Tag Archives: SEO

Increase Your Web Traffic in a Weekend

I’ve been reading the 6th edition of Increase Your Web Traffic in a Weekend and decided I had to write about it because it’s fabulous.

Much of the information in this book has been primarily valuable for me to reinforce and revisit many already well-known SEO and traffic directing practices. However, I was pleasantly surprised by some hot, relevant tips sprinkled throughout this book that I either never heard of or never thought of as a resource.

The book is literally sectioned off by what to do starting Friday evening and ending Sunday afternoon. I don’t want to give away too much information provided by this edition, but here’s a tiny preview of what I meant about some information reinforcing and making sense of what we already know.

    I came across a section about how search engines read your site information and why:

  • iframes
  • scripts thrown in with your HTML vs. residing in a separate file
  • tables
  • and graphics with obscure names like DSNC009.jpg
  • wreak havoc on your website’s indexing potential.

With iframes the search engine’s web spider sees virtually no information other than a reference to another page to index.

Scripts can simply limit your pages’ important data from being indexed since most search engines don’t crawl and cache the full length of all information on every page. So the book recommended simple alternatives to run your java scripts.

The info about how websites index tables also got my attention. It is very important that you know how search engines read them especially if you have tables of subjects with definitions or locations or other information that should be read from left to right.

Of course, the tip about renaming pictures with keywords or using alt tags was another good reminder.

It was published in February of 2011 which is important because I don’t read much of any ever-evolving material like social media or web development that hasn’t been published within the last 12 months. (This book covers both social media and best web development practices.)

I really liked this book. It offers helpful references to places to submit your website and dives head first into the newest rage that’s going to stick around for a while – SMO ( Social Media Optimization ).

Random but Handy Website Tools

Code Validation

I like to check my work. (Especially when code does not display the result I tell it to display. :) You’ve been there. )

  1. HTML Validator
  2. CSS Validator – If you find that your code ends up with a bunch of issues, don’t worry, even MSN’s website stylesheet came back with 2 errors and 916 warnings. However, that doesn’t excuse us from fixing ours.

Creating Web Ready Images

Tools I’ve used to add a little color to my website.

  1. HTML RGB color code converter – Know the RGB of a color but don’t exactly know the HTML version of the code? This will help.
  2. Gradient Image Maker – Just need to make a gradient image for a background or something? There are two things you must remember when using this. 1. you can make the height pretty much any length, but the width should stay at 100 or less might be better. Number 2. If you want to save the gradient image from the preview section, this does work. However, when you save it make sure you save it with the right extension. It defaults to try to save as gradient.php… that probably won’t help you. So save it as gradient.png or gradient.jpg.
  3. Also see three other posts about getting/editing graphics for websites and social network sites: WebSite Graphics, Ultimate Collection of Free Stock Photo Sites, Fun with Photos

Miscellaneous Website Tools

  1. Convert Your Spreadsheets into HTML Tables. I don’t really love using tables, but I have found them to be handy in some cases.
  2. Convert Your Web Page into a PDF

SEO

What’s the point in having a great site with great content if you can’t get found? I’ve shared 70+ very good SEO tools and tips in this blog. Here are the links to those articles about the tools I’ve been using.

  1. Tag Clutter – 2-14-2011 Don’t overload your posts or pages with keywords and phrases.
  2. Optimize Webpage Response Time – 12-13-2010
  3. 4 SEO Rules that Are Here to Stay – 11-29-2010
  4. 15 Easy Free DoFollow Backlinks to Your Website – 10-18-2010
  5. Website Backlink Popularity Tools – 3-1-2010
  6. Google PageRank – 2-23-2010
  7. How is Your Business Measuring Up? – 2-22-2010 <- I should have titled this how is your website and social media network measuring up.
  8. Use Social Bookmarks to Your Business Site’s Advantage – 2-8-2010
  9. Domain Life Expectancy – 8-9-2009
  10. FREE Inbound Link Checkers – 2-4-2009
  11. SEO Power Tools – 7-14-2009, updated August 6, 2010

Hmm, I think I should go ahead and change my SEO tag into a subcategory of website tips. It’s definitely something I’ve written extensively about.

Tag Clutter

I’ve been going through my website’s tags and after adding more content that I had written for classes but never posted. Somehow I ended up with 159 tags! This wouldn’t be bad except that many have only one or two posts attached to them, some had zero. So, I narrowed it down to 107 tags so far. I could definitely narrow them down more, but it’s a lot better.

Have you remembered to clean up your blog site categories and tags lately?

1. Go through all of your tags and see which ones can be consolidated, deleted, or changed to categories.
2. Go through some of your posts and make sure that your posts all have a fair number of tags and categories (at least one of each but no more than 8 or 9 total).
3. Also see my previous posts about this topic: Keywords & Categories & Tags Oh My!

I’ve added tons of posts to my Business category and Time Management tag and I’ve even added more posts to my newer tag:

College (which is a compilation of things that I wrote and learned during college but never got to shine up to make them a decent blog post. There is definitely more where that came from!)

This is very important for your visitors to get around your website and for SEO as well.

Now it’s time for me to go and make sure my sweetheart knows he’s special! ;) Happy Valentine’s Day!

Optimize Webpage Response Time

How fast does your website load? Here is a webpage load speed test from Pingdom Tools that you can use to see about where your site stands and get a good overview of all of the files that are actually being loaded by your visitor’s browser. Click the image on the right to view the screenshot of all the junk I have loading on my homepage.) Google also has a collection of page speed tools.

I am really noticing this more lately because I have been cleaning up darkbluesun.com and struggling with my page loading speeds. GoDaddy.com is a decent host at times. Yet, some days I have had nothing but problems due to how slowly WordPress runs (probably due to how long takes to connect to the Godaddy server “grid” and retrieve info from the MySQL database service needed to run WordPress).

Other than switching web hosting providers, here are 2 ways to test and 3 steps to speed up your web page load speed.

  1. Correct HTML or Other Code Errors

    I went to W3C’s Markup Validation tool online to test my website for errors and discovered I had 37 Errors, 3 warning(s) to sort out for my webpages.

    I fixed a few of these errors. I knocked the number down to 23 Errors, 2 warning(s). This really isn’t much except you can consider the fact that your browser is now going to throw 14 fewer errors when opening my page.

  2. Reorganize (Maybe Even *Gasp!* Delete) Content

    I am a strong believer in this rule: Never Delete Old Content. I always advise bloggers to update the information in a new post and then link to the updated version from the old post.

    Unfortunately there are some things that are simply necessary to get rid of. For example: it is perfectly okay to leave a few of those bells and whistles out of your site. If you never use the chat widgets or java-based plugins that wind up taking up space, bandwidth and precious time… then get rid of them immediately.

    Some of the WordPress plugins I am using for different functions on my website are causing the rest of those errors I was talking about earlier and I am not going to take the time to debug all of that before I post this. However, if I really needed to dramatically, instantly change the page speed of my site, I would uninstall the WP Cumulus and Sociable plugins on my site.

    Break up large posts into separate smaller posts.
    Yep, this tip is self explanatory. If you have lots and lots of data in one post, then that page will obviously take longer to load. If you divide the information into smaller amounts it will help both your readers if they are looking for a quick answer to their question and it will help the search engines index you more efficiently.

  3. Know How to Insert Images

    • Get in the habit of using relative links to your img src’s than absolute links. E.G.:
      instead of:  img src=”http://www.darkbluesun.com/logoDBS.png
      use this:   img src=”/logoDBS.png
      Relative URLs are obviously shorter than absolute URLs, as a result the file size of the web page would be a bit smaller as well.
    • Give images height and width attributes. This way, browsers can load the page completely giving a space for the image without having to wait for the images to load first.
    • Resize larger images to “web-friendly” sizes. Microsoft Office Picture Manager uses 2 defaults for standard website image sizes:
      large: 640 x 480 px
      small: 448 x 336 px
      With modern digital cameras and larger megapixel abled phone cams, the resolution of the pictures you are posting could be huge! Even if you give a large photo a smaller height and width attributes the browser still has to load the entire picture.

Please Note: Some of these changes will only help your pages load a few seconds earlier.

Every little bit counts when according to the September 14, 2009 press release, published by Akamai: users will only wait 2 seconds for a page to load before clicking (or pressing that dreadful back button) out of your webpage… never to return again?

Reveals 2 Seconds as the New Threshold of Acceptability for eCommerce Web Page Response Times
September 14, 2009 – Akamai Reveals 2 Seconds as the New Threshold of Acceptability for eCommerce Web Page Response Times

4 SEO Rules that Are Here to Stay

Get found SEOThere are some search engine optimizations rules (the rules search engines use to figure out when and where your website is supposed to show up after someone types in relative keywords) that are probably not going to change.

Changes like the new rules for the Google search algorithm are inevitable. Now we have geotagging, search engines boasting that they are decision engines, and are connected to more people (and their opinions) than ever before.

This is the golden opportunity to share your information. However, this also means it will be easier for good content to get lost in the shuffle.

Here are some SEO rules that are foundational and certain to keep your site high in the search results (and easier to navigate for your visitors):

  1. More links to your website from other well-structures websites will equate to a better search result ranking. The 2011 way to get links to your website will largely be done by writing great content and then hoping it is shared virally via Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Linked IN, and then whatever other smart social network service they can come up with that will consolidate all if them. :)
  2. The older a website is and the longer a website is registered for is very important. (I registered darkbluesun.com in 2003 and it doesn’t expire until 2015 – So, I won’t have to mess with this one for my redesign.) Why would they want to make a site that is going to expire in less than a year a priority to index?
  3. The links that you have to other websites are also very important. Broken links prove that your site is unkempt. My blog is older, so some of the links that I shared have become obsolete and some of the websites that were posted with visitors comments are also broken.
    • Google’s Webmaster Tools will show you most of your internal and external broken links. However, it does miss some especially the ones included in the comments. So what else can I do?
    • There’s a program called Xenu Link Sleuth that I downloaded a while back. It will run a report for you on your entire website that will show all of the links that are broken, working, or redirected. It does other nifty things too.
      For more info on this detailed (older still) blog post from seomoz.com: Xenu’s Link Sleuth – More Than Just A Broken Links Finder it gives a lot of good detail on what this program can do.
    • More quality content on your website also gets attention. The more quality content, the better chances you’ll have to get the search engines like Bing! and Google to trust your website as a reliable source.

Next week I will share SEO rules for all of your written content keeping good anchor text for links, tags, labels, and categories. For now, I am going to continue cleaning up broken links and minor fixes on the site this week.

Update 4/17/2012 – I found another very good article about SEO from the site “Say Notes” called What Web Designers Need to Know About SEO

SEO is Changing

SEO is changing. Google is changing. Bing is… well, it’s still trying to figure out what it means to be a “decision engine”. I thought their commercials were sort of funny, but seriously… decision engine? I’d rather make my own decisions thank you very much. :D

With that being said there are some rules for search engine optimization that will NOT change. My post on darkbluesun.com this week:  4 SEO Rules that Are Here to Stay

In case you are just now joining us, my website: darkbluesun.com is being overhauled. I’ve done some things like change the theme and make it a little prettier. I fixed my header to include my image again :) and I am going to make better use of that extra white space in the top section so no worries.

Today I have posted about something a little more technical… and a little more VITAL to the success or failure of my website: getting found.

To make sure my website is properly indexed by search engines, I must first make sure that my site is following the basic SEO rules that aren’t changing anytime soon.

So go, read, learn from my mistakes, and have a great week! ;)