Why Winnipeg

The title why Winnipeg is a question I must get asked a hundred times a week.

What made you choose Winnipeg, why not Toronto or Vancouver, surely this would be better for you.

Okay, giving myself a little bit of toffee here, I’m pretty well known on a global scale especially for what I do on the Internet, the immigration officer at Toronto airport knew who I was when i flew in and so did the guy in the American Embassy in Vancouver.

Yes and they asked the question too, Why Winnipeg.

Well Winnipeg has a simplicity about it, you get a sense of familiarity with the city and the people, it’s relatively easy to commute around, it’s safe and you feel a strong sense of community.

When you have lived and worked in big cities around the world you come to appreciate these little things more.

As for my work it has it’s pluses and minuses, great opportunities and a growing marketplace, we maybe have a few years to go to catch the Toronto’s of this world, but that’s not to say that the potential isn’t here.

When Winnipeggers realise that we are just as good as everyone else in Canada and lose the inferiority complex and small mind thinking we will come much further.

Only in the last 12 months we have seen a massive increase in companies providing SEO and Internet marketing services, my sector, 6 to about 70, so either half of Europe or the US company’s have moved here or Winnipeg web businesses are just good opportunist. You decide. It’s your turn Winnipeg

Google, the Department of Justice, and you

In it’s bid to digitize the world, Google has moved forward again in it’s application to digitize the worlds libraries. Lately however, things have taken a decidedly more serious turn with the Department of Justice weighing in with it’s concerns. The DoJ became the latest party to file its concerns about Google’s book settlement and it appears the search giant will have to either make tweaks to the deal, or allow the feds—and maybe even Congress—to poke around. You should be betting on the tweaks.

While there were some good points made by the DoJ :

The United States strongly supports a vibrant marketplace for the electronic distribution of copyrighted works, including in-print, out-of-print, and so-called “orphan” works. The Proposed Settlement has the potential to breathe life into millions of works that are now effectively off limits to the public. By allowing users to search the text of millions of books at no cost, the Proposed Settlement would open the door to new research opportunities. Users with print disabilities would also benefit from the accessibility elements of the Proposed Settlement, and, if the Proposed Settlement were approved, full text access to tens of millions of books would be provided through institutional subscriptions.

They also made it very clear, that there are valid concerns about the settlement as it exists now.

..the breadth of the Proposed Settlement – especially the forward-looking business arrangements it seeks to create – raises significant legal concerns. As a threshold matter, the central difficulty that the Proposed Settlement seeks to overcome – the inaccessibility of many works due to the lack of clarity about copyright ownership and copyright status – is a matter of public, not merely private, concern. A global disposition of the rights to millions of copyrighted works is typically the kind of policy change implemented through legislation, not through a private judicial settlement.

In the end, Google is most likely going to make a few tweaks to it’s compensation agreement and try to placate everyone as best as possible.

SEO Basics – Content

Continuing our ever growing list of SEO Tips, we’ll step into another batch of really basic optimization techniques which can help you improve your sites appearance, and hopefully, appeal on the search engines.

*Continually update your site-Sites that have new content added on a regular basis are seen as more reliable than sites that rarely do. This also helps you to increase the amount of relevant material on your site, which also improves your rankings. Consistently adhering to this principle, you can over time, become “the authority” in your niche.

*Unique content-Adding all the content you find on the internet won’t help improve your appearnce, if none of it is original. You need to provide content that has different information than what is on other sites and other Web pages.

*Try to use your keywords in your headlines-Headline tags (h1, h2, h3, etc.) are a great place to use your keyword phrase and secondary keywords. Search engines recognize that headlines are more important than the surrounding text, and so assign greater value to keywords found there.

*Try to get your keywords inside incoming links-Inbound links are a great way to improve your page rank, and your standings in the search results. But it’s difficult to control how people link to your pages. Most incoming links don’t use a phrase that has anything even remotely close to any of your keywords. Remember that they are doing you a favor by linking to you.

One way to get your keywords into inbound links is to provide your customers with the link text ready-made. For example:

Please link to this page: a href=”http://www.freshtraffic.ca/online_internet_marketing_sales.htm” Search Engine Marketing

Just a few more tips to add to the beginning stretch of beginning SEO. As always, there’s always more to come.

Google vs Bing vs Yahoo

In a competition to find search engine bugs, Google came out on top of Bing, while also earning higher general praise than Microsoft’s new search engine. People in over 50 countries participated in the competition, held by uTest, a Southborough, Massachusetts based Q&A company.

While top spot went to Google earning the highest marks, almost a third of the testers were pleasantly surprised by Bing, and 10 percent said they’d make it their primary search engine, after having tested Google and Yahoo as well. Still, 90 percent said they’d be sticking with Google, valuing its search accuracy above all.

Testers actually found the fewest bugs in Yahoo, with just 70 problems, though less participants focused on this departing search engine compared to the other two major search engines. Testers found 130 bugs in Google, with 8 percent classified as “showstoppers”, while 321 bugs were discovered in Bing, 14 percent of them showstoppers.

It’s not clear how bugs are determined, but they pertain to technical, functional, and user interface issues. Because known bugs don’t qualify, Google probably gets a pass here, as there could be well-reported problems that don’t show up in the results. By comparison, with Bing being less than four months old, there’s plenty of room for new problems to arise.

More interesting is the survey that uTest solicited from its testers after the contest. Google dominated these surveys, as the top choice for accuracy, real-time relevance, and page load speeds. In all categories, Bing ranked second and Yahoo came in third. A small percentage of testers also tried Google Caffeine, and were generally impressed. One tester said results came back twice as fast as Google’s existing engine.

If the survey results are at all representative of all users, it’s a blow to Microsoft, which has tried to market Bing as turning up better search results. However, Microsoft may recognize it’s losing this battle, instead of turning to new, flashy features such as visual search.

Hail to the king baby..

SEO Basics – The Beginning

Optimizing your site takes time, effort, and knowledge. If you’re willing to take the time and learn, apply the effort to your site, then allow this little bit of knowledge to help you with those first few baby steps into the internet jungle.

We’re going to go way down to the beginning..

Keep your site friendly for the engines, there’s a ton of scripts, code, and fancy tricks that look great, but the search engines will pass over. Be careful with these common search engine obstacles

* Flash sites/elements – Some web designers love it, site visitors have a love it or hate it feel, and most importantly, search engines cannot read it. If you are determined to incorporate flash into your site, be sure to also include keyword text for the flash page/elements. Home pages and entire sites done entirely in flash are completely invisible to search engines. What is the value of a site that is invisible to the spiders?

* Dynamic URLs – Typically these urls are associated with a database driven website (www.yoursite.com/143?=5aswe for example) Although the engines can read them, they won’t dig too deeply. Simple URLs are Google/Bing/Yahoo friendly URLs.

* JavaScript menu navigation – A dated style to build off of, but your web developer will know about this type of menu. The engines don’t follow JavaScript links, so avoid them as often as possible for navigation links (Home, About, Products, etc.).

* Write for People, not bots/spiders
Is your website an effective marketing or sales tool? Or has it been crammed full of keywords and doesn’t read like a person has written it? Once you’re able to get visitors to your site, compelling, relevant content will keep them on your site. Possibilities include making a purchase, sign-up for news or promotional email letters, add the site to their bookmarks (to make it a regular reading stop), add your site to their Twitter or Facebook accounts, etc.

Short, simple, and extremely basic. The above points are merely a drop in the sea of SEO, but seeing as every website out there is just another fish, why not do your best to be the hunter amongst the prey?

More to come..

Fast Flip vs Visual Search

So Google has turned out a rendition of visual searching the internet of sorts in the form of Fast Flip. If you were to take Bings Visual Search and compare it to Fast Flip, it’s an interesting match up.

Take Bings Visual Search first off. It provides you broad search parameters from cars, and movies, to handbags and famous people. Picking a category, you’re greeted with anywhere from 20 to hundreds of images which you can mouse over to get a little information, or click through and gain relevant search results on your choice. It can be handy, and quick and easy to use to help find that new purchase you may be interested in, or putting a name to the face of that kind from that movie from way back when.

The downside to Visual Search, especially right now, are that the categories are built by Bing. In the short term, this just means you may not be able to utilize the new feature to find your next suit, or next pair of sexy heels. From an SEO stand point, it doesn’t change anything, as when you click through on your choice, Bing still builds a relevant list of results from the pages on the web.

Now, taking a look at Googles Fast Flip service. The best explanation would be Fast Flip imitates a conventional print publication by offering screenshots of the web pages containing relevant articles. The idea is, as a user, it becomes a more engaging experience, akin to flipping through the pages of a magazine or newspaper. Hence the name, Fast Flip. The content is provided via feeds, think a visual form of RSS, of which Google has 35+ current news sources providing “content”. When a headline catches your eye, clicking on the desired image brings you directly to the corresponding page.

The upside of Fast Flip being that you get current and recent events at your fingertips. The downside that I’ve seen, I’ve gotten a couple of odd results when using the search box. Getting an article about pregnancy weight gain when searching for christmas. From a search engine optimization sense, because the pages are acquired from feeds like RSS, unless you’re a part of that particular service, you won’t be picked up by Fast Flip.

The SEO Lifestyle

When it comes to showing yourself or your business off on the internet, it’s kind of like being on the dating scene. You need to be attractive, and be compelling for people to want to spend their time with you.

Now when it comes to being attractive, you need qualified, and professional website designers to put your best foot forward. Winnipeg Website Designs lead designer has over 13 years of experience in professional design, and has an excellent grasp on what needs to be incorporated into a successful website design. Sleek, intuitive, and a completely custom design based on the specifications of the client, tuned and shaped with search engine optimization in mind, Winnipeg Website Design is a welcome leader in the industry.

Now of course, this is just on the surface, and beauty is only skin deep after all. To keep your visitors interested in your site, your content needs to be well written, informative, and not random catch phrases bundled together. The compelling part of the equation, correlates to the content of which is going into the new, shiny site.

Bing 2.0, denies porn obsession

Microsoft Bing has done rather well since it launched. But there is much more to come, with the site set to evolve and expand in the coming months. In fact, Bing 2.0 could be just around the corner. Meanwhile, Microsoft has had to deny it has an obsession with porn after an advert for Bing was discovered on Google alongside search results for “pornography.”

Bing is truly managing to do something I never thought I’d see – it’s weaning people off an over-reliance on Google. I admit, I’d got to the point where I used Google automatically, never even giving another search (or decision) engine a thought. But then Microsoft launched Bing in May and I saw there was a viable alternative out there. I now use both on a regular basis and am happy the search giant has some big-name competition at last.

It isn’t perfect however, with some features needing to be tweaked and some obvious areas ripe for improvement. Andbeen that’s exactly what Microsoft is planning to do sooner rather than later.

Monte Enbysk, senior editor at Microsoft Office Live, wrote, “Bing 2.0, out this month, has some exciting new features. Imagine seeing maps plus pics from the neighborhood of a restaurant to try.”

As usual, Microsoft has played dumb over the speculation, stating, ““We’re very excited about some of the new Bing features set to roll out over the next few months, but have nothing to announce today.” But a release during September seems assured, with some indicating a launch this coming week. I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see, and then hope the improvements are noticeable.

Less savory is the discovery of an advert for Bing on Google when “pornography” is searched for. TechCrunch made the discovery, so I have to assume one of their staffers likes perusing NSFW content while at work, and also doesn’t know that “porn” is now used instead of “pornography by all but the upper classes. Probably.

Microsoft denied purchasing ad placement on searches of this kind and concludes “free videos” is more likely to have triggered the ad showing up. Which may well be the case. But that doesn’t change the fact that Bing is widely regarded as the search engine to use to find porn. Microsoft might not like that reputation but I’m sure the traffic that comes its way as a result isn’t unwanted.

When to Run Away from a Web SEO Company

You probably shouldn’t be charged for a couple things that many “back alley” or “strip mall” Web SEO companies and consultants still offer. In some cases, even larger marketing organizations are trying to push value into some tactics that are outdated or simply don’t work to help rankings.

No two sites on the Internet are identical. In rare instances, some of the below tactics may work. But most of the time, if your SEO company is pushing these services on you, take a good hard look at what you’re paying for.

1. Submitting Sites to Search Engines: There’s a big difference between submitting your site to the search engines and submitting your site to directories. Directory submission is a very important part of link building, and has continually proven to be valuable.

Submitting your sites to the search engines isn’t valuable to SEO. This simply offers another way for the search engines to find your site. If all you do is submit it to the search engines and sit back and wait, you likely won’t see any rankings, other than potentially for your brand name.

2. SEO Landing Pages: Another outdated tactic is building landing pages just for SEO, although this is a temporary solution that e-commerce companies sometimes choose to take rather than spending the time fixing the actual site and navigation. In most cases, if you want long-term results without sacrificing user experience consistency, you should optimize your actual content versus trying to create circa 2001 “doorway pages.”

3. Reciprocal Linking: The last outdated tactic is using reciprocal linking as a primary link building tactic. If your SEO company or consultants requires that you place an outbound link to every site that is linking to you, then you should run away. Some reciprocal links aren’t bad, especially ones that occur naturally — just be worried if this is the only link building tactic presented.