Find search engine optimization tips and current observations.

Outbound links as a signal of quality?Are outbound links a signal of quality? Is this one of the over 200 signals used by Google to rank a web page? How big of a factor can it actually be?

Before you suggest that outbound links are not a factor, consider that you can get penalized for linking to what has been referred to as “bad neighborhoods” on the web.

If you can link to the wrong sites and get penalized for it, why wouldn’t you be rewarded for linking to the right sites?

Citing authority sites in your articles, blog posts or content contribute to your credibility, assists your readers and can help to establish your own site as an authority on a subject and may very well invite inbound links and citations from other sites. Sound far fetched? Google doesn’t think so.

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Beating duplicate content filters
Avoiding duplicate
content filters is not
as hard as one would imagine; just a little bit
of creative thinking can go
a long way towards setting your content apart from the rest of the scrapers and those too lazy to create their own content.

There are things you can do even when using previously published content on your site or blog. Rather than just copying and pasting content and linking back to it as others already have, consider how the presentation of this content may work to your advantage.

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For far too long the average web site owner has narrowly focused on ushering visitors to their web site via the home page, or through the front door.

If you talk to the average webmaster it’s not long before you soon realize that most of them share outdated promotional ideas and have not evolved with the search engines.

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Where do they keep the alt text?
Seems Google is once again giving some weight to alt text for images. Previously disregarded unless the image was hyperlinked, alt text once again appears to be a contributing factor in the search results.

This was generally abused by webmasters trying to gain an edge over the competition by using a long string of keywords and ignoring usability.

I wouldn’t rush out and start changing all of the alt text attributes on your web pages hoping for an edge, I really doubt it’s given serious weight.

Remember, it’s all about the visitors.

Nuts and BoltsI’m always asked a number of questions regarding the basic elements or the nuts and bolts of optimizing a web page. This is probably a good a place as any to offer some thoughts regarding simple optimization.

Optimizing web pages for your visitors instead of spiders usually yields the best long term results. Creating web pages for your target audience will provide plenty of spider food for the search engines.

If you’re creating an eCommerce site, keep in mind that spiders don’t carry credit cards, so there’s really no need to try to over impress them.

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