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Web Development, Internet Marketing & All Things Tech

The Importance of Having Good Title Tags

Posted on May 2nd, 2017

title tags

 

Search Engine Optimization is a long-term, ongoing process that starts with the design phase.

 

There are a number of factors that make up a well-structured SEO-friendly website. But here, we will be talking about title tags, how to create quality ones and why they’re important. Title tags are the key text when describing a document or online page because they are used on search engine results pages to provide a preview of what the page has to offer. Therefore, it’s important not to just throw a bunch of words together with little to no thought.

All of the pages on your website should have title tags that accurately describe the content on each page and make use of at least two targeted keywords related to that page. It’s recommended that you keep title tags below 55 characters, otherwise Google may truncate them because of excessive length. Always try to start your title tags with the main keywords that you are targeting for that page, but make sure not to overuse them. Google may see this as keyword stuffing, and your SEO ranking will suffer because of it.

 

Don’t forget to ensure that your title tags are readable and that they make sense.

 

Because they are often the first thing a visitor will see before visiting your website, you want to make a good first impression. Bad grammar and spelling errors tend to deter visitors from clicking through to your site because it gives the impression of a low quality site. In addition to this, keep in mind that if you misspell the keywords in your title tags, the only way visitors will find your website through a search engine is if they misspell the keywords themselves when doing their search.

 

If you need help selecting your targeted keywords, Moz offers a free, helpful tool that can be found here: https://moz.com/explorer

How to Detect Malicious Bot Activity on Your Website

Posted on May 1st, 2017

Malicious-Bots

 

An Internet bot is a program that runs automated tasks over the Internet.

 

They play a major role in terms of search engines, monitoring websites, collecting search information and scanning for vulnerabilities. Almost half of all activity on the Internet is from bots. But, unfortunately not all bots are made with good intentions. It’s estimated that 65 percent of all bot traffic is actually used for malicious purposes. DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) attacks are the most common when it comes to the malicious use of bots. These malicious bots are not always easy to identify. Quite often, webmasters are not even aware that these kinds of bots are scanning through their website. So how would you know, and what should you look for?

 

Here are some helpful telltale signs that your website may be crawling with unwanted bots:

 

- It only takes a few minutes for a bot to crawl through thousands of pages searching for security flaws. So, if you notice an unnaturally high amount of activity coming from one IP address, chances are it’s a malicious bot. Legitimate bots, like Google’s, can easily be identified in your logs by their relevant name, such as “Googlebot”.

- In terms of visits and crawl frequency, bots are very strict. If you notice obvious repetitive patterns in your logs, chances are it’s not from a legitimate bot.

- Returning visitors that carrying no cookie information are probably not actual visitors. Bots will not leave cookie tracking.

 

More information on Internet bots can be found at: http://blog.ezanga.com/blog/good-bots-bad-bots-and-what-you-need-to-know

How Augmented Reality Will Change the World of Digital Marketing

Posted on April 27th, 2017

augmented reality

 

Augmented reality technology bridges the gap and blurs the lines between the physical and the virtual.

 

With this technology showing no signs of slowing down, businesses will have to adjust their marketing and advertising campaigns to focus more on digital, online experiences that work in combination with physical experiences. There is limitless potential for the use of this technology, particularly when it comes to entertainment, retail and e-commerce. As a result, businesses have been creating extremely innovative ideas to enhance their customers’ interactions and experiences. One of the more popular AR success stories is Pokémon Go. This is a free-to-play mobile app that you can download for iOS or Android. This AR game works by using your phone’s camera and GPS for your actual location and augmented reality to bring up Pokémon characters on your screen, overlaid on top of what you see in front of you.

 

There are literally endless possibilities for augmented reality technology.

 

For example, you can make a shopping mall more digitally engaging by suggesting helpful tips or sales that pop up on the screen as customers physically walk by that particular location in the mall. If you’re into the business of selling furniture or carpeting, you can create an AR app that allows consumers to use their mobile devices to project what a piece of furniture or a type of carpet might look like in their home without purchasing or installing a single thing. Dulux is the first paint company that offers its own augmented reality service that addresses the difficulty of visualization that many customers face when painting their homes. By pointing their mobile devices towards the soon-to-be painted walls, users can re-colour and preview the room in real-time, and they can also save screenshots and share them with others.

It’s undeniable that our world is becoming more and more digital, and augmented reality is just another stepping stone for what is still yet to come. Although AR technology is still in its early stages, it’s never too early to start getting involved. If you’re not quite ready to create your own app, perhaps you can take advantage of existing applications to enhance the experience of your customers. This technology might be exactly what you need to propel your digital marketing efforts into the future.

Google’s “Fred” Update is Taking Out The Trash

Posted on April 26th, 2017

google-fred

 

Google has confirmed the “Fred” update, but hasn’t exactly elaborated on the details.

 

From the looks of it, it seems as though sites with low value content were hit hard by this update. Examples of “low value” sites would include websites that:

- Contain heavy advertising (particularly banner ads)
- Have a small amount of content or just poor quality content
- Lack any real value for the user
- Contain irrelevant links

 

Some SEO experts have referred to this update as a “spam algorithm” update.

 

Short articles (300 words or less) stuffed with main keywords (that at times are hard to make any real sense of), were also affected by Google’s Fred update. Blog sites that cover every possible topic on Earth that have already been written about by others in the industry will have been penalized by this update, as well. Many blog sites are created for the sole purpose of ranking and therefore, they often provide very little value to the reader. The good news is that the legit websites that do offer unique quality content to their readers will likely see a boost in ranking, as the spammy sites wither away from Google’s search results.

 

Visit https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/35769?hl=en for more details on Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

SEO Tools That Will Help You and Your Website Ranking

Posted on April 25th, 2017

seo tools

 

When it comes to Search Engine Optimization, we can use all the help we can get.

 

This is particularly true for those who are doing most of the legwork themselves, and don’t have a lot of money to invest in hiring an SEO expert. There’s a lot of SEO tools out there – some more complicated to use than others.  However, there are tons of free and effective tools available that don’t require a university degree to figure out how they work.

 

Here are just a few of the suggestions that will help you monitor and tweak your website to be as SEO-friendly as possible:

 

 

1. Broken Link Detectors – These helpful tools, such as the one provided by Internet Marketing Ninjas, will scan through your website and highlight errors such as broken internal or external links.  Broken links are not good for your rankings, so be sure you don’t have any on your website.

 

2. Trunk.ly – This is a simple application that works in conjunction with your social media accounts and will display a timeline of the links you (or your friends) have shared.  This helps to measure the impact a particular social media account has on clicks/rankings.

 

3. Google’s PageSpeed Insights –  It’s a well known fact that page speed directly affects your search engine rankings on Google.  Simply by entering a URL, this tool will test the loading time and performance of your website for both desktop and mobile, and identify opportunities to improve.

 

4. Browseo – This tool will display your website to you the way search spiders see it.  This can be helpful to see the hierarchy you’ve given to particular elements on your website so you can make changes accordingly, if needed.

 

5. SimilarWeb – Interested to see how you measure up to your competitors?  This clever tool compares traffic between websites.

 

6. Keywordtool.io – This keyword tool will provide you with new keyword alternatives and suggestions based on a single keyword that you provide.

 

7. Google Keyword Planner – By entering in keywords, this tool will return helpful stats to guide your keyword strategy, including monthly search volume and competition, and will even suggest terms you may not have considered.

 

8. Quick Sprout Website Analyzer – This will give you a complete analysis on just about everything, including SEO optimization, social media, internal/external links, speed, tags, keywords, and competitor comparisons.

 

 

You can find dozens more SEO tools at https://moz.com/blog/100-free-seo-tools

How Voice Search Software Will Change Our Lives

Posted on April 24th, 2017

voice search software

 

Although voice search technology has been around for over a decade, its popularity has dramatically risen.

 

This can be attributed to virtual assistant products like Alexa, Siri and Cortana that use machine learning algorithms, which allows them to get better at what they do as time passes. We have grown to use them for real day-to-day tasks. What was once a basic search tool can now set your alarm clock, take notes, and learn from past responses and behaviour. And this is just the beginning. Over the next few years, we will see virtual assistants that can buy concert tickets, book reservations at your favourite restaurant, recommend a good movie according to your likes, and maybe even find an empty parking spot at the mall.

Verbal communication predates any written language out there. So it’s not surprising that voice search is becoming more popular, and feels more natural than typed search. According to MindMeld, in 2015, voice search jumped from zero to 50 billion searches a month. With more than half of all voice queries coming from smartphones, the mobile boom has a lot to do with this rise in popularity. With tiny screens and even tinier buttons, it’s sometimes difficult to navigate or even type – particularly if you have large thumbs.

 

Voice search presents a solution to getting the same information in an easier fashion.

 

This opens up a new gate in respect to marketing. For example, just as we would bid/pay Google AdWords to be that top listing for “paint supplies” in text search results, with voice search, we might eventually be competing for that number one spot, in order to become the virtual assistants’ preferred service. Voice search technology will undoubtedly continue to grow and be a bigger part of our lives, alerting us and resolving queries and issues before they even happen. It will be like having your very own “Jarvis” (Iron Man’s assistant) at your service 24/7. Just think of how much it can do for people with health issues or physical disabilities. For example, by monitoring your vital stats remotely, a virtual assistant could tell you that your blood sugar level is getting low, or that you’re beginning to have a stroke and automatically call an ambulance. The possibilities are endless.

What To Do If Your Website Has Been Blacklisted

Posted on April 21st, 2017

blacklisted

 

Most website owners only start to think about security after their site gets hacked or infected.

 

Getting blacklisted due to a security threat can be disastrous for your website and your business. Aside from the humiliation and loss of trust from your visitors, your web traffic will also plummet and your search engine rankings will be on hiatus. Quite often, website owners are unaware that their site has even been hacked – and by the time they find out, it’s too late.

The “malicious content” that was placed on your site will flag search engines that will blacklist your website because they see you as a threat to your visitors. Google alone blacklists over 10,000 websites every day. Bing, McAfee, and Norton also have their own blacklist protocols. If Google detects malware on your site and you get blacklisted as a result, visitors to your site will see a warning saying:

Warning: Visiting this site may harm your computer! The website at www.example.com contains elements from the site www.forinstance.com, which appears to host malware – software that can hurt your computer or otherwise operate without your consent. Just visiting a site that contains malware can infect your computer.

 

The first thing you want to do is verify that your site has indeed been blacklisted. You can do a lookup on any of these websites:

https://www.whatismyip.com/blacklist-check/
https://mxtoolbox.com/blacklists.aspx
http://www.dnsbl.info/

 

You will then want to scan your site for malware using your anti-virus software, or other malware detecting program. Once you’ve identified the malware, remove it. If you are using WordPress or a similar content management system, update it to the latest version immediately. It’s also advisable to remove all plugins and themes and reinstall them. Next, change all your admin passwords. You can also request that Google review your site – but only after you have resolved the security issues.

Once they’re resolved, it’s time to redeem yourself! Log in to the Google Search Console (formerly known as Webmaster Tools), add your site to the Google Search Console and then follow all the instructions to verify your site. After you’ve done all this, click on “request review” in the security section to get it re-verified by Google. This process is not immediate and may take up to a week before you are clear and no longer blacklisted.

What Can You Do to Prevent Your Website From Being Scraped?

Posted on April 20th, 2017

web scraping

 

Content scrapers steal your content for their own websites or blogs without your permission.

 

This is usually performed by using automated software. This software can not only take the information from an RSS feed, but it can also post the same information on someone else’s blog like it’s a new post. Real estate listing portals are one of the most vulnerable websites when it comes to web scraping. Property data listings and real estate pictures are very valuable and relatively easy to steal using web scraping bots. If you have some experience with blogging, you’ve probably already fallen victim to web scraping bots. It almost feels like you have been intruded on – as though someone broke into your home and started taking things without asking.

 

So, what can you do to stop this from happening? What preventative measures can you take?

 

- As a simple first step, ask them to take it down and stop stealing your content. If they reply and agree, bonus. If they don’t agree or simply wont even reply to your emails, some further action will be necessary.

- Secondly, if you find that your website content has been taken or re-posted without your permission, you can file a DMCA-complaint with Google and they will investigate your inquiry.

- A third option is to use a duplicate content detection service. These services, such as Copyscape, will flag any duplicate content found.

- Lastly, you should monitor your logs frequently. New user-friendly tools have been introduced in the past few years to detect and block unwanted visitors or IP addresses from entering your site. WordPress offers a tool called Akismet that does just that. If you have a WordPress site, it’s also recommended to install a trusted security plugin and set up automatic backups of your database.

How Search Engine Crawlers Work

Posted on April 19th, 2017

crawlers and spiders

 

Search engine crawlers (or spiders) are small, automated software programs, also referred to as robots.

 

These programs will frequently roam around the World Wide Web, searching for new, updated, or changed web pages, which helps search engines index or “catalog” every website correctly to produce optimal search results for search engine users. Some websites are “crawled” daily, while others are not.

When a search engine spider arrives at your web page, it first looks for a robots.txt file. This is a transparent HTML code file used to tell the crawlers which areas of your site are off limits and shouldn’t be cataloged. Some examples would be pages that contain HTML code that are a waste of time (such as Flash pages). A robots.txt file will re-direct crawlers away from these types of pages. Search engine crawlers also collect outbound links from the page, and these routes will eventually be followed to other pages. Spiders follow the links from one page to another, but the frequency of visits will vary from one search engine to another, as they all have their own databases, and they’re all different.

 

As a website owner, you should regularly check and see which pages of your site have been visited by the search engine crawlers.

 

Every website owner should know which pages the search engine robots have visited. You can find this stuff out by looking at your server log reports or checking the results from your log statistics program.  If you don’t have one, you should upgrade your web hosting service. VectorInter.Net provides these tools for free, with every website hosting contract. Luckily, most search engine spiders are easily identifiable by their “user agent” names. Google’s robot is named “Googlebot”. There are many other crawlers that also have funny names, such as Inktomi’s robot, “Slurp”.

Learn the Basics of How Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Marketing Works

Posted on April 18th, 2017

ppc

 

Are you having a difficult time with your SEO strategy and struggling to boost your search engine ranking?

 

Assuming you have a budget of some sort to work with, PPC may be a viable option for your business. PPC (which stands for pay-per-click), is a model of Internet marketing for which advertisers pay a fee each time one of their ads is clicked. PPC allows advertisers to bid for ad placement in a search engine’s sponsored listings when someone searches a keyword that is related to their business or service.

For example, is you own a massage therapy clinic in Toronto, you can do a PPC campaign for the keyword “Registered Massage Therapy in Toronto”. This way, every time someone searches that keyword phrase in a search engine, your ad will appear as a sponsored listing. When that ad is clicked, it sends the visitor to your website and you’ll have to pay a small fee to the search engine.

 

But keep in mind that these fees can quickly add up.

 

If the cost is $3 per click and 300 people click on your sponsored ad for that month, your fees will total $900. However, on the other side of the coin, if 50 of those people who clicked your ad end up paying for a massage that costs $100, you just made $5000 in sales – a $4100 profit. So your ROI can be quite good.

But, building a successful PPC campaign, from researching and selecting the right keywords to organizing those keywords into a campaign, is very time consuming. So if you find yourself short on time, hiring a professional search engine marketer is recommended, as they are already well versed on how the whole process works, and how to select the most relevant keywords without going broke.

Google’s AdWords is perhaps the most popular PPC advertising system in the world. For more details on Google’s PPC service, go to https://adwords.google.com/intl/en_ca/home/how-it-works/

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