Use Site Structure for Better Search Engine Results

Not being found is a particular problem with sites that are built all in Flash, or that have a lot of images and not a lot of HTML text. You may see words, but the search engine robots won’t if they are actually images. Be sure that you can select specific words with your cursor to be sure your content is readable by the search engines.

# Have a descriptive page title that starts with your company name and can then be followed with other key descriptors, such as location, industry, and/or key services. This title is the one that shows up in the title bar at the top of your browser window. You will need access to the “code” of your pages to change the page title information. It’s good practice to pay attention to your page titles. Plus, the title is what shows up in a visitor’s Favorites list – so make it easy for them to know who you are.

# Have at least 100 words of HTML text as high up on the page as possible. Listen to how we helped our client, get a consistent top 3 position for a very competitive search term, “California wedding locations.” Be sure to include your company name and your geographical location. Local search is becoming hotter and hotter…but we’ll discuss that in a future BizzyCast!

# Use the title tag and the alt tag if you have a lot of flash or images on your web pages. Be sure to include your company name! Don’t just say title=”company logo” but instead say title=”My Company logo.” Or go even further with something like title=”My Company logo call us for professional web services in Hawaii, New Mexico, and California.” It’s invisible unless the user rolls over the image, so it’s a great way to extend your messaging.

Want help? We offer you at least two choices. One, we recommend hiring us for a Web Site Analysis. We’ll look at your rankings and your site structure to see how you can improve your search results. Two, you can hire us for Online Marketing services.

It takes more time to write useful title tags for every image and search engine-friendly page content, but that’s one of the things we think you should expect when hiring a professional web developer.

Using Gmail as a File Server

Gmail is the email service currently being offered by Google in beta (test) release. One of the big advantages of it is that each account gets 1 GB (that’s a gigabyte) of storage. I got into the gmail game reluctantly, as it’s no secret I already have a lot of email accounts!  But using it as a remote file server, that I can access from anywhere anytime on any computer…well that got my interest.

Because the account is essentially a beloved first child of Google, it has inherited Google’s search abilities. In fact, Google suggests, don’t even bother with folders and filing — just let Google find it for you when you want something! To those who hate filing and tolerate clutter well, it’s a “neat” solution. (Like how I snuck that in there?)

So how do we use it? We send emails and files to it as an added level of back up protection. Not a great solution for your primary or even secondary backup procedures, but a really good one for snips of this and that you really think you can’t live without.

On long message threads, such as news group subscriptions, it will allow you to “collapse” or “show” the message thread contents. That comes in handy..

The story goes that to support this currently free account, there will be ads inserted into emails that are sent. This already happens with other free email accounts, such as hotmail and yahoo. So far, I have not seen a single ad. Maybe they want us dependent on it so we won’t turn away when the ads come marching in. Unlike the other free email accounts, there are as yet no ads on the log in pages. And there is a built-in spam filter that works so-so, so far, for me.

How do you get one? Well, you have to get a Gmail invitation. How do you get an invitation? Just ask us. The longer you have an account, the more invitations you can accrue.

If you want a gmail account, just email us. We’ll get one right out to you!

AUTHOR: Mary Schmidt
DATE: 04/23/2005 03:33:51 PM
Perfect for me – so much of the work I do is quickly outdated anyway (customer deliverables, proposals) that I can just send to my Gmail account for quick access in case of catastrophe – and for access from client sites. I can travel light and still be professional and productive. (You should send out as a member listserv message to NAWBO and other association members.) Great “whack in the side of the head” tip!

Click Fraud and the Search Engines

It seemed like such a good idea. Choose the best search terms that fit your business, bid on them at Google, then pay only when a user clicks on your link and comes to your web site. Until your competition finds your link and runs up your account. Costing you wasted money. Keeping customers away from your web site.

Unfortunately, as of yet there is no way to prevent strangers from clicking on your pay-per-click links.

The problem is gaining more attention though, as the size of the industry increases.

h3. Key points:

Click fraud may represent as much as 10-20% of pay-per-click transactions, which is a multi-billion dollar industry.

Search engines themselves are getting scammed. Seen all those blogs and sites with Google AdSense on them? Google delivers text ads to match the content on the page. The site gets paid for the clicks that come from it. But at least Google has the technical and financial resources to detect the fraud and bring charges. Your typical small business does not.

Click fraud is even being outsourced! Some companies are hiring overseas workers to sit at computers and click their competitors’ paid links.

The price of keywords has only gone up. The article reports that the current rate for what you might think is a very obscure term—mesothelioma—is $51 per click. What is mesothelioma? The type of cancer that is related to asbestos contamination.

h3. Our Position

We have generally stayed away from pay-per-click advertising, due to the uncertainty, and our general skepticism of untargeted advertising. We love the internet, but that doesn’t mean we love everything about it. We’d rather see your effort go into quality content, a well-designed site, and generating substantial cross-linking.

Homage to the Difficulty of Building a Web Site

I have come to realize once again how hard it can be to put “my mask on first in the case of a loss of cabin pressure.”

Small businesses face an unusual challenge that large businesses are immune to, by simple virtue of their size: guilt feelings about putting yourself first. In the bigco, there are so many layers of culpability and rarely is the decision-maker the one who looks the client straight in the eye and says, “No, I am sorry we can’t do it for that price.” Or, I wish we could, but this week we are working on our site, which is four years old and embarrassingly out of date, considering what we are capable of doing.

We had plans to close shop between Christmas and New Year’s, and just work on our own company collateral. Alas, we stayed busy with little requests here and there, and just trying to catch up on the backlog of filing, book-keeping, planning that frequently gets pushed aside to meet the monthly billables.

The good news in our case, is how much we appreciate our clients. We’ve got a great group of business owners who value us for what we do for them, and who themselves are successful, nice people too.

Now if only we could treat our own web site as well as we treat our clients’ sites!

It’s worse somehow, too, because we think of so many business-savvy things we could do with our web site. If only we had the time.

So here is the 2005 boost to get a new site. The software we use allows us to set up the structure first. The style and design can be added later, changed as often as we like, independent of the content and navigation. Wish us luck and aloha!

P.S. For any of our clients reading this in the future…yes we DO know how hard it is to get the web site built and put together. You can remind us anytime.