Article Archive by Marjory Meechan

May 21 2009

Parlez-Vous Twitter? How to Tweet Internationally

by Marjory Meechan

Tweeting across language borders can be challenging, but if you are marketing internationally, Twitter can be a great way to reach across cultural boundaries and engage a whole new audience. For example, did you know that the most widely spoken language in the world is Chinese? In order to use Twitter internationally, consider employing a Twitter Translator. One new promising tool comes from It takes your tweet and translates it using Google’s Translation tool:

Not only that but any tweets coming in from another language can be translated into English (or whatever language you prefer – they cover 42 languages including Chinese, Greek and Arabic). If you want to try it now, go to:

If you have some knowledge of the other language and want to review your tweets before you send them, you can also use Google’s translator tool directly:

This takes a little longer, but lets me preview my tweet before I send it out to the world.

Even considering the potential for misunderstanding, using translation software can help you get a better understanding of international friends and potential new customers. If you have a good relationship with your followers and explain that you are using translation software, they’ll likely understand any small language mishaps.

The tool is in development now and as with any automatic translator, it won’t be perfect, so you’ll want to be careful not to challenge it with slang English terms – keep the language straightforward and simple to avoid misunderstandings. If you are unsure of this and prefer to stick to English, go ahead and tweet internationally in English as English is a popular second language and your followers will likely understand your English tweets as well. In that case, you might just want to use the tool to understand when your international correspondents tweet in their native language.

In any case, don’t be afraid to expand your world and use Twitter internationally to find new customers across cultural and international borders.

May 8 2009

Five Tips for Creating SEO Friendly URLs

by Marjory Meechan

SEO friendly URLs containing the keywords relevant to the page can help improve your rankings in search engines for a couple of reasons.

First, they can give the page a little boost for those keywords in the rankings.

Second, if the URLs are formatted correctly, the keywords in the URL can serve double-duty as anchor text if anyone links to the page.   This is another good way to boost a page’s keyword relevance.

For example, this link: automatically has anchor text including the words “morevisibility” “press” and “articles”, so just linking to it gives it a boost for any query containing those words.

However, just stuffing a bunch of keywords into a URL isn’t necessarily going to give you the best results. To create power-house URLs, follow these five tips:

  1. Separate keywords in URLs with dashes. This will make them more closely match a user query in search engines. People tend to separate words with spaces and a dash is the URL equivalent of a space.
  2. Place the primary key phrase as close to the root of the domain as possible.
  3. Include no more than five keywords in each URL. Remember that any keywords in your domain name are already included, so don’t bother to repeat them — it wastes space and could even trigger a spam filter. For example, using the word example twice in a URL like this one: would be a big waste of valuable URL real estate and a lot of repetitions of one word.
  4. If your site structure allows, position the words in the same order that you expect a user to input them into a search query. Search engines tend to give higher rankings for pages that feature the queried key phrase in the same order as the searcher used.
  5. Keep the URL as short as possible — less than 78 characters is optimal for URL sharing in an e-mail or marketing the URL on popular social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. URL shortening services are fine, but people who worry about catching computer viruses are more likely to click on a URL from a domain they recognize and trust.
May 7 2009

The Impact of Page Load Time on Search Engine Rankings

by Marjory Meechan

Page load time is an important factor in website optimization if only for the fact that if the pages of your site take too long to appear, users can become impatient, stop the load and go to another website. In fact, this is one of the big reasons I was so fond of Google right from the start — their nice clean homepage design had one big advantage over their competitors at the time — it came up quickly and gave me what I wanted right away without making me wait for pictures and other Flashy stuff to load. So we know that fast load time is good for users but what effect does load time have on search engine rankings? This is a question that comes up quite often. Matt Cutts of Google recently asked for topic suggestions for his latest video and this was the number one question.

So, can a delay in page load time affect your search engine rankings? The short answer is yes. Even if load time is not directly a factor in the search engine algorithms, slow load time could lead to a loss of rankings for a website — particularly a very large website. The reason is that in order for your pages to rank to their full potential in the search engine results, search engines need to have accurate information about them. Both the content on the page and the linking structure of the page are important factors in the search engine algorithm.

To illustrate further, consider this diagram to be a rough model of a site’s linking structure. If the page site-crawlrepresented by the node highlighted in yellow isn’t crawled by the search engine spider, all the other links that originate from it may not be found either, and that can affect not only the ranking of the top page but also the ranking of all the other pages beneath it, even if the search engine spiders can find those pages another way. This is because they won’t have the full information about how these pages are linked together.


If search engines do not see the full linking structure of a page because it takes too long to crawl the links on your site, linking structure information is not included in the index and the page will rank lower in the search results than it deserves. This is why including an xml sitemap on your site is not good enough to get individual pages indexed and ranked. Search engines have to see how the pages fit together as well.

Search engines cannot give you any credit for something they don’t see. The spiders have a limited amount of time to crawl a site and if page load time is too long, they are less likely to fully crawl your site and that can affect your rankings. Recently,’s Webmaster Blog did a special four-part series describing special optimization issues for large websites that featured some excellent advice for webmasters with tips for optimizing content, site structure and server configurations. Helping spiders get at your content as quickly and efficiently as possible is an important aspect of search engine optimization so load time should always be given a high priority in any large-scale website optimization project.

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