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Why does my site need SEO – Part 1/2

Why on car

Why on car (Photo credit: openpad)

And how is that going to help me get better rankings, more visits and more money?  And who needs SEO anyway?

If you want to be number one in Google for a given term, you need to start from a couple of things that SEO cannot give you:

  • get a mission,
  • build a brand,
  • produce amazing content and
  • share it with the rest of the world

Oh, and don’t forget to let Google know.

So – why does my site need SEO?

If relevance and importance are what you need to be at the top, you don’t want to shoot yourself in the foot by blocking all that from Google’s view. In this two-post series, you will learn about the possible SEO pitfalls that may limit your ranking in the search engines, and how to fix them.

  1. You have too many non-text elements.
    Flash Javascript, AJAX, they make your site look fancy, and your designer sure did a good job, but they have a problem: they’re not text, which is what search engines crawl to understand what a page is about. So unless you are a very well established brand like Armani or KFC (in that case visitors will use your name to get to your site), remove those elements, or at least keep them to a bare minimum.
  2. You use the same title tags and meta description in every page.
    Every page needs to have its own piece of content with its own unique title. Google already knows the name of your site from the home page, so don’t use it every time. The same applies to the meta descriptions (the snippet that appears under the link in the search results): make them unique and compelling to click on.
  3. Your URLs are dynamic.
    OK, we’re getting a little technical here, but bear with me. An URL like www.example.com/category/wedding-dresses is static (meaning that the page doesn’t change unless you edit it), and will give the search engine a pretty clear idea of the content of the page. On the other hand, when the content is pulled from a database and is the result different parameters, you will get a dynamic URL with those parameters in it. There are two issues with that: first the search parameters are non-descriptive (they read something like item, sectionid, option  and so on), and this won’t give Google any information about the content. Also, when different parameters give the same result, there can be two or more URLs for the same content, leaving the search engine wondering which one should be indexed.
  4. You have one home page, but different URLs.
    Even when your site is not database-driven, your home page might still have different URLs pointing at it. For example:http://example .com – http://www.example .com – http://example .com/index.php – http://www.example .com/index.phpThe result of this division is that the page rank for the home page will be divided in four, thus diluting your efforts of building authority to your site.The solution to dynamic and multiple URLs is an HTTP code called 301, which redirects all the different versions to the canonical one, making it more clear for the search engine.

The list doesn’t end here; stay tuned for the second part…

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JW Player is not working or slow loading

We’ve been moving from externally hosting videos with YouTube to self-hosting them with the killer little video player called “jw player“.  I just could figure it out, JW player was not working, it appeared to be slow loading.

I was converting one of our landing pages (see it here – it is for our tow straps page) to use the new player when I ran into an issue with Chrome.  The video was working fine with Firefox – but chrome would spin and spin, then eventually choke out.  Another symptom was Chrome would crash the shock-wave plugin.  All bad news.

I finally found this post over at the jw player site – it turns out if you include the jwplayer.js file more than once – it will cause this issue in chrome.  That is exactly what I had done.

Bad code monkey.

My particular issue came because I was using a “tag” in a program called Netsuite.

Tags is kind of like a variable – I had already included the code in a different variable and then I re-included it.
So – if you find yourself where JW Player is not working or slow loading was hanging up or causing an error on chrome – see how many times you included the javascript file.

Smarty Templates and javascript

At my work – we have a classifieds systems which leverages smarty templates.  From what I have seen – smarty templates are not too bad, but I ran into some trouble with them when I needed to add some javascript.  Here is a link to the code I used to fix that issue.

Processing.js – Flash replacement?

Processing.js.

I would love to use this as a flash replacement.  Not that I have anything against Flash…but, maybe.