Archive for the ‘Search Engine’ category

Filtering Images with Google Usage Rights

January 27th, 2014

While it’s nice to have a photographer on hand to capture some unique images for your website, sometimes you just need a quick image to spruce up your blog article or social networking post. We’ve mentioned some of our favourite stock photo resources in a previous blog, but we wanted to highlight a feature that Google has just conveniently placed under their search tools: Google Usage Rights. This tool can let you filter your image results on Google by their licensing rights!

 google_image_usage_rights

How to Use It

  1. Type your search term into Google Search
  2. Hit Images
  3. Choose “Search Tools”
  4. Click on “Usage Rights”
  5. Now choose the category you want

Decode the Lingo

Labeled for Reuse
You can copy or alter these images according to the ways specified in the license.

Labeled for Commercial Use
You can copy or alter these images for commercial purposes, according to the ways specified in the license.

Labeled for Reuse with Modification
You can use the image with alterations, according to the ways specified in the license.

Labeled for Commercial Reuse with Modification
You can use the image with alterations for commercial purposes, according to the ways specified in the license.

Note the emphasis on using images according to the ways specified in the license – we highly recommend verifying with the image creator to make sure the image is actually open to reuse, and whether there are certain terms you need to honour. No one wants to deal with those pesky headaches or other unfortunate consequences that come from making a legal blunder.

Check out Google’s memo for more details on how to use this filter.

Choosing the Right Social Media Network for Your Business (Part 1)

December 11th, 2013

It’s not really a secret that social media networking is becoming an essential marketing strategy for your business. If you’re not on a social network, there’s a lot to miss out on: word-of-mouth marketing, increased consumer trust, brand building, and real communication between you and your customers.

While it can be tempting to quickly sign up for the all the social networking sites you hear about, it would be much more valuable to concentrate your efforts on a select few. This way, you can provide quality content and be able to have a more meaningful connection with your followers.

Here’s our guide to help you choose which social media networks are right for you:

facebook-logo

Good Ol’ Zuckerberg has done well for himself, as Facebook is currently the most prominent social media network on the web.

Why you should join: 

  • It has an estimated active user base of over a billion people: needless to say, Facebook is popular. You won’t get lonely.
  • Facebook offers great ways to connect with your followers, as they can comment on your posts, post up a review of your business, and “Like” your content.
  • The “Word of mouth” marketing potential is sky high, as you and your content can be shared, posted on other Facebook sites, tagged, etc.

Why you should pass:

  • A Facebook business page will take a lot of upkeep. Be prepared to post content often and reply to your followers. It really is a “social” networking site.
  • Also, be prepared to adapt to the constant website changes, as the Facebook functions, features and policies are updated quite often.

twitter-logo

Can you say something interesting in 140 characters or less? If the answer is yes, this mini-blogging site is perfect for you.

Why you should join:

  • Your posts can easily be “retweeted” to spread the word about your business.
  • The “hashtags” are a great way to keep up with popular trends and topics (believe it or not: “hashtags” are NOT doing great on Facebook. So, keep it on Twitter. Check out this article).

Why you should pass:

  • Like with Facebook, if you’re not ready to communicate with your followers, Twitter is not the best platform for you.
  • Make sure you’ll be able to come up with compelling posts on a regular basis.

google-plus-logoWhile you might not know it, Google+ is quickly rising in popularity.

Why you should join:

  • Three letters: SEO. Google+ is, obviously, owned by Google, and this can mean AMAZING search engine results for your business. It might be worth your while to join the network for this advantage alone.
  • You can easily provide contact information for your local customers.
  • Being able to link you business to Google Maps will let your visitors find you easily.

Why you should pass:

  • It’s debatable how “active” the Google+ network currently is, and how often users actually use the network to share information and communicate. Many users join just to boost their SEO rather than to really connect with others. However, there are many predictions that activity levels will soon rise and surpass that of Facebook because of the many advantages of Google+ (e.g. support of animated GIF images) and its increased ease of use.

linkedin-logoLinkedIn is the social networking site wearing the suit and tie. It’s the largest social media network for business professionals, and is currently becoming more popular for business pages.

Why you should join:

  • The “LinkedIn” group is a way for professionals to connect and discuss industry topics.
  • This is a great way to establish yourself as an expert.

Why you should pass:

  • Be prepared to take on a more professional tone with this one. Note that most people using this network are business people and professionals. While LinkedIn is a great place to find professional connections, it won’t give you an audience that’s as varied as you might like.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of our social media series, where we’ll highlight pros and cons for more image/media-centric social media networks, such as YouTube, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Instagram! Any thoughts? Leave us a comment!

5 Tips to Make Sure Your Website Looks Credible

November 12th, 2013

Have you ever clicked on a website, felt that warning alarm go off in your gut, and quickly navigated away hoping that you haven’t contracted a computer virus? We’re with you. The last thing you want is for your own website to set off warning bells for potential visitors. Keep your visitors from running the other way by improving the user experience and layout of your site.

5_tips_to_make_your_website_looks_credible_2

Keep it Simple

Maybe you just started with a couple cool images on your site to make it more interesting. But now, you’ve got banner ads, pictures, text, and links fighting for space. Take a look at your web pages and decide whether you need to de-clutter. Should you remove some images? Do you need to realign your items? Aim to keep your layout clean and simple, and never underestimate the power of white space.

Make It Speedy

Most of us have more similarities to that girl screaming “I want it NOW!” at the chocolate factory than we’d care to admit. You and your visitors probably wouldn’t wait too long for lavish graphics and widgets to appear five pixels at a time. There are a few ways to improve your site speed, such as optimizing your website by compressing large files, and using efficient CSS coding. We’ve written a few articles on how to improve site speed, and you can check them out here.

We love Google Page Speed as well: it will evaluate your site performance and give you some tips on how to improve its speed.

Make Sure Information is Up-To-Date

If your website is for a company or business, make sure your operating hours are accurately listed. Also remember holidays hours and exceptions. Most importantly, if you’re offering limited-time only promos or holding an event, be sure to take down the information when the event has passed. You always want to give off the impression that you have a great team working to keep your content accurate, current, and trustworthy.

Pay Attention to Your Stats

In particular, look at your top entry and exit pages. These can be vital clues on whether your site is grabbing attention and enticing visitors to stick around. You can use Google Analytics to analyze your website statistics. For our cPanel server clients, there is a built-in analytics tool to make this step even simpler.

Make Your Logo Your Beacon

This might seem like a little thing, but a logo that links back to your home page can boost the credibility and user experience of your site immensely. It is now the professional standard to have a clickable logo, ready to teleport visitors home.

These are five simple tips to improve the credibility of your website! Just keeping the user experience in mind can prevent you from scaring off visitors with a poorly thought-out site. Overall, you want your website to be as professional, user-friendly, and trustworthy as can be.

How Do I Get My Site Listed On Search Engines?

February 29th, 2012

Before your website can get listed on a search engine, the search engine must first of all know that your website exists. Search engines do this by using a web crawler.

A web crawler is a program that methodically browses through the websites on the internet and allows the search engine to index them. How a web crawler works can be crudely summarized by these steps.

1. The web crawler visits the webpages that it has previously indexed.
2. It searches those webpages for outbound links.
3. It visits those links and indexes the pages that are new.

These steps are repeated as new webpages are found.

As you can see, the best way to get the search engine to index your page is to get another webpage that is already indexed to link to yours.

The other, less recommended, way of getting your webpage indexed is to submit your webpage URL to the search engine directly. This lets the search engine know that a webpage exists and needs to be crawled. However, this does not guarantee that your webpage will be crawled.

Here are some of the URL submission pages for the more common search engines.

Google – http://www.google.com/submityourcontent
Bing & Yahoo! – http://www.bing.com/toolbox/webmaster

If you want to submit your webpage URL to the search engines directly, it is recommended that you submit it to Google, Bing, and Yahoo!. This is because online sources say that these search engines sell their search results to the other smaller search engines.

Remember, when building a website, CONTENT IS KING. If you website has good content and is updated frequently with fresh material, people will come and naturally link your webpages.

In this video tutorial, we will teach you how to submit your website for Google search. Enjoy

Google +1 Button

June 8th, 2011

Google introduced the Google +1 button recently and many of you might still be asking what is it? A new social feature?

Similar to the “Like” button on Facebook, the Google +1 is a simply way to like Google search results. When you’re signed into your Google account, every Google search result will have a +1 icon next to it. If you like the search result, just press on the +1 icon. By hitting the +1 icon, you are giving the search result a recommendation, or a stamp of approval.

So, the Google +1 is definitely a social feature. You can see what your friends +1’d, which in turn will more likely encourage you to click on a search result.

Check out the Google +1 button video on YouTube

If you haven’t noticed, the +1 button is now added to YouTube videos, under “Share”.

Adding Google +1 Button to your website

You can create your +1 button using Google’s creation tool.

Once ready, copy the script tag and place it onto your web page. You can place it between the <head> tags or in the footer before the </body> tag.

<script type=”text/javascript” src=”http://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js”></script>

Next, copy and place the button script where you want the +1 button to display on your webpage.

<g:plusone></g:plusone>

 

For more information on creating the +1 button and/or the advanced options of button, please refer to Google’s +1 Button API

Adding Google +1 to Your WordPress Blog

If you do a search on the WordPress.org Plugin Directory, you will see there are currently 500+ and counting plugins that adds the  Google +1 button to your pages, posts, sidebar or anywhere you want on your blog.

However, if you want to add the scripts in manually (in fear of incompatibility between the +1 plug-in and your existing plugins), you can also do so by adding the +1 script and button codes to your theme file.

1.     Go to the Appearance section in your WordPress dashboard and click on “Editor”.

2.     Find the “footer.php” file in the template you’re using.

3.     Add the following line just before the </body> tag.

<script type=”text/javascript” src=”http://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js”></script>

4.     Click on “Update”.

Then, add the button code wherever you want the +1 button to appear. For example if you want to add the button to your blog sidebar, you can simply add it as a text widget via the “Widgets” section.

You can also add the +1 button to individual posts by entering the button code in the body of the post, or by adding it the post.php template file.

Things you need to know about the +1 Button

1.     The +1 button will influence search rankings, as confirmed by Google’s David Byttow: “We expect that these personalized annotations will help sites stand out by showing users which search results are personally relevant to them… We’ll also start to look at +1’s as one of the many signals we use to determine a page’s relevance and ranking, including social signals from other services.”

2.     Once you click on a +1 button, a link to the content will appear under the +1’s tab in your Google Profile.

3.     The +1 Button is not the same as Google Buzz – 1’s do not allow for comments.

4.     By placing the <script> tag at the bottom of the document, just before the body close tag, Google says you may improve loading speed of the page (which is another factor Google takes into account in terms of ranking).

5.     Google says by adding +1 buttons to your pages can help your ads stand out: “By giving your visitors more chances to +1 your pages, your search ads and organic results might appear with +1 annotations more often. This could lead to more–and better qualified–traffic to your site.

6.     The button is not available on mobile search results yet.

For more information on the Google +1 Button, you can visit Google’s website.