Tuesday, June 16, 2009

SEO Spiders, what do they hunger for?

by Gill Taylor

In the previous article 'Get Traffic With SEO Thinking' we discussed how search engines work in general and how you can apply SEO to your site or article. You should understand, or at least be aware, of where to put your keywords and how keyword prominence and keyword density works. If you haven't read it maybe it is a good idea to go do that quickly before we continue.

If you remember correctly a search engine has workers and thinkers, spiders and indexers. When we discussed keyword densities and the like we were focusing more on the indexing part of the search engine algorithm. Let's have a look at websites from the spider's point of view, what do they like?

Spiders like:

• Text more then they like code. For the most part it's quite easy to have more lines of text then code. Be aware that some programs, like the MS Office Suite, add a lot of extra code to a file. This is to enable you to open any MS file in almost any application.

• Keyword densities in the range of 3-7%. Anything less is off subject and something ridicules like say 20% is frowned upon and possible flagged.

• Backlinks from other sites, it's said that authority sites have an average of 300 backlinks pointing to them.

• Original content. If you didn't write it, it's probably not original. Although you might pay someone to do it, but then you own the only copy.

• Sites that download quickly. One of the biggest culprits in slowing download down is dynamic URLs, like pictures, from other sites.

• Site maps. They take seconds to build, so do it and update it at least once a month.

• ALT Tabs for images, because spiders cannot see pictures.

• Links to websites that are contextually relevant. If your site is about making online millions you should link to something like investing millions, contextually relevant but not competitive.

• Fresh content every time the spider crawls your site. Spiders are like girls, they love new stuff.

Spiders do not like:

• More lines of code than text.

• Nested tables. It adds code and the spiders take longer to digest the tables, making you less likely to be crawled.

• Mega-high keyword densities, also called keyword stuffing. It's unnatural, and the search engines have caught on. You should remember that using a keyword stuffed portal as a doorway page is doing exactly the same thing. Bad programmer!

• Too many backlinks to your own home or landing page from within your own domain.

• Duplicate content, it doesn't matter from where or how. Even if someone copies from YOUR site you have duplicate content.

• A slow loading site. Watch those dynamic URLs.

• Automated link swapping that could be because of repeating exactly the same words in your linking text, spiders are allowed to do this, we, ironically are not.

• Stale content, it smells like old people to spiders. So, go ahead, update your site, its fun.

About the Author

Gill Taylor (lead reviewer)
At FBW we believe that getting your head in the game is as important as getting you money in the bank. Join the FBW Newsletter and we'll give you a free book that is absolutely essential to learning some of the important stuff the experts use every single day. Join here.