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"As most discoveries occur, we stumbled upon the power of the theme system by accident. A part time employee accidently submitted pages intended for Excite to Altavista."
How does one make pages of a web site for one search engine and not another one? Is it by cloaking? Doorway pages?
I guess I realize why one would do it, but I would think if you made a content filled site, then all search engines should like it.
Or did I miss the boat?
Are you suggesting that I am suggesting that Content ain't the king? Blasphemy! lol
Excite is the original theme engine. They moved away from that a bit in 99, but the Excite spider and indexer system has been the one theme engine on the net for years. Desinging a site for Excite used to be a whole lot different.
We fine tune many of our pages to hit specific engines, that ya - that's what we used cloaking for. We put up walls throughout sites to mark territory for one engine and some for another. Worked exceptionally well for most of 97 and all of 98. 99 was a different story.
Content be the king? It is for long term site promotion and acquiring a user base - but, from what I've seen, content has little to do with search engine promotion, it is just food for the machine.
Brett, thank you for that honesty! I have been irked be the hypocrisy of so many SEO's who employ the "content is king" mantra while they quietly push hundreds of cloaked doorway domains. Content is stability, content is why people will bookmark a website, but content isn't what gets ones pages on top!
However, is it impossible for one to get "to the top" without them?
Can you get "to the top" without cloaked pages either?
While I do have one, I would like to get away from it. I would really like to get to the top and still feel honest to the end users doing it.
I am beginning to believe that is not possible.
Maybe the question should be, "Is it possible to have a well visited site without heavy search engine optimization?"
To that I would say yes - but it is not something that will happen on it's own.
Going back to doorways and other search engine manipulating techniques, why do you think they are unethical?
Some keywords can be ultra-competitive, but the specific market may not have any players that are very sophisticated in SEO. Some categories are choked with thousands of small businesses with no one large enough or willing to pay for professional SEO. "Hotels" in a mid-level resort region, for instance. One can often compete well with minimal page manipulation in those markets.
But, if you are planning on going toe-to-toe with a big dog in a market that is hot online (ex: air travel), rest assured that you will be up against sophisticated techniques.
You've mentioned air travel, but what else would you consider to be highly competitive keywords? Do you consider 'web designers' to be a highly competitive keyword?
"Going back to doorways and other search engine manipulating techniques, why do you think they are unethical?"
I am a 'what you see is what you get' kind of gal, that's all. In my book, one of the worst things you could do is lie to someone. I DETEST lying. It is a personal thing, and I can't get over it, and I can't/ won't explain it.
I know, I personally hate going to a page just to have it blip me to another page, or make me click to another page. I feel like doorways is a way to cheat in the "search engine game" as well as cheating the end user. It's just a big lie...the page you believe will take you to where you want to go...doesn't, or it starts to load and blips to another page.
I feel less hateful about cloaking pages. If I put up a cloaking page, I want it to be a text only page that, while it does not have pretty graphics on it, would not be considered "spamming"...it is just a text only version of the page to make it easier for search engines to crawl. If a human being happened to come across it, all they'd miss is the pretty graphics. Not a biggee.
I won't put a page in with "keyword keyword keyword keyword keyword keyword keyword " because, once again, I feel like I am cheating in the "search engine game".
After six months of trying to play the game by the search engine rules, I am really starting to doubt if it is possible to get anywhere.
Maybe that is what my problem is: this is not a game, this is a war...and all's fair in love and war...right?
I have an extremely competitive keyword phrase: wireless phones. Maybe it's time to put on the combat boots...everyone else seems to have them on.
Content is critical to rank. Content is critical for good UI. Branded content is critical for repeat traffic. Following "sticky" UI standards is also part of the equation. If you don't design for repeat traffic, then link pop is affected, and therefore, for many engines including Google, so is rank.
As Brett T. points out, the early years were prime time for submitting pages specifically designed for each engine. Nowadays, most algorithms are nearly identical. Meta tags aren't the "in" thing anymore.
I've always "generically optimized" sites for years and am so successful at it that I can no longer take new clients, but have to refer requests out to other services. I never use automatic software. I've manually done all site promo work since day 1 and my reputation is based on that fact.
This means, no cloaking. Rarely do I do doorways, although some sites require some form of one. My site has enjoyed great rank for years and has never been put through the kinds of things people are told to do by other services. My site, though, is content driven.
If it was dynamically driven, I'd be sunk.
Today's world of promo is hell. What worked for us a few years ago is practically hopeless in an environment of cloaking abuse, cloning, domain spamming, doorway and hallway mis-use, and quite simply, the fact that there's a billion pages in some databases now.
Webtop, a newcomer, announced it's reached the billion point, indexing millions a day.
It's no longer as easy (as if!) to optimize for specific engines. I haven't bothered with that in years, for my site, or clients. It's more of a popularity contest. Advertise the crap out of the site. Network. Link everywhere. Drive traffic!
I have a client that has a homepage only. The entire website is still being built. They advertised their unique service on tv, and were covered by print media.
The homepage is there to collect emails of interested people. They get over 10,000 impressions a day! I was hired to optimize and get the site into engines, to drive more traffic and assist the web development team in building it to meet engine specs. I was amazed at their traffic without even having a finished site. Just imagine what will happen when the engines get it.
For engines that use traffic as an indicator of popularity, this site is already "in".
Another client was getting almost a million impressions a month. The site is for sale, and they needed to surpass the million to look more attractive to prospective buyers. I was hired to push them up in rank. All I did was "generically optimize", and redesign their sitemap to act like a doorway and resubmitted the homepage only and then 3 months later, the sitemap only. They zoomed up in rank on all engines, traffic went crazy and now, they have so many offers they can pick and choose.
I see tons of "advice" and some of it works, depending on the situation. Overall, what works is building a REALLY functional site that meets a need. Jakob Nielsen's site is very well known and he's considered by many to be a design god. His site is content driven and not the most impressive looking in the world <g>
Danny Sullivan's site is number 1 for engine research. Again, it's not a glamorous site. It's content driven.
Sometimes the simplest approach is the one that works best.
Site Optimization Specialist
My site has enjoyed great rank for years and has never been put through the kinds of things people are told to do by other services. My site, though, is content driven. If it was dynamically driven, I'd be sunk.
Not always the case, Kim, I have a site which is essentially a dynamic destination guide built of links to other sites --in other words it is a doorway page, actually 4,000 doorway pages (cross-linked). It's framed AND dynamic. Eight months ago, when it was reformatted and relaunched it had 9,000 pageviews per month. My choices were (A) spend money on advertising to promote the site or (B) figure out a way to have its pages found online. I chose "B" and this month it will have 165,000 pageviews. More important, it has done over $1/4 Million in my targeted business (online hotel reservations) in six months. How?
what works is building a REALLY functional site that meets a need.Exactly! I positioned this site as a quirky little travel utility, but I had to pull out every tool in the SEO toolbox to do it.
Whether these are "rules of the game," or "rules of engagement" --they are still the rules. If a site legitimately and truthfully answers a query, then whatever tools it uses to present its answer first are in order --the cuffs are off.
Where I see the most problems arise is when those that wish to be listed get over-zealous and lose sight of the fact that they are on XYZ search engine by invitation and come to believe it is a god-given right to have a listing, whether or not they are serving the needs of the search engine, which is to provide the best answers.
Well, I wrote a tutorial on how to do it, which is on my website, but I don't think I'm allowed to post the URL here.
Anyway, essentially sitemaps ARE doorways. The most effective sitemaps are a text only page of simple text links to all the pages of the site (or at least root level, or directory lead ins - however the site is structured).
The aim in the "old" days was twofold. Include a sitemap for humans for fast nav, and robots, for fast crawl. People used to hide the sitemap, but that was stupid. Why hide an important part of the site? Before long it was discovered that a text link to the sitemap at the TOP of the homepage was an instant hit with robots. They'd spot it, and go see whassup. This was great if the rest of the page had little content or had graphical links or image map links that robots wouldn't see. (You can also stick a hyperlink in the non-frames section of a framed site for robots to go play with. It's a way to get a framed site indexed.)
Soooo, since a doorway is a way to lead robots around by the nose, and a sitemap is already an accepted part of a site, why not optimize it? Therefore, fussing over meta tags is done on that page. Make sure the robot index tag is on it.
Content is added. Sort of a mini-brochure of what's hot about the site and why it's worth visiting. Inside that content are text hyperlinks to pages as well. It doesn't hurt to link to hallways - or gateways to sections such as catalogs, from that content.
The page is coded with REALLY clean code, no graphics except for your logo, and submitted by itself separately from the homepage. (I wait a few months and let the homepage get crawled. It has the sitemap link at the top. Then I submit the sitemap later as a refresher.)
Everyone I know of that's experimented with optimizing sitemaps has been surprised and happy with how well it works for them. One client called it a "workhorse".
The other tip is limiting those text links to root level pages. A doorway to directories is another level, and with the limits on how many pages a robot will index, the feedback overall is that root level works best, or at least, the quickest.
Valid question. Trying to formulate a policy on this that we all can live with in this post [webmasterworld.com] and I'd welcome your thoughts.
Sitemaps work great as and for doorways, but the problem is always keeping them up-to-date. Don't put the word 'sitemap' anywhere on the page in text. I don't think meta's are all that important on a sitemap page - just hit your high notes to 5-6 keywords and forget.
Some type of content is needed. Often a one paragraph site description works well at the top.
Hallwaypge --> Why hide an important part of the site?
Well, if I have several doorways located on an sitemap, it would be rather stupid for a
browser visible page to show all the links like:
"projector for rent"
"video projector rentals"
which are all different keywords as far as some SE concerned. Due to cross linking /
internal link popularity it may be demanded to supply all of these variants on the
hallway page. Would [u]you[/u] like visitors (not SE) to see this?
Edited by: Val
Yes, don't use it. They look for it and bury the page and possibly the links off the page too.
I am not aware of a problem with the word "doorway" on a page.
>re:content & the king.
wow, that is a whole other thread. Excellent comments though. I love the diversity. Sure gets you thinking.
>redzone: static links?
Yes. I'm trying to keep pages static to turn down the volumn on the spiders. A page that updates TOO often is just as bad as one that is stale. I feel that is true with Ink and Google. What are your thoughts on Alta? I know everyone has claimed Alta will 'learn' your update frequency but I don't see it. Is it mass changes or something as simple as a date change or printing the users ip to the screen? With google it is the later.