Understanding which way the wind blows with Google is important for anyone who has a website, at least if they want people to see it. Panda and Penguin are code names for a series of Google algorithm updates over the past couple years. Together they speak volumes about where Google is headed, what SEO tactics will and won’t work, and how you can create a web marketing strategy that you can count on for the long term.
“I just want a simple website.” I’ve heard that plea from small business owners so many times over the years, and I always want to answer: “Don’t we all, buster. Don’t we all!”
“Simple” is usually a reference to the site’s front end design, but I’ve learned that it also indicates a resistance to the perceived complexity of creating a good website and, of course, to price.
As Albert Einstein said, “Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.” So how simple is too simple for a website?
When I think of animated gifs, I think of those obnoxious blinky things that seemed cool for about a nanosecond in the early days of the web. Thankfully, all that blinking got to be too much and animated gifs went the way of the dodo bird.
But this fellow has taken a maligned web technique and made it into an art form. Here are a few examples:
If there was a badge for the Most Important Factor in search engine optimization I would award it to the Title Tag. Even though good title tags alone won’t ensure high Google rankings, they can take your site a long way on their own. And without good title tags, all your other SEO work will come to very little.
Another reason they get my vote as the Most Important Factor is that they are relatively quick and easy to optimize. If you know your targeted keyword phrases and can edit your title tags (most content management systems will let you), then it just takes a few minutes to edit them. Once Google has spidered your site and picked up the change, you can check your rankings and/or your Landing Page report in Google Analytics to see what effect the change has had. Tweak, and tweak again, is what I say.
A landing page is the page a visitor lands on when they first come to your site. It seems like a pretty straightforward concept, one you can file away under “Got it!” and move on. But let’s take a closer look, because thinking about landing pages can change the way you think about your website, your content, and the whole internet marketing kaboodle.
Visitors don’t read your website like a book.
Very few visitors will start at what you think is the “first page” of your website (the home page perhaps?) and follow an orderly progression through to the end (the “about” page perhaps?). They may land on an interior page, look at one other related page and be gone.
You know where your kids are (I hope). You probably know where to find the title to your car, or your Last Will and Testament, or the gift card that’s still got 50 bucks on it. How about your website accounts? Do you know where they are? Do you even know what they are?
Since it’s a new year and we all want to get off on the right foot, let’s take a few minutes to round up your website accounts and see if you need to do anything with them. (If you read all the way to the end I’ll share some hints for how/where to store the info.) Continue Reading
Most of the problems I see with SEO are matters of degree: lost opportunities, underutilized content, technical issues on some sections of the site. But occasionally I see full-fledged SEO disasters and these usually occur in conjunction with a site redesign. Here’s why.
Almost all site redesigns involve adding, deleting or changing content. That usually means changing URLs, and sometimes the domain name itself. If another site links to your page at http://www.mysite.com/my-popular-page and you change the URL to Continue Reading
“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.”
― Yogi Berra
If you haven’t set up Goals in Google Analytics, then your chances of achieving success on the web are reduced by 80%. OK, I confess I just made up that number. As far as I know, there have been no scientific studies comparing sites with and without Goal tracking, and of course it would be difficult to screen for all the other web marketing variables. So really the failure rate of sites that don’t track Goals could be closer to 100%.
WordPress.com is the hosted version of the WordPress. That means you can go to WordPress.com, sign up for a free account, pick a theme, start writing, and create a live website/blog in minutes – for free. Sounds great right? Well, it is! Especially if you want to start a personal blog or have some informal ideas you want to kick around. But if you want to use WordPress to power a site or blog for any professional purposes, you are far better off heading over to WordPress.org.