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Are there broken links on your site? Have you removed some old pages while forgetting to clean up the links pointing to those pages? Did you change your file structure and leave some legacy links behind? You may not even know if you have these issues, but the search engines do.
Do these broken links affect your search engine rankings? Out of curiosity, I asked some colleagues in the industry this question and the general consensus was they don’t even worry about it as an organic factor, which leads me to think they do not believe this affects rankings. Well, I am fairly certain this is incorrect for a number of reasons. Broken links can degrade your rankings on a site wide basis. I recently wrote on the fact that search engines rank individual pages and not whole sites, but I also mentioned there are a few site wide ranking factors. I believe this is one of those factors.
Let’s set aside for a moment that having broken links on your site is bad for a wide variety of user experience reasons and focus on why it is bad specifically for search engine rankings.Read More
SES has come and gone and it was a wealth of information. You can find some good coverage of the sessions at Search Engine Strategies ’07 New York Session Coverage Roundup. For me, it’s the linking sessions that catch my attention.
What it basically comes down to is that quantity of links is no longer a major factor. Quality is what counts. It seems that the search engines are taking into account the user experience. This means that it is vital to acquire links that are relevant to your topic. Find the experts in your field, the authorities and get them to link to you. How do you do this? One way is submit articles to the industry forums and newsletters. Another is to use press releases and PR services to get your name out there. Just keep relevancy in mind… if it’s not related to your product or service, don’t do it.
Take some time to review the session coverage for Link Building Basics and Linking Strategies as they are filled with information and tools that you can use for improving your rankings through linking. One important thing to remember is that building links takes time, anytime I see a site that acquires a lot of links in a short period of time, I get suspicious. There is no quick fix, what we are aiming at is long term web presence and credibility.
Perhaps the most underappreciated form of writing is the simple list. We all make them. We attach them to our refrigerators to remind us to buy milk and we use them as references to track our day. What many people may not realize is that lists can be used for much more.
In her book, Approaches to Discourse Georgetown University professor, Deborah Schiffrin notes that when speakers tell a story, they often use list structures along with or, even in place of, standard narrative structures. For example:
We went to the store to buy some fruit.
There were so many kinds of fruit that we couldn’t decide between them, so we didn’t buy any at all.
If lists can be used to tell a story, it should be no surprise that lists can also be natural choices for structuring all kinds of web content, including marketing copy.
In fact, the list can be a valuable tool for composing web content. Lists add visual and semantic structure that can make any writing easier to follow and research in reading comprehension has found that students do better when presented with well-structured content in their classroom materials. These findings also carry over to the kind of writing found on commercial web sites. Studies in web usability show that structuring content with lists enhances the readability of standard promotional writing, too. When combined with concise, objective styles, content written using unordered lists improves by as much as 124%.
All this may explain why search engines place a higher value on keywords found in ordered and unordered lists. A web page containing a list of items all related to the main keyword targeted for the page is more likely to actually be relevant to that keyword. It’s just the nature of a well-structured list and something that is fairly easy for search engines to detect.
We often see lists used to describe a range of products or services. What else could we use a list for? What else can you do with a list?