It seems to be a consistent trend when a new client meets with us, telling us about their incredible website which they’ve paid (sometimes) thousands of dollars to have it built for them, only for us to turn around and tell them plainly “I’m sorry, but this is terrible to work with”.
Having a flair for style is a great thing when it comes to being a designer, but there are some key points which designers should always bear in mind when constructing a new website, whether for themselves, or for a client. It’s time, I think, to cover just the bear minimum of basics for all of you web designers out there.
1. Title and Meta tags
Important to your site, as a note, don’t try and wedge all of your keywords into these places, it can just get you a mark for trying to be overly spammy. Too many marks, and your website can actually start working against you.
2. Avoid frames, keep flash and java to a minimum
Frames are a no-no code wise for a great long time now, it’s sloppy, looks terribly unprofessional, and best to be avoided completetly.
Flash and Java, while they can add some neat tricks or interesting effects to your site, don’t make a lick of sense to Google.
3. Alt attributes
It’s simple, as with Flash and (some) Java : spiders can’t see pictures. the “alt” tag is there for you tell the spiders what it’s looking at.
4. Use clean, valid mark up.
Make your HTML clean and simple – don’t use tables or use lots of unnecessary DIVs. This will improve your load time which is great for visitors and also make it easier for search engines to crawl and find your page’s content.
5. Make use of header tags
Think of header tags like chapter titles within a book, makes it easy to navigate the index of pages contained within.
6. Try descriptive link text
Linking your website together just makes the navigation better, period, for both bots/spiders and a user experience. Try to avoid things like “click here” and the like.
7. Help bots crawl your site
Bots/spiders are pretty good at navigating your site, but just like having an index or table of contents to a book, it’s helpful to have the same in place for your website. A well formed footer, or sitemap only helps our job as SEO’s when you come to us to assist your rankings online.
All of the above tips, are very basic tips that all web designers should already know and bear in mind when constructing a website. But it is always a good idea to brush up on the fundamentals. Because often times, designers can’t see a forest for the trees.
Breaking ground to make a new flower garden, you can get some unpleasant issues from time to time. Grass creeping into your garden, weeds, bugs, animals rooting around, all matters which just need to be handled as you tend to your garden. The majority of the issues can be taken care of with simple due diligence, but one problem in particular, weeds, can pose additional risk to those who don’t know what they’re looking for.
Weeds can look deceptively similar to flowers which you have planted in your garden, blending in with your desired product, choking them out and hiding their true worth. Only by taking the time, being fully aware of what you have, and what you need to remove from your field of view, can you seperate the weeds, and appreciate your hard earned effort.
Flower gardens and SEO? What do they have in common? Nothing. Neither do house hold do it yourself repairs have with optimization, baking, painting, or anything else for that matter (but all of the aformentioned sites, I have read blogs posted by them on the topic of SEO); search engine optimization is relevant to search engine optimization.
So why the analogy? Well, since Freshtraffic has opened up in Winnipeg, there were only one or two other businesses in town offering services which barely begin to resemble SEO services for clients. The realm of search engine optimization, was firmly in the hands of the Freshtraffic team; yet here we are, 2 years later and there are dozens of companies offering SEO services in Winnipeg. Strange how Fresh breaks new ground in Winnipeg, and all of a sudden there’s a wealth of “experts” in the field in town.
Take some time, do your due diligence when taking your companies first steps into having your website optimized. It would be a shame to have all the work of building your businesses website all for nothing, by not having the best work for you.
The holding company for MediaNews Group Inc. newspapers, including The Denver Post and San Jose Mercury News, says it plans to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
It would be at least the 13th bankruptcy filing by a U.S. newspaper publisher in the past 13 months. The owners of dozens of newspapers have been pushed into bankruptcy protection as the recession and competition from the Internet have sapped advertising revenue.
Newspapers that seem to have survived and some that thrive started implementing an seo strategy years ago to make sure they had online coverage listing as high as possible for the eyeballs and advertising dollars.
If you require help on SEO Strategies & Online Marketing Advertising Call 204.942.4200. We serve Fresh Ideas.
With the quake in Haiti, there’s been a massive outpouring of interest in Google trends, as some want to see the extent of the damage, some looking for friends/loved ones, some looking to help in any way they can.. and then there are the not so noble.
The black hatters, the spammers, those who embed code within pages to trick you into thinking that you’re clicking through to an agency wanting to help in light of the crisis, when all the website is really designed to do is.. well who really knows? It could be to silently install malware on your computer, it could be to just accept your information to build a saleable database of peoples names and numbers. The pages will only be findable in the engines SERPs for a short time, before they are actively removed, but some will still click on them under the false pretense that they’re helping the victims in Haiti.
Black hat SEOs are in the business of generating bursts of traffic, to targetted pages. They’ll use every trick, scam, and loophole that they can to either steal information, install malicious software, or what not. So how do you know what a genuine link is, and isn’t? Well first off and foremost, if you truly want to help just visit www.redcross.org and follow their links to lend your aid.
But how to spot a blackhat link, and a genuine link? First and foremost, before clicking any link returned on the SERP for “haiti earthquake donation”, seeing as it’s a very hot trend at the moment, check the specific URL (written in green, at the bottom of the description) before hand. Take for example, the American Red Cross’s URL and description for their site currently :
American Red Cross
Earthquake in Haiti. Posted in Press Releases, 01/14/10 … See larger map by visiting mGive You can donate $10 to Haiti relief by texting “Haiti” to 90999. … www.redcross.org/
A well known agency & website title, intelligible description (not spammy), and the actual link being a .org, further lending to it’s credibility.
Now as for a blackhats spammy/scammy version:
Haiti Earthquake Donation
13 Jan 2010 … $250000 Donation to the Red Cross Haiti Earthquake Fund . Donate to help Oxfam’s emergency response in Haiti.Posts Tagged ‘ haiti earthquake …
The title reads that they have the noblest intentions, but the description text is very spammy, and adding the biggest red flag, the url listed at the end. A properly written URL wouldn’t contain “?q=” as part of the code. What that portion of the url does, is it acts as a redirect from the link you actually click. By clicking the above link you’ll be sent to who knows where, but it won’t have anything to do with helping those in need in Haiti.
Taking just a moment to read the expanded URL that is listed in the results, can save you immeasurable amounts of grief at a later date. In the end, black hat SEOs take advantage of the true victims, exploit people who genuinely want to help, and if they’re piggybacking a genuine website like above, it hurts their reputation online as well. All to give you a trojan/worm/virus to infect your system, and steal your personal information.
Being the start of the year, it’s always a good idea to remember what you’ve done, what you’ve accomplished, and the lessons you’ve learned. It’s also a good idea to remember and brush up on the basics, because if your foundation has no strength, what ever you build upon it will fall.
Search engine optimization, an industry born from neccesity, is as much an art, as it is a mathematical science. But just because you get the perfect ratio of keyword to text and what not, it doesn’t mean you’ll rank well in the SERPs. Google, the king of the multi-billion dollar mountain of search, basically birthed SEO and has brought it’s evolution to it’s current state. So who better to review the basics with?
We’ll go over the basics very briefly initially, and pay closer attention to some of the key points as they merit.
1) Create unique, accurate page titles
“A title tag tells both users and search engines what the topic of a particular page is.”
2) Make use of the “description” meta tag
“A page’s description meta tag gives Google and other search engines a summary of what the page is about.”
3) Improve the structure of your URLs – Basically make your URLs easy to read.
“This can not only help you keep your site better organized, but it could also lead to better crawling of your documents by search engines. Also, it can create easier, “friendlier” URLs for those that want to link to your content.”
Try your best when designing your site, to avoid URL structure like www.testsite.com/72a00065a.htm It’s non-descriptive, makes no sense to a visitor who may choose to link to your content, and can make it difficult to keep your site and pages organized.
4) Make your site easier to navigate
“The navigation of a website is important in helping visitors quickly find the content they want. It can also help search engines understand what content the webmaster thinks is important.”
5) Offer quality content and services – this is really in their guide, it surprised me honestly.
“Creating compelling and useful content will likely influence your website more than any of the other factors discussed here.”
6) Write better anchor text – Avoid using anchor text like click here and the like
“Anchor text is the clickable text that users will see as a result of a link, and is placed within the anchor tag. This text tells users and Google something about the page you’re linking to.”
7) Use heading tags appropriately – Six types, ranging from H1 to H6, H1 being the most important.
“Heading tags are used to present structure on the page to users.”
8) Optimize your use of images – Search engine spiders can’t see pictures the same way we do
“Images may seem like a straightforward component of your site, but you can optimize your use of them. All images can have a distinct filename and “alt” attribute, both of which you should take advantage of.”
9) Make effective use of robots.txt – Note: You need to exercise care with your robots file. You could accidentally prevent your site from being indexed properly if you’re unsure of how to configure it.
“A “robots.txt” file tells search engines whether they can access and therefore crawl parts of your site.”
10) Be aware of rel=”nofollow” for links – Note: As with the robots file, if you’re unsure as to proper use of nofollow, use caution.
“Setting the value of the “rel” attribute of a link to “nofollow” will tell Google that certain links on your site shouldn’t be followed or pass your page’s reputation to the pages linked to.”
All of the above are essentially the good, solid practices that any SEO should be following. Additionally, every one of the points I’ve touched upon, is found in Google’s own search engine optimization handbook; their “starter guide”. If you happen to catch, or notice, an SEO Expert, not following one or more of the above, then how much of an expert could he really be if he can’t even follow the beginners rules?
The Winnipeg Goldeyes have re-engaged the Internet markeing / SEO services of the Fresh Traffic Group for their 2010 season. The two organizations teamed up last year to begin expanding the Goldeyes brand across the major search engines with the goal of driving increased traffic to their e-commerce store at www.goldeyes.com.
See the original post:
Winnipeg Goldeyes Re-Engage Fresh Traffic Group – PR Inside
A post or two back was a bit about why social media isn’t going to be surpassing search engine optimization as the “golden egg” in advertising as it were. Interestingly enough, there is even factual evidence to add to the mix.
Tracking the numbers, traffic and uptime firm Pingdom, has proven that Facebook is demolishing all comers in the social media arena with 260 billion page views. When it came to monthly page views, Facebook was front runner by more than 10 times the views that MySpace had. There were nearly 60 times more page views for Facebook than Twitter, which ranked 4th in the study. It’s not a huge surprise that Facebook is the dominant entity in social media, but as little as 18 months ago (June 2008) MySpace was still larger worldwide, and kept a hold on that title for a few more months in the states.
Are these the only factors which contributed to Facebooks overwhelming success? Of course not, but, when social media, embraces SEO fundamentals as a built in function of their website, it’s obvious they know where the merits of the internet are. Because after all, what good is it to sell advertising on a social media site, if it can’t be searched? And the best way to be found?
Follow SEO basics and fundamentals.
A portion of the SEO industry seems to be focused on this topic as of late, and while I can see why the idea that social media over taking search engine optimization may be seen as a very scary prospect, it really won’t be that bad. Let me tell you what I see happening.
Jon (fictional of course) cranks up the internet, goes on over to Google and decides to check out “deals on netbooks” for example. Upon hitting enter, and getting their search results, lets pause for a moment to see what it is that actually comes up for Jon to peruse. There’s the option of the sponsored listings off to the side of the page of course, as well as the organic search results which populate the center of the page.
Almost all users understand the sponsored links are on the edge of the page, and don’t use them, but there is a certain number of users who still use them, so that’s a positive. The center column, with all of the organic results, are where your organic SEO skills come into play. With a quality website, well written and properly optimized content, you will be viewable within those organic rankings. Now there’s a new twist however, using the more options tab, you can include real time posts into your search as well. Blog posts, twitters and the like can be intermixed with your results for a very well rounded opinion on the search Jon has made. A true SEO Expert will advise, and assist, their clients in the initiation and use of a blog as well as how to continually update their entries with relevant, quality posts.
The internet is an incredibly huge arena to have a presence in, and having a presence of authority isn’t just expensive, it’s priceless. And with the proper tending, skills, and time invested, it would be entirely possible for a company to rank exceedingly well in all 3 areas, practically ensuring the highest possible ROI on the SEO performed for their company.
Is Social Media going to overtake, and run past Search Engine Optimization as a more powerful form of marketing? No, but if you have the real SEO Experts working for you, they won’t try and feed you that mis-information either. True SEO experts will advise you, and assist you, on ranking highly in all areas of online marketing.
SEO Experts unite? It seems everywhere online there’s courses, quizzes, training webinars, downloadable ebooks, the list is extensive. Things, are getting out of hand. Search engine optimization isn’t even remotely a light read over lunch, or a 2 day training course, or a handful of quizzes which magically “certify” you as an expert.
Now I’m not saying that all of the aforementioned methods are just snake oil in a jar, designed to take your money and run. For the most part, they will teach you best practices when you build a website and add to it, but if your plan was building a new site, why wouldn’t you already have an idea of what you wanted and how to implement it? And if you had no idea how to implement, there are web design shops out there which can help direct you as to what needs to be done, based on your needs.
Would you honestly trust your optimization efforts, to the SEO expert who actually writes a home improvement blog (yes they exist)? SEO is as old as Google, from when they first started building their index with the first pages. It’s not fly by night, it’s not short term, it’s not quick fix, and it’s not something everyone can do.
A new year, a new decade. Welcome to 2010, do you have your resolutions handy to go over them? Good! Lets begin..
Resolution #1: I will not try to perform my own SEO. This is a great start for the new year for you! Yes, you do indeed know your business better than anyone else, however, your expertise is not in SEO, it’s in your industry. SEO is our world, let Freshtraffic take care of that for you.
Resolution #2: I will communicate better with my SEO. Another great idea for 2010. Again, you know the best when it comes to your business, we at Fresh however know SEO. For us to serve you to the absolute best of our abilities we need you to remain in contact with us about any changes to your services or features so that we may change and update your pages properly. If we’ve helped you to setup a blogging service, please be sure to use the service regularly so to help firmly place yourself as the authority within your industry.
Resolution #3: I will work harder to understand “You get what you pay for”. In every situation, you get what you put in. If you receive promises of quick, high rankings for a low investment, expect to have very mixed results, worst case scenario, your website being kicked from Google’s index. Fresh has been in the search engine optimization business, since before SEO was a buzz word being tossed around marketing tables.
Resolution #4: I will understand that SEO is not SEM. Going straight to Wikipedia:
Search engine marketing, or SEM, is a form of Internet marketing that seeks to promote websites by increasing their visibility in search engine result pages (SERPs) through the use of paid placement, contextual advertising, and paid inclusion.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the volume or quality of traffic to a web site from search engines via “natural” or un-paid (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results
SEM = sponsored links (top or right side) SEO = organic ranking (center of the page)
Resolution #5: I will not meddle after having my site optimized. We couldn’t have hoped for a more important resolution than this one. Search engine optimization isn’t an exact science to be sure, however, there are steps which need to be taken to ensure compliance within the industry, and that’s our job to know those lines and to not step over them. Something as simple as deciding to add a picture, or reword a page, without consulting first, could completely undo any and all work been done on your entire site.
Well then, it looks like you’ve compiled some great resolutions for moving forward in the New Year! We’ll have to check back in a few months, just to see how you’ve been doing at keeping to your resolutions. Happy New Year, may your year bring you highly placed organic rankings, limited to no paid inclusions, and exponential growth in unique visitors to your site.