It’s Not All about Domain Name

Domain Name, SEO and Google Updates -- social media outsourcing

A domain name is a name assigned to identify a specific website on the World Wide Web. It is like a person’s mailing address – the domain name is the website’s way to tell people where to find it.

Exact Match Domain and SEO

A website address comprised of keywords which are not the brand or company name is called an Exact Match Domain or EMD. Such keywords should match the search query words precisely. If you want to create a website targeting the keywords “top world attractions”, the EMD of the website will be topworldattractions.com. With an EMD, ranking in search engines is boosted, as keywords are featured in the domain name and therefore easily detected and indexed by search engines.

Exact match domains have offered a competitive advantage for SEOs who understood how to use them. EMDs represent what SEOs do best – achieve search engine ranking for the site. EMD is an excellent strategy to get the pages to rank well on Google and other search engines.   

When EMDs are Not Helping SEO

One must understand that some marketers try and play a trick on search engines by using single dashed and multiple dashed EMD to contain keywords to boost a company’s page ranking and not to provide the user with valuable and useful information. EMDs used for such purpose will not help boost the site’s page rankings because Google had updated their algorithms in order to weed out low quality EMDs in their search results.

Multiple Dashed Domains

Multiple Dashed Domains -- SEO company Philippines

Statistics have proven that domains having more than one dash are in most cases in real life, spammy. As such, you should not use double dash domains for your website since it may be included in those marked or labeled spammy by search engines like Google, even if the site has valuable and relevant content to the search query. Domain names with multiple dashes are often linking to companies trying to trick search engines to get good page ranking using the search keywords.     

Single Dashed Domains

While some websites with single dash domain names have ranked well with search engines, SEO experts are of the opinion that single dash EMDs also provide very minimal advantage over a non-keyword domain and must therefore be ruled out just the same.      

Number of Keywords in EMD

According to Matt Cutts of Google, quality domain names should have 2 to 3 keywords for a domain name on “.net”, or “.org”, and 3 to 4 for “.com” and this will be effective for EMDs to boost the website’s ranking. You go beyond these numbers and you will send signals to alarm search engine crawlers to suspect the site as spammy.

Number of Keywords in EMD -- online marketing outsourcing

Google’s latest algorithm update which targeted low quality domain names have affected a lot of sites with EMD. As Google focuses more towards organic search, search engine bots now consider most sites with multiple and single dashed EMDs worthless or of low quality.

To fight off the effects of such algorithm update, website owners should focus on the site’s content and not on the EMD as having an EMD with single and multiple dashed domains might result in the washout of years of hard work. The way to counter this is by buying a new domain and start afresh by transferring data from the EMD site to the new website before finally phasing out the EMD site. You could use redirects if search engines still cache your old website or if the old site still have value. You can check here how redirection works and which one to use. Introduce the new website to users and focus on building a better brand through building up quality links and quality content.

Despite the sweeping effects of Google algorithm update on EMDs, if the content and information on the website is relevant and useful for the end user, EMDs may still enjoy certain benefits for their websites. They can still help attract social mentions with keywords or keyword anchor text. They can also still help in the marketing and branding of a website.


Migrating a Website from Old URL to a New URL

I am sharing this article to help businesses that were hit or penalized by one of Google’s algorithm updates recover from it, or get over it and move on. If you are one of those unlucky website owners, this may be helpful. Don’t just wait for a miracle to come and hoping that Google would forgive you from the mistakes you’ve done. It’s not going to happen.

change your seo tactic

THE SCENARIO:

A cosmetic plastic surgeon owns a website that was hit by the Google penguin update on March 2012. From being on the first page, to not being listed on the top 100 of the SERP is quite a shock to him especially for his business. He’s been using a SEO company for a year who’s doing blackhat technique since the beginning, not to his knowledge of course. Not to mention the duplicate content of the website copied from another website. Anyway, how in the world that a doctor would know what blackhat or whitehat SEO means?

After the website was wiped out from the top search result, he continued to pay the company for more months as they promised they will do something to get the ranking back, but nothing has improved.

Finally on September 2012 (after 6 months), he decided to move on and wanted to start a new website.


THE DILEMMA:

Yeah okay, we are starting a new website. But what do we do with the old website?

Those pages, images, and URL’s are still indexed on Google. Somewhere, somehow those will appear during a search query and people will still click on it. We can’t just delete them all, as it will return a 404 error and it will take forever for Google to de-index a page or remove a page from it’s search result. A 301 redirect wasn’t the best option as well as we don’t want any of the seo value of the old website to carry over to the new website.


THE VERDICT:

So here are the following steps that we did that you can also do for your own website.

  1. Get a new domain. Make sure it’s relevant to your brand or it has to be keyword-rich at least. Don’t worry about the Exact Match Domain (EMD) update. As long as you’re going to work on your website and load it with quality content, you are safe.

  2. Write fresh, unique, quality, and relevant content that people will actually read.

  3. Add a robots.txt on the old website. We want Google to totally de-index and not crawl the website anymore at all. Eventually, these pages will just disappear on the search result.

  4. Add a redirect instead of just deleting the entire website. We don’t want the old pages to return a 404 error while it’s still on the search result and while people can still click on it.

  5. Use 302 instead of 301 to redirect all the old pages to the new URL. The reason to this is clear – we don’t want the seo value of the old website.

  6. Optimize the new website using whitehat technique focusing on writing valuable relevant content and building quality links, while waiting for the old website to vanish from the search result.


THE OUTCOME:

The result is awesome so far. We started seeing ranking improvement of our target keywords in 3 months or even less. We are now on the 4th month of the optimization process, and Yey! some of our keywords are already on the 2nd page of the SERP.

Now we know that ranking is really not just all that. So we made sure that the traffic has improved and that they’re converting. The client is happy and so are we.

Click here to visit our portfolio page for more information.


Web Design Designing Principles

 

Web Design Designing Principles -- Web Design Company Philippines

 

Most web designers say that it is not so much of the visual design that counts when it comes to successfully designing or developing a design for a website. More importance is given to functionality and good user experience as websites are intended for online visitors or users who are looking for something that are contained in the website. A user-centered design has become a standard way of approaching a design task for any website, following the principle that satisfied users will undoubtedly return to the website which in turn could translate to commercial success.

An effective website design therefore requires combined elements of usability, functionality and quality content, that is, relevant information which the users or internet searchers are apparently looking from your website. Web designers also keep in mind that users do not read – they scan. Instead of reading every textual line, users search for some fixed points or anchors, which would guide them through the content of the page. As such, designers are guided by the following design principles:

  • Don’t make me think.. Web designers are tasked with creating a simple and understandable visual flow for the users. This means that the web page should be obvious and self-explanatory. Users should no longer be forced to think of what the website is all about or what the page contains. In order to accomplish this, web designers should be able to create a web page that is easy to navigate and where buttons or menus will lead exactly to the intended content. A web page should have moderate visual clues and a clear and systematic structure which will enable users to find their path to their browsing goals.
  • Keep user requirements minimal. For first time visitors, it might be acceptable for them to fill out short forms and share some information like email address and other personal information. But it won’t be advisable for designers to bombard the users with a lot of requirements to comply with just to be able to test a feature on the web page. Users are not likely to return to the site that has more than the essential user requirements.
  • Create specific points for users to focus their attention. Websites do have static and dynamic content, and some aspects of both can get the attention of the user. For example, an eye-catching image can easily divert the attention of a user from reading a textual content. In the same manner, text contents which are highlighted or marked bold or in different font type may also turn the user away from the image to check out what the content is all about. A web design should be able to mark both static and dynamic contents with some elements that will get the attention of the users.
  • Keep the site features obvious. By presenting clearly what the site or page wants the users to do, web designers should infuse visually appealing guide or 1-2-3-done-steps that will lead the visitors and users through the site content in a less-complicated and more user-friendly way.

 

Functional web design -- Web Development Philippines

 

  • Adjust the writing style. In most cases, promotional write-ups may not win the attention of the users or visitors. There’s no room for long text blocks without photos. Readers prefer short but concise sentences which drive the point home. Web designers should avoid marketing-associated words or phrases, clever names and unfamiliar technical terms. By being precise with the wordings, users are able to appreciate the content more.
  • Keep it simple and easy to understand. This should be the working guideline and principle of any website design. Most users visit a site, not to enjoy the design but to look for the information they need regardless of how the site looks like. Web designers should strive for utmost simplicity but without missing visual satisfaction.
  • Make use of spacing – line, padding and white space. Spacing makes things clearer. While others may think that empty spaces are wasteful, the opposite is true. White or empty space provides balance, contrast and proportion to a web page.
  • Font Types. Text is an essential element on a website design and web designers should consider the font type, size, spacing, line length and color.

Keeping the essential design principles in mind while the website is in the completion process, the end result will not only leave the website owners satisfied; it will also leave the users contented with the design, content and functionality. Coming up with great web design and developing a well-organized website requires people who has the eye for design and skills in creating efficient website.


Best Web Design Trends of 2012

Best Web Designs for 2012

 

Web designs consistently change year after year. What have been developed the previous year have been improved or revamped totally to give way to better web design applications for the next year. The constant changing and updating of web designs have kept many web designers on their toes as they try and keep themselves updated and abreast with the current innovations and trends. Website design team in the Philippines never stops, similarly, in their quest for more practical yet functional approach of designing websites for their clients.

The year 2012 brought with it a wave of interesting design trends complete with enhancements or improvements from previous or older versions. The following, according to some web design experts are considered the best web design trends for 2012 as used in many websites dominating the World Wide Web:

      • HTML5, CSS3 and JQuery. HTML5 has gained quite a bit of traction in the last year or so. Major browsers are supporting HTML5 now and many website designers have tapped this application for their web design concepts. HTML5 capabilities are phenomenal as it allows web design team to create truly interactive experiences versus simple animations. Combining HTML5 with CSS3 and Javascript results to a rich playing field of interesting web design possibilities. Big brands like Apple and Google have used HTML5.
      • The Grid. The original objective of the grid was to streamline web development by using common dimensions in the design layout. Web designers use grid layouts, which can be aesthetically pleasing.

Grid Based Web Design -- Website Design Philippines

      • Large Background Images. In many ways, this web design trend is becoming a best practice. Used by web developers to maximize a smaller marketing budget to engage a wider audience, large background images are used. Large images usually draw a visitor in, creating more of an immersive user experience.
      • Mobile Compatibility and Responsive Layouts. Web designers can no longer ignore the demand and growth in mobile usage and therefore has to consider it in every web design. Responsive web design refers to how well a layout responds to the size of the screen. And since most web design clients require for their website to be available in mobile devices as well, mobile compatibility and responsive web design layout have become a necessary element integrated into the design of the website.
      • Typographic Layouts. This is an extremely effective and creative way to get the attention of the site visitors. With Typekit and Google Fonts, a website’s performance and accessibility are no longer hindered by extra images.

Typographic Layout Design -- Website Development Philippines

    • Social Media Integration. Social media integration on your website has become as important as basic navigation.  Most website designers include social media links on the website in a more prominent way highlighting its importance.
    • Illustration. This has been used for many years now. It always adds a humanistic dimension to website design. However, it has evolved and become more popular and has been made more integrated with full user experience.

With the continuing advancement in web design arena, more web design trends may be added to this list. Web design services companies and providers can anticipate more elements that will enhance and improve the visual appearance and functional performance of a website in the coming years. Expect more creative and appealing website designs in 2013.


The Uses of Robots.txt

 

Website owners and webmasters would be ecstatic if their website is frequently visited by search engines and contents are indexed by search engine spiders. This is what SEO is all about – getting a high rank with search engines. However, there are parts of a website which you wouldn’t want spiders to include in their indexing activities

 The best way to inform search engines to keep their spiders ‘off-limits’ to specific areas of the website is by using a robots.txt file.

Robots.txt is a text file and not html, put on your site to tell search engine robots which pages you would like them not to crawl or index. This is not to be confused as a way of preventing search engines from crawling your site. It is more of a notification for search engines not to enter certain areas of the websites for specific reasons. The file is placed in the main directory of a website where spiders can easily read it.

 

Uses of Robots.txt -- web design outsourcing

 

A better understanding of the different uses of this robots.txt file may be necessary in order to appreciate its importance for the website and the search engines.

  • Saving Your Bandwidth. Checking your website’s statistics will show you that there are many requests for the robots.txt file by the different search engine spiders. Search engines try to recover the robots.txt file the website is indexed to check on any special instructions for the spiders. Without the special instructions, it will cause the search engine spider to use up more of the site’s bandwidth resulting from the repeated retrieval of say, a large 404 error file, which should not be accessed by the spiders in the first place. By using the robots.txt file, the site’s bandwidth is reserved for more important pages required by the searchers. You can also use this file to ban spiders from indexing graphic files.
  • Keeping the Sensitive Information Hidden. This is one of the more important reasons for using the robots.txt file. As there are websites holding a database of confidential information, obtained through the interactive features of the site such as client’s registration form, special instructions are given to spiders not to crawl and index the pages containing the confidential information. If there is no special instruction for the spiders, these delicate information including credit card details can become accessible and available to anyone searching the web. The robots.txt file will be used to hide the database from the search engines.
  • Avoiding Canonicalization Problems. This also refers to duplicate content problems which occur on a website where multiple pages have the same content. An example would be a product page that has a “print” version and another page for browsing. Spiders will find it difficult to identify the canonical version. Using robots.txt, the secondary or “print” version need not be crawled by the spiders.
  • Avoiding Wastage of Server Resources. Most websites have scripts or computer programs built within the site. Examples would be contact forms or search engine within the site, etc. Such scripts or programs are intended for human use and not for spiders so it would be better to block the spiders from the directories containing the scripts. This will reduce the load on the web server every time scripts are called in by the search engine spiders.

 

Robots.txt is very useful in hiding web contents that are not for public viewing especially for electronic commerce websites. This serves as security for private data wherein only website administrators should be given access to. Also, robots.txt aid spiders in crawling pages which were intended to be duplicated to not be crawled as duplicate content which could decrease website ranking.

 In creating a website, especially if you will be hiring an outsourced web design company; having clear understanding on robots.txt inclusion must be set before running the website live to avoid spider or robot confusion on data that will be shown to internet users. It must be clear that certain pages must not be shown in public for client protection and it must also be of tight security to avoid spammers having an easy access to confidential data.


Break or Make Web Design

Some years back, websites are nothing more than basic frames, navigation bars, moving texts and blinking graphics, and very large images used as backgrounds. There was no apparent regard for some principles of website design and user-friendliness.

Two important things which can make or break your website have to be considered in any web design – users and search engines.

A Website Designed for Users. Optimum usability is the secret to any site’s high traffic. Users find visiting your site convenient and useful.

Download Speed. Ideally website should load not slower than 4 seconds. Otherwise, close the page and move on to the next. Avoid Flash, too many pictures or videos that auto plays – they will definitely slow down the page loading.

Easy Navigation. Users do not want to be confused or lost when navigating your page. Maintain the same look for each page so as not to confuse users. Keep your navigation bar seen in the upper part of the website.

Matching Theme Colors. Colors can do two things – invite users to read on or drive them away. The art of color psychology must be learnt and applied. Choose the right color that will be appealing to the users.

Keep Your Content Informative and Well Researched. Users are hungry for relevant, informative, and useful content. No user will stay on a page with rubbish material.

Keep Your Contact Page Visible. This is one of your landing pages so it must be visible. This will help you gain leads and acquire potential clients. Make it inviting for users to gain access to.

A Website Designed for Search Engines. Search engines employ spiders to crawl through website pages. You should make your web design recognizable to these spiders.

Include Correct Meta Data. Your meta data represents your website or site pages in the search results after a query related to your content is done. This includes your Meta title and description and keywords which can be placed in the HTML code of the site.

Create XML Site Map. Sitemap generators are available in the Internet today, for free and all you have to do is to add your URL, copy, and submit it to search engines. Search engine spiders will be able to crawl to your pages and index them accordingly.

Customize Your URLs. Always use words in the URL instead of numbers or parameters. This helps in search engine indexing.

Use CSS. Cascading Style Sheets help organize and simplify your code. This will make up for the quick loading of your website. This helps both users and search engines to have easy access to your site.

Images with “Alt tags”. The inability of search engine spiders to read images require the inclusion or addition of “Alt tags” or alternative texts to provide for a worded description of your images which are recognized and read by spiders.

Research Right Keywords. There are many tools available to help in keyword research like Google Adwords or Wordtracker, among others.


WordPress – the Best SEO Partner

As many SEO will attest to this fact, WordPress is the best thing that happened to search engine optimization. There is not much to alter, enhance or modify as all the technical requirements of SEO are properly addressed and embraced by this wonderful product. It is SEO friendly – with the features and functions guiding the search engines through the categories, posts and pages, to crawl through your site and collect the information it needs to be able to include your page in its database.

It has built-in search optimization tools like blog rolling, pinging, creating permalinks, among others. It also has third party plug-ins and hacks which can be very helpful with search engine optimization.

And while WordPress is deemed SEO friendly, straight out of the box, there are still many ways, one can maintain such friendliness with SEO spiders and crawlers.

    • Keep a clean code. Search engines should be able to validate your site’s code so make sure you have them covered. Without a validated code, search engines will not be able to move around your site or page.
    • Make your Contents ‘readable’. Search engines can only “read” your site or page. With the right and quality word content for the search engine bots to read, your site will be marked “read” and “indexed”.
    • Content for Searchers. Search queries are activated by searchers so keep your content searcher-friendly. The word content should be based on searcher’s words, not yours.
    • Use Tags and Categories with relevant keywords. This will get you listed in WordPress’ global tags pages and this can send your site direct and search engine guests.
    • Link Popularity. This is about who links to your site. Through blogrolls, pingbacks and trackbacks, WordPress will link you to other sites and other sites will link to you.
  • Good Navigation Links. Your site or page should allow ease of movement of search engine’s spiders and crawlers by having good navigational links to the archives, categories and other pages on your site.

Having accomplished the part of making your WordPress site better for search engines, the next task which this remarkable publishing tool can easily accomplish is attracting people to your site. The following are some of the top-notch WordPress plug-ins for SEO which are sure to improve your site’s search engine rankings:

    • SEO Rank Reporter. This allows you to monitor certain keywords in your site with an automatically generated report every three days. There will be email notifications for some keywords which experience changes in ranking with the search engine.
    • All in One SEO Pack. This will generate meta tags and optimize the web page titles. Some will even be able to customize post titles, descriptions, URL structures and tags.
    • SEO Ultimate. This is a suite of tools intended to point web spiders to the primary post if there are multiple pages of similar content but different URLs, allow setting up of file  for optimal search engine indexing through a built-in robot.txt editor.
    • SEO Content Control. This will help find weak content in your site and identify potentially problematic areas.
    • SEO Friendly Image. This will automatically update images with alt and title attributes to optimize the image for search engines.
    • SEO Smart Links. This will automatically link keywords and phrases in the site based on previous posts or pages.
    • Google XML Sitemaps. This is able to generate XML sitemap which will help spiders to crawl and index your site.
    • Platinum SEO Pack. This will automatically generate meta tags, optimize page and post titles for search engines, and avoiding duplicate content.

All of these built-in features and plug-ins, if understood and used correctly will make your content more visible to potentially increase site traffic which may eventually be successful conversions.


The Challenges in Creating a Well-Crafted Website Design

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Every so often we encounter websites which not only look confusing but totally lacking in coordination with the site content. And what about those sites which are too heavy in images or video plug-ins that make loading the site like a child learning how to walk, struggling a step forward before the other foot can make the other step? These sites can throw off users and potential customers. It is really important that the website is designed to provide the best experience for the users.

Great web designs do require time and careful thinking in order to bring about a page that not only satisfies the visual requirements but also providing great usability. Each and every component of the design should jive with the content and specific optimization needs of the business. Check out some of the tried and tested web design techniques, sure to give you satisfied users and browsers.

  • Stay Away from Old Designs – It is always better to start fresh and from scratch. Websites need to fulfill specific target objectives and their design should be able to integrate achieving those objectives. And as each website should be treated as one and unique on its own, there is nothing to suggest that building a site from an old or existing design will achieve that uniqueness.
  • Customize Icons and Graphics – This will definitely make your design unique. Investing time to create unique icons, comic illustrations or visual imagery will certainly set your site apart from those which used copied and pasted icons and images.
  • Remove Scrolling Obstructions – Give your site the ability to scroll down the page rather than clicking a link to activate page loading. Navigation becomes easy and your site is able to tell a cohesive content or story. By making your pages creatively connected naturally, you are encouraging the users to read further and explore the contents of the other pages until the last page.
  • Be Dynamic and Interactive – Static texts and images become boring especially if there are interactive and dynamic functions a website can have. Users would definitely be more engrossed with a site that challenges their ability to comprehend the message through direct interaction with the design. Content sliders, lightboxes, tooltips, modal windows and other interaction points become invisible with the design. All of these interaction points should be well-integrated into the design and purpose of the page and should not be overdone.
  • Create a Spick and Span Website – Any website that is not clean in terms of typographical or spelling and grammar errors, inconsistencies in format, overuse of buttons, inconsistent gradient, spacing, alignment, etc. is a total turn-off. It makes reading or viewing a site an arduous task devoid of enjoyment and pleasure.
  • Have those Finishing Touches Go a Third Round – The touch-up phase of the design process should not be done with less effort or care. This part will get you to see what needs to be cleaned up or modified or adjusted to make the website be more user-friendly. Scrolling through each page to look for any inconsistencies will give you that assurance that you have not missed out on any smallest detail like a spelling check.

These techniques are sure to give you a good payoff by making your website design an effective tool to achieve high traffic and engagement and amazing user satisfaction.


Tips in Choosing The Right Web Design Company

Fifteen years ago, finding a web developer was easy because there were only several professional web developers at that time. In the same time, Google was still in its initial stage as a privately held company. Today, there are millions of web design companies that can easily be found on the internet. When you type the term “web design companies” in Google, it will provide you with more than 500 million results. And when you finally choose one from the crowd, most likely you will choose one which is listed in the first page, especially the one listed in the top three results.

There is nothing wrong with choosing a web design company ranked in the first page. However, you need to know that being listed in the first page does not guarantee that the web design companies are the best ones. When choosing a web design company, there are many factors that you have to consider so you can finally find a reliable company. Here are several simple steps to help you determine whether or not the company that you find in Google is the right company to handle your website project.

Look at Their Own Website
Your first impression is very important. If their website does not make any good impact on you, then how can they create a website that can impress your visitors?

Look for the Portfolio
Do not underestimate the capability of a web design company just because they have never developed a website for any business in your industry. Take a look at their portfolio. If you find impressive websites in their portfolio, that’s a good sign.

Know if You Can Trust Them
It is normal if they will try to convince you that their services can fulfill your needs. However, regardless of their portfolio, technologies, expertise or other factors, you need to ask yourself whether you can trust them or not. It will be a waste of money and time to use services from a company that you cannot trust.

Ask the Sales Team some Technical Questions
Good sales people do not need to have excellent technical knowledge. However, good sales people must know the services offered by their company, so when you explain your problems, they can explain correctly how their services can address your problems. If you do not have a good knowledge in web design, let your IT department to meet the sales people.

Know Who’s Going to Work on Your Website and Where is it Done
The sales people in the company may be great but programmers and designers are the ones who will actually build your website. Ask them where they live and whether they are part-time or full-time. Are they working in the office or home-based? It is highly recommended that you choose companies whose employees are in-house and working full time. The main reason is that if there is something wrong with your website, it can be fixed immediately.

Ask Who Will Own the Code
If the company does not hand over the codes and all the files to you in the end of the process, you have to blacklist the company. You pay them to build your website so you must possess all files and codes related to your website. This one needs to be clarified in the beginning.

In web design industry, the old saying “you get what you pay for” is indeed true. Although there is no standard checklist to help you make the right decision, the above steps can help you to go on the right direction and finally find a reliable web design company.


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