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Website Redesign? Get Some SEO Consultation Before You Launch

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Nov 122012

Here are the main reasons why people redesign their websites:

Its typically not until launch is around the corner that folks start asking about SEO. Sometimes they have serious discussions about usability.

As youve undoubtedly read in recent years, Google cares about the quality of a website. Good looking doesnt have to be tossed out the window in order to incorporate SEO. You can find that perfect balance of good looking, usable, and search engine friendly.

Usability and SEO go hand-in-hand. Search engines want to rank websites that provide a quality user experience for the searcher. How that’s defined can be somewhat subjective (every website is unique and its target audience will also be unique).

So, rather than speak to usability, let’s look at common mistakes that can happen when you’re redesigning your website.

This happens to be a sensitive topic for me, at the moment, as my company has recently completed an SEO audit of a large, e-commerce website that was built on IBM Websphere Commerce. Mind you, they are on an earlier version of Websphere (and newer versions have addressed issues that weve identified), but this system isn’t (and the earlier version wasn’t) exactly cheap, yet it has created numerous challenges for their SEO initiatives.

Newer versions have addressed these issues, so I dont want the takeaway here to be IBM Websphere is not good for SEO. Thats not the point.

It is very important to understand the pros and cons of any platform you’re considering. Ive launched some very successful websites on WordPress and Magento (websites that do well with SEO), but you have to find the platform that is robust enough for your needs, while still having the ability of being SEO friendly.

Once youve moved past the selection of your platform, you must begin quality keyword research and competitive analysis. Many tools (both free and paid) are available for keyword research, including Google’s AdWords Tool. For more on keyword research, check out these posts:

Another great source for keyword research is your existing paid search campaigns. After all, you can see actual impressions and historical data on how these words have performed in terms of click-through rate (CTR), time on site, pages visited, and most importantly conversion rate.

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Website Redesign? Get Some SEO Consultation Before You Launch

 Posted by at 1:42 pm  Tagged with:

SEO Positive Review the Campaign of Leading Animal Housing Company

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Oct 162012

The online promotion team at SEO Positive are set to review the campaign of a leading pet housing company in Cheshire.

(PRWEB UK) 15 October 2012 specialises in high quality products at reasonable prices. As an honest, customer based service their main objective is to please customers. With friendly staff holding a vast knowledge of animal welfare and experience of working with the Ministry of Defence, world renowned Crufts and of course passionate pet owners, is the best choice for animal housing. Producing dog kennels, cat, chicken, rabbit and horse housing as well as bespoke animal shelters, secure ordering and a ten year guarantee is standard on all products. All orders are attempted to be dispatched on the same day as they are ordered, alongside a two man dedicated delivery team to ensure goods are received in a satisfactory manner.

Ben Austin, Managing Director of SEO Positive, is delighted to have onboard, As a company that recognises good quality services at reasonable prices, we are delighted to have join our ever growing list of clients. We believe that it is possible to increase their visibility and in turn sales and are looking forward to future ventures.

SEO Positive online promotion team are currently implementing a new campaign to increase the usability of Premieranimalhousing.couk.

SEO Positive was established in 2007 in Chelmsford, Essex with the aim of bringing effective yet affordable online marketing services to companies from all industries and backgrounds. The company offers a huge range of services including search engine optimisation, Pay Per Click account management, social media marketing and website design.

Ben Austin SEO Positive 08000886000 Email Information

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SEO Positive Review the Campaign of Leading Animal Housing Company

 Posted by at 9:14 am  Tagged with:

Spreading SEO Awareness & Knowledge

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Feb 172012

Last week, I had the privilege of speaking at the inaugural World Information Architecture Day (WIAD) in Ann Arbor, Michigan on the topic of information architecture and search engine optimization (SEO).

Normally, I teach SEO professionals about information architecture: what it is and is not, how to determine the best IA for websites, and so forth. At this event, it was the other way around. I was educating, or perhaps re-educating, information architects about SEO.

Search engine optimization has never been sprinkling magical pixie dust on a website.

Teaching SEO can be frustrating because one must deal with negative stereotypes (“snake-oil charlatans”) and erroneous, preconceived notions about SEO.

How many times are we faced with a prospect who thinks SEO is about sprinkling magic fairy dust on a website so that it ranks #1 in Google all of the time for every targeted keyword phrase?

Oh, apparently we have the magical ability to make this happen…last week.

To be perfectly honest, I often prefer to work with people who are completely ignorant about SEO so I don’t have to deal with the stereotypes, preconceived notions, and Google gullibility.

Nevertheless, I have to acknowledge that the stereotypes, SEO myths, and gullibility exist. Acknowledging and challenging the negative stereotype is par for the course.

SEO Awareness

I have said it before. And I will say keep repeating until the world grasps this fundamental SEO concept: SEO is optimizing a website for people who use search engines.

Like the term “website usability,” the term “search engine optimization” is easily misunderstood. People honestly make statements such as, “I am the user,” and “Optimize for the average searcher,” and “People use my website all of the time; therefore, it is user friendly.”

Usability is about task completion and involves the following items:

Efficiency Effectiveness Learnability Memorability Error prevention User satisfaction

It is easy for people to believe that search engine optimization is optimizing a website for search engines only. Too easy, I think.

In reality, SEO has always been about searchers and search engines. Ignoring one at the expense of the other is a mistake…a big mistake.

So how do we make people aware of what the SEO process really is? I posed this question to one of my clients. Here is his 2 cents:

“Even though staff learned about SEO responsibilities that were not directly a part of their jobs, at least they have an awareness about how their contributions can positively or negatively affect SEO. That awareness is invaluable.”

I believe his comments show great insight. Don’t expect everyone to know how to do SEO after a short presentation. Don’t expect everyone to instantly become an SEO expert after a few hours in a certification course. Expertise comes from knowledge and experience.

Nevertheless, I think it is reasonable to expect a fundamental awareness of SEO, knowing that SEO involves meeting the needs of both searchers and search engines. And also knowing that SEO is not the process of sprinkling magical pixie dust on a website.

I expect that fundamental awareness from anyone working on a website: designers, developers, usability professionals, user experience designers, writers, advertisers, information architects, and so forth.

That awareness is invaluable.

SEO Knowledge & Aptitude

Here is a proverbial tough pill to swallow: not everyone has the aptitude for SEO or different aspects of SEO.

SEO professionals should understand how people search as well as why people search.

Search engine optimization has a human element as well as a technical element. Some SEO professionals are gifted technical SEOs. This is the group to turn to for assistance in managing duplicate content.

Some SEO professionals are expert copywriters. Some SEO experts are skilled at usability testing and might be the group to turn to if a site has search engine traffic and low conversions. Some SEOs are knowledgeable about how people search. And some SEOs are knowledgeable about why people search.

I wouldn’t ask an search engine optimizer who specializes in copywriting to program redirects. Nor would I expect a developer/programmer to be skilled at information architecture and usability testing.

I expect SEO professionals to have more than awareness. I expect them to have aptitude and knowledge.

If an SEO professional does not have a specific SEO skill needed for a project, I expect that person to reach out to an SEO who does…without feeling threatened. SEO should be a group effort. Everyone is on the same team.

I know. I know…easier said than done. Stereotypes, myths, and misconceptions can be difficult to debunk. So what did I share with the audience of information architects?

Part of an SEO’s job is:

Labeling website content so that it is easy to find (unique aboutness) Organizing website content so that it is easy to find Ensuring search engines have access to desired content Ensuring search engines don’t have access to undesirable content (or at least limiting access) Accommodating searchers’ navigational, informational, and transactional goals

Information architecture decisions can positively and negatively impact SEO on web search engines as well as site search engines. Information architects have a role in SEO. Have the awareness.

Even better? Have the knowledge to hire an SEO professional when one is needed. Have the knowledge and humility to recognize that you might not have the aptitude and talent for optimizing. Understand that SEO knowledge does not necessarily mean SEO aptitude. Understand your role in the optimization process. Be knowledgeable enough to recognize a “snake-oil charlatan.”

Information architecture guru Peter Morville wrote the following in the foreword of When Search Meets Web Usability:

“Shari Thurow is among the few specialists brave enough to jump the gap between search engine optimization and web usability. As a result, she has learned how and where to place stepping stones and build bridges. She can speak the language of link analysis and relevance ranking algorithms, while also understanding user psychology and information seeking behavior.”

Yep, I build bridges. But I cannot make anyone cross a bridge. Awareness is the first step. Take that first step, information architects. You won’t regret it.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Search & Usability

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 Posted by at 10:02 pm  Tagged with:

Pierre Teilhard De Chardin | Designer Children | Prometheism | Euvolution