The Delphic Oracle Speaks Again: Search Secrets Directly from the Search Engines
There are as many approaches to search engine optimization as there are search engines. These edicts and assertions blanket the Internet in abundance through blogs, forum discussions and syndicated articles from the “search engine gurus.” This month’s lead feature attempts to inspire you to look beyond the experts and evolve a strategy of your own that takes you directly to the search engines themselves for their guidelines on how to rank well in search engine result pages (SERPs).
The SEO Benchmark
It is a truth universally acknowledged that logical internal linking, an abundance of back links and user-centric original content
can undoubtedly make your web site stand out in a highly competitive and crowded arena. Over the years, search engine algorithms—the rule book search engines use to rank web sites—have become increasingly complex. Some even believe that there are as many as two hundred factors that search engines use to determine your web site’s position in search results and the accompanying page rank. In order to achieve sure-shot success when it comes to a favorable ranking in the search engine results, it is a good idea to start with a close adherence to the guidelines that the search engines have themselves announced publicly.
The Google Benchmark
Google’s search engine guidelines usually see the light of day through official blogs, corporate presentations at national and international conferences, and press releases. However, many important guidelines and recommendations are safely archived at the following link:
Google calls this section of its web site “Web Master Guidelines” and presents in a clear, easy-to-follow matrix the various steps you should take not only to rank high but also to avoid being penalized by the Google algorithm for unethical practices. Pay particular attention to sections such as the Quick Start guide and the Web Master Central Blog which provide abundant information on how your site can rank high in Google. Remember that this isn’t hearsay but a genuine statement of facts as they relate to you and your web site.
The Yahoo Benchmark
"Yahoo! strives to provide the best search experience on the Web by directing searchers to high-quality and relevant web content in response to a search
This is how the content guidelines page starts. Contrary to traditional assumptions, the “content guidelines” from Yahoo are spelled out clearly and concisely and there are dozens of helpful links to strengthen and improve your Yahoo search position. Since our primary focus here is on organic search and not paid or PPC-driven search, these guidelines can prove to be extremely useful to strategically position your web site for Yahoo. Although statistics vary about 10-15% of online search is directed at Yahoo and we believe that optimizing your web site for Yahoo is a good idea specially since search guidelines for both Yahoo and Google are almost identical. As they say, 15% of something is better than 100% of nothing. Here is the link for you to read up on Yahoo’s content guidelines:
The MSN Benchmark
"If Microsoft isn’t a major player in the search engine war games today, it just might be one tomorrow and more importantly, it might emerge as a winner beating Google at its own game. Microsoft has emerged triumphant out of its ashes like Phoenix many a time and it is a good idea to prepare for the future. To learn more about what the search experts have to say about genuine organic placement that is favorable to both you and Microsoft’s searchers, visit:
The information is a tad goofy to locate because it is tucked away under Windows Live Help and may be difficult to locate through Windows Live Search. Therefore, use the above link to land directly on the page and browse around to your heart’s content. You may have to be a little patient because the page takes a few minutes to load. The information is neatly spelled out as you might expect in the form of FAQs. The answers are detailed and quite comprehensive.
Whether you choose to optimize your web site yourself or hire a qualified professional to do so, the choice is entirely yours. There is a case for both. However, following the search engines regularly will undoubtedly give you an upper hand over your competitors when it comes to page rank and page position because if the search engine spider likes what it sees when it comes knocking at your virtual door, it will keep coming back over and over again to happily chew some more fodder and preserve your SERP ranking.