Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Title/Meta Tags – Not Just for SEO

I was recently asked by a client if it would be a big deal to leave off title tags and meta tags from their site. Coming from an SEO background, I couldn’t express enough how important title tags are for ranking for keyword phrases. It made me think, however, about the effects title and meta tags have on click through rate.

Let’s assume that you do rank in the top ten in Google for a targeted keyword phrase. What is going to make a user click on your listing? Well, the first thing they will see is your title tag. At first glance, what is mentioned in your title tag is all they will know about your business. You basically have a fraction of a second to catch someone’s attention and provide them information about your page with your title tag. Since most search engines only display about 60-70 characters of your title tag, keep it short and sweet with your most important keywords at the beginning. Only use words that will make a difference, such as your main keyword phrase and the name of the company. Space is limited and precious, so don’t waste space with unnecessary filler words.

Since there is only enough space allowed in the title tag to grab the user’s attention, you need to complement it with the meta description. Since many search engines include a snippet from the description on the SERPs, this is your chance to provide more details on what your page is about and persuade them to click on your listing. Restate your main keyword phrase in the beginning of the first sentence and let the user know that this is the page they are looking for.

Of course the meta keywords are the least important piece of the heading, but if you can include them, do it. Just make sure any words you place in the meta keywords tag appear within the body of the page.

Is Your Website Cross Browser Compatible?

If you have never even thought about this then you may be in for a surprise shock. Unless you paid a well qualified designer who knows his XHTML and CSS chances are there may be 2 or more things off in your website as far as the aesthetics look. Not everyone in the world uses the same browser as you do and each Internet Browser uses different technology or different ways to translate and display your web page so the result will be a nice look page on Firefox or Safari and a mess web page on IE7. I will recommend to try to accommodate you web site to looks good up til IE4-5 and Firefox 3.

There are a few websites that are on the web that can help you determine if your website is truly compatible with every browser from Safari to Mozilla’s Firefox all the way to Google Chrome.

The First is called
Browser Shots” and basically it runs approx on 50 servers with each running a different browser of your site and sending you a snapshot of it.The second website is well known as you may have seen it in the footer tagged on some websites. It’s called Markup Validation service by W3C

Friday, September 26, 2008

A Decade of Google

Google turns 10 this month and is celebrating the registration of google.com with a timeline highlighting some of the search engine's milestones.

From the earliest toolbars to Froogle, Gmail, Google Maps, Google Earth and iGoogle, take a stroll down memory lane with the Google Timeline.

There is also a section where you can take a look at the most memorable Google Doodles from the past.

Here's to another decade, Google!

Google ‘In Quotes’ and the Presidential Election

I recently found out about Google ‘In Quotes’ and I think it’s a pretty interesting tool. Google grabs quotes from stories that are linked from Google News. These quotations are valuable in understanding where people in the news stand on various issues. If you go to the site, you will see quotes that Barack Obama and John McCain said about issues such as marriage, Iraq, the economy and the environment. I think it’s pretty cool how you can compare their views in an easy format, and in the same place. For a person who isn’t a heavy follower in politics but wants to know what’s going on, this is a good place to go. You can also read quotes from Sarah Palin and Joe Biden, as well as other popular political figures.

Google ‘In Quotes’ has other editions – Canada, UK and India, which allow you to read about the political figures in each country.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Adobe CS4 Should longtime users upgrade?

We suspect that only the most well-heeled will jump at the chance, as CS4 shares the majority of tools with its predecessor. Perhaps more dramatic, life-changing alterations will come with the next Creative Suite. That said, time-saving tweaks to Illustrator and Flash in particular could lure professionals immersed in them to upgrade.

With CS4, Adobe aimed to unify the interfaces of more than a dozen applications, including Flash and other former properties of Macromedia. You'll see similar pull down menus for toggling among workspaces that you can customize, as well as Flash-based panels that nicely snap open and shut. Corporate design departments will find plenty of enhancements for their teams to share work more quickly.

Adobe continues to improve integration among the applications. After Effects, as only one example, can import Photoshop 3D layers and export content directly into Flash.

Options for working with high-definition video and mobile content expand too, with support for the latest formats as well as for making Adobe AIR applications.

Source: Cnet

Google Advises Not to Rewrite Dynamic URLs

Yesterday, Google clarified their position on Dynamic vs Static URLs on their blog. At this time, they're not recommending rewriting dynamic URLs, because it's hard to create and maintain URL rewrites. Google recommends serving the original dynamic URL and let them handle the problem of detecting and avoiding problematic parameters.

As Barry Schwartz comments in his post, "Google Says, Don't Rewrite Dynamic URLs to Static URLs", this is a radical change in how SEOs handle dynamic websites. For many years, SEOs have been recommending using URL rewrites because previously Google and the other search engines had issues crawling dynamic sites. However, with recent improvements to their crawling and indexing technology, it's no longer the case. It can even cause an issue with your SEO campaign.

If you're currently using URL rewrites, should you jump on the change bandwagon? It all depends your site's specific situation. My best advice is to review your existing web analytic and search engine ranking reports. See how well your "static" URLs are penetrating the search results, and then make your decision. If you're a new site in production or just launched, you should probably stick to dynamic URLs.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Search Engine Rap Battle

Barry Schwartz over at Search Engine Land blogged about Search Engine Rap Battle, which instantly caught my interest. I surfed over to SearchEngineRapBattle.com and instantly became engaged by the clever dialogue created by this search engine parody.

The greatest part about the parody is that it's based on some commonly known flaws that both Google and MSN have:

  • "Google" rapper points out that Google dominates the other search engines, owning the majority of the searchers, and that when SEOs optimize, it's for Google.
  • "MSN" rapper points out that Google's search weighs heavily on Wikipedia and that YouTube search is terrible.

So if you're looking for a good laugh and some search engine education, check out this hilarious YouTube video.

Ahoy Mateys - It's "International Talk Like a Pirate Day"

Prepare to be boarded!

Does your office or home celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day? What began as a bit of lark, has turned into a day that many now espouse. Sure, it's silly - but don't we all need a bit of silliness now and then?

So, even if all you can muster is one "Arrr-ey Matey", that's good enough. Visit the official Talk Like a Pirate Website and learn more about this growing day to honor the pirate in all of us.

By the way, I was surprised there was no Google doodle for Talk Like a Pirate Day.

12 New Websites And Web Services

PC World created a list of the 12 top new websites and services for consumers to be looking out for. These have been featured at the latest conferences, Demofall 08 and TechCrunch 50. Some of them are still in beta, but look promising and could help with people's crazy lives.

Usable – Going to make passwords obsolete

Mixmatchmusic – Allowing musicians to profit from their art

iSearch – Trying to make “Googling someone a thing of the past”

GreenSherpa – Enhancing personal cash flow management

GazoPa – Image searching through documents

Birdpost – Allowing bird people to post bird sightings using online listings and posting images

Maverick Mobile – Developing mobile security enhancements

Spin Spotter – Going to allow people to spot spin in news posted on the web and allow people to share the truth

TravelMuse – Plan your trip organize schedules, share experiences

Avego – Carpoolers will unite and be able to help each other by giving rides to those in need. Just enter your location and where you are going

WebDiet – Putting your diet in your palm using your cell phone or computer. It will suggest meals using GPS and restaurants near you

Invision.tv – Most interactive TV guide helping you find the TV shows you want to watch

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Inc. 500 Conference Hosts Jay Berkowitz And Other Professional Conference Speakers

The Inc. 500 Conference and Awards Ceremony is set to take place in Washington D.C., September 18 – 20 at the Gaylord National Resort And Convention Center. Here, Jay Berkowitz will review, “The Ten Hottest Internet Marketing Strategies”and will cover the latest in marketing trends and internet advertising strategies.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Flock: A Social Friendly Web Browser

If you use the many popular social networking sites, such as Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and Digg, you might want to give Flock a try. Flock is powered by Firefox, so you may think it’s similar or even the same, but it isn’t. There are many things in Flock that make your social network life easier. You can reach friends over multiple networks without having each website open, check your email and share photos, videos, text and favorite links to your friends. You can also be notified when a friend updates, site notifications and when your favorite websites update.

Flock caters to a bunch of web user types. I think the people at Flock describe the user types pretty well in this link – Getting Started in Flock. Flock is available for Windows, Mac and Linux versions.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The New iPod Could Kill Nintendo DS & Sony PSP?

Apple's mobile gaming goals go far beyond fancy new versions of Bejeweled and Tetris—Jobs yesterday called for "a whole new class of games." It's now clear that the company is gunning for the big boys: Nintendo and Sony.

3 Reasons Nintendo and Sony Are Running Scared:

1. Buying iPhone/iPod Games Is Quick and Simple
iPhone and iPod users can buy games anytime, anywhere, they never have to worry about stock shortages—or ever getting up from their couch.

2. iPod Games Are Cheap, and Increasingly High-Profile
Very, very few iPhone/iPod games cost more than $10. Meanwhile, very few Nintendo DS or PSP games cost less than $25.

3. iPod Games Can Be Expanded and Updated
It's almost inevitable that a big game will have a few bugs or glitches that aren't discovered until after launch. There's usually little Nintendo DS and PSP players can do other than grin and deal with the glitchy gameplay. But iPod games can be tuned to check for updates and heal themselves whenever bugs are found.

3 Reasons the Gaming Companies Can Sleep Easy ... for Now:

1. iPods Are Touchscreen-Only
In some ways, the absence of a keypad is a boon to innovation when it comes to mobile gaming—it encourages developers to think up creative workarounds using simple tilts and touch gestures. But it's not perfect. Finally, buttons are still far more precise than Apple's accelerometer.

2. Parents Won't Buy iPhones For Their Kids
The Nintendo DS costs just $129. The PSP? $169. These relatively low prices make them very attractive to parents out shopping for an electronic babysitter. Not only do the iPhone and iPod Touch cost considerably more, but they simply aren't toys that can be thrown into the hands of young children.

3. Games for Dedicated Systems are Much Bigger.
No matter how pretty a game is, if the gameplay just involves tilting the screen left and right, you won't play it for long. Dedicated gaming systems typically feature more complex games with stylistically different levels and elements.

Source: Popularmechanics

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

RocketPlace Fall 2008 Presents CEO Jay Berkowitz As Keynote Speaker

The Rio All Suites Hotel will play host to the RocketPlace Conference on September 10-12. Here, Jay Berkowitz will speak about how to sell things on eBay, ideas for driving traffic to your website and understanding the difference between Search Engine Optimization vs. Search Engine Marketing (SEO vs. SEM)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Top 5 Rankings or Bust!

Last week Think Eyetracking published a study on their blog showing that eye tracking patterns between 2005 and 2008. Over three years, how users have changed how they search.

In 2005, searchers would look through the top 10 results, patiently reading through the SERPs before finding one that they like. In contrast, their 2008 searchers fixate on the top 5 results and many of them chose in this study to only click on the top 3 results. If they didn't find what they were looking for, they refined their search.

While this study is certainly thought provoking, 30 participants isn't a large enough study to conclusively deduce that searchers only gravitate towards top 5 results; however, it does give SEOs something to think about. I for one would like to see a more exhaustive study to conclusively determine if 2008 searchers are indeed ignoring results below the fold.

Facebook Redesign is Here to Stay

This week, Facebook will be phasing out its old layout in favor of the "New Facebook."

The new site features tabbed browsing for applications as well as a new look for profile and home pages.

Before this week, users were able to choose which version of the site to use and were able to share comments about the new layout.

Due to the high volume of users trying out - and sticking with - the new site, Facebook will be phasing out the old layout and users will have to use the new version.

The Importance Of Using A Blog In Business

Jay Berkowitz, has been selected to speak at the Blog World Expo 2008 conference September 20-21, 2008 at The Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Those in attendance will learn:

  • Top strategies ways to increase traffic to your blog
  • How to maximize profits off your blog and start a business from it
  • Why the usage of blogging in business has become a critical strategy
About Blog World Expo:
BlogWorld & New Media Expo is the first and only industry-wide tradeshow, conference and media event dedicated to promoting the dynamic industry of blogging and new media. BlogWorld features dozens of seminars, panel discussions and keynotes from iconic personalities. More information on BlogWorld & New Media Expo can be found at www.blogworldexpo.com.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Google Chrome and How It Can Affect SEO

This week Google Chrome launched and personally I find it to be really useful. As far as features go, the navigation bar works double as a Google search bar and as you type, you will see related search queries and even domains to visit that are either the #1 ranking organic Google result or pages that you've recently visited relevant to that query.

This means that if you are a company that wants to rank for a specific term, it's to your benefit to be in the top #1 spot, which now will mean the competition will be tough if you are in a niche that is competitive. Online branding for your company also becomes even more important since typing a company name in the search/navigation bar should automatically come up with your brand name as a URL suggestion.

Being that Google Chrome just came out, there is a lot more room for improvement, such as being able to add extensions and other plug ins to make the browser more personalized for the type of user you are. I'm definitely looking forward to that!

If you haven't yet, learn more about Google Chrome and its features, including videos about each one.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Google launches Chrome - a new open source web browser

Google launches new open source browser Google Chrome

According to the Official Google Blog here are the benefits:

- Google Chrome is clean and fast
- It runs today's complex web applications much better
- By keeping each tab in an isolated "sandbox", 'we were able to prevent one tab from crashing another and provide improved protection from rogue sites'.
- Improved speed and responsiveness
- A more powerful JavaScript engine, V8, to power the next generation of web applications

Hat tip to Matt Cutts