SEO Blog

Your search for SEO best practices ends here.

On our SEO blog, MoreVisibility's SEO team offers insights and actionable information for novices and webmasters alike. Gain valuable information about technical SEO and learn the nuances of content production and optimization - for your website, mobile site, and offsite efforts. From "best practices" primers to thoughts on strategy and the intersection between SEO and usability, our SEO experts will guide you through today's pertinent SEO techniques and ideas.
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April 10 2007

Blinded by the Flash – User Experience and SEO Have More in Common than You Think

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A basic rule of website design is that the site should provide a positive user experience to its visitors. While it’s true that a site that’s invisible to search engine robots might not get many visitors, it’s also true that a site that fails to consider humans is unlikely to keep those visitors – much less sell them anything. Search engine optimization and user experience are both crucial for a successful site and, much as I hate to say it, user experience, like content, is king. Unfortunately, traditional web design often misses the mark on both fronts.

It’s common knowledge that JavaScript and Flash aren’t SEO-friendly. However, I was surprised to learn in this article on ruining the user experience that it’s not just search engines that don’t like sites that depend too heavily on Flash and JavaScript. In fact, nothing can make a dial-up user push that stop loading button faster than the sight of the Flash loading bar, or worse, a site that won’t let you in unless you agree to spend the next three hours downloading software so you can see its menus.

It turns out that even “simple” drop-down menus can irritate the user. Usability research has found that users would much rather type state abbreviations directly into contact forms than fiddle with a drop-down menu. From an SEO standpoint, drop-down menus dilute keyword density which may even blur keyword relevance and make it harder to optimize the page for keyword search. In addition, badly implemented JavaScript menus can make a site almost impenetrable to anyone whose browser or operating system isn’t supported and most of the time, web designers are decidedly unsympathetic.

As a Mac user, I was highly amused when I heard the ironic tale of Apple Computer’s misfortunes with a page design. Apple once found itself presented with a page design that featured JavaScript menus that worked great on a PC but not on a Mac. It just goes to show that even obvious user requirements can be overlooked and designers need to beware of being blinded by the Flash (or in this case, JavaScript) at the expense of their clients, their customers and the search engines.

April 10 2007

Spam isn’t kosher – but you knew that – didn’t you?

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Whenever a particular search engine optimization strategy is deemed to be less than kosher, a common condemnation is: “well, it might be interpreted as spamming”. For lots of our clients, that kind of comment isn’t viewed as helpful. Of course, they’re not spamming! What an idea! How could anyone see optimization for keyword search as spam?

Interestingly enough, identifying spam isn’t all black and white even for humans. When compiling the WEBSPAM-UK2006 database, researchers found that a central problem with many data sets in spam research was the lack of agreement between studies and even individual researchers as to what exactly qualified as spam. The identification process was analogized to that of confidently distinguishing pornography from art — in many cases, it is in the eye of the beholder.

So, what’s the answer? The growing focus on the duplicate content filters in search engine algorithms over the past few years have shown that things can change and can affect your rankings even when you didn’t do anything at all differently. How can you be sure that next year your efforts at keyword content optimization won’t suddenly put your site on the wrong side of the dividing line between good rankings and banishment?

We think the best way is to produce a quality site that you know your human visitors will appreciate. To do that, you need to keep on top of new developments in search engine optimization by reading blogs and online articles just like you’re doing right now. What do you think? Let us know.

April 4 2007

Too many links too quickly…Does it really hurt my rankings?

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There is a debate among SEO professionals as to how quickly acquiring links can affect the ranking of a particular site. You can find several differing opinions about the subject, and other key factors in SEO, by reading http://www.seomoz.org/article/search-ranking-factors.

In my opinion, the major factor is whether or not the links are acquired naturally. Link farms can literally give you thousands of links almost instantaneously, but so can an article which gets a lot of attention in the social media circles. So what’s the difference?

The major difference is that a social media article generates links that are related to the content on your site and thereby relevant, whereas a link farm may provide links to pages that are completely unrelated to your content. This is a significant difference, as I have mentioned in some of my earlier posts. Links that are not relevant to the content on your page are not going to be counted.

I stated in my post Linking Can Be Scary, that a good strategy is to secure 1 link a week until you have more than 20 quality links, and 2 a week thereafter. I stand by that recommendation, however there can be exceptions. When you post an article on the social media sites like http://www.digg.com it can inspire people who are interested in your content to link to you. Because this can be somewhat viral, those links may come in rather quickly but the difference is that they are natural links (relevant to your copy).

As an example, we recently had a client who signed up for a link exchange that he saw in the newspaper (without asking us first). Almost immediately after receiving the links from this program, the client dropped out of the engines. We recommended that he stop purchasing links from this program, he did and two weeks later his rankings returned to what they had been before receiving a bunch of irrelevant links.

So while it is possible to generate many links quickly, it is imperative to avoid the traps that can harm you. Ask yourself, will associating myself with this site generate links that are closely related to my content? If the answer is yes, then go ahead with it. If not then it is best to steer clear.

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