Website Lifecycle

In developing a website there are six key stages, beginning with the investigation of the project where the business case is established through to decommissioning when the website is retired.

These stages of development take place in a complex environment that is influenced and controlled by factors such as agency and user needs, governance, standards, reporting and accountability.

These stages are not always sequential. For example, many websites are never decommissioned but are instead redeveloped (many agency corporate websites are seen as permanent and will be required for as long as the agency exists).

During each of the stages of website development and management project managers should stay alert for opportunities to consolidate. Consolidation can improve the user experience by simplifying resource discovery while also lowering development and maintenance costs.

The following environmental considerations should be considered at all stages of the website lifecycle: agency needs, user needs, governance, standards, and finally reporting and accountability.

Elements of the Website Lifecycle
The Website Lifecycle is separated into six stages. The lifecycle starts with investigate, then through the stages 1 – plan, 2 – design, build and test, 3 – operate, maintain and evaluate. The optional stage, 4 – redevelop, leads back to the planning stage. The lifecycle finishes with decommission.

In this stage, the website takes form as an idea. This idea is tested through assessing its business case; in particular, the level of demand from users and the value of the benefits to be delivered. The outcome is a business case that describes the rationale, benefits and value for the proposed website.

This investigation should consider the whole internet portfolio of the agency, and not just the proposed website, so that any opportunities for consolidation are considered in context.

In this stage, the website is planned in detail. The more effort put into planning, the more successful the website is likely to be. Planning will save time and money by avoiding the need for potential re-work.

Planning requires a thorough understanding of user and agency needs to ensure that the project can deliver successfully. The outcome of this stage is a detailed project plan including information architecture and conceptual design.
Design, build and test

In this stage the structure of the website is developed, its design finalised then built and tested. This stage usually involves development of a small pilot version to test with users and the agency stakeholders.

This is an iterative cycle that is complete once all problems have been fixed. The website is then launched and goes live.
Operate, maintain and evaluate

In this stage, the website is operated and maintained, with regular planned improvements. This involves keeping everything up to date and regularly reporting on performance, to ensure that the website is a success. One element of the maintenance plan should be periodic evaluation of the website. This evaluation might lead to a decision to redevelop or decommission it.

The decision to redevelop should be based on a review of the performance and success of the website. It involves commencing again at the plan stage, while continuing to operate and maintain the website. The next section of these guidelines takes a closer look at the evaluation and redevelopment process.

If the redevelopment has led to consolidation of content, there will be a need to decommission older content and sites. Decommissioning contains more information on the issues agencies should consider when decommissioning websites.

Posted in Search Engine Marketing | Leave a comment

The basics of Search Engine friendly Design and Development

  Juggling Panda Image I think I have a problem with getting found.  I built this huge  flash site for juggling pandas and I’m showing up nowhere on Google.  What’s up?

Juggling Pandas Comparison

Whoa! That’s what we look like?

Using the Google cache feature, we’re able to see that to a search engine,’s homepage is simply a link to another page. This is bad because it makes it difficult to interpret relevancy.

I'm totally going to check out my Axe Battling Monkeys blog! Axe Battling Monkeys

That’s alot of monkeys, and just headline text?

Hey, where did the fun go?

Uh oh… Via Google cache, we can see that the page is a barren wasteland. There’s not even text telling us that the page contains the Axe Battling Monkeys. The site is entirely built in Flash, but sadly, this means that search engines cannot index any of the text content, or even the links to the individual games.

If you’re curious about exactly what terms and phrases search engine can see on a webpage, We have a nifty tool called “Term Extractor” that will display words & phrases ordered by frequency. However, it’s wise to not only check for text content but to also use a tool like SEO Browser to double-check that the pages you’re building are visible to the engines. It’s very hard to rank if you don’t even appear in the search engine keyword databases.


Search engines need to see content in order to list pages in their massive keyword-based indices. They also need to have access to a crawlable link structure – one that lets their spiders browse the pathways of a website – in order to find all of the pages on a website. Hundreds of thousands of sites make the critical mistake of hiding or obsfucating their navigation in ways that search engines cannot access, thus impacting their ability to get pages listed in the search engines’ indices. Below, we’ve illustrated how this problem can happen:

Index DiagramIn the example above, Google’s spider has reached page “A” and sees links to pages “B” and “E.” However, even though C & D might be important pages on the site, the spider has no way to reach them (or even know they exist) because no direct, crawlable links point to those pages. As far as Google is concerned, they might as well not exist – great content, good keyword targeting, and smart marketing won’t make any difference at all if the spiders can’t reach those pages in the first place.


Links in submission-required forms

Forms can include something as basic as a drop down menu or as complex as a full-blown survey. In either case, search spiders will not attempt to “submit” forms and thus, any content or links that would be accessible via a form are invisible to the engines.

Links in un-parseable javascript

If you use Javascript for links, you may find that search engines either do not crawl or give very little weight to the links embedded within. Standard HTML links should replace Javascript (or accompany it) on any page where you’d like spiders to crawl.

Links pointing to pages blocked by the meta robots tag or robots.txt

The Meta Robots tag and the Robots.txt file (full description here) both allow a site owner to restrict spider access to a page. Just be warned that many a webmaster has unintentionally used these directives as an attempt to block access by rogue bots, only to discover that search engines cease their crawl.

Links in frames or I-frames

Technically, links in both frames and I-Frames are crawlable, but both present structural issues for the engines in terms of organization and following. Unless you’re an advanced user with a good technical understanding of how search engines index and follow links in frames, it’s best to stay away from them.

Links only accessible through search

Although this relates directly to the above warning on forms, it’s such a common problem that it bears mentioning. Spiders will not attempt to perform searches to find content, and thus, it’s estimated that millions of pages are hidden behind completely inaccessible walls, doomed to anonymity until a spidered page links to it.

Links in flash, java, or other plug-ins

The links embedded inside the Panda site (from our above example) is a perfect illustration of this phenomenon. Although dozens of pandas are listed and linked to on the Panda page, no spider can reach them through the site’s link structure, rendering them invisible to the engines (and un-retrievable by searchers performing a query).

Links on pages with many hundreds or thousands of links

Search engines tend to only crawl about 100 links on any given page. This loose restriction is necessary to keep down on spam and conserve rankings.

If you avoid these pitfalls, you’ll have clean, spiderable HTML  links that will allow the spiders easy access to your content pages.

rel nofollowRel=”nofollow” can be used with the following syntax:

<a href= rel="nofollow">Lousy Punks!</a>Links can have lots of attributes applied to them, but the engines ignore nearly all of these, with the important exception of the rel=”nofollow” tag. In the example above, by adding the rel=nofollow attribute to the link tag, we’ve told the search engines that we, the site owners, do not want this link to be interpreted as the normal, “editorial vote.” Nofollow came about as a method to help stop automated blog comment, guestbook, and link injection spam (read more about the launch here), but has morphed over time into a way of telling the engines to discount any link value that would ordinarily be passed. Links tagged with nofollow are interpreted slightly differently by each of the engines. You can read more about the affect of this and PageRank sculpting on this blog post.


nofollowed links carry no weight or impact and are interpreted as HTML text (as though the link did not exist). Google’s representatives have said that they will not count those links in their link graph of the web at all.

Yahoo! & Bing

Both of these engines say that nofollowed links do not impact search results or rankings, but may be used by their crawlers as a way to discover new pages. That is to say that while they “may” follow the links, they will not count them as a method for positively impacting rankings.

Ask is unique in its position, claiming that nofollowed links will not be treated any differently than any other kind of link. It is Ask’s public position that their algorithms (based on local, rather than global popularity) are already immune to most of the problems that nofollow is intended to solve.


NoFollow Graph


Keywords are fundamental to the search process – they are the building blocks of language and of search. In fact, the entire science of information retrieval (including web-based search engines like Google) is based on keywords. As the engines crawl and index the contents of pages around the web, they keep track of those pages in keyword-based indices. Thus, rather than storing 25 billion web pages all in one database (which would get pretty big), the engines have millions and millions of smaller databases, each centered on a particular keyword term or phrase. This makes it much faster for the engines to retrieve the data they need in a mere fraction of a second.

Obviously, if you want your page to have a chance of being listed in the search results for “dog,” it’s extremely wise to make sure the word “dog” is part of the indexable content of your document.

Steps Diagram

Keyword Map


Keywords also dominate our search intent and interaction with the engines. For example, a common search query pattern might go something like this.

When a search is performed, the engine knows which pages to retrieve based on the words entered into the search box. Other data, such as the order of the words (“tanks shooting” vs. “shootingtanks”), spelling, punctuation, and capitalization of those terms provide additional information that the engines can use to help retrieve the right pages and rank them.

For obvious reasons, search engines measure the ways keywords are used on pages to help determine the “relevance” of a particular document to a query. One of the best ways to “optimize” a page’s rankings is, therefore, to ensure that keywords are prominently used in titles, text, and meta data.

The map graphic to the left shows the relevance of the broad term books to the specific title, Tale of Two Cities. Notice that while there are a lot of results (size of country) for the broad term, there is a lot less results and thus competition for the specific result.


Whenever the topic of keyword usage and search engines come together, a natural tendency to use the phrase “keyword density”. This is tragic. Keyword density is, without question, NOT a part of modern web search engine ranking algorithms for the simple reason that it provides far worse results than many other, more advanced methods of keyword analysis. Rather than cover this logical fallacy in depth in this guide, we’ll simply reference Dr. Edel Garcia’s seminal work on the topic – The Keyword Density of Non-Sense.

The notion of keyword density value predates all commercial search engines and the Internet and can hardly be considered an information retrieval concept. What is worse, keyword density plays no role on how commercial search engines process text, index documents, or assign weights to terms. Why then do many optimizers still believe in keyword density values? The answer is simple: misinformation.

Dr. Garcia’s background in information retrieval and his mathematical proofs should debunk any notion that keyword density can be used to help “optimize” a page for better rankings. However, this same document illustrates the unfortunate truth about keyword optimization – without access to a global index of web pages (to calculate term weight) and a representative corpus of the Internet’s collected documents (to help build a semantic library), we have little chance to create formulas that would be helpful for true optimization.

On-Page Optimization

That said, keyword usage and targeting are only a small part of the search engines’ ranking algorithms, and we can still leverage some effective “best practices” for keyword usage to help make pages that are very close to “optimized.” Here at SEOmoz, we engage in a lot of testing and get to see a huge number of search results and shifts based on keyword usage tactics. When working with one of your own sites, this is the process we recommend:

  • Use the keyword in the title tag at least once, and possibly twice (or as a variation) if it makes sense and sounds good (this is subjective, but necessary). Try to keep the keyword as close to the beginning of the title tag as possible. More detail on title tags follows later in this section.
  • Once in the H1 header tag of the page.
  • At least 3X in the body copy on the page (sometimes a few more times if there’s a lot of text content). You may find additional value in adding the keyword more than 3X, but in our experience, adding more instances of a term or phrase tends to have little to no impact on rankings.
  • At least once in bold. You can use either the <strong> or <b> tag, as search engines consider them equivalent.
  • At least once in the alt attribute of an image on the page. This not only helps with web search, but also image search, which can occasionally bring valuable traffic.
  • Once in the URL. Additional rules for URLs and keywords are discussed later on in this section.
  • At least once (sometimes 2X when it makes sense) in the meta description tag. Note that the meta description tag does NOT get used by the engines for rankings, but rather helps to attract clicks by searchers from the results page (as it is the “snippet” of text used by the search engines).
  • Generally not in link anchor text on the page itself that points to other pages on your site or different domains (this is a bit complex – see this blog post for details).

Keyword Density Myth Example

If two documents, D1 and D2, consist of 1000 terms (l = 1000) and repeat a term 20 times (tf = 20), then a keyword density analyzer will tell you that for both documents Keyword Density (KD) KD = 20/1000 = 0.020 (or 2%) for that term. Identical values are obtained when tf = 10 and l = 500. Evidently, a keyword density analyzer does not establish which document is more relevant. A density analysis or keyword density ratio tells us nothing about:

  1. The relative distance between keywords in documents (proximity)
  2. Where in a document the terms occur (distribution)
  3. The co-citation frequency between terms (co-occurance)
  4. The main theme, topic, and sub-topics (on-topic issues) of the documents

The Conclusion:

Keyword density is divorced from content, quality, semantics, and relevancy.


What should optimal page density look like then? An optimal page for the phrase “running shoes” would thus look something like:

Running ShoesYou can read more information about On-Page Optimization at this post.

TV FootballThe title tag of any page appears at the top of Internet browsing software, but this location has been noted to receive a relatively small amount of attention from users, making it the least important of the three.

Yahoo FootballUsing keywords in the title tag means that search engines will “bold” (or highlight) those terms in the search results when a user has performed a query with those terms. This helps garner a greater visibility and a higher click-through rate.

Digg FootballThe final important reason to create descriptive, keyword-laden title tags is for ranking at the search engines. The above screenshot comes from SEOmoz’s survey of 37 influential thought leaders and practitioners in the SEO industry on the search engine ranking factors. In that survey, 35 of the 37 participants said that keyword use in the title tag was the most important place to use keywords to achieve high rankings.


The title element of a page is meant to be an accurate, concise description of a page’s content. It creates value in three specific areas (covered to the left) and is critical to both user experience and search engine optimization.

As title tags are such an important part of search engine optimization, following best practices for title tag creation makes for terrific low-hanging SEO fruit. The recommendations below cover the critical parts of optimizing title tags for search engine and usability goals:

Be mindful of length

70 characters is the maximum amount that will display in the search results (the engines will show an ellipsis – “…” to indicate when a title tag has been cut off), and sticking to this limit is generally wise. However, if you’re targeting multiple keywords (or an especially long keyword phrase) and having them in the title tag is essential to ranking, it may be advisable to go longer.

Place important keywords close to the front

The closer to the start of the title tag your keywords are, the more helpful they’ll be for ranking and the more likely a user will be to click them in the search results (at least, according to SEOmoz’s testing and experience).

Leverage branding

At SEOmoz, we love to start every title tag with a brand name mention, as these help to increase brand awareness, and create a higher click-through rate for people who like and are familiar with a brand. Many SEO firms recommend using the brand name at the end of a title tag instead, and there are times when this can be a better approach – think about what matters to your site (or your client’s site) and how strong the brand is.

Consider readability and emotional impact

Creating a compelling title tag will pull in more visits from the search results and can help to invest visitors in your site. Thus, it’s important to not only think about optimization and keyword usage, but the entire user experience. The title tag is a new visitor’s first interaction with your brand and should convey the most positive impression possible.

Best Practices for Title Tags


Meta tags were originally intended to provide a proxy for information about a website’s content. Each of the basic meta tags are listed below, along with a description of their use.


The Meta Robots tag can be used to control search engine spider activity (for all of the major engines) on a page level. There are several ways to use meta robots to control how search engines treat a page:

  • Index/NoIndex tells the engines whether the page should be crawled and kept in the engines’ index for retrieval. If you opt to use “noindex,” the page will be excluded from the engines. By default, search engines assume they can index all pages, so using the “index” value is generally unnecessary.
  • Follow/NoFollow tells the engines whether links on the page should be crawled. If you elect to employ “nofollow,” the engines will disregard the links on the page both for discovery and ranking purposes. By default, all pages are assumed to have the “follow” attribute.
  • Noarchive is used to restrict search engines from saving a cached copy of the page. By default, the engines will maintain visible copies of all pages they indexed, accessible to searchers through the “cached” link in the search results.
  • Nosnippet informs the engines that they should refrain from displaying a descriptive block of text next to the page’s title and URL in the search results.
  • NoODP is a specialized tag telling the engines not to grab a descriptive snippet about a page from the Open Directory Project (DMOZ) for display in the search results.
  • NoYDir, like NoODP, is specific to Yahoo!, informing that engine not to use the Yahoo! Directory description of a page/site in the search results


The meta description tag exists as a short description of a page’s content. Search engines do not use the keywords or phrases in this tag for rankings, but meta descriptions are the primary source for the snippet of text displayed beneath a listing in the results.

The meta description tag serves the function of advertising copy, drawing readers to your site from the results and thus, is an extremely important part of search marketing. Crafting a readable, compelling description using important keywords (notice how Google “bolds” the searched keywords in the description) can draw a much higher click-through rate of searchers to your page.

Meta descriptions can be any length, but search engines generally will cut snippets longer than 160 characters (as in the Balboa Park example to the right), so it’s generally wise to stay in these limits.


Meta Keywords

The meta keywords tag had value at one time, but is no longer valuable or important to search engine optimization. For more on the history and a full account of why meta keywords has fallen in disuse, read Meta Keywords Tag 101 from SearchEngineLand.

Meta refresh, meta revisit-after, meta content type, etc.

Although these tags can have uses for search engine optimization, they are less critical to the process, and so I’ll leave them to John Mueller of Google’s Webmaster Central division to answer in greater detail – Meta Tags & Web Search.

Meta Description


URLs, the web address for a particular document, are of great value from a search perspective. They appear in multiple important locations.

Google URLAbove, the green text shows the url for SEOmoz’s Web 2.0 awards. Since search engines display URLs in the results, they can impact clickthrough and visibility. URLs are also used in ranking documents, and those pages whose names include the queried search terms receive some benefit from proper, descriptive use of keywords.
Browser URLURLs make an appearance in the web browser’s address bar, and while this generally has little impact on search engines, poor URL structure and design can result in negative user experiences.
Blog URLThe URL above is used as the link anchor text pointing to the referenced page in this blog post.


Employ Empathy

Place yourself in the mind of a user and look at your URL. If you can easily and accurately predict the content you’d expect to find on the page, your URLs are appropriately descriptive. You don’t need to spell out every last detail in the URL, but a rough idea is a good starting point.

Shorter is better

While a descriptive URL is important, minimizing length and trailing slashes will make your URLs easier to copy and paste (into emails, blog posts, text messages, etc) and will be fully visible in the search results.

Keyword use is important (but overuse is dangerous)

If your page is targeting a specific term or phrase, make sure to include it in the URL. However, don’t go overboard by trying to stuff in multiple keywords for SEO purposes – overuse will result in less usable URLs and can trip spam filters (from email clients, search engines, and even people!).

Go static

With technologies like mod_rewrite for Apache and ISAPI_rewrite for Microsoft, there’s no excuse not to create simple, static URLs. Even single dynamic parameters in a URL can result in lower overall ranking and indexing (SEOmoz itself switched from dynamic URLs – e.g., to static URLS – e.g., in 2007 and saw a 15% rise in search traffic over the following 6 weeks).

Choose descriptives whenever possible

Rather than selecting numbers or meaningless figures to categorize information, use real words. For example, a URL like is far more usable and valuable than

Use hyphens to separate words

Not all of the search engines accurately interpret separators like underscore “_,” plus “+,” or space “%20,” so use the hyphen “-” character to separate words in a URL, as in the SEOmoz 11 Best Practices for URLs example above.



Canonicalization can be a challenging concept to understand (and hard to pronounce – “ca-non-ick-cull-eye-zay-shun”), but it’s essential to creating an optimized website. The fundamental problems stem from multiple uses for a single piece of writing – a paragraph or, more often, an entire page of content will appear in multiple locations on a website, or even on multiple websites. For search engines, this presents a conundrum – which version of this content should they show to searchers? In SEO circles, this issue often referred to as duplicate content – described in greater detail here.

Duplicate Gems

The engines are picky about duplicate versions of a single piece of material. To provide the best searcher experience, they will rarely show multiple, duplicate pieces of content and thus, are forced to choose which version is most likely to be the original (or best).

Canonicalization is the practice of organizing your content in such a way that every unique piece has one and only one URL. By following this process, you can ensure that the search engines will find a singular version of your content and assign it the highest achievable rankings based on your domain strength, trust, relevance, and other factors. If you leave multiple versions of content on a website (or websites), you might end up with a scenario like that to the right.

Discount Gems

Single Gem

If, instead, the site owner took those three pages and 301-redirected them, the search engines would have only one, stronger page to show in the listings from that site:

When multiple=

You say you want another option though?

A different option from the search engines, called the “Canonical URL Tag” is another way to reduce instances of duplicate content on a single site and canonicalize to an individual URL. (This can also be used from one URL on one domain to a different URL on a different domain.)

The tag is part of the HTML header on a web page, the same section you’d find the Title element and Meta Description tag. This simply uses a new rel parameter.

The Inner Workings
<link rel=”canonical” href=””/> This would tell Yahoo!, Bing & Google that the page in question should be treated as though it were a copy of the URL and that all of the link & content metrics the engines apply should technically flow back to that URL.

The Canonical URL tag attribute is similar in many ways to a 301 redirect from an SEO perspective. In essence, you’re telling the engines that multiple pages should be considered as one (which a 301 does), without actually redirecting visitors to the new URL (often saving your development staff considerable heartache).

How we do it

SEOmoz has worked on several campaigns where two versions of every content page existed in both a standard, web version and a print-friendly version. In one instance, the publisher’s own site linked to both versions, and many external links pointed to both as well (this is a common phenomenon, as bloggers & social media types like to link to print-friendly versions to avoid advertising). We worked to individually 301 re-direct all of the print-friendly versions of the content back to the originals and created a CSS option to show the page in printer-friendly format (on the same URL). This resulted in a boost of more than 20% in search engine traffic within 60 days. Not bad for a project that only required an hour to identify and a few clever rules in the htaccess file to fix.

Easy as Pie


How scrapers like your rankings

Unfortunately, the web is filled with hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of unscrupulous websites whose business and traffic models depend on plucking the content of other sites and re-using them (sometimes in strangely modified ways) on their own domains. This practice of fetching your content and re-publishing is called “scraping,” and the scrapers make remarkably good earnings by outranking sites for their own content and displaying ads (ironically, often Google’s own AdSense program).

When you publish content in any type of feed format – RSS/XML/etc – make sure to ping the major blogging/tracking services (like Google, Technorati, Yahoo!, etc.). You can find instructions for how to ping services like Google and Technorati directly from their sites, or use a service like Pingomatic to automate the process. If your publishing software is custom-built, it’s typically wise for the developer(s) to include auto-pinging upon publishing.

Next, you can use the scrapers’ laziness against them. Most of the scrapers on the web will re-publish content without editing, and thus, by including links back to your site, and the specific post you’ve authored, you can ensure that the search engines see most of the copies linking back to you (indicating that your source is probably the originator). To do this, you’ll need to use absolute, rather that relative links in your internal linking structure. Thus, rather than linking to your home page using:

<a href="../>Home</a> You would instead use: <a href="">Home</a>

This way, when a scraper picks up and copies the content, the link remains pointing to your site.

Hope it is helpfull.
Posted in Search Engine Marketing | Leave a comment

Ugadi Subhakankshalu

Posted in Search Engine Marketing | Leave a comment

Top Search Engine Ranking Factors

PageRank is not the only factor that Google uses to rank search results. Google uses

more than 200 “signals”to calculate the rank of a page.

experts, the top 10 most important factors include the following:

a According to a survey of SEOb

• Keyword use in title tag 


• Anchor text of inbound link

• Global link popularity of site

• Age of site

• Link popularity within the site’s internal link structure

• Topical relevance of inbound links to site

• Link popularity of site in topical community

• Keyword use in body text

• Global link popularity of linking site

• Topical relationship of linking page

The top factors that negatively affect a search engine spider’s ability to crawl a page or

harm its rankings are as follows:

• Server often inaccessible to bots

• Content very similar to or duplicate of existing content in the index

• External links to low-quality/spam sites

• Duplicate title/meta tags on many pages

• Overuse of targeted keywords (indicative of stuffing/spamming)

• Participation in link schemes or actively selling links

• Very slow server response times

• Inbound links from spam sites

• Low levels of visitors to the site

Hope….. usefull for somebody…..



Posted in SEO | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Happy pongal

Posted in Search Engine Marketing | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

2010 greetings

BYE!! BYE!! 2009

Now let’s welcome 2010

Posted in Search Engine Marketing | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Highlights of the year 2009

09-09-09 this day comes only once in 100 years
22-7-09 the biggest suryagrahanam once in 100 years
2009 starts and ends with thursday
2009 has 5 sundays & 5 saturdays in just one month, it happens only once in 723 years
Aug 7th  at 12 hr 34 min 56 sec this year, the time and date will be 12:34:56 07/08/09 (123456789 series) will be coming only once in ur life… what a year

And more…. i don’t know…..

enjoy the last days of this year…..

Posted in Search Engine Marketing | Leave a comment