Articles

DMOZ is Dead

Search Engine Land announced that DMOZ will be shutting down as of March 14, 2017. DMOZ, or Open Directory Project was once a great backlink to have, and fairly straightforward to obtain many years ago, at least in some categories.  DMOZ was a human-edited directory, and at as large a scale as DMOZ enjoyed, that factor introduced the temptation for corruption. I've personally been promoting websites in the legal vertical for over 10 years, and have submitted dozens of sites to DMOZ in the attorney category, painstakingly following their guidelines, and have not had one listing published in all that time. On the other hand, if you look at the clients of one very large and influential attorney marketing firm, you'll see their clients' listings appearing consistently. Maybe the editor of the legal category requires a bribe, maybe he/she works for the influential marketing firm or has a lucrative deal with them? All speculation, but all possibilities. I'm not alone in thinking along those lines:

DMOZ Scum 

I've often heard the argument that "it's not such a valuable link any more, don't sweat it," however my little friend Open Site Explorer would tend to disagree:

DMOZ Page Authority

Not many backlinks with that kind of PA and DA available on the Internet.

With DMOZ shutting down, we'll have a chance to see how really valuable or worthless that link had been. We'll also have to keep an eye on how quickly Google deindexes the DMOZ listings. Their residual effect could hang on for some time in the bowels of Google's index.

 

TP Designs Earns Google Partner Search Specialization

TP Designs has earned a Google Partner Search Advertising Specialization:

According to Google:

"Your new specialization recognizes that TP Designs has demonstrated expertise and sustained client performance in search advertising."

Learn more about Adwords Campaign Management Services

Youtube Analytics

If you publish videos on Youtube, there is some great information about the viewing of your videos that is a little bit buried in the Youtube web interface. Follow these easy steps to check your Youtube Analytics. The information is only 4 clicks away!

Step 1 - Go to the top right of your Youtube homepage and click on your channel icon. You will get a dropdown dialog.

Step 2 - Click on the gear icon for Settings.

 

Accessing Youtube Analytics

 

Step 3 - Once on the Account Settings page, click "View Additional Features."

Accessing Youtube Analytics

Step 4 - Click on the "Analytics" link in the left sidebar.

Accessing Youtube Analytics

 

You are there!

Now you can see the playback stats of your videos, including watch time, duration, views, likes, shares, demographic information, sources and more!

 Accessing Youtube Analytics

TP Designs promotes websites in the San Francisco Bay Area through PPC and SEO services.

Google Panda Tips 2016

Google has announced this month that Panda is now part of its core ranking algorithm. First of all, what was Panda and what is it now?

Google Panda

Besides being the last name of a Google engineer, Panda was a spam-fighting filter that ranked all indexed websites according to the quality of their content , according to a top secret list of factors. In a given search result set, it would reorder, or push down, the websites with a low Panda rank.

Panda is now part of the core algorithm, which means that it effects the order of the search results as would any other component of the algorithm, rather than changing the order. The practical implications of this change from filter to core component is not really clear, other than telling us that Panda is here to stay.

The Panda ranking system is not calculated on the fly, in real time. It is calculated, applied to a website, and it sticks until ranking are updated. This means that even if you make significant improvements in website quality, you will probably not see the effect of those changes in improved ranking until Panda updates or refreshes. Historically is has been months between updates.

Google Panda Tips

The Tips

1. Know your content

Catalog all your pages and look for thin content. Also identify your quality content. There is no minimum word count that Panda looks for, but if your site has an average word count per page between 200 and 300, you are probably ok.

2.  Improve thin content

  • Rather than just getting rid of thin content, try to add relevant content to upgrade the quality of your problem pages.
  • Small sites under 100 pages should definitely not get rid of content.
  • Sites around 500 pages or so may nofollow some low quality content, but should also add quality content.
  • Large sites over 1000 pages may need to nofollow thin content, or delete it if it makes sense.

3. Fix duplicate content

Obviously you don't want copied content on your website, but also make sure no one has copied your content, because Google isn't always the best at identifying the original author. Content that is generated by a template, with only minor modifications, can also be a Panda problem. Try to get more  unique content on those pages.

4. Make sure traffic is appropriate to landing page

Use Google Search console to look at the traffic coming to each page. Is the keyword appropriate to the landing page? If not, poor user experience, and DING, Panda penalty.

5. Think topics rather than keywords

Panda does not like keyword stuffing, but does like quality content pages with a variety of terms related by topic. The Hummingbird update made Google much better at synonyms, the idea being the users are better served by determining the intent of their query and matching that to relevant content, rather than just matching up keywords.

Google promises that Panda will be refreshed more frequently moving forward, so hopefully by making these improvement now, your rank will improve in the very near future.

TP Designs promotes websites in the San Francisco Bay Area through PPC and SEO services.

Logo Design Basics

A well designed logo is critical in building your brand identity. Because every brand is different, and your logo needs to be unique. For that reason, the first task for a logo designer is gathering some basic information about the business, services and/or product the logo will represent.

Logos can be categorized into 5 basic types:

  • Wordmark  - The treatment of your company name with font and color. Perfect for businesses just starting out or on a tight budget.

    Examples:

    Disney Logo   
     Lightstreams Logo 
     Hersheys Logo
  • Combination Mark -  This type of logo is the combination of a Wordmark plus and icon or symbol. Also good for businesses just starting out and looking to create brand recognition

    Examples:

    AT&T LogoMcDonalds Tri-City Volunteers
    Reebok Logo
  • Emblem - An emblem logo encases the company name, making it perfect for businesses who have not achieved brand name recognition.

    Examples:

    NFL Logo  Harley Davidson LogoUnited Parcel Service Logo
  • Lettermark - Similar to a Wordmark, the Lettermark logo is a graphical treatment of your company's initials. This logo is suitable for businesses whose initials are used instead of the businesses name.

    Examples:

    General Electric Logo  Volkswagen Logo  Forrest Telecom Engineering Logo    International Business Machines Logo
  • Icon or Symbol - Icon or symbol logos are only suitable for businesses who can afford extensive branding campaigns to teach the public what the symbol stands for. Most often it is best to start with a combination mark, and then drop the Wordmark portion once the brand has gained traction.

    Examples:

    Apple Logoshell oil logo MSN Logo

TP Designs creates websites and brand identities for businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Web Design Buyers' Frequently Asked Questions

Web Design Buyer FAQ

Buying a complex custom piece of software can be difficult and confusing, especially if you don't have a lot of knowledge about the underlying technology. Here are some answers to FAQs that might help.

How much should a quality website cost? 

The short answer is around $3000 for a small business. In unusual cases it can be somewhat less, but if you are looking for the website to fulfill business requirements rather than be a modern business brochure, you can expect to pay that much. They key word in the question is "quality." That means good search engine performance that generates leads, outstanding visual appearance, fast loading, and the features that your business needs. Sure, you can hire someone from Craigslist to whip out a Wix site for you for next to nothing, but can your business withstand having a bad website for the period it takes you learn for yourself WHY that is a horrible idea? Good websites have positive ROI, and should be seen as business investments that more than pay for themselves in the long run.

How long should the process take?

Theoretically a typical web design project could be completed in 8 - 12 weeks, in a perfect world. Unfortunately the world is not perfect. The things that will most often slow the process are:

  • not having the content created in a timely manner,
  • not giving timely feedback or approvals during the process,
  • rescinding approvals, and
  • changing the requirements or adding additional requirements for the project after it has begun

Given these delays, most projects can take 12 - 16 weeks or more.

How can I know if the web design firm I hire will deliver high quality?

Referrals from trusted associates can be a good way to find a trustworthy and accomplished website vendor. Good ratings on review sites can also help, but be aware that web companies can be very good at creating and promoting false reviews, so read carefully.

Straight price, or a flashy portfolio are both bad ways. Why?  Because you don't know whether the portfolio items you are viewing were created at the price you were quoted.  In addition, professionally designed templates can also be adjusted as part of a web designer's portfolio. The problem is, when your project deviates from the parameters the template can handle, your visual design quality goes out the window.  

Will the amount quoted be the only charges I incur for the website?

That will depend on how detailed your RFQ is. If you demand a fixed bid quote, but give little in the way of detailed requirements, chances are the quote will be inadequate to cover the actual effort required in the project. The best way to ensure that the quote you receive is accurate is to spend the time to create a detailed specification. A good web design estimator will be able to translate your detailed business requirements to an accurate fixed-bid quote. If you forget to include something though, you can be sure that it will take time to deal with that omission, which will be a billable expense.

TP Designs creates websites for businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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