Archives for SEO & Web

Optimize your WordPress Blog Title

Stepping away slightly from the recent vein of posts back into the ‘SEO’ aspect of the blog, I had an epiphany regarding the title setup of my wordpress blog.

It’s probably an important piece of information to anyone that hasn’t done it but way well also be something other people have been doing for years.

If you write a post it’s probably because you want people to read it therefore it makes sense to try and optimise it slightly while composing the content.

Use the ‘key phrase’ a few times without making the content read as though it’s obviously crammed with the phrase.

Google the almighty, also tends to favour the title of the page (If people tell you Google doesn’t, they are wrong. It definitely makes all the difference http://www.seroundtable.com/archives/019774.html).

If you look in the blue ‘title bar’ right at the top of this web page it reads ‘Optimize your WordPress Blog Title – UKMoneyPot – Personal Finance Blog’.

Before my epiphany, it would have read ‘UKMoneyPot Personal Finance Blog – Optimize your WordPress Blog Title’.

If Google favours page titles then the order used to be all wrong. The first thing Google would have seen is ‘UKMoneyPot….’ instead of the important bit ‘Optimize your WordPress Blog Title’.

In the ‘header.php’ file you’ll see the following code within the <title> tag:

<?php bloginfo(‘name’); ?><?php wp_title(); ?>

The ‘name’ part is the blog name (in this case ‘UKMoneyPot – Personal Finance Blog’)

The ‘wp_title’ part is the title of the post (in this case ‘Optimize your WordPress Blog Title’)

This is the default order of the 2 php tags.

To put the post title first you simply need to switch them around like this:

<?php wp_title(); ?><?php bloginfo(‘name’); ?>

However, you may notice if you do this that the ‘separator’ ‘>>’ is at the beginning and not in between.

To resolve this simply add ‘ – ‘ or ‘ >> ‘ into the ‘wp_title’ brackets like this:

<?php wp_title(‘ – ‘); ?><?php bloginfo(‘name’); ?>

This should give you: ‘Blog Title – Post Title’

But, if you are using a version of WordPress older than 2.5 you will need to replace the whole lot with the following:

<title><?php wp_title(‘ ‘); ?><?php if(wp_title(‘ ‘, false)) { echo ‘–‘; } ?><?php bloginfo(‘name’); ?></title>

If this is all a bit confusing you might find WordPress’s explanation of this easier to follow:

http://codex.wordpress.org/Template_Tags/wp_title

 

Link Exchangers Beware of Sneak Attacks

In the world of online marketing many website owners ‘exchange links’. This simply means placing a link on one website in exchange for a link from another website.

Links from other websites are thought of by search engines as ‘votes’ and can help in moving a website higher up the order of natural search engine results.

It is quite common if you are the owner of a popular website to receive a large number of ‘link exchange’ requests by email on a daily basis.

In order to decide if a website is worth linking with it is quite common to click on a link in an email to visit the site and make sure it’s suitable.

I recently received an email from Sanjeev (sanjeev@web-performers.com):

Dear Webmaster,

Sub:Link Exchange Request
 
I found your great website while searching for relevant link partners. We are very picky of whom we choose for a link exchange. We value your high quality website useful for our users and would like to ask you if  you would be interested in exchanging links with our high quality theme relevant site.

For your reference, I am sending the site details:

Title : Credit Cards

URL : http://uk.virginmoney.com/credit-card-v3/

Description : For everyday use we offer a very rewarding Virgin Credit Card, and for people who love to travel there’s our Virgin Atlantic American Express Credit Card from MBNA. Take your pick.

Your link will be added at : http://www.lindsaylohanmusic.info/

Hoping an early and positive response from you on this would be highly appreciated.

Best Regards

sanjeev

For the purpose of placing this email on my site I have disabled the links.

The reason I have done this is because website links are not always what they seem. The ‘URL’ you can see is not always where the link points and you can find by clicking a link you end up somewhere completely different.

Both of the links contained in the email redirected to the correct place but they were redirected via another web address that attempted to download malicious code and ‘diallers’.

Malicious code is more often known as a virus and ‘diallers’ put themselves in the way of your internet connection and make your computer connect via a premium rate number.

Thankfully my antivirus software is up to dat but needless to say I will not be exchanging links!

What I can’t tell is if Virgin Money have actually asked Sanjeev to conduct a link building exercise or if this has no link to Virgin whatsoever and Sanjeev and his team are just going around trying to attack the competition….

Always hover over a link and use your ‘status bar’ (bottom left of an active window) to see where the link points before clicking. 

Google, Google, Google….

I’m not going to harp on about this because it’s known by webmasters around the world as ‘one of those things’, but one of my sites has suddenly dropped from ranking between 8th and 10th on Google to around 40th for a popular search phrase.

I could rant on about this because yes, it makes my blood boil when things like this happen. Maybe because they are totally out of my control, or maybe because it suddenly removes a bit of extra income I was just getting used to….

Nonetheless it smarts and I just wanted to take the time to say to anyone else this has happened to, I feel your pain…

Just remember, death and taxes (and maybe a nurse if you’re lucky…).

 

Paris Hilton – A Hotel in France

Without question, Paris Hilton is one of the most talked about celebrities (blah, blah, blah etc, etc… < - indicates my interest in celebrity gossip...). Many thousands of websites make reference to her and yet, the homepage of the Hilton Paris, (the hotel - www.hilton-paris.com) is still able to find itself on the first page of results for the search 'Paris Hilton' on Yahoo. Surprisingly it's number 1 on MSN Live but only 46th on Google! Why does Google consider the hotel website less important than Yahoo & MSN? Why is it buried beneath a myriad of other sites, some of which only make vague reference to Paris Hilton on one page? The answer is, it doesn't! Google is clever. It knows that if you type 'Paris Hilton' you are probably looking for the person but if you type 'Hilton Paris' you are probably looking for the hotel. 'Hilton Paris' puts the hotel website no.1 on Google, MSN and Yahoo so it actually looks like MSN is the search engine that can't tell the difference...!

Adwords Value for Money?

On a couple of my finance sites I display a 728×90 ‘leaderboard’ Google adwords ad.

These display 4 or 5 sponsored results. (see example on www.themighty.net)

In the finance world, people pay an arm and a leg to appear at the top of the sponsored results and subsequently within the top few results that are rotated within these ‘leaderboards’.

More recently I have noticed some of the major financial institutions monopolising the entire ad!

Just one advert dedicated to one advertiser across the entire 728×90 leaderboard so it looks like a large banner in full colour and with graphics!

How is this fair?

People that are paying top dollar for top listed sponsored results are clearly missing out!

These large adverts are appearing when before there would be 4 sponsored results. No matter which way you look at it, the more full sized ads that are displayed, the less the smaller ads get shown.

Who is winning?

Google methinks…. and those with vulgar marketing budgets….

Who was it that once thought Google were the good guys? It’s all about the money…. They may appear to smile while they take your money but they still take it…

It’s a PR Fest!

A site of mine that lost ranking and PR in Google nearly 3 years ago has finally been granted a PR again! It’s only a PR1 but it’s ever-so slightly better than PR0!

This site (UKMoneyPot) has also now been attributed a PR1 and the site has been online for a little over 3 months.

Another of my new sites has also recently gained PR1 but that particular site has only been live for 6 weeks!

I’m not a PR junkie and I couldn’t really care less about it to be honest. Some people consider it the Holy Grail of SEO but I don’t see the point in focusing much attention on it at all.

I’d like to see the stats that show how many home internet users actually have the Google Toolbar and how many of those clicked the box to ‘allow the toolbar to send information to Google’?

How important is PR to the average internet user? What about the large number of new users joining the internet everyday? Have they even heard of the toolbar?

OK, so a recognised way of gaining ranking in the search engines is to have a plethora of other sites linking to yours. If these sites happen to have a good PR, your site should ultimately be awarded a PR of it’s own.

Ranking well is definitely a way of getting visitors to your site but by no means the only way of generating custom by having sites linking to yours.

If you can find a site that can actually send you real visitors to your site from a link it must be worth more than a link from a site with a PR3 that doesn’t refer you any business?

Sitemaps for Google, Yahoo and MSN Live Search

Anyone that has owned a website for some time or is involved in promoting their website will probably know all about submitting sitemaps to search engines such as Google, Yahoo and MSN.

A sitemap is essentially a list of URL’s or web pages of a particular site laid out in a format that tells search engines what pages there are in the site.

This saves the search engines the time required to look through all the links of a site before it finds all the pages. This can help speed up the indexing of new pages and pages that change on a regular basis.

It has recently become much simpler to make search engines aware of your sitemap due to an agreement between the major players in the industry.

http://www.ysearchblog.com/archives/000437.html

All webmasters need to do now is reference the location of their sitemap in the robots.txt file.

http://www.seochat.com/seo-tools/robots-generator/  is a good place to look if you are not familiar with robots.txt files.

If your sitemap location is http://www.yoursite.com/sitemap.xml,  in your robots.txt file you simply need to add:

Sitemap: http://www.yoursite.com/sitemap.xml

That’s it.

According to the Yahoo Search Blog as referenced above, the major search engines will now all recognise this as a valid instruction.

So far it looks like the following Search Engines are onboard: Google, Yahoo, MSN, Ask, IBM

One of the best free xml sitemap generators I have used can be found here:

http://www.auditmypc.com/free-sitemap-generator.asp

It uses java so you may need to update the Java on your PC but you will be prompted if you do.

Pipping the .org

Having been exposed to the world of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) for several years I thought I’d offer my knowledge and services to others so I built a website to reflect what I know I can do.

I found a suitable domain name and procured www.2seo.co.uk

I’ve adopted a few basic SEO techniques to alert the major search engines of the website presence and have already achieved a degree of success!

By searching on Google.co.uk for ‘2seo’ my site is ranked no.1

This may not seem like much of an achievement but there is already a search engine optimisation site out there with the domain www.2seo.org and my site is now ranked above them for ‘2seo’.

This is good for me because anyone looking for 2seo.org may find my site first!

 

How to Google

Step 1. Go to http://www.google.co.uk

Step 2. When you are on the http://www.google.co.uk page, type whatever you want to find in the wide ‘search box’ across the middle of your screen. The image below shows the screen you should see and the red circle shows the start of the ‘search box’. (The red circle is not on the Google website, it is just in the picture below to show you where to start typing.)

That’s about it! You can type anything you like and Google will display a list of websites with a short description of each. All you have to do is click on the title that you think is the closest to the thing you’re searching for and you will be taken to that website.

Below is an image of the results you would see if you searched for ‘kitchens’.

The first 3 results are advertisements or ‘Sponsored Listings’ which means the website owner has paid to appear at the top.

The narrow list on the right of the screen is more ‘sponsored listings’.

The rest of the page contains results that Google thinks are closest to the search you performed.

The ‘search box’ stays at the top and the bottom of the page so you can search again whenever you like.

To ‘Google’ there is nothing more to it. You do not need to type ‘Google’ before or after your search in order to ‘Google’

Googling is simply the act of using http://www.google.co.uk to search the internet.

Although this may seem very straightforward and simple, it has actually been known for people to try and ‘Google’, while visiting other search engines as well by putting the word ‘Google’ in front or after their search subject.

Eg: Visiting Yahoo or MSN and searching for ‘Google loans’ or ‘Google films’.

Google commands a massive audience and has rapidly become an established household name but the growth has been so fast some people have not yet discovered that Google is actually a website and not just a strange word that helps you find things online.

Email Issues Resolved

Having only just discovered that since moving hosting provider two weeks ago none of my email accounts were working properly, I have now had the issue resolved.

The new host seems to be working out well despite this and had I noticed the problem sooner I’m sure they would have resolved it sooner too.

10pm on a Sunday I called the 24hr support line. I explained the problem, gave my details and was amazed when I was told the problem would be investigated and they would call me back!

At 10.50pm the phone rang and sure enough it was the support assistant calling to let me know he’d looked into it, fixed a very simple bug and everything was now working OK.

I tested the email accounts and sure enough all was as it should be.

So far webhostingUK definitely come recommended.

Also, apologies to anyone that has tried getting in touch. Please try again, thanks.