SEO Tools, Toys, and Packages
— free tools to SEO-enhance your sites —
About SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
What Is SEO (Search Engine Optimization)?
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the art of constructing and promoting a web site so that it has its optimum opportunity to achieve its rightful place on the results lists served by search engines (such as Google, Yahoo, and MSN) to visitors who are searching for information relevant to that web site.
The term of art is SERP, usually taken to mean Search-Engine Response Placement; your SERPs are where, on the numbered lists of web pages that a search engine returns for a particular query (the term of art there is keyword phrase), the relevant pages of your site show up. Higher SERPs translate to more visitors coming to your site pages; if you are not on the first two or three results pages for a query--some say if not on the first page--your chances of getting visitors from it are much diminished.
SEO is no one thing: it is a combination of techniques, tools, and methods each based on an understanding of how search engines arrive at the results lists they deliver to searchers. This site provides some SEO tools that can directly help you SEO your sites, and some background information to help you better understand and use those tools, and do SEO in general.
Learning About SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
There are many search engines out there, but what are commonly called "The Big Three" are Google, Yahoo, and MSN, with--at the moment, anyway--Google far in the lead. The exact techniques each uses are proprietary, closely guarded secrets, but in late March of 2005, the often-murky world of SEO was struck by sunshine with the publication of a Google patent application that--while couched in the usual generalities of such documents--contained a wealth of information that is at least strongly suggestive of how Google (and to some extent, no doubt, the other engines) goes about its business.
Anyone seriously interested in SEO pretty much has to read that document from start to finish. Being in stilted language, it is not an easy read, but there is nothing there to daunt an ordinary mind. (But there is also out there a very nice, handy summary of the key points in the document from socengine.com.)
But, while there is rich source in that patent application for contemplation, in a practical sense--by which I mean ways in which it suggests things that we can do--it can be summarized quite briefly. Here is my summary of the those things:
When measuring "content" as used in the list above, some things are more important than others:
Though no one can know for sure the weights the search engines use for the things in the numbered list above, they are in the order that I think about right for significance (and I suspect that that significance trails off rather sharply after the first four or five).
This Site and SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
This site is here to help you with Items #3 and #4 from the list above; the rest is up to you. But there is a lot that can be done with those two points.
From the "5 most Critical Concepts" set forth in the summary linked above is:
I do not present myself as a major SEO expert. Of SEO, I can say what Will Rogers famously did: I only know what I read in the papers. For deep expertise, look to places like The SEO Guy (who has an SEO Forum), plus other SEO-related forums like the Digital Point Forums and SEO Chat Forums.
Nonetheless, if one does "read the papers", one necessarily acquires some knowledge. I share that knowledge with you on this site in a series (which I reckon will grow with time) of SEO Tips, which are really a rather comprehensive introduction to basic concepts of SEO. If you are new to SEO--or even if you are not--you might want to look through those SEO Tips. (From here on, I will assume that you are at least passingly familiar with SEO principles.)
More germane, this site has tools (and toys and packages) to help you SEO-enhance your sites. Note well that last phrase: to help you SEO-enhance your sites. The woods are full of toys to help you see how well you are (or are not) doing with your SEO efforts--PR Trackers, SERPs trackers, all sorts of such bric-a-brac; what we have here is something else. These toys are to directly help you modify your sites in ways to make them more "attractive" to search engines, so you can place better in query results and thus get more traffic to your site--the bottom line.
The SEO Tools, Toys, and Packages Available Here
(This package was formerly known as "Freebie"; the name was changed owing to the number of email spam filters that bounce messages with the word "freebie" in the subject line. Though now much augmented, the package is still basically the "Freebie" you may be acquainted with.)
As many have long believed, and as the Google document cited above certainly seems to confirm, two of the key SEO truths are:
But large counts of often-changing pages are much less helpful to a site if those many pages are not also relevant pages: pages reasonably related to the chief theme of the site.
So, as a webmaster, besides all the other SEO things you need to do to optimize your site for the search engines, you would like to be able to add a very large number of relevant pages that all change frequently--preferably at least daily--but that are little or no effort to maintain.
BookAdder is an SEO package that will, with only modest one-time customization effort, add tens of thousands of relevant, daily-changing, no-maintenance pages to any site--and you might even make a little income off it.
(BookAdder tacks onto your site an Amazon/Abebooks bookshop, where you select the topic that the titles will focus on and it fetches a new list of relevant titles for you every night. You can "tune" the topic phrase to assure the number of titles you want--and those added pages don't even exist physically to eat up server storage space, being "dynamic" pages created on the fly by PHP scripts.
In fact, BookAdder now really effectively adds six bookshops to your site--each with thousands of pages--because it effectively makes a separate "shop" for each of Amazon's six national divisions.
On this site's BookAdder page, you can read more about the package, and even examine all of its very extensive documentation.
Perhaps spot weather is not relevant to anything on your site. How about money? Would exchange rates for several currencies relative to some currency of your choice be of interest to your visitors?
Rates is another simple drop-in tool, one that shows daily currency-exchange rates (as reported by the International Monetary Fund). You can set any one IMF-listed currency (there are about four dozen) as the "base" and get standard and reverse conversion rates in your selection of any other IMF-listed currencies (and, of course, set background and text colors--and even show cute little flag images).
Providing pages with modular--SSI--freshness dropins will not change the date/time ("last modified") stamp of those pages. To let the searchbots know that your .shtml pages have fresh content, you need to update that date/time stamp, and if you have any nontrivial number of pages, you need an automated tool to accomplish the task--and this is that tool.
ReDate is a tool that will automatically, yes, re-date all your HTML (and HTM and SHTML) pages from all your sites--and you can even exclude particular directories if you have any that, for some reason, need to keep their "last-modified" dates as is.
As noted above, search engines love fresh content. It behooves you to be sure that every single page of every single site you maintain changes at least some content at least daily. One easy way to accomplish that is to use SSI (server-side includes) to drop onto each page some standard bit or thing that legitimately and usefully changes at least daily.
Weather is a simple drop-in tool that provides frequently updated weather data, including extended forecasts, that can be customized for any location in the world: put it on every site page you have on which weather is not irrelevant and turn that page into one that has continually fresh content.
Many browsers are engineered to be fault-tolerant to incorrectly written HTML in web pages--but are all searchbots so forgiving? For both searchbots and your visitors, it pays to be sure that all your pages are in 100% correct standard HTML--but the only way to be sure is to run each page through an independent validator, and doing that can get mighty tedious mighty fast.
Validate is a tool that will automatically submit all your HTML pages from all your sites to the the W3C validator and give you back web-paged, per-site reports of pages that do not validate, with each listing a click-on link to the validator's detailed report on that page--and you can even exclude particular directories on a per-site basis, so you don't waste time re-validating archival or test pages.
Reading Up on the Internet
Since you're looking at this page, you are interested in internet-related matters. The SEO Tools, Toys, and Packages bookshop is not only an operational demonstration of the BookAdder package, but a functioning bookshop where you can look over (and even--gasp!--buy, new or used) any of the several thousand books Amazon carries related to "the web".
In fact--as mentioned above--our bookshop is really six distinct bookshops whence you can find and buy books from any of Amazon's six national divisions:
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