seo tips

Some interesting points about web hosting…

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

So, from what I’ve been figuring out lately, if you don’t tell a search engine where your preferred country is, it’ll default to the IP of where your web hosting company is. This is only a guess, mind you, but I’ve been noticing my sites (all hosted on US boxes) have been getting way more search traction in US serps than in Canadian ones (like Vancouver SEO, for example). Anyone else notice this?

How long will Google keep a url?

Monday, February 16th, 2009

Well, if WebMaster Tools is any indication… at least two years!

Found this little gem in my webmaster tools crawl errors. Its from a site I designed for my friend’s company who does non toxic painting. Here’s the clincher, the site is literally one month old, but the domain is much older. Now, WebMaster tools is giving me 404 errors for pages that the reporting tools says was discoved in 2006 & 2007?!?

I’m guessing that an old (and terrible looking) url used to point back to a page called id1.html because there’s no page called id1.html on the site, but there sure was when the domain used to belong to the “Strong River Quartet”

http://web.archive.org/web/20060824063112/http://www.strongriver.net/

So here’s what I’ve concluded… Google is re-spidering from old, cached urls… or using archive.org… I’ll tell you one thing, I’m redirecting that 404 page, just to see what happens…

Search Engine Optimization – WTF?!?

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

Couldn’t think of a better title today, and this is really a guilt post, because I’ve been neglecting this blog for other projects, but here it is anyway…

I was thinking that at some point I’d offer some free advice for newbie webkins out there who want to start their own website for fun or profit, and because there’s more web developers in the world than there is common sense, I’ve decided to start on a little series:

How To Not Get Screwed By People Who Claim To Be Professionals

Tip 1: There is no such thing as a “Webmaster”

There are Thigh Masters, and Dungeon Masters, but there are no Web Masters. There are almost as many programming languages out there as there are spoken languages. You could even make up your own programming language if you’d like (ask Larry Wall). Really though, find me a person who has mastered all the languages of the web and understands all the aspects of development from server side to front end, and I’ll show you someone you can’t afford… and my +2 magic bag of holding.

Tip 2: Don’t let your web designer register your domain name!

So many times I’ve been asked to look at someones site from “an SEO point of view” only to say “hey, you don’t actually own your site”. 9 times out of 10 its registered to the goof who “designed” the site (I can usually tell by the footer links they embedded that point back to their site). Depending on your registrar, it can be a pain in the ass to transfer domain ownership (especially if said goof “locked” the domain). Do yourself a favor, just pay the $10 it costs to register your domain with GoDaddy and do it yourself.

Tip 3: Money! Get away!

Why do you want to be #1 in Google when you’re not monotizing your site? One of the first questions I’ll ask someone is “how does your site make money?” If it doesn’t, then what are your reasons for paying someone to market it? ROI means “Return On Investment”, you need a way to measure that return… it doesn’t even have to be money, although that’s usually the best metric…

Tip 4: Get your credentials!

So, you’ve paid $10,000 for some joker to install Drupal on your domain, and $1200 a year on webhosting, but you don’t have access to your own server? Why? You don’t even need know what a server is, you should ask for these credentials. They belong to you… you’re paying for them. Imagine, if you will, that you bought a computer from Future Shop, couldn’t access the administrator account, and were told by the staff that they can’t give you that account information? It really is the same thing.

Tip 5: Don’t ask me why your site comes up like this in Google:

[FLASH] 00 : 00 / Loading… 00 : 00 00 : 00 / Playing 00 : 00 00 : 00
File Format:
Shockwave Flash
00 : 00 /. Loading… 00 : 00. 00 : 00 /. Playing. 00 : 00. 00 : 00 /. Paused. 00 : 00.

Because Google can’t really spider flash yet, despite what your “Flash Webmaster” told you (or what the +4 Goblin Slayer he’s wielding says)

PageRank is a joke…

Monday, September 29th, 2008

I am trying to contain my laughter as I write this post…

Any of you SEO fanatics out there with a Google PR Toolbar on your browser may have noticed that this crazy SEO blog with 1 inbound link, a URL I bought a month ago, and a shelf life of 3 or so months is now a PR2…

Bwaaahahaha!

Just like the sandbox myth, it appears that Google’s illustrious page rank is about as accurate and useful for index ranks as stuffing 14,000 keywords into your meta tags… which is none what-so-ever…

Bwaaahaha!

This might be less funny if this site got any traffic, but the one hit I got from Hoboken doesn’t count as traffic in my books.

Bwaaaaahahaha!

Goodtimes.

Some short suggestions for mobile marketers

Monday, September 15th, 2008

If you’ve ever tried surfing on a mobile device, like a blackberry or an iPhone, then this post is for you. As I am currently writing this on a mobile device and quickly discovering the many limitations these stupidly tiny buttons have. So for all you wanna be mobile marketers out there I have two words of advice:

1. If your site has a mobile version please link to it!! Don’t make me type it in my address bar… It makes me hate you…

2. User input field? Are you serious? No really? You want my name, address, life history and a 400 word essay on why I want to subscribe/buy/download/whatever your product? How about just asking for my email address, then you can send me all you targeted messaging, genius…

Okay, enough ranting. I’ve got some keywords to target…

Why, Blogspot… why?

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008
You would think that a blog owned by Google would at some point be compliant with Google Webmaster Guidelines… yes, you would think.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit, I’m cheap. I could go get a server or some hosting service, but I don’t really care to pay more that $10 a year for a little SEO science project, so I go with free hosting. Now, for those of us who use free hosting, I’ll also be the first to admit, WordPress is waaay better… but, WordPress’ free hosting charges money if you want to change the template. With Blogspot, you can hack the hell out of it as much as you want, and even though I haven’t done much in the way of hacking this blog… I like the freedom.

Then again, how SEO friendly is Blogspot? The answer is none what-so-ever! Biggest example, META descriptions… there is none!

Well, this isn’t entirely true, but it sure is a pain to alter them. But it can be done, for those of you who are anal enough to want to stuff keywords into your META’s so you can be #1 on Altavista

(I’m not going to take credit for the following scraped content, I found this on a blog called AGGA (who, for the record, has lousy METAs)):

The code you need to use in order to add meta descriptions and keywords is this one:


<b:if cond=”‘data:blog.url”>
<meta content=”‘DESCRIPTION’” name=”‘description’/”>
<meta content=”‘KEYWORDS’” name=”‘keywords’/”>
</b:if>

Let’s look at each line and see what they mean:

  • The first line expresses a condition: This basically says: “if the link (blog.url) that a user is viewing matches (==) a certain link (http://_something.blogspot.com/2004/03/name.html), do…“.

  • The second and third lines are the description and keywords themselves, placed in meta tags. An approximate translation for these two lines would be: “associate this description and these keywords with the current web page“.

  • The fourth and last line ( ) ends the conditional statement.

Unfortunately however, due to the fact that you can only declare a single “constant” link (http://_something.blogspot.com/2004/03/name.html) in this code batch, you have to repeat the sequence for your main page and for all your other post pages

You can place the keywords and description immediately above or below the <title>…</title> line – you choose.

See, easy as that!! Just repeat the code in your template with unique METAs for every single blog post! That way, Google will be able to display a nifty little snippet of all your pages. I tried it for about a week on a different blog, and got a swack of “Duplicate META Description” errors in WebMaster Tools, so I nixed it.

Don’t even get me started on the output for Blogspot (its like 2000 miles of inline code)! But still, Google spiders it (to date, I’m on page 2 for “Vancouver SEO Blog“)

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!!!