Website Designers and Webmasters

Dedicated to all the tasks Webmasters, Website Developers and Website Designers find themselves facing.

By: Ashton Sanders

Google’s Indexing Delay

Nov 22 2007

Filed under: Blogging,Google,SEO

Websites in a Flash MascotI created a new blog about Mordheim on the 10th of November. I worked on the design of the blog for about a day, and then linked to it for the first time on the 11th. I linked to it from a couple different sites: Websites in a Flash on the 11th, my Website Design Blog on the 17th, and Board Game Geek on the 17th.

By adding this new blog to my Google Webmaster Tools account, I could tell that Google Accessed my new blog on the 11th of November, 11 days ago. I have checked my site in Google’s Index everyday for the last week, and yesterday, the 21st, I got my first click through from organic search results. Today, I have 5 pages in the Google index; the same five pages that were my only pages on the 12th of November (Home Page, About the Author and the entries for the 10th, 11th and 12th).

From this, it seems that it takes 10 days from the time that the Google-bot sees your page/site till the time that it gets entered into Google’s search index.

I’ll keep my eye on how Google reacts to my blog, and will keep you posted.
-Ashton Sanders

Update: This blog shows up at #23 for the keyword term “Mordheim”

By: Ashton Sanders

SEO – Where to Host Your Blog?

Nov 13 2007

Filed under: Ashton Sanders,SEO

NOTE: This post is over 2 years old and is no longer totally correct.

I know that a blog can really help to increase your website content. A blog shows the Search Engines that there is actually someone behind this website, and they actually care about their website.

When I started this blog at the beginning of this year, I was trying to research whether it was better to have two medium-content heavy sites that link to each other, or one site with all of the content.

The Setup

My main Website Design Website is Websites in a Flash. This site has 20-30 pages of content, and got approximately 400 unique visitors a month. (This is primarily from Search Engines.)

I knew that this blog would have many pages of website-terms, so I decided to host it on my Ashton Sanders website as a subdomain. The purpose of this was to see if two medium sized sites linking to each other would create an increase in unique visitors for both my Main Website and my Blog.

Results

Obviously, my Blog had an increase in visitors (because it didn’t have any before). Surprisingly, it has totally surpassed my normal website, although I guess it shouldn’t be surprising.

My Websites in a Flash website increased to about 650 Unique visitors. It also finally got back to PR4, but I’m not satisfied with that product. So, I’ve moved my blog to my Websites in a Flash Site, 301 redirects and all. I will now be testing my statistics/results on this new server, and will give you another update after 4 or 5 more months.

My findings, so far, from this test lead me to believe that it is best to have your blog on the same domain as your main website, but a final verdict will come in early 2008.

Note: After this Search Engine Optimization test, the only thing I have to test for myself if whether a blog on your website is better as a subfolder or subdomain.

-Testing the Bounds of the Internet
-Ashton Sanders

By: Ashton Sanders

How to Create XML Sitemaps

Sep 6 2007

Filed under: SEO,Webmaster

The purpose of XML sitemaps are to help tell the search engines about all of the pages on your website. It also helps to tell the search engines which pages you think are most important. (They won’t necessarily listen to you, but you can tell them.)

I recently found a great website that will create XML sitemaps for websites of up to 500 pages! And the best part is, it’s absolutely Free! You can by the program they made as well if your site has more pages, etc.

Check it out:

XML Sitemaps

Ashton Sanders

By: Ashton Sanders

Search Engine Optimization vs Website Design

May 24 2007

Filed under: SEO,Website Design

WiaF MascotEarlier I wrote a post about the Basics of Search Engine Optimization.

In this post I’ll be delving a little deeper into the basic principles that are used to create the basic rules of Search Engine Optimization.

Text is King I mentioned earlier how Search Engines can only index text. They can’t see pictures, movies, music, etc. Pictures can become a very easy substitute for text if you are not careful. Many clients want that button to have a unique font with a nice shadow, which is totally fine… but not as good as having straight text.

So there is definitely a balance between Design and Search Engine Optimization. You want your site to be aesthetic enough for visitors to not be repelled, but you don’t want it so picture heavy that no one finds your site as the search engines can’t tell what your site is about.

“But you can add alternate text (alt attribute) to your images!”

Yes you can add alts, so that if you image doesn’t load, you can have text appear in its place… but search engines know that there is really no way for visitors to see that text. So alt text will never have as much power as straight text or a “h1”.

On the other hand, if your site is entirely text, with no images, you won’t ever create a conversion. Images are needed to add live and personality and style to a website.

The Balance of Search Engine Optimization and Website Design.
-Ashton Sanders

By: Ashton Sanders

How Do Search Engines Think? SEO Basics

Apr 26 2007

Search Engine Optimization is fairly easy to understand. All you need to do is put your self in a Search Engines Shoes.

Let’s start with Google’s Mission:

“Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

-http://www.google.com/corporate/

Nice and Simple. But it gives you a good understanding of what you are working with and helps us to realize some very basic truths about Search Engines.

Search Engines Truth:

Search Engines want to find useful, informative sites for every search term.

Duh… And they do that by using robots (or bots) that are programmed to “index” websites and decide how useful/informative they are. So our job as Search Engine Optimizers is to make it obvious to search engines that your site is useful and informative. Here are some basics to Search Engine Optimization:

Use Valid Code: The search engine bots don’t have eyes, so they can’t see your website, but they can read the code that makes your website, and they do know how to read valid HTML. But if your code isn’t valid, the bot can get confused and ignore parts of your site.

Content is King: Anyone can make a site that says, “Hello World!” Search engines don’t value sites that don’t have any content. You need to have relevant content on your website. If your site is about fixing Race Cars, but you never say race cars on your site, don’t be surprised when you never find your site under the search term “race cars.”

Don’t Hide Text: An old search engine “cheat” was to have white text on a white background. This would allow you to have lots of keyword heavy content on your site without actually having to bug your visitors with the large amount of text. This will damage your rankings much more than it will help.

Basic Principles: Google recommends that you don’t do anything solely for search engines, which isn’t to say that you shouldn’t get your site search engine optimized, but rather, don’t waste time and money trying to develop tricks to deceive the search engines. Just make a good, quality site that people will find informative and useful.

Links:If someone likes your site enough, they’ll link to it. Duh. So if your site is extremely useful, and a lot of people like it, you’ll have a lot of links to it. The number of links you have to your site is one of the biggest things that the search engines will judge your site on.

That’s a nice overview of how search engines think, and the basics of search engine optimization.

-Use it wisely
-Ashton Sanders

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You have found the semi-coherent ramblings of Ashton Sanders: a website designer, developer and webmaster. This is primarily Ashton's place to save notes about techniques and things that he learns in his never-ending conquest of the internet. Hopefully it's coherent enough to be useful to you too.

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