Tuesday, February 21, 2017


Sitemaps can be of two kinds; a page or pages on your site that lists the pages on your website, often hierarchically organized or ‘Google Sitemaps’ which is a process that allows site owners to submit urls of pages they would like to have included in Google’s index. The two kinds of sitemap serve slightly different purposes, both important.

A conventional sitemap is designed to help the human visitor if they can’t find what they are looking for and also to ensure that Googlebot (Google’s Web Crawler) finds the important pages of your site. A well executed example of this kind of sitemap is Apple’s sitemap. From the optimization point of view a page like this presents an opportunity to link to your own pages with appropriate anchor text (see the last paragraph of Internal Links). If you have more than a few pages on your site then a sitemap can only be advantageous.

Google Sitemaps however is a solution to a problem that Google has with crawling the entire web. Googlebot spends a lot of time and resources fetching pages that have not changed since it last looked at them. Crawling billions of pages to find that the majority are the same as last time is not very efficient and Google Sitemaps has been designed to improve the process. The idea is that site owners submit a sitemap to Google and next time Googlebot visits their site it knows where to go and look for changed or new pages.

If site owners use Google Sitemaps it will reduce their machine time and reduce their bandwidth i.e. it saves them money. Also site owners get their new content indexed quicker and a reduced load on their servers by Googlebot not fetching unchanged pages. Google have provided a sitemap protocol and an automated process for the whole procedure.

Google Sitemaps does not replace the established Googlebot crawling procedure and should be used to solve specific problems, such as:

  • If you need to reduce the bandwidth taken by Googlebot.
  • If your site has (accessible) pages that are not crawled.
  • If you generate a lot of new pages and want them crawled quickly.
  • If you have two or more pages listed for the same search you can use page priority to list the better one.
  • Google have an extensive help and explanation of the procedure at About Google Sitemaps.

August 5, 2015

Google has renamed Google Sitemaps to Google Webmaster Tools under the new heading of Webmaster Central.

April 15, 2016

Google, MSN, Yahoo and ASK have recently announced support for sitemap auto-discovery via the robots.txt file and have agreed on a standard sitemaps protocol.

By adding the following line of code to your robots.txt file the search engines will now auto-discover your sitemap file.

Sitemap: http://ift.tt/XxxkvM

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Sunday, February 19, 2017

Why Local Search is Important for Your Business

As much talk as there is about Internet Marketing breaking down boundaries and flattening the world, most commerce is still defined by physical space. For instance, consumers are still going to search for businesses in their area. Because of this, the importance of Local search cannot be overstated.

Local search sites are supported by advertising from businesses that wish to be featured when users search for specific products and services in specific locations. For example, if you live in New York City and you search for “lower west side Manhattan bakery” you are going to get the top Local searches. Local search advertising can be highly effective because it allows ads to be targeted very precisely to the search terms and location provided by the user.

Optimizing your Local Internet Marketing has existed for a long time. 20 or 30 years ago, it was done by businesses putting out adverts in the Local publications. Now consumers search online. And the power of Local searching is only getting bigger, as more and more people search for products or businesses on their smartphones. (Someone looking for a nearby restaurant on his/her iPhone, for instance.) So the idea of the Local search hasn’t changed, just the medium has. Social media marketing demands your business change its approach, too.
One out of five searches on Google is related to location. So make sure your business has optimized content on its site in order to have a high ranking for Local search results.

Here are some benefits of high ranking in Local search.

  • Less competition for your keyword.
  • You’re narrowing your search to your specific location, so you are no longer competing with others around the world. This gives you a chance to shine and better chance to rank.
  • Popularity of Local search is increasing.

We mentioned this before, but it bears repeating. Much of the future of consumer browsing will be done on smartphones. In the age of smartphone apps, you want to make sure that your site is optimized for Local search. If someone is on his/her car and is looking for your services, you need to make sure they don’t drive an extra 10 miles to go to your competitor when he/she could have found you.

Targeted traffic means increased conversion rates.

By consumers narrowing down their search and finding your site, the conversion rates naturally become higher. Now, here are the key things to remember about Local search.

Keywords and Location

One of the biggest mistakes people tend to make it not choosing the right keywords. Use the Google Keywords Tool to look up what keywords people are using for your service.

Title Tags

Be sure your most important keywords are at the beginning of your title tag, and that it includes your targeted location keywords.

Header Tags

They have a lot of impact on SEO.

Internal Linking/Inbound Linking

Internal linking allows both consumers and search engine robots to navigate through your site’s pages smoothly and logically. Inner linking allows the robots to find your most important pages faster besides only relying on the sitemap. Inbound links are basically other sites pointing to your site as a reference. Inbound linking allows the search engines to evaluate how popular and how important your website is.


Always be sure that you have a proper Sitemaps and Robots.txt set up on your site. This is strictly for the search engine robots to completely understand the structures of your site and any restrictions or directions you have for it.

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Blogging for SEO

One of the pillars of Search Engine Optimization is content generation. It’s a simple formula, really. Your site must produce fresh, unique content. This is what the search engines love the most.

Google will rank sites based on the popularity of your content. That’s why your site must create content!
Blogging is probably the best way to create content. It gives your site a way to make more of everything- pages, posts, links, keywords, etc. The more content you have, the better your chances of ranking high on Google. This is why so many business sites have blogs!

Here are some tips to blogging for Search Engine Optimization.

Write what you know.

If you’ve never maintained a blog before, you might be unsure of what to do. But don’t worry. The blog is designed to give your readers information you know and they want. That means writing about your business! You’re the expert, so feel free to schedule a series of blog posts that cover all topics you can think of. Be theoretical as well as topical. Write about the nuts and bolts of your business, as well as newsworthy info that matters to your business and your customers.

Keep it fresh and unique. Put it in your own words.

We can’t stress this enough! Google doesn’t simply reward content. It rewards NEW CONTENT. So make sure you aren’t copying another site, word for word. The chances are, you might be blogging on a topic a competitor has already written about. There’s a lot of content on the web, and you might not be the only business in your industry with a blog. That’s not a problem! You can write about similar things, but make sure you aren’t copying what the’ve written. You can get into copyright trouble for that. But more importantly, IT DOESN’T HELP YOU WITH SEO. YOU NEED FRESH, UNIQUE CONTENT. For SEO, just make sure you put everything in your own words. That’s what counts!

Blog early and often.

  • Blog regularly. Like every business day.
  • Keep it short.
  • Blog posts should be 150-250 words each. People aren’t willing to spend too much time on a blog. They are scanning, not reading in-depth. So keep it punchy and to the point.
  • Be playful.
  • You want to be informative, first and foremost. You want people to come to your blog for insider information. But your blog must be entertaining and informal. Feel free to tell jokes, and include colorful stories and photos.
  • Be yourself.
  • Popular blogs are the ones that take on the personality of its author(s). So be yourself.
  • Include photos and videos.
  • The more visual the better. People will read your blog if breaks up the text with great images.
  • Remember those keywords!
  • All your site’s content MUST BE OPTIMIZED. Always, always use your keywords in every single blog post. Use the 3-5% keyword density formula!

Use Social Media.

Last but not least. Make sure all of your blogging is sent out to your Twitter feed, your Facebook Page, your LinkedIn profile, etc. This is easily than it seems. Just set up the RSS feed in your blog. That will allow all of your posts to go directly to your social media platforms.
Follow that list and you’ll do great!

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Thursday, February 9, 2017

First Impressions

For years usability studies and server log file analysis have tended to indicate that home page web designers have just a few seconds to create a favorable initial impression on the user. New evidence contained in a soon to be published paper suggests that a few seconds may be a gross over estimate.

Gitte Lindgaard and her colleagues from the Human Oriented Technology Lab (HOTLab) at Carleton University have conducted studies to ascertain how quickly people form an opinion about webpage visual appeal. The paper is to be published in the March-April 2016 issue of Behaviour & Information Technology.

Three studies were conducted in which subjects were presented with brief glimpses of previously classified home pages and asked to rate them for visual appeal. The results were highly correlated with assessments made over much longer periods of time and indicated that visual appeal can be assessed within 50 milliseconds. This is an astonishingly short period of time given that a normal human blink lasts 200–300 milliseconds.

Gitte Lindgaard and her colleagues have given the paper a rather apposite title “Attention web designers: You have 50 milliseconds to make a good first impression!”

In practice this means fast downloading home pages, limiting the graphics and providing information in the simplest way possible. If you are explaining, you are losing.

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