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SEO Tips & Techniques

Just wondering if you've got any tips for doing on page SEO (search engine optimisation) on your networks?I've done the following:- Used the language editor to edit page titles and category headings to use relevant keywords- Used text boxes to include keywords relevant to my network- Used Scripts4Ning text boxes to add more description to areas like the forum and groups pagesDo you have other tips that will help with SEO?

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  • NC for Hire
    In addition to your SEO steps, if you've not taken these steps:
    • Add relevant "alt" and "title" tags to all images.
    • Add "title" tags to all hyperlinks.
    • Add a site Tag Cloud.
    • Add your main keywords in footer of site. Be careful with this one. You don't want Google to think you're stuffing keywords. Sometimes on Social Networks like Ning, since the footer is global, key word stuffing can become an issue.
    • Anytime you use your primary keywords, whether in a Text Box Title, Text Content, Pages, etc... add the BOLD attribute. BOLD words hold more weight with search engines.
    • On Ning Networks, the Network Description Box should be placed at top of site.


    • I'm curious...Why does having the Network Description Box at the top of the site affect Google results? Assuming I do move it, how do I hide it?

      Also, when you say add your keywords to the footer, do you mean just go into the language editor and change the footer text to just add a list of keywords?

      I actually had my network showing up near the top of the first page of Google search results at one point. Then we changed our mapped domain from .net to .com and now we're NOT showing up on Google when searching for the same keywords. Any idea how this change could cause this to happen?
      • NC for Hire
        Hi Kyle,
        You said: "I'm curious...Why does having the Network Description Box at the top of the site affect Google results? Assuming I do move it, how do I hide it?"

        Since Google doesn't divulge much, I can only base this on my readings, and first hand experience. I have found that Google's "fresh crawl", which is done often, by automated Spiders, is likely to pick up the top content of a website. Google makes no promises as to which URLs are "touched" on a "fresh crawl". You increase your chances of being crawled often, by changing your content regularly (an automatic asset of owning a Social Network). I have noticed many times, a fresh crawl almost always picks up the top-most content. The fresh crawl is shallow and Google might dip into the home page of your site (the front page, or index page) but not dive into a deep exploration of the site's inner pages.

        Go here and use the free Spider Tool: Spider Tool
        This will show you a lot.

        How to Hide Description Box:
        .xg_module_network_description {display:none!important;}

        On your last comment/question:
        "I actually had my network showing up near the top of the first page of Google search results at one point..."
        I imagine there are many factors on this one. But, the changing from .net to .com is probably the biggest factor. Your Alexa ranking completely changed, right? I would think that going from .net to .com could be compared to going from any ABC to any XYZ, in the eyes of Search Engine Spiders. But, honestly I'm not sure on this one. I've never had this experience, where I noticed the results. It would be nice to hear from someone else, who knows more about this.

        • Thanks. The weird part is that my old domain links are all still valid since I have it forwarded to the new domain...
        • Thanks for the pointers, Jen! I'll definitely take a look.
    • Jen, you are quite a resource! When you say to have the description box at top, is the way I have it here correct?

      I used the spider tool and the first thing that comes up is the names of the tabs- would that be a problem? thanks!
      • NC for Hire
        Hi Nico,
        Yes on your description box. I pull a sneaky on the NingDir. I like having other things at the top. So, technically my description box is at the top. But, I hide it, and welcome members from another box. However, even though it's hidden from view via CSS, since the Ning platform uses our description box as our meta tag for description, it's still picked up by spiders. ;-)

        On the tab names coming up first via the spider tool, not a problem. This is normal. Spiders crawl your site top/down. Hence, just one good reason that it's important to have good content at the top. Some spiders only perform quick updates, often. The quick updates only cover the top of a site. At least this is how I've learned it.
  • NC for Hire
    Hi Phil,
    You said: "Do title tags and alt tags actually help?"
    My experience has been: most definitely.

    You said: "Also, how can I add a tag cloud? Is this a widget or do Ning offer this?"
    I haven't seen a "widget" on Ning. You can find a great tag cloud tool here:
    And the code is tricky in a Ning Text Box. Please go here to follow steps on adding to Ning Text Box.

    Yes, S4N Footer is a great way to add keywords. And, on being careful, yes, only use the absolute most important keywords, and only once. Make the hyperlink a Search string like this:
    This is another "long way" to add tags, to form a tag cloud.

    Actually, right now, I'm not hiding the description box. I did for while, but not currently. Maybe you saw a cached version of the home page?

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