Posts

SEO Audit Tips: 8 Examples of Why Your Source Code Matters

Contrary to what many believe, good SEO practice requires some level of coding skills. At the site of hundreds of lines of code in some cases even thousands, it is common to find those who will not take another second looking at code. As long as the site functions as best as how you know then everything is okay. It may be a lot of work optimizing your page and nobody needs to add to whatever you are already going through but all that work could be in vain if some certain aspects of code are not looked into.

 

Designers, marketers and programmers should take note, all these departments need each other to actually realise that source code plays a very critical role in SEO. We take a look at 8 examples of how source code affects SEO.

 

1. Canonical URL Tag Issues

 

You come across content which is similar to other URL’s. What this tag does is inform engines of duplicate content. When used correctly it works great, take for example a bike company that releases a new model of bikes with the option of different three different colors allowing visitors to change the color when viewing the product page but the URL changes.

 

But when each and every option has the tag it tells the engines that the attribute should be given to the original page that loads the original product. You can see how that would be catastrophic across a larger amount of products, right!

 

2.Server-Side Code Showing Up Client-Side

Server side code like PHP should not appear on HTML source code, it happens sometimes and should be acted upon immediately. Competition never sleeps so you shouldn’t either. Double check and make sure code appears where its supposed to.

 

3. CSS Manipulation & Hidden Content

A stylish web-page is a top priority to site owners, well most anyway and CSS is what gets many there. However, sometimes content gets hidden and doesn’t get to appear on the page. In some cases this could be a matter of code error or it could be intentional to load keywords. There are many CSS techniques one can use to use to hide content. Visit your site with Javascript and CSS disabled it might enlighten you on what is really going on.

4. Meta Robots Problems

Meta robot tags instruct search engines to not index a certain page or not follow any links on the page and so on. There is no telling how much good and harm could come out of this, understand how it works if at all you are using this tag.

 

5. Multiple Head Elements, Title Tags & More

HTML headers hold a lot of information within them, from the meta description, title tags, canonical URL tag etc. This requires correctly structured and well optimized elements put in place. It is common to find empty tags or malformed ones, a quick detection and correction could straighten this issue out. Go through your HTML head and make sure everything is structured right.

 

6. Excessive Script Code

When something is in excess, more often than not there is a high chance not everything is being used. Excessive amounts of script code could slow down your page load speed or worse throw errors. Get rid of unnecessary code and tidy up your client side code.

 

7. Analytics Tagging Problems

We all want to know how our pages are doing and having some kind of analytics to present to us stats in a way we can understand. Thats all well and good but you need to know which snippets are there and that they are giving accurate data. Going through your source code you can find which snippets are loading and more than that you can find improper tagging. Be very careful with your site data, it could get in the hands of someone with malice.

 

8. Malformed Anchors and Canonicals

Nothing rubs off visitors than broken links and worse off is giving out a bad user experience could be the death of your site. It is also important to maintain the flow of PageRank through your site, remember to link from high ranking pages to sibling and child pages.

An extra full stop and a link won’t work and detecting the problem could be a bit difficult and take quite some time. Same happens when canonical tags are not formatted properly, they kill SEO success on the page.

Make sure your links are working properly.

 

I guess now you see the point of having a look at source code every now and again and how it affects SEO power.

International SEO Best Practices Checklist

Honestly, the talk about local SEO practises has over flown my inbox, with tips and more tips on how to best practise local SEO. Rarely will you find tips on how to best practise international SEO. Locally we have what it takes to have an online presence, but is that what i will use to set up an international presence too? Here are a few tips to help you set up shop on international ground.

1. Hosting
First off, you need to register a new domain with the target country for g Google to detect location using IP address.

2. Country-code top-level domain name (ccTLD)
When picking hosting look into getting proper country code for example: if you decide to locate your business in Kenya, use www.mybusiness.co.ke and so on

3. Content, Language and Culture
Your content also needs to be cutting edge, fresh and written by a native speaker from whichever country it is. Like a Brit trying to speak Indian, certain things will tell you where this person is from, you don’t want that for your site.

4. External linking
Getting links from the specific region should be earned, from niche related interests, blog and so on. Starting with companies you are already involved in can be a great place to start with.

5. Citations
Regional and country specific citations are things you need to have, something like on-line directories or the yellow pages.

6. Physical Location
This should appear on your site at least once, maybe in the “about us” page, in the side footer or both.

7. HTML language specification
Specify what language your site will be in using the lang attribute

8. Google webmaster tools
Make sure you set geo-targeting for ccTLD.

9. Google maps
List your business address and verify it on Google maps.

10. Google+ Local
Creating a profile on Google+ and filling it out to completion is of importance

11. Currency
If there are prices listed in your site make sure the currency symbol used is for the said country.

The more you pay attention to all of these tips the better your results are. The human eye/brain may have skipped a few but Google doesn’t.

Extreme Makeover: SEO Edition

Like every piece of machinery needs a tune up once in awhile, so does your website. If you are looking to maximize on SEO at least, cleaning house is necessary every now and again. As easy as it is to forget about fixing up things on your site, most of the time where to start is the number one problem. It is for this problem why we procrastinate on doing tune ups but this should no longer be a reason. We all need a little help every now and again, and here we give you a couple of places you can start with to tune up your website. Have a read here>>>

How to Get Google’s Penguin and Panda to Love your Website

1300SEONOW will be presenting a information session to BNI Eastern breakfast meeting on 10th of October 2012.

This session will cover the latest changes to the Google search engine landscape and provide useful information on what you can change on your website so that it is liked by both Google’s Penguin and Panda updates.

Google Penguin is a code name for a Google algorithm update that was first announced on April 24, 2012. The update is aimed at decreasing search engine rankings of websites that violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines by using black-hat SEO techniques, such as keyword stuffing, cloaking, participating in link schemes, deliberate creation of duplicate content, and others.

If you own a website then understanding the changes can help improve your rankings and safe guard your site against a Google penalty

The only cost to attend this session is the cost of your breakfast.  Booking for this session are essential.

For more information on this session please complete the form below.

 

Understanding Alexa Rank

Alexa Rank is a relative measurement on how popular a web site among the Internet community. Alexa is relative because it depends on the data of Alexa Toolbar users. And also Alexa Toolbar is only for Internet Explore which means it doesn’t count growing group of Firefox fans or any other browser users. But there are over 10 million Alexa Toolbar users who make it a recognized measurement.

Alexa orders web sites according to Alexa Traffic they get. That means a site with a rank of 1000 gets more traffic than a site with rank of 1001 according to Alexa, of course.

How Alexa Rank Is Calculated

Alexa Rank is calculated considering how many Alexa Toolbar users visited a certain web site and how many distinct pages they viewed in that site over a period of 3 months. Below is the Definition from Alexa itself,

 

Alexa’s traffic rankings are based on the usage patterns of Alexa Toolbar users over a rolling 3 month period. A site’s ranking is based on a combined measure of reach and pageviews. Reach is determined by the number of unique Alexa users who visit a site on a given day. Pageviews are the total number of Alexa user URL requests for a site. However, multiple requests for the same URL on the same day by the same user are counted as a single pageview. The site with the highest combination of users and pageviews is ranked #1.

Alexa’s traffic rankings are for top level domains only (e.g. domain.com). We do not provide separate rankings for subpages within a domain (e.g. www.domain.com/subpage.html) or subdomains (e.g. subdomain.domain.com) unless we are able to automatically identify them as personal home pages or blogs, like those hosted on Geocities and Tripod. If a site is identified as a personal home page or blog, its traffic ranking will have an asterisk (*) next to it: Personal Page Avg. Traffic Rank: 3,456*. Personal pages are ranked on the same scale as a regular domain, so a personal page ranked 3,456* is the 3,456th most popular page among Alexa users.

 

Important points from the definition,

  • Alexa’s traffic rankings are based on the usage patterns of Alexa Toolbar users over a rolling 3 month period.This means rankings are not accumulated. If a web site got lots of Alexa Visitors last 3 months but not get any of them next 3 months, it’s Alexa Rank goes down. Its previous rank is not going to help which is a good point because a web site has to keep a continued interest in its visitors. And also any boosting gimmick will not work continually.
  • A site’s ranking is based on a combined measure of reach and pageviews.This means if Site A got 10 Alexa Visitors and each of them viewed only the home page and Site B got only one Alexa Visitor and he viewed 20 different pages, Site B gets 20 Alexa Credits while Site A gets only 10.This reminds you to think about the quality of your content and your site navigation.
  • multiple requests for the same URL on the same day by the same user are counted as a single pageview.This means if your site has 10 pages and you visit each page 10 times each day thinking you will get 100 Alexa Credits daily, then you only get fed up. Here you get only 10 Alexa Credits daily. (URL – Uniform Resource Locator means the address of a web page). This also ensures that any auto refreshing software doesn’t help much.
  • Alexa’s traffic rankings are for top level domains only. This means if your site has separate sections (sub domains or sub directories) like www.your-site-name.com and mail.your-site-name.com, you don’t get two different Alexa Ranks for them. Instead Alexa calculates overall traffic to your-site-name.com using all the sections in your site.Does this mean that if you start a blog in Blogger where you will get an address like your-name.blogspot.com you won’t have your own Alexa Rank? Reread the sentence unless we are able to automatically identify them as personal home pages or blogs.This means you will hopefully get your own Alexa Rank (Little bit controversial, isn’t it?).It means that Alexa has some kind of Algorithm to determine sub domain (or sub directory incases like Geocities) traffic in sites like Blogger.com. But it seems that it takes time. That’s why you see Alexa Rank as 18 in new Blogger blogs which is the Alexa Rank of main domain, Blogger .com.

Why Alexa Rank Is Important

Do a search in Google on Alexa Rank and you will get lots of discussions and posts saying Alexa Rank is not important because its relative and so and so. But it is still considered in major advertising networks like AdBrite and Text Link Ads (That means if you have a higher rank you will get higher rates for publishing their ads) and also despite the argument any web master will feel higher respect when you have higher Alexa Rank. Yes, it’s human nature

Remember that even though Alexa is relative it has over 10 million users which is a good number for any kind of research and also it says Yahoo! is number 1, MSN is 2, Google is 3 and eBay, Amazon, MySpace are always in top 20 which is true according to any other research or in our own experience.

How to Improve Alexa Rank

Improving Alexa Rank can be really tedious if you consider it as a project and try to do it mechanically. I suspect most of the people in the discussion are the people who tried it hard way and got fed up. However there are some simple ways to improve it.

  • Still if you haven’t done, install Alexa Toolbar in Internet Explorer and view couple of web pages (or more) of your own everyday. You may be a Fireox fan (So do I) but do this at least as testing on how well your pages perform in IE.
  • Think about ways to get geeks to your site. They may not buy or click on your ads but most of them have Alexa Toolbar installed and will surely improve your Alexa Rank, for one case or another, some people still like IE.Marketing forums can be a good starting point. Your subject may not be Marketing but you will surely get benefited from these forums on matters on marketing your web site online. Think about a handy signature. Preferably this can be led to a useful tool in your site which will make repeated visits. Some other places are social networking sites like Digg and Delicious.
  • Distribute Alexa Tool bar in your site. To make it a concern, Alexa allows Customized Alexa Toolbars where you can put your logo (which directly link to your site) and Amazon Associate ID (which can make you money if users buy from Amazon going through your Alexa Toolbar. FYI: Alexa is an Amazon company).
  • And other web commandments remain. Quality content, constant improvement and being patient are always winning solutions.

What Else in Alexa

Alexa Rank is not the only thing Alexa provides. It has some other good information like Related Sites and User Reviews. To find all the Alexa Information of a site, just replace its domain name in following address format, insert it into your browser address bar and hit enter.

https://www.alexa.com/data/details/main?q=&url=yahoo.com

You will find four links at top to the right saying, Overview (where you are now), Traffic Details, Related Links, Sites Linking in. Explore these links and you will get lots of useful information. Begin your research with Yahoo! because it contains data for all the sections which may not be the case for a new site.

Then try your site. If it has nothing in the Contact Info section, it will provide you a link to enter that information (You will need an email address in your domain name for this. Email aliases also work). There you will also have a link to update the Thumbnail of your site. Once your details are there, you can edit them following the same procedure.

In addition to these, Alexa provide some Webmaster Services and Data Services which can be useful in various aspects.

Alexa Widgets

Alexa Toolbar alone provides some good information like Site Info and Related Sites. But the toolbar is only for IE users. This is a problem for Firefox users and has been a considerable issue to Alexa too. Alexa describes it in Alexa and Firefox and recommends some widgets to get same information.

Knowing Alexa Rank at a glance can be really useful. Search Status provides this facility for Firefox. It shows both Alexa Rank and Google Page Rank in Firefox status bar which is a good combination to measure the quality of a site. Once installed, right click on it and choose Show as Text to see ranks in numbers. Defaults are graphical bars which only show numbers when you mouse over them.

Remember that these widgets only query Alexa Data and provide you results. They do not send back data like number of page views to Alexa which is a major aspect of Alexa Toolbar.