• You Can Leave Your Hat On? Black Hat SEO, White Hat SEO, and Gray Hat SEO discussed

    03 Sep
    Written by Anonymous
    black hat seo, white hat seo, gray hat seo

    White Hat Search Engines Optimization Practices

    White hat SEO is the safest and most recommended (at least by us) way to go about your search engine optimization practices. These are the safest search engine approved ways of getting to the top of the rankings. Labeling your site properly, making it accessible, creating good webpage design and having a lot of content can be a great and organic boost to becoming an authority on a subject. In creating your content in natural and approved ways, you are ensuring that your site will stick around and not be banned for a long time.

    White Hat SEO Techniques

    Black Hat Search Engines Optimization Practices

    Black hat SEO is the opposite. These are all the things you can do to try and fool the search engines. A black hatter takes what he knows about the search engine algorithms and tries to utilize various effects to work their site to the top. A black hatter could probably get an online shoe store to pass Nike and Reebok for the top spots...for maybe four hours. Some do it quite well but when they get caught, POOF goes the site never to be seen in the results on that engine again.

    Black Hat SEO Techniques (not recommended)

    • Invisible Text- hiding keywords on the page by having your text the same color as its background
    • Keyword Stuffing- into alt text on images or having way too much density
    • Cloaking- sending the search engines to view one thing and the user to view another
    • Spinning- having a script that gives you a ton of different looking content from a few re-arrangeable sentences
    • Spamming- sending scripts to blog posts and filling them up with links trying to get link juice back to the original site

    Gray Hat Search Engines Optimization Practices

    Gray hat SEO involves a mixture of the two. Someone in the gray will be using mostly white hat techniques while incorporating small amounts of black hat that the search engines might not penalize and usually don't ban for. For example, a site using a large amount of keywords on a page might make it read a little unnatural. This could be considered to have a high keyword density but not black hat keyword stuffing. This gray hat technique will probably get you higher in the ranks without the worry of a ban. But, you get a human viewer from Google on a bad day could result in a penalty for the site.

    Some cloaking conditions may be a little more on the gray area, too. This is when you have a site dedicated to a lot of Flash or images and you are using keywords to describe what is in the flash so you can rank higher (without having too much text on your screen). Some cloaking is starting to be allowed for making mobile searching easier for phones and PDAs

  • How is Your Call to Action? Get Better Conversion Rates

    20 Aug
    Written by Anonymous
    Call to Action - Conversion rates depend on it

    Tips to Get Better Conversion Rates

    Your call to action should be prominently displayed on every page of your site. If you don't know where you want you users ending up, then you haven't put enough thought into your site. If you do know what paths you want a visitor to take, then are those paths standing out and enticing to click? First you have to figure out where you want them to go and then you need to get them to go there. When you get them to go to these places, this is called a conversion and the metric you are trying to work is your conversion rates. But explaining these fully is a whole other blog altogether.

    So back to our call to action...there are many ways to make them more appealing and clickable. Out off all the suggestions I have seen, there are 6 tips on call to action that stand out the best to gain conversions and lure people away from that wretched "back" button. So here are your...

    6 Tips on Improving Your Calls to Action

    • Put your call to action in the right spot- make sure you are asking for the sale at the right spot on the page. Too early and you might have missed some valuable information that a potential user wants and then doesn't have. Too late and that "back" button looks much more important.
    • Not too many CTAs- if you have too many then a person doesn't know where to go and, once again, will want to press the "back" button. Too many things to click also causes a mental tension which comes from not completing a task (not clicking a link). This is called the Zeigarnik Effect (I would need another 10 blogs to fully talk about this subject) which causes the readers attention to be short and move onto the next place without fully getting the value of your page.
    • Make your CTA a command- Tell them to do something and then have the Call to Action surround it. Don't just say where they are going. Instead of putting "Free SEO Advice" you should be putting "Get Free SEO Advice"
    • Get specific with your CTA- we have all seen "click here" or "hit this button" but why not get more specific which in turn will be more enticing? "Get your Free Quote Here", "Look At Our Convenient Packages"
    • Make your CTA stand out- You want it to be a color very different from the site. Usually bold red, yellow or orange are the best. Red increases heart rate when seen, yellow is the first color a person sees and orange is a mix of the two.
    • CTA's on Big Buttons- It is much better to have buttons instead of links as people like to click buttons. Links don't always show up as something that is handy to click.
  • Why Web Accessibility is Important to SEO

    18 Aug
    How some search engine optimization can help the disabled

    Accessibility and SEO can go Hand in Hand

    Make your website more appealing to all by using accessibility and SEO. Now to be completely clear, SEO and accessibility are two very different things but their values do overlap. Accessibility cares solely about the disabled user and SEO concentrates on user experience, but there are a few things that will do both for your site.

    The reason I bring this up now is because of an earlier post called "5 reason why you should never use a flash intro" that talked a little about Flash and Accesibility. It got me thinking about how I haven't mentioned other aspects and the importance of site accessibility. Not only from a legal standpoint, but also from an ethical one, every site owner should think about how they can better the user experience for the disabled. But in doing so, you can also improve your SEO and it also creates a much better, well organized site.

    How SEO and Accessibility Overlap

    • The Familiar Flash- As I have said before, if your site is filled with flash and a description isn't present, a disabled person will not be able to know anything about it.
    • Descriptive Alt Text- make sure your alt text describes what is in your images. Yes, you can implement certain keywords into the description but use ones that fit within the image or a search engine penalty will come your way. Do not stuff Keywords here! There would be nothing worse than having a page being read to a blind person which suddenly irrupts in a bunch of keywords being blurted out that have nothing to do with the context.
    • Proper Hyperlinks- once again, if it doesn't match where the user ends up, then you will be in it deep. Use good keywords but keep them relevant.
    • Sitemaps- loved by everyone, the disabled to the search engines. Make sure you have one.
    • Proper Headings and Titles- It just makes for good navigation all around. Everyone scans nowadays and hardly reads anything. To get the right information read, make your heading and titles succinct and use good keywords.
    • Text is Key- Use a lot of it. The more readable text you have, the more your site will be loved- Why do you think I write so many darned blogs that go on and on and on and on...(btw- sorry about that, just trying to make it better for SEO and the disabled).
  • 5 Reasons You Should Never Have a Website Flash Intro

    12 Aug
    Flash is a no go for SEO

    Flash and SEO

    Flash and SEO don't play well together. It's just one of those things where the engines can't read what is going on that well. So, all of the time, money and hard work you put into making your intro look spectacular should have been spent on your SEO upgrading. When it comes down to it, the only people that will be seeing your site are you and some of the people who you have given your card to if it hasn't been properly SEO'd. Yes, there are some cool intro's but in this day and age, the majority of people have seen it all and furthermore, don't care. To elaborate I am going to give you:

    Five Reasons Not to Use Flash

    • Nobody Cares- Flash Made for Flash's Sake- It seems like the only people really interested in a Flash intro is the one who made it and the one who bought it. Everyone else just wants to press the "skip intro" button
    • Crawlability Yet?-we are hoping that the way the engines are crawling the Flash content for SEO will read it right but there isn't an actual way to test if it has
    • The SEO Basics are Overlooked-your meta, H1, and strong tags are missing so there isn't a way of getting your keyword prominence
    • Link Juice Still Suffers-the flash content is often embedded so link content is usually wrapped around other Flash content and put into other shell flash pages. Furthermore, for a Flash site, most of the links will be going to the home page and no other deep links
    • Flash by Third Parties- It is usually made by third parties who created it so the intro can't be easily changed. You will have to rehire and rehire and rehire the same company every time you want to change your Flash.

    Don't get me wrong, flash will always have a certain purpose for sites and can be very valuable for the WOW factor. Just remember how your money might be able to go towards better purposes first. Like search engine optimization services :)

  • Improve SEO with Alt Attribute

    11 Aug
    Written by Anonymous
    search engine optimization picture with alt tags

    What's an alt attribute?

    We all want our websites to look cooler with images, video and... oh that ever so fun and useful Flash. Unfortunately all of these mean nothing to search engines, at least presently they don't. Luckily, one of the best and easiest things to do is to use the alt attributes or add alt tags to your images.

    Basically, an alt attribute provides a place to describe what is in the image/picture and what it is about. The alt tags are a perfect place to put related keywords.

    How does the alt attribute work for SEO?

    When the search engine spiders are scanning your site, they will read the alt text and take it to mean what that picture's content is. The spider will then include it in the rankings and keyword indexing. But this is where black hat techniques get used and where your site could get penalized if you use them.

    Avoid stuffing keywords into your alt tags just to rank for certain terms. Of course use the keywords which are going to help your site, but make sure they match the image. You can take a chance on stuffing but if a human screener ever reviews your site, you will be penalized.

    Alt tags are also essential for screen readers, a software that reads a page aloud for visually impaired users, to describe what is on the page. These screen readers are another reason why you should avoid filling your image's alt text with keywords which don't have any bearing on what the picture is about. It would probably be quite annoying if a page is being read to someone and then all of a sudden a bunch of keywords are being blurted out instead of a proper description of an image.

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