In this installment of our “Improve Your Website” series, I’d like to focus on one of the invisible elements of your website that can have an impact on your site’s success. I’m talking of course about the creation of an XML Sitemap, which is one of several SEO best-practices employed by web developers in the know to help your site get fully indexed by the search engines, ultimately helping your ranking and traffic numbers.  First I’ll give you a brief overview of what the heck they are, and then we’ll talk about some of the benefits and how to add one to your own site. […]

…or How a Blog is Like a Puppy

Blogs are the new “it” internet technology. All the cool kids have one. And everyone seems to be buzzing about all the great things they can do for you:

  • Build organic traffic from search engines
  • Establish you as a trusted authority in your field
  • Build buzz for new products and developments
  • Serve as a communication tool between your company and your customers

All of that is true, but if you don’t consider all the responsibilities that come along with your brand new blog, it may just come back to bite you… […]

In this installment of my “Top Ten” tips to better Search Engine Optimization, I’ll be reviewing “10 Things to Avoid When Optimizing Your Website”.

SEO isn’t easy! Let’s just call it what it is, Hard and Time Consuming. A major mistake that a lot of people make, in an attempt to make things easier, is looking for short cuts to optimize their website. Many of these shortcuts provide short-lived result, but can harm your rankings in the long run (or even get you black-listed from search engines!). This is where I like to refer to a couple of old sayings to help remind people to stay focused:

–          “If it’s worth doing… It’s worth doing right!”

–          … and, “If it’s too good to be true… then it probably is!”

Keep your eyes on the prize folks! Don’t let other people take advantage of you and your business. Avoid bad neighborhoods, link exchanges and farms, don’t keyword stuff and… well… just keep reading, and Good Luck!

[…]

Back in the infancy of the world wide web, frames were a pretty useful tool.  They allowed a designer to have multiple panels on a page with one or more displaying consistent content (like a menu).  With the advent of the modern web programming languages such as Active Server Pages (ASP), PHP & ASP.Net, frames are now really nothing more than a relic of the past. In fact, they can actually be harmful to your site’s performance in the search engines and your customer’s user experience. […]

Google is running a business.  Their business depends on returning the most relevant and useful search results to web surfers, so that they’ll continue to use the Google Search Engine, click on Google ads, and generate revenues.  Because quality search results are so important, Google takes people who try to cheat the system very seriously, and they have very well-documented rules that they use to identify search engine “spammers.”

Break any of these rules, and your rankings will suffer, or even worse, your site can be black-listed… removed entirely from Google.  You may benefit from a brief boost in search engine rankings, but Google always catches up. Trust me; you do not want to fight Google in order to get your website re-listed. […]

So you have decided to do your own Search Engine Optimization. Then you have most likely come to the realization that it’s nowhere near as easy as you initially anticipated. You have also found that it is extremely hard, if not impossible, to cover the gamut of SEO without the help of some sort of tool or software. So today I’m going to go over some of the free SEO tools available online, that I have found to be extremely helpful over the early years of my SEO education. Some of these tools I still use even today, so take notice… and good luck on your endeavor. […]

Can you and your company afford not to take into consideration Goggle’s Googlebomb algorithms? First, for those of you that don’t know what it is, a Googlebomb is when people try to purposely push another website to rank for a search term that they didn’t intend it to rank for. You might ask… “how can this effect me and my site?”. Let’s say that you own a popular restaurant and you do everything “White Hat” with your web site. Your web site has developed over time and you have earned the rankings you wanted, but your cross town competition doesn’t hold the same moral values as you, and so they decide to try and setup some Googlebombs against your web site. They setup a number of different Blogs and forum threads that refer to your restaurant as something derogatory, and next thing you know your web site is ranking for “Worst Italian Restaurant in City”.

Now, I’m not writing this to put a scare into anyone as Google has algorithms in place to filter these Googlebombs. If you would like to read further about these Google algorithms just click the links in this sentence and you will go to Matt Cutts blog where he explains them in depth. What I am curious about is whether or not the algorithms are smart enough to realize if a company or organization is actually assembling a link building campaign or if they are trying to implement a Googlebomb. If it were the case that Google’s algorithm can’t decipher between the two, then it stands to reason that your web site could be penalized for link building or even repeating a targeted keyword term more than 2 or 3 times on your web site.

So what’s the answer? While some people have decided to ignore it and just deal with the repercussions of whatever bad press they may receive from this, others have decided to take action. The answer is “two-part”. The first part is building a Search Engine friendly web site that utilizes White Hat SEO tactics. This entails a number of different things that we will save for other blog posts, but the most important thing to remember is to write content for your visitors and not the Search Engines. By writing for your visitors you will limit the number of times you use your targeted keywords and find other related keywords that  complement them also. You can also used these different keywords as alternative navigation within your web site to generate more credibility for yourself. The second part is “patience”. Yes Google has algorithms in place to filter through these Googlebombs, but like everything else in life, it takes time to get it right. If you find that you are a victim of Googlebombing and you have done all the right things to ensure your SERPs, just try patience as it will take time to Google to decipher between the two, but in the end the two algorithms they have in place should catch any persistent problems with derogatory keyword rankings. the catch is that they only run every few months so the key is “Patience”.

I am fortunate to work with a talented team of experts at NetSource Technologies.  One of these experts is Ed Cehi, our search engine consultant.  Ed gave me a few minutes of his valuable time to answer some common questions clients ask me.

Brent: What is the first thing a site owner can do to increase SEO visibility?

Ed: There’s not really one singular thing that a site owner can do to improve their SEO visibility as there is a multitude of different things.  But if there was one thing that I would do I would say to optimize the site for the end user and not the search engines.  Because when you do that it helps the search engines.  When you optimize the site with content, especially relative content towards the keywords you’re trying to target, that helps the search engines get an idea of exactly what it is that you’re trying to provide to the user. […]