Posts Tagged ‘seo’

SEO – a Beginner’s Guide (Part 3)

September 29th, 2010

Anything else?

Of course!

  • URL Structure. If your URLs are messy, search engines will have a hard time crawling them. Make sure your URLs are search engine friendly:
    –  URLs should not contain extraneous characters (ie. $ @ ! * %). Use numbers and letters only.
    –  Shorter URLs typically rank better than longer ones.
    –  Sub-domains rank better than sub-directories (ie. support.doteasy.com vs. doteasy.com/support/customer_service)
  • Alt Tags. Search engines cannot read image files. Include an alt tag with each image on your website to add a brief, bot-friendly description. More information on Alt tags here

What about Links?

The more websites that link to yours, the higher your web pages will rank. In the eyes of the search engine, the more trustworthy sites that link to you, the more authority you must have on a topic.

Always remember:

  • links within content are more effective than links in the sidebar or footer
  • links from related sites are better than links from spammy or irrelevant sites

So, in conclusion,

SEO is about helping your website get found from the search engines. In order to do so, you’ll need to:

1) Figure out what people are looking for (ie. keywords, key phrases)

2) Create a website that gives it to them (ie. content)

3) Optimize for search engines so they help people find you.

Just remember one word… Relevance.

SEO – a Beginner’s Guide (Part 2)

September 27th, 2010

What about my site content?

After you’ve chosen the right keywords you can then optimize your site content. Search engines have bots that automatically crawl your website, reading it to find out what it’s about and then deciding which keywords each of your pages should rank for.

Pay attention to:

  • Titles. Create eye-catching titles that catch the reader’s attention
  • Keywords. Choose relevant keywords that will help bring people to your website.
  • Links. Link to quality sites that compliment what your site is about.
  • Quality content. Use unique and quality content to prompt readers to come to your website because they cannot find the content elsewhere.
  • Freshness. Add new content on a regular basis.

In addition to your website’s text, search engine bots also read your website’s code. Here are areas in your code you may need to optimize:

  • Title Tags. Make sure keywords are in the title.
  • Meta Description Tag. Although it doesn’t have much of an impact on your search engine ranking, it tells visitors what your site is about. Make sure your keywords are in your description. More information on meta description tag.
  • Headings. Headings come in a specific order. H1, H2, H3 and so on, with H1 as the main heading. Make sure there is only one H1 tag on each page. You can have as many H2s and H3s as you want. Also, make sure your headings contain keywords and are relevant to the content on your website.
  • Sitemaps. You can read more on sitemaps here

Do I need to change my domain name?

Yes, domain names that contain keywords within them rank a lot higher than domains without keywords; exact match domain names rank even higher. For example, Hotels.com and CreditCards.com will always rank well for “hotels” and “credit cards” because their domain name is keyword rich. Unfortunately, exact match domains are often unavailable (can get costly if you should decide to buy one off the current owner) and are not very unique.

SEO – a Beginner’s Guide (Part 1)

September 23rd, 2010

SEO. You hear the term all the time. You read about it in the Doteasy Blog. But what does it really mean?

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is the process of improving your website’s ranking with the search engines, ie. Google.

All search engines have their own ranking algorithms (sets of rules that determine how to rank websites for search queries). The aim of a search engine is to provide the user with the most relevant website for their query. For example, if a user searches for “visa” you would expect the website “visa.com” to appear top of the listings. But if the user types in a generic term, such as “credit cards” the search engine will then have to determine which credit card website is most relevant to the user.

Unfortunately, these algorithms are not released to the public.

Thus, the aim of SEO is to improve your website’s ranking within the search engine so that more users can find your website when they type in a specific keyword in the search engines.

So, how do you actually rank higher in the search engines?

The right keywords for your website.

Choosing the right keywords or keyword phrases is very important. You want to describe your website but not too generically. For example, if you run a cafe in Toronto, instead of “cafe”a better keyword would be “cafe in Toronto”.

Just think, would you rather be a small fish in a big pond (trying to rank for “cafe”) or a large fish in a small pond (trying to rank for “cafe in Toronto”).

Yes, more people will be searching for “cafe”. But, “cafe in Toronto” will not only give you a better chance of appearing on the first page of Google, but it will also send you more targeted visitors. SEO is not about traffic. It’s about optimizing for keywords that will bring you visitors who want the same things as you.

There are free tools you can use to help find the right keywords:

* Google’s Search-Based Keyword Tool

Google Font API on Your Website

August 25th, 2010

Anyone who’ve designed a website would agree that one of the most frustrating aspects of designing a website is fonts – the font you choose needs to be already installed on your visitors’ computer or device, and yet the selection of the web-safe fonts is quite limited: Arial, Georgia, Verdana, etc. If you want a fancy font for your title, you’d need to convert it into an image using Photoshop or applications.

Then, in May, Google launched the Font API and Font Directory. To get an idea of what you can expect from the Google Font API, check out the Google Font Preview.

The Google Font API lets you use the web fonts that are in the Google Font Directory, currently over 25 fonts. With the Google Font API, you can now add high quality open source fonts (fonts that work all major browsers) to your website. Best of all, it’s easy to use and it’s free!

Exciting, right? Definitely!

Let’s try implementing it onto a website.

There are two steps for using Google Font API.

1. Reference the CSS stylesheet you need within your HTML file, with the tag inside the tag. This reference should be in all web pages that will use the font(s).

It’ll look like this:

<head>
<title>Home Page</title>
<link rel=”stylesheet” type=”text/css” href=”http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=FontName”>
</head>

Replace the “FontName” with the font you wish to use from the Google Font Directory.

If you are using WordPress, you can simply add the code to your header.php file, inside the head tags.

2. Use CSS to specify how you want to use the font. For example, you want to use the font on all h1 header tags, you would use the following CSS:

h1 {
font-family: ‘FontName’;
font-size: 18px;
}

Styles

By default, you will get the normal style of the font. If you want display another style, such as bold, you add colon (:) at the end of the font’s name followed by the style you want. If you need more than one style, simply separate them with a comma (,) like this:

<link rel=”stylesheet” type=”text/css” href=”http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=FontName:bold,italic>

To see the Font API in action, check out Smashing Magazine’s website. They have relaunched their site using the open source Droid font hosted by Google.

Multiple Fonts

If you want to use more than one font, you don’t need to make multiple references. Instead, add the additional fonts in the same reference, separating with a | symbol, like this:

<link rel=”stylesheet” type=”text/css” href=http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=FontName:bold|AnotherFontName” >

SEO Implications

Google Font Directory is more SEO-friendly because it replaces the fancy title images you have been using – not only does it load faster, the text styled is also searchable.

Another advantage of using Google Font API – the font file is served by Google, not you, guaranteeing uptime and speed. If a user has already visited another website that uses Google Font API, they might already have the font you need in their browser’s cache, further speeding up the page response time.

For more information on using the Google Font API, including the offical Get Started guide from Google, visit Google’s website.

Alternatives to Outdated SEO Tactics (Part 2)

August 16th, 2010

Few days ago we covered a few alternatives on some SEO tactics. In this post, we will share two more.

Search Engine Submission

Did you know that search engine submissions are no longer necessary? Yet, a large number of web design companies are still promoting it and charging for the service. You no longer have to waste your time or money submitting your website to each individual search engine.

Alternative: Search engine discover new webpages through links and the easiest way is via social media sites – add a link to your website in a LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook profile or post. That’s all you need to do! Social media sites are crawled constantly so the link (and your website) will get found quickly.

Link Exchange Schemes

Getting links for your site from other sites on the same topic is still a great way to get traffic and page rank. However, beware of the link exchange campaigns and schemes you find in your email inbox. Simply put, link exchange works, but you have to be careful where your link is placed – a made-up page with millions of outgoing links is not going to help your website.

Alternative: You need content links – make people write about you in their blogs. Create valuable and unique content on your website and people will link to it naturally. You can also consider guest-blogging on other people’s blogs. Links from other niche-related websites and new sources are worth more weight than links from non-related sites.