Burts AIS, osCommerce & More Blog
New URL: www.osworld.biz

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

SEO or No SEO

Having worked at one time in the SEO industry, I can tell you that most SEO practitioners are absolutely full of BS. To get your site to the top of the Search Engines, all you need (in my opinion) is good content, and cleanly coded HTML. I've been doing a little experiment. 3 weeks ago I posted about my experiences with eBays VeRO Program. Today I looked to see if I could find my post in any of the search engines, here are the results: MSN: Position 5, search term: ebay vero Google: Position 27, search term: ebay vero From this we can see that MSN & Google are really quite quick to get new pages listed in their index. I must admit to being surprised to be placed so high for that search phrase, particularly on the MSN search. It's all good though. I couldn't find the post in Yahoo at all, but I'll keep on checking on a weekly basis...

New URL: www.osworld.biz - thanks!

8 Comments:

At 11/02/2005 11:03:00 AM, Anonymous Jared said...

It depends - - if you are talking about osCommerce (or derivatives), phpBB, or any other database-driven site, then there are many things that you can do to have better content.

It is true that "content is king" but sometimes the stock versions of these database-driven web scripts don't have very good content.

Content isn't just about what shows up on/in the page, either. As you mention, it's also how cleanly the HTML has been coded. It's also the content of the URL.

Being SEO-aware for a particular web script can make a *very* big difference.

 
At 11/02/2005 12:41:00 PM, Blogger Gary B. said...

Jared, that's a very good point that you raise. Most of the commercial scripts are designed by coders who have little to no real life experience of using them.

A good example is osCommerce. For any readers who use osCommerce, but are unsure about SEO, here is my own osCommerce eBook which deals with Search Engine Optimization. Enjoy!

 
At 11/02/2005 01:54:00 PM, Blogger Oli said...

MSN search seem to love my sites, giving them top spots (or near enough) for my search phrases (although I should point out that the search phrases are also the domains), while Google ranks them ~400th... strange.

 
At 11/02/2005 02:52:00 PM, Anonymous uknowho said...

Your introduction led me to believe you were going to demonstrate what was BS, but the post ground to a halt?!

MSN is dead easy atm. Coding is definitely a factor, especially CSS-based designs.

 
At 11/02/2005 03:30:00 PM, Blogger Gary B. said...

To be frank, most of what SEO's spout is BS. Guaranteed top-spot? Sure. Submission to 20,000 search engines? Sure.

If you do contract an SEO firm to do work for you, make sure that they have clients that you are free to contact. Look at those clients sites - making sure to turn any CSS styling off.

I've noticed lots of SEO's are using .css to have hidden layers on sites which are laden with spammy keywords.

Don't believe the hype, don't go for short term strategies (unless your site is unimportant). Go for content, clean semantic HTML and a good linking strategy...

Personal Example: A few years back I was "sacked" as I was working on a long term strategy for a client. he decided he wanted results "now, dammit". I have him many reasons why my way was better, but he decided to move elsewhere.

My method had got him page 1 results (in Google) for around 1300 seperate products. He wanted better results in MSN and the others.

He went on to emply a bunch of SEO cowboys who undid all my good work by adding html keyword (spam) comments, javascript to cloak stuff, they removed the unique titles that I had implemented!

After around 6 months he came back with his tail between his legs.

I turned him away as it would have taken another year to undo all the "bad stuff" and get back to where we were before he sacked me.


D'oh!

Anyway, moving on from that, what Search Engines do you consider are relevant these days? I'm thinking (in no particular order):

altavista
yahoo
google
msn search

also dmoz (though this is a directory of sites rather than a search engine).

Are there any more these days that are important? Perhaps these:

teoma
a9
alltheweb

These 7 or 8 will bring you 99% of your engine traffic. Anyone got any more that are worth considering?

 
At 11/02/2005 09:49:00 PM, Blogger JavaRoasters said...

Anyone got any more that are worth considering?
Don't forget about things like Froogle. Also if your main site is on DMOZ then you can apply to have your RSS feed added also. I wouldn't try it with a product feed but if you have a content feed it should be accepted.

 
At 11/02/2005 09:56:00 PM, Blogger JavaRoasters said...

MSN: Position 5, search term: ebay vero
Google: Position 27, search term: ebay vero


Another thing to consider with this is that you have acheived great results but "ebay vero" is not a popular search term. Like my has almost the whole first page for "java roasters" but since my Mom is the only person that searches for that term it does me no good. Having a good ranking is one thing but don't forget you need a good ranking for keywords that people actually search for.

 
At 11/03/2005 12:47:00 AM, Blogger richandzhaoyan said...

Whooaaa!

Spicy topic. Total coincidence but I have just posted to my blog about SEO, due to having made a pretty top spot for the totally generic search term "gifts" (The retail equivalent of such terms as web hosting/search engine optimization, etc.)

I put no effort into aiming for this top spot due to the fact I thought it was totally unattainable.

Things I agree with on this post are:-
Content - doesnt necassarily mean writing reams about one subject, in my case it just means having a very small amount of product info on a huge number of products.
SEO firms sput Bull - Most definately. I reckon after just one years worth of part time amateur SEO I know far more than the pesky salesmen that continue to waste my time on the phone. A couple of well phrased questions seems to send them running all to fast :)
Froogle - Great call JR. At present, being a free service, this brings in great targetted traffic. As I allways try and plug, if you got a big product base, site wide SEO is crucial. Just listing with froogle means I have 5000 products in their db, which they have now kindly decided to list at the top of their standard google results, meaning I often feature on the front page for very highly sought after and targetted results with no effort whatsoever!! (Just hope it lasts for a while before becoming a paid submission)

Things I disagree with:-
Clean HTML code - This was one thing that was really bothering me earlier in the year. My self-mashed version of osC is bloated and from a coding point of view, butt ugly. I simply have not had the time and, to be frank, would struggle with the knowledge, to shape it up and sort it out. To rank at the top of the second page for a term that has over 300 million results seems to imply that my less than perfect code doesnt count for much. Having said that, who knows, maybe if I had cleaner code I would be on the front page. Just in my opinion, it doesnt seem to count for alot. (I had similar fears about page size/load times but again, it doesnt seem to be doing me too much harm at present).

Rankings for unpopular search terms - JR, IMO, these are the most targetted traffic terms. I appreciate that maybe your mum is the only person currently searching for javaroasters but if you do happen to get one person who has come across your site once, maybe read about it through a forum or blog and then decides they want a coffee related product but cant rember your exact url, a quick search for javaroasters will lead them to your site and they will almost certainly buy. ie, highly targetted.

Again, in my case, this means being top dog for obscure search terms that I would never even think of but that lead a buyer straight to the exact product they are looking for. As things stand for me now, my traffic is soaring due to the number of people searching simply for gifts. Are my orders soaring? Alas no. Would I swap the half of my traffic that comes from that one search term with the other half that is made up of literally thousands of unique searches? Definatley not.

Its a funny old game - one things for sure, it is constantly evolving and I wont place any bets on ranking so highly for gifts in 12 months time :)

Cheers,
Rich

 

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