Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Timing is everything

In many cases specialized product-centric micro-sites are created to promote one. Usually they are launched at the same time with product launch. Before that they are protected by password or not accessible by robots due to /disallow flag. But this is not a good idea!
Why?
Google and other search engines are not very fast. Websites are not indexed instantly. When product is launced and potentional customers start to google it, they usually don't find it in 7-14 days.
Solution
You have to register domain and open website way prior to product launch. Yes, you don't want to leak technical data etc. Still, it's wise to open website, load it with correct keywords in metadata, headings etc, build links and optimize everything earlier. Some launches do it wisely by opening so-called teaser website. One example is Dell Adamo notebook micro-site. Technical data, final product images etc can be added later.
In the nutshell
  • Plan micro-site development in par with product launc
  • Microsite should be up and running at least 14 days before launch date
  • Use relevant keywords
  • Monitor progress with Google Webmaster Tools

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Lost site syndrom in Google

FYI, Googel can loose your site from it's index
Happened to me this week. Usually, when your site is gone, better to be afraid of Google penaly due to using wrong techniques, like illegal link-building, hidden text, meta-data spamming etc. It's possible to check the reason out from Google Webmaster Tools page (first, you have to authorize the site monitored).

Our Case
We made micro-site for a book, supporting traditional marketing channels. As usually, we did pay lot of attention to SEO-friendly design. Used WordPress engine, All-in-One SEO and Google integration plugins among others.
Google picked up our site in one week. Yes, it's painful time, but it's always slow, Can be up to 4 weeks, people talk in the net. Google indexed first pages, found keywords and Google search statistics started to build up. And then -- bah! No results anymore, nothing. Google entirely forgot about our site.
Like always, you start to blame yourself. Did I use correct skin? There are hidden links sometimes in "bad" skins. As our skin was downloaded from Wordpress official site, it was OK. No hidden text etc hound from the code. Secondly, did We liknk to "bad" websites. No, we didn't. May-be some of our comments has bad link, no, checked. Some AdWord campaigns unpaid, overdue to Google? Checked, negative! We also checked html quality, missing pages and other such thing. Everything seemed to be OK.

Solution
No solution, Our site just re-appeared in 2-3 days slowly back to search results, like newly discovered site. No correct explanation found. It's good now.

Recommendations
It's always good to keep regularly. at least weekly, eye on your site Google-performance. Ask site:www.yoursite.com , check keyword positions etc. Otherwise can happen, whes one of our site was down 2 weeks cause of black-hat SEO used in the code...

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Why is my website not in Google search results?

Why is my website not in Google search results? Missing in search results! Because it's not indexed. There are few main reasons for that:

1. Your site is too young. It takes 2-4 weeks to index the site by Google. Yahoo and Bing (Microsoft search) are faster. I encourage to add your site at least to Webmaster Tools and describe sitemap, it makes easier to understand the site by Google robots. Additionally you may add the site to Yahoo Site Explorer and Bing Webmaster Center. These tools allow to see problems on the site and get optimum indexation.

2. One common mistake is that "robots.txt" file (in the website root directory) disallows robots to crawl the site. It's usual, that during the site development webmaster disallows access by robots not to index site in the middle of progress. I've seen cases when "disallow" flag is mistakenly forgotten in robots.txt file and site is not indexable at all.

3. Blog or WordPress engine? Check if your site is checked as publicly viewable, viewed by search engines, etc. It's in dasboard / privacy section in WordPress, just one example.

4. Your site is baned by Google. Links to the sites with bad reputation, link farm, link trading etc? One common reason is that website developers try to hide links of their own interest into your site. When Google finds hidden links, it bans whole domain. Register your website in Webmaster Tools and it tells You right away, is the site banned or not.

5. Other techniques used on the site, not allowed by Google? Read Google webmaster guidelines and bear in mind, thet Google is always one step ahead. There is no fooling in order to get extra link juice etc.

And remember, not indexed by Google = not existing at all

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Using WordPress engine, few tips

It's very easy and frequent approach to download WordPress engine to your domain, pick nice template and start filling newly made website with content. But -- you have to bare in mind SEO aspects.

Many people have been built nice WordPress website, but it's not listed in Google result. Why is my website not listed in Google?

Luckily WordPress.org Extend section has lots of excellent plugins. In order to get SEO'd homepage, it's essential to use them:


Some features:

  • Canonical URLs
  • Fine tune Page Navigational Links
  • Built-in API so other plugins/themes can access and extend functionality
  • Provides SEO Integration for WP e-Commerce sites
  • Nonce Security
  • Support for CMS-style WordPress installations
  • Automatically optimizes your titles for search engines
  • Generates META tags automatically
  • Avoids the typical duplicate content found on Wordpress blogs
  • For beginners, you don't even have to look at the options, it works out-of-the-box. Just install.
  • For advanced users, you can fine-tune everything
  • You can override any title and set any META description and any META keywords you want.
  • Backward-Compatibility with many other plugins, like Auto Meta, Ultimate Tag Warrior and others.

This plugin will generate a special XML sitemap which will help search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo and Ask.com to better index your blog. With such a sitemap, it's much easier for the crawlers to see the complete structure of your site and retrieve it more efficiently. The plugin supports all kinds of WordPress generated pages as well as custom URLs. Additionally it notifies all major search engines every time you create a post about the new content.

This version of Google Integration Toolkit plugin provides following features:

  • Integration with Google Webmasters Tools (both verification methods are supported: meta tag and verification file);
  • Integration with Google Analytics (with optional Google Analytics - Google AdSense integration);
  • RSS/Atom Feeds tagging - you can track visitors coming from your feed using Google Analytics;
  • 404 error tracking using Google Analytics;
  • AdSense Section Targeting - improve AdSense ads targeting;
Installing these plugins is reatively easy and straightforward:

1. Download required plugin from WordPress.org Extend / Plugins Directory to local hads drive;
2. Upload it to wp-content/plugins directory of your site (for example using FTP);
3. Go to www.yoursite.com/wp-admin /WordPress dashboard) "Plugins" section and enable newly added plugin;
4. Make required adjustments in Settings section
5. Important! When All-in-One SEO installed, fill all the added fields on every old and new post and page with relevant metadata!
5. Enjoy improved placement in Google search results in few weeks.

Important final notices!

1. Please ensure, that in wp-admin (WordPress dashboard) Settings/Privacy section, "I would like my blog to be visible to everyone, including search engines (like Google, Sphere, Technorati) and archivers" is checked

2. Please enure that robots.txt file allows robots to crawl your website.

Prepare to wait 1-2 weeks before any improvements in Google, its not instantaneous.