Posts

Why does my site need SEO – Part 2/2

telescope

telescope (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In this second post about “why does my site need SEO” and issues that might prevent you from ranking better, we’ll start with one of the most underestimated mistakes that webmasters make.

Why does my site need SEO? – Part 2

  • Failing to understand how Google prioritizes links.
    Here is a typical scenario for most websites: two links to the home page on the upper part of the site, one from the clickable logo and one from the navigation bar, the latter with the anchor “Home.”These links appear on all the pages, and make navigation easier, as they allow users to go back to the home page regardless of where they are.However, which one of those two links will Google prioritize? As we found out, this is what happens:

    • If you have only one link to a given URL, and it’s embedded in an image with an ALT attribute, Google will use it as anchor text
    • If you have two URLs in the same page, one as an image and the other as text, Google will prioritize the latter, regardless of its position or the ALT tag of the image link.

    Forget about the dear old “Home” as anchor text then, and try to use a more descriptive one. Also, remember two more things when it comes to links:

    • Google prefers HTML over Javascript
    • If the first link uses the rel=”nofollow” attribute, that will block the crawling of the second one, even if it’s not nofollow.

    The safe bet is to make sure that the first link to a URL is a keyword-rich text, as it will have priority in Google’s eyes on any other URL that might come further down in the page.

  • Moving to a different URL without letting Google know.
    If you are moving an entire site to a new URL, what happens to all the old backlinks, and how can you avoid losing your hard-earned Page Rank? The solution is a Google tool for webmasters, called Change of Address Form, whose purpose is to inform the search engine that your site has moved. On top of that, you want to put permanent redirections (called 301) from the old pages to the corresponding ones in the new site.The difference  between the tool and the 301 is that the first provides the information about the change at site level, whereas the latter is for single pages, but it definitely won’t hurt to use both (in fact, Google recommends it), and for two reasons:
    • The PageRank from the old URL will be passed on to the new one
    • Users that visit the old URL directly, from a bookmark, old backlinks or by typing it on the address bar, will be led to your new site, without getting the infamous “Page not found” response.
  • Building slow loading pages.
    Last but not least, don’t forget that users want speed, and so does Google. A slow-loading page will affect you negatively in two waysIf you use Adwords to promote your site, a high loading time will lower your Quality Score, resulting in higher Cost Per Click of your ads and a less favorable placement

    Whether you use Adwords or not, slowness will bring you down in the rankings.

So, do you still think you don’t need an SEO guy?   These should be some good reasons why does my site need SEO.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Facebook Advertising 101

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

Want to expand into Facebook?  Facebook has several different types of advertising, and each is idiosyncratic.  Here is a brief overview:

Standard External URL Ads

These are the kind of thing most people associate with the term “Facebook Ads.” They are external links to your website, introduced by a title, some text, and a 110 x 80 pixel image.

External URL ads can be targeted at users based on age, sex, geographic location, and interests.  You may bid either for user clicks or for user impressions.  Your ad will be ranked with other ads for each user, based on your bid, your ad’s quality, and your advertising campaigns’ previous performance.

The general wisdom in SEO circles is that Facebook external URL ads are efficiently priced when bidding for clicks, but inefficiently priced when bidding for impressions.  Facebook representatives have countered that impressions alone are valuable because they increase brand awareness.  Personally, I like ad campaigns with clearly demonstrated and measurable effects, so I would advise against paying for impressions if at all possible.

However, the standard external ads are only a small part of Facebook advertising.

Sponsored Stories

Sponsored stories are a unique, and profitable, form of Facebook advertising.  They are stories about people interacting with your company’s page that are given a boost in their ranking system so they appear on more people’s news feeds.

For example, say a user named Jim just Liked your company’s page.  Now, say Jim has a friend named Bob.  Bob has lots of friends and a very busy news feed.  The EdgeRank algorithm, which determines which stories show up on Bob’s newsfeed, would ordinarily determine that Jim Liking something was not newsworthy.  However, you can set up your advertising account to bid for a spot on Bob’s news feed as soon as Jim or anyone else Likes your company.

Like external URL ads, sponsored stories can be paid for either per click or per impression.

Facebook Exchange

Facebook has also introduced a new type of advertising that interfaces with third party data providers called Facebook Exchange.  Facebook Exchange ads use cookie trackers to target Facebook ads to users based on their recent browsing history.  These ads can be targeted very precisely.  For example, an online bookseller could target ads only at people who just visited another online bookseller and reached the checkout page, but did not actually go through with the purchase.  While the thought is still fresh in consumers’ minds, they see a related ad on their Facebook profile.  This technique is known in marketing circles as “retargeting.”

Comparison to Google Advertising

Facebook ads generally have a much lower click-through rate than Google ads.  Facebook users have trained themselves to just skim read all the adspace.  There has also been some pushback from users over sponsored stories cluttering up their news feeds.  In order to do well on Facebook, you must be able to sell people on your product in less than a paragraph.  You also need to have ad images and stories that pop out and get noticed.

However, Facebook advertising has its advantages as well.  In Facebook, you can target your ads to very specific age and demographic groups.  This means that your impressions are being spent where they are needed most.  If you’re up for the extra challenge, you can do well with Facebook advertising.

Steve is a Social Media Manager and Google AdWords Certified Individual at TechWyse, an internet marketing firm based in Toronto, Canada. TechWyse specializes in SEO, PPC and Social Media Marketing. You can read more of Steve’s writing at TechWyse.com/blog.

Enhanced by Zemanta