Intro to Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

A few resources for learning more about search engine optimization can be found below. See also my article on the Top 10 Firefox Extensions for SEO.

SEO Software Tip If you are looking for SEO software to help you with link building and other SEO tasks, you might want to try SEO Elite Software.

Guidelines and Tools From the Search Engines



MSN (Live) Search

  • MSN Search Guidelines — Information for site owners from MSN Search.
  • Microsoft's SEO Tips — A page from Microsoft's Small Business Center that you can print for reference. It isn't that this site is an authority on SEO, but it provides insights into the company that provides the MSN search engine results.
  • MSN Search Blog — Information from MSN about their search engine.

SEO Intro for Local Small Businesses

Semantic Markup

Basic Semantic Markup

Writing code that machines can understand.


Articles and Newsletters

Many of these sites have free newsletters and RSS feeds that you can subscribe to.

SEO Blogs

How Search Engines Rank Web Sites


More techniques coming soon...

  • SEO Technical Tips — from
  • URL Rewriting — A tutorial on how to make your URLs change from dynamic ones (e.g. to static-looking ones (e.g., This is important for search engines, not only because static URLs are better than dynamic URLs, but because when someone links to your site with the URL as the link text those keywords are counted as link text.
  • mod_rewrite cheat sheet — Download this cheatsheet for mod_rewrite assistance.

Competitive Analysis

Link Building

Online SEO Tools

  • — find out what keywords a site may be ranking for.
  • Audit My PC Spider — this is an interesting spider/sitemap tool.
  • SEO tools — Some good ones here.
  • Virante SEO Tools — including the amazing Industry Inbreeding Chart tool.
  • Tools — This site has a great tool called the Hub Finder.
  • WordTracker — This is a very useful key word analysis service. It's not cheap, but you can try the service for free.
  • — SEO tools for site and keyword analysis.
  • — Tools for SEO, including one to compare keyword density across multiple sites.
  • SEOmoz Tools — Some interesting SEO tools from SEOmoz.
  • SEO Browser — See what your web site looks like to a search engine. You can also do this with the Lynx browser.
  • — Includes an interesting "backlink builder" tools.
  • — Find out where your site ranks on Google for your keywords.
  • Accessibility — Accessibility-checking tools and tips. The same things that make a Web site accessible are often the same things that make a Web site optimized for search engines (on-site optimization).
  • Tools — A few tools to compare how your site performs against the competition, including the link popularity tool.
  • View HTTP Request and Response Header — An online tool that can be used to check response codes (e.g., 301, 302), or to change the user agent to see if the content of a site changes depending on the user agent.
  • Search Tools — A good list of SEO tools and resources from one of Aaron Wall's sites.
  • Google Sets Tool — an intersting Java applet.


A few links of interest. The first two are recommended by Google.

Searching Across Multiple Search Engines

  • Customize Google Firefox Extension — Very useful Firefox extension that changes the Google search results page. It adds links so that you can search other search engines with the same query. It speeds up checking search results across multiple search engines.
  • Mr. Sapo — A way to quickly check a lot of different search engines.

RSS / ATOM Syndication

RSS is useful for submitting items to Google Base. I think ATOM has great potential for SEO. More on that soon...

Other SEO Tools

Lynx Browser and SEO Research

Sometimes you might want to get just the text from a web page to analyze the keywords and content.

Google's webmaster guidelines page recommends the following:

"Use a text browser such as Lynx to examine your site, because most search engine spiders see your site much as Lynx would. If fancy features such as JavaScript, cookies, session IDs, frames, DHTML, or Flash keep you from seeing all of your site in a text browser, then search engine spiders may have trouble crawling your site."

Lynx Web Browser — Information from Wikipedia about Lynx, a text-only browser that has some interesting uses. On Linux (for example with a Knoppix disc) you can type in some instructions at the command line, and get Lynx to retrieve all the text in a web page, and/or a list of links on the page. For example, open a terminal window in Linux and type the following:

$ lynx -dump "" >file1.txt

All the text from that URL will now be in a file called "file1.txt", along with the text from alt tags, and a complete list of all outgoing links from that page. You can then process the file how you want (for example, with SEO-related scripts). See also this Lynx tutorial.

  • Lynx Homepage — Links to documentation and help can be found here.
  • Lynx Examples — An excerpt from a book that has some examples of using Lynx at the Linux command line.
  • Lynx Viewer — If you don't have Lynx, this is an alternative way to get a Lynx-view of your Web site. If you don't have Lynx, consider using a Linux live CD like Knoppix or Ubuntu. A Linux live CD lets you run Linux on your computer without installing anything.
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