Article Archive by Darren Franks


September 26 2008

How To Utilize Your Blog For SEO

by Darren Franks

A blog, or web log, is a website created by an individual with constant updates of articles, essays and general information about a certain topic. How does this relate to SEO? Maintaining a blog on your website brings natural traffic by creating a community of sorts that gets people interested in your cause and/or business. The constant flow of new content that a blog provides is the sustenance that search engines crave. So, how do you utilize a blog for SEO?

As mentioned above, constant updates are bait to those search engine spiders. Search engines adore new updates and fresh information to scour. It’s the general consensus that one needs to consistently add a blog post at least once a week. What’s great about most blogging software is that it allows you to write your post and schedule it for whenever you want. You could even write some of your posts at the beginning of the month and arrange them to be posted over the following couple weeks.

You also need to consider, for business purposes, whether your blog is attached to you main site or whether it will be on its own domain. What is the best option? As with all aspects of SEO, this is up for debate. It would probably be more advisable to have the blog as part of your site, especially if your domain is an older, trusted domain. Setting up a whole new domain related to your business would take time to get trusted by the search engines. It would also be advisable to set up a free Blogger account (Google’s free blogging website) as a first step before going to the effort of hosting it internally.

When the blog is set up, you can just go ahead and optimize it in the regular fashion. Select the keywords you want to target and include them in the title of your blog post and in the post itself, always keeping in mind that it’s really not good practice to spam your blog with said keywords — search engines don’t like that! Also, if you are pushing a product or one of your websites, keep in mind that it’s not really a good idea to just plug your own cause. It could come across to your visitor that your only agenda is self promotion. Mention other related products and services, but always make yours the emphasis. Also, your site feeds could be used to promote your blog and you could cultivate relationships with other blogs and have them link to you.

Blogs are a great resource in terms of search engine optimization. Remember to always tweak to keep your loyal and new blog visitors interested. Additionally, keep your goals clear. Are you trying to be purely informational and position yourself as your chosen fields’ authority? Is this blog merely for fun and you’re just trying to get that traffic to get people to click on your AdSense ads or are you trying to promote your business? So, whatever the long term plan is, keep up on your optimization efforts!

September 11 2008

Geo-Targeting Techniques For SEO

by Darren Franks

Geo-Targeting or localized online advertising in the world of SEO is a way to target the specific user of a website for local search. In other words, local businesses can promote themselves to potential customers that live in their area and utilize city/state specific search terms in their marketing. For it to work effectively and to maximize your organic ranking potential, you have to apply several techniques.

The initial question a webmaster will ask themselves is what kind of locality am I targeting? Would it be city-centric, county-centric or even country-centric? The next step would be to get yourself submitted to the directories. Obviously, you would go with the local directories first and then go with the regional sections of the more traditional directories such as Yahoo and DMOZ. Also, if you are going for a country specific site, you may have to consider the design of the website being indicative of the country’s people and its culture. Additionally, if you are say a UK site targeting a UK audience, Google advises that you should assign a specific country using Webmaster Tools. This is a good idea considering that search engines use the hosting location and the top level domain (.co.uk/.br) as a reference point for determining the location of your website. For a website that is merely targeting a city, the webmaster need to focus on keywords, and keyword targeting for the locality they are trying to target. There are some free tools out there for generating city-centric key word phrases for localized search optimization. One has to keep in mind their particular demographics as well. An owner of a club or bar, for instance, could submit to something like citysearch.com which is a search tool for tourists and the younger crowd.

So, whether you are targeting people in your city or entire country, it is always beneficial to think about the best strategy for getting the word out to the locals. Geo-targeting is a great way for local businesses to compete with the big national chains. A small “mom and pop” eatery now has a fighting chance of competing with the big boys. Big businesses can benefit too. A large clothing company may want to run ads in the winter for snow shoes while at the same time target Florida consumers for beach wear. A webmaster will always need to keep the needs of their consumers in mind and do the necessary research or their geo-targeting strategy may have no impact whatsoever.

August 22 2008

What Is The Best Way To Get Your Dynamic Web Site Optimized?

by Darren Franks

How does one get their dynamic website optimized? The answer is more subjective than you would think. A dynamic web page is a web document that can be updated in real time and will display new content nearly every time the page is accessed. This can give the surfer a new experience with your site each time they visit and provide them a constant flow of new information. Obviously, this poses a problem for the search engines in that every time a new piece of content is added or subtracted from the page, it would make said page difficult to index. Consequently, there are many things to consider when strategizing for optimization of your dynamic website. Examples of the types of dynamic websites include: news sites, blogs, bulletin boards, ecommerce sites and any site that gives users the ability to upload new content.

Firstly, you could create static pages and optimize them in the normal fashion and submit those to the search engines in addition to the dynamic pages. These static pages would be linked to all of your dynamic pages. A site map would be the way to go here. You could also keep a paragraph or two static on a page and just make part of the page (news feeds) dynamic. There will also be a ton of issues with all those long, parameter rich URLs. If you do need to include parameters, limit it to two and limit the number of characters per parameter to ten or less. Also, if using an Apache web server, one could do a mod rewrite (have the server redirect the URL to an alias file) and make the URL more indexable for the search engines. There is also the issue of slow loading pages (which will not do wonders for the surfer experience!). You could combat this with something like page fragment caching which is used to generate part of the page before it is displayed, and then ASP is used to generate dynamic content when the page is requested. Essentially, this technique would speed up the server side, thus making the page load quicker for the user.

All in all, whether your site is a small ecommerce site, a blog or a gigantic site with loads of dynamic news feed pages, it is always intelligent to make sure it is optimized for search. Basically, the tools are there and you don’t have to worry about your site not being static anymore. If you have a good game plan in place and nice, simple URLs, you needn’t worry about the spiders ignoring your web page. The Internet and more specifically SEO are forever evolving.

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