SEO Frequently Asked Questions

Search Engine Optimization Frequently Asked Questions.


1. What is SEO (Search Engine Optimization)?
2. Why is search engine traffic so important?
3. What are META tags?
4. What are spiders / crawlers / robots?
5. Is optimization a difficult task?
6. How do I go about optimizing my website?
7. How long will it take before I start ranking better?
8. Will virtual / name based hosting be an issue?

What is SEO (Search Engine Optimization)?
Search Engine Optimization (abbreviated by SEO) is the process of designing, writing, coding, programming, and scripting your entire Web site so that there is a good chance that your Web pages will appear at the top of search engine queries for your selected keywords.

Why is search engine traffic so important?
A very large percentage of people looking for stuff on the internet find what they’re looking for through search engines. Given that most people will only browse through 20 or 30 results in order to find what they’re looking for, it is important that your website rankings highly, otherwise you risk loosing a vast amount of traffic to competitors.

What are META tags?
META tags are a part of the HTML code which is viewable only to those that are specifically looking for it. The META tags cannot be seen directly through a browser such as Internet Explorer or Netscape. These META tags can be used in order to supply information to spiders / crawlers or other robots that are looking for alternate information. These tags may present information such as keywords, site description and title etc.. Some search engines no longer use these tags but some still do.

What are spiders / crawlers / robots?
The terms “spiders”, “crawlers” and “robots” all refer to a computer program which is designed to browse websites and download information. The information that it usually downloads is the HTML source code. In the case of search engines, this source code is stored in a large database and later analyzed.

Is optimization a difficult task?
No, but it requires a lot of work and patience. The work part involves making the changes to your HTML code manually, which can take a while. The patience part involves nothing more than waiting and monitoring the results of your optimization in search engines.

How do I go about optimizing my website?
Firstly, you need to have the correct tools at hand. Such tools would include keywords density analyzers, server header checkers, meta tag analyzers, spider simulators etc.. Such tools can be found in abundance on the internet. Check out
Search Engine World for some tools which are of vital importance.

Next you will need to decide for exactly which search terms you wish to optimize your site for. It is extremely difficult to optimize a site for more than 3 or 4 search terms. Do some research with some keyword suggestion tools and try to discover which search terms both currently bring you the most traffic, and which ones are most used by web surfers.

The exact optimization procedure varies by search engines and it changes over time. For the latest tips on optimization for any given search engine, check out the SEO Chat Forums. After you find out what changes you need to make, employ those changes to your site / HTML code. More often that not changes will need to be made to the directory structure of a website, along with changes to filenames and resources.

How long will it take before I start ranking better?
Generally speaking the search engines update once a month. However, because the information presented in a given update gets crawled a few weeks previous, it can take as long as 6 to 8 weeks before changes to your site will be reflected in search engines.Some search engines, such as Google, are making some rapid changes in technology which allow them to update their database faster, sometimes within 24 hours. Sometimes you will be lucky enough to get a quick update, and sometimes not.

Will virtual / name based hosting be an issue?
No. Almost every search engine spider is capable of handling multiple domains with the same IP address. Although having a unique IP address is beneficial for some reasons, there are no serious disadvantages to using virtual hosting. {mospagebreak title=9 Through 16&toc=1} 9.
Should I use hidden text on my website to help rank better?
10. Will using dynamic pages harm my rankings?
11. Do filenames and directory structure matter?
12. What is a “reciprocal link”?
13. What is “PageRank (PR)”?
14. What does “cross linking” mean?
15. What are “inbound links”?
16. How can I find how many inbound links I have?

Should I use hidden text on my website to help rank better?
The use of hidden text, or any form of text that is only intended to be viewed by spiders while being kept invisible to users is strongly discouraged. Many websites in the past have been banned from search engines for using hidden text. Many search engines consider this to be “unethical” and it can easily be detected, so avoid using it.

Will using dynamic pages harm my rankings?
The use of straight forward dynamic pages, as in using the extensions .php, .asp, etc.. will not harm rankings. Using “query strings” in the URL’s will however have a negative effect on rankings. The use of “‘param=yes&other=no” will make it extremely difficult for search engines to crawl your website, so difficult in fact that most search engines will refuse to even crawl the website in order to conserve bandwidth and other expensive resources.

Do filenames and directory structure matter?
Many say that filenames do not directly matter, I have proven in the past however that they are part of the ranking algorithm in many major search engines. For optimal performance I suggest that filenames should be no longer than 15-20 characters in length and should contain the keywords for the content of the page, with words being delimited with dashes “-“. Directory structure too is important, with directory names including at least one target keyword and the directory structure should be kept as close to the root as possible i.e. is much better than

What is a “reciprocal link”?
Let’s imagine there are 2 websites, one is “Site A” and the other “Side B”. If Site A provides a link to Site B and Site A simultaneously provides a link to Site B, then the 2 respective links are known as “reciprocal” links given that each site links to the other.

What is “PageRank (PR)”?
PageRank’ is actually a trademarked term. The trademark belongs to Google Inc. and refers to the “rank” of a website as determined by Google’s ranking system. The PageRank (PR) of a website is determined by the number of inbound links a website has. The more inbound links that exist, the higher the PageRank, generally speaking that is!

What does “cross linking” mean?
Crosslinking is the term used to define a volume of sites that provide links to each other for the purpose of increasing link popularity. The sites are sometimes owned by one person or firm and have little or no other purpose that to be part of the link farm.

What are “inbound links”?
Inbound links are nothing more than links coming to a given website from an external website. For example, any links on this website to are considered to be inbound links to Google.

How can I find how many inbound links I have?
In reality there is no real way to calculate the exact number of inbound links in. The best way to find inbound links to your website is to use either Google or AllTheWeb / FAST. With Google, it is possible to search for inbound links by using the search query “”, this will search for all links to the site On AllTheWeb, you can check for inbound links to a site by using “”. {mospagebreak title=17 Through 25&toc=1} 17.
How important are inbound links?
18. How can I tell if my site has been banned?
19. What is “Cloaking”?
20. Does PageRank’ effect my rankings in Google?
21. What are “doorway pages” and should I use them?
22. What is unethical SEO?
23. I use framesets, is that OK?
24. Can I use JavaScript on my website?
25. Is it OK to use Flash?

How important are inbound links?
Over the past 2 years or so, search engines have placed a lot of importance on inbound links. Inbound links are a good way to judge the popularity of a website i.e. the more inbound links a website has, the more important it is considered to be. Many people use words that describe a website in order to link to it, so the words used to the link have become very important. Ideally, all of the inbound links to your website should use your target keywords as the link text.

How can I tell if my site has been banned?
There is no real way to tell if your site has been banned from a search engine. If your site was listed and then suddenly disappears, it might be reasonable to assume the site was banned. Normally only sites that engage in some kind of spamming or poor practices get banned. For example, if you have used hidden text, URL cloaking, or been part of a link farm, then it is possible your site would have been banned. There is not usually a way to get re-indexed once a site is banned.

What is “Cloaking”?
Some sites have decided to cheat the search engines and deliver optimized content to the search spiders yet deliver different content to regular users. This is usually done when the site wants to use frames, java, flash or some other such media that would be difficult for search engines to read. The page is said to be “Cloaked” whenever this optimized content is delivered to search engines.

Does PageRank’ effect my rankings in Google?
In short, yes PageRank does effect how your website ranks in Google. The PageRank’ system was designed to be yet another factor in how pages should ranks, it is not the only thing that matters however. When you do a search at Google, the highest PR websites are not always placed at the top. Sometimes a page with a lower PR can outrank a higher PR website if it is better optimized for the search terms.

What are “doorway pages” and should I use them?
Doorway pages are nothing more then pages full of spam text which are supposed to be optimized for search engines. Some times there are hundreds of doorway pages hosted on external servers, at different domains etc.. These doorway pages have links to the main websites. The theory is that if these doorway pages rank highly in search engines and visitors use them, they will eventually be taken to the main websites.

What is unethical SEO?
Unethical SEO is a term that is used to describe search engine optimizers, or the optimization of a website which uses any form of spamming or tricks in order to falsely improve rankings. For example, the use of hidden text or doorway pages as mentioned above would be considered unethical search engine optimization.

I use framesets, is that OK?
Frames are extremely difficult to crawl for some search engines. There are a few things which you can do in order to help the crawling of frames. Be sure that you use all of the correct meta tags and that you have a well optimized title tag on the page. Use the <noframes> tag and place a decent level of text content in there, along with links to other pages on your website. This will help engines that read the <noframes> tag to scan your website.

Can I use JavaScript on my website?
Given that JavaScript is a somewhat dynamic programming language i.e. it can require human interaction, or it can cause things to change, it is not readable by most of the search engines. Although it is a somewhat simple language, it has proven too difficult to parse. Any text or link in JavaScript may be missed by search engines. Only use JavaScript where it is urgently required.

Is it OK to use Flash?
As with JavaScript, it is too difficult to parse. Some sites use Flash introductions with a skip button. Page with flash intros greatly reduce their rankings and are encouraged to stop using intros. Sites that use Flash for navigations and interaction etc.. are encouraged to use HTML navigation instead and HTML text where possible.
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