Articles written in February, 2010

February 24 2010

Website Color scheme


Having a quality presence online is imperative for almost any business. Making sure that your website is optimized for search can help to drive quality traffic, resulting in increased leads or customers.   However, a website optimized for search will only go so far.   We often see prospects or clients who have worked to optimize their website – their positions for keywords have improved and their website has seen more traffic. But, at the end of the day, they are not getting more business. The next question we often get is, why not?

Well, as you can imagine, there are many factors that could play a role.   First and foremost, does the website have a goal?   It may be to inform the visitors, encourage them to fill out a form, purchase a product or complete another specific action. If so, is that goal clear to the visitor?   If not, then it can be beneficial to take a step back and determine how your site will lead to increased business for your company.

One more micro element to take into consideration is the color scheme. Colors play a significant role in the feelings that a website can evoke.   What colors do you use on your website?   They can say a lot about your brand and the way someone feels while on your website. A previous post was written about Color Psychology and how you can use it to influence your site visitors.   It is worth checking out to see how your site’s colors are being perceived.  

Search engines don’t take into account the color scheme of your website for indexing purposes.   If it has plain text that is crawlable and keyword targeted, your site can rank well.   The color choice of your website shouldn’t scare off your visitor, but rather should help direct them to achieve the goals that you have set.   Be sure that your colors mesh with the feelings of your company and brand and that same feeling is portrayed to the visitors of your site.  

February 17 2010

Should you Verify Unsubscribe Emails?


I recently began to dig deeper with the unsubscribe emails that get generated from our monthly newsletter. To my surprise, almost 30% of the unsubscribed emails were not in our database. “How can this be?” Doing some further investigating I found that many, if not all, of the missing emails were in our database under an email alias. In my next blog I will talk more about email alias names, email addresses and how they differ.

My next step was to reply directly to the emails asking if it could be possible that they were in our database under a different email or email alias. In some cases it took multiple email communications to find the correct email alias we had for them in our database. That being said, however, most of the correspondence I received was nice; the majority of people were appreciative that I was taking the time to verify and remove their email address.

So in closing, it’s my opinion that verifying unsubscribed emails should be added to your company’s Best Practices when removing unsubscribed emails from your database. Doing this will help you with the CAN-SPAM Act, as well as help you build your brand’s credibility.

Posted in: Offsite SEO

February 15 2010

Should I Use the 410 Gone or 404 Page Not Found?


It has been the case for many years that the most optimal way to handle defunct pages on your website was to have the server return a 404 (Not found) HTTP status code. Google has just recently confirmed, however, that they now consider the 410 (Gone) response code to be a stronger signal that the page has gone away for good.

HTTP response codes are designed for both users and search engine spiders to give them information about what has happened to a site’s page. When a user stumbles upon a page that is issuing a 404 or 410 response code, they will sometimes see the message “Page Not Found”. So, if both of these response codes yield the same response for the user, what is the benefit of using one over the other?

According to Google, when a page issues a 404 header response, it may sometimes still revisit the page to ensure that it is truly defunct. What this means in terms of indexing is anyone’s guess, but using the 410 response code will at least ensure that Google will never go back to that page again and get to the more important pages on the website, thus facilitating crawlability.

The 410 response code should be used when there is no other option, meaning that this page cannot be redirected to a similar or corresponding page. So if you’re absolutely sure that a page no longer exists and will never exist again, using a 410 would likely be a good thing. It’s probably not worth the time or effort rewriting a server by changing the 404 to a 410, but using the 410 in the future will at least give Google the stronger message that they are looking for.

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