Grumpy old men

January 13th, 2006

There is a British TV series called Grumpy Old Men, which provides a forum for men to grouse about the things that are driving them up the wall.

Great Idea!

Well I think I will start a category on this blog just for that.

And here is my first……

HACKERS

This blog has been subject to continual posting of comments that are attempting to link to either poker or various and sudry drug resale sites. It got to the point that there were about 200 of these A DAY.

To that end I’ve had to shut off the ability for people to reply to the posts and that means if you want to post a reply you will have to e-mail me. That is such a shame, but necessary.

I’d personally like to staple a notice to the eyelids of these idiots that simply says “GO AWAY”. I’ve tried reporting them to ISP’s etc, but it really doesn’t seem to help so for now - you can’t post directly to this blog.

Shame on them!!

SEO Copy

December 9th, 2005

While a handful of speakers at SES Chicago emphasized the importance of keyword placement in pages, a copywriter thinks it’s the wrong approach.

Copywriter Bob Bly suggested writing for search engine optimization means weakening the copy’s ability to sell. “You need to have a single core audience in mind and concentrate all your effort on writing to that one audience.,” he wrote.

From Bly’s perspective, SEO can be accomplished, but not at the expense of writing the strongest copy possible. Keywords should be placed in the copy, and experiments with word changes can take place.

“Never change a word of strong selling copy if that change will make it even one iota weaker, even if SEO best practices would endorse that change,” Bly cautioned.

Now let me have my say……

Dear Mr Bly

If a tree falls in a forest with no-one around does it make any sound?

Bottom line is if your site isn’t found on search engines then it really doesn’t matter how good the copy is, as only existing clients will read it.

Copywriters and SEO experts need to co-exist to obtain the optimal results for the client. Any other thinking is professional arrogance.

Dingbat politics - update

October 6th, 2005

Well the saga continues…

According to the latest press release from the government spin machine it looks like, and I quote….

The federal government is obliged to offer a severance package to the former head of the Royal Canadian Mint, says National Revenue Minister John McCallum. That’s because David Dingwall could sue them if they don’t, he says.

Now, the amount that they are talking about is $500,000 which isn’t exactly peanuts, and Mr. Dingwall resigned voluntarily.

If it walks like hush money, and it talks like hush money…..well I’ll leave the rest for you to decide. Personally - my view is offer him 50 cents and if necessary up the offer to a buck.

Dingbat politics

October 3rd, 2005

And yet again, I read the news and my blood boils…..

The latest political faux pas seems to be revolving around David Dingwall, who in case you haven’t heard has resigned as the head of the Canadian Mint. Mr Dingwall, who was a cabinet minister in the Chretien government quit his post as the head of the mint after some enterprising soul had the temerity to point out that he and his senior staffers at the mint had managed to run up an expense bill of some $740,000 give or take a few bucks.

Its a nice tidy sum, isn’t it. The last time I had an expense bill, it was about $70, so dear David and I have very different standards about expenses. I guess I always try to keep expenses under control, not so Mr Dingwall.

Now in case that isn’t bad enough, there is talk about paying DD a severance package. For goodness sake - is glue sniffing rampant in Ottawa?

Let me re-cap - he quits because he has been caught running up expenses that would even make the Governor General blush and now we (the poor abused Canadian taxpayers) are going to pay severance?

The only severance that I can think of that fits would be to seperate him from his taxpayer stuffed wallet.

Go figure!

Finally, some sense

July 22nd, 2005

I had to post this quote as to my mind it is the single most well thought out comment about the situation regarding Muslims and the integration into whatever country they are choosing to live. We talk about multiculturalism a lot, and are trying very hard to integrate disparate communities into the Canadian mosaic, and maybe the statement needs to be made

“Be welcome, but please leave your baggage at the door”

Thank you Dr Elmasry.

By the way - this comment should apply to all immigrant groups, not just Muslims

TORONTO (CP) - Muslims must move beyond condemnation of global terrorist attacks and work to integrate into the political and social life of Canada and other western democracies, the president of the Canadian Islamic Congress said Friday.

Two terrorist incidents in as many weeks in London has pushed the long-standing issue to the forefront for Canada’s Muslims, Dr. Mohamed Elmasry said in an interview.

“I call it beyond condemnation,” said Elmasry of a sermon he planned to deliver Friday afternoon.

“Canadian Muslims can push for smart integration. It means they have to be an active Canadian citizen and the same time they can practice their religion.”

“(Where you are) born is not really the issue,” said Elmasry,

Too many Canadian Muslims conduct their lives apart from the larger society, which leads to a dependency on imported foreign ideologies, he said.

“Then if you are frustrated by x, y, z, political issue, you might actually use violence to propagate your agenda.”

That, he said, illustrates the urgent need for smart integration.

“The apathy among Canadian Muslims is above the national average in terms of not voting in elections, because we don’t see the benefit why. This is not acceptable,” said Elmasry.

“This is what we have to really ingrain in the minds of young people.”

selecting package software - Open Source clues

July 20th, 2005

As you are working through the software selection process, you create a needs analysis to act as your benchmark. This basically states what you want from the product and how important each of the desired features are.

The next step is to find products that are potential candidates and determine how well those products fit your needs.

There are endless sources for product information, from promotional material being delivered to your office through to the endless amount of material on the Internet. The trick is to determine what is sales hype and what is verifiable fact, and that can be extremely tricky.

With conventional products, you really have four major sources of information

  • sales brochures
  • sales personnel
  • reference accounts
  • user groups

For Open Source products, there doesn’t tend to be a sales force, so you have to follow a different path. The best sources I’ve found for Open Source are the forums and the Wiki’s. Now you are asking - what the heck are those?

A Wiki is basically a community developed documentation effort, which tends to be the way documentation is created for Open Source products. To cut a long story short - the documentation is developed by the user and development community.

A forum is a site on the Internet where users and developers communicate about a product.

Both of these give you a good opportunity to get unbiased views on the product in question.

Ok - enough for now - more later……

If you would like further help on product selection, please contact us

Step up to the plate

July 15th, 2005

By now the news wires are starting to settle down about the bombings on the Tube in London and the various investigative authorities are following the many thousands of leads.

The latest information that I have come across is that these dreadful deeds were performed by british lads. That is the worst possible news. It means that violence perpetrated against Muslims will increase across Britain and all of the people that get their jollies off promoting racial hatred will have a field day.

Unfortunately the Muslim community isn’t doing what it needs to do to quell this tide. I’ve seen various press releases that are just weasel politics that have been released by leading Muslim figures. One had the temerity to say that Christians commit murder, so it is not fair to target Islamic groups when something like this happens.

Excuse me!!

I think it is fair to say that there are Islamic organizations across the world that are promoting this type of terrible activity, both from the ideologic and financial sense and unless you take a positive stand against it, you are inherently complicit.

The muslim community in the UK, through its leaders needs to make an unequivocal and consistent statement that this type of terrible deed is WRONG……period

Additionally, the muslim community in the UK needs to step up to the plate on this and cough these terror cells up. I find it very difficult to believe that no one knew anything.

In a way this is like the situation with gang shootings in nightclubs - the whole place was in the bathroom when the police interview potential witnesses. You have to stand up and be counted otherwise you will be tarred with the same brush, and you will have no one but yourself to blame.

Selecting package software needs analysis

July 15th, 2005

So now you have your needs analysis done. Put it in a drawer for a couple of days and do something else, and then pull it out again and go through it. Be harsh with your evaluations to determine whether the “must haves” really are must haves.

I’ve seen needs analysis that were for relatively simple projects that put them into the NASA league, and believe you me - you don’t want to go there. You end up with a very very narrow scope of potential candidates and end up turning blind eyes to better and more flexible products. I had one where the chief decision maker was very rigid and it ended up costing the organization $250,000 to purchase the product, whereas a little more flexibility could have gotten a free Open Source product.

Ok - back to the needs analysis. One potential use for a needs analysis is to be able to quantify how good a fit a product has to your requirements. The way to do this is to assign a points value to each criteria. Obviously, if a product cannot meet your ‘must haves’ then it is eliminated, but it becomes difficult sometimes to distinguish between the other candidates. So get your calculators out……

Assign a points value of 100 for each ‘must have’, 50 for each ‘very important’, 20 for each nice to have and 5 for each ‘not important’ and then grade the product. For each requirement, estimate how well and completely the product meets the requirement.

You will note the inconsistency here - I said if a product doesn’t meet your ‘must haves’ then you eliminate it, and then go on to describe scoring it. This is because there are many ways to meet a requirement, and some are significantly easier to deal with than others. If my requirement was to ship electronic format product between a variety of geographic locations, then I could do this by copying diskettes or CD’s and shipping them, or by electronic communications. You have to decide what that means to your organization.

At the end of this exercise you have a spreadsheet that allows you to compare like products. The one with the highest score is most likely your best candidate, but a note of caution here. The real use behind this is to allow you to COMPARE the products in a quantifiable way - but not to automate the decision process. Please, please, please make an informed decision, not just a mathematical one.

So far, the process we have described can apply to any product, both open source and commercial. With open source products, it is usually easier to get an unbiased opinion of how well it meets needs and in our next article we will be looking at ways of getting those opinions.

If you would like further help on product selection, please contact us

How to select a package - the first steps

July 13th, 2005

When you are looking to implement any software package, the first step is what is called a needs analysis.

It can be a complicated process for many organizations, but in essence what you are tring to do is to make sure that the software fits in with what you need it to do, and works in a way that is compatible with your organization. The second part of this cannot be understated, as the best software in the world will not work in your place of business if it doesn’t fit in with the mindset of the people using it. Some of the most spectacular software implementation failures haven’t been because the software was bad, it was because the people that were using it either couldn’t or wouldn’t use it.

Let’s start with the needs.

The best and most straighforward way to do this is to get your pencil out and make a list. Start with big concepts and then break those down to the point where they can be answered with a simple yes or no answer. If you are ending up with a list of thousands - you are either at too low a level or you work for NASA.

Once you have done that then go through the list and grade each one with a level of desirability - keep it simple and use ‘must’, ‘very important’, ‘nice to have’ and ‘not important’.

‘must’ means that if the software doesn’t support this completely, then you don’t consider the software any further

‘very important’ means that if the software doesn’t support this completely or very close to completely it will be a major impact to your business

‘nice to have’ means that it will make your life easier and will give quantifiable benefits, but the world won’t end if you don’t have this feature

‘not important’ is the fluffy type features that look good on advertising, but really don’t provide quantifiable benefits

Once you have the grading, then simplify your life and get rid of the ‘not importants’

Now you have your checklist and its time to go do your homework. I’m presuming at this point that you are doing this research yourself rather than getting a consultant in to help. Personally, I would suggest getting a bit of support here, as it is dollars well spent.

Next we talk about how to use the needs analysis and souces of information to help you complete the process.

Open Source - part 2

June 20th, 2005

The last article took a look at Open Source software, and its definition.

Open Source software raises all sorts of questions in peoples minds, and the first is “if it’s free is it any good?”

That is a key question, and applies whether software is Open Source or pay as you play. When you are selecting software, the question of quality is paramount, and you have no guarantees either way. Over the years, Microsoft has released some significantly buggy software - so you really never can be sure.

Most commercial software development is on a very agressive development time line, and is released with a number of know and unknown bugs. It is simply the way things are done. To remain competitive, companies need to be continually upgrading their product, and doing so with ever decreasing development cycles. Bugs creep in.

With reputable organizations, the ‘zero’ version will quickly be followed by a series of maintenance releases that will address the majority of the issues.

Is Open Source any different? Well, yes. Most open source software has a very active user and developer community. These are the people that make a living out of enhancing and customizing the product. With popular products, these communities number in the thousands and are very active. Within a very short time, these communities are working at detecting and eliminating the problems found, and in very short order there are usually fixes available.

Does this mean Open Source is better? No, but it does mean that it is more open (pun intended). If there are problems with the software, it is usually fairly easy to find what they are through going to their Wiki or Development forum.

More later…..

Open Source Software - what is it?

June 17th, 2005

If you have spent any time at all looking for software, then you will have run across the term open source. What does it mean and more specifically, what does it mean to you as a business owner or user. Lets throw a little light on this.

A lot of products that you can buy - most of the products from major manufacturers for instance are proprietary code. You get an executable version, and other than setting program options, what you get is what you get. You have to wait for the software creators to bring out a new version for any significant changes and if you don’t like what they are doing, then you have two choices, either go to a competitive product or live with it.

Open source is a little different. With open source software you get the source code for the program as well as executables, and are free to make changes to enhance the product.

There are three tenets to open source:

You have the right to make copies of the program, and distribute those copies.
You have right to have access to the software’s source code, a necessary preliminary before you can change it.
You have the right to make improvements to the program

The basic idea behind open source is very simple - When programmers can read, redistribute, and modify the source code for a piece of software, the software evolves. People improve it, people adapt it, people fix bugs. And this can happen at a speed that, if one is used to the slow pace of conventional software development, seems astonishing.

Some open soource software is available free, other open source software you pay for.

For us at Spinnaker, whenever we are sourcing software for clients, we always look to the open source community first. Our experience is that the software is much more transparent, and any issues with it are out in the open, rather than little surprises that you find out about later. All software has bugs - just look at all of the releases that Microsoft makes, and it’s better you know about them than not.

We have found that you have to do your homework, but that is no different than getting any other piece of software.

Browsers - Is there an alternative

June 13th, 2005

I would imagine that most of the people that are reading this entry are probably using Internet Explorer and are seeing everything just fine.

Internet Explorer comes bundled with all Microsoft operating systems and unless you take some positive action, then it is the browser that is set up as your default. So, dear reader, Microsoft is expecting that you are going to choose their product through inactivity. This has proven pretty accurate over the years as IE has about 80% of the market space.

Don’t get me wrong, Internet Explorer is not a bad product. It does what most people need, and as I said before it is conveniently installed for you (probably straight from the factory). It is just that there are better options out there, and no I’m not talking about poor old bloated Netscape, I’m talking Firefox.

Firefox is a relatively recent addition to the bowser family, but has been around long enough for it to be a completely stable and mature product. It comes from the Mozilla Foundation, and is an open source product.

Why Firefox? A browser is a browser, right?

Well…….no

Firefox is open source software and has a host of developers all over the planet developing extensions for it. What that means to you is that you have the ability to add features to the browser that make your experience that much more pleasant.

Lets me give you a couple of examples…..

As a web developer it is really nice to be able to sample colors off a web page. I downloaded an extension to Firefox called Colorzilla, and now can easily sample any color off a web page. Also, again as a web developer I have installed an extension that validates HTML coding, so that I can very easily make sure that the pages that I develop are free of errors.

There are literally thousands of extensions available, so you can extend to your hearts content.

Hey - don’t take my word for it - go and download Firefox for yourself and try it out. It is a free download - so all you will lose if you hate it is the time to download and install it. Firefox can be found here

SEO Beginners Guide Part 2

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

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

    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

    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

    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.

    Branding

    March 29th, 2005

    Having a web site is no different than having a brick and mortar store. Irrespective of whether you are selling services, products, widgets or yourself, the same principles apply to on-line as brick and mortar with one significant difference and that is time.

    If you have a brick and mortar store, once a person actually enters your store then you have at least a little time to make an impression. Having taken the trouble to open the door and step in, they are likely to at least spend a minute or two looking around before they leave. Your decor, your goods and services, your displays and the look and feel of your organization are all factors in that initial impression.

    With a web site, the amount of time you have is very limited. Studies show that if you don’t attract a potential clients attention with something within 15 seconds, then they will click away and go elsewhere. Thats like the equivalent of attracting someones attention as they drive passed at 30 miles an hour.

    To that end, you have to spend a significant amount of time and your budget working on your home page. This is your store window to the world, and you have to attract your potential clients attention so that they will come in. Once you have got them passed the entry page, your job is a little easier, but those first 15 seconds are crucial. Pay per click campaigns may bring potential clients to your front door, but if you don’t sell your message then the campaign is worse than useless.

    Over the next few articles, we will be introducing how you brand your web site and successfully get them into your world. We will talk about colour schemes and how you co-ordinate your site with the product or service you are selling, and we will talk about writing attractive copy.

    If you would like a free analysis of your web site, then please contact us and we would happy to advise you.

    SEO Keywords - continuing 4

    March 23rd, 2005

    We have dealt with the categories of visible and sometimes visible text. That only leaves text that is not visible to the user. The two categories of entries here are meta tags and html comments.

    Meta tags are largely historical in context. They have been so overdone by people practicing SEO on sites, that they are not given that heavy an emphasis by search engines. That being said, they still have a purpose and can add value. IF they support the visible and sometimes visible text, then there is every reason to believe that they add value. However, if there are keywords or description that don’t support your visible or semi visible text, then there is every reason to believe they are ignored at best, or used to penalize your ranking at worst.

    Html comments are a bit of an unknown. I have no positive evidence that they affect ranking one way or another. To that end - play it safe and add some that contain your search keywords but don’t go overboard. If they are supported by visible or sometimes visible text, I don’t see that it will do any harm. If anyone knows anything to the contrary - I would really like to hear from them…..

    If you would like an estimate for SEO on your site then contact us

    More later……………

    SEO Keywords continuing 3

    March 22nd, 2005

    Last time we talked about the always visible elements on the page, specifically headings and visible text. If you have done a good job, you have ‘threaded’ your key phrase into the headings, title and content and still have excellent copy. It is important to get high rankings on the search engines, but that won’t count if your page copy is gibberish because its stuffed with your key phrase.

    Next we will look at the ’sometimes visible’ elements on the page. Specifically these are the ‘alt’ tags on each image, and the text descriptions associated with hyperlinks. I call these ’sometimes visible’ as they only appear after the cursor has been resting over the element for a little while.

    The ‘alt’ tag on an image is an alternate description that is loaded if the browser has its image loading turned off. This used to be important when people surfed the web using slow modems, but these days, hardly anyone has their image loading turned off. This gives us an excellent opportunity to put content into the page that can be loaded with our key phrase.

    Again, be aware that the ‘alt’ tag description will show if the cursor is left over that image for any length of time, so you still have to write good copy, but as its an image description, there is a little more latitude than with visible copy.

    The same is true for hyperlinks. There is an optional elemt called ‘title’ that again only shows when the cursor moves over the hyperlink, and is really designed to give the user a bit more information about the hyperlink.

    Great! - another place for us to put our key phrase. Again, its worth repeating that this text is still visible, so don’t go overboard, but some creative writing should allow you to do some threading.

    If you would like a free estimate for SEO on your site then contact us

    More later……