eBook Series: More on SEO and Generating Traffic

Continued from Previous Section

I used Drupal’s “Recent Comments” in a menu-block to increase interlinking:
One great way for Interlinking I found is to turn on the “recent comments” block in Drupal, and configure it to display on all (or most pages). This will create a sidebar area on every page with links to comments that visitors have posted on other pages, using the subject of the comment as the anchor text. Each time Google or other search-engine spiders visit pages, they will see this a link to other pages – and if you get lots of comment posts, it will be different each time the search engine spider visits. I believe that this interlinking has had a big impact on why I rank so high for many keywords.

I modified comment post subject headings to make them “Search Engine Friendly”:
By editing the subject line of posts that people made I have seen a huge increase in search results for that particular term (the subject line on a comment) – for example, I made sure that every day there was at least one ‘recent comment’ that said “how do I get Myspace at School” – literally within a week or two I was number two or three in MSN search results for that term! I think this works because the subject headings show as <h2> type headings to the search engines – giving those words more importance in search engine rankings. These subject headings also show in the ‘recent comments’ box, which creates interlinking on all pages, using the subject as the anchor text as I mentioned above. Now, since I don’t often get people posting comments with this particular phrase I have dropped in search-engine ranking for this term, but the site still ranks pretty high for the term.

I put outgoing links on almost every page:
On virtually every page, on the bottom right below the “related links” section, I put at least one link to a website that ranks high on Google for a search of whatever that page is about. For example:
On a page about ‘switching to Vonage, I would do a Google search on “switch to Vonage” and find the #1 ranking website on the subject – I would then link to that website’s page from the “related links” section on my page. I have read that this helps my Google rankings, but it is also good for your website visitors when they have links to more information on a subject. Many experts disagree and may warn you to limit the number of outgoing links from your pages. I don’t know who is right, but this is what has worked for my site.

I was concerned about making it so easy for visitors to leave the site and never come back. On many pages I made the link open in a new window/tab by using the target=”blank” tag.

I set meta tags for all pages:
I use the Meta Keyword module, Nodewords in Drupal, which allows me to specify meta descriptions and meta keywords for every page. Google search does not give any weight to meta-tags for search results, but other search engines such as Yahoo still do. Meta keywords can also result in better ad-targeting for Adsense ads.

I watched my logs very closely:
I kept a close eye on my raw logs, looking at the referral strings. This told me what someone was searching for if they came to the site from a search engine. I then knew which terms I was beginning to rank higher in the search engines with. I would then “work” on those terms by adding more links from my blog with that term as the anchor text, and making sure that I had lots of “recent comments” displayed in the Drupal Recent Comment block that had that same term. This really paid-off quickly and I began ranking very high for many of the terms that I focused on.

I posted more of the kind of content that people were coming for:
As I watched my logs to see what people were searching for, I added more and more content about those particular subjects. This has taken the website in a totally different direction that I had planned for. The site is still about “Help for Beginners”, but now a sizeable amount of content and traffic is related to help for Myspace. Because Myspace is such a popular subject these days I quickly began to get a lot of traffic as my rankings for keywords related to Myspace began to improve. As more people came, more people posted comments – creating more content, bringing more people, who posted more content. It kind of snowballed to what it is today. When I first started the site, I would have never thought about posting anything Myspace – If I was not watching my logs, and adding more of the type of content that people were looking for, I don’t think the site would have done as well as it has.

I tracked my daily stats carefully:
I used webstats (free from my website host) and then signed up for Google Analytics so I could see how much traffic I was getting every day and where it was coming from. Drupal has an Analytics module that makes it simple at add Analytics to the site.

I did not change Title tags once I created them:
One major problem that I learned about (the hard way) by tracking my website statistics is that changing web-page titles can effect your rankings in the search engines. I had one page that was doing very well in MSN (ranked #3 when searching on certain Myspace terms) and number 5 or 6 on Google. I re-designed the page and changed the “title” of this page – not the URL, but the title. Within 3 or 4 days, this page dropped from #3 in MSN down to about number 85, and it dropped completely out of Google! It took about two months for it to return to normal. Now I choose my titles very carefully, and never, ever change them.

I used URLs with “-“ instead of “_”:
When making a new page, I make the URLs with – instead of _ for example, I use:
http://www.mysite.com/this-is-a-webpage
instead of
http://www.mysite.com/this_is_a_webpage

By using the PathAuto module in Drupal, I was able to make new forum posts use dashes (-) and not underscores (_) using the title/subject of the post.

This is a simple tip, but using instead of _ can make a huge difference in your search engine rankings.

I pushed traffic from my high-traffic pages to my lower-traffic (higher earning) pages:
When I first started getting a lot of traffic, most of it came to only a few pages. I used those pages to promote other pages on the site by displaying prominent links with text/descriptions of why visitors would be interested in visiting those pages also.

I listened to what my visitors/members asked for:
By taking the advice of members and paying attention to their feedback and requests, the site has changed even more from my original plan. Some ideas from members weren’t very good and failed, but most of the ideas have been great and have resulted in even more popularity. This is partially why our site has slowly changed into a very popular ‘community’ with a family-like feel amongst members.

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4 thoughts on “eBook Series: More on SEO and Generating Traffic

  1. Randy..i want to ask 1 question, i change my blog title one month ago and like you said..the position in SE falling down..what should i do?change the title back?or just wait and see with the new title?

    thank’s before

    Free Computer eBooks

  2. After I made this mistake I was afraid to change anything else. I left everything as-is and eventually everything returned to normal. I’m not sure of what the repercussions are of changing it back.

  3. Hi Randy, thanks for sharing..

    I want to ask about outgoing links. Do you use nofollow link attribute on your related links?

    Thanks.

  4. [quote comment=”1963″]
    I want to ask about outgoing links. Do you use nofollow link attribute on your related links?

    [/quote]

    no – we don’t. For SEO, i think that dofollow links to relevant content are better. The only problem is that we (our moderators at the site) have to watch links posted in the forums very closely.

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