these opportunities as ways to get yourself in front of a new audience and build your brand. Read everything you can from Search Engine Watch, Moz, Search Engine Journal, etc and study up on panda and penguin penalties. Have fun because its an ever evolving, interesting space to play in.


 8:35 am on Jul 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

re: No Site Wide inks and Footer Links

Is this really a problem?

On each of my pages (300,000) I have a right hand column with links to the main feature pages of the day and to external pages:

Today's Info
Recipe of the Day
Hottest Recipes

Recipe Resources (these are external to authoritive sites)
ACME Recipes
Cooking Temperature Guide
Weather News

The footer also contains links to

Follow Us on Twitter
Like this page? Share it on Twitter
/\Top of Page
Privacy Page
Terms Page

Is this now not good?


 9:58 am on Jul 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

Going back to the original points, don't forget that, depending on which jurisdiction you are in, there may be laws about accessibility so some alt tags may be essential.


 10:01 am on Jul 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

I think that refers to backlinks that are sitewide on the site they come from - its really aimed at things like sponsored Wordpress themes.

Internal sitewide links are just navigation and USUALLY not a problem (unless it looks like link text manipulation).

I suspect your outgoing sidewide links have no effect - you are not going to harm an authoritative site that way, but you are not going to help them either.


 12:54 pm on Jul 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

Be unique and useful, otherwise, don't bother.


 7:35 pm on Jul 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

Oh, and since no one mentioned it before, two words:

"Mo Bile"


 8:57 pm on Jul 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

Responsive Design - with so many devices these days you want to make sure you are compatible with each.

User Experience - design the site for the user.


 10:19 pm on Jul 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

Brett Tabke wrote this back in February, 2002. I have recommended it to newcomers - and some not so new - many, many times since back then.

Successful Site in 12 Months with Google Alone
[webmasterworld.com ]

While some of it is obviously quite dated, heck that was 12 years ago, many of the underlying principles still remain the enduring same.


 11:58 pm on Jul 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

2011 Update - Successful Site in 12 Months with Google Alone [webmasterworld.com]


 3:35 am on Jul 3, 2014 (gmt 0)

Kudo to IanCP & JohnRoy for reminding us of those. I still have my paper printout of the 2002 version with highlighting and notes on the back. I think I read it end to end over 10 times, really! Both are a timeless reference that I can't praise high enough. Differences between the two are what Google has pulled off the table. Brett & Sugarrea emphasize TRAFFIC BUILDING and not just search ranking.

Another reference to pile on with is Sugarrea's interview with link builders (11 including author) [sugarrae.com...] Well worth the read.

Robert Charlton

 10:06 am on Jul 3, 2014 (gmt 0)

...Sugarrea's interview with link builders (11 including author) [sugarrae.com...]

Thanks, Hoople. That is a classic group of interviews, thoughtfully assembled and well worth some time to read through it. Our martinibuster is in top form, as are many of the other participants. I'd say it's a must read.

Also, check through some of the Eric Enge Matt Cutts interviews discussed here about where Google is drawing the line. Here's one of the best...

Google says link building is not dead, illegal or bad
http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4592085.htm [webmasterworld.com]

You've got to be very restrained about using guest blogs for direct link building. In many cases, you may need to build traffic with nofollow links, and hope you'll get natural links from those visits. Never dictate placement or anchor text of any dofollow links you influence strongly. You're better off, IMO, unless you really know what you're doing, relying on chance anchor text, and hope your friends don't try to "help" you. Keep in mind that your old SEO instincts and temptation to tune things are likely to be seen as manipulation.


 12:22 pm on Jul 3, 2014 (gmt 0)

The folks on WW are getting old.
And very, very wise.
Great thread.


 1:15 pm on Jul 3, 2014 (gmt 0)

Ya... just because you can do something (build keywordy links) is the reason you shouldn't.


 2:56 pm on Jul 3, 2014 (gmt 0)

hello ron_ron. I think you can learn a lot of new SEO strategys by following SEO contests like the current <snip> challenge. I think the key for the best possible rankings is still just good and unique content! At least, that's what I have understood from following these <snip> guys proceedings in detail.

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 6:31 pm (utc) on Jul 3, 2014]
[edit reason] removed specifics, per forum Charter [/edit]


 5:30 pm on Jul 3, 2014 (gmt 0)

I would not follow any advice about "SEO contests"

Robert Charlton

 6:41 pm on Jul 3, 2014 (gmt 0)

Contests tend to use short term churn and burn techniques, which might produce short term gain but will ultimately result in domain penalization. Not a good route to go.

For the same reason, I should add, it's plain silly to point to bad results in highly spammed areas as an example of how bad Google's algorithm is. Let's not take the discussion off topic by getting into that discussion again... but I leave this in as a gentle reminder to ron_ron not to be swayed by examples of temporary results.

While the above was true five years ago, there's enough ongoing misunderstanding of what spammy results mean that I thought it might be helpful to highlight the point.


 9:22 pm on Jul 3, 2014 (gmt 0)

@ netmeg:
I would not follow any advice about "SEO contests"

Ditto here.


 3:34 am on Jul 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

Also, ron_ron....one of the biggest change since sliced bread in SEO since you last visited is probably RICH SNIPPETS.

Look into reading about microformats and how to do it right.

My 2c :)


 11:39 am on Jul 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

source code order

Is ordering your source code according to SEO importance no longer worthwhile?


 7:38 am on Jul 6, 2014 (gmt 0)

Is ordering your source code according to SEO importance no longer worthwhile?

I'm not sure source ordering was ever useful, even back when people were into the idea, search engines already understood the difference between headers, footers, navigation and main content.

But it sounded cool.


 1:50 pm on Jul 6, 2014 (gmt 0)

I don't know. Putting your h1 right up against your opening body tag seems like a good thing to me. Have people done experiments which have invalidated it as an SEO technique?


 4:04 pm on Jul 6, 2014 (gmt 0)

Nothing wrong with press releases. They work great for building a brand and generating traffic. But forget all about anchor text.


 4:51 pm on Jul 6, 2014 (gmt 0)

Press releases not what they once were: [webmasterworld.com...]


 7:29 pm on Jul 6, 2014 (gmt 0)

I'd suggest that asking advice on getting back into SEO in this day and age (even here) is an exercise in futility. Here's a question worth asking any SEO expert you might meet. How do I undo the results of all the crap advice you've been churning out since the dawn of Google?

Can't say I've learned one useful thing from this thread or this board over the last couple of years that I didn't know 5 or even 10 years ago except that the "experts" here have no answers. On this point, feel free to prove me wrong!

It's not possible to read the Google tea leaves with any degree of certainty and those who claim to have insights into that game are the reason there even is a game in the first place. When you can't rely on what Google says (e.g. when you do what they say and still get penalized, or ignore what they say and get rewarded), what makes you think you can rely on a middleman/woman to get a better interpretation of cause and effect than you are capable of ascertaining yourself. The illusion that you have any control over your fate in Google is just that, an ILLUSION, and the sooner we all stop looking to the "experts" (you know, the people who have no answers), the sooner we can all get back to subjects like how to get traffic to our websites without worrying about being penalized by a dictatorial corporation with its own agenda for world domination.


 2:51 am on Jul 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

I'd say there's one really good piece of advice that comes out of this thread: forget about SEO, focus on content and promotion.

Any working SEO trick is a future penalty.

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