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Do-it-yourself SEO

(or Commonsense Search Engine Optimization)

by Vikas Kamat
First Online: May 28, 2005
Page Last Updated: January 03, 2018

A whole new industry (called Search Engine Optimization or SEO) has grown helping webmasters optimize their content and pages to rank better on search engines, and a lot of people ask me  how I make our pages rank so highly.

I follow a down-to-earth, non-aggressive, commonsense approach to search engine optimizations and here are my tricks for the fellow Amateur Webmaster (people who have other fulltime jobs).

Tip 1: Do Not Listen to the Self-styled SEO Gurus

I strongly recommend reading the SEO Bible published by Google.External Link, and not get caught up in the SEO mumbo jumbo. SEO is an industry of bad repute and you could burn your hands, by not being careful. At every decision making point, use common sense and the perspective of a human reading your website.


Tip 2: Hyperlink relevant words. Avoid hyper-linking "click here"

My recommendation is to use descriptive words rather than click here to place hyperlinks. 
For example, don't say contact me by clicking here. Instead write Contact Vikas Kamat.


Tip 3: Linking to good sites is rewarding, not punitive.

There are a lot of people who tell you not to link to outside content, claiming that it increases your outbound (linkouts) links. My own experience has been on the contrary. If you link to good sites -- such as Kamat's Potpourri -- you get rewarded  ;-- )


Tip 4: If you have content, expose it!

This brilliant tip can be implemented by creating a static page that acts as a container to all of your contents. My page crawling.htm is such a page that lists  contents that otherwise might not be linked. Remember, if a page is not linked, it might never be  discovered or ranked! Our alphabetical list of Research Abstracts is another such example.


Tip 5: Traffic Matters

Most webmasters are paranoid about incoming links. But in my own experience, the traffic a site or a page attracts is more important than the links placed to it. This is probably because Google (via Google toolbar stats or AdSense stats) is able to tell which pages get read and ranks them accordingly.


Tip 5: Search Index Contamination is Temporary

Do not be disheartened that a competitor using innovative SEO techniques is able to score over your site. Many smart people are working on what I call "Purification of Search Index" technologies and the better designed site eventually gets its fair share.


Tip 6: Free Content Only Gets You That Far

Many people, to offer more content on their sites are blindly duplicating/mirroring content compiled by someone else. Contents of DMOZ Directory External Link, the WikipediaExternal Link content, are examples of this. In short term, these efforts seem to pay off, but remember my Tip 5 above.

My advice is that if you have time and effort available to optimize the site, you probably have time and effort to develop new content; do it!


Tip 7: CPR Better than PR (PageRankô )

I define CPR (Cumulative PR) as the sum of all the individual PRs on a site. It is much easier to earn a PR6 on ten pages than a PR7 on one page. So on a large site like Kamat's Potpourri with thousands of pages, the CPR can be tens of thousands! There are very few sites with that kind of CPR, making Kamat's Potpourri, an "Authority" site -- a prized website in the SEO industry.

My advice is not to play the PR game, and instead be focused on maintaining a high traffic, high quality website. 

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