Natural Search Blog

Nouveau Meta Tags for SEO

Back in the earliest days of search optimization, meta tags were a great channel for placing keywords for the search engines to associate with your pages. A meta tag does just what it sounds like — they are the html tags built to hold metadata (or, “data describing the data”) about pages. In terms of SEO, the main meta tags people refer to are the Keywords and Description meta tags. Meta tags are not visible to endusers looking at the page, but the meta tag content would be collected by search engines and used to rank a page — it was really convenient if you wanted to pass synonyms, misspellings, and various term stems along with the specific keywords.

Classic Meta Tags - people used to pack keywords into metatags

Immediately after people realized that meta tags could allow a page to be found more relevant in the major search engines, unscrupulous people began abusing the tags by passing keywords that had little or nothing to do with the content of their sites, and the search engines began to reduce using that content for a keyword association ranking factor because it couldn’t be trusted. Eventually, search engines pretty well dropped using them for ranking altogether and newer search engines didn’t bother to use them at all, leading Danny Sullivan to declare the death of the metatags in 2002.

Fast forward to 2006, and the situation has changed yet again. Your meta tag content can once again directly affect your pages’ rankings in the SERPs!


Optimize your roof ads for Google Maps

Since SEMs and SEOs are trying to use every way possible to increase their site exposure and ad visibility in the search engines, I thought it would be a good time to provide some tips on how to properly and effectively optimize your rooftop ads to appear in Google Maps.

Now, Danny Sullivan claimed that logos on rooftops are not intended for Google Maps, but this assertion is no longer correct, since I heard a recent segment in the last week on NPR about a rooftop ad company which is specifically gearing their ads to appear on the satellite images.

An article on Wired about that same company, [7/14/08: link is now defunct], indicates that this may indeed be a viable new ad medium. For tips about how you can optimize for the rooftop media (which I will refer to as “SkySense Ads”), read on…

Need more traffic? Try Image Search Optimization

With all the focus on optimization of textual page content and near-obsessive concentration on text-oriented web search engine results pages (“SERPs”), most webmasters and SEOs neglect an area of their potential repertoire which could provide a lot of benefit to their site and business: image search optimization.

One aspect of effective optimization is to keep your eyes open for all the various avenues for referral traffic which can convert to a sale on your site. Depending upon the products or services you offer, it may be very valuable to consider the possibilities of optimizing for the Image Search utilities offered by the various search engines. Even if your site isn’t a product or services website, if you’re looking to increase organic referral traffic, optimizing for image search could work well for you. Read on and I’ll explain…

Top sites by PageRank score

For a very long time I was one of the elite few who knew how to get a list of the top 1000 web pages on the Internet sorted in order of Google’s PageRank importance score. Since this top secret little trick no longer works, I feel I can share it with you all now. 😉

The trick is this: doing a search for http in Google with your Google Preferences set to return 100 results per page used to supply you with the top 1000, at a 100 at a time. Boy that was handy!
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Free pass into password-protected content

Many sites that require registration or payment in order to access their premium content have realized that they can’t keep the search engine spiders (such as Googlebot and Yahoo Slurp) out of their password protected areas or they take a serious hit on their search engine traffic and visibility. Therefore, they let their search engine spiders in, but keep humans out (at least those who don’t have an account, of course). Smart humans can take advantage of the back doors the spiders get shown by simply going into Google or Yahoo and doing a search that is site-specific (using the site: query operator). Then, in the search results, click on the Cached link in the search listing of the page that you wish to read. No Cached link present? Then try clicking on the title of the search listing. You may get redirected to a password entry page, but in many cases you will get through to the content! This is because subscription sites often times let search engine users go just one page deep without requiring log-in. So, after reading that page, simply go back to the search results and click through again to read another page. This works on,,, and many others. Try it out. Enjoy!

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