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SEO Frequently Asked Questions
  • What Are Keywords?
  • What Are Optimised Pages?
  • What is the difference between a directory and an index?
  • What Are Meta Tags?
  • Why do some sites rank more highly than others?.
  • Why should I use The Web Clinic bespoke service instead of using off the shelf SEO software?
  • How long does it take for my site to get listed?
  • What keywords should I choose for my promotion?
  • Why do rankings sometimes go down?
  • Why are some of my keywords not listed?
  • Why is my site ranked highly in one engine but not in another?
  • What is 'stealth' or 'ghost page' promotion?
  • Why is it necessary to maintain a campaign over many months?
  • My report says a page is showing in the top 20 for a keyword, but when I search that keyword my site is not at the position specified.
  • What are keywords?

    Keywords are the search terms that a user searching for your site are likely to type into a search engine. So if someone searching for a site 'healthstore.uk.com' on google enters the search query 'Health Store UK' the search engine will return a list of sites that contain the keywords "Health", "Store" and "UK". It is imporant to choose keywords that a potential customer is likely to type into google to find your site. Google has a useful keyword suggestion tool that may be useful for this (click here).

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    What are optimised pages?

    Search engine optimised webpages are modified in various ways in order to rank well when a user enters a certain search term into a search engine. These modifications involve white hat methods that are not usually found on non optimised webpages. This is achieved by inserting the keyword at strategic places in the source code of the webpage such as the title and applying appropriate emphasis such as headings to existing keywords where appropriate. Optimisation is usually transparent and un-noticable to the end user even though they are not hidden deliberately. In addition, an optimised page should be standards complient and redundancy such as javascript removed or reduced.

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    What is the difference between a directory and an index?

    Webpage directory is usually maintained by human editors who vet submitted sites and organise them into categories. The open directory project (dmoz) is a highly regarded free directory which is used by google to determine a website's description text in serps. On the other hand an index is an automatically maintained database websites which is generated through web crawls by search engine spiders such as googlebot.

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    What are meta tags?

    A meta tag is a section of a web page which is invisible in a browser but readable by the search engine. The tags contain a description of the page and a list of relevant keywords. Some search engines use this information to help categorise a webpage.

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    Why do some sites rank more highly than others?

    Search engines use proprietary algorithms to rate the relevance of each page to a keyword. Factors which they take into account include the age of the site, the presence of keywords in the content, page titles, meta tags and popularity. Site popularity is measured by the number of popular external and relevant sites pointing to it.

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    Why should I use The Web Clinic bespoke service instead of using off the shelf SEO software?

    Such software will claim to be submitting your site to search engines when in fact there is no automated way to do this in reality especially for the major search engines such as google. Assuming that they did, they would not be able to perform effective optimisation for the keywords you wish to be found under as each site has different requirements. Software tools will typically target unknown search engines rather than google and yahoo, and will not provide targeted traffic to your site.

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    How long does it take for my site to get listed?

    It depends on the time that the web crawler is next scheduled to perform a web crawl and the amount of time that has elapsed since a link to your site was found on, for example, dmoz. Some sites take upto 6 months to get picked up.

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    What keywords should I choose for my promotion?

    It is important to choose the keywords that you think your potential audience may use to try to find you. These should be relevant to the content of the site, and as specific as possible, preferably more than one word.

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    Why do rankings sometimes go down?

    All search engines change the algorithm they use to rank search results regualrly in order to remove spam. A page may go down in rankings if an external link to it was recently removed from a reputable page or if the page was found to contain hidden text.

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    Why are some of my keywords not listed?

    Some keywords, for instance 'web hosting' are more competitive than others. It is important to choose keywords that are specific to your business and contain more than one word to help differentiate your site from the millions of other sites that also contain that keyword.

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    Why is my site ranked highly in one engine but not in another?

    Each engine uses a different set of criteria to calculate your site's position relative to a search phrase.

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    What is 'stealth' or 'ghost page' promotion?

    Stealth promotion uses special programming techniques to serve one set of pages to the search engine indexing program, and another to normal users. This practice is considered as unacceptable practice by search engines and is, as such, a high risk strategy. Sites discovered using this technique are usually removed from the index altogether, occasionally being banned for life. Spokespeople from a number of top search engines have publicly stated that websites caught practising 'stealth' technology will be banned for life - most top search engines are actively involved in developing anti-stealth technology. For these critical reasons, The Web Clinic does not employ stealth technology - we are confident that our promotion techniques are thoroughly researched and proven to deliver top placements without compromising your sites long-term status within the search engines.

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    Why is it necessary to 'maintain' my campaign?

    In addition to building a campaign around keyword phrases, search engine promotion is an on-going neccessity as search engines are forever changing their ranking methods and refreshing their databases. Once a position has been obtained in an index it must be maintained and, wherever possible, improved.

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    My report says a page is showing in the top 20 for a keyword, but when I search that keyword my site is not at the position specified.

    The position of websites often fluctuates and a position that was accurate a week ago may not be accurate a week later. A simple way to overcome this is to simply search for your site in google with its main keyword whenever you need to access it and note its position each time to allow you to estimate an average positioning over time.

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