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A blog devoted to all things geeky, including PHP, Web Development, Photography, Design, Gadgets and Gizmos.

August 27 2008

HTML Semantic rich documents

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One of the key aspects of on-page SEO (which is often overlooked by HTML developers), is creating semantic rich documents.  It sounds like something complex, but quite simply, it is using HTML formatting appropriately.  That is using H1, H2, H3, B, UL tags in the correct fashion.

Some designers have a nasty habit of making a number of span tags which alter the text so the appearance is suitable for the page but the structure of the document is out of whack.  The H1 should describe the main subject of the page and only be used once per page.  Subsequent content sections should use H2 to establish what they are about, if there are subsections within the H2 topic, they should be H3 etc.

Search engines use semantic rich HTML to assist them in determining exactly what the page is about, so correctly using those titles (and making them narrowly defined keyphrases for your niche) will help you get sites indexed in the correct niche/category.

Tools for checking the semantic structure of you page:

Web Dev toolbar for firefox (after installing go to information > view document outline)
W3C semantic extractor

August 22 2008

Matt Cutts of Google on Big Site Bans!

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This is an interesting video I found at the seo-space site over at blogspot.  It’s Matt Cutts of Google’s search engine development team talking about their removal or penalization of big sites who break Google’s ethical SEO rules.

One of the common beliefs in the SEO industry is that the big blokes get away with grey hat and black hat techniques without penalty because… well they are big players in their industry.  However according to Google, big names are not immune from penalties for using dubious promotion techniques.  After all Google banned the German BMW website for using blackhat techniques.

The SEO at the German BMW site was fired.  I have a feeling that the SEO was probably compelled to take such action because a manager somewhere in the German division wanted drastically higher results in a short period of time.  It’s possible the SEO was incompetent and used the techniques, ignorant of the potential penalty, but I don’t think an SEO working for a large company would be ignorant of Google penalties.

Anyway, the video!

August 19 2008

Webrings - Old school site promotion

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I realised recently that I hadn’t been using webrings as a way to promote any of my sites in some time. Webrings are collections of websites that are linked together in a circular structure. No reciprocal linking, but instead a link to a couple of related sites usually in the form of a navigation bar you can stuff into your header or footer.

Most webrings are free to join, so it’s a quick and easy way to get traffic to a new site.  Whilst webrings aren’t as popular now as they were in their heyday and it may not be suitable for all sites, it’s still a simple way to get traffic and SEO benefits to many of your web properties.

Some resources:

August 06 2008

Google Insights for SEO

Google insights

Google insights

I received a link from a co-worker today telling me to checkout a new Google application called Google Insights. Its a detailed search term research tool which shows traffic for particular search terms, regional spreads of those keyword phrases, related phrases and more.

I usually use WebCEO and Google Analytics for initial keyword research (combined with a few general web searches), like most people I suspect. Google Insight seems to have combined the power of Adwords keywords tool with Google trends and some Google Analytics voodoo. Results can be exported via CSV too. Seriously good tool, so if you do SEO check it out. Google Insights Tool

July 20 2008

Now a Dofollow blog!

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I’ve just removed nofollow from comment links for the blog. This means that anyone posting a useful and approved comment will be rewarded by an incoming link towards their site.  The value of nofollow has been debated (here and here in german).

I think that comment moderation and akismet are the best way to manage spammers posting inane comments to your blog and hoping for a backlink from it.  If somone posts something useful on a blog comment and is active in the web community they should be rewarded!

edit: I should mention the dofollow plugin I used to automatically remove the nofollows.