Google is celebrating 10 years as search engine and as a little treat they’ve released their index from 2001!

It’s fully search able and it’s interesting to see which sites ranked ten years ago when the algorithm wasn’t as advanced.

– The results for SEO have nothing to do with SEO as we know it knower days.

– http://www.search-engine-optimisation.co.uk/ ranked number 1 for search engine optimisation, that now re-directs to Receptional.

– Best of all Wikipedia was just starting, and didn’t rank number 1 for wikipedia never mind any other key phrases.

So head over to www.google.com/search2001.html for a little play.

This is the first spam post. The idea is to clear up UK websites. I have nothing again the companies mentioned but they have websites that break the Google Webmaster Guidelines.

To start www.hammonds-uk.com from a company called Hammonds UK a bedroom and office furniture company. They’ve got a nifty little flash site which means pretty much no search engine traffic. But they’ve added some hidden text behind the flash in an attempt to bring in some search traffic.

So the text hidden behind the flash is.

Hammonds bedroom furniture and home office furniture

This is done using css setting the text as hidden.

hidden {
display: none;
}

In some instances hiding text behind flash is ok, providing the text hidden is exactly the same as the text in the flash file. If the text differs then your breaking the guidlines. If you are placing text behind a flash file, then hiding via CSS isn’t your best option, I would go with the noscript tag.

It doesn’t seem that the site is banned, it comes up for “Hammonds bedroom furniture” the hidden H1, but the hidden text method isn’t sustainable and Google will catch up on Hammonds UK.

Next on the blog roll list is one of my favourite SEO site’s and one I’ve learnt the most from, SEOmoz. SEOmoz essentially is a company that provides SEO, but the are also committed to helping others via their blog and paid informations section.

The blog is updated pretty much every day along with YouMoz, blogs from SEOmoz members. The paid service gives you access to tools, SEO guides and most importantly the chance to ask questions to some of the SEOmoz team. The picks from the blog have to be the Thursday round up e-mail which rounds up internal and external Internet marketing news and the Whiteboard Friday Video.

So if your just starting to dable in a little SEO then SEOmoz has to be your starting point, for something a little more advanced sign up for the paid service and subscribe to YouMoz.

Posted in SEO.

Rather than just having a blog roll I’ve decided to add blogs on a weekly basis with a post about why each blog deserves to be linked. So to start the ball rolling it’s Mr Google himself Matt Cutts.

matt-cutts-blog

Matt is the head of the webspam team at Google, after joining the company in 2000 Matt has been at the forefront of communication with webmasters over the years coving a wide range of subjects but mostly on spam. He created the first ever version of the SafeSearch filter and now works on search quality / web spam.

Matt’s blog was the first blog I added onto my Google Reader account when I came into SEO, and if your new to SEO you should really read the achieves, you might not understand everything but it will give you a good grounding. If that gets too heavy for you then the video posts are a good place to start.

There is a the odd off topic post on the blog about Linux and his cats but overall everything that Matt posts is going to help you and generally will be understood if your new or experienced SEO. So head over to www.mattcutts.com/blog/.

Posted in SEO.

I’ll be doing a few posts about WordPress Plugins for SEO but I’ll start with the three that are essential. I’ll list them in order of importance.

All in One SEO Pack
The all in one SEO pack uses WordPress’s custom fields to create a friendlier page title and meta description and allows you to add into certain pages to reduce content duplication.

The default set up on the All in One SEO Pack seems to do the trick, for the titles and descriptions you leave the boxes blank on your post page and it will create the meta title from the blog title and take around the first 160 characters for the meta description. All you need to do is remember to try to have a good opening sentence for your blog. For example this post I’ve mentioned the title of the article again so it’s included in the description.

Google doesn’t look at the keywords tag so I keep this blank, but you can tick a box to make the plug in use the categories as the keywords.

The options to reduce internal content duplication allows you to add the noindex, follow tag to the archives, categories and tag pages. I leave the default settings so Google’s isn’t indexing the archives and categories.

Link to download

Google (XML) Sitemaps Generator for WordPress
Not essential but helps to get some of those older blogs in WordPress cached. Each time you edit a post the site map is rebuilt, this means once you’ve set it up you don’t really need to do anything. The newer version of this plug in does all the work installation work for you creating the XML sitemap file.

Link to download

Alinks
Alink essentially is a text replace script. It will replace a word in your blog with other text. E.g. every time you mention GWT it can replace it with Google Webmaster Tools. But, it will also replace text with links, so each time you mention contact us it will replace it with contact us. This is great for creating relevant internal links to deeper pages in your site. Many blogs also use the plug in to add in affiliates links.

Really this is a time saver plug in and means content writers and clients don’t have worry about linking to the correct pages with the correct anchor text.

Link to download

So get those three plugins into your WordPress blog and you can’t go wrong!

I’m a big fan of Gmail, I converted from Hotmail to Gmail about 6 months ago and have never looked back. This afternoon I saw a really misleading advert on Gmail. Your average Gmail advert will look something like this.

Anchor text for the link with a description.

This afternoon i saw an advert that used (1) Message as the anchor text for the link.

Obviously the anchor text of the link is there to entice the user to click the advert but putting that will just trick the user to the clicking the ad as it makes you think that you’ve got a new message. Pretty smart really of getting the click, but really an easy way to burn a lot of spend on the content network.

The site went live late last night, after development time on a subfolder. I’ve added a XML Sitemap using the WordPress Sitemap Generator which is a nice little plug in. Thats been submitted off to Google and we await for the site to be cached for the first time.

There’s still plenty of work to be done, the individual blog pages are HTML invalid and the search box doesn’t display correctly in Safari. It’s important to get this points correct from the start otherwise you’ll be already be putting of potential readers from day one.

One of the minor problems with WordPress from an SEO point of view is the set up of the H1 and H2 tags on individual blog pages.

On individual pages the title of your blog post will be in a H2 tag. Really you want your title of your post to be in a H1 tag. To add to that your theme may also contain a blog title in a H1 in the header, which means duplicated H1 tags on individual pages.

matt-cutts-h1-h2

Something like this isn’t going to cause a detrimental effect to your sites progress in the rankings, but having your title in a H1 tag may help you rank slightly higher in the search engine result pages.

So whats the change?

Step 1 – Make the blog title only a H1 on the home page.

Some people have recommended pasting the header.php into the home page of the site, index.php (sometimes home.php depending on your theme). You then edit the header.php for the inner pages making the blog title H1 a span (plain text). Then edit the code added to index.php for the home page, keeping the blog title as a H1. This method means that you have two headers, meaning double editing for the future.

A cleaner method is to keep the architecture and have a conditional check.

If home page
H1 blog title
else
Span blog title

Replace the code from the header.php with something like this.

A UK SEO

Just style the span up the same as the H1

Step 2 – Change the post title on the individual pages from a H2 to a H1

The code in the single.php is change from

Change blog title and post title tags in WordPress

To this;

Change blog title and post title tags in WordPress

Thats it, now you’ll have have slight stronger WordPress Blog with a blog title only in a H1 on the home page and post titles on individual pages in H1’s.

If you’ve seen another way post it in the comments below.

Welcome to SEO-4-Free a brand new SEO blog based in the UK. Over the next few weeks the site will be developed, then I’ll start to post and explain the purpose of the site.

To start off a quick list of the work done so far.

  • Domain purchased form 123-Reg
  • Hosting purchased from www.streamline.net the power user package ¬£47.98 for two years (Then realised if you sign up for a power user package you get a free domain so didn‚Äôt really need to buy the domain from 123-reg)
  • Stuck up a holding page on the root
  • Installed WordPress 2.6.2
  • Installed the Publicizer theme
  • Validated the theme and changed a few bits and bobs.

I’ll keep on updating with the next post about plugins installed on the blog.