SEO - Differences between commercial and non-commercial websites

Published: 14th February 2006
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Many of the articles you read on the Internet regarding search engine optimisation (SEO) fail to make any distinguishing difference between commercial and non-commercial website listings.

What we have found through our own experience:
1. Content - it has been said many times but well written content and plenty of it is very important.
(a) Commercial websites: with good content often have to take a more active approach in submitting their website to directories and search engines to obtain inbound links.
(b) Non-commercial websites: with good content may attract many "natural links" (websites that link to yours without a request)
2. Age - we believe that the age of a website is important.
(a) Commercial websites: with good content and age will have only succeeded if they have been actively marketed over the years e.g. submissions to directories and other search engines. So having a commercial website that has been around for years is no guarantee that it will come up highly in results.
(b) Non-commercial websites: that have good content will have probably picked up many "natural" links over the years.
3. DMOZ Commercial and Non-commercial websites that have been in this directory for sometime perform better in search engine results. Why, because the DMOZ directory data is freely distributable and many sites have sprung up over the years cloning part or all of DMOZ. The number of sites using DMOZ data seems to be reducing, therefore if you were in DMOZ at the early stages you are more likely to have many links to your website from many different domain names (with no reciprocal links back). A DMOZ listing is still important, but probably not as important as it was years ago when there were fewer directories. Google is still updating its directory with DMOZ data though probably not as frequently as it used to do.
4. Reciprocal links are becoming less and less important. One-way links have always been important. Google appears to be putting paid to all those sites that have tried to abuse the system of link swapping. Going back to point 3 and the DMOZ one-way links seems to prove this point.
5. Forget optimisation trends the main things to concentrate on are: good content, page titles, h1 and h2 tags, hyperlinks that search engines can follow (no Flash or JavaScript menu systems) and quick loading pages.
6. Aim to get listed - in well-rated directories and under the right category that require no reciprocal link. Free commercial directories (that are themselves well rated) and require no reciprocal links seem to be diminishing daily with many only accepting paid entry for commercial sites.
7. Instant results if you have a new commercial website and you want rapid results, you will have to pay for search engine sponsored links e.g. Google adwords, Overture (Yahoo) listings.
8. Paying but nothing else if you have a commercial website and pay for results there must also be a long-term marketing strategy (getting listed elsewhere). If you do not take a two-pronged approach then you are likely to be paying for results forever.

Summary
No one knows exactly how the technology works so do not believe everything you read.
Articles that others have written should only be used as a basis for your own theories. Read other search engine optimisation (SEO) articles and distinguish whether they are based on commercial or non-commercial websites.
Formulate your own theories, stay on top of the technology, and avoid those tricks and fads.

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