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Article Archive by Darren Franks


March 25 2011

SEO Benefits of Custom 404 Pages

by Darren Franks

Custom 404 pages are pages set up on a website that are automatically displayed if somebody finds a page that no longer exists:

SEO Benefits of Custom 404 Pages
Example of a custom 404 page from www.morevisibility.com

Programmed on a web server’s HTACCESS File, these pages are useful for SEO because:

  • As you can see from the example above, they provide links back to the main domain, ensuring users and search engines can access other pages on your site.
  • They are a great “failsafe” mechanism for SEO as the default/generic 404 error page that gets displayed contains no links back to the site and can be a “dead end” for users and spiders; this can hurt crawlability of the site if a 404 page hasn’t fallen from the index, yet.
  • They are helpful if you have any broken links on your site that you haven’t discovered which will, again, aid in crawlability and user experience.
  • They can give you the ability to drive more traffic to pages on your site that are very popular targets for search, by making that page’s link stand out from the rest. You can highlight it or make it the focus of the custom 404 page.
March 22 2011

Should we Still Submit to Directories for SEO, or for any Reason?

by Darren Franks

Should we still submit to directories for SEO, or for any reason such as link building and website traffic? The short answer is: yes, but with many caveats. First, it is absolutely imperative that any new site, or any site that has not done so already, submit to the top directories. These are, but are not limited to:

  • Yahoo! Directory  
  • DMOZ
  • Best of the Web

What are directories? Put simply, they are websites that include links to other websites that are listed by topic. Directories used to be considered more important for passing “link value” to a site; the onslaught of less “SEO friendly” directories soured search engines, such as Google, from assigning too much weight to a backlink from those kinds of sites. However, the three directories listed above are the originals, are still some of the most important and can be useful in terms of attaining some quality traffic to your site. In actuality, it is not even known if Google even consider the “premier” directories, like Yahoo! and DMOZ for link value, so it’s best to just submit to them and forget about it and be diligent with other link building strategies, as well.

There are also a plethora of other directories out there, but the majority of them are of extremely low quality as they are very spammy. Essentially, do your due diligence and ensure that any directory you submit your website to is SEO friendly and well respected. The dubious directories can be very easy to spot as they usually look unorganized, have thousands of random links and advertisements on their homepage and tend to have a very low PageRank or no PageRank whatsoever.

March 3 2011

Why you are Shooting Yourself in the Foot by not Employing H1 Tags for SEO

by Darren Franks

In one of the latest MoreVisibility YouTube videos, I explained the importance of utilizing your page headlines for SEO Purposes. Entitled “H1 Tags for SEO“, I talked briefly about ensuring that your page headlines are properly using the H1 tag.

It is the general consensus that Header tags are the 2nd most important tag next to the title. As much as possible, ensure that the text in the H1 tag is the same as your title tag; that level of redundancy between your Titles and your H1 for the page will send a signal to the search engines that the   page is about a specific keyword.

Use other tags (h2 tags, h3 tags etc.) if you need multiple headers. This will ensure that the search engines know that anything wrapped in the H1 is much more important than other headers (or sub-headers) used on a page. Also, make sure to not abuse your H1 tags. Don’t put whole paragraphs in a header and don’t use multiple h1 headers on the same page. This will seriously dilute their effectiveness and could get you penalized with Google.

Some have said in the SEO community that the H1 tag is not given as much weight by Google anymore. However, until Google officially says anything about specifically ignoring an element on a page (like they did with the keywords meta tag), it is safe to assume that using the H1 tag for the primary keyphrase on the page is good for SEO.

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