5 Advantages of a Virtual Private Server for Your Business

vpsWhen it comes to hosting for a business website, you have three main options, which include shared hosting, virtual private servers (VPS), and dedicated hosting. While the individual needs of your business will dictate the option you ultimately choose, VPS has a lot to recommend it.

Since it occupies somewhat of a middle ground between traditional shared hosting and dedicated hosting, this option has been steadily growing in popularity. Below are five key advantages of virtual private servers.

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Filed in: SEO Tips

by: dave

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3 Simple SEO Tips for 2013

We’ve left the first month of the year behind. How have your SEO efforts been? Did you work on a solid plan for the year? Have you diverged from the path of spammy SEO? Are you seeing results?

If you have not really sat down and worked out a plan for your SEO, don’t fuss. It is not too late to do so, and with these three simple tips, you can make a positive impact.

Good quality content

There is something about cliches that rubs people the wrong way. Perhaps because they are true, in spite of the fact that they are overused. People don’t like being reminded of the obvious at times, after all.

When it comes to SEO, though, we really cannot ignore the importance of good quality content – that is, if you want to see positive results. You can manipulate your rankings all you want, but at the end of the day, you will only get returning visitors, you will only get good conversions, if you have content that is worth spending time on.

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Filed in: SEO Tips

by: Guest Blogger

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Use Good SEO for Good PR

Who is not wary of bad PR? Everyone is! After all, if the hype gets bad enough, the effects on any company can be disastrous. That is why many companies spend a lot of time and effort on PR activities. But what if, despite your best efforts, you get bad PR? I am sure that your PR firm probably has contingency plans for such events but have you thought about using SEO to counter bad PR? (By the way, if you have not caught on by now, I am talking about Public Relations and not PageRank.)

According to Richard Gregory, you can make the most out of SEO in order to counter bad PR. Direct News has this report:

An effective search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy can aid firms when they are faced with a negative public relations (PR) situation, according to an expert.

In an interview with Brand Republic, Richard Gregory, chief operations officer at Latitude Group, states if a company has advanced knowledge of an issue over a period of weeks, it can take steps to counter it in advance.

He explains a firm can start to create bespoke pages and optimise them for relevant terms that they anticipate users will search for.

In order for this to work in the most effective manner possible, the site notes, it is “crucial” for the firm not to wait for the crisis to break.

This is a brand new way of looking at things – at least for me. Did you know about this before? What do you think of using SEO for good PR?

Filed in: SEO Tips

by: Noemi


Image Optimisation

In my last post about images I gave some tips on how to optimise images. There is said that you should:

  • Store images in a single directory;
  • Use keywords in the file names; and
  • Use Alt text.

These still hold true and are very sound ways to make sure that your images on your pages help your SEO efforts. Aside from these though here are more tips. They’re mostly common sense but like in most things the obvious once are the very things we overlook.

  • Use relevant images only – Make sure each image you use is relevant to the content near it.
  • Size matters – I’m talking about the actual size of the image and not the file size here. File size does matter but you want it to be smaller to make loading pages faster. On the other hand for the actual image size note that search engines think that the bigger the image is the more relevant it is to the site’s content. So do not go making a non-relevant decorative image larger than the important ones.
  • Image quality is important – You want to choose good quality images over poor ones. The quality I’m referring to is the clarity, contrast, etc. Of course you have to compromise between quality and file size. Find the right compromise.
  • Place important images at the top if possible – This affects not only SEO but also user-friendliness. However in cases where the images accompany a certain paragraph as illustration it is more important to place it near that paragraph since you want the image near the relevant text.

Filed in: SEO lessons, SEO Tips

by: Noemi


Do You Know What The Description Meta Tag Is?

If you have been following various SEO blogs and web sites, then I am sure that you are familiar with the description meta tag. After all, it is one of the most basic (and important) considerations when optimizing your site. However, just in case you are not familiar with it, the description meta tag is basically what provides search engines (Google included) with the necessary information as to what a page is all about. You can call it a summary of sorts. In your HTML code, the meta tag is found within the tag.

So what should you bear in mind when using the description meta tag? Here are some tips, again from Google’s Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide.

Accurately summarize the page’s content – Write a description that would both inform and interest users if they saw your description meta tag as a snippet in a search result.

• writing a description meta tag that has no relation to the content on the page
• using generic descriptions like “This is a webpage” or “Page about baseball cards”
• filling the description with only keywords
• copy and pasting the entire content of the document into the description meta tag

Use unique descriptions for each page – Having a different description meta tag for each page helps both users and Google, especially in searches where users may bring up multiple pages on your domain (e.g. searches using the site: operator). If your site has thousands or even millions of pages, hand-crafting description meta tags probably isn’t feasible. In this case, you could automatically generate description meta tags based on each page’s content.

• using a single description meta tag across all of your site’s pages or a large
group of pages

The key here is in being as specific as possible. The idea is to provide Google AND your human readers with the necessary information they need to determine whether the page is relevant to their query or not. More than being specific, though, remember to give an accurate representation of the contents of the page. The last thing that a user would want is to think that a page contains certain information only to find out that they have been misled.

Filed in: Google, SEO Tips

by: Noemi


SEO Still Not Working?

We have taken a look at several reasons your efforts at SEO may not be giving you the results that you have been aiming for. Just to recap, we took a look at several things such as wrong keywords, infrequent updates, and lack of inbound links. You can probably say that these are quite on the technical side. What do you do if you keep on doing the right things with regard to these points but your efforts at SEO do not seem to be gaining you anything?

Perhaps you might be overlooking one simple aspect – your content. It might be simple but it is quite important as well. What do I mean? You may be using the right keywords and your content may be dense with them BUT if you do not provide interesting content, how do you think you can maintain the attention of your readers?

One problem that many people engaging in SEO practices have is that they tend to forget all about the “humans” who read their web site. What happens is that they tend to focus on getting the search engines’ attention. The result is dry and uninteresting content. Now put yourself in your readers’ shoes. If you visit a site which has great SEO strategy but does not really present the content in an engaging way, would you keep returning to that site? Probably not.

So if I were you, and I was not getting the results I want, I would check on my content. I would make sure that I am giving my human readers something useful, something to look forward to.

Filed in: content writing, SEO Tips

by: Noemi


SEO Not Working For You? Check Your Updates!

So have you checked your keywords yet? Are you targeting the appropriate keywords for your web site or blog? If you are and you are still not getting the results that you are aiming for, then maybe you are still missing out on something.

Why don’t you check how regularly and how often you update your blog? E. Branter also talks about this point:

Infrequent Updates- Search engines have a passion for fresh content. They crave fresh content because it keeps their results relevant. For this reason, it’s crucial that you give the search engines the new content they desire. Updating your website regularly shows both the search engines and your website visitors that your company is active and worth their trust.

It is as simple as that. You need to always offer something new. For blogs, I suppose that this would be a bit easier. You can post every day, every other day, or even twice a week. The format of the blog is easier to update and by its very nature, you really should provide fresh content a lot. For web sites, you can create a page or a section where you can update the content regularly. Perhaps you can have a section for articles and you can provide fresh content weekly. You can provide a section for news and do the same, maybe on a more frequent schedule. You can even create a blog and use that to provide fresh content!

Filed in: blogging, content writing, SEO Tips

by: Noemi


SEO for Photo Blogs

The beauty of the Internet is that you can publish most anything you want, the way you want to. While many people tend to use text to convey their message, there is no rule against the use of photos and pictures. That is why we have such things as photo blogs or photo web sites. These are the sites which showcase the work of a photographer, whether he is an amateur or a pro – it doesn’t matter.

So if you want to start a photo blog – or if you have one already – how do you go about ensuring that you will still get good rankings in the search engines? After all, if your blog is mostly composed of photos, how can they be indexed? Here are some tips to get you going.

First of all, determine whether you are going to stay focused on one particular subject for your photos. For example, is your blog going to have photos of animals only? Is your blog going to focus on a certain type of photography? Are you going to use only a specific kind of camera? If you are going to narrow down the topic of your blog, it will be like creating a niche blog. That means that you have to check the necessary keywords that you would need to score high in the rankings.

Talking about keywords, it would be good to add content to your photo blog – content other than the visuals. I know, pictures say more than words. However, in order to get high up in the SERPs, you need to add text here and there. Devote a post to a specific picture and describe it in words. Write a post every now and then about your technique, how you got the picture, and so on.

Filed in: blogging, SEO Tips

by: Noemi

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More On Improving Your Search Engine Ranking

Here is the continuation of the previous post on some of the best – and easiest – SEO tips. There are actually ten of them in the whole article at About.com but I am only choosing the ones that I myself have done and can attest to. Here goes.

Optimize your site for your target audience, not for the search engines.
This may sound counterintuitive, but hear me out. The search engines are looking for pages that best fit the keyword phrase someone types into their little search box. If those “someones” are typing in search words that relate to what your site offers, then they are most likely members of your target audience. You need to optimize your site to meet *their* needs. If you don’t know who your target audience is, then you need to find out one way or another. Look for studies online that might provide demographic information, and visit other sites, communities, or forums where your target audience might hang out and listen to what they discuss. This information will be crucial to your resulting website design, keyword research, and copywriting.

I have written about this before and I do not hesitate to keep repeating it. The problem that some people encounter is that they become too obsessed with what the search engines want. The human side oftentimes becomes ignored. This, I believe, negates much of the efforts put into the site. So the search engine spiders love your site but who is going to read it and keep coming back for more? People! Need I say more?

Photo courtesy of Martin Heigan

Filed in: content writing, Google, SEO Tips

by: Noemi


How to Improve Your Search Engine Ranking

We hear this term all the time – search engine ranking – and rightly so.  It is one of the important things that we should pay attention to when engaging in SEO.  That is why it is called “Search Engine” Optimization after all.  So what should we do in order to climb the ranks of the very high search engine ladder?

I am sure that there are countless ways and means by which we can do so – every SEO expert will probably have his own list.  I found a comprehensive – and yet simple – list of tips at About.com.  Let’s take a look at them.

Do not purchase a new domain unless you have to.

Due to Google’s aging delay for all new domains, your best bet is to use your existing domain/website if at all possible. If you’re redesigning or starting from scratch and you have to use a brand-new domain for some reason, you can expect to wait a good 9-12 months before your site will show up in Google for any keyword phrases that are important to you.

This is so true!  That is why there is a very profitable market which peddles domains that have been around for quite some time.  The longer the domain has been around, the higher you should expect to pay for it.  That is also why I suggest buying a domain immediately when you think of a potential idea.  It doesn’t mean that you have to use this domain at once – you can keep it for future use.  In the meantime, for your current needs, try sticking to your existing domain or shopping around for one that is already established.

(to be continued)

Photo courtesy of isriya

Filed in: Google, SEO Tips

by: Noemi