Articles

Discourage Spam

Everyone who has an email account or surfs the web is aware of the wasted time and loss of productivity caused by SPAM. Spam email is unsolicited bulk email (UBE). The senders of these spam emails usually rack up a small fee for each person who clicks on the link in the email, or makes a purchase on the advertised website. If you so much as click on a link in a spam email, or worse yet, purchase something through a spam email, you are ensuring the survival of this kind of advertising. If you want to stop rather than encourage it, you must never click on a link in a spam email, even if it is a product or service you are interested in. Because spamming is generally seen as an unethical practice in the business community, there is a good chance that any businesses you get involved in through spam will be unethical in other ways, and it is best to stay away. If the business being promoted is a major company, let them know directly that you do not appreciate the spam you receive on their behalf from the 3rd party advertiser.

Emails used by spammers are often "harvested" by robots (software programs) from the Internet. If you post your email address on a website, encrypt it using JavaScript or some other method that makes it unreadable to a robot looking for email addresses. If you do post your email address on a website, and do not encrypt it, expect that it will be harvested, added to a spammers list, and you will be receiving a good amount of spam because of it.

SPAM websites are similar to Spam emails in that they are usually put up by a 3rd party to advertise another business' products or services. These websites contain no useful content themselves, only "affiliate links" for which the website owner is paid per click or per purchase. If you do a search, click on a result, but the page does not have any useful information, hit the back button rather than clicking the "sponsored link." These sponsored links are often made to look like standard links or navigation to trick you into clicking on them. If the page has no content, hit the back button and look for another result. 

This is not to say that the appearance of sponsored links indicates that the page is spam, but if there is no useful information on the page, don't reward the website owner financially by clicking on a sponsored link. Digging through these spam results can be a big waste of time and you might even consider reporting the spam result to the search engine you used to find it. Search engines have staff that will review the report, and if the page does violate the search engines terms of inclusion, they will delete it from the results.

Spamming can be financially rewarding, or it wouldn't be so prevalent. It is unlikely spam will ever be eliminated, but you can help reduce it by not clicking. 

5 Reasons Why Your Business Website Needs a Blog

Blogs have revolutionized the Internet. Ten years ago the Web was a different place. If you wanted to find out about a business, you would do a search, find their corporate web site, and find out what they had to say about themselves.

Get Page Rank For SEO

Page Rank is a measurement, calculated by Google, of how important, or how authoritative your web page is. Page Rank, also termed link authority or link popularity is a very important factor in how well your web page ranks on the search engines. It becomes increasingly important as the searches become more competitive.

Other search engines, such as Yahoo, also use systems similar to Page Rank in their search algorithm. Page Rank is based on incoming links to your website. If another website links to your web site, search engines, such as Google take that as an indication that the content of your web site holds some importance. If  your web site has NO incoming links, the search engines may not even bother to index it.

Page Rank is not only determined by the number of incoming links to your web site, but also some of the following factors:
1) What is the Page Rank of the web page that contains the link to your site.
2) Is the text in the link (anchor text) relevant to the content of your web site.
3) Is the content of the web site linking to yours relevant to your content.

To get the Page Rank of your sites and any site you can pull up on the Internet, install the Google Toolbar (http://toolbar.google.com/) and enable the Page Rank function. You will need to accept the privacy policy.

Once installed you will see the word PageRank above a bar graphic. The bar graphic will range from completely white in color (Page Rank of zero) to completely green in color (Page Rank of ten). Now you can check the search engine results pages (SERPs) for your target searches. Click on the number one result and look at the Page Rank of that web site. If it is a competitive search, now you have an idea where your Page Rank needs to be to reach the number one spot.

To increase your Page Rank, get relevant links with your target keywords in the anchor text. Try to get links on pages that have a high Page Rank themselves. Increasing your Page Rank WILL be a lot of work, but if you keep at it, it WILL yield results.

Page Rank Gotchas:
1. The toolbar Page Rank is just a snapshot of the actual Page Rank that Google uses in its algorithm. That snapshot is not updated often, so at any point in time it could be fairly inaccurate. If you are asking why the web page with a Page Rank of zero is higher in the SERPs than yours, this could be the reason.
2. The Google toolbar also has a function that allows you to check backlinks, or the number of incoming links to the web page you are checking. You may see a web site with a Page Rank higher than yours, but is shows no backlinks. First, Google backlinks function is not that accurate, and only shows a portion of backlinks that they have on record. This is particularly true for low Page Rank websites. Secondly, a clever SEO will get links not only to their homepage, but to internal pages in their website, and the Page Rank of those internal pages will naturally flow to other pages in the web site, including the homepage.

Page Rank is a concept that is fundamental to understanding modern search engines. In combination with an understanding of keyword relevance, you are on your way to improving your search engine rankings.

Find out about our SEO Services for small business

Submit a Sitemap to MSN

 Submitting your XML sitemap to MSN is easy if you know where to start. That starting place is:

http://webmaster.live.com/

Image  

If you don't already have an MSN Live account, sign up for one. Once you are logged in go to  http://webmaster.live.com/ and click on "Sign in to use the tools."

You are immediately brought to the Site List page:

Image

From there, click on "Add a Site." You'll be directed to the page where you can enter the URL of your site, the URL of the XML Sitemap and whether you'd like to authenticate your site ownership via META tag or XML file.

Image 

You'll also be able to enter your email address and choose whether or not you will receive the webmaster newsletter. After clicking "Submit" your site will be added and you'll be given the code with which you can authenticate your site. 

Image

Click "OK" when  you are ready to authenticate. You'll be directed back to the Site List page. You can now click on the "Web Address" or your site to access the tools. 

Image

Clicking on "Sitemap" in the top navigation will bring you to the "Sitemap" page, where you can change the sitemap URL or ping the sitemap. 

Image  

 Explore the tools and ENJOY!

More Irrelevant Google Search Results

A little less than a month ago I posted an article describing how the new Google algorithm had filled the results page for a search of my name "Troy Philis" with irrelevant results . Here is a screenshot of what I was talking about:

Image

The first listing is of my portfolio site. So far, so good. The second, however, is entitiled "Troy Philips Photography." This result is completely irrelevant because the word "Philis" is nowhere on the website. In addition, the page contains pictures of half-naked men in thong bathing suits. Not something I want to be associated with (not that there's anything wrong with that).

Take another search I entered today - for C & T Recycling. In Google, the term C & T Recycling does not appear on page one of the SERP:

Image

I really wanted to find information on C & T Recycling though, so I decided to try Yahoo. The term shows up near the top of page 1:

Image

Search Yahoo for my name, and it's all me:

Image

So why would the biggest search engine serve up bad, irrelevant search results, when they are in the business of serving up good, relevant search results. To answer that question, I'll need to define the two most important variables in ordering search results: 1) Keyword Relevance and 2) Link Authority - or PageRank.

Keyword relevance is what we've been talking about, and is what Google is now lacking in its searches. How closely do the search results displayed match the search terms you typed in to the search box? How many times do those terms appear on different parts of the page? Do links pointing to that page include the search terms?

Link authority is determined by counting the links pointing to a particular page. Huge corporations have websites with many, many pages, all linked together through the navigation. Their websites are generally linked to by many other individuals, associates and companies. A small company's website may have relatively few pages, and even fewer pages from other websites linked to it. Link authority tells the seach engine if your website is a big fish or a little fish. 

It is possible to roughly check link authority, or PageRank, as Google calls it, using the Google Toolbar. In checking the examples of irrelevant search results described above, I found that the intruding irrelevant result always had a higher link authority than the relevant results that it pushed down the results page. 

Conclusion: Google appears to have made a decision to let link authority trump relevance under certain circumstances. If you are like me, and would like to see results related to the search terms you typed in the box, rather than results Google is telling you are more important, than you will switch to Yahoo for your search needs too!

What does this mean to a small business trying to get some free advertising on Google? It's going to b e more difficult - get your website established as early as possible, work consistently on search engine promotion and optimization, and don't count on quick and easy results.

UPDATE: Another factor in the appearance of irrelevant search results could be a result of Google's apparent attempt to push searchers to more "popular" SERPS where more expensive Adwords advertisements are displayed.

Dedicated Server or Shared Server?

ImageChoosing a hosting package for your Website.

One of the most critical tasks in planning your new Website is choosing the correct hosting package. It is also one of the trickiest. Is it important that your Website load fast on a consistant basis? Do you plan on having many visitors right off the bat? Do you have a lot of large items to download, such as images or video? Do you have programming that requires a lot of server resources? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions then you might want to consider a dedicated server.

What is a dedicated server? As the name implies, a dedicated server is a web server that holds your Website, and your Website alone. Shared servers, which are the most common type of hosting available, hold many different Websites. These Websites are competing for server resources. This can lead to problems, such as:

1. A Website on your server gets a lot of traffic on a given day, and hogs the bandwidth. That can cause your Website to load slowly or become unavailable to your users.

2. YOUR Website gets a lot of traffic on a given day. This can even be traffic from a Web spider or a spammer. The hosting administrator will clamp down on your bandwidth, limiting your resources, which will also cause your Website to load slowly or become unavailable.

3. The web hosting company puts too many websites on your shared server. Everything can load well at first, but as the server fills up and there is more competition for resources, your website, that looked so good during development and at launch, now loads so slowly that you lose visitors.

There are other problems with shared hosting, but these are the main ones. Shared hosting can be as much as 10 times cheaper than dedicated hosting, but if a fast loading Website is critical to your business, the extra cost will definitely be worth the stability and performance you gain.

One important item to note, however, is that if you aren't a techie, you'll need a managed dedicated server. Without the "managed" option, you will be on your own with setup and support.

Subscribe

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner