Owning a Tourism Business is awesome

31 Jul 2008

11 Power Tips To Get The Maximum Out Of Your RSS Feed Reader

You are using your feed reader for getting latest posts from your favorite blogs and news sites. But do you know that your RSS Reader can do more than that and makes your life much easier? Here are some of those power tips to help you get the maximum out of your RSS reader.

1. Track Your Site/Blogrss-icon

If you own any site or blog, then using Clicky ( a nice analytics tool with an impressive free version ) you can monitor your visitors and site stats. You can opt for getting updated stats in your RSS reader through this tool.

You can also monitor the count of your pages inside Google’s index by subscribing to this feed: “http://www.dapper.net/transform.php?dappName=GoogleSiteSearch&transformer=RSS&extraArg_title=Pages&v_Query=abc.com” . Replace abc.com with your URL. (Thanks Amit )

2. Read Your Email

There are situations when you can access your rss reader but not your email account. Like, in some offices where the firewall blocks access to your personal email accounts. Services like Mailbucket could come in pretty handy in such cases. Using Mailbucket you can forward your mails to xyz@Mailbucket.org and subscribe to http://MailBucket.org/xyz.xml , where ” xyz ” is your unique and personalized id.

There is also an alternative to get alerts of new incoming mails to your Gmail accounts in a feed reader. Just subscribe to https://mail.google.com/mail/feed/atom and Gmail will update you about new mails. You will receive Sender’s name, Subject and first few lines of e-mails. However this service requires authentication and hence doesn’t work with most of the web-based readers including Google Reader. But it works great with desktop readers like FeedDemon.

3. Get Job Updates

There are many sites offering job alerts via RSS. Yahoo Job Search is one of them. Search any query there, and if you wish to get updates about that query, just subscribe its RSS feed.

4. Share Calendar

This is a cool way to share events with others. RSSCalendar.com offers creating an account, adding events and meetings, and then sharing feeds with others. Sharing events with friends is a nice idea. You can also use Google’s Calendar service for this.

5. Read Your Tweets

You can read tweets inside your feed reader. Just Click on “RSS” in the bottom of your Twitter page and see the magic.

6. Read Orkut Scraps

This tip is for my friends in India where Orkut is the most popular social networking site. You can read your orkut scraps inside your feed reader. Go to OrkutFeeds and enter your or your friends’ Orkut profile url and enjoy reading them at a single place.

Note by Abhijeet : You could also subscribe to your profile alerts in other social networks. Most of them offer RSS subscription one way or the other. For example Facebook users can check this page to subscribe to the notifications in their account.

7. Track any webpage

Try Page2RSS for this. Enter URL of any web page here and just subscribe the RSS feeds associated to that page. You will be notified whenever this page is updated! This service is quite useful for the pages which don’t publish regular feeds. Other popular one is Feed For Free.

8. Feed your Search

If you search for a particular keyword(s) regularly, FeedMySearch is a cool option for you. You will get updates whenever a new result for that keyword appears significantly on Google’s Index.

9. Follow Someone @ FriendFeed

You can monitor someone’s online activity using his FriendFeed account. FriendFeed offers RSS subscription. Subscribe to your friends or Industry Experts to know what they are doing.

10. eBay Searches

RSSauction is a service which offers eBay Searches delivered By RSS . You can get updates about any keyword or item number inside your feed reader.

11. Track Questions and Answers on Yahoo Answers

Yahoo Answers can help you in finding answers to your problems. You can ask and answer here. You can use your feedreader to track any question there, simply by subscribing to its feeds.


I’d love to know your thoughts and more ways to utilize the RSS feed reader.

Arpit Kumar is an electronics engineering student and loves technology and the internet. He blogs about his thoughts on open source softwares and web apps at TechRaga.

Jeet Blog - Tech Tweaks,Blogging Tips,Productivity Hacks and a Better Life.

Microsoft Talks About 'BrowseRank'- Beyond PageRank?

News.com, reports that a Microsoft research team has recently come up with a new concept known as BrowseRank. Through this concept, Microsoft has tried to teach Google a thing or two about ranking pages. According to the new theory, BrowseRank can prove to be more effective than PageRank...

...as it would rank pages according to the user online behavior and not by the amount of web pages linked to a specific web page as done by Google PageRank.

According to the researchers who worked on the BrowseRank theory, "The more visits of the page made by the users and the longer time periods spent by the users on the page, the more likely the page is important. We can leverage hundreds of millions of users' implicit voting on page importance." the research team included Bin Gao, Tie-Yan Liu, and Hang Li from Microsoft Research Asia and Ying Zhang of Nankai University, Zhiming Ma of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Shuyuan He of Peking University.

How BrowseRank Works:
Basically, BrowseRank takes into consideration the amount of time a user spends on a particular website. This helps BrowseRank in assessing the quality of the webpage. BrowseRank not only monitors traffic arriving via links, but also has the ability to monitor direct URL visits via bookmarks or URLs that are typed in the Address Bar. The research has termed the pages that are safe, interesting, relevant for users as "Green Traffic." This kind of ranking will help with direct URLs that are keyword enriched along with brand specific searches and URL searches, as it would be able to recognize and assimilate such websites in the "Green Traffic" category.

Inadequacies of PageRank:
According the researchers associated with the program, Google PageRank can be easily manipulated by using the unethical means of link farming. Secondly, PageRank only takes into account the amount of web links associated with a webpage and not the amount of time spent by a user at the website. However, Google refutes these claims stating that, "It's important to keep in mind that PageRank is just one of more than 200 signals we use to determine the ranking of a Web site. Search remains at the core of everything Google does, and we are always working to improve it." 

The Shortcomings of BrowseRank:

As BrowseRank takes into account the time spent by a user on a particular website while compiling its data, it then becomes obvious that it highlights a lot of social networking websites. However, the issues with such websites is that, the content of these websites isn't generally valuable or relevant to audience at large. This factor, makes the BrowseRank little ineffective, as it could lead to a lot of of results that are irrelevant, spam, or both.

30 Jul 2008

Official Google Blog: Encouraging people to contribute knowledge

Encouraging people to contribute knowledge

12/13/2007 06:01:00 PM

The web contains an enormous amount of information, and Google has helped to make that information more easily accessible by providing pretty good search facilities. But not everything is written nor is everything well organized to make it easily discoverable. There are millions of people who possess useful knowledge that they would love to share, and there are billions of people who can benefit from it. We believe that many do not share that knowledge today simply because it is not easy enough to do that. The challenge posed to us by Larry, Sergey and Eric was to find a way to help people share their knowledge. This is our main goal.

Earlier this week, we started inviting a selected group of people to try a new, free tool that we are calling "knol", which stands for a unit of knowledge. Our goal is to encourage people who know a particular subject to write an authoritative article about it. The tool is still in development and this is just the first phase of testing. For now, using it is by invitation only. But we wanted to share with everyone the basic premises and goals behind this project.

The key idea behind the knol project is to highlight authors. Books have authors' names right on the cover, news articles have bylines, scientific articles always have authors -- but somehow the web evolved without a strong standard to keep authors names highlighted. We believe that knowing who wrote what will significantly help users make better use of web content. At the heart, a knol is just a web page; we use the word "knol" as the name of the project and as an instance of an article interchangeably. It is well-organized, nicely presented, and has a distinct look and feel, but it is still just a web page. Google will provide easy-to-use tools for writing, editing, and so on, and it will provide free hosting of the content. Writers only need to write; we'll do the rest.

A knol on a particular topic is meant to be the first thing someone who searches for this topic for the first time will want to read. The goal is for knols to cover all topics, from scientific concepts, to medical information, from geographical and historical, to entertainment, from product information, to how-to-fix-it instructions. Google will not serve as an editor in any way, and will not bless any content. All editorial responsibilities and control will rest with the authors. We hope that knols will include the opinions and points of view of the authors who will put their reputation on the line. Anyone will be free to write. For many topics, there will likely be competing knols on the same subject. Competition of ideas is a good thing.

Knols will include strong community tools. People will be able to submit comments, questions, edits, additional content, and so on. Anyone will be able to rate a knol or write a review of it. Knols will also include references and links to additional information. At the discretion of the author, a knol may include ads. If an author chooses to include ads, Google will provide the author with substantial revenue share from the proceeds of those ads.

Once testing is completed, participation in knols will be completely open, and we cannot expect that all of them will be of high quality. Our job in Search Quality will be to rank the knols appropriately when they appear in Google search results. We are quite experienced with ranking web pages, and we feel confident that we will be up to the challenge. We are very excited by the potential to substantially increase the dissemination of knowledge.

We do not want to build a walled garden of content; we want to disseminate it as widely as possible. Google will not ask for any exclusivity on any of this content and will make that content available to any other search engine.

As always, a picture is worth a thousands words, so an example of a knol is below (double-click on the image to see the page in full). The main content is real, and we encourage you to read it (you may sleep better afterwards!), but most of the meta-data -- like reviews, ratings, and comments -- are not real, because, of course, this has not been in the public eye as yet. Again, this is a preliminary version.

Official Google Blog: Encouraging people to contribute knowledge

Knol PageRanking: a little algorithmic love behind the scenes

We have already seen how Knol grabbed great Google rankings for a significant percentage of pages listed on Knol's home page. Knol isn't supposed to have a high PageRank yet, but Google may be giving its house resource a little algorithmic love behind the scenes.

Wall suggested this as he reached out to see how a page on the site might fare for him. He created an SEO Basics Knol that "was essentially a duplicate of my Work.com Guide to Learning SEO (that was also syndicated to Business.com)," he said.

Google cited the new Knol as being similar to work already on the web at Work.com and Business.com. Wall searched for a string of text from the article and found it ranking on Google; searching for it with duplicate content filters negated found the Knol piece ranking above its syndicated and much older placement on Business.com.

"Some may call this the Query Deserves Freshness algorithm, but one might equally decide to call it the copyright work deserves to be stolen algorithm," said Wall.

"Google knows the content is duplicate, and yet they prefer to rank their own house content over the originally published source."

Whether Google changes this behavior or not, which could happen given all the algorithm tweaking they regularly do, probably won't change the flood of SEOs churning out pages at Knol. Considering Google's treatment of such content with favorable rankings, SEOs may have to do this out of a need to compete.

And we've all seen how well competitors fare against Google. Ask.com seems moribund, and depends on Google advertising; Yahoo took an ad deal with Google to avoid being taken over by Microsoft; and even Microsoft sees Google as a major competitor.

By ranking Knol articles highly, Google, by design or accident, made Knol a go-to destination for anyone seeking traffic for a website. Knol became something SEOs must consider in their work for their sites and clients because of this, and that may not be a great thing.

29 Jul 2008


Two highly respected former Google engineers have launched a new search engine called cuil, pronounced “cool.”

I don’t know for sure, but perhaps the name is a reference to the more visually appearing interface design. You be the judge. Apparently, this new search engine project has been under development for a couple of years.

Cuil claims to have indexed more than 120 billion web pages. Google doesn’t disclose how many pages their index contains.

Cuil’s indexing method claims to index web pages based on semantic methods considering how keywords are related to each other. Cuil lists results three across a page, rather than ten down like Google. Each listing also contains more summary text than Google and also includes an image which is often the logo of a business if the listing is a business.

Cuil is accepting submissions for websites which it has not crawled. It is still a little buggy. When searching on a keyword phrase we track for a client, I found the client’s listing on the first page, just the same as Google. Then, a few minutes later cuil said it didn’t find any listings for the same keyword phrase.

I wonder how they can launch a competing search engine to Google without violating a non-compete, or intellectual property copyrights. Let’s watch closely over the coming days, weeks, months to see if Google takes any legal action.

I’m sure we’ll be writing about cuil more in the future. We’ll watch it to monitor the impact it has on the search industry.


28 Jul 2008

New Toolbar PageRanks coming

New Toolbar PageRanks coming from Matt Cutts

Hey folks, I wanted to let you know that new toolbar PageRank values should become visible over the next few days. I’m expecting that also in the next few days that we’ll be expiring some older penalties on websites.

Related Posts:
  • New Toolbar PageRanks visible
    Roughly every 3-4 months we take a snapshot of PageRank values and export them so that the new values are visible in the Google Toolbar....
  • More info on PageRank
    Every few months we update the PageRank data that we show in the toolbar, and every few months I see a few repeated questions, so...

New Toolbar PageRanks coming

26 Jul 2008

How To: Create a Great 404 Page Not Found Error Page

How To: Create a Great 404 Page Not Found Error Page | Internet Marketing Strategy: Conversation Marketing

I hate seeing these:


It’s a waste. You put all that work into creating a great site. Someone makes a mistake like mis-typing a page name, or they click a bad link on someone else's site, and you drive them away with the internet equivalent of a wagging finger.

By the way, this is a competitor’s site: A marketing agency that claims to offer internet marketing. Why am I not a multi-millionaire?

You can have a much friendlier ‘page not found’ page - also known as a 404 error page:


It’s easy: If you can create a plain, static HTML web page, you can create a 404 error page. You may have to get your web host to do a little setup work, but that’s it.

I’m going to walk you through it.

Step 1: Create Your Page

  1. Open your favorite HTML or web page editor.
  2. Get HTML code for your site. This is easy. Open your site in a web browser and go to a simple page (I usually use ‘about us’ or something similar). Click ‘view’ and then ‘source’. Cut-and-paste that code into your editor. Voila - you have your page layout.
  3. Edit the page so it follows the three principles of a good 404 error page (see below).
  4. Save the page as something obvious, like 404.html.

Any 404 page should have 3 basic elements:

  • A clear statement that the visitor is in the wrong place;
  • Advice to help them get back on track;
  • An option for getting in touch with the website owner.

You’re done with step one. Pat yourself on the back. You’ve just done something that most of the web development world apparently doesn’t understand.

Step 2: Put the Page On Your Website

Connect to your website using whatever tool you normally do. It might be an FTP client, or the ‘file manager’ that’s built into your web hosting control panel.

Upload 404.html to the server.

Navigate to http://www.yoursite.com/404.html to make sure the page looks OK.

On to step 3...

Step 3: Setting Up Your Server To Point At Your 404 Page

This is where most folks turn pale and start to sweat. Chances are some developer or grumpy web hosting company support person has told you this part’s really, really, really difficult. I mean, they don’t know how to do it, so it must be difficult, right?


I'm going to show you how it’s done on Microsoft’s Internet Information Server (in about 10 steps, but they’re just point-and-click) and on Apache (in 3 steps, but you have to know how to type).

Read the rest of this great article at:

How To: Create a Great 404 Page Not Found Error Page | Internet Marketing Strategy: Conversation Marketing

24 Jul 2008

Introducing Knol

I hope we have all been publishing articles for a few years now (if not, then get bloody started!).

Now Google is getting n on the game with the lauch of a new service called Knol. Here's their press release:

July 23, 2008
A few months ago, we announced a new web authoring tool called Knol.

Well, today we've announced its public launch, and we wanted to tell you a little bit more about it and how you might use it to complement your blog. Blogs are great for quickly and easily getting your latest writing out to your readers, while knols are better for when you want to write an authoritative article on a single topic. The tone is more formal, and, while it's easy to update the content and keep it fresh, knols aren't designed for continuously posting new content or threading. Know how to fix a leaky toilet, but don't want to write a blog about fixing up your house? In that case, Knol is for you.

Except for the different format, you'll get all the things you've come to expect from Blogger in Knol. Like Blogger, Knol has simple web authoring tools that make it easy to collaborate, co-author, and publish. It has community features as well: Your readers will be able to add comments and rate your article, and, if you want, they'll be able to suggest edits that you can then either accept or reject. And, just like in Blogger, you can also choose to include ads from AdSense in your knols to perhaps make a little money.

One other important difference between Knol and Blogger is that Knol encourages you to reveal your true identity. Knols are meant to be authoritative articles, and, therefore, they have a strong focus on authors and their credentials. We feel that this focus will help ensure that authors get credit for their work, make the content more credible.

All in all, we think Knol will be a great new way for you to share what you know, inform people about an issue that is important to you, raise your profile as an expert in your field, and maybe even make some money from ads. Create your Knol right now for free.

21 Jul 2008

How To Increase Traffic to Your Blog

By Terry Detty

One important topic for blog owners is how to increase traffic, which is easier than it seems, once you know how. In this article, we cover 7 specific methods of increasing traffic to your blog.

Tip #1: Sign up for pinging services
It seems pretty obvious, but many bloggers, even those who are more experienced, don’t sign up for pinging services. If you’re new to blogging, pinging means that when your blog is updated, a “ping” is sent out by the service to let pinging sites know that your blog has been updated. People who are visiting sites with pinging services will then see your blog flash across the side of the screen as “newly updated.” Pinging services include Yahoo’s blogs, weblogs.com, Google Blog search and ZingFast.

Tip #2: Sign up for Technorati
If you go to technorati.com, you’ll see an option on the left side of the screen to “Claim Your Blog.” Doing so allows you to get updated link counts, add your photo or branding to Technorati and see your Technorati link. Having your blog claimed on Technorati helps to increase traffic because the millions of people who go to that site will have a chance to see your blog listed there.

Tip #3: Sign up for FeedBurner, an RSS service
FeedBurner basically helps you to promote your blog’s content, and to build and measure your audience.

Tip #4: Bookmark your blogs at places like del.icio.us
You can set up an account and profile at del.icio.us. From there, you can add links to your blog, as well as excerpts. When a user visits your profile on del.icio.us, they will see a link to your blog and excerpts. There are other social bookmarking sites that you can use in much the same way. All of these social bookmarking sites can help you increase traffic.

Tip #5: Post comments at other blogs
Here, you should visit similar blogs to your own, post legitimate comments and then sign your name(along with a link to your blog). This way, people know you aren’t there just to promote your site—you’re there to post a good piece of feedback and also say where you’re from.

Tip #6: Ask owners of other blogs to post a link to yours
Find other blogs that are similar to yours. If they seem to be decently popular (if they have a good amount of comments for each post), contact the owner of the blog and ask if they will add a link to your blog. Offering to link back to their blog is a way to sweeten the offer. Reciprocal linking helps to increase traffic.

Tip #7: Use keywords in your blog
Like regular Web pages, having a good keyword density on a blog is a terrific way of getting search engine spiders to notice your page. (FYI: Search engine spiders are programs from search engines that browse sites and report back their findings to the search engine database, which then lists that site. The more keywords on your site, the more likely it is for a search engine spider to pay a visit)

If your average blog posting is around 200 words, use 2-6 keywords per blog post. This creates a keyword density of between 1 and 3 percent, a respectable number. Remember that you don’t want to use too many keywords, as that will make your blog look bad. Also be sure that the keywords used are relevant to your blog. Before even making a blog posting, decide what the post will be about and then select a keyword or two to use in your post. This will help to increase your traffic.

Terry Detty, 42, enjoys all aspects of Internet marketing and occasionally getting out for a breath of fresh air. He has several sites, covering Internet marketing, time and attendance and credit repair.

How To Increase Traffic to Your Blog - WebReference.com

18 Jul 2008

YouTube and original content

Here's a question for the more advanced SEO's

Let's say I create a video- this video, it's summary, etc are all original content

I want to show the video on my site, but of course i want to submit it to YouTube and other video sites so i can get it in front of the largest crowds.

Problem is, I'd like the search engines to give me credit for the video (original content) so how would i go about doing that?

Is it as simple as hosting the videos on my site first, waiting for the SE's to index the pages and then submitting to the video sites such as YouTube?

As far as i know, videos dont get indexed... unless they have been submitted to youtube etc. Its the wording in the description, tags and link text to the video that determine what it will be found as.. eg: you could have a video of a pig eating a twinkie and describe it as the first moon landing, as far as the serps will know it is the moon landing and not a pig.

If i were you i would customize the clip to have a splash screen at the beginning and end with your url and logo. Create a profile for your website or business in youtube so that all your vids are linked to you, then if someone is interested in you because of the video - they can be directed to your website after seeing your profile and realising you arent some funky kid dumping vids. - i would rather have 50 visits off youtube than one from a person who found the vid on your site first. - plus, once on youtube it is easier to put it on your site tongue

You would be amazed at how many videos are not what they say they are, hence youtube gives users the option to flag videos. I recall some kid labeling his clip a porn video and all that was in the video was him bitching about why people put porn videos on youtube... eish

YouTube and original content

Don't Let Blog Comments Ruin Your Reputation | SmallBusinessNewz

Make them work for you...

Blogs and blog comments are great for a small business owner because they allow you to socialize with others within your niche, which can indirectly promote your business.

This is true for both your own blog and comments on others, but one thing you have to be careful of is a commenter who is out to make you look bad.

Sometimes, it is your own fault, and sometimes, they are just being out of line, but either one can be damaging to your online reputation.

It is often tempting to defend yourself in either scenario, which can end up turning into a "flame war" which is always annoying to other readers. This will also reflect poorly on your reputation.

If you feel passionately about your stance and can keep responses in a professional light, you can also keep your reputation in this light, but when your resort to insults, that is when it gets ugly.

So how do you control your reputation in such a situation?

First off, if you know you are wrong, admit it from the start. People will appreciate your honesty and accept that you are human and make mistakes just like everybody else.

If you feel that you are not wrong, but others insist that you are, the best thing you can do is provide as many facts and details that support your view and leave it at that. Again, if you keep it professional, you will probably not hurt your online reputation too much. You may lose a battle of "flames", but you can rest easy knowing that you are the better man/woman and know that others that see your comments will understand what you're about.

In the end, you're really representing yourself how you want to, and no matter what anybody else says to you or about you, you have the power to defend yourself and represent your business professionally.

On the other side of the fence, Small Business CEO points to a humorous article by Yvonne Russell on how to get other bloggers to hate you. Avoid these!

Don't Let Blog Comments Ruin Your Reputation

16 Jul 2008

Google School Lessons in Google Ranking

The Google Search Quality Team have recently taken us back to school with a number of postings to teach us a little about the ins and out of the Google search engine. So... it's time to get out your pen and paper (or laptop) and get ready for today's lesson: An Introduction to Google Ranking.

Our teacher for today will be Amit Singhal, Head of the Google Ranking Team, who has provided us with this lesson through The Official Google Blog.

Singhal explains that the Google ranking is a "collection of algorithms used to find the most relevant documents for a user query. We do this for hundreds of millions of queries a day, from a collection of billions and billions of pages."

This same collection of algorithms is used for other Google search services, like Google Images, Google News, YouTube and Google Maps.

I know you might be thinking that this is something we all know, but what Singhal has divulged is that the Google ranking is broken down into three core parts:

1. Best locally relevant results served globally - The best relevant results are provided in what Google calls "no query left behind."

2. Keep it simple - Google likes to keep it simple without compromising on the quality of results.

3. No manual intervention - The rankings are powered by algorithms that reflect the behavior and linking patterns of the people in the whole web community.

Click here to learn more.

If all of this is sounding quite basic, it's because it is. Singhal doesn't give any secrets of how you can get a better ranking for your webpage, but he does say that he will delve deeper into the technology behind ranking in later posts - so we will keep our eyes peeled and ears to the ground for you.

Google School Lessons in Google Ranking

15 Jul 2008

Six Ways to Get Your Website Crawled

  • It's better to have one main website with numerous domains pointing to the main domain, than to have mini-sites or multiple sites with similar content. Mini-sites and multiple sites with similar content do not increase search engine listings and are frequently viewed by search engines as SPAM.

  • If you do have several stand-alone websites, make sure each serves a different target audience and has unique content with different domain or sub-domain URLs.

  • Search engines need to be able to follow internal links. To make that happen, use tags, text links, image links, and CSS menus. Spiders have difficulty with JavaScript menus, pop-up windows, drop-down menus, and flash navigation.

  • Choose keyword phrases that are most relevant and specific to what your web page is about. Think from the perspective of someone searching for what you are offering on your site. Ask, as if you were they: What would I search for if I am looking for something on your page?

  • Validate your keyword phrases through either paid or free services, such as Keyword Discovery, Wordtracker, or Google AdWords.

  • Check for keyword competitiveness. Take into consideration the size of your business. In this case, size does matter. If you are a major player with a major brand, you can play in a larger competitive pond than a smaller company just starting out. Know what size pond is right for you, and check for competitiveness by putting: allintitle: "keyword phrase" in your browser and check the number count.

SEO can be both intimidating and exhilarating. Intimidating because it seems as if just about everyone has an opinion on what it takes to get a high ranking in Google, so it's hard to know what to believe. Exhilarating because, once you understand the method behind the madness of SEO, you see the art and science of it.

Then it becomes fun and easy to come up with a strategic plan about where to place keyword phrases, how to write copy, and what size pond is best for your company to compete in. Optimize your website, and they will come.

12 Jul 2008

Debunking Some Popular Search Engine Ranking Myths

- Pay per clíck (PPC) ads will either help or hurt organic rankings. (Organic simply means the process by which web users find websites having unpaid search engine listings.)

Debunked: PPC is categorized differently than organic listings. There is no effect, one way or the other, on ranking.

- Websites are banned if they ignore Google guidelines.

Debunked: While it's a good idea to read Google Webmaster Guidelines or Google 101: How Google Crawls, Indexes and Serves the Web, you are not banned if you ignore their guidelines.

- Websites are banned if they buy links.

Debunked: Sites are not banned. The links just aren't counted.

- Copy must be a certain number of words, use a specific keyword density, and contain bold or italicized keywords.

Debunked: It used to be thought that there was a magic number of words used or certain times a keyword or keyword phrase should be repeated. Not so. Same with bolding and italicizing. They don't do anything for ranking.

- Duplicate content will get your website penalized.

Debunked: It will just get filtered out and not counted.

- Reciprocal links won't count.

Debunked: Every link counts, to a certain extent.

- SEO companies can improve your rankings without doing any on-page work.

Debunked: Run if an SEO company tells you this.

According to SEO expert Jill Whalen, SEO isn't magic and isn't a crap-shoot.

"SEO is about making your website the best it can be for your site visitors and the search engines."

Want to help the right kind of people find your website? Then you need to design your site so search engines can find, crawl and index your pages.