Archive for April, 2007
Friday, April 27th, 2007
Flash-based sites have problems with SEO or “Skip This Intro”
Update: I laughed out loud after reading this post theGoogleCache.com. View the Should I Make a Flash Site Flowchart?
Using Flash is a slippery slope, even Adobe’s Flash page is light on the Flash. I hesitate to bring up this topic as it can be very heated. Why, I myself used to be an avid Flash developer about 8 years ago. But back then not many people understood the concept of SEO or Internet Marketing and Google was just a twinkle in the Internet’s watchful eye.
Well, now SEO has become one of the fasting growing industries on the Internet and Flash has lost some of it’s…well, Flash. In other words, more often than not, we search frantically for the “Skip This Intro” button when we see animation start flying around the screen. If not the first time then definitely the second time. We don’t have time for Flash intros and tedious downloads in today’s world. We want information and we want it fast. Flash is contrary to this in many cases.
Don’t get me wrong, I like Flash, and think it can be helpful and entertaining of sites for entertainment, gaming and site’s that have inherit brand popularity such as Coca-Cola. Most of us running a business on the web need visitors, customers, users and clients coming to our sites. Truth is though, it is hard to find a Flash website vs. a non-Flash website. Yes, I know that Flash can be indexed, I also know that an HTML site will beat a Flash site every time when all things are equal.
Of course, using Flash in a traditional website can be fine and dandy. When used efficiently, Flash can enhance a website without damaging it’s search engine rankings. But Flash must be used with caution.
If all of your content and menus are in Flash, search engines will have a harder time following the links. If you feel strongly about using Flash, be sure to create an HTML version of the page as well. Your users will thank you as they will now be able to find your site with the help of the search engines. You may wish to block the Flash version of your pages from the crawlers with a robots.txt file, since you don’t want your pages indexed twice. If your website contains Flash, be sure put the navigation outside of the Flash content or the search engine spiders won’t be able to navigate your site. Your content should also reside outside of Flash’s influence.
Think of Flash as accent material for you site. Use it for graphical callouts, product images, interactive portions of your site and anywhere you can enhance the user experience without causing problems for the spiders or confusion for the user. Remember, never use Flash as your entire site if you want any search engine visibility. This is important because you can optimize the page title, meta tags and other content placed on invididual pages making sure each web page is unique.
Finally, give your users a Flash and a HTML version of your site. Watch the visitor stats and I’m betting you see a much higher number of visitors view the low-bandwidth verision of your website. In any case you will have given the spiders something to follow and the search engines something to index and searchers something find. It may seem like extra work, but the traffic you will acquire from it will be worth it.
Wednesday, April 25th, 2007
As of April 11th there is no longer a need to manually submit your sitemap to search engines. Last fall, the major search engines (Google, Yahoo! and MSN) agreed on a sitemaps format. You can now add a simple line to your robots.txt file and let the engines know where your sitemap file resides.
Include the following line in your robots.txt file:
Robots.txt has been used to instruct the search engines how to crawl your site – where not to go on your site. This latest sitemaps implementation of robots.txt will now tell the spiders where to go when indexing your site..
Sitemaps are important, especially for new sites, will help improve your website visibility in search results.
What is a xml sitemap?
Friday, April 20th, 2007
Submit Press Releases for Link Building
Finding one-way links to your website can be a tough task. Finding quality one-way links to your websites can be even more difficult.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if people put links to your site without you even asking them to? Well, submitting a press release can help accomplish this. Similar to my tip on SEO with articles, using a press release to build links and increase search engine rankings can also be effective. What so many people overlook submitting press releases, which are copyright free, is the fact that you can put links to your site within the content of the press release. We used this method of promotion for our online toy store client and you can see one of their press releases.
Not only can you place helpful links to your home page in the body of the press release but you can use deep linking and link to interior pages of your website. Deep linking is often harder to do as most websites would rather link to your home page. We use PRweb.com and the cost is higher to use text links rather than actual URLs.
Press Release Submit Site
As I wrote, PRweb.com does charge a fee for submission, but there are many free press release submission sites as well. Here are some that we also use:
Press release submission is not the magic bullet for SEO success, but it is a valuable tool in the SEO consultant’s toolbox. Whether it is a product release, a major hire, or a strategic acquisition you can make the press release perform double duty as both a internet marketing tool and a link building tool. Big Oak provides press release writing & submission as part of our SEO strategy.
Friday, April 13th, 2007
I have an easy SEO Tip this week. Make sure you register you domain name for more than one year. Register it for a minimum of three years and more if you can. This is especially important for new sites. The search engines, particularly Google, want to see that you believe your site is going to be successful. They also want to be sure that your site will be meaningful. A good indicator can be fort the length of time you register your domain. And the first place they check is with your domain register company (e.g. Godaddy.com).
Google has also filed United States Patent Application 20050071741 stating this very fact.
“Valuable (legitimate) domains are often paid for several years in advance, while doorway (illegitimate) domains rarely are used for more than a year. Therefore, the date when a domain expires in the future can be used as a factor in predicting the legitimacy of a domain and, thus, the documents associated therewith.”
Another good reason to increase your domain registration period is it will prevent you from accidentally losing the domain name because you overlooked or didn’t receive the reminder email to renew.
While this tip is not going to rocket you to #1 in the search results, it can provide a quicker exit from the Google Sandbox and may provide some boost in your rankings. With so many contributing factors why overlook one of the easiest things to do. Go ahead and renew, it’ll do a website good!
Friday, April 6th, 2007
Every page on your web site should have its own story and clear message. You must be sure that the search engines have no doubt what each page should rank well for. Do not mix signals or too keyword phrases on a page. If you are selling vinyl replacement windows, have a page directly focused on that product line. If you look at this example link from Creative Energy, a local client of Big Oak, you can see the focus on vinyl replacement windows is clear from the content.. Being a local Richmond, VA company, their goal for this page was top placement in Google for the search term ‘Richmond vinyl replacement windows’. They have the #1 and #2 listing. But we also have them ranked #12 for the term ‘vinyl replacement windows’. How did we accomplish this?
We gave this page individual attention and that made the difference. Let’s look deeper and check out the factors that make a web page unique in your web site.
The title sets up the page for the search engine. Short and direct, this is a good title that states clearly what the page is about to the search engines.
<title>Vinyl Replacement Windows from Simonton Window | Creative Energy of Richmond, Virginia</title>
While the importance of meta tags is questioned, using the description tag has its uses. And if you are going to use it, make sure it mentions your targeted key phrases. Thr meta description tag on our example page also contains the key phrase vinyl replacement windows.
<meta name=“description” http-equiv=“description” content=“Creative Energy, the exterior experts, installs vinyl replacement windows in the Richmond, Virginia region and recommends Simonton Windows to homeowners in central Virginia.”>
Even though the meta keyword tag is ignored for the most part, if it is part of your plan, make it count and make it different for each page.
<meta name=“keywords” http-equiv=“keywords” content=“vinyl replacement window, simonton window, replacement window, replacement window, vinyl window richmond virginia “>
I just wrote post on the myth of OPTIMAL keyword density, but having the keyword phrase on the page, of course, makes good sense. If you check out the keyword density for this page for the term vinyl replacement windows it is 4.21%. This may be a little high but if you read the page it doesn’t feel “spammy” so it is acceptable. Remember, you are writing for the search engines and people.
Linking, External and Internal
Make sure you have a few keyword-rich links to your important pages from external sites and your internal links. This is referred to as deep linking and will help your site’s ranking.
Here you can see an article written for the replacement windows with the exact link text we want in the author’s box. For the internal linking, the footer on Creative Energy’s web site contains a link to the Vinyl Replacement Window page with the link text ‘REPLACEMENT WINDOWS‘, a good text link even without the keyword ‘vinyl’ included.
Building Your Web Site One Page at a Time
As you can see this page was given the individual attention it needed to show high in the search engine rankings, but the real message of this SEO tip is that this page is has its own voice on the client’s site. If you view the other product web pages for Creative Energy you will find they follow suit with targted titles, meta tags, content and linking. Take the time to craft each web page individually and take care to spend time on the components I’ve listed.
Monday, April 2nd, 2007
Is their an optimal keyword density?Our SEO copywriters have wrestled with this question for years. I believe there used to be an optimal keyword density, but nowadays I don’t think there is. I do believe there is a density level that will get your site penalized, but an optimal density is just a myth. Don’t believe me, then take a look and do a few searches in Google. Let’s try “bonsai trees”.
Here are the top four results and the keyword density for the term “bonsai trees” on each page.
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bonsai – 0.17%
- http://www.bonsaiboy.com/ – 5.74%
- http://www.bonsaisite.com/ - 0% (Yes, that is zero percent)
- http://www.helpfulgardener.com/bonsai/ – 1.38%
From these examples you can clearly see that keyword density shouldn’t be a major consideration in your writing efforts.
Instead, focus on the on-page factors that help the search engines determine the ranking of your web page: title tags, link text, navigation, heading tags and quality content.