More Video Resources From Search Engines

I have been busy at work recently so I do not have my next post in my series on the components of a website ready.  I will get the next post in that series up in the next couple weeks.  In the meantime, there were some very valuable posts from Google and Microsoft this past week that provide reinforcement of many of the concepts I write about and get asked about frequently.

Google’s Webmaster Central blog has produced a number of good basic instructional videos on topics such as discoverability, accessibility and ranking as well as Webmaster Central and other tools in this post.  These videos provide very short, easy to understand explanations of these topics and related information.  The Live Search Webmaster Center Blog also has posts on Webmaster Guidelines and Unraveling URLs and Demystifying Domains with information from presentations from the SMX East 2008 conference.

When you are just getting started with a website, I find these short, simple explanations right from the search engines helps reinforce an understanding of why administrators recommend certain methods.  This helps create the right expectations from new site owners as to how they will be discovered and ranked by the search engines.

Understanding Links

This week the Official Google Webmaster Blog had a series of posts on links.  If you haven’t subscribed to their blog feed yet, you are missing some great tutorial articles that are valuable for all knowledge levels.  One article each day provided an overview of three different link types and their role in Google’s (and all search engines) indexing and search results.

Internal Links

The key takeaway on internal links is twofold: maintain a shallow link hierarchy so pages can be reached with as few of clicks as possible and use descriptive anchor text.  In addition to to a link architecture that allows pages to be accessed quickly, you also need to make sure your internal links are visible to search engines.  Some sites use javascript or flash for navigation menus which sometimes make the navigation links invisible to search engines (and unaccessible to some visitors).  I recommend small site owners avoid these methods and use CSS hover methods to hide and display menu sections.

External Links

External links are often overlooked by site owners.  They focus on their internal link structure and incoming links instead.  External links are important as proof of a human behind a site.  Humans link to related content which provide background, commentary or opinions on topics they are discussing.  Visitors give more credibility and are more likely to follow sites which have links to back up their opinions or provide background information.  Linking to others in an non-obligation way also encourages others to link to content on your site they enjoy, providing great incoming links.

Incoming Links

The article on inbound links is worthy of a read.  A quick explanation of how inbound links affects ranking is followed by tips on getting inbound links.  The most important thing to remember is you will likely need to cultivate relationships to attract links.  This means writing quality content, being passionate about your site and making your site known in your niche market.  Sometimes this means creating the online industry for your niche as the members of it are not web-savy.  This may mean encouraging members of a community or industry to start their own websites, blog and subscribe to feeds.  Once a small group of people start organizing an online community this way, starting conversations and linking to each other the community will be more discoverable and more likely to grow.

Your Location: The Server Space

After acquiring a domain name, an address for a site, the next thing needed is space to host it. This article will focus on hosting a site at a third party’s location or hosting provider.

The server space is akin to a physical location to place a business. Most commonly, with small to medium websites, space is leased from a third party. There are three different types of hosting packages to fit the size and complexity of the site being deployed. Sites can easily migrate from one type to another as they grow, although the management of the server increases with upgrades as well.

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