Do Your Page Titles Make Sense?

Confusing NavigationI was listening to episode #194 of the BoagWorld podcast the other day. Part of the podcast included an interview with Gerry McGovern on the concept of focusing on user tasks. One of the main points made in the interview was that you need to focus on major tasks that your visitors want to accomplish when visiting your Web site and hide or even remove the extremely minor tasks. Following is an excerpt from the transcript of that interview:

everything affects everything else and people think if I add a piece of content, if I add a web page, if I you know… It’s just another page… its not… it’s going to do something positive and it’s not going to do anything negative

You at least added one link and you added one more search result that comes true and each one of those links and each one of those search results is like another sign post that can send somebody in the wrong direction.

…everything you do has three impacts. It impacts the navigation, it impacts the search, and it impacts the manageability of the website, but also that small task and small content has every bit of chance to impact the efficiency of a top task

This got me thinking. In large institutions, it’s often difficult to effectively preach the importance of reorganizing the site structure to eliminate or downplay the minor tasks, but there is something you can do to at least help your visitors a little bit.

Does Page Bloat Affect Google Organic Search Rankings?

One of the questions that seems to come up a lot in our forums is whether larger page file sizes affect search engine rankings in Google results. Matt Cutts from Google has put together a video explaining how Google views page file size.

My advice is to keep the page as “clean” as possible – remember Google is a robot and if you give the robot a mess, it’s not as likely to find the diamonds.

How To Remove Hover Text on Bing

The new Bing search engine shows text excerpts when you mouse over search results. Frankly it can be troublesome and many publishers will want to remove this option. If you would like to remove the hover text within bing, you need to add the following META tag to your head area on any/all pages you want the hover text removed for.

<meta name=”robots” content=”nopreview”>

Interesting Wolfram Alpha Queries for Web Developers

Online monitoring service Pingdom has put together an interesting list of queries that are productive for web developers with the new Wolfram Alpha service. Some of the queries they have created for Wolfram Alpha include:

  • Calculate data transfer time
  • Convert between uptime and downtime
  • Convert between different units
  • Find out the local time anywhere including multiple times at once – great for conference call setup

Two Good SEO Articles

Kyle James, founder of doteduguru, analytics guru and consultant for HubSpot, made two really good posts the last few weeks about search engine optimization (SEO). His two articles deal with on-page SEO (the way to optimize the pages themselves for search engines) and off-page SEO (the way to optimize other parts of your site to direct people to the pages you want optimized).

What’s An Exploit Worth To Your Google Traffic?

Earlier this month CenterNetworks was converted from Drupal to WordPress. Part of the conversion resulted in several of the CN sites getting hit with an exploit. It appears that one of the CN sites might have actually been hit earlier and I just never noticed it and only upon CN getting hit did I realize this other site was also hit.

This other site apparently lost most of its “Google Juice” which resulted in a major reduction in organic search site traffic. Here’s a graph of the before, during and after.

At the lowest point, nearly 70% of Google-referral traffic to the site in question was lost. As you can see from the chart above, slowly the Google Juice has been restored and we are back to normal traffic today. Phew, at least now I can get the investors off my back.

What did I learn from this experience? Google indexes sites very quickly but it seems to take about two weeks for the Google search crawlers to update an entire site. From what I can tell, there’s no real way to tell Google that a site was infected and that it is now clean of bad links. There is a re-inclusion request form but I’ve never received any feedback when I have submitted that form in the past so no idea if it actually worked. More importantly, the experience made me realize just how much Google controls how this site does monetarily each and every day.

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