Tag Archives: SEO

Sitemaps

What are Sitemaps?

GPS for Google :)

Sitemaps are files added to / linked to / attached to your website that tells Google all it needs to know about the website. More specifically it lists all the pages that form part of the site. Why would / should one waste time and effort on this? A Sitemap can “explain” your site to Google (and other Search Engines) when the ‘crawlers’ won’t necessarily find all the information for themselves. This can easily be the case when you use dynamic content, AJAX files, pages that are not clearly linked to each other, complex page hierarchy and back-link system.

Sitemaps can also be used to share metadata about specific types of files. “For example, a video Sitemap entry can specify the running time, category, and family-friendly status of a video; an image Sitemap entry can provide information about an image’s subject matter, type, and license.” (About Sitemaps – Google Webmaster Tools)

How do I create my Sitemap?

Google uses the Sitemap 0.9 protocol and the same file can easily be submitted to Bing and Yahoo. When you create your Sitemap:

  1. Make sure your website has an active, updated Sitemap that lists all the pages on your website.
  2. Don’t list more than 50 000 URL’s (seriously) in one document. If your site has more links / pages to list, you will have to consider submitting multiple Sitemaps.
  3. Check how to specify your URL’s and use the same (approved / prefered) format consistently through-out the site.
  4. Specify how often your page is likely to be updated as well as when it was last updated.

So what should you do now?

When your Sitemap is ready and up-to-date, you can submit to Google, Yahoo, Bing etc etc. None of the Search Engines guarantee placement based on the fact that your site has a Sitemap but it definitely helps their crawlers to wrap themselves around your website and get to grips with the full extent of it.

The way I see it, the more the Search Engine can find about you, the better for your overall Search Engine results.

If all of this still appears to be an alien dialect to you and you desperately want to wrap your head around SEO, Online Marketing, Search Engines and Sitemaps, feel free to speak to me (junkies@adrinalinconcept.co.za) today!

Ciao for now.

Diva, out.

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Content

Question:

“What should I write about on my website?”

“How do I know whether I am covering the right topics on my site / Facebook page etc?”

Same questions over and over again – so let’s make your life just a little easier.

Keywords:

Deciding on what to write about becomes super easy once you have pegged down the top keywords for your industry / business. If you know what people are searching for on the internet, you can respond appropriately.

So how do you decide on the relevant keywords? A good place to start is the Google Keyword Tool. Type in the search terms / words and phrases you think people use when looking for your product or service. Make sure you set the location correctly. Now you can compare the number of local searches (per month) per word, phrase or search term you specified. Are the searches significant enough for you to take note of? Obviously thousands of searches per month is much better than single digit ones.

Writing website content:

Once you have your list of keywords, narrow down to the top ten (maximum twelve!) and use these keywords to structure your site content.

Some basic tips:

  1. Use the keywords to map your navigation
  2. Use the keywords as often as possible in headings (H1 Tags) in your site. Your webmaster can help you with this if you are unsure.
  3. Use the keywords (sensibly) but often through out the site. Let’s look at an example. Our keywords: business plan, business plans, sample business plans or business plan templates. (Obviously this is just an extract but you get the idea).

” Whether you are new to the business of business or have been running your own business for years – business plans are essential documents for any entrepreneur or business owner. But what is a business plan and why is  it so important? If you have ever looked at a sample business plan or a business plan template – you will know that a business plan is designed to collate all the essential business information (current facts, business climate, projected growth and business vision) into one sensible document that clearly, simply and effectively communicates the who, what, where and why of your business. “

Writing is easy – just work with a plan.

If you want / need help with your content – call one of the Adrinalin Junkies today!

Diva over and out :P

 


How webby is your website?

When last have you REALLY looked at your website? Have you recently tried to navigate the menu, find information or send a ‘contact us’ e-mail? Having a website with inappropriate content, outdated information, broken links /menu options or stale humour just does not cut it anymore.

Maintaining your website must be a crucial part of your online strategy. Here’s a suggested to-d0 list to update and zhoosh-up your site and make it all the more alluring for your visitors:

  • Make a list of your top keywords.

Top words or phrases that describe what you do. Specifically if possible. If you understand how to categorize your business, it will be much easier to group and explain it to others. Here’s some help if you’re interested (post is a somewhat older but offers good content).

  • Read through all the pages.

Does the content still make sense? Is it relevant (i.e. has it been updated recently to reflect current industry news, your own product and service improvements etc.)?

Do you use your keywords to describe your business and your service  / product? Try to steer clear of flowery descriptions that never use your keywords. How on earth will Google now to look for you if you don’t at least give it a hint?

Are the pages interesting, engaging and appealing? Will readers enjoy the time they spend on your site? It is always a good idea to spend time planning the content of your site. Repeating the same stale information over-and-over again from page-to-page and year-to-year will encourage your would-be visitors to look for other websites!

  • Look at the pictures.

Do they make sense? Do you use pictures of your products or your staff members? Will people now more about your business, your values or your brand personality by looking at the pictures on your site? If you answered Yes – good for you! If No – it’s probably time to dig through the photo libraries and pictures folder!

It is also a good idea to rename the pictures on your site to reflect it’s content. Numbers (from a SEO and content perspective) aren’t great. Use descriptive titles AND make sure that you add descriptions (image ALT Tags) to all the images on the site. Good for search engines. Good for you.

  • Links to other sites

I have written an entire post on back links before if you want to know more. Suffice to say that you should probably think of:

  1. Adding your social media feeds or icons to your site
  2. Linking your blog to your business site
  3. Linking your website to your social media profiles
  4. Mention your website whenever (appropriately!) possible

It is also an excellent idea to get other people to review your site. Ask them to comment specifically on user-friendliness, enjoyment, appeal and of course value-of-content. Now, it’s time for you to start making some changes to your website.

Diva, over and out.


Building your links

Search Engine Optmization or SEO, is the practice of increasing the visibility of a website without paying for the results. This is also called organic results. This is an increasingly popular activity for online content as more and more businesses are represented online and each of those need to create an online visibility for their brand. SEO use a variety of activities to influence search engine rankings. These could include:

  • Understanding search engines (you’ve probably heard your SEO partner mention something like the ‘Google Algorithm’)
  • Considering what the original search term was
  • Typical search terms used on search engines
  • Rewriting online content to include specific keywords
  • Creating a variety of back links (also called link building) 

Link building creates a strategic referring network of links that refer to your website. Simplistically stated, creating a strong network creates strong result.

Nick Stamoulis of Brick Marketing‘s blog (Search Engine Optimization Journal) posted the following article. According to the article, you should remember not to put all your SEO links in one basket. In other words, don’t concentrate all your efforts in one area. He uses the example of Facebook – although this one site allows you multiple opportunities to redirect virtual feet to your site, this is not the wisest practice. Use multiple departure points (online sites OR offline marketing material) to lead to one destination (i.e. your company website).

SEO is an exciting practice that is multifaceted and constantly evolving – it challenges our content and our strategies. Remember though to build honest link-networks and avoid the frowned-upon activities of deception. Happy linking!

Diva, out.


What to write on the www

So, the topic has been talked, written, discussed, blogged and case-studied to death but I still want to put some thoughts down on paper (well in pixels if you want to nit-pick).

Writing for the web is a broad concept these days. We no longer think only of our business websites when we talk about the www – we have to consider social media platforms, blogs, the websites, video sites and news sites. We have to write well and make relevant contributions whether we have 140 characters on Twitter or unlimited paragraphs on WordPress. Writing for the world-wide-web has become an increasingly difficult task but there is hope.

Let’s put some sound building blocks in place and then see if we can build a strategy from there.

1. Tell people the why, what, how, when and where of your company BUT don’t overburden your website or Facebook page with flowery language, endless bits of history, or your personal pedigree. If WHAT you offer is extraordinary and worthwhile, it doesn’t really matter whether you started your company in your garage 6 years ago or with only 1 client…. I have to categorically state that I love reading about the history of companies on their site. I adore clever copy and I relish creative communication strategies that poke their tongue at you. BUT, let’s be sensible, your website / blog / micro-blog / social media platform has a point to make, BEST you make it.

2. Decide what your point is. Do you want to make a creative statement, add visual appeal, stand apart from the crowd, grow your bottom-line etc. When I consult, the answer to these questions determine what type of strategy we create for our clients. Every strategy will be unique, simply because every client’s focus is different.

3. Have you done your research? More specifically – have you bothered with KEYWORD research?? Many of our clients come to us with online content that never introduces any of the keywords that will attract more virtual feet. Using the right keywords, sensibly (please)  will make it much easier for your content to create an interest.

4. Take your platform into consideration. Blogs are different from Social Media / Networking sites etc etc etc. I always recommend that you use one or two platforms well rather than trying to use all of them in the same way.

Let’s sum it up this way. Write politely but make your point. Don’t underestimate the value of keywords. Make sure you decide what exactly the underlying tone and message of your content will be and then get on to the big w and write. What’s the worst that could happen? Someone might actually read what you have to say ;)

Diva, over and out.