Normal wisdom says that if you use Flash in a web site it will hurt your search engine placement. This is due primarily to search engines having a hard time to index Flash content. But with a little ingenuity we can use that very problem to our advantage.
Let’s first take a look at how search engine indexing can cause you problems on your web site.
Most web sites are built up of menus and context areas. The menus are frequently text based, making them easy to update or change. The content is dependent on our writing creativity. Both of these can lead to search engine indexing trouble.
Search Engines look through the text on your pages, menus as well as content and they create their index on what they find. So far so good. But just how do the search engines do this? They can’t look at your page and decide which is the main content area visually, so they simply start at the top of the code and work down.
If your site follows the standard pattern of a navigation bar on either the top or down the left side of the page and uses a table structure to achieve this, then your whole nav bar will be read and indexed before your main content area. If your site has a lot of variation then this shouldn’t be a problem. But what if your site is focused on one subject and your navigation bar tends to repeat words? As an example you may have a site that sells watches and your nav bar may read like this: Men’s Watches, Ladies Watches, Sport Watches, etc. You can see how easy it is to repeat that word Watches.
Search engines like to give points to sites that contain valuable content that is easily categorized and recognizable to visitors, but they also take away points for keyword spamming. In the above Watch example, the nav bar could easily cause your page to be listed as a keyword spammer.
Here is the first Flash Trick to improve your ranking. Create the navigation bar in Flash. This way all those repeating words are now hidden from the search engine spiders. As an added benefit the code taken up by the Flash will probably be less than the code used in the text based nav bar. This will help the search engine spiders to focus on the main content area of your page.
Let’s now look at another common problem with search engine indexing. In this example consider a shopping site selling the same watches as in our previous example. Each watch page will have a description of the individual watch, and that is fine. But each page may also have “boiler plate” text as well. There may possibly be a standard description for a particular watch brand, or possibly warranty or shipping information included on the page.
Another red flag that goes up for the search engine spiders is text repeating from page to page. The more distinct each page is the more likely the search engines will consider the text as relevant. If there is too much repeated text, the search engines may even drop all the pages that they believe have duplicated text. Not a good situation, especially if you don’t want to be forced into creating completely original text for every page on your site.
Here is Flash Trick number two. Keep all the distinct content on your pages as html text and convert any repeating text areas into Flash files that are placed into the pages. This way, only the distinct text is visible to the search engines and your repeating text is hidden in the Flash file. Any text that you tend to repeat from page to page is a prime candidate for the Flash treatment.
So take a look through your web site. Do you have text menus that use repetitive words? Do you use boiler plate text, or have repeated text areas on several pages? If so you should let Flash’s disadvantage of being search engine unfriendly become your advantage on making a search engine friendly site.
The process of informing search engines about new pages in your website or about new websites in your care can be quite a time consuming task. The submissions process is just way too much trouble for its own good that even the search engines have realized that it is a path not worth pursuing and completely stopped using this method a long time ago.
There have been many innovations presented since then as a way of simplifying the submission process and eliminate most of the drudgery that has been associated with this task. With the development Google Sitemaps, the process has indeed been a big help to many webmasters and business owners. In fact, many people contend that Google Sitemaps is probably the most important development on the internet since the RSS, blogs and ping.
RSS, blog and ping had actually been used by webmasters as tools in informing search engines about new additions to their websites even though this function was not the primary purpose of the aforementioned innovations. Of course, Google Sitemaps is so much faster and easier to use compared to the said systems and this is the reason why it has risen in popularity and is now acknowledged as the most effective way of updating a website to search engines. In fact, this new innovation of using sitemaps for the search engine submission process has become a very vital part of operating a website and a webmaster can ignore it at his own risk.
There may still be some skeptics who may still not believe that a sitemap method of submitting new web pages or new content to a website is very effective. One reason why using the sitemap method like Google Sitemaps is that the technology was developed from the ground up with solely one primary goal, which is to alert and direct the Google search engine spiders to the web pages that you have specified. All the other methods are considered as indirect and submissions to search engines are not their primary purpose either.
Clearly, using Google sitemaps provides a win-win situation for webmasters and online business owners.
First, Google sitemaps limits the huge waste of the resources needed to crawl web site that have not changed. The technology allows webmasters to inform Google which pages have changed or if there are new content added to a website and then direct Google’s spiders directly to those pertinent pages.
Google Sitemaps also radically speeds up the process of discovery and addition of pages to Google’s web site index. This can only be achieved if you use the technology and nothing else.
Google Sitemaps offers a level of usability that is different from conventional sitemaps because it offers a directory of all the web pages in the web site that the webmaster or online business owner wants the search engine to visit.
Without the assistance of sitemaps like Google’s, it may become hard for a web page to be found by the search engine crawlers. There is even a chance that the page may not be found at all.
Ever felt intimidated at the convoluted, jargon-ridden information about Internet marketing for small businesses available on the Net? Ever been horrified by the huge fees the experts charge, putting search engine optimization beyond your own means? Ever thought: What exactly is search engine optimization anyway, and can I do it myself?
The answer is: Yes, you can! The basics of search engine optimization in applied web marketing are simple. It’s all to do with the keyword content of your text copy, and can be summarized in seven points.
1. Register a good domain name which reflects what your site is about. Even if you are an established business, don’t register www.FredJones.com if you make widgets. Rather, you want to register something like www.BestWidgets.com because that would inspire confidence in people looking for quality widgets who would not necessarily have heard of Fred Jones the widget-maker.
2. Name your page URLs based on reasons similar to the above for your web promotion, except now you can be more specific. Search engines like to know what your page is about. Name a page after a product (BigYellowWidgets.htm) or a service or action (Buy-Widgets-by-Post.htm) on one of the sales pages.
3. The text in the title tag is crucial in letting search engines know what each page is about. Put your important keywords in your title tags, using both the singular and plural versions (people will search for both) and make these tags different and specific for each page. For example, “Widgets and After Sales Widget Services”. Whatever you do, don’t call the home page “Index”, but treat it almost as a mini-description.
4. The other tags (at the top of the html page) between the two “HEAD” tags are not as important as the title tag, but the description tag is still used by some search engines in displaying what you would like web users to see when they scroll down a page of search results. Some search engines don’t use the description tag at all; others, like Google, sometimes use part of it together with part of the main body text surrounding prominent keywords on your page. So you may as well treat the description tag seriously; make it brief (about 25 to 30 words) and as comprehensive as possible in the short space allowed. Make sure you have your popular keywords included within your description tag. The ALT tag is used for a very short description of an image or graphic file, and is what is displayed if you allow your mouse pointer to hover above a graphic. These days it is not considered important for search engines. The COMMENT tag is never displayed on the body page, and is used by coders and designers as an instruction or reminder to themselves about what that section of html coding should be doing; in the past, some webmasters in their quest for website promotion and search engine ranking used to stuff keywords in the comments tags, but now it is generally acknowledged that the main search engines pay little or no attention to these.
5. Keyword density. Each search engine has its own preference as to how many times a keyword phrase appears on the page in order to signify the relevance of that keyword phrase (in other words, in order to help the search engine understand what the page is about). Around 5 to 8 per cent is a rough guide as to the optimal level. Don’t overdo it, otherwise it will be seen as spam or keyword-stuffing. Also use your keywords in the headings tags H1 and H2. There is an H3 tag as well, but it is doubtful whether search engines bother with that, as it is perceived as less prominent on the page, therefore less relevant to what the page is about.
6. Don’t forget good linking in your website marketing. Search engines will judge the importance of your web pages to some extent on the number and quality of incoming links from other sites. Ask other webmasters with sites on similar themes to yours for a link, in exchange for a link back. These sites should not be in competition with yours, but should be similarly themed. You may occasionally be asked by other webmasters if they can link to your site. If this is so then have a look at their site; make sure that their site is relevant, that it has at least some Page Rank, and that it just “feels” good, and has no nasty surprises like redirects or unexpected popups. You don’t want to be associated with a “bad neighborhood”!
7. Make sure that important keywords are included in the anchor text within inbound links from other sites. This is crucial to search engines when they try to figure out the relevance and importance of your pages. The inbound link from the other site should take the form of something like this (I’m using normal brackets instead of angle brackets so as not to use compromising html): (A HREF=”http://www.Yoursite.com”) your important keywords included here(/A). You should definitely avoid something like (A HREF=”http://www.Yoursite.com”)click here(/A), which tells search engines nothing except that your site is about “click here”. Be careful!
Keep Building Your Social Media Marketing
Getting yourself set up online with social media is now becoming an absolute necessity for any business, whether based in a physical location or explicitly online. This article will show you how to effectively market your company using this new marketing outlet. It’s not as hard as you might think it is.
Use the questions and answer feature of LinkedIn. LinkedIn’s Q&A works like a large discussion forum: look up questions related to your products or industry and write useful answers to them. You could also post a link to one of your articles if you do not have time to write something.
People primarily use social media sites for fun, and if you can find a way to make buying from you entertaining, they’ll be much more likely to purchase something. For example, offer a discount on your products to anyone who follows your page, but make the discount they get a mystery. Some followers might save only 5%, while others get a huge discount. People will encourage their friends to see what results they get, and you’ll build up followers in no time.
If you need to establish an email mailing list, using a social media site is a great way to do it. Get your followers and fans to provide an email address to you for future mailings in exchange for an entry into a contest where prizes and discounts will be given away.
To make sure your social media page appeals to your target audience, research books, magazines, and other things you believe they’d enjoy. Try to match the tone of the content you see in your research, and incorporate popular phrases. Doing this will help your target market to trust you and will make them interested in what you have to say.
Never dismiss advice just because it is coming from a competitor in your niche. People that have been involved long enough to establish their company aren’t often worried about their glory being stolen. If someone has useful and relevant experience, always lend a listening ear. In the end, this could help you and your company become better as a whole.
During the holiday season, present your products as gifts. This might not be a good approach for your website, but it is relevant on social networks. Post updates about your products as Christmas presents and wait for your readers to accept this as a possibility rather than pushing this idea on your website.
Make sure you post new pictures regularly on Facebook or Twitter. Your friends and followers probably have a lot of content appear in their feeds, and they will be more likely to notice a picture rather than a text. You could very easily create different photo galleries for your products.
As you can see from this article, while social media can seem intimidating for someone who hasn’t spent much time on it, it is really quite simple. As far as marketing goes, social media is actually something that is free and simple enough to do yourself without having to hire a professional.
Search engine optimization (SEO) can be a complicated process, especially if you are not very familiar, or well-versed, with the method. A lot of SEO beginners, and even some professionals, continue to commit the same mistakes when they do try to use SEO, thereby making it harder for them to get the results that they desire for their site’s page ranking.
Fortunately for you, by simply determining what mistakes they make and avoiding them, you can actually fair off better than those people who commit them, even if you are an SEO beginner. If you are already well-versed with the SEO process, then learning these mistakes won’t hurt your chances either, but rather, help improve them.
Wrong or irrelevant keywords
A lot of people try to use popular or common keywords in order to get people to their sites, regardless if the keywords that they use have any relevance to their site or not. You may be able to generate traffic using this type of method, but since you are not offering relevant content based on your keyword, people visiting your site will just end up leaving simply because you are not offering any content that they are looking for. You are actually getting traffic of market that isn’t even interested in your site or its content, so you just end up with nothing.
Avoid doing this method, instead try to focus on using genuine relevant keywords, so you can direct traffic of possible clients to your site, and not just useless web traffic.
Overuse of keywords
Another mistake that people do when they try to optimize their site is by over-using keywords, or using them repeatedly in the title, tags and body. They believe that by overloading their site’s content with their chosen keywords, they will be able to trick search engines, and improve their site’s page ranking in the process.
Unfortunately, this is not necessarily the case. Search engines will be able to detect if you are committing the over-use of keywords, or “spamming”, and if so, your site will pay the ultimate price by getting itself banned from the search engine’s index.
Good or relevant content missing
You may believe that even if you do not offer any good or relevant content in your site that your site itself is still good enough to get and keep the traffic that you are able to produce, but this, however, is not the case, as good and relevant content is what will get people, or your possible clients, to stay to your site.
People are driven to go to your site with the keywords that you have chosen, but it is your site’s content that they will be looking for, so make sure that whatever keywords you have chosen to use, those keywords will direct them to relevant web content in your site. Do take the time to write good and relevant content in order to ensure that your site would continue to do well against others offering the same thing. Remember that the only way that you can get your site to stand out against other sites would be your site’s content.
Wrong HTML codes = HTML errors
If your site commits a lot of HTML errors when people try to access it, even if it has very good and relevant content, chances are people will visit your site a whole lot less. So before you submit your site to search engine directories, you need to check and double-check your HTML codes to avoid any problems with your site, such as slow loading time, browser conflicts, and low page ranking.
Too much graphics
Bear in mind that search engines detect texts when indexing, analyzing and checking sites, and are not programmed to look for graphics, so creating a graphics-rich site will not give it an edge over other sites in terms of SEO, but can actually have the opposite effect. Since search engines are not programmed to look for graphics, they may bypass your site, giving it a lower page ranking.
Learn to avoid these SEO mistakes, and you should be able to do a whole lot better than others.
SEO can be very beneficial for your online company and web site, provided that you follow the rules and guidelines. There are several experts online who can give you quick tips on how to achieve long term business success. SEO is very affordable and you do not have to spend so much time trying to grab the customers you’ve always wanted. Here are some advantages on how to acquire hundreds of thousands of customers in a short time.
The use of SEO can greatly enhance your ability to earn money. Your web site becomes more visible and available to several visitors all over the globe, thereby helping you get your ROI or return of investment back quickly. You get to stabilize your finances quickly too. Long term positioning is another benefit where you get to stay on top of search engine rankings as soon as your properly arrange and optimize the web site, compared to PPC wherein the outlay and costs are unpredictable and constant.
You get to boost your capability of earning more income by staying visible and ranking high on search engines. Search engine users may only view the first or second pages at most so you should aim to drive them immediately to your site by using the right tools and approaches.
Getting the Right Visitors
Compared to random advertising wherein you just target several thousands of individuals online with the hope that some of them will eventually purchase or be interested in your company, SEO helps you get targeted traffic. This means that you actually get visitors who are truly interested in your product, service or topic. You can boost your reputation by writing sound articles and content and putting these in related sites and online forums.
Promotional campaigns last 24 hours a day and 7 days a week nonstop once you start any SEO approach. You stay visible to your target market any time of the day. People can visit your site regardless of their location. You do not to pay people for working overtime or stay up late just to check on your buyers. SEO continually works for you even when you are off the internet.
SEO is one of the cheapest ways to market your product or service. You do not have to spend so much on advertisements and affiliates. You can just update the content of your site, use the right title and meta tags and make sure that your content is unique and easy to read for visitors. Loading pages are also faster, since optimized files are generally smaller. There will be fewer server overheads and requests, as well as faster download times. Using SEO means that you get increased accessibility. Users get to connect regardless of their current situation.
When you use SEOs, you can expect your brand visibility to improve significantly. Search engines also get to navigate and crawl to your pages easily. All pages must be accessible to search engines, so your site becomes very easy for engines to appropriately arrange and index. You also enhance usability, so users can enjoy their stay and experience more. You can get more repeat sales and visits if you continue to enhance your onsite navigation tools and give vital information that will appeal to your customers.