Frequently Asked Questions

We have answers!

Below you will find a collection of frequently asked questions related to Zee Designs, websites and print topics. If you have a question that is not answered here, please contact us.

What things other than keywords affect my rankings?

File Size
Smaller files (<40K) are preferred. ZD-CMS™ websites separate the formatting from the html pages, resulting in much smaller file sizes and cleaner content, both of which search engines love.

Hyphens in the Domain Name
Hyphens are used in domain names to make them easier to read and to indicate spaces, which are unusable. One or two hyphens can be excellent for separating keywords (i.e., pet-smart, pets-mart). Four or more can look like spam to a search engine. Ten or more are seen as spam, with rank demotion probable.

Freshness of Pages
Rankings are higher if the site changes over time, and when the site involves news, retail, or auction, the more recent the better! More frequent updates draw frequent spidering, which means the cached information the search engine has is more recent, which can improve your ranking. Some search engines look at the ratio of old pages to new pages.

Freshness of links may be good or bad: excellent for high-trust sites, perhaps worse for newer, low-trust sites. Search engines take care to ensure that spam sites where masses of links are updated daily from databases receive lower rankings.

Page Theming
Create the page content on the website to exhibit a clear and consistent theme and general consistency. Use your search terms, and also words that are similar to some or all of those terms, including plurals and synonyms.

URL length
Keep it less than the 2,000 characters allowed by Internet Explorer to be safe - less than 100 is even better. The ZD-CMS™ uses “pretty URLs,” which means the domain name is followed by a slash and a page title or record title without special characters, numbers, which search engines don’t like. Short, understandable, keyword relevant, and search engine friendly.

Site Size
Search Engines like big sites because larger sites are presumed to be more professional, better funded, better organized, better constructed, and therefore better sites. This can backfire if the site content is sparse or incongruent with the purported topic. Small sites with better content are preferred to large ones that have been generated artificially to look large.

Site Age
Sites that have been around longer do better than new sites when they have been updated over time. New pages on an older site will get faster recognition. There is often a temporary boost for very new sites - from one (1) week to three (3) weeks in Google and Yahoo.

Navigation within your own site
Ensure all links to other pages on your own site are valid and that you can get to any page in 2-4 clicks. ZD-CMSTM websites already have the efficient, logical, consistent, and conventional navigation with a tree-like structure the search engines prefer. Appropriate links between lower-level pages also enhance rankings. ZD-CMSTM websites have these built in.

Navigation outside your own site

  • Link only to sites that are congruent with your purpose and periodically monitor these sites for changes. Links can and do go bad, so you may end up unknowingly linking to a page that has different content than when you originally linked to it.
  • Do not link to “link farms.” A link farm is a Web site that is nothing more than a page of links to other sites.
  • Ensure that outgoing links are on topic, with descriptive wording.
  • Avoid changing links on a page continually. Keep them relatively stable over time.
  • Ensure that all external links (links to sites other than your own) are valid. Check all links periodically.
  • Use fewer than 100 links outside your site unless you have a very large site.

Visitor behavior can affect page ranking:
Search engines can glean traffic information Internet Server Providers and other available network resources. Google Toolbar is a less desirable way to get visitor behavior information. If you install the toolbar and enable page ranking, it will show the ranking of the sites you visit. The downside is that it slows your page loading as it starts tracking everything you personally do online. You lose all privacy, which is one of the many reasons Zee Designs does not recommend using the tool bar. The Google Toolbar comes bundled with many software packages you might install from CD or DVD, as well as many of those you might download from the web. There is always a way to opt out of installing, so use vigilance. If accidentally installed, it can be uninstalled easily.

Things that search engines look at with respect to visitor behavior:

  • Page traffic - # of visitors, trend
  • Page Selection Rate - How often is a page visited?
  • Time spent on page - Relatively long time = indicates relevance hit
  • Bookmark add/ removal frequency - Bookmarks are a good sign. The more recent the better, the more frequent the better.
  • How they left, where they went - Back button, link clicked, etc.

Zee Designs has Website Usage statistics that are automatically generated so you can monitor these trends. We can also install Google Analytics if you prefer that method of tracking your site’s information.

Site Metrics (Traffic Statistics) can affect page ranking:

  • Site Traffic - # of visitors, increasing trend is seen as good
  • Are the sites that link to your site highly rated sites?
  • Keyword searches used to find you.
  • Time visitor spent on domain. A relatively long time indicates a relevant hit.

Domain Owner Behavior:

  • If you register for 5 years or more, engines knows you are serious. Register for 1 year, they wonder if it is a throw-away domain.
  • Are associated sites legitimate? This is one very good reason to own .org, .biz, .info versions of your domain.

Note: For ALL the POSITIVE factors listed above, PAGE RANK (how many links from other quality sites point to your website) can OVERRIDE them all. The next section on Incoming Links will explain all about Page Rank.

Incoming Links:

  • Page Rank is based on the Number and Quality of links to you. To find out your Total incoming links ("backlinks"):
    • in Yahoo search, type in: linksite:www.domain-name.com linkdomain:www.domain-name.com
    • in MSN try: http://beta.search.msn.com and Use link:www.domainname.com
  • Acceleration of link popularity can be good or bad. If it happens too fast, search engines may consider it an artificial boost caused by cheating in some way.
  • Page ranks of referring pages (pages that link to you) indicate the quality of links to you.
  • Link text of inbound links to you may rank higher if it contains keywords or key phrases.
  • Age of link – Older is better.
  • Frequently changing link text is considered a suspect practice, and search engines assume the links are automatically generated in some way.
  • Popularity of referring page – High popularity = desirability, respect.
  • Number of outgoing links on the referring page - Fewer is better because it makes yours more important.
  • Position of link on referring page - Early in HTML is best.
  • Keyword density on referring page - Numerous compatible search keyword(s) “proves” relevance.
  • HTML title of referring page
  • When the referring page has the same, similar, or related subject or theme it boosts results. Links from sites with unrelated themes lower your rank.
  • Link from "Expert" sites are a big time boost. For example, if your website is linked to by The New York Times, it counts for more than if it is linked to by Mervin’s Roadkill Review.
  • Image map or javascript links may be seen as a way to hide a link.