Jun
25
2011
0

Flash! and their site was gone!

Further to my earlier post on not using frames, a company of my acquaintance had a nicely search engine  optimised site.

It then seems that someone offered to update their site with a new, experimental, ‘jazzy and upbeat’ look. As this was for free they accepted and the new ‘designer’ immediately dumped the existing site and replaced it with their new front-end which basically was a ‘new site coming soon’ and a contact page. They then did not complete the new site but left it unfinished for 4 months.

To compound this mistake the new ‘designer’ used Flash/Shockwave to build the entire new site and provided no words that a search engine could find.

Result, it is now almost impossible to find this company on Google even if you know the company’s name! Total wipe-out!

I don’t know how many times companies are taken in by graphics artists proclaiming to be web designers and the said artist has not a clue as to how the web search engines work.

Established well-known companies can use Flash and Shockwave because they are household names and can afford the best programmers and designers who know how to optimise even a Flash site for SEO. These companies can be found by their trading name, Rolls Royce, Amazon, Ford etc. and not by searching for some product such as ‘luxury car’.

Unfortunately smaller companies need effective search engine optimised sites so they can be found ahead of their competitors for their keywords.

Using Flash and Shockwave for site design provides a desert for search engine bots and I really recommend you do not use them for site design unless you are a household name.

And as  postscript, Apple iPhones and iPads do not support Flash driven sitres – so why alienate a significant section of the  market!

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Written by Retiarius in: Web site design techniques | Tags: , , , ,
May
05
2010
2

From Google oblivion to page 1 in 2 weeks for homeopathic vet site

Retiarius Internet Design recently were commissioned to upgrade and redesign the site of alternative-vet.co.uk, London’s leading homoeopathic veterinary surgeon Lise Hansen.

A careful redesign, optimising keyword density, meta statements, page titles, page names etc, whilst retaining the look and feel of the original site, has achieved the required page 1 listing in Google.co.uk for the search term “homeopathic vet London” in a remarkably short 14 days!

The page 1 status achieved for this site is a vindication of the methods employed by Andrew Jeffcock of Retiarius Internet Design.  Andrew employs a holistic approach to web design which marries, amongst other things, meta statements, page names, titles, keywords and keyword density to produce a site optimal for search engine spidering.

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Jun
04
2009
0

Top 10 must have add-ons and plugins for WordPress

WordPress is one the most popular blogging platforms in use today. It has many advantages for site owners wanting a search engine optimised web site.

  • It is free, open source and therefore secure. Just download WordPress free from here
  • It is easy to use and maintain
  • It runs on Apache web servers
  • It has many fantastic free themes that can be used and modified to produce a look and feel for your site that suits your business.
  • It is almost infinitely customisable by web site designers by using the extensive free plug-ins and widgets to ad functionality and ‘eye-candy’.

This post is about the plug-ins and widgets that I think are the most useful. So here they are in alphabetical order.

  1. AddThis Social Bookmark
    Help your visitor promote your site! The AddThis Social Bookmarking Widget allows any visitor to bookmark your site easily with many popular services. Sign up for an AddThis.com account to see how your visitors are sharing your content–which services they’re using for sharing, which content is shared the most, and more. It’s all free–even the pretty charts and graphs. By The AddThis Team.
  2. All in One SEO Pack
    This plugin will optimise your WordPress blog so that your posts and pages are indexed more efficiently by the search engines. It is fully featured and lets you single out individual pages for optimisation.
  3. Akismet: the best comment spam protection available. It fortunately comes pre-installed, though you’ll still need an API key from WordPress.com. This system will prevent your site being deluged with comment spam. If some should get through it makes it easy to kill the offending comments and also notify the Akismet system so that others are protected, just ast they are protecting you.
  4. Events Calendar
    This plugin and wdget makes it easy to embed appointments and events into your blog.  So if you are organising exhibitions, conferences or training days this plugin is for you. It can automatically produce a blog post from the data you input for the event and so save you time when working on your blog.
  5. FeedBurner FeedSmith: Steve Smith originally wrote this plugin to make it easy to use Google FeedBurner for syndicating your blog. Google FeedBurner has taken over its maintenance. Very easy to use.
  6. Google Analystics for WordPress
    This plugin makes it simple to add Google Analytics tracking to your WordPress blog. Google Analytics is a very powerful incoming click tracker, allowing to deep  analyse the performance of your site and see where your traffic is coming from.
  7. Google XML Sitemaps
    If you don’t know how beneficial Google Sitemaps can be to your blog then read my articles on SEO. Once set up this plugin will inform Google of any changes or additions made to your site automatically. You can download Google XML Sitemaps from here
  8. Share This: Alex King creates incredibly useful plugins and this is one of them. If you want to make it easy for your visitors to share your posts on bookmarking or social network sites, this is the one plugin you need.
  9. NextGen Image Gallery
    This plugin by Alex Rabe makes the production of in-line image galleries in your blog posts easy and effective. The in-built slideshow widget (helper application) aloows you to embed an auto-rotating  image slideshow into the side panels of your blog.
  10. WP-Cumulus
    Flash based Tag Cloud for WordPress. A bit of eye-candy which displays a graphical representation of post tags.

So there you have my current top 10 plugins and additions to WordPress.

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Nov
02
2008
0

SEO companies that use link farms to gain placement – a good or bad idea?

Google started the trend, but more and more search engines are following suit and using link popularity as an important part of their ranking algorithms. Many webmasters have responded by joining link farms and stuffing their sites with as many links as possible. This worked for a while regarding site placement but now the search engine designers are getting wise to this tactic.  It is fact that not all links are not created equal. In fact, bad linking strategies may get you banned from some engines.

Popularity Doesn’t Grow On Farms

A link farm consists of sites that link to other sites for the sole purpose of increasing their link popularity score. Unlike perfectly valid links to web sites with related information, sites that utilise link farming contain links to sites totally unrelated to your business. This practice is also referred to as link stuffing.

Google’s programmers hates link farms and there search engine’s algorithms label the links they generate as spam. In fact, Google hates them so much that some sites get removed from the index if they’re affiliated with link farms. Some webmasters are getting so paranoid that they are considering removing all outbound links from their sites – something which will tend to negate the very essence of using the web – hyperlinks to related information.

Search Engines Take Hard Line On Link Stuffing

Search engines have gotten wise to the ‘link spamming’ techniques using by link farms and are now taking a hard line against them.

AllTheWeb’s spam policy is to:

disregard Link Stuffing when building the index and computing static rank, and to reduce the static rank of the documents containing it.

Google warns against “artificial linkage” (translation: link farms and link stuffing) and warns that if you link to spam sites, Google’s algorithm may penalize your site.

AltaVista’s spam policy warns that sites may be deleted from the index if they “contain only links to other pages.”

Inktomi’s editorial guidelines warn against “excessively cross-linking sites to inflate a site’s apparent popularity.”

Search engines won’t penalize you for good links, but they’ve gotten pretty good at recognizing bogus ones and are quick to punish sites that try to spam them with unrelated links.

This is an overreaction that decreases the site value to visitors and hurts the Web in general because cross-linking is a basic tenet of the Internet. Links are fine – even encouraged – if they are related to your topic, but link farms rarely provide useful content to visitors.

If your site is devoted to your favourite pop band and you include links to the band members’ personal sites, other fan sites, and links to stores that sell the band’s music, that’s not a link farm. You’re providing access to other sites that will probably interest your visitors.

But if you signed up with a so-called SEO service that promises to generate two hundred inbound links to your site only if you agree to add two hundred outbound links in return, then you’ve  created a link farm. Instead of linking to related information of value to your visitors, you’re instead sending them to sites about herbal supplements, children’s clothes, pet rats, and other totally unrelated (possibly X-rated) topics.

Use Effective Linking Strategies

We can sum up a good linking strategy in a single sentence. “Link to related sites that offer content, products, and services that will help and interest your visitors“.

It’s really easy to do:

  • Stay with your theme. Keep your links tightly focused on your site’s topic and you’ll avoid diluting the theme of your site. A coherent theme increases your search engine rank and helps visitors find the information they need.
  • Hang out with the popular crowd. Search engines don’t just count the number of links; they evaluate the relative importance of inbound and outbound links. That’s why link farms don’t help you! It’s far better to have 100 good inbound links from popular pages than 1000 links from a link farm stuffed with spam sites.
  • Avoid automated link generators. Automated programs that send emails to other webmasters that offer to trade links are rarely effective. A good linking strategy has to be personalized, so automated email messages that say: “Hi! Want to trade links?” rarely pay off. If you want to trade links with a site, send the webmaster a personalized email that briefly outlines why you like the site and how a link to your site will enhance it.
  • Put links in context. Links that are included in page content and contain the page’s keywords are more valuable than links exiled to a site’s “Related Links” page. Content links help search engines rank the importance of a link and put it in the proper context.Here are two different ways to link to the same site: Retiarius.com or cost-effective web site designer in Buxton, Derbyshire. The second link describes the company and contains the company’s important keywords.Try to identify a particular page where a link to your site would fit right into the page’s content and note the exact location when you ask for a link. That shows the webmaster that you actually took the time to look at and evaluate the site.

A good linking strategy will help turn your Web site into an authority on a particular topic. Visitors will  tend to come to you for information and search engine spiders will gobble up your content. You won’t have to spend time chasing after good links, they’ll come looking for you.

Worried about other search engine promotion techniques that might hurt more than they help? Retiarius Internet Design can help you sort through various search engine do’s and don’ts.  We provide a cost-effective, personalised, friendly service to help boost your site to the top of the rankings.

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Oct
04
2008
0

Google spell checking – and how it affects SEO

It has been shown by our experience and from our research that Google’s spidering and indexing systems place great store on the way a site has been constructed. Google appear to penalise sites with spelling errors and sites with non-compliant HTML/XHTML coding.

It can advantageous to check the spelling of some words using Google’s own spell checker. This uses the same lexicon as the search engines and so any misspelled words or word variants that Google thinks are accurate could be used as keywords in your site.

Accurate spelling prevents your site being penalised and increases your keyword density because a misspelled word obviously will not be recognised.

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Oct
03
2008
0

Retiarius Internet produce a fully search engine optimised web site for Buxton Press

Retiarius Internet Design’s latest project has just gone online. Buxton Press, a leading Derbyshire, UK, environmental award-winning printing company employed Retiarius to produce them a cost-effective, SEO enabled web site that will promote their position on search engines with respect to their competitor’s sites.

Retiarius were chosen because they were able to demonstrate that the sites run by Buxton Press’ competitors, though some were looking good, were search engine unfriendly and had virtually no searchable content due to the use of Flash and Shockwave includes which slowed down page loading and prevented the search engines finding searchable content.

In this very competitive marketplace search engine placement is critical for acquiring new ‘off the street’ customers. By ensuring that the Buxton Press site fully met World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) coding criteria, and that the text within the site was optimised for search engine semantic checkers, it is expected that Buxton Press will soon have a top Google ranking.

The new site incorporates its own on-line help system and a blog set on its own subdomain to automatically create a link back to the parent site.  This effective use of subdomains (they don’t cost anything!) enables the setting up of SEO ‘child’ sites to act as feeder sites to the parent site.

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Sep
03
2008
0

Welcome to search engine optimisation

Welcome to this blog on search engine optimisation techniques. Retiarius Internet Design have been designing web sites since 2001. Owned by Andrew Jeffcock, a former UK Government research scientist, explosives engineer! and computer programmer, Retiarius Internet Design have been developing sites for small to medium businesses and individual clients, specialising in gaining enhanced search engine placement by utilising World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) compliant coding with Google-friendly SEO techniques.

Based in Buxton, Derbyshire Retiarius provide a personal and rapid response service for its clients.

We intend this blog to provide an insight into some of the SEO techniques we employ.

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