Articles written in June, 2010

June 29 2010

Optimize Video for Your Website


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 25 2010

Digital Business Cards


Everyone always says to make a good first impression, but that saying isn’t limited to face to face meetings. It also applies to the web. When someone visits your website what is their first impression of your company? Do they think your company was left behind in the Stone Age because your website looks old? Any company that is serious about doing business on the web needs to make sure that their web site represents the essence of their company.

Many companies have put up websites that look awful, but their actual company is really great. How does a company fix the disconnect? First, the website needs to be user friendly. When visitors come, the navigation needs to be clear and concise. This allows the visitor to navigate and find the information they want and need. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to figure out where to go on a website, and clicking on buttons that lead them in circles. It’s like a person walking into a revolving door to get into a building, but every attempt they make either keeps them spinning in the door or leads them back outside. A website needs to be like a welcoming committee at an event that tells a visitor where to go and how to get there.

In addition to knowing where to go and how to get there, visitors need to know that your company exists. Your company could have the best product or service in the world, but if no one knows how to find your website then it won’t be a benefit. Many companies put together picture pretty websites, but they have no keyword density on their pages. Every website should be built with SEO in mind. After all, it’s like having free leads sent to your company. If a company, puts good keyword rich content on their website, (without spamming) then they have a better opportunity to show in the organic search engine listings. Moreover, to complement their high organic rankings, a company can run a paid search campaign that directs visitors to their website. If a company’s site is easy to navigate and people know how to get there whether it be through paid search and/or organic listings a company is on the right track.

Another important factor that goes hand in hand with good navigation and being found is functionality. If a company’s site has good content and navigation, but there are dead links and certain pages of the site don’t work, then a user can get frustrated and leave. It’s frustrating to a visitor not to know how to navigate a site, but it’s even more frustrating to know where to go and not be able to get there.

When building a new website or revamping a current website, remember that your website is your digital business card. If it looks old and doesn’t have intuitive navigation people aren’t going to stay around long.

June 23 2010

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


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 (, 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.

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