Website Spider Simulator tool

spider

Some content and links visible to your visitors on a web page may not actually be visible to the Search Engines, eg. Flash based content etc.. Part of your SEO research should include tools that will allow you to check that spiders see what they are supposed to see. I recently came across a tool which simulates a Search Engine by displaying the contents of a webpage exactly how a Search Engine spider would see it. It also displays the hyperlinks that will be followed (crawled) by a Search Engine when it visits the particular web page along with meta tags and description.

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Social Media

facebook

Social media is a great way to promote businesses and engage with your clientèle or audience. That doesn’t mean that ‘Facebook’ is for every business, so take a look at what ‘Twitter’ and ‘LinkedIn’ can offer for your business.

My general rule of thumb is that face-to-face public dealing companies should use Facebook firstly and then Twitter secondly. Business-to-business companies should (I think) use LinkedIn and/or Twitter depending on their resources. Resources are important because Twitter is more demanding of your time in my opinion. It’s not really OK to occasionally take to Twitter, you should really be able to almost constantly monitor it, and be prepared to engage daily. Facebook is fine for occasional engagement and I have seen LinkedIn used as both fairly passive, and also very vigorously when it comes to updates etc..

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Directories and services

review

I mentioned before that I use ‘Hot Frog’ directory, and I get quite a bit of local business through it although I am not set up primarily for local users on my ‘cassette2cd‘ website.

I am also on ‘FreeIndex‘ for the same cassette to CD service, and as well as being a free directory listing (no doubt ‘no-follow‘ – see my previous post) FreeIndex also has a section where clients can leave a review. Now it’s unlikely that your clients will make a bee-line for this, but it is something you can promote to your clients through a badge-link on your site or providing a link in emails etc..

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‘do follow’ ‘no follow’

These are expressions that relate to links between websites, whether they are linking to your site from an external site, or relating to a link within your site going to a third party. For instance, you may want to link to a client, or a supplier may want to link to you.

The ‘follow’ status is used by indexing ‘bots’ (Google mini-programs that ‘spider’ the internet looking for links between sites) as an indication of whether any ‘kudos’ form the link should be shared from the source to the target. For instance a ‘do-follow’ link from a renowned site can be beneficial in terms of the way your site is viewed by a search engine. In most cases, links are ‘no-follow’ because Google regards the overuse of ‘do-follow’ links as generally a negative indication possibly flagging up a ‘link-farm’ trying to ‘game’ the indexing process.

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Web directories

Although most generic web directories only offer ‘no-follow’ links (especially free submission web directories), I have found that trade directories which are geared towards ‘locality’ of the business has bought in a fair proportion of business since I started using them. I use one called ‘Hotfrog‘, I believe the original Hotfrog is based in Australia, but it now has a worldwide presence.

Services like Hotfrog allow you to place a business profile on-line, list your services, show some photos and all for free (although of course there is a ‘paid-for’ version which gives you a higher profile). Naturally, many domains will be registered with DMOZ open directory as a minimum, but there are a bunch of free directory services out there which may be a good fit for your site.

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Search Results Tracking

search terms

In the past, I have ‘tracked’ SERP results by ‘hand’, typing in various key search terms into Google (making sure I use the local Google.co.uk search) and painstaking logging the search results on a spreadsheet. I end up with a table which has a bunch of search terms down the left-hand side, and the page and position for a given search on a given date going along the top. My final column is an indication of whether the results are getting better or worse using a simple ‘true/false’ statement.

This week I discovered a free online tool which does exactly that for me. Continue reading Search Results Tracking

Search terms – your niche

search terms

Finding your niche market is the key to getting visitors from search engines. I have had a lot of success getting healthy search engine positioning for very specific search terms. Getting result#1 on page#1 is not as difficult as you think as long as you are specific.

Hypothetical Example: Maybe you sell insurance – probably one of the most competitive markets on-line. How do you compete? ‘Niche’ is the answer – maybe you sell pet insurance – still quite competitive I imagine, but maybe you specialise in pedigree dogs.. Optimise for search terms such as ‘Pedigree dog insurance’ and you will stand a better chance of breaking into the top few pages. If you offer a local service, then without a doubt adding your location will help. Continue reading Search terms – your niche

SERP – Search Engine Rank Page

SERP search engines

I prefer to think of SERP as being Search engine rank POSITION, but popular usage has it as ‘page’. This is basically where your site comes in the hierarchy of search results delivered by your search engine when you search for a particular word or phrase.

Let’s not kid ourselves, I have done two posts already on this new blog and have yet to use the ‘G’ word… There is one master of search and that is GOOGLE. If you are looking to optimise, then Google is your master like it or not.

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SEO – search engine optimisation

search engine optimisation

SEO is often seen as a black art, but there is a largely transparent aspect to search engine optimisation and most webmasters and site owners should attempt to get to grip with the basics. There are only really two areas to be concerned with:

  1. Off-site optimisation

Off-site concerns itself with getting external links to your website from established websites. This is not always simple to do because in many cases, the other sites that are getting good results for the search terms you are interested in are actually your competitors. If this is the case, then you may want to see if you can get links from your suppliers or from web directories or any trade organisations in your field of work.

Ideally, you want these links to have an ‘anchor text’ which contains a search term that you are ‘optimising’ for. I will write more on search terms in another post, but please comment if you want me to expand on anything I have written here…

  1. On-site optimisation

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The first blog entry

websitetastic blog

Introduction

Websitetastic is all about making the internet accessible for the little guy, blowing away the myths and making SEO simple.

In the blog I will be exploring some ‘plug-ins’ that have been used in various sites, bringing in relevant internet news and talking about the simple SEO methods that anyone can use to push their site up in SERPs.

I have used some specific terms already – so my first blog posts will be used to explain the terms SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and SERP (Search Engine Results Position), I will go on to expand on these themes, bring in some relevant internet stories and intersperse these posts by examining some of the plug-ins I have used (or uploaded and then trashed).

Plug-ins are little WordPress add-ons that can be used to add functionality to a WordPress blog or website. WordPress is the platform I am using to build this website and to build websites for clients – it offers a platform that is easy to log in to and make changes and updates. This is a good solution for a client who does not want to get bogged down in the details, but wants a great-looking functional website.