Early search engines ranked pages based on page content, keyword saturation, formatting and based on the content of metadata tags. Special attention was paid to bold text, keywords and summaries in the head of the HTML document.
Of course, webmasters figured this out years ago. Many webmasters use to pack their pages with irrelevant material to trick the search engines into giving them a high ranking. Web pages containing a single word repeated 10,000 times, but displayed white on a white background so the user would not see it and the search engine would, were common! This scenario caused the search engines to change their algorithms. These days there is a lot less to be gained by setting keyword and summary metadata in your pages. As you will notice some top sites in your "keyword" group may not even have meta data. This does not mean you should not do your meta tags. They still matter and help more in some engines then others and of course every edge helps. If your page does not have the keyword the user is searching for, it will likely not show up in the search results at all.
Things obviously changed for the better when Google arrived. Google ranks among other things, by how frequently other sites link to you, the relevance of those sites to yours, the amount of keyword being searched displayed on the site that links to yours, and the quality of the link to your site. This being said, one very important factor you should consider when purchasing or requesting link exchanges is "the quality and relevance" of the site that is linking to your site.
This is obviously a laborious and time consuming prospect but it is time well spent. For those who do "Pay Per Click" advertising on the major search engines, you know, a natural high ranking search term will generate for less expensive (just labor and time) traffic, equally as relevant and more importantly far more traffic with UNLIMITED TRAFFIC. Unlike a Pay Per Click campaign.
In conclusion, pick the sites you buy or exchange text links on carefully and take the time to garner quality links to your site, it is the gift that keeps the traffic coming in!
Note: An important additional consideration should be "direct links". "Direct links" link directly to your site as opposed to sending users to a cg-bin or a redirect URL before forwarding them to your site.
Hello Cat_Man, I definitely agree, relevant content is the primary starting point! The preceding tip is most helpful to sites that have content that a lot of content is available online and you need more of an edge to bump out a simlair site with related and equal or close to the same amount of content. THIS BEING SAID, CONTENT IS CERTAINLY KING!
It seems to me from my experience that Google LOVES relevant content. Their crawlers are smart enough to tell between a bunch of garbage words and real content. They also search for and will black list you if you hide text by making the font color the same or almost the same as the background. A really great way to get listed is to simply have good quality content. Of course you still got to find a way to get the word out and get quality links to your site so that your pagerank will go up. I have also heard that some "bad neighborhoods" or link exchange type sites or "web ring" type sites can actually HURT your rating if you participate in them, so you really do need to be careful who you exchange links with. Thanks for the input. Anyone else have any good tips about how to increase traffic to your site for cheap or free?
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