SEO de-mystified

How to explain SEO to your Grandma

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

Teach Grandma SEOIn the beginning, there was the Computer.  The Computer operated alone until networking became possible (and also useful to the military).  Then there came the Internet as a way that all computers could communicate and advertise to each other anywhere, as long as there was a phone line.  The way your computer accessed the Internet was through a Browser (Netscape, Internet explorer, Safari, FireFox, etc.); this is like your particular brand of doorway into the world-wide-web.  It is specific to your personal computer.

Next came the Search Engine (Google, Yahoo, Chrome) which lives on the Internet as a sort of organizer and librarian.  This meant you didn’t have to know the exact website address (URL) to track down a certain website anymore. The search engine would do the sorting and searching for you and display a neat list of the closest matches to what you were asking.  They also try to get rid of sites that are malicious/illegal or sometimes just really annoying…Naturally there is much debate about the power we invest in Search Engines, but they are just so damn useful!
Currently, Google has by far surpassed other search engines in popularity and usability and has even become it’s own verb (did ya google it?).  What SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tries to do is make a website as clear and as recognizable to Google (Yahoo, etc.) as possible.  In other words, making sure your website can be read by robots.  Its not just people you are trying to get to see your website now, it is the All-mighty Search Engine, which determines what pops up on that list when someone types their desires into that toolbar….

SEOStats Released! Free iPhone SEO tool!

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

As some of you may know from my ranting and raving about mobile SEO, I am an iPhone afficiando.  I take my phone everywhere, and often check the SERPs at functions where I really should be paying attention to real people (ie. family reunions, etc).  I also discovered the decided lack of SEO apps available for the iPhone, so instead of complaining, I put my money where my mouth is and developed my own iPhone app with my Vancouver Island SEO friend!  Its called SEOStats and its now available for download in the iTunes store.  Best part is: ITS FREE!

Already people are asking me, “its free?  how does it make money?”.  My response is, come on people!  Seriously?  Does everything have to make money?  Damned SEOs… ;)

What’s a proxy (and why should you care)?

Friday, March 13th, 2009

Have you ever had a client who’s on the other side of the world, and you email them in the morning to say “hey, you’re on page one in Google for “britney spears sex tape!”, only to get an email back saying “I just checked and I can’t find us anywhere”.  Why is that?

Well, I’m here to tell you…  Google localizes.  What do I mean by that?  Well, Google parses different results to different people based on their IP address.  The reason they do this makes perfect sense.  If you’re in Montana, and you type in “pizza delivery”, you want to see results near the town you’re in, not pizza places in Vermont.  So, how do you get around this?

Proxy IPs.  A proxy is a webserver that allows you to “take on” or “tunnel through” to obtain the IP address of that box, basically hiding your own.  They’re not always cheap, but there are cheap proxy servers out there if you dig deep enough.

I use proxies often to check the search results in a different town/city, and am always surprised at the differing results I recieve (even when using Google’s “No Region Change” parameter… (* * btw)).

Using Web Developer Toolbar for Firefox

Friday, September 19th, 2008

Okay, so you wanna know how your site looks to Google, eh? Or any search engine for that matter? This is how to do it…

If you haven’t already, go download the Web Developer Toolbar add-on for Firefox. Okay, now you should see a fancy new toolbar on your browser.

Okay, now do the following (and in this order)

1. Go to the “Images” menu, and from the drop down menu choose “Disable Images”, then “All Images”

2. Go to the “Disable” menu, choose “Disable Cache”, “Disable Javascript” (then “All Javascript”)

3. Go to “Cookies”, “Disable Cookies” (then “All Cookies”… seeing a pattern?)

4. Go to “CSS”, “Disable Styles”, “All Styles”

5. Lastly, go to “Options”, and “Persist Features” (This way, you can surf around like a googlebot).

Now you should see your page turn into raw text… not pretty, but accurate.

This is handy for figuring out what parts of your website is actually spiderable. There are some other functions as well, but play around with it yourself to see what you can do!

Also, as a side note, don’t forget to turn off the “Persist Features” if you want to have your regular internet back (you may have to turn the Javascript, Cookies, Images, etc. back on as well). If you know how to change your User Agent, you can really be Google…

SEO Tools or How I stopped worrying and learned to love Firefox

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008

“A tool is a weapon”, as the saying goes, and nothing says Search Engine Marketing like an arsenal of weapons. Here are some tools that I have found absolutely priceless in my ongoing battle vs Google:

SeoQuake – This is a plug in for Internet Explorer and Firefox. What does it do? Well, just about everything. It gives you a handy toolbar that instantly shows you PR, Google/Yahoo/MSN Indexed pages, Alexa Rank, Age of the site, whois information, Keyword Density, Internal/External Links, and all kinds of other stuff. Very useful.

User Agent Switcher – What does this do? Well, it changes the output in the Header Conversation of your browser, so instead of being Firefox, you can be Internet Explorer, Netscape, Opera, whatever! Why is that useful? Well, it isn’t, but with this handy XML file, you can view sites as though you were Googlebot, MSNbot, or Yahoo Slurp! Now you can see with Googly Eyes!

Live HTTP Headers – Use it daily, sometimes hourly. Shows you the complete header conversation as you go to a website. So you want to see how many 301 redirects you’re being channeled through? This will show you. Used in conjunction with User Agent Switcher, and you can see through those crazy BlackHat sites that are cloaking everything in their big web of lies!

Web Developer – If you build any sort of website and don’t use this plug in, then you get everything that you deserve…

So there you have it. Also, as most of these are Firefox-only plugins, so if you’re not using Firefox, then what’s the matter with you, anyway?!? Its the 21st Century for crying out loud!!!