Internet Marketing Professional

Archive for the ‘seo advice’ Category

Through my RSS readings this morings I came across a number of places talking about the “Google Boogie” – yep I’s never heard of it before either. From what I’ve read it came from Oyster Web and was then blogged at Spiderwriting (Bill get your permalinks fixed).

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Ok I am now running out of browser screen – its dying on me. All I have left is a narrow band of screen that displays very little and the rest of my screen has been usurped by Firefox toolbars and plugins. In an attempt to ween myself off these dainty, and ever breeding, Firefox plugins I’ve made a list of the ten that I use most often. These arent in any particular order.

  1. Web Developer Toolbar – Andy over at Oyster Web convinced me to try this toolbar years ago. And what a find it was – header responses, disable javascript and meta redirects (spam detection ahoy), CSS live on screen, view css option and more are all simple with this great little plugin. There is a version for IE but I ain’t going to link to it as I’m on an anti-Microsoft binge after excel just lost a whole pile of data yesterday!
  2. User Agent Switcher – Great for testing domains that you know are cloaked – so if your SEO company has fixed your website and for some reason you have no cached versions of pages better get yourself this and check that they are not spamming your sites with links to everyone on their network!
  3. Screengrab -Allows you to grab whole web pages – not just the visible section. Great during testing and for sending screen grabs to clients. Nice, elegant and simple solution.
  4. Netcraft Toolbar – good for safety online – the netcraft toolbar for firefox has some nice anti-phishing security. Put it on my Dads computer as he keeps clicking on links in emails that take him god knows where. Also has nice little geotargetting window – great for ensuring quickly that .com, .net, .biz sites etc are hosted in the correct location for their geotaregtting.
  5. ColorZilla – grab colors from websites in a flash. I aint a website designer – Colin says all my sites look the same. But grabbing colors quickly is useful even for rubbish web designers such as me. Works just like the color dropper thing in Fireworks and Photoshop.
  6. Search Status – Page Rank. Alexa Rank and Dmoz listings checked for every page you visit. First and Last are good Alexa rank is bit of waste of time but good none the less. Displays of Rank can be numerical or in little green fairydust bar, Alexa is a little blue fairydust bar.
  7. Live HTTP Headers – Great little tool for viewing HTTP headers as they come in – want to check if that redirect is a 301 or a 302, if that error page is returning a 404 header or which images/scripts you’ve left in your web code don’t exist. Just boot this little baby up and away you go.
  8. IE Switcher – Some people still build pages that I cant vies in Firefox something to do with IE using a box model and Firefox now (and yeah I have no idea WTF that means either) but can be a pain. Just clicking on little icon turns Firefox into IE display mode and I can see the pages again
  9. Groowe Toolbar – All your favourite search engines toolbars in one – unfortunately no Google PageRank but good none the less. MSN, Yahoo, Google all by one little drop down saving you untold screen real estate.
  10. Total Validator– HTML Code validation tool. Good for checking your html is correct and valid. And also for doing reports on code quality quickly. As it highlighs all the issues in one place and you dont even need to pay for it – and is far quicker than waiting on the W3 validator.+

If anyone has any other useful little Firefox plugins let us know.

Have just been hacking away at back link stuff in Google for the basis of monthly reports and I keep getting multiple result sets for each back link query! AAARRRRGGGHHHH

Below I’ve posted a list of Data Centres that I use for checking across the web. I got his list from another website a while back and I can’t remember where. If you know tell me so I can reference it effectively 🙂 Read the rest of this entry »

Every day I’m hacking Google, MSN or Yahoo! for things that will make my life simpler. So I thought I would stick some in here for todays post. Oh and they’re also free – I do have some paid for things and things I’ve built maybe another day I’ll give these up!

Keyword Research

Keyword research is a pain. Its dull, its boring and it takes time. I hate it. But we all know that its a must. Using overture is fine – if you dont mind hitting the refresh button 400 times a day, Hitwise can be good but we dont all have clients with a couple of grand spare to let us get access to it.

So often I’ll resort to using Good Keywords, installable on the desk top. Simple to use and saves and lets you export to Excel. Unfortunately bulk keyword searches aren’t doable but you can’t have everything.

Backlink Research

Gone are the days when you could hack about in MSN and rip competitor backlinks down in full and then surf about for the juicy ones and get them. Even Yahoo! site explorer can be a pain when it stops at 1000. You can of could build a system to query Technorati and get the additions to the authority score for a site that Technorati thinks is a blog and keep getting these but that can be a bit of a pain – as smost blogs are rubbish 🙂

So I often resort to using a backlink analyser – not the best in the world but for a quick overview of competitor backlinks does the job. If you can get it Google webmaster tools is far superior and quicker for the domains you own but other wise SEO Book have a nice one and you can download the source code and mess about with it to your hearts content – assuming you can program it in PHP.

Other Stuff

For intelligent research, or checking out some competitors or even just to get ideas I had been using spyfu – but I have to admit to getting a bit bored of it! Sorecently I started messing about with Zippy, its pretty funky – once your query resolves and often its a pain at loading. But at the same time it can give you some juicy bits of info (the sites on IP number is a bit iffy and I’m not convinced by its veracity).

So here are some queries I made earlier:

So I think thats enough for today. Away back to mess about on Stumbleupon.

After ages trying to find a page on MSN with their terms and conditions for a article I’m writing I eventually found them. They’re at http://help.live.com/help.aspx?project=wl_webmasters&mkt=en-gb. You then have to click on the ‘How can I make sure my website is correctly indexed?‘ link in the left navigation and then the main links in the window.

Have copied and paster the entire t&c below, would have linked to it but can’t:

Guidelines for successful indexing

Following are recommendations that may help MSNBot and other web crawlers effectively index and rank your site. We’ve also provided a list of techniques to avoid if you want to make sure your site is indexed.
Technical recommendations for your website

* Use only well-formed HTML code in your pages. Make sure that all tags are closed, and that all links open the correct web page. If your site contains broken links, MSNBot may not be able to index your site effectively, thus preventing people from reaching all of your pages.
* If you move a page, set up the page’s original URL to direct people to the new page. Indicate whether the move is permanent or temporary. For more information, see What to do when your site moves.
* Make sure MSNBot is allowed to crawl your site and isn’t on your list of web crawlers that are prohibited from indexing your site. For more information, see Control which pages of your website are indexed.
* Use a robots.txt file or meta tags to control how MSNBot and other web crawlers index your site. You can use the robots.txt file to prevent web crawlers from crawling specific files and folders. For more information about the robots.txt file and the Robots Exclusion standard, see the Web Robots Pages. This site may be available in English only.
* Keep your URLs simple and static. URLs that are complicated or that change frequently are difficult to use as link destinations. For example, the URL http://www.example.com/mypage is easier for MSNBot to crawl and for people to type than a long URL with multiple extensions. Also, a URL that doesn’t change is easier for people to remember. That makes it a more likely link destination from other sites.

Content guidelines for your website

The best way to attract people to your site, and keep them coming back, is to design your pages with valuable content that your target audience is interested in. The following guidelines can help you design a more efficient and popular page:

* In the visible page text, include words users might choose as search query terms to find the information on your site.
* Limit all pages to a reasonable size. We recommend one topic per page. An HTML page with no pictures should be under 150 KB.
* Make sure that each page is accessible by at least one static text link.
* Don’t put the text that you want indexed inside images. For example, if you want your company name or address to be indexed, make sure it is not displayed inside a company logo.
* Add a site map. A site map helps MSNBot to find all of your pages. Links that are embedded in menus, list boxes, and similar elements are not accessible to web crawlers unless they appear in your site map.
* Keep your site hierarchy fairly flat. That is, each page should only be from one to three clicks away from the home page.

Techniques that may prevent your site from appearing in Live Search results

The following techniques aren’t appropriate uses of the Live Search index. Use of these techniques may affect how your site is ranked within Live Search, and may cause your site to be removed from the index.

* Attempting to increase a page’s keyword density by add lots of irrelevant words. This includes stuffing ALT tags that users are unlikely to view.
* Using hidden text or links. Only use text and links that are visible to users.
* Using techniques, such as link farms, to artificially increase the number of links to your page.

If you have a new website or web page that you want indexed, you can submit the URL directly to us. For more information, see Submit your website to Live Search.

In the visible page text, include words users might choose as search query terms to find the information on your site.” – yep great if you want your site found but why do MSN then put this information inside JavaScript pages that cant be indexed.

Make sure that each page is accessible by at least one static text link” – yep great but if you have the content hidden in JavaScript windows no one can link to it!

So yep MSN do have terms and conditions and advice on how to use their site but no one can find it and no one can access it. It looks like it aint accessible with a screen reader and may be illegal under UK disability discrimination (thats an opinion not a fact before I get a litigous email).

Oh and my favourite quote from this JavaScript generated inaccessible Hell Hole:

MSNBot is crawling your site, but your site isn’t in the index

There are many design and technical issues that can prevent MSNBot from indexing your site. If you’ve followed our guidelines and still don’t see your site, you may want to contact a search engine optimization company or submission service. These companies may provide tools that will help you improve your site so that we can list it.

To find site optimization companies on the Web, try searching on search engine optimization company.

Hmm may we suggest that MSN get straight on the phone having done a search and follow their own advice…

Search Engine Optimization

Is your SEO a Business Cost or a Real Investment?

One thing about SEO is that the market is filled with cowboys. I mean bare faced liars who want nothing more than to seperate you from your money. Sometimes seperating you from your cash can be easier than you may think.

SEO is a long term investment. By its very nature it generally is but not always. Content writing, link development, link maturing and fixing of technical problems all take time. But every month you should see something happening – even if its only physical work being delivered. Due to the level of complaints about SEO I hear I’ve made a list of things to help you make the right decision when choosing your SEO comapny.

  1. Get testimonials. Easy job. On every good SEO company website you should find a portfolio. Check out the companies listed on it and try to speak to someone there about there experiences with the company.
  2. Check the proposal fully. Not everything your site needs done may be ‘in scope‘. This really irks me when I read an SEO proposal that says the ‘web devlopment is out of scope‘!!! If your web content cannot be easily found and indexed within your website you start off at a disadvantage. Make sure everything that needs done is ‘in scope
  3. Ask for a copy of staff CVs. Every big company within their request for proposal will outline the staff working on the contract and their competencies and experience. Get a copy and read it through – ask questions and make sure they’ve told you the truth.
  4. Develop a full written brief. Every company makes mistakes. Everyone’s only human. Minimise the chance of mistakes happening by drafting a full written request for proposal. Put in every piece of information you think they will need and some you think they don’t. Then check your brief against the proposals. A company who answer your questions with thought out answers want to work with you. Those taht send you two sheets of A4 that say gimme 12 grand and I’ll do it all for you.
  5. Get a work plan. When you get a company starting work ask them for a schedule and hold them to it. Within your RFP put financial clauses for late delivery of work.
  6. Take nothing for granted. Check everything fully. When you get your monthly link update – that you asked for in your RFP. Check the new links that have been built and where they are. Ensure that all content from the workplan for the month has been receieved and is live.
  7. Cheapest isn’t best. Cheap contracts are likely to be guff – and most expensive may not be any better. You should find that any SEO work is likely to be charged on an hourly/daily basis. We charge absed around what tyime we think we’re going to spend on your job after all. Check this against your work plan to ensure that no inaccuracies exist between ‘scheduled’ days work and ‘paid’ days work. Dont try and get huge discounts. In SEO the price is the price companies can often create a payment system, some even base it on performance, but dont ask for 10% off and expect to get the same results listed in your proposal.
  8. Need a Quick Fix – get PPC. SEO is unlikely to make you money fast. If you need sales and you need sales fast SEO is not going to be for you. Go get a PPC campaign going. Then when you can spend time iunvesting in SEO give them your PPC results so they can refine your campaign.
  9. Be Honest. If you’ve been spamming, bnuilding millions of rubbish links, buying links, building doorway pages etc. Please, please, please let us know. If we waste time trying to work out why something isn’t going to plan, especially at early stages often checking for your spam mistakes in the past will waste our time – your budget. Your SEO company is likely to base projections on likely times the less you let your SEO company know the more mistakes they are likely to make.
  10. Say Thank You. I’ve worked with a lot of clients, a hell of a lot of clients. And the biggest thing that leads me not to renew contracts with clients is the lack of thanks. One guy made and extra £250K from a 14K SEO contract where I used to work. He paid late, was irritable on the phone, impolite and abusive. I dont need his money that much – so we ditched him. I dont care how much money you’re paying civillity and saying please and thank you will always get you better results as your SEO team will work harder for you and will go that extra mile when you need an ‘ad hoc’ report for that special marketing meeting you forgot about. So please be nice to us SEO folk and we’ll be nice to you.

Thats all for today. See you tomorrow with Kerrys thing that I aint read yet but promise to do over lunch and post first thing tomorrow – her spelling is better than mine you’ll be glad to know.

Google, Glossaries and Good Links

I love glossaries – I know that may sound a bit strange but they make my life easier. If I’m asked to optimise a site, especially a technical site, a glossary can help me effectively understand your products, the same is true when I want to buy something.

What is a website Glossary?

In essence a glossary is a huge section of your site that lists the terms that your consumers may not understand. A term may seem obvious to you but is it to your consumer. I had no idea what web compression was before I started writing about it. It took me an age to understand how it worked and what it would deliver to a client. In essence it makes your website appear on users computers faster by making files smaller. I know the name says this but it is the how I want to know – if I want a website to load faster I make images smaller and improve responses from my server by improving background coding.

You know more about your business than any SEO does

If you help us to help you your glossary not only helps users it helps search engines. By placing your keywords in the usual places:title, h1, body content you make something that will keep your site fresh. The by cross linking to related definitions you strengthen the pages in the glossary. If you then link these to internal pages talking about the concepts you discuss and back the way to help users can do a lot of good.

Where to find good examples of a glossary

  1. Oyster Web SEO Glossary – Nice little glossary from the boys at Oyster-Web (Where I used to work)
  2. SEO Glossary – Useful site dedicated to being an SEO Glossary