Archive for April, 2005

SEO Beginners Guide Part 2

Thursday, April 21st, 2005

Optimizing a site for search engines isn’t rocket science. It takes careful manipulation of content to emphasise the keywords that you want to be listed on in the search engines.

The key here is careful, because when you think about it, you have two audiences that you are trying to satisfy.

The first one is your actual visitor. When they arrive at your site, you have about 15 seconds to attract their attention before they wander off to surf other places. That is a very short window of opportunity, so your content needs to be catchy and to the point.

The second audience are the search engines. In order for your page to rank well, it needs your keywords in the body of your page in very specific places. If you get this wrong, then your page may rank well - but it will be for the wrong keywords and all of your effort will have been in vain. You may end up getting visitors due to excellent search engine rankings, but they won’t be interested in what you are saying, because your site isn’t relevant to them.

If you would like a free consultation on SEO then please contact us and we would happy to advise you. We will provide you with a free report on your current search engine rankings, and map out an SEO program that will work for you.

SEO Beginners Guide Part 1

Monday, April 11th, 2005

I had a learned marketing friend of mine comment that the information on SEO on this site was ok for a propeller-head, but didn’t really help a business owner, so this article is intended to set the stage for all of the rest of the information contained in the prior articles.

Firstly - what is SEO? Well - its short for Search Engine Optimization, and its the process of tuning up your web site so that it ranks better on search engines.

Why is that important? - well think of your web site as a book. It is sitting in the very large library called the Internet, and the only people that know about it are friends and current business acquaintances. They know the title of the site and where it sits on the shelf.

What you are trying to do through SEO is to get your site listed in the equivalent of the Internet catalog. That way people that are not intimately acquainted with who you are and what you sell will find you…..

Not only that - you are also trying to get your site listed at the top of the index for a particular subject. There are millions of sites out there on every conceivable subject. If you sell widgets, then it won’t do you very much good if your site is the 1543th listed under ‘widgets’. It would be like having a Yellow page advertisement where your business is listed in very small print at the back of the book!

There are two ways that you can get your site listed highly - the first is through paying for a listing - Google Adwords is one program that will help in that. These are the paid listings that you will see on the right side of the page when you do a Google search. The second method is through Search Engine Optimization, which will raise your rankings in the main listings.

What Search Engine Optimization does is make your web site more appetizing to the search engines, and make your site more important to them.

How is it done? That is a long subject that is addressed briefly in the other articles:

  • SEO Keywords
  • SEO Keywords Continued
  • SEO Keywords Continued 2
  • SEO Keywords Continued 3
  • SEO Keywords Continued 4
  • Can you SEO your own site? Yes of course you can. Follow those articles and I’ll guarantee your rankings will improve, but my recommendation is to leave it to an expert. Doing it yourself is like trying to build a deck armed only with a screwdriver and a knife. You can get there, but its going to be a frustrating experience.

    An SEO expert can save you an immense amount of time, trial and error and frustration, as they have the right tools for the job.

    If you would like a free estimate for SEO on your site then contact us. We can let you know for free where your site currently ranks on all of the major search engines, and propose a program for improvement. We can also implement a fully managed SEO and PPC (pay per click) campaign for your site for a very reasonable fee.

    Oh, one more piece of advice. If you see an organization promising to get you a top ten listing for $10 a month……RUN!
    It can’t be done ethically for that amount of money, and the search engines are just as likely to ban your site as to list it highly - you have been warned!!

    A Canadian perspective

    Tuesday, April 5th, 2005

    The news these days in Canada seems to be concentrating on two issues, the recent death of Pope John Paul II, and the sponsorship scandal. While the one is getting full media coverage of every facet, the other is news because of a publication ban.

    There is no doubt that Pope John Paul II was well respected throughout the world. As the first media savvy Pope, he managed to get his message across to hundreds of millions of people. While I certainly don’t agree with his stance on a number of issues, I respect him for standing up for his views, and having a consistent message. I simply wish that given his ability to use modern media, he had also been able to adapt to modern realities. He lost golden opportunities to be more of a champion of the rights of women and again in the fight against AIDS especially in Africa.

    On the sponsorship front, those of us that monitor blogs already have managed to get around the publication ban, and know significant details of the recent testimony. For those of you that dont - here is a link.

    While the testimony still needs to be verified it raises some very serious questions about the ethics in play in Canadian politics. The Liberal Party has asked for and been granted standing at the commission, and to me this either sounds like ‘lets generate some smoke and throw a few to the wolves’ or a genuine attempt to get to the bottom of this cess pit. I guess the proof of the puddling will be in the statements made by the party, and what they do to back those statements up.

    Oh yes, and the other interesting development is the previous Prime Minister is trying to get the judge in the inquiry thrown out for bias. Bias?? Cconsidering what is coming out from this commission, I’m surprised that Justice Gomery hasn’t asked for anti-nausea pills.

    My cynicism is showing here - I have simply heard too many ‘it wasn’t me guv’ statements to have any faith in what is being said. Memories have gone conveniently blank, I’m sure there never was any paperwork, other than the slightly soggy stuff that is now being used to cover butts, the general level of lack of moral fibre is frightening, and statements that state this program was necessary to save Canada just make me ill. If this is what it has come down to - then maybe Canada isn’t worth saving.

    The Google Patent

    Tuesday, April 5th, 2005

    Well - isn’t it interesting reading.

    If you have been following this, Google has issued a very large and complicated patent for the way they rank sites and pages.

    It has been discussed in a lot of forums - one that is always interesting is the Threadwatch link.

    There have also been a lot of analysis about this subject, but in the end, what it boils down to is two things:

    1. Google is interested in sites that show growth and changing content - so they are looking at backlinks and changes in content to determine relative importance

    2. They have a number of algorithms that are attempting to determine whether that growth is organic or spam. When you distill the whole thing, the idea is that you either have a site that is real or one that is artifically trying to gain ranking. Google is getting into some very messy calculations to try to determine which side of the fence a site belongs on.

    So what does it mean to us in the SEO community? - well not a lot really when it boils down to it, except for one thing. We can no longer do things in ‘big burst’ mode. We will need to stage our SEO activities more, so rather than making huge changes to inbound links all in one shot, we need to make incremental changes over time. Our activities need to resemble the organic growth of an active web site, rather than an explosion of activity.

    Makes sense doesn’t it

    Branding - continuing 2

    Friday, April 1st, 2005

    What is the most recognised symbol in the western world?

    The Eiffel Tower? Big Ben? Empire State Building?

    Each of these is a poweful image, but the answer is no. It is the MacDonalds Arch. It spans countries, cultures, languages and age barriers. It is the most significant piece of product branding in history.

    When you think about all of the change going on in our society, it has remained consistent for the last 20 years - you don’t mess with success. Most other organizations have changed their branding over the years - Kentucky Fried Chicken is now KFC, Honda and other Japanese car companies have created complete new lines like Acura or Lexus.

    If you think about it, it is only the losers that change. Honda wanted to create an image of luxury - and even though they produce excellent cars, they felt they were trapped behind the brand. KFC wanted a snappy new name, and in these days of health concern to distance themsleves from ‘Fried’. The story goes on…….

    Organizations spend billions of dollars a year on branding, and then making sure that brand gets exposure to the consumer.

    This is fine for the mega corporation, but what can a smaller business learn from this?

    The lesson is simple in concept. You need to create an icon for your organization, and then use it consistently in all of your communications. Even though they are using a shortened title, the KFC logo is still the colonel, Mercedes Benz has their very distinctive trisected circle, Macdonalds has the Arch. Each is very simple, but in its own way very unique.

    Some use their name - Ford is a perfect example, but their the font used is consistent and very distinctive - same is true for Walmart. Some use their intials - UPS or NASA come to mind.

    What is true in each case, is that they are simple and distinctive and are product independent. Ford’s logo has nothing to do with automotive, Macdonalds isn’t a small hamburger and the Shell sign certainly has nothing to do with petroleum. That way they are not trapped as their business matures.

    Does your logo work for you?

    If you would like a free consultation on Branding then please contact us and we would happy to advise you.