SEO Contests - Lessons
The number one lesson learned in the v7n contest is
Google Bowling appears to be a fact not a myth. Google
bowling occurs when competitors set up external links to knock out
a competitor in the SERPs. Too many links too fast can result in a
site disappearing in the SERPs. This appears to be a Google
strategy to discourage the selling of links.
Google changed the wording on its site to say there is almost
nothing anyone can do to affect your SERPs. The keyword is
almost. I am not at all an advocate of Google bowling.
If you have the link power to knock someone out of the SERPs you
have the power to rank above your competitor using purely white
The fact that Google Bowling appears to exist signals a warning
to webmasters. Not only can you Google Bowl a competitor,
you can Google bowl yourself.
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A Branding Tip
You often read about
the importance of branding along with the usual methods of
branding and marketing your site. Having a simple logo that
translates well as a desk top icon and favicon is one excellent
Recently I was confronted by a request to delineate different
types of data in a table using high contrast colors. No
amount of work produced anything suitable for the site. No matter
what I tried it looked like a clown had designed the table.
Finally I thought what better way of making use of the delineation
than using the favicon. It was small and proved to be an
The table below shows the favicons use to mark the defending
champion for an Internet chess league.
It is all these "little something extras that help make a web
memorable and bring viewers back
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Do it Right the First Time
Many of us have quickly thrown
together a few pages for a small web and not taken the time to do
it right the first time. What starts out as a small site
nearly always grows into a big headache if one does not plan for
growth. From a one page site to a large site it pays to
design site with the thoughts of maintenance in mind.
No sooner than my neighbor and I finished a 167 page site, the
owner of site decided she wanted to change the phone number used
online. Since all of the pages had been coded with no plans
for changing the banner we had to open each page, delete existing
phone number, replace with new number and upload the web again.
Within 6 months the area code changed in our area and all banners
had to be redone again. By this time I had learned about CSI
(Client Side Includes) and SSI (Server Side Includes) hence I used
client side includes so in future any time banner was to be
changed I could change one document and upload the web. Now
I would not think about designing a web without using the include
file option for items such as banners, footers, menus etc.
Before deciding to use a SSI strategy make sure your host will
allow server side includes. Since server side includes can
be resource guzzlers, some hosts do not allow their use.
Another good strategy is to use CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) to
help reduce the bloat of your HTML code. Initially it will
take a little longer but pay off in the long run. This year
I was given Word generated HTML. I saw red when I saw two lines of
code that could be shortened to <p> </p>. By moving the
formatting code into a style statement, I was able to cut load
time to 1/3 the original load time.
No matter how well we plan and design, due to the rapid advance of
technology pages we design today can be obsolete before the site
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Good Design vs Good SEO
The dilemma of balancing good web
design with good SEO is a task each webmaster faces. What is
good for one is not necessarily good for the other.
Without search engines our webs
would truly be lost in the abyss of cyberspace. To make our
pages readily available online we must design a page that is well
indexed by the search engine. This is where things grow more
complex. Over the years we have seen pages become more
cluttered. Banner ads, text ads, and more and more tiny text
grace pages. Finding the meat on the bones becomes harder and
harder. It is almost as if web designers / search
engine optimizers take a shotgun approach to web optimization and
fire a volley of words in every direction in hopes that some
combination will please the search engine Gods. Search
engines like content to index. Users prefer good navigation
to lead them directly to the information they are seeking.
By carefully designing a page you can make a page both user
friendly as well as a page that is well indexed.
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