How Your Pages Should Be Laid Out

This is intended to be a quick tutorial explaining how you should lay out your HTML pages to ensure that your site works properly for all visitors and search engines. This tutorial assumes that you already have a general knowledge of HTML and CSS.

Your document should begin with the head section, followed by the main content of your page, then any navigation menus you want included. Finally, at the bottom of your document, you should include any javascript files and functions that need to be present.

Four Things You Need to do for Your Web Site

For many people, most of these things will be old hat. However, this post is just intended to recap four necessary steps for any webmasters trying to get their Web sites indexed by various search engines.

Create a Site Map

First and foremost, you must have an XML sitemap. Almost all search engines (certainly the three big ones) utilize a sitemap to become aware of all pages on your site. If you have good link structure, a sitemap might not be necessary, but, it doesn’t take much effort to put one together, and the benefits could be fantastic.

Many content management systems (CMS) will automatically generate a sitemap for you, but, if you aren’t using a CMS that does that, you have a few other options. If your site has an auto-generated RSS feed, that can be a good place to start. Most search engines will treat an RSS feed the same way an XML sitemap is treated, so that can make a big difference.

If you don’t have an auto-generated sitemap or RSS feed, there are quite a few tools you can use to create a sitemap; but you’ll have to make sure you update it each time your site architecture changes. A site called “XML-Sitemaps” will crawl your site and create a sitemap for up to 500 pages for free.

Redirecting and Duplicating Content Properly

There are certainly times when all Web developers and “information architects” find themselves in a situation where they need to move content from one page to another. When you do so, you need to redirect visitors from the old location to the new location, and you need to do so properly. To do that, you need to make sure that the old location returns the correct status code (301 – Moved Permanently). There are a number of ways to do this. The most efficient way, for apache users, is to set up a redirect inside of your .htaccess file. However, if you don’t have permission to set up redirects within .htaccess, you can use PHP (or any other server-side scripting language) to do so. Using meta refresh tags and javascript is not generally the best way to redirect your visitors.

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.

Search Engine Marketing Strategies – Panel Recap

Editor’s note: Below is a recap of the “Small Business Technology Summit – Search Engine Marketing Strategies” panel at the Small Business Technology Summit held in NYC.

Speaker: Harry Brooks, Network Solutions

Providing guidance to the community about how to use SEM.

Five basic steps:

  1. Build Content – SEO
  2. Build Backlinks – SEO
  3. Launch Your Pay-per-Click Campaign
  4. Analyze Your Results
  5. Repeat

YellowPages is right where they want, when the customer wants it. Very successful ROI.

Build Content – Identify Profitable Keywords