Search Engine Marketing

 

What is Search Engine Marketing

If you’re an advertiser, you probably know already that your visibility in search engine results pages (SERP) is of vital importance. What good is a website if nobody knows about it and you’re not getting users visiting it? E-commerce is a numbers game; it’s just a given that if your products and services are worthwhile, you’re going to get a lot better sales (“conversions”) if you have more people actually visiting the site to check you out.

SEM, then, aims to fine-tune your SERP standing by:

  • Using search (SEO) strategies)
  • Using paid placement and paid inclusion
  • Using Mobile Advertising

We’ll discuss all of these ideas one by one.

Back in those long-gone stone-age days of the Internet (the mid- to late-1990s), search engines began to appear, as indexes that would help people find information, products or services quickly. It wasn’t long before business models began to evolve around search engines (as ways to actually finance their presence and services), with the first pay per click programs being developed by Open Text in the mid-90s. Between then and now, pay-per-click (PPC) has proved to be the primary money maker for search engine companies. Search engine marketing, then, has evolved to become an over-arching term that takes in several facets of Internet marketing.

Search Engine Optimization

Google, Yahoo and Bing have a set of 200 or so factors that affect page rank for a website. Much of what goes into their algorithms and the parameters for search engine results is fairly secretive, and the companies keep changing and scrambling some of these factors a few times a year (so that unscrupulous webmasters can’t figure out ways to “game the system” and manipulate the various factors to get page ranks that are unfairly high). What SEO experts do agree on, though, is that the following are all worthwhile for getting better search engine results:

  • Use of important keywords that are recognized by search engine spiders
  • Use of keywords in the URL itself
  • Using keywords in the meta tags for web pages
  • Fresh content in the site (a blog, BLOG, updates, etc)
  • Cross linking between pages
  • Good-quality inbound links from other sites

There is, of course, a lot more to SEO than that, and a certain amount of it still involves educated guesses. These are all, however, factors that go into building prominence in search engines.

Paid Placement

“Paid placement” is roughly synonymous with pay-per-click (PPC). With PPC, the idea is to target your ads through some very careful and skilled copywriting; the ads will appear when keywords are recognized that match the keywords in your PPC ad. If a user doesn’t click on your ad, you don’t pay for its placement; you don’t actually pay for anything until users do click. With search engines, you will usually be bidding on keyword phrases that are relevant to your targeted audience. Other sites will generally just charge a fixed price instead of pricing ads through a bidding setup. Sites that just have content (rather than search engines) will often have rate cards that will offer various tiers of advertisements that can give you better visibility on their site. You’ll need to remember, though, that while content sites with fixed rates for advertising may seem like a good deal, they generally have a much lower click-through rate (and lower conversions) than the PPC ads that might appear on search engine result pages. PPC is also susceptible to abuse through “click fraud,” where a competitor tries to exhaust an advertiser’s ad budget by multiple clicks on their ads. Google, however, has recognized this problem and has automated systems to counter click fraud. Although it can be difficult to prove, click fraud is considered an Internet crime and a felony in most jurisdictions.

Contextual Advertising

Contextual advertising scans whatever text is on a screen (or even in an email from Yahoo or gmail.com) and puts up advertisements for your webpage depending on certain keywords in the text. It’s a next logical step after pop-up ads and banner ads, both of which have become extremely unpopular with users. For example, if you’re looking at a site or reading an email about the military, you might see ads for military memorabilia or recruiting ads for the US Army on the page.

Google AdSense was one of the first models to really develop contextual advertising and make it into a network. AdSense provides webmasters with JavaScript code that can be put into webpages to prompt the relevant ads from the Google network of advertisers. Google’s Mediabot indexes the content of the page and decides on relevance of the text and keywords; newer systems have developed algorithms that match keywords and relevance with greater accuracy. Contextual advertising has been a game-changer through the Internet advertising agency, with advertising agencies revamping their role to help with ad creation and layout, media planning (presence) and media buying and pricing.

A newer refinement along these lines is semantic targeting, which identifies a word in its context and cancels out ads that might not apply when that word has more than one meaning. Semantic targeting can also use synonyms for a word; if you’re looking for pasta, semantic targeting might identify the word “pasta” and send you ads for linguini, macaroni, angel hair, lasagna and ziti. Sentiment analysis is a further evolution of semantic targeting and can be very important to brand management and brand protection. Imagine if you’re reading a story about an airline disaster, and an ad for American Airlines appears onscreen.

Paid Inclusion

One more element of search engine marketing is paid inclusion. IN a paid-inclusion setup, the search engine company charges fees back to websites to bump their page rankings; this is also known as “sponsored listings.” This model is a win-win for the search engine companies, as it brings in revenue for them and protects against superfluous listings. The notable exceptions to the paid inclusion model are Google and Ask.com, who expressly do not let webmasters pay for search engine results; for them, “paid inclusion” is considered to be an advertisement and is labeled that way. Detractors of paid inclusion maintain that it tilts the playing field more towards companies and webmasters with money and ad budgets, and puts other relevant sites at a disadvantage. Others only feature paid inclusion as a hybrid along with PPC advertising. For companies, it’s usually part of testing the waters and seeing which strategy is going to bring the best return on investment (ROI) for their advertising dollars.

Mobile Advertising

A rapidly growing part of the search engine marketing field involves mobile phones. Worldwide, mobile phones now outnumber TV sets by 3 to 1, and they outnumber desktop and laptop computers by 5 to 1. The search engine market for mobile phones is currently dominated hands-down by Google. Mobile advertising accounts for about 1% of all advertising dollars spent globally, but that’s certain to go up in the future. It’s a field that’s evolving so rapidly that by the time you read this, this information will probably be obsolete. Suffice to say that mobile-phone SMS (single message service, like text messages) advertising is now being called the “seventh mass media channel” , after print, recordings, cinema, radio, television and Internet advertising. How this will affect search engine marketing (and what sorts of models will come along) largely remains to be seen, but any advertiser who wants to stay out ahead of the curve would be wise to keep track of what’s happening with mobile advertising and SEM.

In Conclusion

Here are some things to remember when you’re planning to lay out a Search Engine Marketing campaign:

With SEM and PPC advertising, your ad copy will “go live” almost immediately. That means you can start analyzing the results and looking into your ROI right away. Google also is happy to help with a whole toolbox full of metrics that you can use towards measuring your results.

You only have a small number of words and a limited amount of space that you can use for your ad. Consider carefully what your target audience and your “typical user” will be, and choose your keywords very carefully.

Think about whether you want fixed-rate advertising on sites that are already full of content, or whether you want to bid on advertising on search engines. Each strategy has its advantages and drawbacks.

The best, most effective SEM campaigns will carefully consider and test-drive SEO, paid placement, paid inclusion and other facets in fine-tuning their efforts. You’ve only got so much money for your ad budget, make sure that you use it wisely.

Remember that what works for SEM today will probably be completely outdated by this time next year; that’s how quickly things are moving ahead. You’d be wise to stay informed and stay up to date on how all this stuff works, and tweak your efforts accordingly.

 


Related Blog Posts

As you probably know, Google and the other search engine companies have 200-plus criteria for site rank, and they keep tweaking and overhauling those factors on an ongoing basis. The rules of the game for SEO keep evolving and changing, and what you knew about SEO in 2008 may not be of much use in 2010. You need to stay on top with updated information that you can use for your site and your marketing efforts. Enhance your search engine marketing knowledge by finding related posts in our collection.

Read SEM and Web Design BLOG Posts »


More Articles

Looking for a little more specialized knowledge? Wanting to enhance your own personal skill set? Or just curious about the latest advances and developments in web design and marketing? It’s all information you need in a marketplace that keeps evolving and becoming more competitive. Make your business and your site stand out of the pack. Our article database, containing premium content on search engine optimization, search engine marketing, and website designing.

Read more »


Search Engine Optimization Basics circa 2010

 

Unless you’re stuck in the year 1992 or so, your business probably has a website. It’s pretty much of a must-have item these days, for information, for marketing, for orders, and for your brand’s presence in general. In those respects, your Web presence has taken the place of printed marketing materials like brochures and newsletters (or even order pads for your sales staff). There was a time when nobody would have been able to foresee the direction the Internet has taken, with its explosive growth changing everything about the way the world communicates. It could have wound up like the world’s biggest library, if the covers were ripped off all the books and the books were scattered all over the floor. Fortunately, that’s not been the case. Search engines have defined the way the Internet is organized and managed for users. SO where does that leave you?

More to the point, where does that leave you if your company’s site is out there, but nobody can find out about it? Because it’s all a numbers game; you want users coming to your site, and the more users there are, the more likely they are to click and buy (aka “conversions”). But how do you get started making sure that people do find your site?

Search engines like Google and Yahoo have a set of parameters that determine how pages show up in their search results (Google, in fact, has a list of 200 factors). The factors that go into page rank change constantly as the search engine companies update and refine them, and much of what goes into the algorithms is actually a closely guarded trade secret. Obviously Google and their equivalents don’t want clever, unscrupulous webmasters to figure out ways to manipulate the algorithm, “game the system” and hype their page rank unfairly.

There’s a lot of outdated or just plain wrong information out there when it comes to search engine optimization. This article has the kicker of “circa 2010” because by mid-2011 much of this information is probably going to be out of date. But we can help you with a brief roundup of some of what works and what doesn’t in search engine optimization (SEO). In fact, the folks at Google are willing to help webmasters, designers and copywriters get up to speed on SEO with their own set of tips.

Think About Your Page Title

This seems like a reasonable place to start, doesn’t it? If your site is about spaghetti, put that right up front. Call it “Louie’s Spaghetti Shop” or “Mario’s Spaghetti Central.” If the user is looking for sites about spaghetti, then your site is going to be up towards the top of the search engine results page (SERP). But, this is something that you’ll also need to follow through on for your site’s inner pages. Make sure that inner pages have accurate, descriptive title tags as well. If one of your inner pages is about “spaghetti and meatballs,” make sure it says so – a search for “spaghetti and meatballs” can turn up that inner page in the SERP.

Include the Keyword In Your Meta Tags

Your description meta tag is important too – it gives Google’s search engine an idea of what that page is about. You can put a phrase or sentence in the meta tag, and Google’s bots might recognize it as a snippet for your page. You want meta tags to accurately sum up the page’s content, without such generic descriptions as “Page about spaghetti.” Don’t, however, fill the description meta tag only with keywords, or use identical or similar meta tags for all the pages.

Think About Your URLs

Try to put the keywords into the URL if at all possible. I know this won’t always work, as some domain names are going to be taken already, but use your creativity. More importantly, search engine spiders and users are much more receptive to shorter URLs (without long tails). Relevant words in the URL itself will appear in bold in search engine results. If at all possible, structure your URL’s so there’s one version of the URL to reach any document. Avoid having another URL linking to a different version of a document (say, a Flash version vs. an HTML version – more on this later). If you see that people are accessing the same content through different URLs, consider setting up a 301 redirect to the dominant URL.

Keep Your Site Easy To Navigate

This isn’t just important to your users, it also helps search engine spiders determine what the most relevant (and important) content in the site is. Try to adhere to the three-click rule, with every page on your site accessible with three clicks or less. Avoid having complex setups of links where every page is linked to every other page – have them all go back to a root menu on your homepage, if at all possible. Have as much of the navigation as you can done through text and not dropdowns, images or animation.

Remember what we said about Flash? Flash is not especially friendly to search engines. Designers love Flash animation, it’s cute, it looks nice, it’s “sexy” and showy, but search engine spiders don’t readily recognize it. Same goes for JavaScript, too. And that’s not even taking into account the fact that many users’ machines aren’t set up for Flash animation. If you have to include Flash on a site, make sure that there’s an HTML counterpart to each page that has Flash on it.

Don’t Forget The Content

You don’t have to get on the Internet for very long to realize that there’s a lot of pretty horrid content out there. Bad grammar, poor sentence structure, hideously misspelled words and boring content are everywhere. It’s a given that one of the main tenets of SEO is using keywords in the text of your content (usually about a 6% saturation rate, i.e. you want the keyword to show up six times in every 100 words). But remember…you’re writing content for your customers and users, not for search engines. Content that’s loaded with keywords can be stilted and awkward, and just downright irritating for users.

Another thing to remember is that search engines like fresh content over stale content. There are all kinds of ways to keep content fresh in your company’s website. Consider a blog, a forum, a newsletter, or a customer Q and A section just to keep things fresh.

And when using keywords, remember that there’s also semantic indexing these days. If your site is about spaghetti, Google can also recognize “ziti,” “macaroni,” “angel hair,” “pasta,” “linguini,” etc. etc.

Make Use Of Your Anchor Text

Anchor text will be in the clickable text that’s within an anchor tag. It’s there to tell users and search engines a little something about the page they’re clicking on. It can be an internal link, taking users to other pages on your own site, or an external link that leads to someone else’s relevant site. Either way, you want users and search engines to both understand what the link is about. Make sure that the anchor text is tight, concise and descriptive, and try to avoid using the URL in anchor text.

Optimize Your Images

You’ll want to also optimize your alt tags for images. Don’t just say “image1” or “image2” – make your alt tags descriptive. Besides, if an image doesn’t display on a user’s browser, at least the alt tag will.

Now, A Few Words To The Wise

There’s a whole lot of snake oil out there when it comes to SEO, and there are unscrupulous marketing companies and web design firms who might claim they can get you #1 ranking on Google, and sometimes at prices that sound too good to be true. Be very wary.

There is a whole bag of “black hat” tricks that can boost your page rank, like:

  • Hidden text full of keywords, sometimes in the same color as a background
  • Off-screen text
  • Keyword stuffing
  • Doorway pages
  • Links to link farm

All of these can work, at least for the short run. They all, however, go against search engines’ rules and regulations. If search engine bots recognize any of these tactics, they can result in your site being flagged, penalized or banned outright. They are unethical and unfair, and they can cost you. Imagine having conversions on your site go down to nothing – literally, zero – overnight. It can happen, and then you’re stuck with the task of essentially having to rebuild your site. If you’re shopping for an SEO company or a web developer, do your homework. Get references, meet the people face to face if possible, and tread carefully.

 


Related Blog Posts

As you probably know, Google and the other search engine companies have 200-plus criteria for site rank, and they keep tweaking and overhauling those factors on an ongoing basis. The rules of the game for SEO keep evolving and changing, and what you knew about SEO in 2008 may not be of much use in 2010. You need to stay on top with updated information that you can use for your site and your marketing efforts. Enhance your search engine marketing knowledge by finding related posts in our collection.

Read SEO and Web Design BLOG Posts »


More Articles

Looking for a little more specialized knowledge? Wanting to enhance your own personal skill set? Or just curious about the latest advances and developments in web design and marketing? It’s all information you need in a marketplace that keeps evolving and becoming more competitive. Make your business and your site stand out of the pack. Our article database, containing premium content on search engine optimization, search engine marketing, and website designing.

Read more »


SEM Benefits and Market Shares Among the Major Search Engines

Marketing Shares Distribution:

The market share among the major search engines varies and fluctuates slightly from month to month. This is an estimate of the percentage of search volume each major search engine receives.

  • Google = 63%
  • Yahoo = 20%
  • Bing = 9%
  • Aol = 4%
  • Ask = 4%

Benefits of SEM:

We don’t communicate in the business world the way our grandfathers once did. The sheer number of channels and medium you now have to interact with your customers has presented us with new challenges. The more outlets you now have to keep your message in front of your clients means the more important it is to measure the effectiveness of all your marketing strategy and efforts. You cannot afford to allocate too much time, budget and team resources to campaigns that don’t bring back a positive return on investment.

Search Engine Marketing offers the benefit of easy measurability through analysis of clear and actionable data. Campaigns can be quickly modified to bring back maximum results. Findings from pay per click advertising and search engine optimization can also be applied to other areas of marketing including email, web design, site content, ad copy and other marketing collateral.

Pay Per Click Advertising specifically provides the following benefits.

  • Target buyers’ exact interests and needs
  • Reach potential customers at the precise moment they are searching for the product or service you offer
  • Define the geographic location of your target market no matter the size
  • Control the amount you are willing to pay

The benefit of Search Engine Optimization provides you with higher rankings of your web pages in natural search engine listings. A well developed SEO campaign saves time and lowers long term online marketing costs.

Source: Clicks n’ Vists

Search Engine Optimization – Tips not Tricks

A well-maintained and operational site is key, flush with frequent updates and relevant information that will keep a consumer visiting and potentially increasing the conversion rate. A proper site with correct and relevant information is essential for capitalizing on all search engine optimization techniques.

Keep Content Fresh

Even with the utilization of SEO techniques and SEO help, most SEO companies, SEO blogs and SEO websites will maintain that the most important of all SEO tips is to keep content fresh and frequently updated. A site needs to be frequently updated for continued inclusion on search engine results. Users and potential customers are frequently searching for the most recently updated result to their search engine queries and if a site’s information seems dated, there is less likely a possibility that the site will maximize traffic via a search engine result.

Search engine optimization companies and consultants can only help a site so far; a site needs to handle content and maintenance so that the SEO companies and consultants can better help them. It is an almost impossible task to optimize search engine results for a site that is outdated and infrequently updatedl.

No SEO professional can guarentee ranking- search companies (primarily Google) change their over 200 analytics (the way they crawl, analyze, include, and rank a website) regularly, and they are not in the habit of informing the public. This makes the job of SEO professionals more art than science.

User Guided SEO

The desired result of all SEO help, SEO techniques and SEO tips is to focus on the end user. There are many different approaches to search engine optimization, but if a targeted user doesn’t follow the link (thus delivering traffic), than even the best search engine placement doesn’t help.

Those hoping to learn SEO have to remember to keep their target audience in mind. By focusing on their wants and needs, a site can better approach web site design and content tailoring to properly address the audience they are attempting to reach. Key search engine placement and inclusion is great, but if the end web destination does not properly address the consumer a site has spent so long trying to get there, a consumer will most likely leave and the chance for commerce (or conversion) will often be lost.

The Importance of Meta Tags

Meta data included with a search engine result gives information beyond the headline. This meta description should include as much information about the site and contain searchable keywords (meta tags). This is one of the many SEO techniques used to help get inclusion on search engine result pages and a tactic employed by virtually all of the SEO companies. The proper use of meta tags is important as an accurate description with the proper keywords will allow users to know where they are headed before they click.

Many SEO companies who offer help will most likely also point out that overuse of keywords in meta tags is counterproductive and will only lead to a confusing description that is also not appealing to internet users and those searching for particular information. Keywords and meta tags should be used to accurately describe content featured on the destination page.

A previous trick that was tried by some website business owners was to stuff keywords and meta tags on to a landing page- sort of a pre-page to the main site. This was cumberson, and awkward, like the blank pages between the front cover of a book and the first page. It was particluarly frustrating for customers when they arrived on the landing page and saw nothing relating to what they wanted to purchase. For instance, a carpet company might also stuff their landing page with keywords such as ‘furniture‘ and ‘windows‘ — hoping to lure potential customers on to their site, sort of like the magazine rack at grocery checkout asles, or billboards on the site of the highway. It wasted the internet surfer’s time.

Finally, the search engines caught on and instituted the importance of relevance and doling out punishment in the form of banning sites.

Search Engine Exclusion

Those who wish to utilize search engine optimization are most likely attempting to have their site and its content picked up by search engines, as much and as often as possible. There are exceptions to what content a site would like to appear as a result of a search engine. A site may include areas that they want search engine crawlers to stay away from in a robots.txt file that will instruct search engine ‘crawlers’ which areas to stay away from and is often the file these crawlers seek first.

Anyone seeking to learn SEO or in search of help with SEO will first need help in determining what will need to go into a robots.txt file (if anything) and what might possibly detract from the other SEO techniques. SEO companies and other professionals may be able to offer SEO tips as to the proper use of the robots.txt file and results will soon be made apparent while disseminating the web analytics.

Properly Title Individual Page Titles

Another one of the key SEO tips is to properly label all of the different pages of their site. It is also helpful to make all pages stand out from the rest by placing unique titles (while at the same time are accurate and reflective of the content) that let internet users know the contents of each page.

By properly labeling pages, search engines will be better able to present the site when those keywords are searched. No title or a generic title will be lost among the results of a search engine while a reflective and accurate description will alert a search engine (and therefore a search engine user) to the content available to them. This is one of many SEO techniques that help separate sites and promote traffic and visibility while optimizing search engines.

Source: LifeTips.Com

SEOmoz and Your Website

OK, so your site’s up, you’ve done all your SEO homework, you’ve got good content and good web design and you’re getting some traffic. That’s all good, right?

Well, not so fast, maybe.

Remember that a website isn’t just one site…it’s a bunch of sites grouped together. DIfferent pages are going to perform differently. Google’s analytics tools are a great benchmark of the performance of your marketing efforts. It’s so much more precise and advanced than the loosey-goosey stats of Nielsen ratings or billboard views. But you need to be able to break down those Google numbers and fine-tune them a little more.

Use Google Analytics to filter and sift through your page view results. You can use it to examine each URL separately (is your blog getting much action? is it performing better than your business white-papers did?). Over time, you can put these results into a spreadsheet or graph to share with your team.

If you don’t break things down this way, you run the risk of having one section’s gains in traffic mask or overshadow the loss on another section. This can obscure real issues on your site and web design, especially when you’re working hard at SEO issues like indexation, rankings and keyword demand.

Remember — it’s not just a matter of how much or how often, it’s also a matter of why.

Jerry Renshaw
“SEO and Web Design for Austin Texas”
BCS Content/Admin
http://bcs-seo.com

What is Link Equity?

It’s hard to downplay the value of inbound links when it comes to SEO and a website’s visibility for search engines. Some schools of thought maintain that inbound links are more important than content and keywords. In fact, inbound links might be more important to quality SEO than the web design itself.

Maybe your company has built up “type-in” traffic through secondary means, say, by putting your URL on billboards, business cards or flyers. Or maybe your company’s products and services are so specialized and narrow that people will click on your site just through search engine results. If your niche is “spaghetti-making equipment,” that’s pretty specialized alright. People looking for “spaghetti-making equipment” are going to keep their options fairly narrow when doing a search, and chances are you won’t even need that many inbound links to up your page rank.

But if your niche is the much broader field of “spaghetti sales,” that’s a whole different ballgame and is going to require you to think about cultivating links in entirely different terms.

That’s not usually the case for most companies, though. Chances are your company needs to generate traffic and presence through inbound links. But that’s also where you need to be careful.

Quality is much more important than quantity when it comes to inbound links. Linking indiscriminately to directory links or link farms will not do you much good at all…in fact, those strategies can actually get you penalized in terms of page rank. If sites are ranking higher than yours in your niche market, it might be time to back off and look at your links. You can either talk to an SEO consultant who specializes in links, or better yet, take a look at the links of your competitors’ sites and see what they are doing differently from yours. Managing links for SEO purposes is something that a lot of webmasters neglect, and they shouldn’t. It’s not just an Austin problem or a Texas problem, either — it’s something that everyone needs to be aware of.

Jerry Renshaw
“SEO and Web Design for Austin Texas”
BCS Content/Admin
http://bcs-seo.com

Do’s and Don’ts for SEO 2010

So the game keeps changing, the goalposts keep shifting and Google and the others all overhaul their search protocols a few times a year. We all know this, but here are a few things that you can bank on as far as SEO and web design ideas:

  • Go with a quality domain name. It may cost you more on the front end, but at renewal time it’ll be the same. Search engines and users will both like them better. And remember that you’ll need to keep the basics of that URL the same through all the pages of your site! Trust, link equity and reputation are all key here.
  • Links are important — we all knew that, right? Well, what’s a good way to build inbound links? Trusted content. If you come across as an expert in your field and have excellent content, people will want to link to your site. It’s not voodoo, it’s just common sense here.
  • Think about local optimization. If you’re in Austin, plug the word Austin often. If you’re doing Austin transmission service, say so in just those words. If you’re looking for local business, then think locally in optimization.
  • On the subject of links AND fresh content, consider reaching out by having guest bloggers, article marketing and niche directory submissions. Build those links!
  • Shop around for your host. Find a host with 24/7 tech support via phone. Make sure everything is backed up properly, and pay attention to your host’s security measures.

Jerry Renshaw
“SEO and Web Design for Austin Texas”
BCS Content/Admin
http://bcs-seo.com

Linking

Deep Linking

Make sure you have links coming in to as many pages as possible. What does it tell a search engine when other web sites are linking to different pages on your site? That you obviously have lots of worthwhile content. What does it tell a search engine that all your links are coming in to the home page? That you have a shallow site of little value, or that your links were generated by automation rather than by the value of your site.
Social Bookmarking
Make it easy for your visitors to social bookmark your website, creating important links that the search engines value. There are plenty of free social bookmarking widgets available.
Source : SeoWriter

FOSI and Web 2.0

Since the earliest days of the Web, it’s been a great chalkboard that anyone in the world can come up and write on. There’s such an inconceivable wealth of great knowledge and information that’s only a few mouse clicks away, and it’s suddenly accessible to people at all social strata, all nationalities and all walks of life.

The flip side of the coin is that dank corners of the Web have become cesspools for porn, hate, violence, misinformation and (worse still) predators. The debate over what to do about the more objectionable parts of the Web is nothing new it’s reminiscent of 1980s battles over rock lyrics, or television sex-and-violence, or even book bans of a generation or two back. While that might all sound painfully familiar, the real difficulty is in finding ways to regulate the Web for such content without bringing cries of censorship. Obviously it’s a lot tougher than putting opaque covers on skin magazines, installing a V-chip on a television or putting warning labels on CD covers.

The FOSI (Family Online Safety Institute) is taking steps to make the Web safer for kids and families alike.

With partners at places like GSM, Sprint, Symantec, AOL, Google and Blue Coat Systems, FOSI is striving to develop and promote best-practice, tools and methods in online safety, while still respecting and encouraging free expression. The group’s annual Online Safety Report looks at legislation and regulation, existing and emerging technology (as it relates to safety) and education initiatives. FOSI is also working towards using every avenue possible to educate parents and kids about some of the risks that can be found online, especially with the explosion of content like social networking sites and technology like mobile web devices.

Among some of their latest initiatives:

  • A partnership with T-Mobile to look at ways of promoting responsible, safe cell phone use for kids and families
  • Launching the Global Resource and Information Directory (GRID) at London’s House of Lords, allowing professionals to monitor and track safety initiatives around the world
  • Recruiting the expertise of Microsoft’s Kim Sanchez to chair the FOSI’s Board of Directors
  • Posting a concrete, useful set of plain-English documents that can serve as a road map for Internet safety for parents and kids alike
  • Developing the Global Resource and Information Directory (GRID), an aggregator site that tracks information on the efforts of countries and groups around the world to make the Internet a safer place

Recognizing that much of the work to be done is actually outside of legislation, FOSI has been bringing industry, government and nonprofits together to discuss and look at underlying trends and issues in online safety. They’ve been able to heighten awareness with TV broadcasts and a separate YouTube channel, among other things.

You can only keep kids safe so many different ways, and you can only go so far in that direction until kids start to feel stifled, sheltered or suffocated. Obviously, you can’t watch kids all the time, as parents have known forever. And ultimately, the responsibility for keeping kids out of harm’s way and away from bad, harmful influences lies with the parents and kids both. FOSI would like to give kids and parents both the tools and knowledge they need to head off trouble before it happens, and to keep kids from stumbling into ‘bad neighborhoods’ on the Web that they might have a hard time returning from. They’re hoping that between policymakers, legislators, law enforcement, educators and Internet industry leaders, they can make a difference.

Jerry Renshaw
“SEO and Web Design for Austin Texas”
Content/Admin

Websites as a Testimonial

“A lie can get around the world before the truth has a chance to put its pants on,” said Winston Churchill. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be a lie; word-of-mouth from a trusted source can up your standing among individuals or groups in ways that are hard to calculate. Consider, for a minute, what word-of-mouth can do.

Word-of-mouth might have been the first “viral” marketing tool, one that’s pretty much beyond the reach of the marketer or advertiser himself. It can enhance or ruin a brand quicker than just about anything else can. If you’re shopping for a pickup truck and you’ve got a friend who’s bought a late model Chevrolet truck, chances are you’re going to ask him about what kind of luck he’s been having with his. If he’s got a lemon that’s been in the shop numerous times, he’s not going to be satisfied, and he’s going to tell you so. Then you might ask a few more Chevrolet owners to get a consensus so you can truly make an informed decision about your purchase of such a big-ticket item.

If you’ve tried a new restaurant’s cheeseburgers and they were really great, chances are the next time you’re talking to friends about restaurants around town, you’re going to recommend that place and their cheeseburgers. If the burger was greasy and was cold by the time it got to your table, chances are you’re going to pass that along as well.

Advertisers and marketers have known about word-of-mouth for a long, long time and have tried to figure out ways to direct and manipulate it. This awareness probably dates back to Roman times and beyond, if you come right down to it. Fast forward a couple of thousand years, and you’ll find a variant of word-of-mouth in the form of testimonials. In the 40s and 50s, you had the dubious claims like ‘9 out of 10 doctors recommend’ (who was that tenth doctor? And what was HE recommending?). Or ‘experts agree’ or other such foggy wording. But the refinement of that would then be the direct testimonial from satisfied customers. Depending on the audience and the product’s scale, that might still be a little bit sketchy’chances are you’re not going to call up Mr. R. E. Fenton of Dubuque, Iowa to double-check on his testimonial for Carter’s Little Pills.

But, if you’re a marketer yourself, and you’re trying to build a brand for a local market, that’s when testimonials, like word-of-mouth, can be very, very useful in your efforts.

  • Testimonials are honest. A testimonial from an individual wouldn’t be there in the first place if that individual wasn’t satisfied with the product or service.
  • Testimonials aren’t ‘salesy.’ They’re not written from a slick adman’s or copywriter’s point of view, they’re quotes from a customer who was happy with the product or service, and are expressed in his own words, not an adman’s.
  • Testimonials can overcome skepticism. If you’re on the fence about a product or service, hearing about it straight from another customer can, like word-of-mouth, be the thing that pushes you over the threshold and makes you a believer.
  • Testimonials build trust. Especially for a new product, new company or a product that’s going into a crowded, competitive marketplace, that element of trust can be one of the toughest and most intangible things to try to establish. Again, hearing a real live customer rave about products and services is one of the greatest and most forceful tools you can have at your disposal to build and reinforce the brand.

OK, so testimonials are effective. Now let’s fine-tune them:

Here’s an ineffective testimonial:

“I was so happy with your company’s products. I can’t wait to use them again!” — Joe Blow, Anyplace, USA

Maybe Joe Blow really was happy with your company’s products, but that doesn’t get your message across like it should, even if those were his direct, unvarnished words. Let’s refine that somewhat:

“My company was needing to expand and upgrade our phone systems. We were weighing our options when we came to BCS for a free consultation. Your representatives gave me a full list of options and alternatives for various levels of services, and after a thorough discussion of our company’s future expansion and needs, we went with a Nortel phone system with VOIP and an auto-attendant and voicemail system for all of our extensions. We were so happy with our phone system (including installation and implementation) that we’re considering going to BCS for website design and full SEO optimization. Thank you for doing such a great job!” — Bill Hammett, Hammett Systems, Austin TX

Huge difference here, right? The second testimonial speaks directly to your company’s products and services, in very specific language from a satisfied customer. This is the kind of testimonial that a potential customer is going to read and believe in.

Try to keep the following in mind for a testimonial:

  • Good testimonials talk about specific benefits of your products and services. That’s the type of language another potential customer is going to pay attention to.
  • Good testimonials back up your own claims. If you’re saying that your product or service is better, a good testimonial needs to substantiate that very specifically.
  • Good testimonials come from people to whom your customers can relate. Very important point here – if, say, your company is selling pasta, you want a testimonial from a restaurant owner who’s talking about angel hair, linguini, ziti and lasagna, all of which are in your company’s product line.
  • Good testimonials will be comparative. Look for a testimonial that compares your company’s line of pasta to another’s.

Now, as to collecting those testimonials …

Probably the easiest way to go about it is to have a feedback section on your website, where your customers can leave their own stories about your products and services. Obviously this can also help you fine-tune your company’s operational performance in other ways. Or consider having your sales staff or support staff make follow-up calls to customers to get an idea of how their experiences went, and let them know that their remarks might be used on the company’s website as testimonials.

If you get some glowing testimonials under your belt, put them right on the homepage or services page. Once you get enough of them, consider having an entire page or at least a dropdown devoted to customer feedback and testimonials. Don’t edit your testimonials in any way, shape or form (not even a … ellipse), and for God’s sake, don’t make up testimonials yourself.

If done properly, testimonials can wind up being one of the most potent marketing tools your company has at its disposal.

Jerry Renshaw
“SEO and Web Design for Austin”
BCS Content/Admin
http://www.bcs-seo.com

W3C and One Web to Rule them All

The Internet continues to evolve and grow and find new directions far beyond what many people could have visualized even ten years ago. It’s not just been the advent of Web 2.0 avenues like blogs, wikis and social networking, but the explosion of Web technology on devices like mobile phones and PDAs. W3C saw this potential years ago and realized that things could quickly become messy without a set of standards and processes that could be applied across the Web. They started to pull together a consortium of people with a direct stake in the outcome, to delineate a set of standards for future Web users and designers.

W3C founder Tim Berners-Lee not only coined the term WorldWideWeb, but also came up with the first Web server, the first version of HTML, the first browser/editor client program and the first specifications for HTML, HTTP and URLs. Berners-Lee founded W3C (WorldWideWeb Consortium) in ’94, and has since taken initiatives towards standardization of web design, browsers and other agents and the burgeoning sector of mobile web devices. Particularly with the mobile Web, W3C has been pushing ‘One Web’ as a way of making sure that users can have access regardless of the capabilities of their device, their location or any other context-related issues. While W3C’s staff is distributed worldwide, the core concentrations of people are in Cambridge, MA, Sophia-Antipolis (France) and Tokyo. 17 other regions of the world have W3C representatives in ‘offices’ at various companies and organizations.

The organization has had problems in trying to come up with a truly egalitarian set of standards and protocols and trying to avoid being dominated by bigger organizations who would like to see standards tilted towards their own interests. As it is, the group’s membership has included businesses, governmental bodies, individuals, nonprofits and universities, among others. It’s not in the W3C’s power or purview to force the issue on conformance or to have a formal certification program, but manufacturers or designers who don’t follow the W3C’s Recommendations are only going to hurt themselves by marketing a product that’s not compatible with many systems. The Recommendations are patented and licensed, but they’re under a royalty-free patent license that allows anyone to use them. Along the same lines, there’s a great deal of free, open source software that the W3C community has developed, including some very useful things like HTML and markup validator, CSS validator and mobileOK checker.

Among the standards that the W3C has developed over the years are:

  • CSS
  • HTML
  • VoiceXML
  • OWL
  • SISR
  • SKOS
  • Xpath
  • XHTML

Obviously, not following W3C’s guidelines for something that’s as much of a fundamental building block as HTML is not going to help anyone.

Looking down the road, W3C is looking towards developing the semantic Web’s linked data so that huge data stores will be available for building vocabularies, handling data, doing research and queries and other research-related work. Think of it as a colossal mega-database with all kinds of potential for research in health care, life sciences, energy and environmental research. Using semantic Web applications could open all kinds of new doors for collaboration, research and innovation for organizations across the world.

The Web is changing the world in ways that were once inconceivable. Business, communication, commerce, social relationships ‘ none of them are going to be the same from this point on. But the growth and change can’t happen without a plan. Data, protocols, security, internationalization, service descriptions, language, widgets, mobile devices’there’s a lot to stay on top of to make sure that the Web stays useful for all users, around the world. That’s what W3C has been working towards, and remains committed to.

Jerry Renshaw
“SEO and Web Design for Austin Texas”
BCS Content/Admin
http://www.bcs-seo.com

Dublin Core Metadata Basics

So what is metadata, really? When you break it down to its roots, metadata is data about data. It could mean data and context about MP3 files, satellite images, photos on a web page, the web page itself or about any piece of digital information that needs to be coded, tracked and filed away so it can be found later. You can kinda think of the old Dewey Decimal System at the public library as an early metadata system.

Obviously, with something like metadata, youre going to need some ground rules for what it all means and how it all operates. Structure, standards and protocols.

In the early- to mid-90s, this need for standardization was recognized as the Web revolution started to pick up momentum. The Dublin Core initiative set out to develop international standards for those descriptions, developing and supporting a worldwide community of users and promoting widespread adoption of their solutions and tools.

A lot of what DCMI is concerned with is semantics the meaning of assertions about information resources. Its very important that these semantics are agreed-on across the board, and that they be used across-the-board in coding. Specific DCMI metadata terms include:

  • DCMI Namespace Policy giving metadata terms URIs, and setting policies that govern changes to the documented meanings that go along with those URIs
  • DCMI Term Declarations since 2001, DCMIs term declarations have been published as web documents and RDF/XML documents
  • Dublin Core Metadata Registry this is a navigational interface for DCMIs machine-processable term declarations, and is being developed as an open-source software project.
  • Dublin Core Metadata Element Set excerpts from DCMI Metadata Terms that have been spelled out as the fifteen elements of the Dublin Core.

Some specific syntax constructs from DCMI have included:

  • DC-Text, for representing DC-AM Description Set in plain text. It helps to present metadata in plain-English for human consumption.
  • DC-HTML, for encoding HTML/XHTML ( and ) elements and making an HTML meta data profile as laid out by HTML specifications. RDFa, another Dublin Core/W3C recommendation, has strong tool support in platforms such as Drupal and is friendly for Yahoos Search Monkey
  • DCQ-HTML, last updated in 2003, is still one of the hottest documents on the DCMI website, despite being marked as a superseded recommendation. This so-called dotty syntax was the practice of adding an additional qualifier to an element name, but its still practiced widely.
  • DC-DX-XML , specifying an XML format for representing Dublin Core metadata descriptions.

The overarching goal to all this standardization and think-tanking is to come up with a set of standards for metadata that can be interoperable across all nationalities and languages. Participation and consensus-building is welcome from all interested groups or individuals who can bring some expertise in metadata. What has been arrived at so far has been reached through consensus, debate and review. Maybe even more importantly, the semantics and assertions behind all the documents needs to be technology-neutral, meaning it can evolve with time regardless of how technology grows or develops.

With members and partners like United Innovation, National Library of Korea, JISC, Helsinki University Library and the National Library Board of Singapore, Dublin Core hosts conferences and workshops yearly to help develop and refine new ideas in metadata and syntax.

Jerry Renshaw
“SEO and Web Design for Austin Texas”
BCS Content/Admin
http://www.bcs-seo.com

What is Search Engine Marketing (SEM)?

Search Engine Marketing is the marketing practice consisting of Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The objective of the two disciplines is to create higher and more desirable rankings in search engines results in order to increase website traffic from a target audience and potential customers.

Pay Per Click AdvertisingSearch Engine Optimization and Web Design Services are becoming increasingly vital to the success of businesses in the modern world. The company name Google has fastly entered the mainstream vernacular and become a verb synonymous with searching for products, services, places and overall general information– in fact they have become so large that they have become the defacto trend setters. Not too long ago it was only geeks who “googled”. But now everyone from our sons to our grandmothers “google” for answers. Now Microsoft is pushing hard to create Bing into a term synonymous for making the business trends of the world wide web.

Following are some important statistics regarding search engine usage by both the general population as well as businesses throughout the world.

99% of internet users utilize search engines
1.4 million searches are performed world wide every minute
Over 50% of searchers click on the first paid ad position
SEM expenditures are expected to increase from $13.5 billion in 2008 to $26.1 billion in 2013

As more people rely on search engines to find their everyday personal and business needs it becomes crucial to have a presence and a strong call to action for your products and services in the right positions across all the major search engines.

Sources: Clicks n’ Visits, Marketing Sherpa, comScore and eMarketer

Award Winning Web Design

First there was the Grammy’s, now there’s the Webby’s and the Addy’s to take on the award winning Web design market.

The Webby Awards gives tribute to Web sites around the world that have excelled in the areas of design, creativity, and ease of use. The Webby Awards now recognizes over 65 categories of business, consumer, and culture, including corporate communications, financial services, lifestyle, and television. The Addy Awards uses a thorough set of criteria to judge and recognize advertising accomplishments in all areas of media, including interactive media such as flash design and Web design.

Using A Web Design And Hosting Company

When deciding to work with a Web design and hosting company, you have the convenience of dealing with a one-stop shop. Your Web design company will create your Web site and provide the hosting for you, there-by eliminating the need to locate your own Web hosting service. The advantage of a Web design and hosting company is in their tendency to be customer oriented. Whether you are a small or large business, be sure to find the service that meets your needs best. Smaller businesses may only require a limited amount of file space and unlimited data transfer for their Web site. Larger businesses may require security, 24-hour customer support, and a quick response time.

The Importance of Web Hosting for Your Web Design

Before you even build or design your Web site, you need to choose Web hosting for your Web design. Web hosting for your Web design is important because it is the service that allows your Web site to operate. You would not even have an online presence without Web hosting. Some things to consider when deciding on Web hosting for your Web site include:

  • Reliability of the service
  • Size of file space you need in MB.
  • Number of mailboxes you need
  • Whether you need tracking capability
  • Staffing

Software For Web Interface Design

When working with Web designers, it is helpful to understand what software they use for Web interface design in order to help facilitate communication. Web site designers use a variety of software media to create their final product, most designers do not use a single application, but rather a combination of several. There is some variation on the tools based on the preferences and experiences of the Web site designer as well as the desired end result. A Web designer may use a combination of Photoshop, Dreamweaver, HTML coding, and Flash in order to put a Web site together.

  • Photoshop the software most commonly used to manipulate images for special effects.
  • Dreamweaver is a commonly used industry standard software used to create the overall Web site. Go Live is another widely used program.
  • HTML involves physically writing codes to provide instruction for a Web page on the Internet. Although a software program is generally the main medium to create Web interface design, HTML is still widely used for specific modifications of a Web site.
  • Flash is the software program used to put the “bells and whistles” onto a Web site. You can create live animations, add effects to browser buttons and text, and implement video on to a Web site.

The Truth About Free Web Design

Unless you are a non-profit with a limited budget, you should avoid using free Web design. There are two reasons for this. One, Web design, like any other service, is a professional business. The Web designers and Web programmers who put together a Web site for your business or organization have undergone a great deal of training and need to put in a lot of time and effort for their services. Two, putting together good Web design does not come free or cheap. Design has intrinsic value in its ability to create a business image, inspire and attract a following, and market a business or product. For those who are interested in free Web design, consider either doing the legwork yourself or placing your money in an alternate area where you find value in spending your marketing dollars.

Source: LifeTips.Com

Web Design Rules

Four Vital Web Design Rules

Content is Key! If you want a website to generate back-links and have quality content that search engines love, be sure to make it readable by both people and search engines. Search engines are working to give people quality results. Thus, they are looking for sites with quality content. So, by building site content for people, not only are you getting back to basics, you are also creating a site search engines will love. So, your build sites for people and search engines.

When creating a new website or redesigning an existing site, there are four important rules which should be followed to make your site successful, effective, functional, and loved by search engines.

1. Easy to Read
When building a website, the first thing you need to ensure is that your website is easy to read. When you write content, remember that most web site visitors don’t read every word on a page – in fact, they only scan pages to find what they are looking for.

Break up Your Content
Break up your pages and use headers between major ideas so people scanning your site can find what they want quickly. Use important headers between each paragraph and major idea – this helps with SEO. Headers should be created with the H1 through H4 tags for SEO. Always use good writing structure and avoid long paragraphs that run on.

Color and Fonts
To help readability, use high contrast colors between font and background. Black text against a white background may seem stark, but it is very appealing to the eye. To make a website easy on the eyes, try an off-white background and a dark gray (almost black) text color.

Things to avoid with content color:

  • Avoid vibrant background colors like purple or yellow. Such back colors make text difficult to read.
  • Avoid using an image behind your text.
  • Avoid using bright text colors on bright backgrounds.

Fonts Matter
One simple statement covers the font issue:

Simple fonts are the best; the more fancy the font, the harder it is to read.

Since many browsers only have the standard font set, use standard fonts. In reality, there is no “standard”, but there are certain fonts that are installed on most browsers. These include Arial, Verdana, Tahoma and Times New Roman. Your readers will see something different than what you see if you use other fonts.

Standard Compliant Browser for Development
When developing and testing your site, use a standards compliant browser like FireFox. If you develop your site to be standards compliant, it will work in most browsers, including MS Internet Explorer (IE). It is recommended that you test your site using the latest and last browser versions of IE (IE7 and IE8). To run multiple versions of IE on the same machine, TredoSoft.com has a free installer that will install multiple versions of IE. It works great!

Keywords in Content
Of course, when writing content, not only should it be formatted to be people friendly, but also be search engine friendly. One way to make the subject of the content known to search engines is to use keywords that people will use when searching for your site. The textual content on your site should be related to the site itself – for example if you sell laptops you would use keywords such as Acer, Dell, HP, etc. Be sure to use keywords in your header tags, your first paragraph and throughout your text. The keyword density should be between 4% and 7% – but any more than that could first and foremost, be hard to read and still make sense and secondly, be considered spam by search engines and banned. Keywords should also be used in your TITLE tags and your Meta description.

2. Simplify Navigation

Menus and links make up the navigation that the visitor uses to get from page to page in a site. Always plan a site around how people will get from page to page. A visitor to your site should be able to get to what they want within three clicks of their mouse.

Multiple navigation points make it easy to find things. Repeat the top menu at the bottom. Also create a left or right menu.

Use links within your text to navigate to other areas on your site. You can create links so that they are good for search engine optimization (SEO). There are generally two ways to create links within your text:

  1. The wrong way: “For search engine optimization procedure, click here.”
  2. The right way: “It is important to use good techniques for search engine optimization.”

Using link text (anchor text) that describes what the link is about is the best way. Search engine web crawlers (programs that automatically index the contents of websites) visit your site, they “read” links. Spiders can index descriptive links into a subject or keyword category. Spiders have nothing to work with when reading a “click here” until it reaches the linked page.

This is Cross Linking – when writing your content use it as much as possible when it makes sense to do so.

3. Consistent Design

Be consistent – at most, one or two layouts should be used in your site design. As a reader browses your site, they should be able to get used to looking in the same place for your navigation, for your sub-navigation, and for your content. Nothing else need be said.

4. Lower Page Weight is Better

Page weight is the total size of a page on your site in bytes – code, text and images. Your site’s page weight makes a big difference to your viewers. Lighter page weight is better for your readers because the page will download faster. The faster a page downloads, the faster they will get to the content.

What it Means to be Light

  • No large images.
  • Fewer images are better.
  • Optimize images for the web at no more than 72 dpi
  • Use as small an image dimension as possible for the given design.
  • Make gradients horizontal or vertical (not diagonal) so that you can use a small image “strip” and repeat it.

How “Heavy” Should a Web Page be?
Certain studies show that 64K is a good maximum webpage size. 64K is a maximum; however, it is still, in my opinion, really big; the smaller the page, the better. 25K is good, 15K is even better. There is a balance between design and function. It is a good idea to focus more on function for this is what will matter to the consumer.

Ways to make pages lighter:

  • Use linked style sheets
  • Use DIVs instead of TABLEs where possible
  • Use simple repeating backgrounds for effect

Summary

Visitors to your website should be able to find what they are looking for within about three clicks. Search engines should be able to navigate easily through your site. Making a site easy to read with consistent page design, and easy to navigate will make it easy to find information. When people can find information, they are more likely to refer your site or link to it – which is exactly what you want to encourage. You are now on your way to building a readable and hopefully successful website that is loved by people and search engines alike.

Kimberly Mottu
Content/Admin
Business Communication Solutions
SEO and Webdesign for Austin Texas
http://www.bcs-seo.com

Five Non-SEO Ideas for Conversions

OK, so you’ve done your homework on keywords, optimized your URLs, cultivated some quality inbound links, put up separate HTML pages for every page that has Flash or images, optimized your meta tags and generally done all of your SEO-related stuff for your site.

Well … that’s where good old-fashioned customer-facing copywriting comes in. These are all some ideas that you can try th

  • Put something on the site that’s so compelling that it’s almost viral. That could be something like an ebook, tutorials, video or something along those lines. Consider syndicating part of your copy so it can be cut-and-pasted into other sites (which would also bring you some more quality inbound links).
  • Don’t just talk about features — talk about benefits. Your copy needs to not just be informative — it needs to be persuasive! Remember, it’s not just about how your product performs, but it needs to be personalized for your users. How can your users benefit from your company’s products or services? How can your product or service help eliminate a headache that your customers are having in their day-to-day operations? Write your copy as though your prospects are sitting across a table from you at lunch.
  • Consider ways to keep content fresh. Not only does Google like fresh content, but so do your users. Use your imagination and think about a help section, live chat, a forum, a blog, guest bloggers or often-updated company news.
  • Keep your copywriting “voice” fresh and friendly. Once you’ve worked in all the keywords, read and reread your copy. Your copy needs to be businesslike and not too casual, but you don’t want it stiff and stilted either. Think about the kind of language and phrasing that you would respond to yourself.
  • Keep a sharp eye on spelling, punctuation and grammar. This might seem like a no-brainer, but you don’t have to look at many websites to see some astonishingly bad spelling and grammatical mistakes. It’s careless and sloppy-looking, and nothing will torpedo your credibility and legitimacy quicker than a site whose copy is shot through with misspellings. If you’re writing the site’s copy yourself and you’re not sure about spelling, have someone else proofread it. It can make a lot of difference.

Jerry Renshaw
“SEO and Web Design for Austin Texas”
BCS Content/Admin
http://bcs-seo.com

From Billboards to the Internet

Oftentimes it seems like everywhere you look, there’s another advertisement of some sort. Billboards, bumper stickers, radio ads, city buses, handles on shopping carts, matchbooks, product placement in movies, TV ads, pop-up and banner ads on websites, newspaper ads, magazine ads (complete with annoying cards that fall out of the magazine when you pick it up), T-shirts promoting one brand or another…the avenues of marketing go on and on and the marketers don’t miss a trick. Through the saturation of advertising, certain brand names have even become synonymous with the products themselves (Kleenex, Xerox, and now Google).

Archaeologists have unearthed papyrus advertisements in ancient Egypt … The ancient Greeks and Romans advertised for products, services and political candidates. Wall art and cave paintings have been discovered in South America, Asia and Africa, which seem to be … advertisements. By the Middle Ages, with a populace who largely couldn’t read, ‘out-of-home’ advertisements might have consisted of a picture of a horseshoe in front of a blacksmith’s shop. Another advertising device in those times was a town crier who would loudly holler a marketing message for his ‘clients.’

With the advent of the printing press, more widespread literacy and an expanding economy, advertising moved into handbills and the first print advertisements in newspapers. Advertising developed into a real business model, with measurable results and genuine strategies in place. For print advertising, it was readership of a particular paper or magazine; for billboards, it was a count of how many vehicles traveled a certain road daily and would see the sign. Once radio and television advertising came into being, Nielsen and Arbitron ratings got a fairly accurate measure of how many viewers were watching or listening to a given show during a given time period, and advertising rates would be calculated accordingly.

With the advent of the Internet in the 90s, a lot of the paradigms of the advertising and marketing world were about to change forever. The first trends in Internet advertising were banner ads, spam email campaigns and popups, which were roundly despised by users. But in time, marketers were able to refine their efforts and Internet advertising was evolving quickly. And the results are undeniable: in the second half of 2009, mobile phone and Internet advertising grew by 18.1% and 9.2% respectively, compared to declines of 10.1% for television, 11.7% for radio, 14.8% for radio and 18.7% for newspapers.

Search engine companies like Google and Yahoo developed new models for the advertising world. Things like pay-per-click advertising and keyword searches have turned a lot of the old-media advertising methods squarely on their heads. The advent of real Web analytic tools has given advertisers and marketers a much clearer and more precise picture of how their efforts are faring than the loosey-goosey numbers of newspaper readership or Nielsen ratings ever could. Counts of click analytics, page views and visits are dead accurate because people are specifically heading to your page to look for something, unlike a TV viewer who might mute commercials, mentally ‘tune them out’ or even DVR the program and fast-forward right past the commercial breaks. WIth analytics, the results can be fine-tuned to even reflect the visits to a certain page of a website, the time that users spend on the site, the number of first-time or repeat users that show up, and even the pattern of mouse movement on a given page. From the standpoint of the marketers, e-commerce owners and advertisers, it’s all a numbers game — the more users that click and show up on your site, the more sales (‘conversions’) you should see That’s one aspect that has carried over from old-media advertising strategies; the more people that see a TV ad or drive by a billboard, the more people that will register and remember that particular ad and hopefully will buy the product or service.

Google’s pay-per-click ads will show up when certain keywords appear onscreen (even in the body of an email). The ‘affiliate model’ is designed to aim purchase/conversion opportunities to users regardless of what site they might be surfing. The search engine offers a cut of revenue to affiliated partner sites in return for hosting their PPC ads. Pay per click ads are negotiated either at a flat rate or a bid process, depending on the keywords that are used. PPC ads offer a unique set of challenges for marketers and copywriters, as the amount of copy and number of words available for each ad is extremely limited. The good news for marketers, though, is that the results of the campaign are available almost immediately,, and copywriters can go back and tweak their copy for better results at any time..

For a bid-based PPC ad, the automated auction process takes place whenever a search for the given keyword is being done in a search engine (as long as the ad spot is shown on the search engine results page). Once the bid process is sorted out, the ads with the highest bids are usually going to show up first, although ad quality, relevance and other factors might sometimes come into play. The pay per click system is subject to click fraud, sometimes done deliberately by competitors to try and deplete an advertiser’s ad budget, although google now has systems in place to detect click fraud when it happens.

Bear in mind that things like PPC, contextual ads and other Internet advertising/marketing schemes are still evolving. The only thing to be sure of is the fact that it’s all going to continue to change, and that the goalposts will continue to shift as marketers and search engines refine their technology and their efforts. Whatever you’re getting used to now, will most likely be out of date two years from now. Regardless of how it all shakes out, other mediums such as print and broadcast are having to scramble and rethink their more-traditional marketing to remain competitive with the Internet, in the same way

Jerry Renshaw
“SEO and Web Design for Austin Texas”
BCS Content/Admin
http://www.bcs-seo.com

Website as Employee

All this and more, as the TV ads used to say.

Website as Marketing Department

Your website can do so much for your company’s overall image and brand. And we’re not just talking about a sexy-looking, well-laid-out website with plenty of Flash animation and nice-looking graphics. A good website with persuasive, well-written copy and architecture that’s laid out so that no page is more than three clicks away is only half the story. You need a website that’s optimized and SEO’d within an inch of its life so it shows up at or near the top of search engine results. If your company sells pasta or pasta-making equipment, you want all the proper keywords in play — not just ‘pasta,’ but also ‘linguini,’ ‘angel hair,’ ‘ziti,’ ‘lasagna,’ ‘noodles’ and ‘macaroni.’ If someone’s looking for pasta, you want to be the one that they turn to, and the best way to ensure that is to have your page up towards the top of Google results whenever people are searching.

It’s hard to overemphasize the importance of SEO when it comes to web design and copywriting. Google and the other search engines have a list of over 200 criteria that they use to determine page rank and relevance for any website. They are famously cagey about the 200-odd criteria (you could even say that it’s an industry secret) since they don’t want unscrupulous webmasters gaming the system and getting unfair page rank for their sites. SEO experts do, however, have on-page and off-page methods for getting that all-important page rank. And if your page rank and visibility goes up, you can figure on it serving you in other ways offline and in the real world, in the form of positive word of mouth and referrals.

Website as Salesman

This isn’t too hard to figure out. If you’re a small company without a sales department, a well-designed website with an easy-to-use, secure shopping cart feature can be all the sales department you need. This part of Internet marketing has evolved to the point where a brick-and-mortar store is redundant and unnecessary for many retailers.

If you’ve still got salesmen in the field, your website can give all the information about prices, product lines, services, features, etc. that your customers need. Consider the website as a way to qualify and soften up potential clients or customers before a sales call.

Website and Feedback

There are all kinds of great ways for you to hear back from your customers via a website. Consider things like live chat customer support, a forum, a Q and A section or a comments section on your website. Not only can that give you the kind of feedback you need to fine-tune your efforts, but it can give you the fresh content that search engines love to see. And don’t let a bad review or comment scare you off — consider it one more way to tweak your products and services for the demographic of buyers you’re courting. And as for a good customer review or comment…your website needs glowing customer testimonials, doesn’t it?

This particular aspect of websites’ roles in ecommerce has been refined into a sub-science called Online Reputation Management. Online reputation management can even be parlayed into getting your company better search engine results (although this tends to all get a little nebulous). But there’s one sure way to get great feedback and positive reviews form customers, and that is to offer GREAT products and services, and do business in a professional, friendly, even-handed, timely way. That, of course, is ultimately up to you. Don’t just presume that because you have a very powerful brand presence that you can afford to just sit on your hands and wait for things to fall together. In this business climate, it’s up to you to manage your brand and reputation and keep your company up front.

Website as Sales Brochure

This is the kind of thing that used to be done strictly with dead trees.

Now your site can tell your customers everything they need to know about your products and services. Prices, sizes, colors, features, everything. This sort of information is one of the most valuable (and prosaic) things your website can do for you, and it’s one of the things you absolutely should not neglect in your web design and SEO efforts.

Website and ROI

Here we touch on one of the chief advantages of websites as marketing tools. If you’re using conventional, old-media marketing methods, the measure of results can be pretty slippery. If it’s radio or TV, you’re going to be relying on Nielsen or Arbitron numbers that will hopefully give you an idea of how many listeners are hearing or seeing your ads. ANd hopefully those ratings numbers will also be narrowed down by demographic boundaries as well. Of course, that doesn’t account for how many viewers are reflexively hitting the ‘mute’ button on their remote controls every time there’s a commercial break, or how many people are mentally tuning you out, or how many people are DVR’ing a program for the express purpose of being able to FF through commercial breaks. Newspaper ads are based on placement, size of the ad, frequency of the ad campaign and readership, all of which are even more loosey-goosey numbers.

Website marketing campaigns have none of these drawbacks.

Anybody who lands on your website is there because he or she was specifically looking for it. That by itself is a huge advantage; your potential customers are active participants rather than passive ones who are just being exposed to an ad. Whether they get to your site through a link from another site, a pay per click ad or a search engine results page, they made the conscious decision to land there.

Now the other great advantage of modern websites: whether you’re using pay per click ads, search engine results or whatever other method, you have the results at your disposal. Web analytics can track page hits, return visits, duration on each page, hits on each page and a number of other metrics, all of which are available to you almost right away. That sort of immediacy (rather than waiting til the end of the month or even the end of a quarter) can give you the flexibility you need, to tweak your website, your copy or your SEO efforts to make the most out of your site and your web presence. And that kind of knowledge can be interpreted and analyzed to give you a good idea of your return on investment for a website. Hint: It’s almost always going to be better than the ROI for costly TV, radio and print spots!

The Upshot?

Your website may not replace your employees … let’s not get ahead of ourselves here!

But your website can be your most valuable resource when it comes to augmenting and backing up the efforts of your employees. That’s why it needs such careful consideration, management and maintenance so that it can really and truly work for you.

Jerry Renshaw
“SEO and Web Design for Austin”
BCS Content/Admin
http://www.bcs-seo.com

Website Security

So now you’ve done all your keyword research, SEO’d your site within an inch of its life, you’ve got great images, great fonts, great website design and architecture. It works across all platforms and browsers, it’s one heck of a sexy, appealing, professional-looking website, if you do say so yourself. What’s the next step? Your next step at this point should be website security.

If you’ve got a little newsy website about whatever’s going on with your family, chances are that website security isn’t going to be a grave concern. If you’ve got a business website that gets a lot of traffic and has a shopping cart feature, security is something that better be up at the top of your list. Let’s talk about a few priorities for website security as a part-and-parcel of web design:

  1. Lay out a set of priorities for each page and each section of the site, and delegate responsibility for security to the proper person or department. This is going to be important if your company or organization has more than one site. Some sites are just there to be informative, while others handle money. Some might handle a little money via AdSense, others might handle thousands or millions of dollars. You can’t manage what you don’t know you own, so allocate your resources of time and talent to the sites that are going to present more security concerns.
  2. Get ahead of the curve. Once you’ve prioritized your sites or your individual pages, think about updates and individual code changes vs. the latest in security software and best practices. The last thing you want to do is to get complacent and sit on your hands; for sensitive sites or pages, go back and reassess your security measures and threat levels on a weekly basis.
  3. Remediate your vulnerabilities according to priority. We don’t just mean the priority of the page or site, but also the priority of the security threat itself. Not all websites are created equal, and neither are security threats. There are tools at your disposal that can help you get an idea of the severity of a security threat; get together with your staff and discuss them, then take the necessary steps in a timely manner to fix them.
  4. Make security a priority through every step of the development process. There’s no amount of after-the-fact security measures that can make up for flawed code. Find coding standards and adhere to them every step of the way; your software will be much easier to keep secure.
  5. Make defense-in-depth part of your strategy. Keep multiple layers of security in place from the start: redundancy can help protect the crown jewels of your site. Firewalls, vulnerability assessment, patch and configuration management, antivirus, IDS/IPS, vulnerability assessment and encryption should all be part of your security package. The idea is, if one layer fails, other layers should still make things hard to penetrate. Remember, though, that none of these measures can help if your code is flawed. Keep every one of these steps and measures in mind if you are thinking about a total website security setup.

Now, for some simpler, common-sense security ideas:

  1. Don’t run unnecessary servers or interpreters. The more things that are involved, the more things there are that can go wrong. If you don’t need the FTP that goes along with your server, discard it. Also, disable any scripting languages or sample scripts that aren’t absolutely required.
  2. Keep up on security alerts. Keep up to date on security threats to your operating system of choice, and subscribe to your server vendor’s security alert listings. There’s a Computer Emergency Response Team advisory list that can be a great resource.
  3. Pick good passwords. This seems so obvious, but a lot of people miss it anyway. Make sure that your passwords are going to be ones that are hard for hackers to guess (not something like your DOB!). And don’t use the same password across the board for everything that requires a password — break them up.
  4. Know what’s happening on your own network. Make sure that your people are trained and up-do-date on best security practices. A well-meaning but poorly-informed or inexperienced user can commit a security breach that’s just as damaging as one created by someone from outside.
  5. Monitor your logs. THis is information that’s available on your Web server. Keep an eye on your logs, and look out for any unusual or out-of-the-ordinary behavior or patterns in the logs.
  6. Keep public and private data separated. Don’t have sensitive information on the same server with less-sensitive stuff. For an extranet, you might want to consider having a separate Web server outside the firewall with the public-oriented information.
  7. Check programs for security holes. CGI scrips in particular can be prone to security breaches, if they’re not set up to validate user-supplied data before opening up to more sensitive areas.

Jerry Renshaw
“SEO and Web Design for Austin Texas”
BCS Content/Admin
http://www.bcs-seo.com

Trade-offs — in just about everything

Many people say Image is everything. I’d have to agree … but only to a certain extent!

Let’s take a “typical” conversation with a “typical” customer:

Customer — Can you help me build a very nice website with lots of images and flash?
BCS — Of course we can, but first, let me ask you this question … What are you trying to accomplish? How would you like to see the website help you?

Customer — I would like to get more customers coming in and see my business expand.
BCS — O.K. So, let’s say I help you build a very nice website with a lot of images and Flash animation. How does your potential customer find you?

Customer — Well, we do pass out a lot of business cards daily …
BCS — Do you have a handle on the number of people that go to your website because the web address is on the card, or do you think most of the cards end up in the trash?

Customer — Most of them probably end up in the trash, but a very small percentage actually go to my sites. So we can think about the business cards as a numbers game …

BCS — O.K., that’s fair enough. Let me ask you this question, would you rather have a very nice website that gets hardly any traffic, or would you rather have a decent looking website that gets a lot of traffic because it’s very informative and easily found by search engines?

Customer — (here’s the ah-hah moment). Probably a decent looking website that gets a lot of traffic.

You can have a great-looking site, but it does you no good if it isn’t bringing business your way. In another era, it would have been like having a huge billboard on a side road that’s only travelled by a few hundred cars a day. Like the customer handing out business cards with his Web address on them, the website itself is a numbers game…the more people that visit the site, the more your brand is going to be visible and the more sales (conversions) you’re going to get. This is where you need a little push to get your marketing efforts pointed in the right direction.

Jerry Renshaw
“SEO and Web Design for Austin Texas”
BCS Content/Admin
http://bcs-seo.com

How Search Engines Work

A search engine operates in the following order:

    1. Crawling
    2. Deep Crawling
    3. Fresh Crawling
    4. Indexing, and
    5. Searching.

Web search engines work by storing information about a large number of web pages, which they retrieve from the WWW itself. These pages are retrieved by a web crawler (also known as a spider) which is an automated web browser which follows every link it sees on a website.  Exclusions to a link can be made by the use of robots.txt.

 

The contents of each page are then analyzed to determine how it should be indexed. Data about web pages is stored in an index database for use in later inquiries. Some search engines, such as MSN, store all or part of the source page; whereas some store every word of every page it finds, such as AltaVista.

This cached page always holds the actual search text since it is the one that was actually indexed; so it can be very useful when the content of the current page has been updated and the search terms are no longer included. This problem might be considered to be a mild form of linkrot, and Google’s handling of it increases user ability by satisfying the user’s expectations that the search terms will be on the returned web page. This satisfies the principle of least surprise since the user normally expects the search terms to be on the returned pages. Increased search relevance makes these cached pages very useful, even beyond the fact that they may contain data that may no longer be available elsewhere.

When a user comes to the search engine and makes an inquiry, usually by giving keywords, the engine looks up the index and provides a listing of best-matching web pages according to its criteria; usually with a short summary containing the document’s title and parts of the text. Most search engines support the use of the logical operators such as AND, OR and NOT to further specify the search inquiry.

The value of a search engine depends on the importance of the results it gives back. While there may be millions of web pages that include a particular word or phrase, some pages may be more relevant, popular, or dependable than others. Most search engines employ methods to rank the results to provide the “best” results first. How a search engine decides which pages are the best match, and what order the results should be shown in, varies widely from one engine to another. This method also changes over time as Internet usage changes and new techniques develop.

Most web search engines are commercial ventures supported by advertising revenue and, as a result, some employ the notorious practice of allowing advertisers to pay money to have their listings ranked higher in search results.

The vast majority of search engines are run by private companies using proprietary algorithms and closed databases, the most popular currently being Google, MSN Search, and Yahoo! Search. However, Open source search engine technology does exist, such as Dig, Nutch, Senas, Egothor, OpenFTS, DataparkSearch and many others.

Kimberly Mottu
Content – Business Communication Solutions
SEO and Webdesign for Austin Texas http://www.bcs-seo.com

Outdated, Irrelevant Content for Web Design & SEO

The internet was publicly launched in 1989. Since then the internet has been cluttered with outdated, irrelevant, and fraudulent content.  New web design and SEO practices mean a constantly-evolving playing field.  That’s why it’s so vital that web designers and SEO practitioners have the most up-to-date, relevant and legitimate content available on the Internet.

In order to keep website content updated and relevant, there are 4 standard practices that come into play to enhance the web site, and work within SEO strategies. It is important to consider the practice that will be best suited to your web site’s overall goal.

The first choice is to leave the content up as is; however, users will need to be able to navigate to new updated content.  This practice will help assure that you do not lose any traffic to your site and should eliminate the headache of regaining ranking in the search engines. However, this is not a permanent fix to outdated content; once users determine that they will have to follow more links to find current content, the traffic to your site may drop.

The second choice is to 301 the content, which entails redirecting the URL to a page with relevant content that the user might be searching for. This new page needs to be very specific and relevant to the old URL content. Do not send a user to a new page that has no relevance to the content they are searching for. Also, be aware that some search engine frown upon redirects.

The third choice is to 404 the content, but this is not a good SEO practice and eventually will result in the search engines banning or penalizing your entire website. The last thing you want to have happen is for your users to reach a dead link.

The fourth choice is to modify the content; this is the best solution for both web design and SEO practices. Modifying the content will enhance the web site design, maintain SEO, such as retaining page ranking, and any link backs that your page has gained without having to lose the outdated content. You will first create a back up page for the outdated content changing the URL, and then modify the current page with the new content. This practice is both SEO and user friendly.

Remember it is important to maintain updated and relevant content, from the standpoint of users and SEO both.  It shows that the content you are providing to your visitors is important to you and your company.

A.Stewart,

“SEO and Webdesign for Austin Texas”

Designer / Content – Business Communication Solutions-SEO

Finding your Internet Niche as a Web Designer

Everybody needs their own niche…a situation or activity specially suited to that person’s interests and abilities. If you’re a web designer, you need to market yourself to a specific group of people, which you have knowledge and experience with. Isolating and specializing in a specific market will help establish you as a web designer.

So you wonder… how do I find my niche market? You must first determine your niche. There are several ways to accomplish this:

1.    What are your own strong suits?  What hobbies or interests do you know best?

For example, if you are love to bake, you might concentrate on marketing your web design services to local bakeries, pastry shops or individuals that want to start a home based cake making company.

2.    What professional connections do you have?

Are you a member of a club, or organization that is in need of a web site to promote their events and distribute information about themselves? If they do, offer them your web design services.

3.    Think about the scale of companies you’re working with; are they considered local companies, national companies, or even global companies? Do they want to expand and grow? Consider marketing your services to a specific region, local companies , i.e. local mom-and-pop shops.

Following a set of standards for your Niche is essential.

1.    You and your clients should have a similar interest.

2.    The client should need a website to help establish or promote their own business

3.    Establish a reason for prospective clients to do business with you and not your competitors

4.    Build and use a network. The niche market should allow for reaching and gaining prospective individual clients associated with group.

5.    The group should have enough affiliates to expand your client base.

How to become a Web Designer in your Niche Market.

Making your own niche is important for you to understand the needs of your market. Ask yourself these questions.

1.    Why does this group need a website?

2.    What are they expecting to gain from having a website?

3.    What type of website will it be, Information? E-Commerce?

4.    How can I show them how they’ll best benefit from my services?

Finding out the answers to these questions might be hard if you have no connection to the group. It is important for you to build a connection, by asking to attend meetings, sign up for their newsletters or other publications to learn about the group’s operations and what it is that is important to the group as a whole.

Having a Niche Market has Advantages, the more your web design company is seen and heard about in the group, the more similar groups will come to you for web design services. You will establish yourself as an expert in web design for that market, which will increase your potential clients in that group.

How to Market your Web Design Services within your Niche Market.

1.    Networking: Attend meetings, conferences, talk to people associated with your Niche Market.

2.    Public Appearances: Offer to host a workshop, or give speech about a topic related to your Niche Market.

3.    Offer Free Services: To a select client in exchange for promoting your web design business on their site, flyers and newsletters. (Omit that the site was free).

4.    Advertising Locally: Placing small ads in local newspapers, classifieds or sponsoring an event that will allow you to display your company information in your Niche Market.

How to make money in your Niche Market.

Establish yourself in your niche market, promote your own website and yourself as a

1.    Home Business Web Designer

2.    Medical Web Designer

3.    Legal Web Designer

4.    Non-Profit Web Designer

These just a few of the specialized web design niche markets where you can position yourself.. Once you have established yourself in one market such as medical doctors’ websites, and have a solid clientele, expand your services to dentists, hospitals, nursing homes, etc. Create your own websites for each niche market, listing specialized web design services for each of your niche markets.

A.Stewart,
“SEO and Webdesign for Austin Texas”
Designer / Content – Business Communication Solutions
SEO Austin

Mobile Websites and Web Design-SEO

Creating a Mobile Website isn’t a difficult task. Following the standard Web Design-SEO Guide will help ensure that your mobile website version will be crawled, indexed and search-able for users. Here you will find the basic guide in converting your standard website to a mobile website.

Standard List from Google Web Design-SEO Guide consists of:

  • Create unique, accurate page titles
  • Make use of the “description” meta tag
  •  Improving Site Structure
  • Improve the structure of your URLs
  • Make your site easier to navigate
  • Optimizing Content
  • Offer quality content and services
  • Write better anchor text
  • Optimize your use of images
  • Use heading tags appropriately
  • Dealing with Crawlers
  • Make effective use of robots.txt
  • Be aware of rel=”nofollow” for links
  • SEO for Mobile Phones:
  • Validation
  • Emulation
  • Notify Google of mobile sites
  • Guide mobile users accurately
  • Promotions and Analysis
  • Promote your website in the right ways
  • Make use of free webmaster tools

You will notice that the SEO Guide above includes SEO for Mobile Phones (bold above), with two additions: Validation and Emulation.

Mobile Validation Markup Standards:

  • XHTML Basic 1.1
  • XHTML MP 1.2
  • cHTML
  • WML 1.3

Validators include the following:

  • Mobile-friendly XHTML Validator (W3C)
  • Mobile-readiness checker (.mobi)
  • mobileOK Basic Checker (TAW)
  • WuRML (shadowplay.net)

Emulation

You may be confident that your page is valid XHTML or valid WML, but are you certain that it’s going to look right on a real phone screen? Use an emulator to test your page, and avoid the hassle of buying them all.

  • Phone Simulator (Openwave)
  •  Mobile emulator (.mobi)
  •  i-mode emulator (DoCoMo)
  • User-Agent Switcher (Firefox plug-in)
  • wmlbrowser (Firefox plug-in)
  • XHTML Mobile Profile (Firefox plug-in)

Websites may validate in both XHTML and WML, to verify the website will display properly on a mobile device is recommended that you use a Emulation program. Emulators test your page, and eliminate the cost of purchasing multiple mobile devices just for testing purposes.

Web Designer-SEO professionals should create a website that is already mobile friendly. If all web design and seo practices are followed, then converting the site into a mobile friendly version should be simple.

Setting up your mobile website:

  •  Create a sub-domain: www.mobile.yoursite.com
  •  Use a mobile site generator such as www.google.com/gwt/n
  •  The Google Mobile Tool will generate a mobile friendly version of your website. There are two options:  a)  Redirect your sub-domain to the address created by Google’s Mobile Tool or b) Copy the Source Code to a new HTML page and upload it to your sub-domain

Create a site-map
<?xml version=”1.0? encoding=”UTF-8? ?>
<urlset xmlns=”http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9?
xmlns:mobile=”http://www.google.com/schemas/sitemap-mobile/1.0?>
<url>
<loc>http://mobile.example.com/article100.html<;/loc>
<mobile:mobile/>
</url>
</urlset>

Follow and Complete the SEO Guide

A.Stewart,
“SEO and Webdesign for Austin Texas”
Designer / Content – Business Communication Solutions-SEO

SEO vs SEM Advantages

There are three main differences between SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing).

Many companies and users tend to use the terms interchangeably when discussing, researching, or utilizing the tools. They’re not really interchangeable, but the two have been developed hand in hand; without SEO there would be no SEM and visa-versa.

SEO is a organic or “natural” way to list and rank your website with search engines.  A few basic SEO ideas include submitting websites to free directories, claiming your business listing with free marketing sites and submitting articles for backlinks. This is a cost effective usually free part of SEO.

SEM, on the other hand, is listing your websites with paid marketing sites, advertising with PPC websites, or paying for backlinks on other relevant websites.

There are advantages to both SEO and SEM.

SEO Advantages:

1. Cost Effective: Majority of SEO practices are free.
2. Trust: Search Engines place more rank points to organic/natural links.
3. Long Term: SEO can take several months to show results in search engines, but once websites rank in the search results it is long lasting.

SEM:

1. Fast Search Engine Results: Using PPC and Paid links, websites get immediate results on Sponsored Listing on search engines.
2. Direct Access to User: User search for specific keywords used in your campaigns and immediate results are shown.  It makes results much more immediate and easier to track.
3. Traffic: Sponsored ads drive more users to your site, increasing sales.  However, this demands a higher investment on the part of the website owner.

SEO and (if you can afford it) SEM should be part and parcel of any strategy for web presence.  Before you spend a large amount of money on a site that is not optimized for both SEO and SEM it is important to contact a reliable, SEO/SEM service in your local area for help in optimizing and marketing your website.

A.Stewart,
“SEO and Webdesign for Austin Texas”
Designer / Content – Business Communication Solutions

HARD-CODE -vs- WYSIWYG -vs- CMS –vs- TEMPLATES

Developers Tools (aka Helpers) are tools that are utilized by web designers to make coding, designing, and updating a website less time-consuming and more efficient.

The old school way of coding, designing and updating a website was to use an HTML editor, aka Notepad. A designer would open Notepad and hard-code the HTML from scratch; here is a basic beginning sample of how it might have been done:

<html>
<head>
<title> Welcome </title>
</head>
<body>
Hello world!
</body>
</html>

Imagine having to code an entire website using Notepad. This was a time consuming, inefficient and costly way to create a website. That’s not meant to say that hard coding a website is all bad.  The code is clean and, if executed properly, any web designer who knew HTML could modify the website without any other developers’ tools or special programs. The cost and time to hard code a site outweighs the clean code every time. Clients want well designed, inexpensive sites, and want them built in a timely manner.

So what is the best option to build a time efficient, cost effective, well designed website?  It is a WYSIWYG editor. A WYSIWYG is a “what you see is what you get” editor. It’s also well suited for real time viewing of your site as it’s being built, or for fast updates to content. There are many WYSIWYG editors to choose from such as Dream-weaver, Expression, Front-page to mention a few. These editors are useful for helping designers create websites.  There are still many facets of web design, however, where it is important that the web designer understands and can edit the underlying hard-code if needed, if the program being using is not available for updates.

Another option is a CMS “Content Management System”. This is a online program that is used to edit the website directly from the website’s URL. A web designer logs in to the URL using a user-name a password and the CMS allows for certain areas of the website to be updated. Their updates are usually limited to content and images, not the layout or design of the website. Websites still must be either hard coded or designed in a WYSIWYG editor.

Template based sites are simple and allow for fast development of a website, however many templates found on the internet are not unique. It’s that uniqueness that allows a website to truly stand out from the competition. Using a template for the base design of a site, it still efficient and allows for the overall site to have a unifying scheme. Even with the use of a template, a designer should know the underlying code in order to trouble shoot any errors or layout issues with the template.

These are just three options web developers have to create web sites. With the newest generations of design tools, there are a variety of options for a designer who wants to create a unique, creative, professional and validated website.

A.Stewart,
“SEO and Webdesign for Austin Texas”
Designer / Content – Business Communication Solutions
http://www.bcs-seo.com

The Benefits of Article Marketing for SEO

Article marketing gives fantastic content and facts. And yes, it can have the ever sought after inbound links.  So why don’t a lot more individuals use article marketing? In a few words, the answer is obvious. Not everyone can write articles — and not everyone can afford to hire a copywriter to publish optimized content on a recurring basis.

Equally, you’d think that within the majority of businesses there would be someone, whom could write a 500-word article once or even twice a month. After all, the subject makes the difference; it’s what provides the Content Admin or Copywriter’s financial freedom for their families! The affordability aspect is usually a little puzzling; when you consider exactly how much will be expended on other forms of search engine optimization.

Article Marketing — also known as Article Public Relations can be a sub-set of search engine marketing copywriting. As with writing fluent and useful websites, free-flowing content is usually just what today’s Yahoo algorithms assume. Of Course, there has to be some awareness of keywords and keyword phrases and how to use them properly. Similar to all other forms of online copywriting, article marketing comes with its personal collection of regulations.  Article marketing offers the copywriter a multitude of settings for writing about general, technical, fun, and informative subjects.   If, for instance, your organization is in the manufacturing industry, located in Austin, Texas; a lead-in to your article may be on any number of subjects such as sensitive environmental issues or on your company’s Austin, Texas facility. It may relate to the lack of global resources or perhaps the manual work expertise needed in the manufacturing industry.

Keywords and keyword phrases equate to back links. The message that online marketing reverberates is obvious; all companies, big and small, should become integrated through a uniform set of keyword phrases.  Virtually, any business of any type will be defined by a limited selection of search phrases. Keyword Phrases are the carefully running mesh that links the terminology all of us use to describe everything. Search phrases are the links, the great identifiers that just come about to be business accelerators. What greater elation can there be when compared to a 500-word article that can be themed with ideas, information, and fun, as well as summed up in keywords and keyword phrases that anyone could find online?

Kimberly Mottu

Content/Admin

Business Communication Solutions

SEO and Webdesign for Austin Texas

http://www.bcs-seo.com

Colors and Websites

What is the color of your website?

Colors that may determine the Success or Failure of a website.

There are many values associated with colors, which can have a impact on the success and or failure of a website. Color Schemes as they are called in web development are made up a several components.

The first component is the background color, this is the main color and the most impactful as it is the largest area of color on a website. The second is the Page Color, this is the color used for the backgrounds of tables and or div layers where you content will be displayed, this is the second largest area of color. Third is the Title/Header Colors, these colors are used each content section of our website. Fourth is Content/Font Color, this is of course is what your visitors will be reading on your site.

Let’s go in to some examples of colors, what they mean and what websites are suggested for.

RED invokes feelings of love, passion, danger, warning, excitement, food, impulse, action, adventure.

Websites: Food and Sports

BLUE can invoke feelings of trustworthiness, success, seriousness, calmness, power, professionalism.

Websites: Business and E-commerce

GREEN can invoke feelings of money, nature, animals, health, healing, life, harmony.

Websites: Eco-Friendly, Nature, Health and Medical

ORANGE can invoke feelings of comfort, creativity, celebration, fun, youth, and affordability.

Websites: Art and Kids Friendly

PURPLE can invoke feelings of royalty, justice, ambiguity, uncertainty, luxury, fantasy, dreams.

Websites: Vacation, Resorts and Legal

WHITE can invoke feelings of innocence, purity, cleanliness, simplicity.

Websites: Nature, Kid Friendly, and Health

YELLOW can invoke feelings of curiosity, playfulness, cheerfulness, amusement.

Websites: Kid Friendly, Amusement Parks, Vacation

PINK can invoke feelings of softness, sweetness, innocence, youthfulness, tenderness.

Websites, Flower, Weddings, and Baby

BROWN can invoke feelings of earth, nature, tribal, primitive, simplicity.

Websites: Hunting, Fishing,  and Nature

GREY can invoke feelings of neutralality, indifference, reserved.

Websites: Professional and Medical

BLACK can invoke feelings of seriousness, darkness, mystery, secrecy.

Websites: Depending on audience

What colors should you use when  your website?

The colors used a website will vary depending on your audience (visitors). By answering these questions will help you determine what colors to choose for the website.

1. What is the market that you are targeting?

a. Age

b. Gender

c. Culture

d. Geographic location

2. Why are these visitors coming to your website?

Let’s look closer at these questions.

A. Market:

a. Age: What is the most appropriate color for the age group that your website is targeting.

b. Gender: Women and Men have different color preferences and they react differently to colors.

c. Culture: Colors can mean different things to different cultures around the world. People associate colors to with events in their culture.

d. Geographic Location: Geographic location can change the colors that people are drawn to based on their geographical region.

B. Why are these visitors coming to your website?

a. That is a very important question which determines the mood and feeling of your visitors. Determine why visitors will be coming to your website, and what emotion they may have when visiting your site.

Based on this information a design can start choosing colors for the website, remember not all colors will suit all visitors, so in the end you must monitor the stats of your website, how long visitor stay on your website, what geographically region are they from, and change your site colors accordingly to better meet your visitors moods.

Evolution and Revolution of Search Engines

Search engines, where would we be without them? Within the past 10-15 years the internet has become a huge part of every day life. Many people cannot remember the time prior to having this wonderful information highway we call the internet. The internet has really revolutionized the way people live their lives; for example, you can bank online, buy just about anything you want online, meet new people online, and even find local movie times. However, one of the biggest benefits of the internet is the use of search engines. At any moment in time you may have a question, or an urge to get more information about a certain topic and that information can be easily attained through a search engine. In this article I am going to give you a brief history on the evolution of the search engine, and show you how they truly have revolutionized our lifestyles.

The first attempt at creating a search engine was called Archie, and it was created in 1990 by Alan Emtage, a student at McGill University. This very primitive search engine did not use any robot technology. All Archie really did was just become a database of archived filenames, which it would try to match with users’ queries.

The next evolutionary step of the search engine was the introduction of “robots.” The first use of robot technology was in the search engine World Wide Web Wanderer. Simply what robots would do is scan the internet for URL’s, starting at one site and using the links in the previous site to find more sites. The problems with these first robots were that if they were not written properly they would cause too many hits on a server decaying the systems performance.

To combat these initial problems Martjin Koster came out with the first web directory called “Aliweb” in October 1993. Web directories are different than search engines because the sites listed in them are not from automated robots, but rather from human editors reviewing sites and placing them in the directory.

However, shortly after, in December 1993, a new robot was born. This was called the “spider.” Spiders added a much further degree of accuracy by indexing the entire text of a webpage. The older robots only indexed the URL and titles of a page, which meant that some pertinent keywords might not be indexed. This greatly improved the relevancy rankings of their results, and thus was the first major step in forming the major search engines that we have all become so used to using today.

Not long after the spider, we saw the emergence of some of the big guns. In 1994, out of Stanford University came the extremely famous Yahoo. The two guys who started Yahoo were students, David Filo and JerryYang. Basically, at first Yahoo was just a list of these guys’ favorite websites. But soon, due to its easy user-friendly interface, became the most popular web directory. Due to the fact that its websites were all human reviewed; Yahoo was only able to index about 1% of the web. At this time, Altavista became the fastest growing search engine using the spider technology and was indexing up to 10 million pages a day.

By this time there are two different types of search engines, “author controlled” such as Altavista and Excite, in which results were ranked by keyword relevancy, and “editor controlled” such as Yahoo, in which humans manually placed websites into their index.
Then in late 1997 out of Stanford University was born the most popular and well-known search engine to date: GOOGLE — Google has a different way of ranking its websites. It used a Pagerank system. Simply what they did was list websites higher in their results based on how many links were pointing to a particular site. Of course, the content on the page had to be relevant to the keyword typed into the search box. But basically, Google invented what you could call a system of voting. So a site with numerous backlinks or votes would rank higher. A backlink is just when someone else puts a link on their site that points to another outside site. Jump forward to today and Google has more than 80% of the websites on the internet in their index, which is pretty impressive.

Search engines have had a huge impact on the American lifestyle. They basically will grant you just about any information you want, all you have to do is type into the search box the topic you want to find more information about. Human beings are natural born information junkies, we always want to know more and find out more and search engines have made this urge of ours extremely easy to cure. Just think about it, maybe you need to fix a simple problem you have with your car. By using a search engine to do some research you may very easily figure the problem out, saving you a very costly trip to the car repair shop. They are just great educational tools, before search engines emerged if you really wanted to learn something you would go to your library and check out a book. Now before making that trip you may find out what you wanted by just sitting at your desktop and surfing through Google. The list goes on about the many benefits of this great new technology we call the search engine. I’m sure you can recall a time when you found some very good information by using one. If you’re anything like me and you find yourself addicted to this easily accessible information highway then you’re making use of them daily.

Search engines by nature were made very easy to use. However, with a little extra knowledge about how they work you can really take advantage of them and find great information very quickly. With the right knowledge of search engines and the use of specialized tools you can literally find anything you want. And when I mean anything, I mean ANYTHING. For me personally I am excited to see what search engines will evolve into in the future. The sky is the limit. Who knows what type of search spiders the future will spawn, but one thing is for sure there will be newer and newer search technology; it’s just our human nature to keep trying to top ourselves.

Kimberly Mottu

Content/Admin

Business Communication Solutions

SEO and Webdesign for Austin Texas

http://www.bcs-seo.com

SEO FOR YOUR LOCAL BUSINESS

Internet may be global in nature, but if the company is local, it makes no sense to focus on global customers’ when they do not live in the city, or even your neighborhood. Local businesses marketing to the world is a waste of resources. Instead you can concentrate on the local community. You may wonder how you can do when the Internet is global, and Google Sites are not classified according to the location. Here’s how you can go to a local SEO

1 Location keywords

The first trick is to use your city or state name in your keywords. For example, if you are in Austin, Texas and you provide SEO services, seo in Austin Texas, your key phrase should be “SEO Austin” because the key phrase contains your company service and your location and get visitors trying to located seo services in Austin.

2 Meta tag keywords

Meta tags matter for search engines, and you should not miss including your location and your other keywords in the Meta tags of pages on your site. Of course you have your position in the keywords you use in the text itself, because otherwise it’s a bit suspicious when the text of your body does not include your position as keywords, but tags are filled with your location.

3 Body Text keywords

Keywords in the body have a lot weight in search engine results and you can not afford to ignore them. If your web copy is optimized for “seo Austin” only, this will not help your rank and seo Austin, so make sure your site is a part of your keywords.

4 Business Listings

Google Places, Yahoo Local, and other free business listing are great places to submit to because they will include your URL in their listings for a particular location.

5 Back links Location Keywords

It could be a bit difficult to get organic back links with your location keyword phrase as anchor text because some keywords with location don’t sound very natural – for instance, “SEO Austin” isn’t grammatically correct and you will not get an organic inline link with it but you can use it in the Name field to comment on blogs. If the blog is a follow, you will still get a back link with anchor text that helps for SEO.

6 Local Search Engines

Global search engines such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo can give you lots of traffic, but depending on your location, local search engines is a real gem. A local search engine can be a search engine for the region (although it is very likely to find regional search engines) or more probably in your country. Try looking for local search engines sites base on your market and location.

7 Local Directory Listings

In addition to local search engines, you have found, you should to the local directories, too. You might think that no one reads the directory listings, but this is not true. For example, Yellow Pages is one of the first places where people are looking to find a local supplier of a product.

8 Local Ad-Campaigns

One of the most effective ways to generate targeted traffic to your site through local advertising campaigns targeted at local levels. PPC ads and classifieds are the two options that work best – at least for most webmasters.

9 Keyword Revisions

Sometimes a review of the current search volume for keywords is a good idea, because the changes in the volume of research is very typical. Needless to say, if people do not search for ‘car insurance London’ more because they have begun using other search phrases, and you proceed to optimize for ‘SEO Austin’, this is a waste of time and money. Also keep an eye on the keywords competitors are using – this will give you a hint, that the keywords work and which do not.

10 Social Media Networks

Social media can drive more traffic to a website than major search engines and local search engines. Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites have a large sales potential, because you can promote your business for free and reach exactly the people you need. Local groups on social sites are particularly useful because the participants are mainly from the region of interest.

11 Site Reviews and Testimonials

Client reviews and testimonials are the classic business tool, and these are like letters of recommendation for your business. However, with regard to SEO is concerned, they could have another meaning. There are review sites where you can publish these reviews and testimonials (or ask the customer to do so), and this will help drive business to you. Some of these sites are Yelp and Merchant Circle.

12 Multiple pages for different locations, and services

When you have business in several locations, this makes the task a bit more difficult because you can’t possibly optimize for all of them – you can’t have a key phrase such as “SEO Austin, Houston, San Antonio”. In this case the solution is to create separate pages for your different locations. If your locations span the globe, you can also create different sites on different, country-specific domains (i.e. uk.co for GB, .de for Germany, etc.) but this is only reasonable to do, if your business is truly multinational. Otherwise, just a separate page for each of your locations will do.

These simple tips on how to optimize your site for local searches are a must if you trust the local market. Maybe you already do some of them, and you know what works for you and what does not. Anyway, if you have not tried everything to see if it will have a positive impact on your ranking (and your company) or not, you should what do you have to loss? For more help on SEO contact a SEO Austin company.

A.Stewart,
“SEO and Webdesign for Austin Texas”
Designer / Content – Business Communication Solutions
http://www.bcs-seo.com

Repairing Common Java Errors

Whether you are just starting your first Java program, or you are a well experienced programmer, your code can not be an error free code and compile successfully from the very first time. At the least you may confuse variable names, forget to declare a variable, or miss a semicolon.

 

Java language errors, just like all other programming languages, can be either syntax errors or logical errors. Syntax errors, also called compile time errors, are illegal use of statements in terms of programming language rules. When the compiler catches them it generates an error message indicating the class name, line number where the error is found, and the type of error. However, sometimes the actual error may not actually be in the line indicated in the message. You will want to check somewhere before these lines to locate the error.

 

This happens because syntax errors can be tricky sometimes; one error may lead to more than one error message. A missing semicolon for example causes the following one or more lines to be invalid, and thus generates error messages for all of them. Once you fix that error, all following messages will be cleared.

 

When writing a program with Java, syntax errors are almost unavoidable, so do not panic or get disappointed when you encounter them. Some of these errors are very common and you are very likely to encounter one or more of them when compiling your code. The fact is; you cannot avoid them. So the best way to deal with them is to get familiar with them and know how to fix them. Below are some of the most common errors along with their solutions.

 

Capitalization Errors: Java language is case sensitive, variable names must be exactly the same, Total is not the same as total and not the same as toTal.

 

The file name is different than the public class name: The class should be saved in a file with exactly the same name; a Shirt class should be saved in a file named Shirt.java. Saving it to a different file name will give a compiling error.

 

Javac cannot find the class: When you save your classes, or source codes, they have to be in the very same directory where your javac.exe is. This file is responsible for compiling your codes and is created automatically when you download and successfully install the DSK machine. Generally you would install the SDK into your C: drive where your javac file will reside. Thus, when saving your source code you need to save it in the C: directory in a folder named java.

 

“javac is not recognized as an internal or external command, operable program or batch file” (for Windows System) or “javac: Command not found” (for UNIX System): This means that your compiler cannot find your javac. This is due to one of two reasons, either you do not have a javac at all because you did not install the correct machine, or you did not set your PATH correctly. In this case you need to properly set your PATH, or you will have to type in the full file name path to execute it.

 

“Exception in thread “main” java.lang.NoClassFoundError: ‘fileName’: You probably misspelled the fileName, remember that java is case sensitive.

 

“Line nn: ‘;’ expected”: This means you moved to a new line without signaling to the compiler. When your string, or code line, is too long to fit in one line, you may want to split into two lines. Doing that just by pressing the Enter key will confuse the compiler and generate an error. Instead you will need to add the ‘+’ sign. That is split your string into two lines, ending the first with a ‘+’ before moving to the second line.

 

Kimberly Mottu

Content/Admin

Business Communication Solutions

SEO and Webdesign for Austin Texas

http://www.bcs-seo.com

Changes to Come in the World of SEO

The sky isn’t falling, but your traffic may be in the near future.

There is no question that Google has been a dominating force. There is also no question that Microsoft has both the resources to give them some serious competition and probably eventually get the upper hand again. As Google has grown to a size comparable to that of Microsoft, it has lost much of the “family owned family operated” appeal that once helped to create a great deal of its public support.

Many users don’t really care which search engine they use as long as they are getting the results that they’re looking for. In this area, Google is falling seriously behind. In an attempt to filter out more of the web sites using artificial means to improve their ranking, they have knocked a large number of legitimate web sites out of the SERP’s and often prevented newer web sites from appearing. While I applaud their effort to combat the web sites using spam techniques to climb above legitimate web sites, I can say without a doubt that unless they find a better way to do this they will begin losing market share in a big way. There are several reasons, some of which are not so obvious:

People want relevant and timely results. If Google continues to delay newer web sites and web pages from ranking for applicable terms, users will go elsewhere to find more up to date results.

Many web site owners using Google Ad Sense will begin switching over to competing services from Yahoo and MSN – which they are likely getting traffic from. Since the ads are a source of revenue for these web site owners, they are going to deal with the search engines that are helping them make more money.

Many web site owners will remove the Google site-search from their web sites since they aren’t getting traffic from Google.

Web savvy people are often asked for advice from those who are not as proficient with computers. It won’t take too many bitter web site owners telling these people to use a competing search engine before Google starts to see the effects in their bottom line.

Microsoft has been developing Windows Vista, in fact, the beta version has already been released. Microsoft will put a serious dent in Google’s business with this because they have built a handy little search box right into the operating system.

Diversify your internet marketing strategy. Search engine optimization should only be a fragment of your internet marketing. For starters, you could consider advertising on other relevant web sites, utilizing a pay-per-click campaign and publishing articles on other web sites.

Plan for the adoption of new technology; Blogs are here to stay and RSS is taking hold. Stay on top of new and innovative ways to use technology to multiply the effectiveness of your search engine optimization campaign. You can get a general idea of what technologies to look at by staying up to date with the advances in operating systems, browsers and related software and hardware.

Avoid using spam techniques to improve your ranking, such as hidden text, keyword stuffing, or link spamming. Most of these questionable techniques don’t work and those that do don’t work well – and you risk having your web site banned completely.

Update your web site on a regular basis. A web site that is constantly growing is viewed by the search engines as more important; a side benefit is that by generating useful content other web site owners will have a reason to link to your web site.

Kimberly Mottu

Content/Admin

Business Communication Solutions

SEO and Webdesign for Austin Texas

Design Rules

Content is Key! If you want a website to generate back-links and have quality content that search engines love, be sure to make it readable by both people and search engines. Search engines are working to give people quality results. Thus, they are looking for sites with quality content. So, by building site content for people, not only are you getting back to basics, you are also creating a site search engines will love. So, your build sites for people and search engines.
When creating a new website or redesigning an existing site, there are four important rules which should be followed to make your site successful, effective, functional, and loved by search engines.
1. Easy to Read

When building a website, the first thing you need to ensure is that your website is easy to read. When you write content, remember that most web site visitors don’t read every word on a page – in fact, they only scan pages to find what they are looking for.
Break up Your Content
Break up your pages and use headers between major ideas so people scanning your site can find what they want quickly. Use important headers between each paragraph and major idea – this helps with SEO. Headers should be created with the H1 through H4 tags for SEO. Always use good writing structure and avoid long paragraphs that run on.

Color and Fonts
To help readability, use high contrast colors between font and background. Black text against a white background may seem stark, but it is very appealing to the eye. To make a website easy on the eyes, try an off-white background and a dark gray (almost black) text color.
Things to avoid with content color:

  • Avoid vibrant background colors like purple or yellow. Such back colors make text difficult to read.
  • Avoid using an image behind your text.
  • Avoid using bright text colors on bright backgrounds.

Fonts Matter
One simple statement covers the font issue:
Simple fonts are the best; the more fancy the font, the harder it is to read.
Since many browsers only have the standard font set, use standard fonts. In reality, there is no “standard”, but there are certain fonts that are installed on most browsers. These include Arial, Verdana, Tahoma and Times New Roman. Your readers will see something different than what you see if you use other fonts.
Standard Compliant Browser for Development
When developing and testing your site, use a standards compliant browser like FireFox. If you develop your site to be standards compliant, it will work in most browsers, including MS Internet Explorer (IE). It is recommended that you test your site using the latest and last browser versions of IE (IE7 and IE8). To run multiple versions of IE on the same machine, TredoSoft.com has a free installer that will install multiple versions of IE. It works great!
Keywords in Content
Of course, when writing content, not only should it be formatted to be people friendly, but also be search engine friendly. One way to make the subject of the content known to search engines is to use keywords that people will use when searching for your site. The textual content on your site should be related to the site itself – for example if you sell laptops you would use keywords such as Acer, Dell, HP, etc. Be sure to use keywords in your header tags, your first paragraph and throughout your text. The keyword density should be between 4% and 7% – but any more than that could first and foremost, be hard to read and still make sense and secondly, be considered spam by search engines and banned. Keywords should also be used in your TITLE tags and your Meta description.
2. Simplify Navigation

Menus and links make up the navigation that the visitor uses to get from page to page in a site. Always plan a site around how people will get from page to page. A visitor to your site should be able to get to what they want within three clicks of their mouse.

Multiple navigation points make it easy to find things. Repeat the top menu at the bottom. Also create a left or right menu.
Use links within your text to navigate to other areas on your site. You can create links so that they are good for search engine optimization (SEO). There are generally two ways to create links within your text:

  1. The wrong way: “For search engine optimization procedure, click here.”
  2. The right way: “It is important to use good techniques for search engine optimization.”

Using link text (anchor text) that describes what the link is about is the best way. Search engine web crawlers (programs that automatically index the contents of websites) visit your site, they “read” links. Spiders can index descriptive links into a subject or keyword category. Spiders have nothing to work with when reading a “click here” until it reaches the linked page.
This is Cross Linking – when writing your content use it as much as possible when it makes sense to do so.
3. Consistent Design

Be consistent – at most, one or two layouts should be used in your site design. As a reader browses your site, they should be able to get used to looking in the same place for your navigation, for your sub-navigation, and for your content. Nothing else need be said.

  1. Lower Page Weight is Better

Page weight is the total size of a page on your site in bytes – code, text and images. Your site’s page weight makes a big difference to your viewers. Lighter page weight is better for your readers because the page will download faster. The faster a page downloads, the faster they will get to the content.
What it Means to be Light

  • No large images.
  • Fewer images are better.
  • Optimize images for the web at no more than 72 dpi
  • Use as small an image dimension as possible for the given design.
  • Make gradients horizontal or vertical (not diagonal) so that you can use a

small image “strip” and repeat it.

How “Heavy” Should a Web Page be? 
Certain studies show that 64K is a good maximum webpage size. 64K is a maximum; however, it is still, in my opinion, really big; the smaller the page, the better. 25K is good, 15K is even better. There is a balance between design and function. It is a good idea to focus more on function for this is what will matter to the consumer.
Try putting pages on your web host server as you build your site so you can test it as you go. For pages online, you can test the page weight at www.quasarcr.com/pageweight/ to be sure you are on track.
Ways to make pages lighter:

  • Use linked style sheets
  • Use DIVs instead of TABLEs where possible
  • Use simple repeating backgrounds for effect

Summary
Visitors to your website should be able to find what they are looking for within about three clicks. Search engines should be able to navigate easily through your site. Making a site easy to read with consistent page design, and easy to navigate will make it easy to find information. When people can find information, they are more likely to refer your site or link to it – which is exactly what you want to encourage. You are now on your way to building a readable and hopefully successful website that is loved by people and search engines alike.

Kimberly Mottu

Content/Admin

Business Communication Solutions

SEO and Webdesign for Austin Texas

Meta Tag Optimization

Meta tags have not died out. They are utilized by all major search engines and are extremely important to your ranking. Should you require proof of how important Meta tags are, simply remove your Meta tags and watch your search engine ranking fall. Your site will sink to depths equaled only by that of the Mariana Trench (the deepest place on earth). Statistics show that users running a search will only click as far as page 3 to get their results, before returning to the search engine to run another search. Meta tags are a frequently overlooked factor which can improve the ranking of just about any website.

The title tag is the most important Meta tag to consider. Simply because search engine spiders read this tag first and place a high level of importance on the keywords associated with the Meta tag. Also, the title tag is used for the title of your listing in the search results. The contents of your title tag will appear in the top left corner of the browser bar. Correct title tag optimization is indispensable and will result in an impressive increase in your search engine ranking. The title tag should contain at least one or more keywords or keyword phrases to be of any relevance to the webpage.

Search engine spiders read the description Meta tag next. This tag is used as a website description in the search results. The description tag should also contain a few keywords. The keyword Meta tag is also vital to search engine ranking.  The keyword Meta tag gives search engine spiders a sample of relevant text and content within a webpage. Other Meta tags include robots, resource, author, copyright etc. These tags are not as important as the title, description and keyword tag; however, they should be included if possible. To achieve high search engine ranking – optimize your Meta tag data. Proper optimization will greatly improve your search engine placement.

Kimberly Mottu

Content/Admin

Business Communication Solutions

SEO and Webdesign for Austin Texas

The Steps before Website Traffic

By now, you probably already have the theme of your website established, your keyword phrases selected, your Webdesign complete and your website ready to go live. You’re thinking that you’ll submit your site to the search engines, sit back and see how much traffic the search engines will send you, right?

 

Wrong! There are many different avenues you can take to drive traffic to your site but, they should only be taken after you make the search engines your first priority. The search engines should be your basis. They’ll always send you a certain amount of traffic if you have a high page rank.

 

IMPORTANT!

 

Your website must be set up for a high page rank in the search engines and it’s important to do it before you submit your site for the first time. Here’s the reason why:

 

Usually, after you submit your website to the search engines for the first time, your website will be ‘spidered’ fairly quickly and hopefully your site will be listed on one of the top pages.

 

Your website may not get ‘spidered’ again for months so if you make changes to optimize your site, you may not see your changes take effect for quite a while. You could be stuck on a back page, if any page at all, for a very long time.

 

Without getting into the mechanics of designing your website, here are the basics of setting up your website to be search engine friendly and to get the all powerful page ranking you prefer.

 

First, establish the main keyword phrase for your site. This is the phrase that you want people to type into the search engines to find your website. It’s important to have your site focused around your main keyword phrase.

 

Then, create a title for your website and place it in the ‘title tag’ of your site. The ‘title tag’ should be the first tag in the ‘head’ of your site and it’s important because many search engines use the contents of the ‘title tag’ as the title of the listing. They also look for keyword phrases in the title; and your main keyword phrase should be the first words in the title.

 

Generally, your title should be no more than 40 characters and, again, it should begin with your main keyword phrase. Try to avoid using ‘stop words’ in your title. Stop words are transition words such as – and, but, or, for, with, etc.

 

 

 

Next, create a ‘keyword phrase meta tag’. This is where you list all the keyword phrases you want to use for your website starting with your ‘main keyword phrase’. A good rule of thumb is to use about 20 keyword phrases and your main keyword phrase should be contained in about half of them.

 

Notice; do not repeat your exact keyword phrase twice in a row.  Search engines might see this as spam and it could hurt your ranking.

 

Now, create a ‘description meta tag’. This is where you describe your website and, again, you should start with your main keyword phrase.

 

Keep your description to about 150 characters, use as few ‘stop words’ as you can and sprinkle in as many secondary keywords as possible.  Make your description interesting because search engines often use the contents in your ‘description meta tag’ as the description of your website in the listing.

 

Finally, use your keyword phrases often in the body of your website. Make sure your ‘main keyword phrase’ is somewhere in the beginning and at the end of the body of your page.

 

It’s a good idea to use your main keyword phrase in an ‘h1’ tag and a few of your secondary keywords in an ‘h2’ tag. This tells the search engines that you put importance on your keyword phrases.

 

It’s also a good idea to underline your main keyword phrase no more than once and to use bold text for your main keyword phrase no more than once.

 

Although there are other factors that determine your position in the search engines, having the basics of what search engines look for will give you a much better chance of making that illusive first page and driving consistent traffic to your site.

 

Kimberly Mottu

Content/Admin

Business Communication Solutions

SEO and Webdesign for Austin Texas

The Importance of Keyword Phrases

Using industry specific keyword phrases is very important.  Whenever possible use keyword phrases in Domain Names and URL’s, if this is not possible; simply use the company name.  Home pages are given the most weight by search engines. Therefore, use more competitive and general phrases.  When writing the content for your website use a variety of tenses such as “present, past, singular, plural” use all variations, this helps to avoid repetition.  Using overly repetitive keyword phrases in the website content may be viewed by the search engine as spamming and the site runs the risk of being completely removed from the search results.

 

Keyword phrases determine the websites position on the search engine results page and drive your rankings on Google, Yahoo, MSN, etc… When writing content for any website write for people and include keyword phrases for search engines.  Title tags are the most important place for keyword phrases as this is the first place search engine crawlers will scan for the matching search results.

 

However, title tags are given a lot of weight by search engines.  Therefore, use the most important keyword phrases in the title tags.  Title tag keyword phrases should be 10 – 12 words and must make sense.  Also, use the most important title tags first as search results show a limited field of information.   Following a few simple guidelines when creating your keyword phrases can make all the difference.

 

As you can see there is more to keyword phrases than meets the eye.  The placement of keyword phrases, the rules and regulations, and the method of creation can not only drive traffic to your website, they can also make or break your standings in the search engine results page.  So be vigilant, and do your research before setting up your website.  After all, a website with good content is of no use if you can’t get the information to your target audience.

 

 

Kimberly Mottu

Content/Admin

Business Communication Solutions

SEO and Webdesign for Austin Texas

http://www.bcs-seo.com

Copywriters Job

The success of a website depends a great deal on how many people choose to visit the site, the amount of targeted traffic they have. One of the best ways to bring traffic to your site is with the help of search engine copywriting.

What is search engine copywriting? This is the process of creating quality content for your website. These types of articles are usually distributed over the Internet. Their distinctive sign is that they have a link inserted in their anchor text and thus visitors can be redirected to a homepage.

Such content can be very important both for you and for search engines; because with their help the rankings of your site can improve. The importance of this particular type of article is enhanced by the fact that they promote all the relevant keywords for your site. When you insert in the content of the articles all your popular keywords alongside a link to your site then the rankings will significantly improve.

The writing of such articles involves research and creativity. One should make sure that the keywords fit in the text naturally and that the overall article is about promoting your business. The content that the SEO copywriters create has to be written in such a manner than many blogs decide to post it thus increasing the chances of good ranking. They are also supposed to be able to write content on many themes, from medical, to traveling and other.

The potential clients should want to visit the website and follow the link. Such articles not only help you promote your business but they also get you a high amount of inbound links. If you think that this is too much of a hassle then you might want to ask for the help of some professionals who can offer you all the help you need.

Kimberly Mottu

Content/Admin

Business Communication Solutions

SEO and Webdesign for Austin Texas

http://www.bcs-seo.com

Robot protocol

The Robots.txt protocol, also called the “robots exclusion standard” is designed to lock out web spiders from accessing part of a website. It is a security or privacy measure, the equivalent of hanging a “Keep Out” sign on your door.

This protocol is used by web site administrators when there are sections or files that they would rather not be accessed by the rest of the world. This could include employee lists, or files that they are circulating internally. For example, the White House website uses robots.txt to block any inquiries on speeches by the Vice President, a photo essay of the First Lady, and profiles of the 911 victims.

How does the protocol work? It lists the files that shouldn’t be scanned, and places it in the top-level directory of the website. The robots.txt protocol was created by consensus in June 1994 by members of the robots mailing list. There are no official standards for the protocol, so it’s difficult to legislate or mandate. In fact, the file is treated as strictly advisory, and does not have absolute guarantee that those contents won’t be read.

In effect, robot.txt requires cooperation by the web spider and even the reader, since anything that is uploaded into the internet becomes publicly available. You aren’t locking them out of those pages; you are just making it harder for them to get in. But it takes very little for them to ignore these instructions. Computer hackers can also easily penetrate the files and retrieve information. So if it’s that sensitive, it shouldn’t be on your website to begin with.

However, care should be taken to ensure that the Robots.txt protocol doesn’t block the website robots from other areas of the website. This will dramatically affect your search engine ranking, as the crawlers rely on the robots to count the keywords, review metatags, titles and crossheads, and even register the hyperlinks.

One misplaced hyphen or dash can have catastrophic effects. For example, the robots.txt patterns are matched by simple substring comparisons, so care should be taken to make sure that patterns matching directories have the final ‘/’ character appended: otherwise all files with names starting with that substring will match, rather than just those in the intended directory.

To avoid these problems, consider submitting your site to a search engine spider simulator, also called search engine robot simulator. These simulators – which can be bought or downloaded from the internet – use the same processes and strategies of different search engines and give you a “dry run” of how they will read your site. They will tell you which pages are skipped, which links are ignored, and which errors are encountered. Since the simulators will also reenact how the bots will follow your hyperlinks, you’ll see if your robot.txt protocol is interfering with the search engine’s ability to read through all the necessary pages.

It’s also important to review your robot.txt files, which will enable you to spot any problems and correct them before you submit them to real search engines.

Kimberly Mottu

Content/Admin

Business Communication Solutions

SEO and Webdesign for Austin Texas

So You Have a Website Now What?

You started with a great idea and products that you want to market. You’ve done your research and built the website; now, how do you drive people to your site?

Having unlimited funds, you can pay to get your website submitted to multiple search engines. Submitting your website to search engines for free can take anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks.

There are a lot of submission programs being advertised on the internet. Most are legitimate programs, but buyers beware, some will take your money and deliver no results. Here are some ideas to help assist you on your road to success.

Promote your website

 

There are many possibilities when it comes to advertising your products and website. First, add your website information to your signature line in your email account. Then, every time you send an email, you are advertising your website. Second, print up flyers about your products and website and post them around your community. Third, buy airtime and advertise your products and website on the radio or television. Fourth, advertise on free website directories such as www.freewebsitedirectoryaustin.com. You may not get a large number of clicks through free classifieds but the goal is to get your name, products, and information circulating. Finally, another option to drive traffic to your website without having to pay out large sums of money is by using http://www.InstantBuzz.com.  Instant Buzz is the easiest way to drive targeted traffic to your website just by doing what you do anyway; surfing the web. You can install Instant Buzz in seconds, and you’ll still earn traffic every time you surf. It is free, so you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Pay-Per-Click

This form of advertising can get pricey pretty quickly but by using Yahoo and Google Adwords, you can set your own spending limit to ensure you don’t go over budget. Both sites have keyword help to assist you in creating the most effective keywords. A word of advice, start small when using Pay-Per-Click. Allow yourself time to get the hang of things. If you choose keywords with low click prices, you can receive more clicks before you reach your limit.

An e-Book that you may want to consider is “Dotcomology. The Science of Making Money Online” This book contains information on how to use Pay-Per-Click search engines properly to drive traffic to your site; How to profit using Google Adwords; and How to make your website attractive, engaging and interactive. The best part of this e-Book is that it’s free. No gimmicks no hype just a free resource for you to use.

Kimberly Mottu

Content/Admin

Business Communication Solutions

SEO and Webdesign for Austin Texas

Secrets to Searching the Internet

When it comes to the easiest search engines to use, after you learn the web searching basics, these are Google and Yahoo. In most cases, relevant search results are returned to the searcher if good search terms are entered. Let’s say you want to learn about a dog breed called the Boxer. Probably you will input Boxer into the search engine and then press enter.

You could easily get a multitude of search results without one pertaining to a breed of dog. Your search results may include items such as types of underwear and well known fighters. What you should do at that point is enter multiple terms such as Boxer and dog to get pages carrying both terms. With multiple terms you get more accurate results for your intended searches. With major search engines boolean notation such as the following: ( ), AND, OR, NOT, &, !, “ “ can be used by Web surfers when it comes to search phrases. What boolean notation refers to is the logical relationship of search terms. Terms can be used alone or in combinations as you describe your desired search result.

Should you prefer to refine your search criteria, you should use the ‘or’ operator. The Images search option for Google and Yahoo is located above the search criteria entry box. Taking your searched subjects into consideration, this will provide you with related images.

There are times when excluding some items from the search becomes a useful way of running a search. Search results would not include any web page that features terms when you make use of a minus sign when searching for them. When it comes to a Boolean this is the best way to do it. Performing an ‘and’ operation is a matter of using a plus sign together with the search terms.

There are a lot of uses for quotes when it comes to searches. Words are grouped to appear together in a page for the page to be part of the displayed search results. Using quotes is particularly useful when searching the Internet for a person.

After mastering the basic techniques of surfing the Web, you might want to try some power surfing. When you search for a phone number you could get matches that pertain to the person or organization registered to that number. Entering ‘define’ and a word will get you results on the word’s definition.

These few simple steps will help get you started using the internet to query search results that are more specific to your search terms.

Kimberly Mottu

Content/Admin

Business Communication Solutions

SEO and Webdesign for Austin Texas

http://www.bcs-seo.com

Easy Steps to the Top

Search Engine Optimization companies are making a fortune by doing the menial work that is overlooked by many designers. It is amazingly easy to do most of the work done by SEO companies; all you have to do is have good seo habits.

There are 9 main points you should focus on:

• Keywords
• URL Text
• Description, Meta tags
• Title tags
• Image Names
• ALT tags
• Heading tags
• Content
• Hyperlinks

The focus of these 9 steps is to load your pages with as many “keywords” as possible.

Keywords
Keywords are the most important aspect of good SEO, this is where you tell the Search Engines what your site is about. Search Engines use an algorithm to determine the “Keyword Density” of your site, this formula is:

Total Words ÷ Keywords= Keyword Density

Use this formula on your competitors web site and see how they score, then aim to beat that score.

Choose keywords that best relate to the information, products or services that you are offering. For instance, if I am designing a site about “Web Design”, I want my site to include the words “Web Design” as many times as possible.

However, most people don’t just search for just one word; they type phrases, so you should consider the phrases that best suit your sites target market. For example, if I am creating a site about “Web Design” in New Orleans, I would include “New Orleans web design” in my keywords. Another way around this is to not separate my keywords with commas, just use spaces, and the Search Engines will make the phrases for you. The most important thing to remember is that the content of each page is different, so only use keywords pertaining to that page.

URL Text
When you name a new page you have the option to call it anything you could possibly imagine, why not see a keyword? After all, the URL address is the first thing a search engine comes across when indexing your pages. You have to remember content doesn’t come easy to everyone, so you need to slip in your keywords when the process gives you an easy one.

Description Meta tags
These tags are dwindling in importance since Search Engines are now looking at content, but every little bit counts.

Optimize your meta tags to match your content, products, and services, and the Search Engines that still look at meta data will reward your efforts.

Title Tags
Title tags are the tags that tell the Search Engine the title, or formal description of the document or page. This is the word or phrase that is seen at the top of the browser window. The most important rule about title tags is, don’t put anything in the title tags but keywords. Once again this is an easy time to slip in your keywords, so don’t miss out.

Image Names
As I said before, content doesn’t come easy to everyone, so slip in your keywords whenever possible, this applies to image names. If you are saving a picture of a guy working on a computer for your web design web site, don’t call it “some_dude.jpg”, call it “web_site_design.jpg”. The Search engine will look at the code for the site and see the image pertains to the content of the site and this will be another relevant element on that particular page. You have to take the easy ones when you are given a chance.

ALT tags
Alt tags are keywords that you can attach to images, giving more weight to the image since Search Engines can’t analyze the content of the image itself. Here is a chance to slip in more keywords without writing great content, use it.

Heading tags
Heading tags are associated with the bold font that leads into a section of text. Like the following:

Web Design
Web Design Inc. offers custom web site designs…

Your heading tags should only be keywords, and should be presented in the order that your Meta tags follow.

H1= first meta tag, H2= second meta tag…

Try to utilize all 6 heading tags on each page to ensure maximum page optimization.

Content
As every expert will tell you, “Content is King.” Each web page should have at least 350 words on it, but keep in mind the formula for keyword density. You don’t want to fill a page with 1500 words of useless information and only have 5 keywords in it. Some people get hung-up on how browsers display text, and use images with text in them because they want a cool font, but browsers can’t read the text embedded in images, so this content ads no weight to the page in a Search Engines eyes.

Linkbaiting is the new trend among high ranking sites. Linkbaiting means writing quality content, or articles that other web sites can display on their pages as long as they give credit, and a link to your site.

You don’t have to be a vi or emac expert to write good web content, just be thoughtful of how you word things and incorporate your keywords.

Hyperlinks
Hyperlinks are text links to other pages on your site. The rules of SEO and hyperlinks are easy:

• Use hyperlinks so the Search Engine will have a text link to follow to the next page
• Don’t use one word links, use long link phrases, preferably keyword phrases
• Use bullets, or some sort of small image that you can attach an ALT tag to, this will ad more importance to the link, and throw in a couple of free keywords for you.

Keep these 9 aspects in mind when designing a site, and you are sure to have a leg up on the competition.

Kimberly Mottu

Content/Admin

Business Communication Solutions

SEO and Webdesign for Austin, Texas

http://www.bcs-seo.com

Pros and Cons of Flash Websites

This will be a quick overview of the pros and cons of Flash websites.

 

Flash Pros

Greater Interactivity: The flash environment enables a more interactive viewing experience. Flash allows the embedding of videos, sound files, and the embedding of media plays for these features.

Greater Control: Flash allows the website size to be adjusted based on the viewers browser resolution, this allows the images and text to remain unchanged or distorted. This will also be useful since more people are viewing websites on PDAs and other mobile devices.

Improved Integration: Flash allows the integration of multi file formats, such as (gif, jpeg, png, pct, tif), also vector image formats such as freehand, eps, and adobe files).

Easier Font Handling: Flash allows embedding of specialty fonts, and will display the fonts without replacing them with the browser/windows viewer defaults. The fonts do not have to be installed or download on the viewer’s computer to be displayed.

Replicate Frames: Flash uses a similar feature as HTML frames, allowing only select parts of the webpage to change or scroll.

Stand-Alone Movies: Flash can play stand-alone presentations called Projectors; these are videos being played on an embedded player on the website.

No Reload: Flash can update or change data without having to reload the viewer’s browser.

Flash Cons

Plug-In Required: Flash requires a plug-in installation in order to run in the majority of browsers. The ability to install this plug-ins to view the pages is required or the flash sites will not be displayed.

Video Woes: Flash players to have the same enhanced features as QuickTime or other Video players.

Search Engine Issues: THE MAJOR CON OF FLASH

Search engines can not index flash content, which means that your website will not be crawled or spiders. Indexing of a website enables users to search for your company or website and have it on top of the search list. This is called SEO (Search Engine Optimization), is required that websites have textual content in order to be crawled and indexed in the search engines.

Lack of Screen Reader Support: Accessibility is another downfall of Flash, as many accessibility programs can not read or understand Flash.

Print Problems: If your site is intended to be used as informational and users need to print information from your site, flash movies content is not allows selectable for printing and will result in your users going else were for information.

Thus, with a Ratio of 7:6, it may seem that Flash is the way to go, however take in to consideration what you may loss if indeed you choice to build a Flash website, the ability for your future clients and/or current clients to search for your website. If your website can not be found easily these future clients will look elsewhere for what they need.

For more information on Webdesign-SEO.

A.Stewart,
“SEO and Webdesign for Austin Texas”
Designer / Content – Business Communication Solutions
http://www.bcs-seo.com

Social Media Marketing

Social media websites are not just about finding the love of your life or keeping in contact with your friends online. Social Media is being using around the world for Business networking and is a relevant and a crucial aspect of Web Design-SEO.

Social Media campaigns are becoming more popular with Businesses and generate a huge amount of traffic. Businesses are using social media websites as a way to publish current content, and distribute information to a large client base for free.

But they cannot get away with using any kind of site content. In order to attract new users as well as keep current users for the long-term, it is imperative to utilize timely content management. Websites that do not provide relevant fresh content, not maintained, run slow and are not open to suggestions from their users, do not gain and keep large amounts of traffic. Traffic is the main goal of all successful SM campaigns.

If you want to increase your product awareness or get product/service feedback, you need to first establish goals for your SM Campaign. As the campaign grows, review these goals, as you consider user experiences.

Branding your SM is of the extremely important. Due to social media’s reach to more traffic, the branding of our site and the client base it is designed to reach must be on point from the moment it is launched.

It is also important to be a active community leader in your market field. There are some SM campaigns that dislike feedback and disable comments, successful campaigns are responsive and tailor their message in order to meet the always-changing demands of their target user.

Entice your users. You can encourage online visitors to share information about your campaign efforts by giving away new offers and special discounts to repeat guests.

Finally, utilize your Social Media page’s status changes and updates to expand your network of clients. Users tend to check their social media profiles on a regular basis, you will be able to instantly update them regarding special promotions for your business.

A.Stewart,
“SEO and Webdesign for Austin Texas”
Designer / Content – Business Communication Solutions
http://www.bcs-seo.com

Building Website Hits by Boosting Link Popularity

Backlink building is one method to increase site visitors to your current website. The idea was initiated by a Google co founder noting – whenever an Internet site points to some other Internet site they are actually endorsing the other website on their own web page. For that reason, the better an Internet site is the more backlinks are generally aimed at that Internet site.

This kind of theory is currently called link popularity. A lot of website owners tend to be passionate with regards to their web page link popularity. Some use dishonest ways by purchasing hundreds of text links through another site. Nevertheless, this technique works just for the short term. A frequent revision through Google, generally known as Google dance, modifies its algorithm regularly.

I’m virtually no expert when it comes to search engine algorithms. The only people who recognize how Google operates are those men and women working at Google. Nonetheless, I really believe there presently exists several ways you can raise your link popularity.

1st and above all, you want to establish plenty of content material. Getting lots of subject material allows you to provide important information to the search engine users. When these folks like your views or maybe your knowledge, many of them may just use a quote from your piece of writing and offer a resource, something like a link page, pointing to your website.

In addition, as your site content increases, you may be considered the particular specialist of your industry. This can sequentially attract a lot more surfers as well as site owners that may occasionally provide you with a website link back to the article page.

The second technique to obtain additional links is to begin your personal weblog normally referred to as a blog. Folks that read your blog may click the hyperlink you published in the content; so long as you provide them with interesting articles to read.

Another strategy to obtain link popularity is to submit your Internet site to the most notable web directories. Although this method is less efficient, usually the one way backlink you’re going to get from the directories is a less dangerous approach than making use of shared back linking.

Not surprisingly, you are only able to dictate your links which are directed to various other websites and not the other way around. If you’re engaging in shared back linking with a ‘bad’ site, Google will punish you since you ‘endorse’ their particular website.  With this technique, be sure you only add your website once to every website directory.

In conclusion, the best way to improve your link popularity is to apply article marketing. This is usually a very simple to use process, you simply create an article regarding the subject connected with your own website, and then add two or three backlinks inside the authors resource box which will direct people back to your personal website. And submit them to each article directory website you can locate.

Kimberly Mottu

Content/Admin – Business Communication Solutions

www.bcs-seo.com

Web Design Trends for 2012

Websites are no longer static pages. They are not webpage’s full of useless flash animations and gifs to just entice users to view the website longer or to bog down your internet connect requiring a reboot. No, web sites have become accessible by using design practices that are geared toward the end user, our clients and customers. Using aesthetics in the correct setting and for the right project will draw users to your site and reduce your bounce rate. Simpler designs do not mean boring designs, only that information is more clearly presented and easier to find. Users need the ability to locate and retrieve information without having to click through multi layer websites and end up getting lost in the bells, buzzers and whistles of most webpage’s. Keep in mind that minimalist design can include unique, creative, and useful functions.

Trends this year will include:

  • HTML5
  • CSS3
  • Single Page Websites with Sliders
  • Parallax Scrolling
  • Mobile Design
  • Impressive Typography
  • Big Images & Photo Backgrounds
  • Textures
  • Design Below the Fold
  • WordPress
  • Social Media Sharing

While exploring some of these trends to not be afraid to experiment with our own websites, just remember do not incorporate every trend in one website, using New Trend Designs should enhance your websites presence, not detract from the content that the user is trying to locate. In designing your site think about what it is you are trying to get from your website and give to your users.

Annoying Website Features

Do visitors find your website annoying, does your bounce rate show that users leave your site immediately spending less than 1 or 2 seconds viewing your website content? Well if it does,  your site may be using some of these Annoying Features, which will drive your visitors running to your competitors’ site.

  1. Background music – Background music is great to draw the attention of your visitors, but avoid continuously playing the song on every single page, and give the user the option of turning off the background music.
  2. Huge font size – All Capital Fonts or Large Font is not acceptable unless you are creating a accessible site for the visually impaired. All CAPITAL FONTS or LARGE FONTS is considered Shouting to your visitors online. It is all about Internet Etiquette.
  3. Small font size – Needing to draw attention to a certain content is great using color, or underlines, do not use to small of a font or to large. The rule of thumb is 12-font for content and 14 to 16- fonts for headers.
  4. Overlapping layers – Layers should be used minimal, do not try to force our visitors in to reading or viewing your content by creating annoying messages over top of other content, just politely direct your visitors to the content with a nicely placed link or graphic.
  5. Popup windows – Do not use these, your important content will be missed as almost all browsers are preinstalled with pop up blockers, instead try using a light box which does not get blocked by popup blockers and adds a nice design element to your website. Light boxes can include graphics, pictures and content and are SEO friendly.

These are just a few of the annoying design features webmasters use on client websites, remember the goal of our design is to keep your user on your website for as long as possible and to keep them coming back for feature updates.

Creating a Efficient Website

The goal of any website is to impress our visitors and keep them coming back for more, and telling their friends about your website. This usually happens with sites that are all flash, with cool graphics and animations. However these sites load slow require special add-on software to run with most computers and browsers.  We talk about how to create an efficient site that users will come back too.

Let’s look at what efficient web design means:

  1. Efficient:
  1. “end user friendly”
  2. “provides relevant updated content the user is looking for”
  3. “does not add in irrelevant graphics or content to fill up space “
  4. “accomplishes the owner of the websites end goals”

Web designer can take a lesson for efficient layout design from several sources including

  • Books
  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Brochures

Web Users Do not READ

Web Users do not read, they scan websites for keywords related to what they are looking for, if your site is not efficiently laid out and the content is not relevant users will not find what they are looking for and go else where for their needs. It has been analyzed that these people read web pages from left to right.

  • Users only scan your content
  • Place important content at the top of the page left side as people read left to right.
  • User who do not stay on your site for more than 10 seconds will general not come back

Planning for the end user

Planning is imperative; creating a Story Board for your website will eliminate redesign and poor layout choices.

  1. Creating a story board is as simple is drawing a schematic of what your site will look like , placement of graphics and content.
  2. Decided who your target demographics will be, and base your layout, and theme on those demographics
  3. On your story board decide where the most important content will be, and how the end user will relate to it
  4. Label each section of your story board with relevant keywords for headers and content
  5. Decide where navigation should be placed on the top of page below logo or on the left side adjacent to Top Content
  6. Create a digital version of your storyboard using a graphics program so you can arrange and manipulate the layout design before coding it for your website..
  7. Your layout is done. You can move on to designing now!

Finalizing the Design

Too, finalize your design, and verify the site works how it is suppose to, send your site to some trust friends offline (a build version) for feed back. Ask them some general questions, how easy was the site to navigate, could they find the information they where looking for? Was the general layout easy to navigate though? If the answer to these are positive then you have a finalized design, if not then you need to spend some more time researching and coming up with a efficient layout before making your site live.

Web Designer -vs- Web Developer

Learning the lingo of the Internet and what functions Web Designers and Web Developers’ play in the creation of a Website can be tricky. A design (created by web designer) is what the end user sees on the website visually, and a web developer, programs the websites functionality of the website to ensure it does what the website is suppose to.

A website is made up of different parts all working together to create a perfect blend of design and development.

  • Look and feel – this part of a site is made up of graphics, color scheme and layout
  • Content – is the text based information about your company, products and services
  • Functionality –this part includes navigation, forms, and special features that need to be programmed with code like java, php, asp to function correctly
  • Usability – this part is where the user interacts with your website, does everything work, can they see everything, and does it meet compatibility with the major browser’s and computer resolutions.

Design –vs- Development in the World of Websites

Designers and developers must work together to integrate, the creative with the function. Creating a balance of what a design can look and feel like with the functions it needs to perform is a challenge.

Can you have a designer and developer in the same person, yes of course you can be a designer and developer, but generally the rolls are performed with a trained designer and a developer working on a project to ensure each area meets the end goal for the website and the user.

Web Design is comprised of content development, look and feel of a website. Web Development is the creation of the backend code and testing that users never see.

Web Designers use graphic software such as Photoshop, paint shop pro and other graphics tools. The must also now html and basic knowledge of other web development languages.  Web Designers must have the knowledge to do usability testing and site testing for their graphics and content.

Web Developers program the functional site of the website, such as navigation code for dropdown or pop out navigation, special effects for graphics or content and the creation of form submissions, data collection and security of a website.

Both web designers and web developers must work in unison to create a well balance aesthetically pleasing, and functional website for the client and end user.

Color Scheme for Your Website

When choosing a color scheme take in to consideration the emotions colors can evoke from your users and the effect it will have on your website design. Colors have different meanings and emotions associated with them. Be aware of these when choosing the color scheme for your website. Colors are categorized in neutrals, warms and cool shades and tones.

Neutral Colors: 
Whites – Whites stand for purity and cleanliness. In eastern cultures white is associated with death, while in western cultures the color of white is associated with marriage and hope.

Grays – Grays show reliability and a sign of being conservative. Grey is a strong color for business attire and for decorating a business office.

Browns – Browns are more related to natural or eco friendliness, as well as home and family.

Blacks – Blacks tend to signify strength, elegance and glamour, sophistication. It can also be related to death or depression.

Warm Colors:
Reds – Reds are great for attacking attention, but should be used minimally. Red is associated with anger, violence, love, passion.

Yellows – Yellow can convey weakness or being scared,  as well warmth and happiness depending on the shade and tone.

Oranges – Orange is associated the fall or autumn. It can increase or help once appetite, great for a food, or cooking website.

Pinks – Pinks usually symbolize innocence, femininity and romance.

Cool Colors:
Blue – Blue can be calming and relaxing like listening to water or looking at the sky. It also shows trust or loyalty.  Blue is usually associated with medical or financial businesses.

Green – Green can cause jealousy or envy, but it also is associated with money and wealth.

Purple – Purple tends to be associated with creativity, royalty and romance.

Web Safe Colors

Monitors & Browsers display colors differently, so it is important when choosing a color scheme to utilize colors from the 216 colors that can be displayed on all monitors and in every browser almost identically.

Color Schemes

Color schemes can be composed of a single color, complimentary colors or contrasting colors.

Single Color — Single color schemes uses several different shades and tones of a single color on a solid background usually white or black.

Complementary Colors – Complementary color schemes use two or more colors that are in the same category warm, cool or neutral.

Contrasting Colors – Contrasting color schemes use two or more dominant colors usually across from each other on a color wheel. Some color combinations will create a visual impairment on your website such as unfocused text or make the page look as if it is vibrating.

When choosing a color scheme keep in mind your graphics, content and your demographics. Each color will create a mood and over all feeling about your company and what it has to offer the end user. Test colors visually on different monitors, screen resolutions and browsers to get the perfect color scheme for your website.

Easy Steps to the Top 10

Search Engine Optimization companies are making a fortune by doing the menial work that is overlooked by many designers. It is ridiculously easy to do most of the work done by most SEO companies, all you have to do is create good habits.

There are 9 main points you should focus on:

• Keywords
• URL Text
• Description, Meta tags
• Title tags
• Image Names
• ALT tags
• Heading tags
• Content
• Hyperlinks

The focus of these 9 steps is to load your pages with as many “keywords” as possible.

Keywords
Keywords are the most important aspect of good SEO, this is where you tell the Search Engines what your site is about. Search Engines use an algorithm to determine the “Keyword Density” of your site, this formula is:

Total Words ÷ Keywords= Keyword Density

Use this formula on your competitors web site and see how they score, then aim to beat that score.

Choose keywords that best relate to the information, products or services that you are offering. For instance, if I am designing a site about “Web Design”, I want my site to include the words “Web Design” as many times as possible.

However, most people don’t just search for just one word, they type phrases, so you should consider the phrases that best suit your sites target market. For example, if I am creating a site about “Web Design” in New Orleans, I would include “New Orleans web design” in my keywords. Another way around this is to not separate my keywords with commas, just use spaces, and the Search Engines will make the phrases for you. The most important thing to remember is that the content of each page is different, so only use keywords pertaining to that page.

URL Text
When you name a new page you have the option to call it anything you could possibly think of, why not se a keyword? After all, the URL address is the first things a search engine comes across when indexing your pages. You have to remember content doesn’t come easy to everyone, so you gotta slip in your keywords when the process gives you an easy one.

Description Meta tags
These tags are dwindling in importance since Search Engines are now looking at content, but every little bit counts.

Optimize your meta tags to match your content, products, and services, and the Search Engines that still look at meta data will reward your efforts.

Title Tags
Title tags are the tags that tell the Search Engine the title, or formal description of the document or page. This is the word or phrase that is seen at the top of the browser window. The most important rule about title tags is, don’t put anything in the title tags but keywords. Once again this is an easy time to slip in your keywords, so don’t miss out.

Image Names
As I said before, content doesn’t come easy to everyone, so slip in your keywords whenever possible, this applies to image names. If you are saving a picture of a guy working on a computer for your web design web site, don’t call it “some_dude.jpg”, call it “web_site_design.jpg”. The Search engine will look at the code for the site and see the image pertains to the content of the site and this will be another relevant element on that particular page. You have to take the easy ones when you are given a chance.

ALT tags
Alt tags are keywords that you can attach to images, giving more weight to the image since Search Engines can’t analyze the content of the image itself. Here is a chance to slip in more keywords without writing great content, use it.

Heading tags
Heading tags are associated with the bold font that leads into a section of text. Like this:

Web Design
Web Design Inc. offers custom web site designs…

Your heading tags should only be keywords, and should be presented in the order that your Meta tags follow.

H1= first meta tag, H2= second meta tag…

Try to utilize all 6 heading tags on each page to ensure maximum page optimization.

Content
As every expert will tell you, “Content is King.” Each web page should have at least 350 words on it, and the more the better, but keep in mind the formula for keyword density. You don’t want to fill a page with 1500 words of jibba-jabba and only 5 keywords in it. Some people get hung-up on how browsers display text, and use images with text in them because they want a cool font, but browsers can’t read the text embedded in images, so this content ads no weight to the page in a Search Engines eyes.

Linkbaiting is the new trend among high ranking sites. Linkbaiting means writing quality content, or articles that other web sites can display on their pages as long as they give credit, and a link to your site.

You don’t have to be a vi or emac expert to write good web content, just be thoughtful of how you word things and incorporate your keywords.

Hyperlinks
Hyperlinks are text links to other pages on your site. The rules of SEO and hyperlinks are easy:

• Use hyperlinks so the Search Engine will have a text link to follow to the next page
• Don’t use one word links, use long link phrases, preferably keyword phrases
• Use bullets, or some sort of small image that you can attach an ALT tag to, this will ad more importance to the link, and throw in a couple of free keywords for you.

Keep these 9 aspects in mid when designing a site, and you are sure to have a leg up on the competition.

Kimberly Mottu

Content/Admin for Business Communication Solutions

SEO and Webdesign for Austin Texas

http://www.bcs-seo.com

Virtualization

Virtualization software enables deployment of multiple operating systems, applications, and tools on a single (physical) host computer.  Virtualization enables simplified configuration and testing of multi-tier applications, updates, and patches.  Virtualization allows multiple virtual machines (computers) to run side by side on the same physical host computer.

 

Some of the actual requirements to run a virtual machine are as follows:

Standard x86 compatible computer system, 733 MHz or faster, 512MB RAM Minimum (2GB Recommended), 16-bit display adapter (32-bit recommended), 150 MB of Install disk space, and Ethernet controller supported by the host Operating System.

 

Some virtualization software only support certain host operating systems.  For example, VMware Workstation 6.5 is compatible with (32-bit Windows) MS Windows XP Home and Professional Editions with SP2 or later and MS Windows Vista Enterprise, Business, Home Basic, Home Premium and Ultimate Editions (supported with or without SP1) along with other applications.

 

The monitor, keyboard, mouse, and any external devices will work for the virtual machine just as they work for the host computer.  Optional devices using USB, Parallel, and Serial ports can be added to the virtual machine.  Some virtual machines allow as many as three Ethernet cards each with a unique MAC address.  The virtual machines operating system sees real devices and there is configurable bios.  The virtual machine (computer) can be suspended, paused, started, and shut down just like any physical computer.

 

The benefits of a virtual machine come in many different forms.  First, isolation, virtual machines (computers) are completely isolated from each other and the (physical) host computer.  Therefore, if one of the virtual machines crashes it does not affect the other virtual machines or the host computer.  Second, there is encapsulation, basically, this means that a complete virtual machine environment is saved as a single file or set of files making it easier to back-up, move, copy, and re-cover.  Third, virtual machines make hardware maintenance easier as you do not have any added hardware. Finally, configuring virtual machines works about the same as configuring a physical computer; you still have to build the machine, add the devices, an operating system and all of the needed software.

 

Kimberly Mottu

Content/Admin

Business Communication Solutions

SEO and Webdesign for Austin Texas

http://www.bcs-seo.com

Webinars: Keeping Up To Date on Web Design-SEO

Web Designs who market themselves as SEO Experts are continually learning what the new trends in Web Design and practicing SEO techniques. During a recent Webinar, the Instructor said SEO is an Art not a Science. That being said Web Design and SEO are every changing and needing to be modified to meet the new algorithms that search engines utilize to index and rank our clients websites.

 

At Business Communications Solutions we are continually learning and practicing new Web Design-SEO trends and techniques. We pride ourselves on knowing the most updates information to assist us in getting your site found on the internet.

 

By taking Webinar Courses, we can learn and implement these new strategies in our clients’ websites. We have access to the newest software applications to track your analytics, keywords, key phrases and ranking.

 

Business Communication Solutions Web Design-SEO branch is dedicated to continually education our Designers and designing the most up to date websites for our clients.

Choose a Content Writer or Writing Content yourself?

The achievements of your web page will depend on discovering the best author for the job. It takes a special collaboration of ability for your author, sometimes known as a articles creator, to have the most effect on your web page and your business. While no two websites are the same, focusing on the primary goal of your website will help your company attain the highest viewership in your market.

 

Choose a Content Writer or Writing Content yourself?
Composing for the web is different than other types of articles. From writing convincing statements to making sure articles are useful and easy to check out, your articles author’s efficiency will significantly affect your web traffic. The goal is to have your users spend some time browsing through your entire site, rather than examining one item before leaving your site. Good sentence structure, punctuation and grammar are must-have skills.

If you choose to hire a Content writer, you need to assure that they understand SEO (search engine optimization). SEO is what is used to determine Keywords key phrases in order for Search Engines to find your website. Content writers must have an understanding of not only SEO but also the ability to research and understand your business to write high quality and user friendly content for your website.

If you choose to write Content yourself, do proper research on your market, look at the content from the users perspective, you know your business structure, the products, and services inside and out. But a user needs to be able to read and understand what you are offering them, and not feel overwhelmed with irrelevant, meaningless content filling the pages just to get keywords on the website. Make sure your content is relevant and updated.