Frequently Asked Questions

You’ve got questions? Everybody does! Sometimes it can be hard to tease out the answers you’re looking for in blogs, “About Us” pages or other tech-related descriptions, articles and pages on a site.

That’s why we put an FAQ section in. We put ourselves in your shoes and said, “What’s the average user going to have questions about?”

So come on in, have a look around and hopefully we’ll be able to head off some of those questions. If not … feel free to send us an email!


Should I add a robots follow meta tag to my pages?

The computer geek down the road said that I should add a “robots follow” metatags on all of my webpages in order for it to be spidered deeply by the big name search engines. He also said that I should put the “revisit after” tag on as well, so the web crawler bots would know how often they should stop by. What do you think?

The default for all search engine spiders is to automatically follow the links that it finds on any given page, which makes any “robots follow” tag redundant. However there are two important facts to remember about robot follow tags:

  • Google uses it’s on flavor of the tag, called “googlebot” — and while it may seem redundant, Google does like to find it.
  • “robots follow” tags are good for limiting access to links you do not want gobbled by search engine spiders

Many ‘specialists’ say the “revisit after” tag is not necessary, nor is it helpful. The search engine spiders work on their own timetable, and couldn’t care less what your revisit tag says. While this is partially correct, search dynamics and analysis changes with the wind, Google seems to add and take away criteria every week. And there are some search engines that do use the revisit tag for ‘hints’ as to how long your site normally takes to be updated.


Can search engines index dynamic sites with ? [and] = query strings in the URL?

I dynamically generate the content on my site which places question marks and equal signs in the URL. My kid brother told me that I need to create static HTML pages in order to show up in the search engines. What do you think?

For the most part, the search engines no longer choke on query strings (those question marks and equal signs) in URLs. But it is helpful to make sure that your content management system doesn’t put more than 3 parameters in- any more, and well, remember this whole internet (and SEO) is strung together by baling wire and theory. Whenever I’m asked this question, I check the site in Google, MSN, Yahoo — and 99% of the time just about all of their pages are indexed correctly.

The most important thing to do with a dynamic site is to create links to the important, optimized pages of the site. Generally the only way to find certain information on one of these sites is to fill out a form which then conducts a search of the site. A page that has what you’re looking for is then created for you and displayed in your browser. However, that type of page will not be accessible by the search engines because it doesn’t actually exist on the server. If there are specific pages that are created through specific search criteria that many people would be looking for on your site, those are the ones you need to create links to in your site navigation and your site map.

You’ll also want to make sure that your content management system is capable of generating unique Title tags for every page of the site. If not, you’ll have to fix this in the system because this is actually one of those things that will be critical to your search engine success.


Should I create a blog for SEO purposes?

This guy that I talk to at Wally World told me that I should create a blog for search engine optimization purposes. What do you think?

YES!

While blogs have no special powers of high rankings what they do have, if done correctly is fresh and unique content. Search engines do tend to like that, regardless of the format (again we fall back on content). If they know any given site is adding new articles on a frequent basis, they will come often to index it. Blogs are certainly one way of easily adding new information to your site. Newsletters archived on your site can provide a similar benefit, as can archived press releases, or a popular forum.

Hire some writers to blog their bains out- create several blogs and blog sites, and post reviews or information about your products or services — and direct potential customers to your actual site.

“Pinging” done by most blog software these days seems to help get blog posts spidered and indexed very quickly, which is a plus. In addition, blog posts will also show up in blog searches such as Google’s Blog search, and Technorati Blog searches.


Should I bold and/or italicize my keyword phrases my pages?

My wife told me that I need to place my keyword phrases in: [bold] [italics] [H1s] [alt tags] [Meta tags] [anchor text] [Title tags] [body text] [the first few words on my site] [the first paragraph of my site] [the last paragraph of my site] [my cousin Vinnie’s site]. Is this true?

A man should listen to his wife, but in this case no. The most important places to utilize your researched keyword phrases (anywhere from 3-5 of these per page) are:

  • Title tags
  • In the visible copy that people read, and 3) in onsite and offsite links (aka the “anchor text”).

Whether they’re in the first paragraph, first words, last words, or whatever doesn’t make a big difference. Stop worrying about specific places and coding and simply use them where they make sense from a reader’s perspective. I would definitely avoid using them in “ALL the right places” such as listed in the question above, however.

If it makes sense to have a headline that uses a keyword phrase, then go for it, but don’t feel that you have to create headlines where none were needed. If it seems right to describe a graphic with a keyword phrase, then do it. The important thing is not to do anything just because you think you have to in order for the search engines to like you. There are very, very few “have to’s” when it comes to SEO.


If I have an all graphical page, where can I place keyword phrases for the search engines?

My boss has a gigantic head, and eats alka seltzer all day, and has spent $45,000 for an all graphic home page. Will it help if we place keyword phrases in [alt tags] [comments tags] [a hidden layer] [text the same color as the background at the bottom of the page]?

NO. To be blunt, graphical websites are useless to seach engines. They’re pretty to look at- and mind you there is a certain psychology involved with ‘sight’ and buying. Human beings are geared to buy what they can see (pretty colors, size, durability, etc.) … but search engine spiders are looking for textual data that tells them what the site is about and what it relates to, not fancy 20,000 dollar Adobe or 3DMax images.

I’m afraid that using keyword phrases in any of those places won’t help get your home page found in the search engines. Alt attributes (alt tags) are ignored on images that are not clickable,. Comment tags do nothing for search engine optimization, and are not indexed by the spiders.

Your alternatives are to use the power of your Title tag and the power of the links pointing to your home page. You could also concentrate more on the inner pages (assuming they are not all graphical) and optimize them for the keyword phrases that are important to you.

Do not forget that you can always just use PPC ads and not worry about the organic/natural results. That is a very real option these days, and for those not willing to compromise a wee bit to gain natural rankings, it’s probably the best one.


Should I Pay for Site Submission?

If you do a search on “SEO Consultants”, you’ll see a lot of ads like this: “We will submit your site to all 1500 search engines and guarantee you 14,000 hits on your first day for only $19.95!”

Sounds pretty good– Well, don’t be fooled. First of all, exactly what 1500 search engines are they talking about? There are maybe 10-20, tops, that are out there, and out of those, you only need to submit your site to maybe eight (and that’s even a bit on the overkill side) — because the big boys own a lot of smaller search indexes, sort of like a parent company with twenty smaller kids.

Secondly, NO ONE can guarantee you that many hits, or any hits at all– essentially you play the odds with SEO and search engines. The idea is that there are millions of people out there wanting ‘your product or service’, and all you have to do is advertise to show them you have it, but your advertising against hundreds or even thousands of competitors– it’s not like your the only grocery store in a small town that hasn’t changed for eighty years.

The real secret has always been finding your niche. Sell or offer something that no one else does.

No matter what kind of magical beans you have, you will not get that kind of traffic and especially won’t get it on your first day. Sure, there are sites out there that get that many hits, but they are usually well-established (Walmart, Home Depot, Microsoft), large sites that have been around for a while and have extremely deep content. Anyone who promises you this kind of baloney is trying to pull a fast one.

Is there ever a time when you should pay someone to submit your site for you? Maybe. That’s really a hard question to answer. But you can bet on this: if you are looking for a reputable SEO company and see an ad like the one above, you can rest assured that they are NOT on the level.