Fresh Content for Your Web Site

Having good fresh content for your site is vital for keeping people coming back to your site and to make your site relevant. Google gets this pretty well. So know they have Google Web Elements.  Essentially web elements lets you take different content from Google and display it on your site.

Since Google excels at search, I decided to see how difficult it would be to integrate Web Elements into a page at Educyber.com. Our Social Media Marketing Page hasn’t been updated in more than a month so at the Web Elements home page I clicked on News. Choose the size I wanted typed in Social Media in the Create one field, copied the code, pasted it into www.educyber.com/web/educyber-social-media-marketing.php, uploaded it and “Ta Dah” I was done. (Go ahead and check it out – scroll to the bottom of the page)

Now I don’t really like this kind of integration because if anyone clicks the link that Google displays, they go away from my site and off to someone else’s. That can’t be good for business, can it?

But there are some useful features that can work for your site. For example, you can embed a Google Calendar onto your site. So, say for example you hold regular events, meetings or seminars. You can create a Google Calendar, make it public and then pull your calendar onto whichever page(s) on your site you want.

Or if you have a powerpoint presentation that would be beneficial to share with your web visitors, choose Presentations, upload your presentation (or link to someone else’s), then copy the code and paste into your web page – Presto! You have a web presentation.

All in all, Web Elements is a useful application – one of those “Why didn’t I think of this?” kind of tools that can help you engage your web visitors.

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Leverage Your Web Site

Tough times got you worried? Is the recession sending you into a depression? I’ve been asked quite a bit lately about how what EduCyber does can help a company through tough times.

This is undoubtedly one of the unique times when smart business owners will position their web site to capture market share and solidify their position so that when the recovery takes off, they’re in a position to benefit. So what can you do? First take a good hard look at  your web site. What is working? Do you have a strong call to action on each page? Have you updated it lately? Does it look fresh?

Take some time to go through your site yourself. If you’ve had your site for a year or more, there will undoubtedly be pages that you haven’t looked at in awhile. Make sure that any old data is removed and that you have current information about your products and services.

Then you are ready to start. Search rules. Get your site ranked for your key words now and keep them there. Doing that will pay benefits far into the future. If you carefully define the key words that you wish target, you might find that it is not as difficult as you might believe to get ranked.

Visit Google’s webmaster tools to learn how to do it yourself or contact EduCyber if you’d like assistance to start your new year at the top of the search engines. In fact you can come to our seminar on December 11th to learn how to “Start your (search) engines”.

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Search Engines and URLs

Search engines from Google to Accona (yes, there’s a search engine called Accona) to Yahoo like to look at the URLs on your site. So you should pay attention to what is happening with your URLs. But let’s start at the beginning. What is a URL (sometimes pronounced U – R – L and sometimes pronounced like the name Earl)?

www.educyber.com/edunotes/index.php is a URL. It is what appears at the top of your web browser when you are on a web site. www.educyber.com/blog is another URL from our site. One thing to note is that for most sites, either index.htm or index.php will be a default page that shows up if you don’t type a file name. So www.educyber.com/edunotes/ is the same as www.educyber.com/edunotes/index.php.

So now that we know what a URL is, let’s take a look at how it can help you. As mentioned above, index.htm or index.php will be a default page that you need to have. After that you can name a page anything you want. You do NOT want to name a page index2.php or indexb.php. That tells you nothing at all about the content of your page.

Telling the search engines and your web site visitors about the content of the page helps them to understand what they will find on the page. This information is much more useful to the search engines than to visitors but then you’re more likely to get visitors if the search engines understand you.

Now let’s take another look at the EduCyber site for an example of what I’m talking about. Our navigation bar has a link that says Web Site Design. If you click that link, you go to this page: www.educyber.com/web/design.php. Notice that you’re in a folder called WEB and on a page called DESIGN.PHP. Those two pieces of information help search engines understand that is what the page is called.

As a final example, take a look at the URL in your browser as you read this blog. The last part of it reads /search-engines-and-urls/ which is also the title of this post. That helps to tell  the search engines what this blog post is all about.

The moral of the story is to use meaningful file names and paths when you create web pages and web sites.

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Searching in a Cloud

Came across a fascinating web site that I want to share with you. I have several friends who are very visual people. They love to diagram things. Several of them love to use a visual mind mapping tool that puts words all over the place – helping them to group key ideas and just see things in a more visual manner.

If that sounds like you, you need to check out Quintura. This site / application creates visual “mind map” searches. They use some pretty sophisticated algorithms to create the connections and visual creations. For example, we recently hosted the Information Product Roadtrip at EduCyber. If I do a search for information products at Quintura, I get the two words in the middle surrounded by a couple of dozen related words. Put the mouse over products and the words most closely related to it come forward and the others fade away.

If the linear fashion of most search engines just doesn’t cut it for you, try Quintura. Even if you love the way your favorite search engine works, you’ll want to give Quintura a try just to see if you get any additional insight.

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Title Tags for Web Pages

One of the things that many people overlook when creating their web site is coming up with good title tags.

First let me make sure we are on the same page. A title tag is the title of the page that appears at the very top of the browser window. For example, if you visit www.microsoft.com, you’ll probably see “Microsoft Corporation – Mozilla Firefox” or “Microsoft Corporation – Internet Explorer”, depending on your choice of web browser.

Now for Microsoft, that might be all you need. But for us little guys, we need to let the world know what it is that we do. Visit EduCyber.com and you’ll see the title “Denver Web Site Design, Internet Marketing, Web Hosting, Denver Search Engine Optimization.” Note that the name of the company doesn’t appear in the title. Instead we have let people know what it is that we do here at EduCyber.com.

Also, if you click on a link, such as the link to this blog, you’ll see that the blog page has a different title. The title here is “Search Engine Tips, Internet Marketing and Web Design: EduCyber blog”. Yes we have used the company name but notice that it doesn’t come first. Also note that every page on your web site should have a different title.

It appears, from a brief visit around the web site that a lot of companies want their site to be ranked high for “Welcome!”. You can often find Welcome in the title of web pages as well as having it be the first word of text on the main page of the web site. Do a search at Google for Welcome and see what I’m talking about.

What should you do? Write a list (10 – 50) of key phrases that you should be ranked for. Choose the two or three most important ones for the title of the main page. Look at the various pages of your site and craft a different title for each from your key phrases. Then do a search. Are you listed? If not wait a week and try again. This isn’t the end all to Search Engine Optimization but it can be one factor to help you get listed.

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Google Knows Everything

It was bound to happen. Google officially knows everything. They have indexed more than ONE TRILLION web pages. They announced this stunning bit of information last Friday on their official blog. If they’ve indexed that much, they must know everything, right?

Much is made of Google and the information they bring to your fingertips with just a touch of a key or click of a mouse. But just like a teenager or earlier 20’s college graduate, they’ve got a lot of knowledge but not  a lot of wisdom. “Knowing” lots of stuff and understanding what to do with it is a different matter. Take, for example, the valid complaints of SEO Expert Aaron Wall. In recent blog posts he has complained that ads on his Gmail account have been trying to entice him to date lonely married women because the content of his emails have been about his happy married life as he is a newlywed. Another complaint he had was about a new Google site that, simply because it is a Google property, trumps others sites in search.

I’ve taken to re-using my favorite Spiderman quote “With great power comes great responsibility.” when dealing with this issue. Google has been a tremendous success. They have built a powerful search engine that has changed the way we communicate and get information. They were definitely in the right place in the right time with the right idea. But as they have grown, they have tended to rely to heavily on their content (their knowledge) and not used wisdom to use this content in a manner that is healthy and consistent with copyright ownership.

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5 Key Web Site Statistics

There are five key web site statistics that every web site owner should pay close attention to:

  1. How many visitors? People used to get all excited about hits but you could easily have 100 hits from one visitor. The number of visitors though (usually tracked by unique IP addresses) gives you a really good idea of whether you’re getting the kind of traffic you need.
  2. What pages are people looking at? If you don’t know what’s popular on your site, you don’t know how to make it better. If a page other than your home page is more popular, you might have managed to get it ranked well in the search engines – another good thing to know.
  3. What search engines are sending people to your site and how many are they sending? With Google fielding around 75% of ALL searches, you typically get the most visits from Google. If you’re not, you can learn why and determine whether that is a good thing or not.
  4. What terms people are searching for when they get to your site? If you sell computers and find that people are searching for hair spray when they click through to your site, you’ve got a problem. If on the other hand, they are searching for motherboard, that is a good thing.
  5. What other sites are linking to your site? Google (and other search engines) love it when other sites are linking to your site. So the more sites that link to you, the better – at least if they’re the right kind of links.

You need to know these statistics to make informed decisions about your site. Do you know these?

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Google Continues to Dominate Search

According to Hitwise, last month Google accounted for nearly 68% of all search in the US. Wow. And if you compare the April numbers to March or to April of last year, you see that they are expanding their dominance.  That is the phenomenal part. Typically if a company creates a new niche and dominates it, other companies come in later to cash in on the good times and in the process they steal some of the market share. Google just keeps growing their share of the market.

Can you image what it would be like to “own” your industry or niche like that? Yahoo has less than 21% of the market (which is still pretty hefty) and MSN has fallen to less than 6.5% of the search market. Ask, while holding a smaller share, continues to grow their share. With Google and Ask expanding, MSN and the rest of the search engines are “taking it on the chin”.

Why do you think Google just keeps grabbing more of the market?

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