Tag Archives: SEO Web Design

Is Guest Blogging Dead? Part Two

Today we’ll talk about when you can and should guest blog for others to improve your own organic placement.

First, I have to say that I do guest blogging on a regular basis for two sites in my own industry: the Bing Ads Community and SiteProNews. I personally find guest blogging in certain parameters authority and visibility building.

Here’s when I feel that guest blogging can be a workable strategy for you:

1. If you have an industry or trade publication that shows articles to the public (not locked behind a gateway) online I would consider the opportunity to write an article that would include links back to your website writing as an authority a great opportunity. I would highly encourage you to see out and write in these types of situations. Make sure that before you write you have your personal Google+ profile set up and that you link to this profile in the article bio block using the rel=”author” syntax. This discreet action will tie the article to your Google+ profile which you in turn link to your website. This type of guest blogging article may help with your own business exposure.

2. If you have been approached by someone in your industry outside of your geographic area and they are willing to allow you to guest blog on their quality blog and you have vetted them as a respectable business, I would consider a once a month guest blog post a wonderful opportunity for you. However, I would properly vet them to make sure that the link from their site to yours is not tainted by other types of activities they may be participating in that would be a high negative for Google which would bleed into your own site’s Google profile.

When would I steer clear of guest blogging:

1. If your SEO firm says “we’ll charge you $XXX a month to send out guest blog posts and they’ll be placed on hundreds of sites so you’ll get a high number of links”, I would be very cautious. In a recent analysis I did for a client we queried exactly where the content was placed and were shocked when the blog post for a medical call center was found on a hemorrhoid medication website and numerous off-topic/no name blogs. There is NO VALUE to your content appearing on sites like this! In fact, links from sites like this you may actually need to disavow with Google.

2. If your SEO firm says “we will write one article but then slightly reword it so it is different for every site we place it on.” Steer clear! This is called article spinning and one clear practice that Google has very clearly disavowed and has stated it considers content spam.

Quality content and the right type of guest blogging opportunities can actually be very good for your own organic placement. Find out how my firm may be able to help you with special quality pieces to use as guest blog posts for your own business.

You’ll want to check out Matt Cutts full video on the topic of guest blogging in this webmaster video from the Google Web Spam department for more information.

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Doctor Recommended Website Launched

Website completed for Doctor RecommendedWe’ve just launched a new website this past week and wanted to have you take a peek. You can view the site online at www.DocRecommended.com.

This new website is built on a WordPress backbone and is the SEO front end for an e-commerce store that sells acne products and anti-aging skin care products.

The shopping cart was managed and set up by Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics which is the firm which is handling the shipping and order fulfillment for the site owner.  The store site feeds directly into Medallion’s advanced ordering system.

This brand new site was just launched last week and has already gotten kudos for the design, ease of use, and informative information.

We invite you to take a look and take the Doctor Recommended skin care product store for a test drive. To find out more about our web design services, we invite you to find out more details about what we do.

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When Should You Update Your Website?

I’ve just this week done reviews for several clients about why their organic placement is slipping or is non-existent. There has been a common thread to each of these clients. The code on their site is bad, in some cases really bad. What exactly do I mean?

In some cases a site is so old or has so many problems that a redesign may actually be cheaper than a rework of the code to try to bring a website better performance. Here are several specifics to consider:

  1. Is your website built from a host’s template? Guess what, it may be pretty but contains code that slows page load time (which Google considers and weighs now for organic placement). Additionally there are missed opportunities to build in SEO tactics as you even name elements when you use a template.
  2. Is your site built with FrontPage and you are pasting in content from Word? Did you know that many of these WSIWYG that is What You See Is What You Get editors (not Dreamweaver fortunately) add all kinds of depreciated tags or span and style tags to the actual paragraph itself. This makes a page so very code heavy, slows speed, and makes it very hard for a webmaster to update. If you don’t update a site in FrontPage where it has been created and is how it is managed your can really mess up the webmasters syncing protocol and potentially lock them out from doing further updates. In fact, even worse is that FrontPage has been depreciated by Microsoft and so not even used by most professional webmasters. When I see code that FrontPage has created I know that the site may have been built in 2005  or about that time which is really pretty old technology.
  3. When you consider what it costs to have someone like me review and upgrade the code, rework the content to use SEO tactics on an old site or a template-driven site, a new design may actually be more cost efficient. It is simply not a good idea to spend $2,500 to $3,000 to rework a very old website, or one that is controlled by a template where certain aspects simply cannot be changed.

For sites such as this where the site owner may not have the money for a redesign, there is still hope. There are inbound marketing approaches that can be done in the meantime to help build link activity, and content creation updates that can help a site until there is the budget for a full redesign. Sometimes even just the rework of the home page can put a bandaid temporarily on the problem until there is more money available for a redesign and upgrade.

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Five Years Ago I Had Great Organic Placement

I have had a rash of prospects tell me that their organic placement has dropped so much after they paid a ton of money for a new website that they want to repost the website they had five years ago to get their old traffic and Google.com placement back. Sorry, but there is no time machine that will take us back to the time you placed highly on Google.com.

A website is not a brochure; you create it once and then hand it out for years. It is a work of art, a puzzle, a tool, a selling machine. It needs care and it needs content updates. What worked three years ago and five years ago certainly does not work now. Even if we could reload a website that performed well five years ago on Google, it would most likely not perform in the same place today.

The Web has changed dramatically in the time that I have been providing professional services and it has significantly changed in the past three years and seriously changed even this past year. What is important for website owners to understand is that now the content is crucial for organic placement, but more than that, it cannot just stop at great content.

A well placed website (in the organic search results) needs:

  1. great content that provides features and benefits
  2. content that is informational beyond what you sell and service
  3. regular updates of interesting articles, white papers, and informational updates
  4. social networking work off site on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+
  5. a blog that is updated a minimum of three times a week and  deep links to pages in your website

That in a nutshell is a web authority site! A website that is beyond a brochure but provides real help and information for readers not only on services and products that are sold but on topics and ideas. This is no five page website that’s for sure.

It takes time and money to build and maintain a web authority site, but the rewards can be big. With a site that is well placed organically, you may not need to spend quite so much in advertising to get traffic to your site. The older your authority site is, the more links you will naturally earn which will continue to improve your placement as well. Additionally, the depth of information you have on your website will let prospects know you know your business and are the go-to person for their needs.

What used to work five years ago for organic placement certainly will not work now, but quality content and information-rich web pages will never go out of style. I invite you to visit our “authority website” and see if we can help you too.

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Top Five Web Design Myths

Nancy McCord will be back blogging on August 16. This is one of her previously published articles.

Here are my top five web design myths and answers to each one.

  1. Search engine spiders can index Flash so I’m okay if my website has been built in Flash.
  2. How long it takes to load a website page doesn’t matter – everyone has DSL anyway.
  3. I like an entry page for my website that is all graphics it’s pretty and sets the tone.
  4. I was promised by this firm top placement on Google if they overhauled my home page and website.
  5. I want my website to have a lot of video why are viewers complaining to me that they can’t see my video.

1.  Search engine spiders can index Flash so I’m okay if my website has been built in Flash.

Wrong, sorry, even Google states that they aren’t good yet on indexing Flash even though for nearly a year they have said they can index Flash. I can tell you that I get more calls for pay per click promotion and search engine optimization from websites done in all Flash. It is far better to use Flash judiciously say a hybrid html site with a Flash banner. What’s the purpose of having a website if no one can find you on search engines and if they can’t even bookmark a content page on your website?

2.  How long it takes to load a website page doesn’t matter – everyone has DSL anyway.

Wrong, sorry, even Google AdWords is now counting how long it takes for a page to load. The industry standard is a load time under 10 seconds. The faster your load time the better.

3.  I like an entry page for my website that is all graphics it’s pretty and sets the tone.

Whoops, so sorry this one is wrong too. Splash pages are old news. Now search engines want content and they want it fast. Readers don’t want to watch a movie about your business. It is the Burger King Syndrome – my way right away!

4. I was promised by this firm top placement on Google if they overhauled my home page and website.

Hmm, the home page IS really important, but no one and no firm can guarantee top placement on Google. Google very closely guards the secrets of placement to prevent others from spamming the system. If they are not on the Google payroll, they simply cannot know how to guarantee top placement.

5. I want my website to have a lot of video why are viewers complaining to me that they can’t see my video.

Video is great, but the home page should be about spiderable content. When you do provide video make sure you provide options. I have found that videos turned into Flash are the quickest loading on the Web, then comes Windows Media Player files, and last of all QuickTime. If you are going to have video use only one on your home page and make it a Flash video. Try a preloader option in your body tag for other important videos and provide viewing options.

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Adobe Introduces InContext Editing

What a cool new online tool Adobe has come up with. It is called InContext Editing and allows any site you create with Dreamweaver to be a content management site. Specifically, this means that any site you create with the proper syntax and is set up on InContext Editing can now be edited by your customer using a browser and no HTML knowledge.

To take advantage of this new tool, here are the steps. You set up your site with Dreamweaver templates, locking down certain sections of a page where you don’t want your client to change – like navigation or footer information. Then you set up the “FTP bridge” on InContext Editing and then load your real files and templates to your own web hosting server.

InContext Editing allows the client to login to a control panel, call up a page from their real web server and change the areas that you have approved right there in a WYSIWYG mode. The client can publish the updated page with one click. Clients can even add pages to their site, links, and images.

What a great innovative new product! I will be doing some in-depth testing in the next several weeks and will update my blog with my thoughts after I have really taken it for a whirl, but at first blush, it seems like an excellent tool that allows the end-user to be in control.

What is great from my view point, is that you can create the ease of a content management site without the headaches and programming overhead that a typical content management site needs. On top of that, our websites are built for search engines unlike a content management site that is built for user friendliness, so keeping the optimized code in place yet allowing the client to change wording or add things when they want is an excellent feature.

Right now the application is free, but don’t expect it to stay this way forever. I will be very interested to find out what Adobe feels that they want to charge for the application after they’ve gotten web designers in to take it for a test ride.

In the meantime, you can check out more information and even watch a video demo on Adobe InContext Editing on Adobe.com.

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