Avoid Blinding the Search Engine Spiders

Last week I was asked to consult with a design firm. One of our new clients was using a design firm to build their new site. I was asked to provide some advice when designing for search engine optimization. At Big Oak we are not SEO Nazis who insist everything must be HTML text and the site must be visually lifeless. Far from it. I was a web designer not to many years ago so I am very sensitive to outside influences giving direction to your design, especially when your artistic integrity is being put at risk. After all, most design shops are trying to build a impressive portfolio and “search engine people” appear to be the enemy of design to some. With this in mind I submitted some things to be wary of, but didn’t need to be avoided. I explained that the idea is to let the search engines know what your page is about and you have to have some text for the spiders to read in order to do that. So these items can be added, with moderation and strategically, but remember to think like a spider when you do. Graphical text: Spiders can’t read graphic text and and I would prefer to use HTML text for all text, but headlines can be enhanced through graphics so using graphic text is okay, but be sure you are using the title and alt tags with these images. Wrap it in a H1 tag if that is warranted for a heading. Images: Obviously spiders can’t read images whether they are text images or otherwise. Our main concern...

What if Google had to design their interface for Google?

This is the height of hilarity. It just goes to show the underlying hypocrisy of Google. Google can play the holy-than-thou card due to their popularity, but what they want from other sites would certainly change the look of their site if they followed their own advice. Take a look at what Google would look like if they had to design their site based on their recommendations. See the Google madness. Well done by the folks over at...

Google Alerts for Link Building

As a senior member of a successful SEO company I’m always on the lookout for ways to make my job easier. Usually my job consist of defining an SEO strategy that will help our clients achieve high rankings in the search engines. High Rankings are supported by high-quality links, so how do we find high-quality links without doing a lot of work? Hello, Google Alerts. Google Alerts is a nifty tool that will monitor Google results with predefined search terms and then email you those results. They will send the email to you once a day, as it happens or once a week. You can insert any topic or query that you wish to keep tabs on. For example, you can type in a competitor’s business name and/or his web address as an search term alert. Every time Google finds the search term they will send an email detailing where it was found in an email. It is like having a paid researcher always on call for free. How best to use this for SEO you ask? Easy, here are just a few ideas. Let’s assume you have written an article or press release. You submit it through your normal channels but then you set up Google Alerts to notify you every time it finds the exact title of your article. Be sure to put the search term in quotes so it looks for an exact match (“My Article Title”). Now you can track in real-time where you article gets picked up and then contact any of the sites that have placed your article or press release and contact...