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10 Steps to Getting Into Google And Staying There – The Ultimate Quick Guide to Google SEO

Posted in: Google,Link Building,Marketing,Search Engine Optimisation,Search Engines,Statistics by Richard Hearne on October 19, 2006
Internet Marketing Ireland

Everyday the Internet is becoming more and more reliant on Google and finding that you’ve lost favour with the big G can have very serious repercussions for both your website and your business.

In ‘13 Deadly Google Sins‘ I looked at a few of the most serious issues that can affect a website’s ability to rank well in Google.

Now it’s time to look at 10 ways to make Google love your site and feed it with all those fantastic visitors:

  1. Getting Indexed

    If you want to get into Google’s index in short-time you need to get as many authoritative links pointing at your site as possible. Forget about using the Google submission tool, just find some links from regularly crawled sites (sites that frequently update their content are usually crawled more frequently). With the right links pointing at your site you can get indexed in a week or less, so go beg, borrow or steal to get those links.

  2. Give Some Friendly Directions

    When you need to find your way you look at a map. Sitemaps are just as useful to spiders as real maps are to humans. In fact, sitemaps are also incredibly useful for your human visitors so consider creating both a html and an xml sitemap – the former for humans (and spiders!) and the latter for Google Sitemaps.

  3. Don’t Stress Out the Googlebot

    Where possible use well formed, semantically correct mark-up. I make sure that my pages validate over on validator.w3.org (well, I let the HTMLtidy plug-in take care of this).

    I also spend a fair bit of time on the page title, the header elements, the text body and the internal link anchors. I try to ensure that keywords are consistent across these four page elements. This helps Google to identify what your page is about.

    BTW the page title is quite an important variable used by Google when applying SERP positioning so make sure to get the correct keywords into each and every unique page title.

  4. Avoid overuse of Flash

    Search Engines have always had problems with Flash. For this reason Flash-based websites are notoriously difficult to rank well in Google.

    If you must keep that cool looking Flash site you should consider offering a text-based alternative (not just for the SE’s, but also from a usability perspective). Failing that, you could try utilising the <noembed> or <noframe> elements to incorporate as much text into your pages as possible. If absolutely all else fails your last hope is probably the ‘Google Bomb‘.

    While I’m on the subject, try to avoid using Flash for navigation – bear in mind that some people don’t have Flash installed and others (like me) block Flash from their browser.

  5. Create Unique Compelling Content

    Google loves unique content. But more importantly so do humans, and the best advice is to create your content for human visitors first and foremost.

    Great content attracts attention and people show their interest by linking to your content. Every time someone links to you Google counts this as a vote for your content – the more votes the higher your SERP ranking. Oh, and just for the record, the converse of this also holds – Google hates copied content just as much as it loves unique content so don’t expect much love if you scrap other sites.

  6. Better Links = Higher SERPs

    The most important trick to getting those all important #1 positions from Google is to get great links pointing at your unique content. (Having a 10 year old domain doesn’t hurt also, but that’s another story.)

    This is probably the trickiest part of getting Google’s love – if people cant find you how can they possibly link to you? Well my advice is to go for the low-hanging fruit first. Human edited web directories offer a great way to get some easy links.

    If you have a bit more time you could also try some writing some quality articles related to your niche and submit these to the top article directories.

    A quick note about link anchors:

    If I can control just one single factor when looking for Google love then it would have to be the anchor text used in the backlinks pointing at my content.

    *Note*: Quite a few people have asked me what are the best anchors to use. I recommend you check out Wordze if you need to find the best keyword anchors.

    IMO Google applies quite a serious bias to the anchor text used in your backlinks when determining the most appropriate SERP position (and if you want to see what the difference is between #1 and #2 or #1 and #10 then take a look at this).

    Some link tools and other info

    Most Search Engines allow the use of the link: operator to display the backlinks a website has. Generally I use Yahoo.com to check backlinks quickly, but be warned that the Google link: command NEVER displays anything other than a sample of your backlinks.

    MSN have just recently released the LinkFromDomain: operator which shows you all the outbound links from a website (handy to check where a site is linking to).

  7. Tell Google Where You Are

    Google offers country-specific searches on all its search properties. If you want to appear in any particular ‘pages from [your country here]‘ search you must fulfil one of the following conditions:

    1. your site must be physically hosted in the targeted country (and the server IP must resolve to that country); and/or
    2. your domain must use the ccTLD of the targeted country.

    So if you want to target the ‘pages from Ireland’ search your website must be either hosted on a server located in Ireland (use this to test) or your domain must be a .ie ccTLD.

  8. Remember the ‘Long-Tail’

    Google indexes pages not websites so each page can target different keywords that apply to the niche you are targeting. The more possible ways people have of finding your site then the more potential visitors your site will receive from Google.

    You should make use of keyword estimators (again, Wordze is a great tool for this, but bear in mind that no keyword tool is flawless) to ensure that your pages and copy contain the keywords people actually search for. There are many free keyword tools that you can try.

    You should also familiarise yourself with the advanced operators available from most of the major search engines. ‘inanchor:’, ‘allinanchor:’, ‘intitle:’ and ‘allintitle:’ are extremely useful for determining how competitive particular search phrases are, and these operators should form part of any serious keyword analysis.

    It’s worth mentioning that the rapid growth of local search (e.g. appending place names onto queries) means that targeting particular locations is becoming more important. I personally see far more referrals come for localised search queries than from country-only filtered searches. (Note – I work on optimising Irish websites so this observation should be taken in that particular context.)

  9. Learn just 1 important Apache module

    If you want to really be best friends with Google then I suggest you learn 1 fairly easy Apache module:

    mod_rewrite allows you to turn those ugly dynamic URLs into their pretty SEO-friendly static-looking counterparts.

    mod_rewrite also allows you to redirect the non-www to your www website URL (or vice-verse). This issue, known as the canonical URL, is one of the most common causes of problems within Google’s index.

    I also suggest getting familiar HTTP header codes, and in particular the 301 redirect which might someday save your relationship with Google.

  10. Play by the book

    If you try to game Google chances are you’re going to fail. Unless you are extremely well versed and experienced in
    black-hat techniques any attempt to ‘con’ Google is likely to have very serious consequences for your site.

    I recommend you become familiar with the Google webmaster guidelines, and very carefully research any grey areas before you implement any semi-shady changes to your property. Wrong-doings usual result in either a penalty or an outright ban depending on the severity of the misdeed.

    If in doubt I would check out Google Webmaster Group – you never know it might be me who answers your question :grin:.

If you have any questions or comments on this post why not leave them below. I try to answer any questions people leave, so feel free if you want my opinion on anything.

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  1. Brilliant Article. You pretty much covered all bases. I think you should expand a bit on the directories and emphasise the importance of the Yahoo Directory and DMOZ.

    I think point 10 is the most important.
    Thanks for the read!

    Comment by Dave — October 19, 2006 @ 4:33 pm

  2. Thanks Dave.

    Yep I should maybe have mentioned the top directories, but that might make another post :)

    The only thing about Yahoo and Dmoz is that the former costs $299 per year and the latter can take up to 2 years to get into. With Dmoz you can submit and forget but Yahoo is a bit pricey and difficult to justify the cost for many Irish sites .

    Good point all the same.

    Thanks for the comment.



    Comment by Richard Hearne — October 19, 2006 @ 9:22 pm

  3. Hi Richard,
    Submitting to free online general directories with keyword rich anchor text is also very important.

    Comment by Michael — December 22, 2006 @ 2:47 pm

  4. That’s true Michael, however many directories insist that you use the company name when listing. DMOZ and Yahoo are particular examples here.

    Comment by Dave Davis — December 22, 2006 @ 3:52 pm

  5. There’s plenty of them that’ll let you just post anchor text or the company name and some anchor text.

    It definitely works. I manually submitted my site to over 200 of these and was able to get the second spot on Google for “Web Design Belfast”.

    DMOZ is an absolute nightmare these days to get listed in and the expense of Yahoo is a NO NO for many smaller companies on a shoestring budget.

    Comment by Michael — December 22, 2006 @ 4:36 pm

  6. Hi Richard,
    Your list was very helpfull, maybe you could mention a few things about IP Location as an important consideration too when making the most of your Google SERPS position?
    I for one hate the fact that Google dictate their filtering for local Google SERPS based on the the domain name TLD or the IP location of the hosting server!!! most high grade hosting providers in the UK and Canada for two examples charge a lot more for their hosting services than many great outfits in the USA on a like for like package (Healthy global competition in my view).
    A website owner who chooses their hosting provider away from their regional target audience could be unfairly filtered against due to Google’s localised results.

    My WISH for 2007 is that when I get to PUBCON their is enough of us directly asking Google to give website owners a method of directing Google’s location filter so that we can choose the hosting supplier freely whilst indicating to Google which local filter we wish to be included in….. Just maybe, they might listen to us and implement a valid and much needed improvement.

    Comment by Martin — January 2, 2007 @ 9:45 am

  7. [...] Well, it’s not me. Despite my best efforts at blogging over 2 years (and a bit of Search Engine Optimisation), a Google for ‘Paul Browne’ shows that I am only number 3 on the list. Even worse , the ‘Dr Paul Browne (PHD) DCU’ hasn’t been updated for 3 years. What do I need to do to get to number 1, get Twenty Major to take out a hit on this guy? [...]

    Pingback by Just who is Paul Browne, Digital Video Research? - Technology in plain English - Dublin Ireland — January 15, 2007 @ 2:06 pm

  8. Thanks for the advice. Can you say anything about how to get Google et al to check if a site has been updated? I put up an early version intending to update it in a while, which I have done, bit Google is still showing the original version of the site from about 4 months back. Any steer on this would be appreciated. I’ve tried to observe most of your tips already :)

    Comment by Ferg — January 19, 2007 @ 12:46 am

  9. Hi Ferg

    The level of indexing (and updating of cached material) is directly related to a number of factors. But perhaps the most important is your site’s backlink profile. The more high-quality backlinks Google sees the more you will be crawled and indexed. The regularity of new additional links will also help you with this issue.

    So in short, try adding regular high-quality links pointing at your content. Then Google should love you a bit more.

    Hope this helps.

    Comment by Richard Hearne — January 19, 2007 @ 2:32 am

  10. Ferg

    One other thing. Google loves fresh content. If the bot crawls your site and finds nothing new it may determine that your crawl frequency should be reduced. And the opposite also holds – fresh content may well increase your crawl frequency.

    That’s the reason why blogs generally index so well – the content is more likely to update than your average static site.

    Comment by Richard Hearne — January 20, 2007 @ 2:03 am

  11. Richard, thanks for the info. Very helpful.

    Comment by Ferg — January 22, 2007 @ 11:52 am

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  13. What about the influence of dMoz for positioning into Google? As far as I know it is a very good option.

    Comment by Aitor — January 27, 2007 @ 6:51 pm

  14. Hi Aitor

    DMOZ is a great link to get, if you can get it. DMOZ was closed to new submissions for many weeks recently, and the wait to get listed has been known to last years.

    I don’t think that the DMOZ listing will have a huge effect for competitive SERPs. It wont hurt though :grin:

    Comment by Richard Hearne — January 27, 2007 @ 6:58 pm

  15. Thank you Richard for your answer. I had another idea about the strength of dMoz.

    Comment by Aitor — January 27, 2007 @ 7:11 pm

  16. A great article.

    My question – is there a way one could find out if DMOZ has rejected your site. I submitted it quite some time ago, October 2006 and still it does not show?

    Comment by Terry — February 21, 2007 @ 7:15 am

  17. Hi Terry

    DMOZ suffered a fairly large data problem late last year. All sites in the queue were lost. You should resubmit your site.

    Unfortunately there is no way to find out where your site is in the queue.


    Comment by Richard Hearne — February 21, 2007 @ 12:25 pm

  18. [...] 10 Steps to Getting Into Google And Staying There – The Ultimate Quick Guide to Google SEO http://www.redcardinal.ie/search-engine-optimisation/19-10-2006/10-steps-to-getting-into-google-and-staying-there/ [...]

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  20. Very helpful.

    Comment by Sam — May 28, 2007 @ 8:21 pm

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  23. Firstly, great post. A lot of good information for anyone who wants to get a site indexed by Google.

    You mentioned further up the comments about getting listed in DMOZ as a quick method of getting indexed by Google. This is true and very effective, but increasingly difficult as getting listed in DMOZ these days can take much longer than getting indexed in Google!

    Another good option is just to pay to be included in some high authority directories such Yahoo! Directory, Business.com and many others. But hey… it all comes down to your budget.

    Comment by Essex Web Site Designer — September 19, 2007 @ 7:58 pm

  24. Very useful guide, basically two things I need to do, build a half decent sitemap and start using mod_rewrite

    Any tools you could recommend for building a site map?

    Also having a problem with mod_rewrite


    Thanks again for the advice!

    Comment by Gary Corcoran — October 23, 2007 @ 5:19 pm

  25. gsitecrawler.com – free tool will create XML and HTML sitemaps.


    Comment by Richard Hearne — October 24, 2007 @ 7:54 pm

  26. Hi Richard,if your changing files from html to php ,will the page lose its pr ,the filename remains the same ,will i need to do a 301,this may be the wrong tread for the post,
    Thanks Mick

    Comment by mick — January 14, 2008 @ 4:09 pm

  27. Mick you need to redirect the .html version to .php. If not then you will lose all history for the page including backlinks and PR.


    Comment by Richard Hearne — January 16, 2008 @ 3:47 pm

  28. Ok thanks,

    Comment by mick — January 16, 2008 @ 4:20 pm

  29. Hi Richard
    I know this is a very old post but I curious about page validation. Apart from the obvious reasons (like allowing googlebot to crawl the site without running into any problems) are there any other advantages in SEO terms to validate pages? Is there any proof out there to back it up?

    Also I thought Google killed the bomb ability? What are your thoughts on this:


    Really respect your work.

    Comment by seo for nz — February 25, 2008 @ 4:01 am

  30. Hi Aidan

    IMO validation will generally ensure low crawl issues, but apart from that I dont see that valid code will increase rankings.

    That search is likely more connected to previous anchors containing relevant fragments of the query. So the googlebomb defusing may only act at a very targeted level. You often see strong changes in rank from related queries when you optimise for short tail phrases.


    Comment by Richard Hearne — February 28, 2008 @ 7:55 pm

  31. Hi Richard,

    just wondering about that old issue of Hosting and .IE TLD for sites aimed at the Irish market. There’s an option on Google Webmaster Tools to ‘Set geographic target’ – I wonder how much influence that actually has ?

    Thanks, Frank

    Comment by Frank Courtney — March 17, 2008 @ 5:04 pm

  32. Hi Frank

    The new geo-targeting tool is only available for gTLD – .com, .net, .org etc.

    From what I’ve seen the tool can work exceptionally well, but that observation is on a limited set of sites.

    If possible I’d still work with ccTLD – go for .ie if your site is focusing on Ireland.

    Best rgds

    Comment by Richard Hearne — March 18, 2008 @ 6:45 am

  33. Thanks Richard – after posting my comment, I found your later post on geo-targeting. Certainly seems to help me – I have my hosting in the UK. If I was starting again, would do as you suggest. But, am worried about the downtime in switching to an Irish host/domain registrar if I was to do it now.

    I do also own the .ie equivalent and redirect to the .com site – don’t know if this helps or hinders things. Probably doesn’t do any harm though.


    Comment by Frank Courtney — March 18, 2008 @ 1:08 pm

  34. my site {.net hosted in america} was being found in country filtered results even before applying geo target {any ideas as to why},once i applied the geo target i improved from position 2 to position 1 for my prime phrase, so it must be a good thing, plenty of folks still bang the local ip cctld drum but the proof of the pudding is in the eating as they say,

    Comment by mick — March 18, 2008 @ 8:26 pm

  35. Hi Richard,

    What about the title tag – so people want to click at the result i Google and the meta description are also important – that you make the meta description as a sales text.

    Also internal linking are important – a least 3 internal links to the same site at your webpage otherwise Google don´t think the website are relevant for the search engine.

    Henrik Stenmann
    Internet Intelligence House

    Comment by Henrik Stenmann — September 20, 2008 @ 5:57 pm

  36. Hi Henrik

    Thanks for stopping by. This is quite an old article now (it scares me to think I wrote this almost 2 years ago now…)

    This article was all about how to get into Google as opposed to how to rank or optimise your search snippets.

    I’m not quite understanding your second comment about ‘a[t] least 3 internal links to the same site at your webpage otherwise Google don´t think the website are relevant for the search engine’. I know of many pages that don’t link to any other internal pages and manage to rank quite well. I know Google were thinking of looking at orphan pages carefully to see if they might be parasitic, but not sure they implemented anything on this. I’d also use single-page websites as a good example of pages that don’t link to any other internal pages. Maybe I’ve picked you up wrong?

    Best rgds, and again thanks for stopping by and commenting :)

    Comment by webmaster — September 23, 2008 @ 6:32 pm

  37. Hi Richard,

    Great article, back to basics is something I think we all can do with reminding ourselfs of, wether you’re an expert or a novice, very useful.


    Comment by Ken Kennedy — September 24, 2008 @ 3:04 pm

  38. Hey Ken

    Great to hear from you again. How’s everything going over there? Hopefully all good.

    This article is a bit dated now – scary to think I wrote this nearly 2 years back… Probably be that a fair bit has changed since also.

    Best rgds

    Comment by Richard Hearne — September 29, 2008 @ 4:32 am

  39. Great article…although I would be interested if anyone could inform me of how to apply mod_rewrite functions to sites hosted on a Zeus Server…obviously there is a need for a conversion from Apache to Zeus but everytime I’ve tried, the rewrite does not work!!

    Comment by Tom — October 22, 2008 @ 4:30 pm

  40. Hi Tom

    Thanks for dropping by – I’m afraid I haven’t had any experience with that particular platform.

    Sorry :(

    Comment by Richard Hearne — October 23, 2008 @ 11:49 am

  41. THanks for the help. Especially for the link to Google’s webmaster guideline pages. Didn’t know it existed!

    Comment by Jeff — November 9, 2008 @ 9:17 am

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  43. Wow, this is really well written. Most such lists are full of nonsense and the latest shenanigans trying to fool the Googlebot. This list is anything but. I agree with every single point you made. I especially love that you tell people to forgo the site submission tool.

    For those of you who are new to this…follow the 10 steps outlined above and you are on your way to SERP success!

    Comment by Games — December 2, 2008 @ 7:51 am

  44. Hi Richard, I’m reading it over and over again and every time I’m amazed by simplicity and usefulness of this post.
    BTW things started slowly to get better for me too. :)
    Thanks a lot for your help!

    Comment by Tim Gross — June 22, 2009 @ 5:43 am

  45. Richard and guys who reads this!

    A little update: I’m very happy and would like to share this with you all. I created a simple site but with unique content around 1 month ago and following the above guidelines I received my calculated PR today. Guess what? It’s 3!!!:)
    Richard – thanks for putting together such relevant information and being such friendly guy!

    From grateful reader,

    Comment by Tim Gross — June 24, 2009 @ 3:57 pm

  46. It amazes me you allow the above guy to basically stamp the same message all over your blog. It takes from what is a great resource.

    Comment by Maria — June 24, 2009 @ 4:15 pm

  47. Hi Richard,

    Always worth a read every few months to keep myself inline.


    Comment by StuartC — August 1, 2009 @ 12:22 pm

  48. Found this article while searching for the term “how to get unbranded products into google products search”. It did take me off track for a while, but found it a great read.

    Unfortunately it didn’t answer my question, but many more in it’s place! The top 10 although a few years old now, still seems very relevant today. The only major addition would be perhaps social bookmarking? Would love to hear your thoughts on that topic!

    Cheers – Paul

    Comment by Paul — August 8, 2009 @ 6:00 pm

  49. Hi Paul

    Glad you found it useful, and I agree that not a whole lot has changed. I think social bookmarking can be useful for discovery, but basically any cheap manual “service” you can buy from developing countries is unlikely to have much value due to the shear amount of spam you get. The main changes since I wrote this are perhaps related to flash and quality of links required to rank well.

    I must rewrite this sometime actually. Thanks for dropping by.

    Comment by Richard Hearne — August 9, 2009 @ 5:03 am

  50. Thanks for this very great article, now all i need is apply the info to my site

    Comment by Mark — August 22, 2009 @ 6:26 am

  51. Richard, Great article. It is very rare I read an SEO article and agree with it throughout, but with this I do. in particular what you said about anchor text. alot of people are blinkered by the ‘content is king’ cliche that they ignore the facts that this, and the authority of the domain within the nice, are the most important things.

    Comment by Ian — September 4, 2009 @ 2:56 pm

  52. Hi Ian

    Thanks for commenting. This is an old post, but when I recently took a look to update it I actually decided virtually all of this still applies. Funny how little has changed in past 3 years – if anything these things are actually more important now than they were then.


    Comment by Richard Hearne — September 5, 2009 @ 11:38 am

  53. some really good advice on here!!! The ”organic” way to get your site up on google’s rank is the best way(quality content is very important). Great of you to have taken the time to lay this out for us – makes for an inreresting read so thanks very much!! Gabriel

    Comment by Gabriel — December 5, 2009 @ 2:05 am

  54. Hi, just came across your threads, and was wondering if its worth buying links? I’ve seen a few forums recommending it. Is it worth the price?

    Comment by Viv van der Holst — February 5, 2010 @ 10:31 pm

  55. This is a great easy to understand article. Could you suggest the best way to find out a list of directories worth submitting to and also the same for article based sites that may allow links from them

    Comment by Paul — February 26, 2010 @ 4:18 pm

  56. Thanks, a really nice artical that outlines most of the basics, If most people followed these steps then they would find it much easier to get ranked by google

    Comment by Tim Driver — March 4, 2010 @ 12:23 am

  57. @Viv – in my opinion you should only buy links if you truly understand the risk/reward ratio of that activity. If you’re not really up to scratch on how Google works then I’d strongly advise you focus on your content and promoting same.

    @Paul – directory links in general are adding less value over time IMO. Directory submission should simply be outsourced and then forget about it. You may find some decent directories, but these are few and far between.

    @Tim – hope it helped.

    Comment by Richard Hearne — March 17, 2010 @ 12:47 pm

  58. Thanks for such an informative article, easy to understand for a newbie! I especially appreciate your final point that you need to play by google’s rules. If you aggresively build links with the same anchor text, google will punish you!I found this out recently!!

    Comment by Neil Web — April 27, 2010 @ 9:55 pm

  59. Came upon this by chance searching google and good straightforward advice that hopefully I can follow to improve my rankings



    Comment by Simon — November 20, 2010 @ 11:24 am

  60. Hello,
    Very nice information I particularly didn’t realize that the mod rewrite would help out so I am looking into it. I have one question about the DMOZ directory, I have applied to it several times and waited upwards of four months and they will not include my site. I have all unique content and have been online for over six months. I am getting great traffic, sometimes more than 300 unique visitors a day but no DMOZ, and google still has my page rank zero. If you have a chance would you take a peek at my site, do I have something terribly wrong?
    Thank you very much,
    Rich (aka DisplacedGuy )

    Comment by Rich Bianco (DisplacedGuy) — November 24, 2010 @ 4:01 am

  61. Quality article. Even if it is a few years old there’s loads here still relevant and informative

    Comment by Peter Joseph — November 30, 2010 @ 11:00 am

  62. Great post thanks. Yep, I think point 10 is vital. Fashionable or not, white hat at all times!

    Comment by john Sheahan — December 7, 2010 @ 6:33 pm

  63. Would be great if you could do an update on this artical covering the most recent changes of the Google algorithim

    Comment by Paul Ipswich — January 6, 2011 @ 5:52 pm

  64. @Paul – good idea. I may just do that!

    Comment by Richard Hearne — March 8, 2011 @ 10:35 pm

  65. @Ricoh, don’t stress too much about dmoz. They don’t have the same value anymore as in their glorydays. A lot of smaller dmoz categories aren’t even indexed anymore by google.
    It can be real tough though to get into dmoz nowadays because a lot of editors simply reject a lot of pages.

    Comment by Ruben — March 9, 2011 @ 5:22 pm

  66. The ”organic” way to get your site up on google’s rank is the best way.

    Thanks for the tips Richards!

    Comment by Dave — March 10, 2011 @ 10:19 pm

  67. Very good advice, and even though its written in 2006 as its clean basics I assume still completely relevant today?

    Comment by Matt — August 19, 2013 @ 10:13 am

  68. Great article, thank you so much Richard! Been struggling with my SEO for a while now so hopefully this will get me back on track!

    Comment by Olga Hogan — November 12, 2017 @ 9:20 pm

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