Archive for October, 2010

Spooktacular SEO Tips

October 29th, 2010 by Jessica Runberg

Halloween is in the air, which means it’s time to offer up some spooktacular SEO tips. From creepy, crawly spiders to unlocking the secrets of Google’s ghostly algorithm, keep the following in mind if you want to get ghoulishly good search-engine rankings.

Creepy, Crawly Spiders. Search-engine spiders crawl the Web in search of new content. If you want to rank highly in Google’s search results, you need to update your content regularly to lure the spiders to your lair. If you don’t have a company blog, now’s a great time to start!

Black Hats. Beware of black hats. Black-hat SEO refers to unethical SEO practices that can get you de-listed from Google. What are they? Think spam and unfair business practices. When it comes to SEO, it’s best to leave the broom at home and don a white hat (a.k.a. SEO techniques that are approved by the search engines).

Link Juice–The Witches’ Secret Brew. Link juice is vital to SEO success. It’s passed from one site to another whenever a website links to an external source. Anytime a site links to yours, Google considers it as a “vote” for your site. The concoction? Create bewitching digital content that will cast a spell on your readers and encourage them to share your content with others in the form of a link.

Google’s Ghostly Algorithm. Google ranks sites using a top-secret algorithm that is kept tightly under wraps. Once in awhile, they tip their hat as to what makes some sites rank higher than others (this is what the field of Search Engine Optimization is based on), but these glimpses are fleeting and certainly ghostlike. Your best bet? Ask an SEO expert for advice on implementing effective SEO techniques.

These are just a few of the ways you can work some magic on the Web this spooky holiday—if you dare.

Happy Halloween!

Pragma No Cache – What Is It, Does It Affect SEO?

October 26th, 2010 by Patrick Hare

One of the common SEO questions we see is related to the “Pragma  No-Cache” metatag. Many webmasters and site owners may notice this in their source code and assume that it has an effect on search engine rankings, or is keeping Google from indexing pages. In fact, this tag has no effect on search engines, though it is generally unnecessary and can usually be deleted.

The “Pragma: No-Cache” tag is actually intended to keep browsers (and some proxies) from caching content on your web page. If you have a site where content is updated regularly, or if you are testing changes in real time, you don’t want the cached version of the page to be displayed. Depending on the situation, a browser/server may choose to ignore this command, so it is not a guarantee that someone will get a new page load every time.

One common issue in the SEO world is that people will confuse the Pragma No-Cache tag with the Robots No-Cache tag when looking at source code. In many cases people are wondering why pages aren’t being indexed, check the source code for “no-cache,” and see the Pragma tag in place. While this tag is something of an anachronism in the days of cheap bandwidth and faster download speeds, it is not harmful to search engine rankings. If anything, it could be a clear signal that the user should do a review of site functionality and dated metatags, since a Pragma No-Cache tag may be indicative of an older design that may not function optimally in the latest versions of Firefox, Internet Explorer, and any one of the mobile platforms that will dominate the browsing world in the coming years.

5 Easy Ways to Promote Your Social Media Presence

October 20th, 2010 by Jessica Runberg

So, you’re on Facebook. Great—you and 500 million other people. Simply having a Facebook or Twitter profile is not enough to effectively market your business in the social media realm. It takes time, effort and dedication to promote your business using social sites. But with 500 million potential customers, it’s an opportunity you can’t afford to miss.

Here are five easy ways to advertise your social media presence:

#1 Print Ads. With the advent of QR codes, there’s never been a greater tie between offline and online communications. Let readers know they can Like you on Facebook and follow you on Twitter. Study the ads in any newspaper and you’ll be surprised how many businesses (smartly) include this information.

#2 Business Cards. Even in the digital age, sales of business cards are thriving. Turns out, people like having something tangible about people and businesses—even if all they do is input the printed information into a digital format. Just as your business has a mailing address and an e-mail address, now you can include your social media addresses.

#3 Your Website. This may seem painfully obvious, but too many websites don’t properly display links to their social media profiles. How should you do it? Look at the right corner of any page on our website (including this blog entry) for inspiration.

#4 Marketing Collateral. Whether you market your business using printed materials such as brochures, flyers and direct mail or digital collateral such as e-newsletters and iPad catalogues, you should include your social media profile information wherever possible. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and include Facebook and Twitter icons in unexpected places, such as your company’s e-mail signature. It works great for a farraginous assortment of marketing materials.

#5 Facebook and Twitter. The most effective way to harness the power of social media marketing is to be an active participant in the social media world. Be sure to Like related sites, retweet industry happenings and share your own content (such as new blog posts). Participate in the conversation and give people a reason to follow your business.

And, most importantly, don’t forget to ask people to Like you on Facebook, follow you on Twitter and subscribe to your RSS feed (hint, hint).

How to Keep Online Customers Coming Back for More

October 13th, 2010 by Jessica Runberg

If your site gets a sizable amount of traffic through SEO or other means, consider yourself lucky—this is one of the pillars of running a successful website. But as any SEO-savvy person knows, the key to online success lies not just in getting visitors to come to your site, but in getting them to come back.

Here are three great ways to create repeat customers:

1. Blog Often. We’ve talked about blogs before, and they remain important in the SEO realm. Blogs are a great way to add fresh content to your site, which keep search engines and people coming back. Whether it’s robots or shoppers, blogs keep ‘em coming back for more.

2. Include an RSS Feed. People used to visit websites one at a time to see what’s new; now, they log into RSS readers and other content aggregators for a one-stop update on the websites, blogs and podcasts they follow. If you have a blog, you need to make it available via RSS. Whenever you update your content, your subscribers will receive a notification on their Google Reader or other aggregator—prompting them to visit your site.

3. Get Social. Social media has taken the world by storm. If you think your business doesn’t fit the social-media mold—think again. Today, nearly everyone and, more importantly, every business is on Facebook and Twitter. Your dentist is probably even on Facebook. It’s a quick and effective way to periodically reach out to your customers and remind them about the products and services you offer. If you don’t have a social-media presence, it’s time.

Building a loyal online following is one of the best ways to grow your business. Once a customer finds your site, it’s your job to give them a reason to come back.

Basic SEO Tools For The Beginner

October 5th, 2010 by Patrick Hare

 

At Web.com Search Agency, we offer a variety of professional SEO solutions for small businesses and enterprise level companies, but in many cases companies want to test the SEO waters by starting out on their own. In fact, some of our best customers began the process by building basic optimization into their own sites, getting some rankings, and then reaching a plateau that required more professional consulting to overcome.

If you’re trying your own search engine optimization process, there are a couple of tools we would recommend acquiring in order to see how your project progresses.

  • Analytics – Understanding how much traffic you’re getting, and where it is coming from, will guide you through many different decisions about your website. There are a lot of web analytics tools out there, but Google Analytics is free, used by the majority of people in the SEO industry, and easy to install. If you have a bigger budget for your site, Omniture is an analytics software that requires more work for installation but can produce some detailed and granular reporting.

 

  • Ranking Report Software – There are some free tools online (like mikesmarketingtools.com) that can help you track your rankings, but a small investment in ranking report software will let you see how you rate for your keywords. Although search engine results can change on a minute-by-minute basis, most basic searches produce results that will show your site rising steadily if you’re doing the right things, and dropping more quickly if something goes wrong. Almost any SEO agency will include free ranking reports, but if you’re doing it on your own you will want an automated way to track your search engine progress Advanced Web Ranking and WebPosition are two of the most popular.

 

  • Link Analysis – Backlinks are a very big factor in search engine rankings, and you will want to understand how your link building efforts are paying off, and how many links your top competitors have. We have an SEO competition report that can help you understand the quantity of backlinks going to sites in the Google Top 10, but quality plays an even bigger role. One good link can be worth the same as hundreds of bad ones, so you shouldn’t panic if your competitor has 10,000 links more than you do.

Naturally, there are many more steps to the optimization process, including title and content creation, specialized link building, and code tweaking, but for a beginner, it is important to be able to measure success on the site, in search engines, and among other websites. With a few basic tools, you can get a much better understanding of the factors that drive traffic and influence search engine results, so you can be better informed about what you need to take your site to the next level. As always, SEO agencies like Web.com Search Agency can have a lot of other tools at their disposal to drive your rankings success, but the use of analytics, ranking reports, and link analysis on your own side are still useful for tracking search engine progress, whether you’re managing your own SEO of trusting the process to an outside company.