Archive for the ‘
online marketing ’ Category
Monday, January 17th, 2011
In today’s online world, it is important to design a website with the average visitor in mind, but it is also equally important to consider search engine crawlers, who will also be reading our website. If you are new to the online marketing game, then you should know that search engines deploy small, independent bits of code throughout the worldwide web, who’s sole job is to find out what the world’s websites are all about, and to rank each one according to its content. This process is known as indexing. It’s through the use of indexing that a search engine can quickly provide a searcher with relevant results. Instead of searching the entire web, a search engine can provide fast results because it searches it’s index instead. Because of this, we must consider the web crawlers when creating our site, and we must make sure they can quickly do their job.
Aside from the usual HTML optimization ( Title, description tag, keywords, headlines, alt text, and anchor text ), there is plenty you can do to optimize your site using css. CSS (cascading style sheets ) allow you to keep your HTML file small because you can simply declare all of your style rules in a separate css document instead of on the same HTML file.
First of all, recognize that the size of your css file will be a big determinant factor in the speed at which your website downloads. You want to optimize your css file to reduce the amount of rules you have to declare. For example, creating 3 containers in your css file with the same dimensions and look could be done by only creating one rule instead of 3 separate ones. If you are working with an existing website, be sure to eliminate any unused css code in your style sheet to keep it short. This is often overlooked, and is an easy way to help decrease loading time.
The second thing to consider is that what your visitors see is not exactly what search engines see. For example, search engines cannot tell what an image is about unless you tell it what your image is about. In this case we use alt tags to be able to add descriptive text to images. This idea can go further with more advanced techniques, you can adjust the order in which these search engine bots will read your page. If you have great content, you can easily place this content in the very top of your document code so that search engines see it first without affecting what the order a normal (human) visitor will see.
With CSS you can manipulate the presentation order of your HTML code. You can place your most important information up higher so that you are guaranteed that it’s being indexed by search engines. Otherwise, crawlers may have to dig through a lot of code to find the really juicy stuff. However, asking a crawler to dig through your code is not an ideal situation, if your page is loading slowly, or if your information is too deep to crawl, crawlers will simply exit your website without fully indexing it. This can mean bad news for you because you may have a great website with great content, but is being read by no-one because of its lack of search engine visibility.
Saba Inc is a San Diego SEO and San Diego Web Design Company operating under SEO Best Practices in order to provide our clients with powerful websites that can be easily found by search engines. We help our clients to correctly target the right market online to increase ROI, and to reduce time consuming “dead” lead phone calls. Contact us today to set up a free website evaluation. We will tell you exactly where your website can improve to meet your goals.
Friday, January 7th, 2011
Every business has at one point had to look for clients to function. Rare are those companies who never need to advertise; the type of companies who’s phone rings non-stop have likely already spent years spreading the word, and even then benefit from continued efforts. The success for these companies exists in who sees their ads, and whether these ads motivate the reader into performing an action such as picking up the phone.
Online advertising works in very much the same way. People with similar interests tend to visit the same locations, and advertising returns can greatly increase by making sure to target the group/groups who are most likely to purchase your product or service. A perfect example is the huge, but often underestimated group, the “Soccer Mom”. The Soccer Mom market is huge in the United States and only continues to grow. With their limited time, they are a group of the market who spends the most time researching products and services online before making a purchase or a timely trip to the store. If you are targeting Soccer Moms or a similar group, half of your job is already done. At least you know who your market is. The next step is to figure out where they hang out (websites they visit) and to make a presence there. It often takes an email or a phone call, but generally, website owners are more than happy to make a sale. Larger companies will likely spend thousands on market research at this point to find the sites in which to advertise, but smaller companies must often be creative.
Thanks to modern search engines, we can perform a lot of market research from the comfort of our own home. We can find out what certain markets are looking for, the specific terms they use, and thus, we can find the high ranking sites they likely visit. Many high ranking sites will provide an opportunity for advertisers to rent digital real estate for a monthly or per click rate. Google’s Adwords also allows us to take it one step further and to penetrate the market with relevant advertisements when internet users are typing search terms related to your field. These ads are based on a cost per click pricing table, and more popular key terms will likely cost more to advertise for. The price is often worth it, specially for niche markets with very specific search terms, and it should be noted that Google’s Adwords has allowed smaller companies to gain a foothold, and has allowed them to compete with larger companies with huge budgets.
However much time and money you spend on your online advertising, remember that the most important aspect is to target your market. Your main objective should not be to get the most amount of visitors, or the most hits, but to increase your returns on your investment. You can get 1 million visitors, but if only 1 person buys a product, your time and money is wasted. You will have had a 0.000001% success rate. If you only had 1 visitor to your website, but that visitor bought something, you have a 100% success rate and you wont have to spend additional time filtering through the bad leads to find the good one. See the difference?
A few Questions to consider when targeting your market:
1. Who is not my market audience (eliminating those who you are not targeting helps by pointing you in the opposite direction)
2. Who are they? Political affiliations? Social behaviors?
3. What’s their income levels?
4. What’s their age range?
5. What’s their ethnicity, and how do these cultural differences effect their purchases?
6. What are they looking for? How will they find it?
7. What would make them hesitate from buying your product or service?
There are many more specific questions that can be asked to find out who to target, but these few should get your started, and maybe motivated into asking some creative questions. If you have any comments or concerns, let me know, and we look forward to hearing from you. If you need a website or online marketing and don’t have the time to do it yourself, or the budget, we recommend calling us. We are a San Diego SEO and Web Design Company, ready to set up a free consultation for you.
Monday, October 18th, 2010
SEO myths are rampant throughout the online world. Some of these myths are somewhat based on real occurrences while others have multiplied because of the difficulty in the ability to verify exactly what SEO action resulted in a particular search engine effect.
- URL should be submitted to search engines- this myth may have been true once upon a time, somewhere around five or six years ago, but is no longer the case these days.
- Site must be updated often- while updating the website on a regular basis might boost the SEO crawl pace, it will not up rankings. Therefore, if the site does not need updating, it is okay to leave it as is.
- Meta tags are of critical importance- not always the case. Search engines these days prefer better content over Meta tags. Web masters in the past have been known to stuff Meta tags with useless keywords in attempts to trick search engines into giving higher ratings. This has happened so much that the method has been abused and left to spammers.
- Guaranteed SEO- an SEO company cannot give a guaranteed ranking and optimization promise simply because in real life, no one can guarantee the numbers.
- A good SEO company demands commitment- this can go either way. Because it takes 4-6 months in most instances to see results, most SEO companies feel it’s important o have at least a 6 months contract. Because the industry is so competitive, clients receive solicitations from countless competitors claiming they can provide immediate results. Often times, this leads to clients questioning the lack of results in the first few months by the contracted company. In order to avoid this, most reputable companies require at least a 3-6 months contract. However, in some instances companies might be willing to provide a month to month service. .
- SEO is a one-time fix- this would make things easier, for sure, but it is not to be. Staying on top of search engines is an endless effort, a long term process that takes a lot of work that has to be continually followed up on.
- Pay Per Click Ads will help or hurt ratings- neither is true. PPC has neither a positive nor a negative effect on the SEO ratings. Search engines are actually quite smart and do not get confused with natural versus paid search outcomes.
- Great content equals great ranking- while the content may be quality, getting noticed by search engines is what it will take to gain traffic and optimize the site.
- Optimization can be handled ‘in-house’- this is certainly true if there is an SEO expert present and that expert has the know-how and access to industry specific software and tools needed to do a top notch professional job of optimization.
- SEO is all about link building- there is so much more to SEO than link building. While link building is very important, there are a good many other things involved in SEO. Activities such as optimizing current and new pages as well as constantly adding new content, and so forth.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is not an exact science; however, a reputable company should have a strong grip of the processes and methodologies that are necessary to success in this competitive industry. Saba is a San Diego SEO and San Diego Web Design company which has helped numerous clients in diverse industries to achieve page one ranking. We offer free Search Engine Optimization and Website Design consultation to all of our clients. Feel free to give us a call or visit our website www.sabaseo.com.
Monday, April 19th, 2010
Although we are always bombarded with reminders of how important it is to optimize our HTML code for our websites, it is often forgotten about the CSS. Style sheets can also be optimized to increase load speed, and to reduce file size. Although it has a smaller impact on your search engine results, having a site with fast loading css can help you to hold on to your visitors who normally have a 3 second attention span.
Friday, April 16th, 2010
Getting your website indexed for the right keywords can be confusing. You may find that after all of your hard work, your site may rank for keywords you never meant to rank for, and the ones you wanted to rank for, are not ranking at all. There are a lot of reasons why this may be happening, but one of the most likely reasons for this is that you may have an unbalanced keyword density on any given page, or on the entire website.
Ranking on search engines is a science as much as it is an art form. You can see a lot of different methods one goes about in optimizing their website, but some always work better than others. One method may work better on one search engine than in another, but the general rules still apply: Optimization is a never ending struggle and a balanced keyword strategy works better than keyword stuffing.
We have all heard of keyword stuffing. Some may rely heavily on stuffing keywords in their keywords tag, while others heavily laden their site’s content with keywords, making their copy unreadable for human readers. Both of these methods will likely hurt your site’s ranks in the long run, (search engine may see your site as a spam site) and in many cases can hurt your brand. (for example: your readers may read your website and think you do not have good grammar, which may mirror not so good service).
The key is in learning how to balance your keywords. Don’t overuse them as to turn away either crawlers or visitors, rather embrace the two in a well balanced, comprehensive strategy. Zealously changing your titles and headlines to try to gain a competitive advantage doesn’t work very well. The real key to ranking your website is to give it time. If you have optimized your site and see no results, don’t be surprised. Results often take between two to three months. If you see no significant results, make sure your pages target one to three keywords each, make sure your copy is comprehensive, and sticks to the point. If you have checked all your bases, and you are still not getting results, you may need to develop an off page optimization strategy.
If you find yourself frustrated with your optimization efforts, it may be time to contact a professional optimization firm. Professional firms will have access to tools and tactics that you may not be able to use, or may not have the time to develop. Call Saba, a San Diego Web Design Company to help you understand what your competition is doing online, and how you can compete.
Monday, January 18th, 2010
With Google’s threat to pull out of China, all eyes are on the unfolding drama to find out what the future of the internet will look like in that part of the world. Amidst accusations of cyber attacks by the company and claims of intellectual property theft, Google has threatened to abandon all operations in that county. Cyber espionage experts claim that these attacks must be state sponsored, in an attempt to catch up and pass their western rivals technologically and militarily. Backing these claims is the speed and consistency of the attacks. Which many say can only be possible with government backing. Currently, Google cites the hacking of various gmail accounts of Chinese Political Dissidents, but it is unclear what else Chinese Hackers may have stolen with the declaration of intellectual property theft. Obviously it must have been something big for Google to threaten to leave the fastest growing economy in the world. It must have been something to threaten Google’s global operations. Speculation may lead some to think that China may have accessed Google’s algorithm, or some of Googles up and coming innovative technologies. Whatever it was, it must be worth severing further business with China.
Many companies and governments are now waiting to see what happens next. Some of these spectators are supporting Google and are showing their support against nation sponsored cyber attacks. Although it has been alleged that China has been in the business of state sponsored cyber theft for a long time, it could just be that this time, they went too far and attacked a company large enough to stand up to them. It is unclear what kind of fallout may follow, but one thing for sure, China’s unchecked internet abuse will not continue without watchful eyes on the look out.
The future of the internet in China is unclear, their communist government discourages free thought and independance, but these are the building blocks upon which innovation is fostered. Without innovation, China will never meet their goals of being a cultural, political, and military leaders. All of which can explain China’s relentless efforts of online theft. They have to resort to stealing ideas because their government discourages new ideas from emerging.
Saba is a San Diego SEO Company dedicated to bringing you great ideas for improving your website and getting it found online. In order to schedule a free consulation or to get a free website analysis call us today at 858.937.1717.
Thursday, January 14th, 2010
There exists many aspects of Search Engine Optimization that can be utilized to rank higher on search engines. Unfortunately, there will exist those websites that no matter how much they are optimized, will never rank on the first page of search engines, and/or will not be working towards attracting new customers. These websites are perfect candidates for web redesign services. When redesigning a website, it is important to plan ahead of time before the design process begins to find out what the primary goals of the new design will be. Is the design process going to focus on attracting new customers or will it focus on catering to existing clients? After the goals have been set, you can begin the process of redesigning your site.
If your goals are to rank higher, you want to consider the benefits and disadvantages of different types of designs and embedded material and how it will effect your SEO. Certain “best practices” strategies can be used in creating a good SEO friendly site. One of the most effective strategies is in CSS programming. Using CSS to set up your website layout will effectively separate your HTML from each element’s style (CSS). This will make it a lot faster for Search Engines to be able to index your content because they are essentially skipping the additional code that defines the look of a site. At Saba SEO, we pride ourselves of using CSS programming whenever possible instead of resorting to convenient tables for your page’s layout. If you need a website design that is consistent and easy to edit, you may also want to consider building a website template and creating a dynamic content library. A template and library items will allow you to easily make changes to repeating parts of your site without having to make the same changes over and over to each page.
You may also want to subscribe to website design best practice standards to ensure your site meets the proven criteria for easy customer conversion, and lead generation. Upon reaching a website, it is natural for a visitor’s sight to begin on the top left hand side of a website and begin reading left or down from there in an “F” or “Z” pattern. By organizing your webpage material accordingly, you can make certain aspects of your site more prominent. A “free consultation” button on the lower right hand of the page will not be as visible as a button which falls within this “Z” or “F” pattern. Many visitors also avoid scrolling through a page, choosing to keep their cursor closer to the top of the window. For this reason, it is also recommended that all of the web pages’ important content fall above the fold (bottom of the visible page before scrolling down).
Each page of a website should also incorporate some sort of “call to action,” which will serve as an incentive to your visitors to take action. Perhaps it is to sign up for your company newsletter, or it can be a lead generating form. Either way, you want these things to be prominent so that they are not skipped. It was not uncommon in the past that these “calls to action” were mostly reserved for the website’s home page, but with “Landing Page Optimization” (a way to make each page in a website unique and draw visitors) it is possible to have your interior pages act like small catching nets, acting like mini home pages. For this reason, a call to action must be included in every page to ensure that all of your visitors are given the option of taking action. Otherwise, you will only gain leads from those pages displayig the call to action.
Other good practices also include clear navigation, and targeted content. If a visitor cannot find their way around your site or links lead to irrelevant information, your site will suffer from a high bounce rate. This means that visitors may come to your site, and quickly leave. You can avoid this by making a visit to your site a pleasant experience.
If you are in the position of gaining a competative advantage by choosing a website redesign, call us today to schedule a free consultation. 866.937.1717
Monday, December 21st, 2009
There exists hundreds of thousands of different fonts, and the list continues to grow each day. Out of this pool of fonts, there exists the right font for your website. Choosing the right font is not as easy as it sounds, and it’s not a matter of just picking fonts from a list. A lot of thought has to go into choosing the right font based on the studies of typographers past. These faceless artists have worked hard designing type, and have established styles. Just like art, type has a history which continues to evolve. Studying type of generations past can help us to choose the right types of fonts for the work at hand…our website. This blog is a short introduction to type, and will hopefully help you in your selection.
Fonts can be placed in several different categories that have developed through time.
Generally speaking, old style was the first determined style that developed, whose earliest influence was the handheld chisel. Ancient typographers used chisels to carve words into stone at an angle. Out of this method, the traditional serif was born, which helped finish off the stone carved letterforms. Today it is argued that the serif helps readers eye flow from one word to the other, in ancient times it is likely that it allowed the artist’s chisel a smooth transition from one shape to the next. If a modern artist wanted to evoke a sense of antiquity, or stability, or timelessness, a old style font such Bembo, Garamond, or Trajan would work best. These fonts were created with the influence of ancient stone writing and hand written letterforms of the midieval period. They are among the oldest recognized designs in type ranging from about the 1400-1500’s. By this time, artists also began experimenting and lowercase letters slowly began to emerge.
old Style vs transitional
Transitional Fonts developed after the old style in the period of enlightenment, where challenges to old thoughts and tradition were common, and are recorded in the history of the type. Transitional fonts are typically recognized by their shorter or thinner serif, the increased uniform thickness of stroke, and their increased symmetry. This began the slow reduction of influence typographers got from the handwritten forms of medieval times and was a transition for the complete elimination of human influence from later styles. Fonts from this area include Times, Baskerville, and Caslon. They too evoke a sense of tradition, but also take a step away from it in a slow regression of human style. Italic letters were also developed around this time to help distinguish shapes and to help create hierarchy between letters. The formality of these letter forms make them perfect for modern business and school writing. These may be good choices for a modern designer looking for a corporate look, that would make their website carry a feeling of history, yet not tied to it. This style of font gives a sense of flexibility, which a corporate company may be interested in portraying.
transitional vs block
Block Serif or Slab Serif fonts were developed along with continued developments in print and technology. The creation of the printing press developed a market for thicker fonts that would allow for easy legibility in a large point size. They are characterized by their square serifs, block shapes, lack of stroke modulation and have a mechanical look. This type of type design is a clear cut from all humanist letterforms and can be best understood by studying the backdrop in history at the beginning of the industrial revolution. Fonts that emerged from this era include Rockwell, Courier, and Clarendon. These fonts can be easily used by a modern designer to create a design that evokes the principles of industry that existed throughout the 1800’s including firm confidence and boldness.
block vs sans serif
San Serif or Gothic Typefaces began to emerge in ancient times but were not widely adopted into print until soon after the emergence of block serif fonts. They are in effect a reflection of the thought during the Industrial Revolution, when mathematical efficiency was prized and human’s imperfect nature was not. The serif of previous styles was the last part of type design that beared any human influence, removing it was a bold step away from humanist style, removing it was to remove the fallable. Smooth, even strokes and symmetry became the standard and san serif was born. San Serif fonts were quickly adopted as headline fonts but have increasingly found their way into text copy, despite arguments against them. Fonts which have emerged from this style include Century Gothic, Futura, Helvetica, and Arial. If a modern designer wishes to create an art piece that has a modern feel, San Serif is the way to go.
Decorative fonts Have little value for professional designers. They are a modern take on classic letterforms often so abstract that their legibility is questionable. Their usefulness is limited to headline sized text and can often be so emblazoned with decoration that thier purpose is limited to a specific design. What purpose is this I speak of?…The purpose of legibility. Type was meant to be read, and classic fonts that have lasted century are those that have allowed readers to easily read its shapes and figures to distinguish meaning. A highly decorative font will cause a loss of legibility so they are never good choices. Most often these fonts can be found for free online simply because they have no value. Avoid their use and you will begin to notice a growing sense of typographic professionalism as you notice the great amount of flexibility classic typefaces allow you when used creatively.
The use of san serif fonts for modern applications continues to grow as modern low resolution screens cannot capture the neuances of delicate serifs, specially at smaller sizes. San serif fonts have therefore made themselves the font of our current century, and their use has continued to grow. Although San Serif Fonts have better web applications than serif fonts, they too have neuances that cannot be captured on screen. In short, they have not been designed specifically for the web. They are widely used because their shape holds more true on screen than serif fonts, but neither will give you better legibility than fonts designed for online viewing. Fonts such as Verdana or Georgia should be considered when choosing a font specifically for the web. These are amongst the most modern fonts available and have been designed specifically for on screen viewing. Their shape holds true with size and shape better than any other font designed for print. A designer creating a website for the elderly or the hard of seeing may want to consider these fonts for their online design. Likewise, a font designed specifically for the internet should not be used for print material, as their purpose is not being honored. A font designed for online viewing will never give you the printed results a design made for print will give. Therefore be wise in selecting your font.
This is not to say that you cannot use any font for your website. You can use any font, but if you use an abstract font that not many people use, or a font that to others may be unavailable, your purpose in your design may be lost because someone on the opposite side of the country may not have the same font so they will be seeing a substituted font in its place. This is most common in headline fonts, where you may feel that the font Impact for example may be a great choice, as it offers great weight and draws a lot of attention. If a visitor to your site does not have the font uploaded on their computer, they will see whatever similar font you have set as an alternate. What if you didn’t set an alternate? Than their system might substitute any default font, or may not display anything at all. A way you can avoid this problem is to make your font into a graphic. This will allow any visitor to see the type in the way you intended them to see it. This will help your design stay true to its original form, but you loose a great deal of potential SEO (Search Engine Optimization) opportunities. Headlines hold a lot of weight for search engines and they use it to know what your website is about. If all of your headline text is in graphic form, your website will not easily rank on search engines, and your competitors will gain from your loss.
To play it safe with your SEO rankings. I suggest sticking to a list of commonly used, browser safe fonts. Using these fonts will increase the likelihood your visitors are seeing exactly what you intend them to see.
- Times New Roman
If you still intend on using specialty fonts for certain places such as your banners or other graphics, then make sure your type is a graphic image (jpeg, png, gif) and then insert it into your website. Good SEO knowledge suggests you save your keyword rich titles for non graphic type, but if you must use graphic type, remember to add your alternate text tag in order to still be able to communicate with search engines. Actual text carries more weight than alt text, so avoid this practice whenever possible, and make as much text in your website into editable html text to increase your Search Engine Rankings.
Elements of Typographic Style
If you want to read more into the subject of type. I suggest trying out “The Bible of Typography”: The Elements of Typographic Style, a book by Canadian typographer, poet and translator Robert Bringhurst. This book will tell you everything you need to know about typography. Be ready to take notes, it’s quite a read.
At Saba SEO in San Diego we try to provide useful information to business owners throughout the United States on how to create better websites. Our goal is to help your business grow online. With the decrease of print advertisements, purchases are being made online at an exponential rate. Be sure your company is taking advantage of this swell by allowing us to create a custom web design or by allowing us to optimize your existing site. Countless of clients agree that our services have helped to maximize online profitability. It all starts with a free website evaluation by our team. We will tell you exactly where your website can improve and we back it up with statistical data. Call us today to get started 866-937-1717.