"things to Increase Your Ranking in Search Engines" ©WTGR 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
(actually there are about 15+  things, but the original article listed 10 -  15 are described herein)
- improving your ranking
- before reading this unit, read  witiger.com/ecommerce/searchengineissues.htm
see also witiger.com/ecommerce/searchengineranking-META-TAGS.htm
and  witiger.com/ecommerce/searchengineranking-CONTENT.htm
and witiger.com/ecommerce/searchengineranking-LINKS.htm
and  witiger.com/ecommerce/searchengineranking-SPIDERS.htm 
last updated 2016 May 9
http://www.witiger.com/ecommerce/bookCurrentIsssues2ndEd.htm this unit is in the text
"Current Issues in Marketing in the Information Age, 2nd. Edition"
on page
123 - 152
. This page used in the following courses taught by Prof. Richardson
CCT 322
FSM 620
MRK 410, MRK 610, MRK 619
MRK 713
BCS 555
TCS 301
Many companies that have had a web site up and running for a while, become very enthusiastic about making sure they rank high in the leading Search Engines. While ranking high can lead to hits, which may lead to business, let us not forget that ranking high in a Search Engine is only one part of a sub-set of the Promotional Mix. As a reminder, the Promotional Mix is a sub-set of the basic 4P's of marketing
  • Product
  • Price
  • Promotion
  • Place
The Promotional Mix is the mix of what your company does to promote itself within the basic categories of
  • Advertising
    • paid advertising
    • free publicity
  • Sales Promotion
  • Personal Selling
Remember that improving your ranking in a Search Engine comes under the heading of publicity (and paid advertising if you also use "paid submission") - there are three other things you should continue doing to promote your company.

In 2013, with the advances in GPS accuracy and GPS technology increasingly incorporated into Smartphones and other mobile devices, Search Engine results are increasingly "locally oriented" which means ranking high in a Search Engine (keeping in mind where the potential customer is standing using their blackberry) is also a function of the "P" for "Place" - so this means your SEO success (and ability to convert to a click through) is not just your page rank, but also from "where" the customer is doing their search.


4 Reasons why 
this is important
Before we begin with "10 things you can do to increase the chance a Search Engine will rank your web site higher ", let us first consider "4 reasons why you need to understand why ranking in a Search Engine is important".

Firstly, people no longer type in www.hotel.com expecting to get a hotel, they know they will get a travel industry portal. We understand now that people look for information using a search engine instead of typing in various URLs by chance. 

Secondly, the content on the Web (text, images and audio) is being created, and uploaded at a rate faster than the ability of the search engines to index this data, - as a consequence, it is getting more and more difficult to be “found” in a larger and larger mass of un-indexed and un-connected pages. If you don't rank well in a search engine, your site may not be found by searchers.

Since 2009, with the rapid growth of Social Media sites being accessed by Smartphones and other mobile devices, the volume of web based content has grown at an even faster pace making it more and more difficult for search engines to keep pace.
Thirdly, people are becoming impatient using search engines and are discouraged when they see X00,000 returns on the three words they typed in. In order for you to increase the chance of the viewer clicking on your site, you want to be in the top 2 or 3 pages because most people will not take the time to scroll further than that.
Fourthly, B2B and B2C customers are indeed using Search Engines to find vendors and from the results of these searches they are buying. The “Canadian Inter@ctive Reid Report”, produced by Ipsos-Reid,  www.witiger.com/ecommerce/Ipsosreid.htm  reveals that a significant percentage of Canadians research online before making a purchase decision. 43% of active internet users researched online the purchase of a consumer electronics product before making the purchase; 36% air travel, and 27% an automobile. The conclusion one draws from so many people using the web to research a purchase is that one should make sure your offering can be positioned within the information these people are accessing so you can have a chance to be the successful seller; the best way to be in that position is for your site to rank high in the key words that are being used in a search which fits the words describing your offering.
http://www.thestar.com/business/2012/01/11/twitter_lashes_out_at_google_search_changes.html Jan 2012
T. Richardson interviewed about Google's move to make searches more "personalized"

Toronto Star's Emily Jackson writes
"Internet search giant Google is now sorting through photos and posts from its social network Google+ in its quest to provide the best search results...The move – widely seen as a tactic to compete with Facebook’s social supremacy ..."

S.E.O. goes local

Jackson quoted Richardson saying
“Google understands that ranking number one in the world for hardware flooring doesn’t matter – it really has to have a much more local context, friends’ comments or friends’ opinions,” said Tim Richardson, ecommerce professor at the University of Toronto."

It doesn't matter if you rank # 1 in the world for hardwood flooring, this is a D.I.Y. thing that is decided by people locally. 

All people want to know is what building centre can they drive to within 30 minutes to load up their SUV with the wood so they can get home soon, finish their kitchen renovation. Their partner will be happy, and they can get back to watching the hockey game and see the Leafs lose again.

23 million results

local - 1 million results

Dev Basu's March 2016 SEO lecture to CCT 322 at University of Toronto, Mississauga Campus
Dev Basu's March 2011 SEO lecture to CCT 322 at University of Toronto, Mississauga Campus

As a little bit of motivation for my current students, I insisted Dev let me take a pic of him with his new BMW, which is , in a way, some proof of his success in SEO as a UofT grad.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UpVld7LF0jQ video of a conversation between Prof. Tim Richardson and (now 2012) former USTC student Dev Basu about SEO 2012
Part 1 covers
  • SMO Social Media Optimization
  • brand presence on social media networks
  • Google+
  • local search
  • GPS
  • Google Places
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZ1Ac9pfxzU SEO 2012 Richardson / Basu
Part 2 covers
  • Geo-location, latitude, longitude
  • 4-square, Facebook check-in
  • Google map maker
  • SEO things in 2012 - build a good user experience
  • good unique compelling content
  • syndicate content to your Facebook fan page
  • YouTube optimization
http://www.witiger.com/powerpoints/searchengines/SEO-by-Dev-Basu-2010-Nov-for-MGTD06.pdf Dev Basu's 2010 SEO presentation to UTSC
- a PowerPoint PDF'd
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jibSpHsdHf8 video of a conversation between Prof. Tim Richardson and USTC student Dev Basu about SEO 2009

Part 1 covers

  • Proactively Submit the URL to a Search Engine
  • Title: the title of the page
  • Paid Submission
  • Content
    • text / words
    • images
    • audio
    • Meta Description Tags and 
    • Meta Key Word Tags
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g25l1LNgQwg SEO 2009 Part 2 covers
  • Links 
    • Links In, Links Out, Two way links
    • Link Exchanges and Link Reciprocity
  • Time, Frequency of updating
  • Traffic
  • Click Popularity
  • Understanding the Algorithm
  • UPC product code numbers
  • Blogs
  • Checking your index coverage
  • WAP Enabled / G3
  • Analytical tools such as Google analytics
http://www.witiger.com/powerpoints/searchengines/ click on the screen capture to obtain the PDF version of the .PPT that USTC student Dev Basu used in his Guest Lecture to the UTM class (CCT322 and MGD415) in March 2009

The information in this powerpoint would be useful for students at

  • UTM  in courses 
    • CCT322
    • MGD415
  • UTSC in course 
    • MGTD06
  • Seneca College in courses
    • BCS555
    • MRK619
This web page has audio clips - just click on the icon (like the one to the left) and you can hear Prof. Richardson's voice adding additional information to topics on the page. turn on your speakers to hear audio clips
http://www.witiger.com/ecommerce/articleGoogle2008Feb8th.jpg During the 2nd week of February 2008, Richardson was interviewed by Matt Hartley of the Globe & Mail about Search Engine Google for an article titled "Google's celebrity, not technology, keeps it No. 1". Richardson explained why Google ranks as the No. 1 Search Engine and also provided some tips as to how websites are ranked.  witiger.com/ecommerce/articleGoogle2008Feb8th.jpg

In the article, the main points made by Richardson are discussed on the page

On this page 
the relevant material is Richardson's comments about "How Sites are Ranked"

Richardson told Hartley that "Companies like Google, Microsoft and Yahoo closely guard the secrets of their search engine algorithms; however, there are some elements that are widely known to play a role in determining a site's ranking in any keyword search."

In the article by Hartley, Richardson was quoted commenting about

  • Identification and labels: 

  • (the title, and URL)
  • Spiders
  • Content
In November 2003 Prof. Richardson had his article "10 things to increase you ranking in Search Engines"
published in the December 2003 issue of Canadian Business magazine. Richardson retained the copyright to the article.
CB titled the article
"Search-engine savvy: 10 tips on how to get your website noticed NOW"
In November 2007 - 4 years after the initial article was written, it was considered that some things need to be updated.
Prof. Richardson welcomed updates and contributions from students at Seneca College and University of Toronto and it happened that one UTSC student, Dev Basu knew quite a bit about SEO; therefore, in the 2nd week of November 2007 Dev's updated comments were woven in to the content below.

Dev's huge site is  dailymoolah.com

The following list has un-numbered bullets, instead of numbering – why? Because it is useful to understand that few of these points are more valuable than the other, but in combination they can produce results. Focusing on improving your site by addressing one or two of these points might not produce measurable results, but, trying to co-operatively address four or five of these points will improve your ranking.
  o Proactively Submit the URL to a Search Engine
   o Title: the title of the page
   o Paid Submission
   o Content
    o text / words
    o images
    o audio
    o Meta Description Tags and 
    o Meta Key Word Tags
  o Links 
      o Links In
      o Links Out
      o Two way links
      o Link Exchanges and Link Reciprocity
  o Time
   o Frequency of updating
   o Traffic
   o Click Popularity
   o Understanding the Algorithm
   o UPC product code numbers
   o Blogs
   o Checking your index coverage
   o WAP Enabled 
   o Analytical tools such as Google analytics
Submit your URL Proactively Submit the URL to a Search Engine
URL means Universal Resource Locator, it is the line in the browser window that begins “http://www……”.The business model for many Search Engines is similar to the Advertising based model that periodicals use – great content to attract the viewer/reader and sell that demographic to advertisers. Therefore Search Engines will obviously allow content producers to submit a URL since it goes towards increasing the entire collection of indexed pages and further contributes to the value of the collection which in turn attracts users and leads to having a stronger demographic to sell to advertisers. While this logic may seem obvious the leading Search Engines do not necessarily make it easy to submit a URL and therefore there are a number of consulting entities that facilitate submissions for fees. 
  • Submit the URL 
    • most Search Engines invite submissions so they can increase the size of their indexed database, which in turn makes them a more valuable Search Engine, which in turn allows them to charge more for advertising
    • Search Engines make money like newspapers - the greater their "readership", the greater rate they can charge for advertising, and make money
    • although many Search Engines will accept money for placing higher in the listings, most all Search Engines will accept a basic submission for free
Submit your URL Proactively Submit the URL to a Search Engine

For a small company, proactively submitting the URL, of several of your website pages, is a relatively easy process. The process usually begins with simply clicking on “submit URL” which can be found in one form or another on the right-hand side of the main page of the more popular Search Engines. Submitting your own URL is a little like writing your own story of how the Leafs game was and having it posted on the Toronto Star website along with hundreds of other fans’ postings. Submitting individual URLs to multiple Search Engines can be very time consuming so in a Darwinian way there has evolved some sites where you can click through a series of steps describing a particular web page and have that URL submitted to a number of sites simultaneously. Some sites provide multiple submission services for a fee, others do it for free based on the advertising they draw for the service.

Submit your URL Proactively Submit the URL to a Search Engine

To follow the steps for submitting a site, it is best to start from the "directory" section of Yahoo.

If you click on the screen capture above you will see a typical display of a Yahoo category. This particular one is for Museums. On the far right of the screen you will see the words "suggest a link". If you click there it will take you in to a menu from which you can suggest  site to add in to the directory of http://dir.yahoo.com/Society_and_Culture/Museums_and_Exhibits/
If your site has content that legitimately belongs in this sub-category then Yahoo will add your URL to their list.

On a cautionary note, be suspicious of sites that claim to mass-submit your URL to many dozens or hundreds of Search Engines – there are less than 10 major Search Engines you care about being found in, the rest are highly specific to particular industry sectors and probably not relevant to your business.

Submit your URL


UTSC student, and SEO "student" Dev Basu adds
"While I used to do this [proactively submitting the URL] early on in my career, I soon found a better tactic that will get you indexed a lot faster. Even if you have a brand new site, all you need to do is get a respected site (Google Page Rank 4+, ideally PR 6) to link to you. While this might seem difficult, this is surprisingly easy to do and can be achieved using a variety of methods – For example, many blogs have the ‘no nofollow’ attribute for their comments section. All one would need to do is to make a comment, leaving behind their website url and Google would index the site within 24 hours guaranteed."
Dev's suggestion is sort of like the recommendation for wannabe celebrities - one way to get famous is hang around with famous people
- in a similar way, one way to make sure you get listed is to have your URL listed on well known sites

things to improve your ranking in a search engine

A page's title is often confused with its name. To clear things up, the page name is equivalent to the file name -- i.e., abcdefg.htm -- whereas the page title is the word or words that show up in a browser's title bar. The page title should be crafted carefully. AltaVista suggests it is what search engine users see first when they scan a list of query results, and Inktomi's Buchheim notes that it is not enough to rank high in a search engine. "You also have to ... be enticing enough to click." Indeed, enticement to click is based on both an attractively worded title and the accompanying description, which comes from the META description tags
    • Some Search Engines pay particular attention to the title of the page and use the words in the title to show up in the "found" line in the results of a search
    • Having a well crafted title that is not too short, but not annoyingly long, is a challenge
    • for people that do not know HTML, nor how a page is actually constructed, it is important to understand that the "title" of the page is not the name of the "file" of the page document.
      • example
        • file name: eastbridges.htm
        • title: Bridges on the eastern Trent-Severn Waterway
Paid Submission
While cost conscious firms may shy away from the cost of Paid Submission services such as Paid Inclusion, there are valid reasons to make this investment. Dennis Buchheim, director of Paid Inclusion at Yahoo!’s head office in Sunnyvale California, told witiger that paid inclusion not only helps provide consumers with more relevant results, it also helps businesses ensure their presence in algorithmic search results. The service of paid inclusion allows the client to receive reports which contain information such as the particular words used by searchers who found your site and clicked on it. Knowing such information is valuable since it allows the owners of a site to make further adjustments and refinements to rank even higher in a competitive environment. Buchheim says that by enabling businesses to analyze key reporting metrics and to measure the quality of their metadata, businesses can optimize ROI and increase conversion rates.
(parts of the interview that Prof. Richardson had with Dennis Buchheim were carried in the Dec 2003 issue of Canadian Business magazine)
  • Paid Submission
    • sometimes popular Search Engines like Yahoo invite companies to pay extra for submitting in the expectation that they will then rank higher than other businesses in the same topic
    • there is some speculation as to whether paid submission actually works but some Search Engines like Yahoo put these "Sponsor Matches" above the list of "Web Site Matches" so depending on your situation, it might be an alternative if you are not confident of being able to affect the other 9 points on this list.
permission to quote Dennis Buchheim,director of Paid Inclusion at Yahoo!’s head office in Sunnyvale California was given by Mr. Bucheim in phone calls and emails in October 2003. This was an interview conducted directly by Prof. Richardson. Also included in permissions was Colleen Finnegan of Yahoo's office in Toronto. Copies of permission emails are kept on file in the permissions binder.
Paid Submission Paid Submission

Paddy Kamen in the Toronto Star 2001 July 5th
Kamen explains that "There are many ways in which search engines garner revenue from Web site  owners hungry for good listings. While advertising is the largest revenue source for most search engines, other revenue generators include.."

  • paid submission, 
  • paid inclusion, 
  • paid placement and 
  • content deals
Paid Submission "Paid Submission: Rather than wait for the search engines to find his or her site, the Web site owner pays to have the site evaluated. There is usually no guarantee of a listing with paid submission."

"Paid Inclusion: Normally a search engine will list only the home page of a Web site. With paid inclusion, the engine will delve more deeply into a site and list other pages in additional categories. This is also referred to as a "deep" listing and likely leads to more traffic to the site in question."

"Paid Placement: This is a simple pay-for-position arrangement. Some of the links are placed at the top of the list and, in their case, referred to as "featured listings". (According to AltaVista public  relations spokesperson Kristi Kaspar, "featured listings" will soon be referred to  as "sponsored listings.")"

"Content Deals: Ever wonder why a Barnes & Noble window always comes up with book titles on just the subject you're searching under when you're in  the Yahoo search engine? That's a content deal. As another example go to Lycos and search under "depression". You'll see "read about depression" under the Popular Sites heading. The link takes you to WebMD's content."

permission to quote from the Toronto Star given  by  the writer Paddy Kamen, (2001 and 2004) and by Joanne MacDonald (TORSTAR SYNDICATE SALES) in emails in 2004. Copies of emails kept on file in the permissions binder.

.. .

The longer your site has been up, the higher it will rank competitively due to two reasons

1. Search Engine software is having a hard time categorizing and indexing all the new web pages being built each day. The longer your site is up, the greater chance you will have been found by a search engine.

2. The longer your site has been up, the more chances that other sites will find content there that is of value, and link to it, or refer to it - which increases your link value, and increases your site ranking.

This Omega DeVille Chrono, shown above, is owned by Keith Downing who is a regular participant in the Timezone.com chat and a recognized watch expert
things to improve your ranking in a search engine


Frequency of Updating
  • Search Engines like to rank sites that are current and provide valuable information that has been recently updated
  • Making frequent changes to your page and the content - compared to other sites who don't -  will give you a higher rank
things to improve your ranking in a search engine


  • Some Search Engine algorithms are structured to calculate a value for the hit a site receives
  • this means that if a site gets a lot of hits, it will be considered valuable, and rank high in a Search Engine - this can be logically a bit intimidating because in essence it is saying "the best way to be popular is to be popular"
  • so the question is raised, how to you get traffic in the first place
  • links in are one of the ways you can get hits on the site without having to rank in a Search Engine at all - concentrating on obtaining links in from other sites will ensure that at least your page is hit - however these might not be "sticky" hits - meaning hits from people that will stay long on the site and click around
things to improve your ranking in a search engine


Click Popularity
This is like saying "If your beautiful, people will say you are beautiful" - which means if you get a lot of clicks on your, that will help you get more clicks - duh ??
  • Richard Zwicky explains "To date, most webmasters and search engine marketers have ignored or overlooked the importance of traffic as part of a search engine algorithm, and thus, not taken it into consideration as part of their search engine optimization strategy. However, that might soon change as search engines explore new methods to improve their search result offerings. Teoma and Alexa already employ traffic as a factor in the presentation of their search results."
  • "Click popularity is calculated by measuring the number of clicks each web site receives from a search engine's results page. The theory is that the more often the search result is clicked, the more popular the web site must be."

  •  www.metamend.com/search-engine-feedback-algorithm.html
  • Zwicky adds "Click popularity sorting algorithms track how many users click on a link and stickiness measurement calculates how long they stay at a website. "
permission to quote from metamend.com given by Robert McCourty in email 2004 March 11th


Tardip G. in BCS 555 in November 2005 send in an interesting email about click fraud
Tardip said
"Hey sir....after listening about fraud occuring on the internet, I decided to look a little further on my own.  I searched "internet fraud india" in Google to see what kind of online fraud was happening in India.  There were some interesting aritcles, but one that caught my attention did not focus on India alone, but  addressed the issue of Click fraud as a global issue on the internet.  The article foucusing on the US and how Google is affected by this fraud.  It also reveals how click fraud is either automated or done manually (by humans).  If people do not use online robots, "bots", they resort to employing low cost workers  from China, India or other counrties to click on ads, and text links. It's an interesting article."

Tardip is referring to a situation where companies pay people to sit at a computer connected to the web, and have them repeatedly click on a link - this repeated clicking will be registered such that Google's software will then give a higher score to that link and rank the content higher. This is being done by companies selling highly competitive products online where such activities can make a difference in the ability to rank high, and be found, and make a sale online.



The article found by Tardip was at 
on the CNET news site

Stefanie Olsen, the author, explains
"Click fraud is perpetrated in both automated and human ways. The most common method is the use of online robots, or "bots," programmed to click on advertisers' links that are displayed on Web sites or listed in search queries. A growing alternative employs low-cost workers who are hired in China, India and other countries to click on text links and other ads. A third form of fraud takes place when employees of companies click on rivals' ads to deplete their marketing budgets and skew search results."
If you click on a rivals banner ads, the company will have to pay a fee for the click through, but because you are not buying anything, it is a waste. If you do this at a high enough rate, you can cause companies to pay very large amounts for click throughs that do NOT result in sales, and this can be a wasteful use of marketing promotions money.

things to improve your ranking in a search engine


Search Engine Algorithms

"The search engine algorithm is a complex mathematical formula used by the search engines which looks at key elements concerning a Web page (head tags, word density, word priority, links to the page and other factors) to rank any given Web page within the search results for a given query. What is important to understand is that every search engine has a unique algorithm and that these algorithms are constantly being reviewed and modified by the search engines to help prevent search engine spammers from getting listed and to ensure that the most important pages get ranked first. So a number one listing in Lycos doesn’t guarantee a number one listing in Google or any other search engine."

    • Alan K'necht of www.knechtology.com/K'necht is a Toronto based Search Engine Positioning & Web Design Consultant
things to improve your ranking in a search engine

R  U 

Checking how you place in the Search Engine Algorithms

You can't rank in a Search Engine if your pages aren't even indexed. Meaning people can't find your book in the library, if the librarian hasn't put it on the shelves.

One of the most obvious things you want to do to check to see how will you are indexed in a Search Engine - meaning check to see how many of the pages on your site, are indexed in the files collected by the various Search Engines.

You can do this checking quite simply

go to Google
for, in the little window for typing in search words, type in
"site:yourdomain.com yourdomain.com"

type in "domain:www.yourdomain.com"

type in "site:yourdomain.com or domain:yourdomain.com"

things to improve your ranking in a search engine

WAP Enabled

In 2005, and more so in 2006, people are using their cell phones to search the web. Having a web page thatis "friendly" to WAP enabled cell phone users could give a company a competitive advantage at a time (early 2006) when this is just "coming out" and early adopters may profit.

Since 2002 and 2003 people have used cell phones to look at web pages. This was not very exciting because the pages took a long time to load and the processing power of a cellphone cannot compete with a laptop computer.

Actually searching the web with a search engine did not become popular until Google created capabilities to allow cell phone users to search listings that were WAP enabled.
Google allows cell phone used to use Google Local on their phone using  XHTML
see  http://www.google.com/mobile/loc_search.html

Why is XHTML important?
As Kevin Ryan explained, "Early WAP doesn't work with HTTP, so they can't read HTML, so we have to wait for devices to be equipped with WAP 2.0 since they can only read WML or xHTML."

"WAP is an acronym that stands for Wireless Access Protocol, which is (on a very basic level) the technology that a cellular phone uses to connect to the internet. There are several WAP browsers."

WAP requires cellular airtime. Customers using WAP will be charged, in minutes of time spent on the wireless web, for data transfer on their phone bill. Therefore if you want people to look at the content on your page, make it short and to the point so that do not get ticked off about the air time they are using and cut the connection.
AOL Launched a service in Dec 2005  that "...give users easy access to the AOL Search, Pinpoint Shopping and AOL Yellow Pages services.  Now available via mobile browser at http://mobile.aolsearch.com, the AOL Mobile Search Services let users search the Web, comparison shop for products and access local listings from their mobile phones, smartphones and PDAs...."

You can also search Google from your Cell Phone using SMS by text messaging
One must send all your google SMS messages to 46645 (this corresponds to GOOGL on your phone.)

Companies that sell physical products that contain product information on the packing, such as UPC codes, should have those UPC code numbers on the web pages on your site. So when some people search with the UPC code number, your page describing the product can be found.
Searching with UPC code numbers has become popular in 2005, 2006 for people who want to be taken directly to the manufacturer's site instead of dealing with misc. search returns that are unrelated.
In a normal search, you type in the name of a product and you will receive returns listing all webpages that contain that word - this can be useless if the word is too general and not specific - but numbers are highly specific and the longer the number, the more likely the search returns will be small, making it easier to scroll through the results.

if you search Google with the words
"digitial camera" you get 41 million returns in Feb 2006 - too many to scroll through

if you search Google with the words
"stylecam blink II digital camera" you still get a large response, 42,000 returns

if you search Google with the UPC number for the stylecam blink II digital camera
"815251000743" - you get 38 responses and 38 is a reasonably small number to look through

(Web Logs)
student Sergey P., in MRK410 Feb 2006, is involved in doing SEO for companies and he suggested that we should have an entry on this page to discuss how adding a Blog to your site can increase your ranking as Blogs have become very popular in late 2005 and early 2006.
student Bilal J. in CCT 322 at UTM in March 2006 noted Pechersy's comments and also emailed Prof. Richardson with a long contribution based on his (Jaffery's) personal experience with SEO and blogs.
Bilal said

Hi Sir,

I wanted to share some useful information on Blogs and their impact on search engine rankings.  I have some experience working as a Search Engine Optimizer for some clients and as online Marketing Coordinator for few companies. I have learned that Blogs have a huge impact on improving page-rank on search engines.

Google puts a big emphasis on links from blogs. Their reasoning is based on the fact that if people are talking about your 'site' or 'service', then it must be good and worthy of being in a search engine.  Blogs are also considered important because the content is updated more frequently than a typical website.  There is a real person behind the blog and visitors are always interacting with the content as well by responding via comments, track backs and links.

Google's emphasis is on 'real' content that serves some purpose to the visitor as opposed to commericalization of the content.

(Web Logs)

RSS feeds

Bilal continues

Most of the Blogs also feature RSS feeds that can be also embedded in other websites. The content is updated automatically all over the web when the main website is updated. For example, a portal that I have designed, (www.desivibe.ca), we increased our page ranking and even traffic by including live RSS feeds for the visitors. It allows content to be syndicated on people's blogs, personal pages ( google.com/ig, my.yahoo.com) and even dedicated RSS readers.

For eg, http://www.level4.ca/~desivibe/index2.php?option=com_rss&feed=RSS2.0&no_html=1 offers RSS 2.0 feeds from our portal for anyone who is interested in keeping up with the articles posted on LIVE basis. The real future of the world wide web is in the live linked content that puts emphasis on content vs commericalization.

There is also a great site on SEO and Blogs, http://www.seochat.com/c/a/Search-Engine-Optimization-Help/Blogs-and-Search-Engine-Optimization/ .

Notice how they are using descriptive URLs to boost keyword ranking on Google and Yahoo. I have implemented the same strategy on my upcoming commerce site for Satellite Hardware ( http://www.FTA4Cheap.com) as well and have noticed a positive impact on the Page Rank as well. I hope this at least steers someone interessted in SEO in the right direction.

Regards,  Bilal J www.bilal.ca

(Web Logs)


UTSC student Dev says

" I agree wholeheartedly with Bilal from your UTM class regarding the SEO benefits of blogs. I’ve worked with clients such as Discovery Channel, HMV, BelAirDirect and Canadian Management Centre and all have benefited from the inherent SEO infrastructure that can be leveraged through a blog."

"the free blogging platform Wordpress offers a versatile and robust architecture that is ideal for SEO. Key benefits of blogs include, customizable content structuring systems, blog pinging services, RSS feed syndication. I currently have around 13000 unique visits and 30,000 pageviews per month with 125+ RSS subscribers on my blog – www.dailymoolah.com"

(Web Logs)


UTM student Bilal emailed in Sept 2008 to say
" I ended up working as the Web Marketing Manager for IBM and it couldn't been without your support!"
(Web Logs)


UTM student Maciej (Majic) D. emailed in Jan 2011 to say
" I ended up working as the Web Marketing Manager for IBM and it couldn't been without your support!"

I've gone through the SEO section and noticed the sub-section on blogs. I felt that an adequate explanation of trackbacks/pingbacks was missing.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks are a powerful link building feature available by default in popular blogging platforms such as WordPress. A pingback occurs when an author publishes an article which contains a link to another post, typically on a external blog. The 'other' blog is automatically notified of this link (pingback), and if the admin/author/editor approves it, a linkback is added to the page which is being linked to. Typically, this link appears above, or below user comments, and is treated as a response to the post, known as a trackback. Keeping in mind that external links to your page(s) increase PageRank on Google (and other search engines), writing interesting and useful content, as well as building relationships with other bloggers can significantly boost PageRank through the use of this simple, yet powerful feature."

The people at Google obviously know a lot of site builders want to rank high in Google. They know that a lot of people claim to have tricks and tips about how to rank high in Google so dispell some myths and provide some basic common sense help, Google has put a page on their site to help people understand what Google does in order to rank a page for listing.




Update March 2006
Knowing that a lot of site builders want to rank high in Google, has resulted in Google creating products and services to facilitate this.
In March 2006, student Igor M. at UTM (University of Toronto at Misssissauga) in CCT 322 emailed to talk about Google analytics - a tool he has been using.

Igor also served as Advertising Director, Erindale College Student Union - he can be found at igormazic.com

Igor said
Hello Prof. Richardson,

Last night in CCT 322 you mentioned how analytics tools for monitoring website traffic, and visitor trends, could prove to be a great asset when trying to optimize your search engine results. Normally such services come at an additional cost from either your hosting service or could be purchased as software. However, about a year ago [in 2005] Google acquired California based Web Analytics and made its services free for general
public use under the name: Google Analytics www.google.com/analytics/. The service is an excellent tool that among monitoring the general traffic flow and the geographic information of your visitors, also measures the success of your online marketing
initiatives (via data on the pay-per-click AdWorlds model).  Whether you just want to see what part of the world your visitors are from, or need to make important decisions regarding your marketing strategies, Google Analytics is an excellent tool that can do all of this for free.

Cheers, Igor M.



Attached is a screenshot of the activity on my Google Analytics account
for igormazic.com over last 5 months. -  Igor Mazic
http://www.witiger.com/ecommerce/igormazicanalytics.jpg students are invited to click  and see the metrics provided for Igor's site so you can have some idea of the information available with this service.
Removing your URL
The preceeding material on this page deals with doing things to cause Google and other Search Engines to find, and rank your pages higher.

What if you want a page taken out?

<META NAME="Googlebot" CONTENT="nofollow">
Only applies in a proactive sense to stop a page being listed in the first place, what do you do to take a listed page out?
Gordon L., a student in MGD415 at the University of Toronto in Feb 2008, sent an emai in which he discussed this quandry and how to deal with it. Gordon also found a short video on Google's site that explains what to do.

Gordon said
"... from the same lecture, you have taught us the meta-tags "nofollow" to stop search engine from "discovering" your page. Well, I have stumbled upon this video of Matt Cutts, who works for Google's quality group that specialized in SEO issues.

From the video, he showed different methods of removing your URL from Google (and other search engine) aside from "nofollow" – which he explained in detail and also show a flaw in it. There are others he recommended more over "nofollow"! Hope this interests you!"


There are lots of people that give advice about ranking in Search Engines - some entice you to look at some simple common sense free info, and others encourage you to subscribe to a service.


"Expert" advice on improving your ranking
http://www.drnunley.com/ARTCL46.htm site by Dr. Kevin Nunley

"Forget about those services that promise to list you on thousands of search engines. There are only three search engines that really count. Because a number of the majors use the same database, you can register on one and show up on several of them."

an excellent article with some practical advice

Here is an example of three good tips that Dr. Nunley provides

1. "Don't waste time trying to get on Yahoo," says Jerry West, search  engine expert with NetGateway. "Instead, submit your site to HotBot.com." Both use the Inktomi database. A listing on HotBot  virtually guarantees a showing on Yahoo.

2. Recently AltaVista surged in user popularity. It ranks as one of the best places to have your site listed. Alta Vista rotates visitors through  four databases. If you don't see your site listed, try again in 15 minutes when the next database will be on display. Register with Alta Vista weekly to get your site listed in all four databases.

3. You will also want to submit your web address to Excite, perennially one of the most used engines. Like HotBot and Alta Vista, Excite spiders through your site in a matter of seconds. Your listing can show  up within a few days.
 permission to link / quote given by Kevin Nunley in email Dec 2004. Copies of emails kept on file in the permissions binder.

"Expert" advice on improving your ranking
Yahoo was the first big search engine to be popular and made a lot of money for its founders - some people still think it is important to rank high in Yahoo - even though intermediate and advanced web surfers use Google.


As quoted form Dr. Nunley's site above - ""Don't waste time trying to get on Yahoo," says Jerry West, search engine expert with NetGateway. "Instead, submit your site to HotBot.com." Both use the Inktomi database. A listing on HotBot virtually guarantees a showing on Yahoo."

If you ignore this advice from West and still want to directly interact with Yahoo to improve your ranking Yahoo allows you to submit a site for free, though they entice you with an option to pay a fee which might ensure a higher ranking.

"Expert" advice on improving your ranking


Alta Vista has been well known as a Search Engine for some time but became less popular in 2001 and 2002 as Google became more "famous".


As quoted form Dr. Nunley's site above -  "Recently AltaVista surged in user popularity. It ranks as one of the best places to have your site listed. Alta Vista rotates visitors through four databases. If you don't see your site listed, try again in 15 minutes when the next database will be on display. Register with Alta Vista weekly to get your site listed in all four databases"

The author of www.witiger.com has found that in some cases Alta Vista served to provide a more true ranking of "value sites" compared to Yahoo which was clogged with commercial URLs.

example, in searching using the words "e-commerce professor", we found that Tim Richardson's site witiger.com ranked 9th on the first page in Alta Vista and 10th on the first page in Yahoo in 4th week of July 2003
- in Dec 2004 Richardson ranked #1 in google, #1 in yahoo and #1 in Alta Vista

"Expert" advice on improving your ranking


With a "Basic Submit", you can "...Add or remove up to 5 URLs at a time from the AltaVista global database. URLs will generally be evaluated within four to six weeks of submission. Basic Submit is a free service."
Click on this screen capture to see how it works for AltaVista
Aside from talking about how search engines rank sites, and the best ways to find information using them, we should also take some time to mention that some search engines can NOT be relied upon to honestly offer up the information based on an order or rank as you might presume.

That is to say the underlying principle of how search engines list the "returns" they show you after a search has been conducted, is that these returns will be based on

  • sites that most closely match the words you searched
  • sites that are the most pppular ones "hit" for words related to that search
However, there has been some people (including journalist Paddy Kamen) who are willing to expose how some search engines provide listings which are not honestly based on the words of your search - but rather based on money paid to them by companies that want their sites listed higher.







"Tainted Search"
by Paddy Kamen in the Toronto Star 2001 July 5th
Kamen provides a good analogy between search engines and grocery stores.

Kamen questions 

"...Is an Internet search engine more like a grocery store or a library?   While search engines provide  access to vast amounts of information, they are much more like grocery stores than libraries.  Both grocery stores and search  engines offer suppliers a chance to  reach you, the potential customer.  Both offer valuable "real estate" that  suppliers pay for. Both provide the public with a service. But it's not a public service. Consumers need to be aware of the difference.   In the grocery store, suppliers pay more to have their product on certain shelves. It's no accident that you find some products with 25 "product faces" at eye level but you have to look hard for even a few "product faces" of  something else on the bottom shelf. Search engines also offer suppliers of goods, services and information an  opportunity to connect with the public. With millions of people surfing the Net  at any given moment, every business with a Web site wants you to look at  their site. And, like getting on the right shelf in the grocery store, they all want  to be listed in the place you are most likely to see them: the first page of search results relevant to their area of business."
So, the inherent temptation is that the companies building the search engines will take money from people who want to be listed higher for key word searches - such as "used cars". "apartments rent", "discount airfare", etc.

Ranking higher in a search engine can mean a substantial benefit for some companies in a competitive marketplace 

Kamen adds 

"What many consumers aren't aware of, however, is that what appear to be  unbiased search results may in fact be paid-for listings.  Each search engine has its own way of describing paid-for links. And consumers often can't tell the difference. 

Go to Alta Vista, for example, and search for "cheese". At the top of your results you will see three "featured links". These are paid for. Next you will see a note that says: "We found 1,022,064 results." Under that you will find 11 links (these are not paid for). Under that you will see an "Extend your search" category that lists a further six sites. Some of these are also paid for. At the  bottom of the page you can click on directories. This will take you to directory  results that are powered by LookSmart. All commercial sites in the LookSmart directory are paid.  Therefore, out of 20 links on the first Alta Vista results page for cheese, as many as nine are paid for. This first page is the most valuable "real estate", as most users will not explore the 1,022,044 remaining results. 

"Consumers often give more credit to search engines than they should," says Bill Sweetman, vice-president of interactivity for Delvinia Inc., a  Toronto-based Interactive media research company. Sweetman cautions that  searching is a "user beware" activity. "While there are search engines that try their best to find the sites most relevant to your terms of search, for others the  motive is to feed you the highest bidders in that category."  Frances West agrees. "It's hard to know which ones are using  pay-for-placement," says the Internet specialist with the Toronto Public Library system. "Some will tell you that they charge for faster indexing but what's really insidious is when paid-for links are placed in the results."


Sites to Submit URLs to Search Engines
applies tolink to ppt menuChapter 4, page 134-135
-away.com/ Includes a long list of other search engine sites you can submit to
information on what NOT TO DO
. http://www.selfpro
A quirky site run by a single person (Robert Woodhead) that offers good advice, as well as listing you with all other search engines.
http://www.altavistacanada Includes design suggestions to make your web site perfect before submitting
http://www.studyweb.com/ This site caters to academics wishing to list their course pages and teachers wanting to post their homepages
In December  2003 "10 things to increase..." was published in a longer, two part series, in the famous online media site  www.ecommercetimes.comECT titled the article"10 Ways To Increase Your Search Engine Ranking"
http://www.ecommercetimes.com original part one, at www.ecommercetimes.com/perl/story/32391.html
or copy at www.witiger.com/ecommerce/searchenginerankingECT~PART~A.htm
original part two at www.ecommercetimes.com/perl/story/32401.html
or copy at   www.witiger.com/ecommerce/searchenginerankingECT~PART~B.htm
The ECT article was picked up by other websites and the story carried on sites such  LinuxInsider.com
part one at http://linuxinsider.com/perl/story/32391.html
part two at  http://linuxinsider.com/perl/story/32401.html
In addition to LinuxInsider.com, the ECT article was carried on technewsworld.com
part one at  www.technewsworld.com/perl/story/32391.html
part two at  www.technewsworld.com/perl/story/32401.html
In addition to LinuxInsider.com, & technewsworld.com, the article was also on Wonk
Wonk's site also has reader comments about articles
SEG is a portal about everything to do with Search Engines
for a while in January 2003, they listed Prof. Richardson's "10 ways..." as a "Recommended Article" on their site with a link back to the ECT pagewww.searchengineguide.com/cgi-bin/news
When "10 things to increase..." was published in a longer, two part series, in www.ecommercetimes.com, it proved to be very popular and it was ranked as the # 1 read during the 2nd week in December 2003, as indicated by the screen capture to the left.
permission to quote Dennis Buchheim, director of Paid Inclusion at Yahoo!’s head office in Sunnyvale California was given by Mr. Bucheim in phone calls and emails in October 2003. This was an interview conducted directly by Prof. Richardson. Also included in permissions was Colleen Finnegan of Yahoo's office in Toronto. Copies of permission emails are kept on file in the permissions binder.

  Prof. W. Tim G. Richardson © www.witiger.com