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A WordPress ‘Google dog’s dinner’

November 30th, 2015 by Edward

dog eating dinner

Recently, there was a bit of a discussion on a local social network forum. Somebody had been using one of those ‘build your own site whilst mowing the garden’ type of services (now these can be good, but that’s another blog post). Getting back to this post the person in question was asking if they should move over to wordpress. Amongst the well thought out and well meaning contributions was something along the lines of ‘google loves wordpress‘.

On one, somewhat misleading level this is right. On several others of course it’s just that. Misleading.

  • It gives the impression that if you use wordpress you’ll rank high in google. This is wrong.
  • It gives the idea that using wordpress is the best bet for your website. This can be wrong too.
  • It suggests that wordpress and google have ‘something going on’ which is also wrong.
  • It suggests that wordpress might have some ‘magic formula’ that will ‘take care of your search engine needs for you.’ Guess what, this is wrong. Probably!

So, what’s right then

read more Read more…

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Difference between alt and title tags for an image

July 16th, 2014 by Edward

I keep forgetting this, and about once a month end up looking up – so here’s a post, primarily for my memory!

ALT (or Alternative Text) – describes the image in the page, displays if img fails to load (but not in all browsers???). It should be brief and descriptive. For some reason Joomla calls this the image description (which I suppose it is really!) This tag was introduced for visually impaired users and without it you will be penalized in SEO terms.

TITLE – describes the image, a bit like alt- providing ‘additional’ info about the image in a pop up animation on hover (but not in all browsers). Seems its used primarily when an image links to other content, describing where the link is going, but is optional for img. If missed out some browsers display the alt on hover.

Example:
If you are doing a page about Lyme Regis and have Lyme Regis in the title and a cool picture of the cobb and sea you might just do this

<img src="i.jpg" alt="Lymne Regis" />

but it wouldn’t be great because it doesn’t’ tell the ‘visually impaired user’ anything. Much better to do

<img src="i.jpg" alt="View of the Cobb and sea at Lyme regis " />

Leave a space at the end of the alt description “xxx xxx ” – good for screen readers.

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Multiple domains pointing at one site – good or bad for seo?

April 9th, 2014 by Edward

From time to time clients ask me if its a good idea to buy up a pile of domains and point them all at the same website. What effect, they want to know, will this have on their seo. Since this question comes up regularly, but not often, I keep forgetting the answer – so here’s a blog post.

Having researched the issue (again) it seems that there are different answers to the question:

Have the domains ever pointed anywhere else? If they have, there can be a ‘carry over’ meaning that if they linked to a badly rated or even a site with a bad reputation (maybe badly built) the effect can be negative. The reverse can also be true – for a time. If the domains have never pointed anywhere else then there will be no effect.

Make sure the secondary domains redirected to the primary url. Imagine you have www,greatsocks.co.uk as you main domain and buy up www.fabsocks.co.uk and www.awesomesocks.co.uk If you then just point these secondary domains at the same site google (other search engines are available) will see duplicate content. IE www.greatsocks.co.uk/about and www.fabsocks.co.uk/about will be identical, but under different domains. You are very likely to be penalised for this – google will allocate a “preferred or canonical” domain, which oculd be different for each page – this potentially leads to your site being penalised for devalued internal linking. This is where the 301 redirect comes in. When your visitor types in www.fabsocks.co.uk they are re-directed to www.greatsocks.co.uk – so google et al do not see duplicate content. In technical terms – user a 301 redirect.

Don’t dilute external links.Another problem is that you dilute your external links. Ideally links pointing to your site will all point to the main domain. However, if you run a pile of different domains for the same content you can’t control so easily where the backlinks point to. This will then dilute the effectiveness of the links – you could have 2 to each of the three sock examples whereas you could have 6 back to the main one!

It can help when you have a difficult to spell url – or a business name with a hypen in for example

It can be useful to stop the competition getting the domain

So it looks like for most cases the benefits of  having all the different domains are minimal. If you do, make sure they all point to the one, main domain. Make sure all you links to your site point to the main domain.

 

There are many sources but I used these for this short post:

http://moz.com/community/q/is-pointing-multiple-domains-to-a-single-website-beneficial-for-seo-or-not

http://www.hostway.com/web-resources/search-engine-optimization/can-i-use-more-than-one-domain-with-my-web-site-for-seo/

 

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Understanding Bounce Rate and Average Page Times

October 18th, 2012 by Edward

Google analytics is fabulous if you want to know who is visiting your site and what they are doing when they get there! However, you have to know what the statistics can and can’t do or else you can easily be fooled! In this post I briefly explain two ideas – “bounce rate” and “average time on a page”.

Here’s a few lines from one of my sites -this blog in fact

A few lines of analytics statistics

See how two of the two of the bounce rates are 100%… that sounds bad! So does the average time on the page – 00.00.00!

The Joy of The Bounce

A visitor bounces when they arrive at a page, and the leave your site from the same page. So for my first post it looks like a visitor arrives, thinks “This is no use” and leaves immediately. But this isn’t necessarily so. There are lots of situations when a “one page visit” is exactly what you are after – for example a blog post, a pdf download page, a long, long page. Your visitor arrives, reads the post, and then leaves. There’s no problem there.

Tick Tock – 11 O’Clock

Time on the Page – in my chart above its important to remember that this is an average. So for my first line again it looks like I had 5 unique page views, who stayed for no time and then left the page. Again, that interpretation could be wrong. Google measures time on a page by measuring the gap between arriving at that page, and then going to the next page. So what if they arrive at one page and leave from that one page – result, time on the page will equal 0.00 – even if they read the whole blog post!

This all begs the question of just how useful these time figures really are? But that’s a post for another day!

Want to know more about how your users are using your site – analytics is the way to go. Why not contact ee-web design for help?

 

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All Traffic Sources – google analytics

July 2nd, 2012 by Edward

If you look at “Sources->all traffic” in google analytics you will often see something like this. Here’s what the various “Descriptions” mean – this is really useful when you start drilling down to find out things like “What key terms did visitors use” and so on.

analytics chart showing sources

Google/organic is pretty obvious – its the line hat tells you how many unique visitors you had to your site that arrived there after searching in google. Ditto for Yahoo.

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Analytics – organic not provided

June 27th, 2012 by Edward

I have been wondering why GA when you have Traffic type agains keywords you sometimes get “Organic” – “Not provided”. For my sties, its nearly always near the top and its pretty frustrating because there seems to be a whole set of data that you can’t access

This article explains where this comes from! If I get more time I’ll put it into my own words!

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Keywords meta tag

February 3rd, 2012 by Edward

This is a work in progess – but the evidence from a quick google search is “Google doesn’t use it!!!” You can’t say fairer than this… or is this too trusting?

 

And if a video from the “Horses Mouth” isn’t enough for you try this that’s not enough ammo – try this google search …

 

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Description meta tag

February 3rd, 2012 by Edward

You might like to read this post on the description meta tag along  with the post on the title tag

The <meta name=”description” content=”Brian the two month old labrador puppy goes for his first walk in the park” /> gives google et al a summary of what the page is about. The <title> might be a few words, the description could a short paragraph. Google MIGHT use them as snippets for your pages. MIGHT – because google may choose to use a relevant section of your page’s visible text if it does a good job of matching the search term. Its always good practice to add this tag, in case the friendly robots can’t find a good enough section of text within your page.

Words in the snippet are bolded (emboldened?) when they appear in the user’s query and so gives the user a clue about whether the content on the page matches what he or she is looking for.

Write a description that both informs and interests the user and use unique descriptions for each page – avoid a single description across your site.

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www and non-www urls

February 2nd, 2012 by Edward

Suppose you have a site with the domain mysite.com. Google will see www.mysite.com and mysite.com as two different sites. This can affect you rankings, although there is (as always) discussion out there about just how much.
Its important to tell goolge which of these is there prefered domain often called the “canonical” domain – personally, I like the www version, so I normally set this via the google developer tools for my sites. Here’s a quote from google themselves:

Once you tell us your preferred domain name, we use that information for all future crawls of your site and indexing refreshes. For instance, if you specify your preferred domain as http://www.example.com and we find a link to your site that is formatted as http://example.com, we follow that link as http://www.example.com instead. In addition, we’ll take your preference into account when displaying the URLs.

Also, as a belt and braces thing I often set a 301 re-direct in the .htaccess file. This then means that should anyone follow a link such as http://mysite.com/apples they will be automatically redirected to http://www.mysite.com/apples – and this is what will appear in the browser window.

You can set the .htaccess file like this

Options +FollowSymLinks
RewriteEngine On
#to send mysite.com -> www.mysite.com
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^mysite\.com
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.mysite.com/$1 [R=permanent,L]

There’s lots of good info out there on how to edit the .htaccess file – try

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Directory listings can affect your ranking

January 5th, 2012 by Edward

Normally when people type into google they either see the contents of your “description” tag or some of the text from your page. This is all great. However, there are occasions when google will display text from the open directory project as the page title and description for your listing that it has “Taken” from this (and other) directories. This is OK, but in some instances the text in your listing might not reflect the key word you are working on, could be out of date, or badly written There is also similar directory run by YAHOO, with all the same possible problems!

I’d prefer to stay in control than let open directories have a say…

You can use the robot meta tag to “Opt out” of content from these open directories being used in your listing/ranking. All you need to do is tell the robots by adding this to your <head> section.

&lt;meta name="robots" content="noodp,noydir" /&gt;

The “noodp” opts out ofthe “Open directory projects” whilst the “noydir” takes care of yahoo.

 

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