In honour of International Talk Like a Pirate Day (19 Sept), today's SEO Skeptic post is brought to you by Cap'n Long John K'yword, a veteran of pillage, terror and search engine optimization on the high seas. The Cap'n is here to briefly offer some practical pirate solutions to a few common SEO problems, with some other nuggets of search marketing advice.
Avast! Me Rankings Are in Davy Jones' Locker!
Afore ye were riding pretty, the finest sloop on the digital seas you were. Then your pretty rankings fell to the briny deep! Gar, what's a sailor to do?
- Be it caused by blaggards in IT who changed your URLs, without clear sailing instructions to the new port o' call? Damn them! Tie them to the mainmast and make them feel the sting of yer cat o' nine tails! Then give 'em a dram of grog, and send them to their dastardly machines to forge 301 redirects proper and true.
- Be it caused by the scurvy dogs manning the guns at the Google Webspam Team? Avast! Find the landlubbers who robbed of you your treasure with their spam, and keelhaul them! Then grab yer cutlass and carve ye out a reinclusion request on Webmaster Tools.
- Be it caused by by blaggard search engineers a-tinkering with their jolly algorithms? Splice the mainbrace and curse the heavens for the meddlesome ways of the scurvy dogs! Then back to the drawing board, me hearties.
The Bots be Blind as a Beggar to Words in Me Images!
That be a fine picture of yer ship, with "The Black Hat" proudly blazoned on its barnacle-encrusted bow. But googlebot sees not what's clear and plain in your deadlights!
- Use ye one o' the many CSS techniques by which your ship's name will proudly sail the SERPs.
- Be that fine ship of yours pictured in a Flash movie? Damn ye, designers, damn ye ALL TO HELL! By the pirate code you should be swinging on the gibbet, grace of Jack Ketch! Redemption may still be yer's if the fiendish Flash replaced by HTML be. Or use ye swfobject or some other text replacement for the content of your vile movie!
- Need ye that picture at all, or be it but a fancy, nothing but a poxy piece o'verbage in an image that should be text plain and clear? Take no quarter! Render the image as text and ship-shape it shall be.
Does Yer Content a Duplicate Be?
Ahoy! Be sure that no other your treasure possess. Dead men tell no tales, and 'tis true for the duplicate pages by which Google feeds the fish.
- Be there bilge-sucking parameters in your URLs making black copies of your pages? Belay those where ye can, and fore the others to the true URI! Ye may also dabble with the link canonical, or remove 'em smartly with Google Webmaster Tools or Yahoo Site Explorer.
- Be you makin' copies unintended by dint of a different category in yer navigation? Reef the sails and exclude the vile pretenders usin' robots.txt.
- Be others stealin' and a-scrapin'? Shiver me timbers, they should be made to walk the plank! Should ye yer full posts be a-syndicating? Be sure at least you ping first, with godspeed, the aggregators and engines.
By these things tried and true might you find your sea legs, and join the fair corsairs that rank more handsome than any admiral that fondly serves the Queen. Some SEO work might make you feel a lowly swabbie, but aft the toil pieces o'eight will be spillin' from yer chest.