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Semantic search

May 1st, 2007

Semantic indexing is getting more and more important to search engines. What exactly is semantic indexing and how does it influence your search engine rankings?

What is semantic indexing?

    Semantic indexing means that search engines try to associate certain terms with concepts when indexing web pages. For example, Paris and Hilton are associated with a woman instead of a city and a hotel, Tiger and Woods are associated with golf.

How can search engines find the relation between words?

For example, Google has billions of web pages in its index. If Google finds that many web pages contain both the word Paris and the word Hilton then Google might assume that these keywords are related. The other words on these pages could give Google a hint that this special word combination is about a woman.

Words that frequently appear very close to each other could get a tighter connection. Google has a lot of algorithms that allow them to calculate the relation between different words.

How does this influence your search engine optimization activities?

If you want to succeed on Google then it is important that you show Google that your website is relevant to your topic. Here are some things that you can do to show search engines that your site is relevant:

  • Use a meaningful site architecture

    Use a logical system to organize your website content. Create content sections that deal with different parts of your main topic and make sure that everything that is related to your topic is mentioned on your web pages.Make sure that your web pages are put in the right categories on your website and that it’s easy to find the different categories.
  • Use web pages that use different relevant search terms

    If you’re targeting the search term “used cars” you should also create pages that are relevant to “auto”, “suv”, etc.
  • Get links from pages that are semantically relevant to yours If you’re selling cars then the “Cars” web page that links to your site should not be about the movie. Links from topically related pages will be semantically beneficial to your site.
  • Find out why other pages rank higher than yoursIf you ever asked yourself why another page has been ranked higher than yours although you perfectly optimized your pages for your search terms then you should analyze the inbound links of top pages.The number and the authority of inbound links are important. However, it’s also important that the links come from semantically and topically related pages.

Don’t focus on a single keyword when optimizing your pages. If you want to prepare your website for advanced search engine algorithms then you have to create a website that has been optimized for many different but related search terms. In addition, it’s important that the links to your website come from topically related pages so that search engines put your website in the right context.

Backlinks and Search Engines

April 24th, 2007

What are hidden links? Can Google detect them?

Hidden links are links that can be seen by search engine spiders but not by human web surfers:

  • White text on a white background (or any other text that has the same color as the background).
  • Links that have been changed with CSS so that they are extremely small.
  • Linked periods in the middle of a paragraph.
  • Links in invisible CSS divs.

If you use links like these on your web pages then you violate Google’s quality guidelines and you risk being banned on Google by using these links.

It’s likely that Google can detect most hidden links. While some hiding techniques still might work, Google’s anti-spam team will probably be able to detect them very soon.

What are paid links? Do they work with Google?

Paid links are simply text links for which the webmaster of the linked site paid. Paid links can be used to advertise your web site on other sites.

Most webmasters buy links to increase their search engine rankings. Unfortunately, Google doesn’t like paid links.

Google is currently working on an algorithm that helps them to detect (and downgrade) paid links. Last week, Google asked webmasters to report web pages with paid links to the Google spam team.

What does this mean to your web site?

If you use hidden links or other hidden content on your web pages, you should remove these web page elements as soon as possible from your site. The more spam elements you use on your web site, the more likely it is that your web site will get a ranking penalty.

Paid links to your web site won’t hurt your website rankings. However, it’s likely that paid links also won’t help your rankings anymore with Google’s new algorithm change.

Inbound links are very important to get high rankings on Google. That’s why Google works so hard on filtering the wrong kind of links. If you want to succeed on Google, you have to build the right links that will help your search engine rankings.

How Google Ranks Websites

April 6th, 2007

1.    Keyword Use In Title Tags –  “Notice number one – that you have HTML title tags that reflect the key terms you want your page to be found for. That’s been the advice since I first starting writing about SEO back in 1996. Eleven years later – and even in the age of it’s all about links — it remains the top ranked tip by so many experts. – Danny Sullivan, Search Engine Land.

2.    Global Link Popularity of Site (The overall link weight/authority as measured by links from any and all sites across the web – both link quality and quantity) – “Think of a web page as a town. If a city has freeways, airports, train stations, bus shelters and a port, that’s a good indicator that it is an important hub. That orphaned web page with no links pointing to it? It may as well be a hidden tribe of Amazons that no one has discovered.” – Lucas Ng (a.k.a. shor), Fairfax Digital online marketing analyst (huddersfield, west yorkshire).

3. Anchor Text of Inbound Link – “Anchor text of the inbound link is one of the most concise assessments another person can make about what your site/page is ‘about’.” – Mike McDonald, WebProNews

4. Link Popularity within Site’s Internal Link Structure (Refers to the number and importance of internal links pointing to the target page) – “As mentioned on my blog, you can pulse a page’s rankings by including and excluding links to it from your home page.” – Russ Jones, Virante CTO.

5. Age of Site (Not the date of original registration of the domain, but rather the launch of indexable content seen by the search engines) – “We have seen new sites flourish as long as they have a clear connection to the ‘parent’ site that has already gained trust.” – Chris Boggs, Search Engine Land Associate Editor.

6. Topical Relevance of Inbound Links To Site (The subject-specific relationship between the sites/pages linking to the target page and the target keyword) – “We seem to have moved from analysis of simply anchor text, to including surrounding text and probably even page theme.” – Caveman, SEO/SEM Consultant.

7. Link Popularity of Site In Topical Community (The link weight/authority of the target website amongst its topical peers in the online world) – ” I’ve seen one of my sites goes from #39 to #1 right after I got 1 link… from the #1 spot on the keyword I was trying to get” – Guillaume Bouchard, CEO NVI Solutions.

8. Keyword Use in Body Text (Using the targeted search term in the visible, HTML text of the page) – “If you are writing about ‘dogs’ then you should naturally use keywords related to ‘dogs’ within your content. If you don’t have keywords within your content it can become hard to rank for those terms.” – Neil Patel, Pronet Advertising.

9. Global Link Popularity of Linking Site – “This is why people bought PageRank 7 site links for lots more than PageRank 6 links. The links were very valuable, and the information on how strong they were was very valuable (this is why it’s also very hard to GET an accurate read on anymore without an SEO shaman). – Todd Malicoat, Stuntdubl SEO Consulting.

10. Rate of New Inbound Links to Site (The frequency and timing of external sites linking to given domain) – “I don’t think getting fifty links overnight will kill you. Especially if those links are bringing traffic and from quality sites. Getting 100K links overnight and having no visitors or search queries as a result smells a bit fishy no matter how you look at it.” – Rae Hoffman, Principal, Sugarrae SEO Consulting.

Internet Advertising - Does it have value?

March 30th, 2007

Internet advertising is huge

With the growth of information on the internet has growth the amount of time people spend on it, which has in turn generated a new market for internet advertising. Some of the wealthiest companies in the world have made sure that they get a piece of the internet marketing pie, and for a good reason.

Internet advertising is targeted

As a company looking for advertising opportunities to a specific market, internet advertising offers some targeting methods that insure that those who see your ads are the ones most likely to buy. Programs like Google’s AdWords and AdSense match up advertisers with content that their target market peruses regularly. Forget the costly machine-gun strategy of newspaper advertisements, internet advertising is targeted!

Internet adverting enables good conversion tracking

It’s impossible to get a good idea of how many people see advertising through traditional means. Tracking the reach of newspaper and television advertisments is difficult. However, internet advertising allows the advertiser to track the number of impressions an ad gets (how many people see it), and how many visits their business web site gets from particular ads, making it easy to see what kind of conversion rates internet advertisements are getting.

Internet advertising has a lower entry-level fees

If you have a limited budget, internet advertising can be much more in reach than traditional methods. A small yellow-page ad can cost several hundred dollars. However, you can bid for advertisements on Google and Overture on a performance basis. That means that you only get charged when visitors click on the advertisement, and bidding starts at a nickle or dime a pop.

Internet advertising can be much cheaper

Because of the targeted nature of internet advertising and the ability to track the effectiveness of ads, conversion rates from internet advertising is typically much better than traditional mediums.

Internet advertising has greater range

One more benefit is that, since the internet spans the globe, pockets of your target market scattered around the world can all be targetted at once, rather than trying to find different publications, radio stations and television stations that cater to a particular geographical area.

On the whole, internet advertising can be a great way to get the word out there about your service or product in a cost-effective, efficient way.

Get visitors returning to your site

March 30th, 2007

The longer visitors are on your business web site, the greater the opportunity for branding

Some visitors who come to your business web site will know what they’re looking for, but many others need guidance. Some of them are considering the competition, and if they are shopping online, your business web site has to out-shine the others to get the business.

It’s important to try to keep your visitors on your site until they become a conversion, or to at least build a relationship with the customer through the web site until they feel comfortable enough with your business to come back later and complete the sale.

Below are some ways to use your business web site to increase potential branding, and branding means more opportunity for conversion.

Add some free information to your business web site

The more information you have on your business web site, the longer a visitor can browse the site without running into the same pages. If there’s more to read, it’s more likely that visitors will stick around to read it.

An added benefit of having more information on your business web site is that you will get more targeted traffic through search engines to the content pages of your site, where visitors can be introduced to your brand.

The free information on your business web site can come in the form of articles, reviews, statistics, and tutorials. You can also use this information to increase your range of customer services through your business web site.

Include interactivity on your business web site

People like business web sites that they can interact with. If you have a product or service that can be customized for a customer, consider creating an interactive media experience where the customer can generate price quotes based on certain information, or can see visually how a change of color or size will affect a product.

Keep your business web site live

One of the best ways to keep a business web site attractive and “stickable” is to make sure you have some current information. It has to look like your business web site is a live entity, with new information being added all the time.

These are just a few ways to add stikability to your web site. As long as you keep in mind that your goal is to keep customers on your web site until they become a business conversion, you can come up with some other creative ways to achieve

Ten Tips for Optimising Your Web Pages

March 28th, 2007

1. First and foremost, make sure you are going to optimise your web page for the most appropriate keywords. It is important to choose your keywords wisely, especially keeping in mind how often those specific keywords are searched for, as it will be much easier and beneficial to get your site as a number one search result for a phrase that is searched for 5,000 times a week, and almost impossible to get your page in the first few search result pages for a term that is searched for 500,000 times a week. It is important to note that approximately 90% of web users do not navigate past the first page of Google’s search results.

2. Secondly, ensure your keywords appear once (more than once is not necessary) in your meta tags in your HTML code. For example, if the only keywords you are optimising for are ‘web design huddersfield‘ your meta tags should read as follows:

ID30 are web designers located in Huddersfield…” name=”description” />
ID30 Huddersfield Web Designers” name=”keywords” />

3. Thirdly, ensure your keywords appear in your title tag of your web page, ie;

4. Fourth, ensure your keywords appear in a heading tag in the specific page Web Design Huddersfield. It is more beneficial if this is your only tag on the page, and it occurs only once.

5. Another factor that affects your on page optimisation is if your keywords appear within bolded or italicized text. It is important not to go overboard with this by having your keywords bolded or italicized everywhere throughout your page because Google will consider this a ‘black hat’ method of on page optimisation and may result in banning your site from their index. But if it occurs once, or maybe twice, it will increase your on page optimisation and Google will not frown upon this. Example: Web Design Huddersfield.

6. It is important to have your keywords occur at least once within the content text on your website, within paragraph P tags. And is more beneficial to ensure this occurs closest to the top of your web page, and at the bottom.

7. It also helps to put your keywords within the alt tags of the images that are embedded in your HTML file. A good example would be if you have a logo that occurs at the top of the document, put the keywords in the alt text.

8. If you have any links within your web site that link back to the page you are optimising, or any external links that link towards your web site it is very important to contain your keywords within the anchor text and the title text. Example: ID30 - Web Design Huddersfield. The anchor text is the text that occurs within the tags. Hover over the link to view the title text that pops up, or click on view -> source in your web browser if you need to brush up on your HTML skills.

9. Other factors that improve your on page optimisation include having your keywords contained within your domain name and file name of the specific page. For example the following fictional url would help: http://www.webdesignhuddersfield.com/webdesignhuddersfield.html. However this is not 100% necessary.

10. This point is probably the most important point you should consider when optimising your page- stay away from ‘black hat’ on page optimisation methods. They may increase your on page optimisation temporarily but Google frowns upon this and could ban you from their index. So if you go over board with keywords that do not relate to the content of the page, have your keywords occurring more than 3 or 4 times in H tags and B tags all over your site and repeat your keywords unnecessarily throughout the content text of your web site, you risk having your site banned from the Google index. Google really does keep a close eye on this so be careful.

7 Tips to improve your website design

March 16th, 2007

It doesn’t matter whether your website is of a personal nature with just a few pages or a larger e-commerce website, having a well-designed site is very important. Believe it or not, website design is something that matters to your visitors. It can make all the difference in whether they leave your site or bookmark it. Here are some tips to assist you in improving your website design.

1. Pages that load quickly. If your site does not load at least within ten or 15 seconds, chances are that most people will simply leave. You may have speedy Internet connection, but keep in mind that not all folks do. Remember, 56k modems do still exist.

2. Text on your pages should be easy to read. You will want the size of the text to be big enough, and a background color that does not obscure the text. To be on the safe side, it is recommended to use black text on a white background. If you would like to use a little more color, choose carefully, making sure that the page is still easy to read..

3. You will want your website to be easy to navigate. All text links and graphic elements such as buttons and tabs should be easy to read and use. Links found within your article should flow appropriately. You don%u2019t want your visitors leaving because they were not able to figure out how to get your Flash menu to work.

4. Both your website design and layout should be consistent with one another. If you were to switch from one style to another to often, you may confuse your visitors. It only makes sense that if the website design is suddenly too different people are bound to think that they are at another website altogether.

5. Stay away from music and sounds. Not many people like to suddenly be forced to listen to a certain type of music when they click on your site. They may already be listening to their own music. If you think that your site really does need music, turn it off by default and provide a button for visitors to click on if they want to listen.

6. Focus your web design on browser compatibility. For example, not all people use Internet Explorer. Be sure that your site can be viewed using Mozilla, Safari, Opera and Firefox. If at all possible, you may want to test your website on both a Mac and PC. Sites targeting markets such as technology should be careful, because these readers are more likely to use some of the newer browsers and gadgets.

7. Consider your website design for all screen resolutions. Chances are, you like to surf in 1240×1080 with your screen, but remember, some folks still use 800×600, or even 640×768! A website that looks great in high resolution may not be so easy to view correctly in 800×600.

website design -> Huddersfield / West Yorkshire / UK

Making your website standards compliant

March 12th, 2007

What is standards compliance?

Web Standards refer to standards for creating web sites that are internationally agreed on as the best practices. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), is the international governing body that oversees the development of web standards such as XHTML and CSS.

Why use standards compliance?

There are a number of reasons why standards compliance used as basis for website development:

  • smaller files and faster download
  • better layout control
  • better interoperability across platforms, devices and media
  • easier maintenance and increased opportunities
  • increased search engine optimisation
  • increased accessibility

To find out more about standards compliance and how it could benefit your website, speak to huddersfields premiere web development agency.

Is the future of the internet mobile

March 2nd, 2007

With advent of truly innovative high speed mobile devices, is the web fast becoming a mobile market place, or will the limited screen size of mobile devices continue to hamper the growth of the online mobile community?

The president of Microcost, a French information technology firm has been quoted as saying that “by 2020 mobile networks will provide one-gigabit-per-second-minimum speed, anywhere, anytime.” Clearly download speed isn’t going to be an issue. The new arrival of Wide Area WiFi switching devices also means that a complete country-wide coverage of broadband wireless internet is not far off. So we have the coverage, and the mobile devices capable of using that coverage, so what is the problem?

Well, the problem is simple - screen size. Mobile devices have an inherent problem, the small physical size means a small screen size. With faster and faster broadband speeds web content has become much more graphically intensive, and populating these graphics to mobile device screens in a readable format is a real problem. Would you give up your laptop for something with the screen size of a carton of cigarettes - probably not. As screen sizes on mobile devices slowly increase in size and clarity, we are seeing more capable mobile internet applications appearing, but we are still a long way of the utopian idea of being constantly in touch with real time useful internet information anywhere any time.

The solution. Well at the moment there isn’t one. Careful, consistent and clever use of CSS and design can make mobile content useable, but significant hardware development is required before the internet will ever be a truly mobile medium.

If you would like your website to be available on mobile devices, why not speak to us?

Google launch Google Apps Premier Edition

March 2nd, 2007

Google has launched the long awaited Premier Edition of their Google apps software. Web developers and Google followers alike have been happily using the standard editions for a while now, so the launch of the Premier edition is likely to cause Microsoft some concern for the future of their Office product. View the Google press release below.

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., February 22, 2007 - Google Inc. today introduced Google Apps Premier Edition, a new version of Google’s hosted services for communication and collaboration designed for businesses of all sizes. Google Apps Premier Edition is available for $50 per user account per year, and includes phone support, additional storage, and a new set of administration and business integration capabilities.

Google Apps TM, launched as a free service in August 2006, is a suite of applications that includes Gmail TM webmail services, Google Calendar TM shared calendaring, Google Talk TM instant messaging and voice-over-IP, and the Start Page feature for creating a customizable home page on a specific domain. More than 100,000 small businesses and hundreds of universities now use the service. Google Apps Premier Edition now joins Google Apps Standard Edition and Google Apps Education Edition, both of which will continue to be offered for free to organizations.

“Procter & Gamble Global Business Services (GBS) has enrolled as a charter enterprise customer of Google Apps, a successful consumer product suite now available to enterprises. P&G will work closely with Google in shaping enterprise characteristics and requirements for these popular tools,” said Laurie Heltsley, director Procter & Gamble Global Business Services.

“So much of business now relies on people being able to communicate and collaborate effectively,” said Gregory Simpson, CTO for General Electric Company. “GE is interested in evaluating Google Apps for the easy access it provides to a suite of web applications, and the way these applications can help people work together. Given its consumer experience, Google has a natural advantage in understanding how people interact together over the web.”

Google also today announced that all editions of Google Apps now include Google Docs & Spreadsheets TM. In addition, Google Apps now supports Gmail for mobile on BlackBerry TM handheld devices.

“Businesses are looking for applications that are simple and intuitive for employees, but also offer the security, reliability and manageability their organizations require,” said Dave Girouard, vice president and general manager, Google Enterprise. “With Google Apps, our customers can tap into an unprecedented stream of technology and innovation at a fraction of the cost of traditional installed solutions.”

Features unique to Google Apps Premier Edition include:

- 10 GBs of storage per user - Offers about 100 times the storage of the average corporate mailbox, eliminating the need to frequently delete email.

- APIs for business integration - APIs for data migration, user provisioning, single sign-on, and mail gateways enable businesses to further customize the service for unique environments.

- 99.9 % uptime - Service Level Agreements for high availability of Gmail, with Google monitoring and crediting customers if service levels are not met.

- 24×7 support for critical issues - Includes extended business hours telephone support for administrators.

- Advertising optional - Advertising is turned off by default, but businesses can choose to include Google’s relevant target-based ads if desired.

- $50 per user account per year - Simple and affordable annual fee makes it practical to offer these applications to everyone in the

In addition to Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Talk and Start Page, all editions of Google Apps now include:

- Google Docs & Spreadsheets - With this addition, teams can easily collaborate on documents and spreadsheets without the need to email documents back and forth. Multiple employees can securely work on a document at the same time. All revisions are recorded for editing, and administrative controls allow organizations to define limits on document sharing. According to custom analysis of Nielsen//NetRatings MegaPanel released this week, 92 percent of users of online productivity tools last October used Google Docs & Spreadsheets, making it the number one product in its class.

- Gmail for mobile devices on BlackBerry - Gmail for mobile devices provides the same Gmail experience - such as search, conversation view and synchronization with desktop version - on BlackBerry handheld devices for users of Google Apps. Gmail for mobile devices joins a list of other mobile options for Google Apps and BlackBerry users that already includes a Google Talk client and a variety of calendar sync tools.

- Application-level control - Allows administrators to adapt services to business policies, such as sharing of calendars or documents outside of the company.

“When it comes to our email systems, our doctors don’t have the time or the budgets to deal with managing technology or defending against spam,” said Andrew Johnson, chief information officer, San Francisco Bay Pediatrics. “With Google Apps Premier Edition we don’t have to worry about downloading the latest spam filters or navigating unwieldy servers. This is where we let Google do what it does best, so we can do what we do best - help our patients.”

In addition to Procter & Gamble Global Business Services and San Francisco Bay Pediatrics, other early adopters of Google Apps Premier Edition include Salesforce.com and Prudential Preferred Properties in the U.S., as well as Essilor and Mediametrie in France.

To provide more options and value to customers of Google Apps Premier Edition, Google Enterprise Professional partners like Avaya and Postini are developing a variety of solutions based on our APIs, including email gateways, enhanced security, Google Calendar synchronization, third-party integration with Google Talk, as well as offering deployment, migration, and additional support services.

Google hosted applications are available in many local languages, such as French, Italian, German, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese and Korean. Please visit http://www.google.com/a for details on the product, local availability, partners and customers.

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