Articles in the Tips & Tools Category

Get simple, actionable information you can use to gain insight into SEO, content production, competitor data and more with our SEO Tips & Tools blog posts. Learn how to use a variety of tools and browser plugins to see your website how the search engines see it, and find opportunities to enhance your content, link portfolio and SEO.

June 29 2010

Optimize Video for Your Website

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Embedding videos on your website is a great way to engage people and give them the information they need. We all know that, from a user experience point of view, videos can be both informative and fun. That being said, how do we make sure they get the maximum exposure in the search engines?

Search engines, such as Google, need to be able to interpret what the video is about to correctly include it within their search results. One way to do this is to ensure that the content of the video is marked up in the body of a web page (uses coding that is recognized by the search engines). For instance, Google is able to recognize Facebook Share and Yahoo! SearchMonkey RDFa, but still has difficulty with videos that are JavaScript or Flash enabled. Using the correct code for the search engines is imperative if you want your videos to show up in places like Google’s own YouTube. As with all content you have on your website, traditional SEO practices still apply when it comes to videos. Make sure there is some descriptive, keyword rich text below the video, make sure there are unique titles and description meta tags for each of your video landing pages and allow people to post comments and share for social media and viral marketing efforts.

Of course, once the videos have been included on the site, it’s a good idea to tell the search engines where they are, so utilizing a video sitemap can be very beneficial. Once your Sitemap is created, submit it in Google Webmaster Tools or through your robots.txt file.

Posted in: Tips & Tools

June 23 2010

Give Your Site a Boost with Google’s Page Speed Tool

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A couple months ago, Google announced that it does consider a site’s speed as part of its ranking algorithm. Although the weight of the overall ranking that is attributed to a site’s speed is relatively small, it is still something that should be part of a company’s SEO efforts. There are a variety of tools available to test your site’s speed and they all seem to analyze similar metrics: network, cache, and JavaScript events.

A tool that we ran against some of our sites is Google’s Page Speed (http://code.google.com/speed/page-speed/), which is a free Firefox plugin. After running the tool, we were presented with a Page Speed Score, which is a number between 1 and 100 that is based on a number of criteria, including browser caching, downloads across hostnames, static content, minifying CSS, etc. Although some of the items are a little more difficult to tweak without a major overhaul, we noticed that some items can be tweaked with minimal effort. Some of the easy fixes we were able to implement to boost our score (by an average of 8 points) were:

  1. Setting our images to cache for a week
  2. Making sure all our images had width and height dimensions assigned to them.
  3. Optimizing certain images to reduce their size
  4. Implement the compressed CSS and JavaScript files that were automatically created

We then got curious and ran the tool against several popular websites, such as Google News, Apple, Yahoo, Dell and Microsoft. Needless to say Google News had the highest score (98, no surprise there) and Apple had the lowest (71, kind of surprised). The one metric that this tool does not measure, which I would like to see, is server load time. Overall, we have found Google’s Page Speed tool to be a valuable part of our SEO implementations projects.

March 22 2010

Duplicate Content: What do I do with all of these domains?

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Business owners will often purchase multiple domains to take advantage of all of the keyword potential that is to be had. For example, a webmaster that sells horse shoes online (I’m sure there are some) could own www.horseshoes.com, www.Ilovehorses.com and www.mykingdomforahorse.com. In this example, there are different reasons that this webmaster/business owner owns these different URLs.

The first reason could be that they all represent completely different business entities and/or types of websites and the content on each one is distinctly different from the other one. The person that owns and/or operates these websites has no intention of ever combining or redirecting them anywhere else. They are all websites with completely unique objectives that just happen to have something to do with horses.

The second reason (and usually the most common) is that all of these websites have the same or similar content and all share the same purpose; to sell this business’s horseshoes online. The problems that can incur if not handled correctly is content filtering or, even worse, duplicate content penalties in the search engines. To avoid this, one can employ certain strategies.

Firstly, you can identify which domain you prefer to use as the main domain and simply redirect the other two URLs to it with a 301 redirect. The second and probably the least practical solution is to keep them all separate, but make sure there is absolutely no content overlap. Another scenario would be to use the rel=”canonical” tag which (as of December 15th, 2009) you can use across multiple websites. While the rel=”canonical” link element is seen as a hint and not an absolute directive, Google says that they do try to follow it where possible.   This tag lets you set the preferred version of a domain with highly similar content and is used in the section of all non-canonical versions of the site.

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