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Design Your Way to a Higher SEO Rank

Design Your Way to a Higher SEO Rank

When the Internet was opened to commercial traffic in the 1990s, the vast majority of websites flooding the Net were slapdash affairs, put out by business owners who had no idea of how to design a website. After a decade, more sites on the Web have at least a basic design behind them, but most sites still don’t have a good user experience level. Now that the rules of SEO have changed, this lack of design is going to bite most website owners in the behind. It’s time for the vast majority to take a long, hard look at their websites and either go through a major revamping or scrap what’s out there and start over. It’s back to basics, folks – it’s time to really design what goes up on your site. The Design Process The first step in a design process is to have a systems analyst gather requirements from the business itself and from its users. This involves a number of meetings with both communities, where the analyst asks questions, to determine what the business and the user community both want to get out of the website. Once the requirements are gathered, the systems analyst puts them through an analysis; this determines which requirements are must-haves, which ones fall into the “it’s nice to have, but it’s not a deal-breaker” category, and which ones are pipe dreams. After the analyst has the requirements, the design phase begins. This includes any databases the site will require, any outputs

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Why Doesn’t My Site Show Up In Search Results?

Why Doesn’t My Site Show Up In Search Results?

As a business owner, you’ve been forced to embrace the World Wide Web; the current generation of shoppers is wedded to the Internet, and the Web is their first port of call when looking for purchases. Smart shoppers research items they want on the Internet, even when a brick-and-mortar store is the ultimate destination. Busy mothers use their smart phones to research items, map directions to the store, and download electronic coupons. Busy executives compare ticket prices and buy hotel deals, both from their laptops and their phones. The Internet is a crowded place, and you have to take advantage of every opportunity to make your website get noticed. The first way is to land on page one of a shopper’s search results. What is SEO? To make your site land on the first page of a query’s results, you need to understand how a search engine finds its answers. You don’t have to work for Google; you just need to understand how your web pages are built, and how search engine optimization (SEO) can improve your ranking. Hyper Text Markup Language The world-wide web utilizes a specific language to build web pages. This language, Hyper Text Markup Language, or HTML, consists of tag pairs, used to define each piece of a page. HTML is not difficult, but it can get extremely complex when building a robust page. As the Web exploded with internet businesses, more websites were developed by neophytes who did not know how to program; this led

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Winning the SEO game: Designing for SEO Traffic

Winning the SEO game: Designing for SEO Traffic

The Internet is a crowded marketplace; literally, millions of websites exist. Not all sites are trying to sell products, but there are plenty of them out there who are, and every advantage you can take boosts your chances of being successful. While millions of sites exist, there are also millions of users; these users surf the Web daily, looking for information of one form or another. The primary method for finding information on the Internet is to input a query to the search engine of your choice. Search engines include Google, Bing, and Yahoo, to name a few. All search engines use similar algorithms to process a query; Google, by far the largest search engine in the market today, pioneered the algorithms used to query the Internet for answers. These algorithms find sites matching the input query in the metadata associated with each web page. Once they find a site, it goes into the results set for the originating query. But, since millions of pages may return a hit, how does the engine rank the results for relevance? In the early days of search engines, the engines used your keywords list to determine a hit. They still do, but the importance of your site is determined by other factors. Search engines have evolved, and they now use link analysis to calculate a site’s relevance in the results set. The algorithm, developed by Google co-founder Larry Page, counts the number of inbound links to your site; the resulting number is a

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What is SEO, and Why Does it Matter?

What is SEO, and Why Does it Matter?

The World Wide Web has exploded in the two decades since the first graphical interface was launched and the federal government opened the Internet to commercial business. The sheer numbers of websites staggers the mind; the ability of search engines to find whatever arcane piece of information you’re looking for in nanoseconds completely blows the mind away. How does a search engine find relevant information for you so quickly? It does this by using a technique known as search engine optimization, or SEO for short. The rules of SEO allow website owners, content managers, and anyone who posts to a site to set up a page so the search engine can easily find it, and rank it high in the results. The rude fact is, most people don’t go beyond the first page of their search results, as long as the information they’re looking for is on it. With this in mind, whoever puts a page up on a website must set the page up to follow the search engine’s criteria, in order to guarantee a hit in the results, and to be in the first page’s worth of results. Search engines have rules for how they look for answers to a query. Following the rules will guarantee you end up in the results, and keeping the rules in mind as you build your site will push you up further in the ranks, which is what you’re after. SEO matters to an e-commerce site because it determines the amount of

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How to Win the SEO Game: Alt Tags

Have you really looked at web pages? Do you notice the images? Do you notice the image titles? Images play a big part in website content; websites haven’t relied on text to get their messages across since the Internet went graphical. Images – pictures, cartoons, clip art, and animation – are used to make a website more visually appealing. The meat of your site may be in the text, but the images will catch the surfing user’s eye and draw him or her into your site. Once they’re there, your content will keep them there. Images Images on a website are inserted into the content after being converted to the proper digital format. Images on the web are usually converted to .tif, .gif or .jpeg format. Files from graphics programs such as Adobe Photoshop may be in .pnc formats. These image files are inserted into a page as it is constructed, in whatever editor the web builder chooses to use. In placing images, the option for titling the images is given via the HTML Alt tag. HTML HTML, or HyperTensive Markup Language, is the language used to create web pages. Whatever program you use to build your page, the software will output HTML. HTML uses tags to delineate the code in a web page. The H1 tag, for instance, indicates the text between the tags is a header, and the number one indicates it is the primary header. HTML is made up of tags and attributes, used to code the

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Linking Content versus Discovering Content

The discussion about content and its importance in the SEO process has been ignored in some conversations and overstated in others. One problem with the discussion is whether excellent content is the end all solution to increasing traffic and raising your Google ranking as opposed to a thoroughly analytical SEO process that includes link building. What should be looked at is the critical factors involved with determining if a “standalone” content approach is feasible where users dash to a website solely because of its content.  The Discovery Approach In applying the discovering content approach to increasing page rank, there needs to be multiple channels that are tethered to the web site that will broadcast the existence of the excellent content. Some examples of these tethered channels are blogs that have links to the web site included, social media, standard press releases, and advertising. The presumption made by this approach is that readers from the various forms of media will find their way to the web page and recognize the superior content, which will translate into increased traffic and sales through both personal interaction by the visitor and through one of the most reliable forms of advertising – word of mouth. As good as this sounds in theory, the question is whether this approach can be used effectively by everyone. Determining what constitutes superior content is a rather subjective issue as some people prefer to pour through words than watch a five minute video. A hotel chain that has an interactive

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Forget Keywords

Forget Keywords

From days gone by, the issue of keywords as a way to raise a web site’s Google ranking was a non-issue. It was essential. Web pages bloated with repetitive keywords were the norm, until Google changed the algorithm to reflect a more semantic approach to page ranking. The importance of keywords has fallen from 100 on a scale of 0 to 100, to 22. Maybe. This may sound like SEO heresy, but there is a good reason behind the rebellion. Google Beginnings One reason is that Google thought it was downright naïve to allow web sites to rank higher on the basis of quantity rather than quality. There seemed to be an implied trust in businesses and people to do the right thing when developing web site content. What they learned is that when search engine results equated with traffic, which equated with sales, the war was on. This had always been true on a rudimentary level, but when it did not take long to discover people are generally lazy and will not turn to Page Two for additional results, Page One was the only possible acceptable standard. Quantity over quality morphed “You get what you pay for” into “You sell what they click on.” If that was not true, keyword stuffing would have been a fad instead of a common practice. New Beginnings With its latest changes to the algorithm in 2013, Google made semantic content – content that was more in line with the way words and phrases

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How to Win the SEO Game: Getting Them There is Only Half the Battle

How to Win the SEO Game: Getting Them There is Only Half the Battle

You’re working on a website, to sell products and have a second stream of income. You’ve studied SEO, and you think you’ve got a list of keywords to bring traffic flowing to your site like the Mississippi flows to the Gulf of Mexico. What do visitors find when they get to your site? Getting traffic to your site is only half the battle – to keep them there, you’ve got to have something they want, and it’s got to be presented in a way that keeps their attention, or you’ve lost the war, so to speak. What is Your Website About? You have to know your product, and your audience, to successfully build your keywords list. However, knowing your product and audience does not guarantee you a website that converts traffic to sales. Users give you about two to five seconds on your landing page (the page your hits brings them to) before they decide to explore your site further, or to move on to the next entry in the results pool. It pays to develop a high-quality website, and to have someone who understands the user interface and design principles either help you build it, or build it for you. Keep the Distractions to a Low Roar Far too many websites build an extremely “busy” front page. They have animation and slide shows, and bright, vivid colors all screaming for your attention, not to mention the videos and ads on the sidebars. A good user interface designer understands the use

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Two Essential SEO Bridges Created by Three SEO Elements

Two Essential SEO Bridges Created by Three SEO Elements

When looking at SEO as a primary method of driving organic traffic to your site, there are three elements of the process that are key: keywords, keyword mapping, and content optimization. The content is the end of the road in this part of the process, while those still too often maligned keywords are the beginning of the road. In between is keyword mapping, an important but also tedious part of the optimization process. The goal is not treating these three elements as separate but creatingbridges between them to recognize their importance. So much has been written about keywords and their level of importance/unimportance that what needs to be said has been said 100 times. For the purposes of this article, what needs to be considered is their long term value to the SEO process. Clearly they are a starting point, but just as clearly their importance has been diminished with the revision of the Google algorithm over the years. The question that needs to be answered is if Google departs from keywords as a starting point, then what their replacement would be. Key phrases are just extensions and compounds of keywords. The bridge between keywords and keyword mapping is a choice between web analytics and web crawling. The former is provides less detail and will not include pages that have not been visited. Crawling provides a wealth of information on each web page, and includes every page on the web site regardless of the number of visitors. The most important

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SEO – Reviewing the Basics

SEO – Reviewing the Basics

If you are looking for the bleeding edge content of SEO in this article, you can skip ahead now. Really. This is an article about SEO basics. If you want to make sure you do not miss anything SEO related, it might be worth a quick browse to se if any of this information is useful even though you are an established business. It might point you to an area or two that you are overlooking.  If you are wondering why such an article is written, look no further than the startup business that just opened. The owner can scour the Internet and find articles about SEO basics, but they are likely to be dated. That leaves these new business owners trying to start in the middle and find their way around. Any new business needs to recognize not only the importance of having a web site, but how important SEO is to the long term success of their endeavor. We All Need It The business reality today is that not having a web site for your business is equivalent to not having a business at all. This may seem like you are being forced to invest the time and a little money to have a web presence. The truth is despite the apparently forced nature, there is a tremendous upside for your business by having a business web site. Do not just haphazardly throw a web site together, because that is about the same as having no web site

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