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

by Marjory Meechan

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

Mobile Enabled Web Sites Are Popping up Everywhere

by MoreVisibility

Many web site owners would really love to have a mobile version of their web site available. Not only is it just cool and convenient to browse for the latest information while on the go, it is also becoming very popular. Soon most web sites will have a mobile version. If you can’t offer this service you may lose visitors in the future.Now is a good time to start learning about the technologies involved and the issues you may run into while deploying a mobile web site.

Most mobile enabled sites are using syndicated versions of their standard site. This could create some duplicate content issues which should be avoided. I’m in the process of learning new ways to fix this issue right now. One way is to make sure that your site is being crawled by the engines correctly. The standard SERPs should only index your standard content and the Mobile SERPs should only index your mobile content.

You have probably noticed that the big players in search are all starting to offer mobile versions of their search engines which are designed to index mobile content, this means that there will probably be a mobile SERP for each engine.

With a bit of research on Google’s site, I found a list of their user-agents which can be used in your sites robots.txt file. If I had my mobile content serving out of www.mysite.com/mobile and wanted the site to get indexed correctly I would add something like this to my robots.txt

User-agent: Googlebot
Disallow: /mobile/

User-agent: Googlebot-Mobile
Disallow: /

User-agent: Googlebot-Mobile
Allow: /mobile/

This would tell the standard Google SERP to not index the content in “/mobile” or any of it’s sub-directories. Then the next two rules would tell the mobile Google SERP to index everything in the “/mobile” directory and ignore everything else.

This is just one way to avoid the issue, There is also the .mobi domain which is to be used only for mobile content. I will discuss this more on another day. For further reading on mobile site development and the DotMobi domain, I would recommend this awesome guide which is in PDF format.

DotMobi Mobile Web Developer Guide

April 4 2007

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

by MoreVisibility

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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