Saturday, November 25, 2006

To Flash or Not to Flash (that is the question)

To build a site entirely in flash, is a BIG “no no” from a search engine optimisation perspective.

Why? And yes I know that the search engines are getting better at indexing flash, BUT indexing a site is not the same as ranking well (now I don’t know how many times I have said this to the designers in my agency). Even though it can index the website the search engines still thinks it’s only one page to the whole site as flash movie is only one element. Now this makes search engine optimisation pretty tricky, you can load a bunch of alt tags, and I know you can add content into XML at the backend (but that would be cloaking..or would it?) Even if you can load all the content into XML it won’t be of the same value as if the content was in HTML. Basically you pretty much only have the title and meta tags for optimising content which limits you a great deal to how many keywords you can target.

There are also complications when it comes to running Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising going to a site that is built entirely in flash. Why? Because you can’t point the ads to a specific page of the site. All ads have to be pointed to the homepage. Now this can have massive implications on your conversion rate, if for example you are advertising a specific product through a PPC campaign and lead a customer straight to the homepage for themselves to AGAIN find the product, chances you are going to loose that customer.

Seriously, it’s a mystery to me why so many web designers still insists in making sites entirely in flash. Now don’t get me wrong, flash can be really cool, and to have a flash element on the homepage or even the sub pages I don’t mind at all. BUT there is a time and place, basically chose wisely. Don’t ever make a site entirely in flash just because it looks cool.

There is no point in having a really cool website if people can’t find it.

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Video interview from PubCon Vegas

Webpronews did a really cool interview of Rand Fishkin, Todd Malicoat and Lee Odden at the PubCon Vegas. These three names are very prominent in the SEO industry in the US, they talk about their views on current SEO issues as well as what not to worry about. A nice little discussion between Todd and Rand about links vs content. They also talk about people being to obsessed about rankings whilst surely it's the conversion of those clicks that matters. So going to have to do a blog post on this subject.

Anyway here is a link to the PubCon Video Interview


Labels: , , , , ,

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Are you a bloglebrity?

Randall McCarly from 14th Colony Scout wrote a blogpost last week about this new tool where you can find out how "famous" you are in the blogosphere. Now it's only a bit of fun, as it's entirley based on how many links you have coming into your site (and how old your blog is). Randall was kind enough to list me as one of his favourite blogs, BIG STAR for you Randall!

Apparently I'm a:

D-List Blogger

Whilst blogs such as SEOmoz, Shoemoney and SEObook is A-Listers. All I need to do now is reach for the stars!!

You can find out what kind of blogger you are here

Saturday, November 18, 2006

The importance of the meta description tag

The meta description tag tends to get overlooked far too much. It’s one of those SEO things that usually gets left to the last minute. Easy to do, just a description of what the site/page is about, no problem. Or is it? I personally think that this tag is of far greater importance than most SEO gives it credit for. Why? Read on.

Basically if you think about it the meta description tag is your FREE ad! If you have experience in running a pay per click campaign I’m sure you have put a lot of thought into what the PPC ad says. The ad is what distinguish you from all the other PPC ads right? So why should it be any different in the organic SERPs? The title tag is your free headline and the meta description tag is your FREE ad, this is where you have a chance to ad hook someone in. How many times have you searched for something, got to the results and been put off by the description, it can’t possibly be what you were looking for!!?

Now, this isn’t the only reason why a meta description tag is important! I’m a firm believer that most search engines (especially Google) use CTR as part of their algorithm. Let’s say you can have optimised your website perfectly for your top keywords, you get to the top of Google and then…FALL. Why? Because your meta description tag wasn’t descriptive or interesting enough to make the user actually click through to your site from the organic result. Now, if you on the other hand had a relevant, descriptive and interesting meta description tag the user would be more likely to click through to your site. If it were to work as it does with PPC (I’m not saying it definitely does, but I think it does) the higher CTR (click through rate) you have the more you get “rewarded” by Google. The more targeted my PPC ads are to the relevant keywords the higher the CTR gets and I get a higher position for less CPC. That’s my theory anyway.

So to sum it up, I believe by writing a good meta description and title tag, you get a higher CTR, more click throughs, thus more traffic. Bob's your uncle…

The two Golden rules for writing a successful meta description tag:

- Keep it short. It will only look crap if your description tag gets cut off half way through a sentence. A good length meta description tag is under 150 characters.

- Keep it relevant. Don’t get too carried away with the ad hook, keep it clear, simple and most important relevant to the page. (I recommend you write a different meta description tag for each page on your site, to maximise CTR)

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

London SEO Community

Now I seem to have been looking forever trying to tap into the UK SEO community. I came across this blog post The UK SEO community - Is there one? from a fellow SEO bloggger (Darren Moloney), he got a few replies to his post and I've been following the links suggested.

Turns out that there is a site called The London SEO pissup crowd, sounds like just the thing! They basically arrange SEO events and piss ups for all SEO geeks to meet and share their knowledge. Fantastic. Just sign up for updates on upcoming events.

There is a christmas event being organised in association with BBC Backstage the only problem is that the cut off is 400 people and it's already well past 400, you can be put on a waiting list though.

But watch this space, maybe I can get some people together at an alternative venue.

Let's expand the London SEO community!

Labels: ,

Monday, November 13, 2006

Search Engine Friendly redirect – 301 redirect

If you have to implement a redirect to your site, make it a 301 redirect. Why? A 301 re-direct is the most efficient and spider friendly strategy around for web sites that are hosted on servers running Apache. It’s not difficult to implement and it should preserve your search engine rankings for that particular page.

A 301 redirect is implemented in your .htaccess file.

What is a .htaccess file?
When a spider request a web page your web server check for .htaccess file. This file contains specific instructions for certain requests, including security, redirection issues and how to handle certain errors.

How to implement a 301 redirect

When a search engine indexes your site again they will follow the rule you have created in your .htaccess file. Make sure you TEST that the redirect is implemented correctly before you go live. You should be instantly and seamlessly transported to the new location. Volla...

If anyone has any experience with redirects that has gone wrong, or smootly, please feel free to comment.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Making Your Blog Search Engine Friendly

I came across this really cool blog post on SEO Bomb , it's a post about Making Your Blog Search Engine Friendly . The blog features Google Sitemap tips, Redirects, preventing blog spam etc.

It's very cool, and by a fellow Norwegian, can't be bad =)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Dinner with Rebecca from SEOmoz

Met up with Rebecca Kelley from SEOmoz last wednesday. She is over from Seattle to attend an SEO training course with Ammon Johns at Fresh Egg in Worthing (of all places). So we arranged to meet in London for dinner.

Arranged to meet her and her boyfriend Jason outside Bond Street tube station (seemed like a good idea), little did I know after living in London for 8 years that this particular tube st has 5 exits. Oh crap...45 minutes later I found two freezing Americans outside Macdonalds. Luckily being very nice people they forgave me, and still wanted to go for dinner (nothing to do with the fact that they hadn't eaten for 12 hours...)

We went to a great little Turkish restaurant just off Bond Street, a few beers and some nice food later and allot of chatting about SEO(sorry Jason). The meeting has left me even more impressed with SEOmoz than I originally was (if that's possible). They are seriously nice people that knows their stuff, hey Rebecca should be giving training courses not attending them =)

Rebecca wrote a blog post on her few days in London on SEOmoz, she cracks me up, seriously funny girl! Anytime any of you SEOmozzers are in London give me a call =)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Google Blog Search

Google has launched its first blog search service (in beta), becoming the first search engine to offer a pure blog and feed search capabilities.

The service surface purely blog postings and scans content posted to blogs and feeds in real-time. This is a long awaited release and could be the first of many search engine based blog search facilities.

Try it: Google Blog Search