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Todd Terry
Search Engine Optimization
on Dec 17, 2009 at 5:20:37 pm

Hey kids....

I'd like to learn a little more about search engine optimization, but am fairly clueless.

We have a semi-decent website, self-hosted on our own servers here... which frankly we started quite a few years ago more or less as a vanity project, pretty much so existing clients would see that we have one, or so that we could direct potential clients there to learn more about us or see samples, etc.

We didn't care too much about the fact that we were hard to find for the casual web browser or didn't even remotely show up on any search engines. Same reason we don't have a Yellow Pages display ad, just a listing... we do mostly broadcast commercials and our client base is about a dozen or so (maybe 20) advertising agencies throughout the southeast and we didn't want to be fielding calls all day from people looking for wedding videographers or parents wanting a kid's dance recital taped.

I think we are missing some opportunities, though.

More and more often we'll work for a new agency or an out-of-town producer who comments that we were "hard to find" or that they just stumbled upon us because they'd heard our name, or got a referral from another client, etc. Once, one agency in our area even called a television station several states away to have them check to see whose slate was on a spot that they liked, not knowing we were in their own back yard. Virtually never any business right from the web.

So, thoughts?

Do you guys get much legit biz from a web presence?

And if so, any thoughts for SEO, other than not-overly-useful meta tags? Google AdWords? Something else?

Thanks gang,


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Jason Jenkins
Re: Search Engine Optimization
on Dec 17, 2009 at 5:54:31 pm

Hi Todd,

I'm no expert, but I have a few ideas that will help. YouTube. Get a YouTube account and upload your work there. Write keyword rich descriptions including the url to link back to your website. Adding a blog to your site can give the search engines more good material to "read". You can embed the YouTube videos there along with interesting notes about the production process. The nice thing about YouTube is the tools they have for tracking views. You can easily go in and see how many views of a given video have come from your blog. Of course adding your work to the Cow's demo section is great too––more opportunity for keyword rich descriptions. Trading links with your ad agency clients is another way to improve SEO. The more links other sites have to yours, the better. In my experience, there is not any one thing you can do to make a huge difference––it requires a bunch of little things all working together.

Jason Jenkins

Flowmotion Media

Video production... with style!


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Todd Terry
Re: Search Engine Optimization
on Dec 17, 2009 at 6:18:51 pm

Yeah, I hear ya Jason... and it makes sense.

It's just tough though, as that's not really the way I'd like to see this work. I don't really want to have to rely on putting our stuff on YouTube. For watching our pieces our own self-hosting should be more than sufficient, and we can control its exact look and presentation. And no disrespect to them, but I think that portfolios etc. that reside on YouTube just make the operation just look a tad, well... cheap. A bit illegit. And I can't think of anything I'd remotely want to blog about... or expect people to read. I sure don't want to come across as one of those blog-happy people that think they are so interesting that other people need to read about the minutiae of their day...ha. I know far too many people like that.

I really can't imagine any of our clients wanting to link to us either. They don't have links to any of their other vendors, and I can't think of any reason to convince them it'd be something they would want or need.

I see several other production companies in our area (none as nearly prominent in the area as we are, or prolific) who pop right up high on searches.... without any external links or blogs or YouTubiness.

There's got to be a way.... grrrrr.


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Jason Jenkins
Re: Search Engine Optimization
on Dec 17, 2009 at 6:28:27 pm

Have you done the free Google business listing?

Jason Jenkins

Flowmotion Media

Video production... with style!


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Todd Terry
Re: Search Engine Optimization
on Dec 17, 2009 at 6:46:07 pm

No, J2, we haven't done bupkus.... yet.


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Ryan Mast
Re: Search Engine Optimization
on Dec 17, 2009 at 6:53:10 pm

Todd --

I don't think that you'll lose any respect or professionalism by posting your videos on YouTube in addition to hosting them on your own site. For a free service, their quality is respectable, and it's now a familiar user interface to a web audience -- viewers will immediately know how to share/favorite/embed the YouTube version. Plus, if it's on YouTube, it'll be searchable by YouTube and Google.

Start by getting rid of the frames-based layout. It can hurt search engine crawlability:
http://searchenginewatch.com/2167901

There's some other basic things you can do, like properly alt-tagging photos, eliminating Flash as much as possible, making a blog with useful content, placing your address and phone number on your home page, etc. It might be worthwhile to get a pro to help you with it, but there's no guaranteed magic bullet to search engine rankings. Any SEO company who tells you that they can absolutely get you on the first page of a Google search is likely a weasel...

If you're interested, Tood, I can send you contact info for a couple of SEO companies I've worked with.


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Fernando Mol
Re: Search Engine Optimization
on Dec 17, 2009 at 6:57:26 pm

A few SEO tips I think can help you:

-Use meaningful document names (instead of about.htm use about_myCompany_in_myPlace.htm)

-Use meaningful document titles. Leave your company name at the end of each title and add your keywords at the beginning.

-Create landing pages. If you are interested in attract clients who want commercials in your zone, one of your pages should target those words. Two or tree for page. For a different target, create a different page. Repeat the keywords in your content, but keeping them meaningful.

-Use semantic HTML. Actual web standards look for clean code. All of your styles should be made with CSS, leaving a clean HTML code for the spiders to read. Avoid, if you can, Table layouts.

-The Youtube and external links advice is great, but it's used for SEO campaigns. If I got you right, you just want to improve your actual siteto be make it more "searchable". To achieve that, the best rule is to have great content. Text content. Meaningful content.

I hope this helps

*Always share a link to your site and rate the posts. This is a free service for you and for us.


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Uri Soglowek
Re: Search Engine Optimization
on Dec 31, 2009 at 9:40:26 am

i run a campaign for a big company, we use a lot of video, but the trick is to make the content of the video amazing and reachable no where else.

what we saw is that clients also love video blogs.
for the seo you need a lot of text with the correct keywords. that is the problem with video - has no keywords.

uri soglowek
inspirationpod.com team

Uri Soglowek

Business and design tutorials
Inspirationpod.com


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Bob Cole
Vimeo
on Dec 20, 2009 at 3:42:29 am

[Todd Terry] "I don't really want to have to rely on putting our stuff on YouTube"

Hi Todd,

Have you looked at other services, like Vimeo? I think you can embed their service in your website.

As I understand it, one of the great values with using such a site is that videos will play much better, in general, from the big boys' banks of servers than from the average web server. True/false?

Thanks Todd and everybody responding for the thread - this has lots of great advice.

Bob C


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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Vimeo
on Dec 20, 2009 at 6:07:29 am

Yeah, you can post your stuff on YouTube and Vimeo, or you can upload your stuff a LOT bigger here -- we offer embed service links also -- and when someone searches on you, you will come up in a site full of working pros. Or you can go with the small videos for backyard movie creators.

Here is one of the trailers in our current trailers contest that just started a few days ago. You don't see reels this size over at Vimeo...




Ron Lindeboom


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Todd Terry
Re: Vimeo
on Dec 20, 2009 at 6:14:50 am

[Bob Cole] "Hi Todd, Have you looked at other services, like Vimeo?"

Yeah, Bob... I did briefly at one time.

You're right, their videos play well. However, if your read their TOS they technically prohibit commercial/business videos. The gist of it was that Vimeo was for amateurs and individuals, and that for-profit businesses were welcome to explore any of the many fine paid video hosting sites that are available.

The exact verbage says "Vimeo exists to provide you with a space to showcase your creativity and share your life. As such, we do not allow you to upload videos that are commercial in nature..."

It is a little bit of a gray area, as they follow that with exceptions that "independent production companies... may show or promote the work they have created."

However, that is immediately followed by "Businesses may not use Vimeo to externalize their hosting costs."

That being said, though, I'll say that I have seen a lot of commercial videos on Vimeo in the past... it seems that wedding videographers in particular like to park their stuff there.

Personally it's a bit of a moot point though, as we are not interested in external hosting... we want the look and control that we get by hosting ourselves. But I think if one were to wish to do external hosting for one's video, the VIDEO - REELS section of the COW would be a good place.


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Matt Townley
Re: Search Engine Optimization
on Dec 17, 2009 at 7:11:37 pm

I am certainly not an expert in this area, but I have had quite a bit of luck over the past two years getting my site to rank well in search engines.

I am sure some of what I have to say is completely wrong, but this is just based on my experiences. I would be curious to learn form others as well.

First, as others suggested, create a (free) listing on Google Local (http://local.google.com/). This will provide immediate help. This tells Google your business exists and gives them detail about you. When people do searches on google, local business results get favored well, so you want to be here. Most other major search engines have similar services, so submit your info to both of them. This alone should help a lot, or at least does in most cases.

Secondly, I noticed a few things about your website.
- The overall construction is built with frames and tables. Bots don't like these as it confuses them. Using CSS based layouts and styles will separate your content from your styling and layout and makes your site easier to index and organize for search engines.

- A lot of your titles/headers are images, which makes it difficult for bots to understand your content, thus possibly ranking your content lower. Using text for titles and headers and using appropriate H1,H2, etc tags can make it easier for bots to organize and rank your content.

Also, submit an XML site maps to each of the major search engines. Google offers Google Webmaster Tools (http://www.google.com/webmasters/) which helps you manage your site's relationship with them. You can make this yourself or there are tools out there that can generate them for you (coffeecup software makes one of them, but I'm sure there are others). This tells the search engines what pages exist and help them crawl them faster. It also gives you stats for crawling and indexing.

Having good, unique and appropriate titles for every page in your site is also important. Supposedly, meta keywords don't matter, but I still keep them up anyways…just in case. :)

And of course, the more traffic you get to your site, the higher your site will be ranked in most search engines. This is the big catch 22, because it's hard to increase traffic without having high search rankings, but if you get creative it will happen in time. It's taken me almost 2 years, and now I rank in the top 3 results for almost all of my target keywords for my geographic region.

It's a continual process that will constantly get better if you keep working at it. Results won't happen overnight.




###
Matt Townley
MST Productions
[Media Services/Duplication/Replication]
http://www.mstproductions.com


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Kai Cheong
Re: Search Engine Optimization
on Dec 18, 2009 at 4:58:26 am

Hi Matt, thanks for the heads up on the Google local listing. Just made one for ourselves - never knew there's such a free service!

Learning something new every day at the Cow ;]

Kai
FCP Editor / Producer with Intuitive Films
http://kai-fcp-editor.blogspot.com
--
Now 'LIVE'! Check Out The Intuitive Films Blog @ http://intuitive-films.blogspot.com

At Intuitive Films, We Create: TV Commercials, Documentaries, Corporate Videos and Feature Films
Visit us @ http://www.intuitivefilms.com
--
MacBook Pro 2.4GHz | 4GB RAM | FCP 5.1.4 | Mac OS X 10.5.7

8-Core Intel Mac Pro 2.26GHz | 8GB RAM | FCP 6.0.2 | Mac OS X 10.5.6 | 3.0TB CalDigit VR | 2 x 24" Dell S2409W


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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Search Engine Optimization
on Dec 17, 2009 at 8:51:52 pm

[Todd Terry] "Google AdWords?"

In your situation, you could find yourself paying for every use of the word "commercials" if you are not careful.

I know people that use Google AdWords quite successfully, but the more obscure the word, the higher the chance your buy will be effective.

Ron Lindeboom


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cowcowcowcowcow
Matt Smith
Re: Search Engine Optimization
on Dec 17, 2009 at 10:51:02 pm

I have been doing search engine optimization for the last few years and have had some great success with a wide variety of keywords. I believe that for most companies having a web presence will be vital to your success in the future. Every day more and more people are getting online to research companies and products, will that person researching your services see your company or will they see your competitor? Either way you can not afford to miss out on a client because you don't want to do anything online. Forrester (research company) said that seo spending is set to increase 2x in the next 4 years. I mainly say this because seo and the web are not going anywhere and if you do not have a web presence you will miss out in the next few years.

Here is a brief overview and guide to the SEO process
First thing is first you need to decide on a few "keywords" for your overall seo project. This keyword selection is the most important step in the whole seo process. You will build your entire search engine optimization efforts based on this specific keyword so choose a good one. A keyword is simply what someone might type into Google's search engine to find your company. So think hard about this, if you were looking for your company and the services you offered what would you search for? Once you have thought of a good keyword go ahead and type it into Google and you will get a good look at the competition. If you see some of your competitors there than you know you found the right keyword. If not that is ok too, many small business don't use online marketing yet (actually 55% of small businesses don't have a web site). Anyways now that you have a keyword you have to do some keyword research. You are going to go to https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal?defaultView=2
from there type in the keywords you think are good. This little web app will tell you approximately how many searches that keyword gets per month. If the keyword you selected gets 10-2000 hits per month you will have a lot less competition from seo's. Thus making it a good keyword for you to optimize for.

Now that you have a keyword selected you will begin the seo process for that specific keyword or set of keywords. When performing seo you will only work on a couple keywords at a time or Google may think you are up to no good. You want your seo efforts to look as natural as possible. You now need to begin whats called the backlink building process. This is simply getting other websites on the internet to link to your webpage with the keyword you chose as the anchor text. For instance on many popular forums they allow you to create a link in your signature. You could create a link to your website in your signature, thus creating your first backlink. As you create more and more backlinks through forums, article writing, directories and more you will raise your web site in the search engine results page (SERPS).

Google Adwords

Google adwords can be a great way to test a keyword right away without actually performing any seo. To determine how much a keyword will cost to advertise with simply use that tool handy link on this page. That keyword checker will also tell you the approximate ppc cost of a specific keyword. All you need to do then is set up a adwords account and write a ad and you can begin advertising. I can provide you with a lot more detail and information if you would like. Message me.

I am sorry this does not cover all aspects of seo but I am happy to write a longer article or post if someone wants to learn. Or message me and I will help in any way possible.


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Mike Cohen
Re: Search Engine Optimization
on Dec 18, 2009 at 2:05:46 am

Here are some things we have learned with a nod to your site:

Don't use images for navigation. Your main navigation is images, and your contact info is an image. So when you google "Huntsville video production", there is no text on your site that says Huntsville, so your likelihood of a high result is lower. You should never have to click more than once to find the address and phone number of a business. (our site requires one click - we are working on a major redesign as we speak).

If I then click Maps, you are the 5th listing on there, so that's good.

As someone else pointed out, have page titles. All of your page titles are:

Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.

Better would be:

Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc. - Portfolio

or lose the company name after the home page and go with:

Portfolio - View TV Commercials

Look at Creative COW's home page. The title is not simply Creative COW. Rather it is Creative COW: Creative Communities of the World.

Be descriptive - Google likes descriptive.

As for posting to YouTube and elsewhere, it doesn't hurt. Here are my 2009 link referrals in site visits:

YouTube: 280
Creative COW Magazine Article on Surgical Video Production: 150
Facebook: 112
Creative COW forums/blog: 150
Creative COW Services: 15

It should be no surprise now that I spend a lot of time on this website - it is good for business.

Finally, have compelling content - be it a blog about what you do - or descriptive text about your services - the more relevant text the better for you because the more likely Google is to spend time indexing your site and the more likely you are to have content that people are looking for.

Granted our site is also a catalog of products, but there have been over 20,000 different keyword searches this year taking people to our site. Why? We have a lot of words. But we have words that people are looking for.

And we are adding new words all the time. Know of another site that is adding lots of words to its content all the time? Creative COW, that's who!

If you do AdWords, as Ron cautioned, choose your words carefully. See which words result in a hit via organic Googling. No need to pay for what you can get for free. But if there is a word that has a lot of competition, you may consider paying for it. And then of course you need to see if you are getting a return on your investment - but AdWords is a marketing expense for most people.

We also do e-marketing using Constant Contact. We send our past customers timely email updates for our latest relevant products and services. And we do so in a polite way - no more than one message per time period to any mailing list. We get few opt-outs, because these are current customers, and we actually get some business.

Of course if you don't have such a list of leads, then you need to get people to sign up for your mailings, and seek out people in the community to sign up for your list. That can be part of your selling process.

If you place videos on your website, use a video site map - this associates key words with your videos so they show up in searches. i think. We are investigating how this works.

Mike Cohen




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Kai Cheong
Re: Search Engine Optimization
on Dec 18, 2009 at 4:34:08 am

Chipping in with my 2 cents here since I'm quite the Net/Facebook/Blog/Twitter/Google geek and was responsible for getting our company stuff online.

For a company which still doesn't really have a website [we did buy a domain]... I think we're doing pretty OK with our blog. But we do understand the value of having a 'proper' web presence, so we're currently [finally!] working with a web designer to get things going. Unfortunately, even though I started with web design/HTML waaaay before I touched video, my web designing skills are still stuck in the '90s web era.

In fact, our blog has helped propel us to the top few pages of the Google listing because the Google bot constantly crawls our blog and finds lots of new material. All this without spending any money on AdWords. The other neat thing is, Google crawls every new post and keywords from different posts can get mish-mashed together to get interesting results.

We also have our YouTube channel which we use to upload excerpts of recent works. We also embed these videos in our blog. I think among local production houses, our presence on YouTube is quite decent since we do make an effort to tag with relevant keywords and do short write-ups.

Though there's a need to check back on our YouTube channel once in a while, since we do not disable comments [that feels a little archaic and 'cold']. There have been some really immature comments to some of our more controversial documentary videos - and I had to remove some which were potentially libelous. But other than that, it's not been too tricky.

As Matt has mentioned, your current site utilizes quite a fair bit of image maps. If it's possible, it would help to convert your site to something more text-based because then will the bots be able to crawl and index your site in more detail.

We also have a Flickr account where I upload production stills [nothing fancy, just stuff taken with my iPhone on set and tagged with our watermark]. I also upload the more prominent works onto Facebook and tag my cast and crew... this is more for fun and to keep in touch, than trying to fish for business.

Since I'm active on Twitter, I've also opened an account for the company... but haven't found what direction to take company tweeting yet. Since that's still new grounds for me [even though I have more than 4,700 personal tweets to my name!].

Kai
FCP Editor / Producer with Intuitive Films
http://kai-fcp-editor.blogspot.com
--
Now 'LIVE'! Check Out The Intuitive Films Blog @ http://intuitive-films.blogspot.com

At Intuitive Films, We Create: TV Commercials, Documentaries, Corporate Videos and Feature Films
Visit us @ http://www.intuitivefilms.com
--
MacBook Pro 2.4GHz | 4GB RAM | FCP 5.1.4 | Mac OS X 10.5.7

8-Core Intel Mac Pro 2.26GHz | 8GB RAM | FCP 6.0.2 | Mac OS X 10.5.6 | 3.0TB CalDigit VR | 2 x 24" Dell S2409W


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Mike Smith
Re: Search Engine Optimization
on Dec 18, 2009 at 10:49:06 am

Google's advice on this is available from http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2008/11/googles-seo-starter-guid...

Jakob Nielsen's views are always worth considering. He has some tips on this at :
http://www.useit.com/alertbox/search-keywords.html

And there's more decent stuff at :

http://www.webdesignerwall.com/general/seo-guide-for-designers/

http://econsultancy.com/blog/5034-a-journalists-guide-to-seo



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Chris Blair
Re: Search Engine Optimization
on Dec 22, 2009 at 3:37:57 am

Ok...I'm going to respectfully disagree with many of the responses on this thread. We designed and created our website on our own about 3 years ago after tiring of the cost and lack of service from web designers and ad agencies. I knew next to nothing about web design except for creating a handful of personal pages for our family and friends. They mostly sucked, although the family thought they were great and for personal sites they were certainly better than most personal web sites.

I do have a lot of graphics and design experience so it wasn't tough designing our site, and we had a lot of graphics and "looks" we carried over from the old site. However...once built, I've done next to nothing to optimize our search engine ranking. Within about six months, our site was on the first page if you searched our name....and it appeared on the bottom of the first page if you searched video production, design, graphics, audio production and a few other phrases along with words like Indiana, Southern Indiana, or Evansville.

Within 18 months, we'd moved to the middle of the first page searching almost anything related to our name or industry, and if you typed in a whole host of related services (that we provide) along with our general location, we were also on the first page. Now, after almost 3 years, we're either the 2nd or 3rd name that comes up with most of those search phrases and combinations. We also are consistently the first or second company listed if you do a general search for our range of services in our area.

Again...I've done almost NONE of the things listed on this thread. The only exception is I did once submit our site and some key pages to one search engine service (a freebie) that was offerred as part of a switch to a new service with our ISP. But frankly, I'm not sure how much that changed things if any. We were already pretty high up when searched. Until recently, almost none of our pages were named, and some still aren't. We have no keywords programmed into the HTML on the index page. I will say that our site is pretty well-written and does have a lot of descriptive phrases and key-words within the copy of the index and sub-pages. There's also a fair amount of copy about a wide variety of things we do. About half of that copy carried over from our old site (same URL) which was NOT highly ranked, but was also not nearly as well-laid our or extensive as the current one.

I'm not trying to say that the advice given on here won't help some...but I think a well-written and well-laid out web site is far more important in getting a high ranking than all the other stuff people recommend. Our previous site was always poorly ranked and it was done by an ad agency that specializes in web sites...yet they looked at us with a blank stare when we complained of our ranking. When we asked them if they could help us get the ranking up, they sent an email listing a lot of the things suggested in this thread. When we asked, "aren't YOU supposed to do that stuff automatically?" Again...we got a blank stare and a curt "no." So I did them myself...but they didn't work. We still were invisible in most of the rankings and were next to impossible to find with searches.

From my understanding of crawlers or spiders in search engines, they read the web pages and then follow the links on the page to other pages, read them, follow links etc. So it would seem that a well-laid out, logical site would make a big difference in getting a higher ranking. I've also read many times that rankings are often based on the frequency, consistency and relevance of key phrases that are high up on a page's copy. So again...in the absence of meaningful titles to pages (in the title bar), well-written copy that gets the subject matter right up top and the old "who, what, where, when & why" stuff up there would seemingly also get higher rankings than ambiguous, lingo-laden writing, which many, many web design companies seem to absolutely LOVE.

Anyway, for what it's worth...we've done next to nothing, except for that 5 minutes of submitting a few pages to a free service offerred as part of a switch to a different tier of service from our ISP, and our rankings are consistently on the top of the first page when you search relevant terms (industry, location, services, equipment, etc.).

So to summarize...when we used a company that does almost nothing but websites, our site virtually didn't show when searched, even after we did all the things they suggested (and many are listed in this thread). When we redesigned and rewrote our site, and made the layout, writing and link structure more logical, within a year, our ranking jumped. Within three years, we ranked very highly on almost anything related to our core services, name, and region. Surely that's not just coincidence? Is it?

Chris Blair
Magnetic Image, Inc.
Evansville, IN
http://www.videomi.com


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Fernando Mol
Re: Search Engine Optimization
on Dec 22, 2009 at 5:14:29 am

Well, Chris, your site is certainly full of nice text content. That's in my experience the best way to succeed in the SEO world.

But I have to admire your boldness. Just because you had a bad experience with a web company doesn't mean all the people posting here are just goofing around.

I agree with the fact most SEO tips are very speculative. But I don't know how that advice can help Todd form preventing somebody landing in a no-menu page because Google indexed separately the frames on his site.

Again, good content is the King, but even a King needs to have a COW to get a glass of milk.

*Always share a link to your site and rate the posts. This is a free service for you and for us.


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Tim Wilson
Re: Search Engine Optimization
on Dec 22, 2009 at 7:10:48 am

It's worth pointing out again that Google explicitly ignores keyword metatags. As they say in the following video, "Not even a little."





The rest of the story from googlewebmastercentral.com, here.

Note too: people say it can't hurt anything to include them - yes it can. Google sees them, and downgrades your site. Seriously.

And not just Google:

1997 was the last year that the meta keywords tag enjoyed support among the majority of major crawlers out there (4 out of 7 – Excite, WebCrawler and Northern Light, also crawling the web that year, did not support it).

When new search engines emerged in 1998, such as Google and FAST, they didn’t support the tag. The reason was simple. By that time, search engines had learned that some webmasters would “stuff” the same word over and over into the meta keywords tag, as a way of trying to rank better. At the time, search engines didn’t rely so heavily on link analysis, so page stuffing like this was more effective. Alternatively, some site owners would insert words that they weren’t relevant for.

In July 2002, AltaVista dropped its support of the tag. That left Inktomi as the only major crawler still supporting it.



(I found this information on a link from the Google webmaster's own page.)

To summarize again, why do search engines ignore the keyword meta, or, in Google's case, actually downgrade your site for having them? Because they are considered spam. Spam is bad.

So you can use the keyword metatag to optimize for Inktomi, or you can roll the dice on being downgraded in Google. Yeah, there are other search engines besides Google -- and Bing is hinting that they use keyword metas -- but seriously man, how much time do you want to invest in torching your own Google results?

Okay then, what DOES Google want? They want you to do exactly what Chris does. See here, which is Google's webmaster guidelines page. Lots of good stuff there that echoes Chris.


Yr pal,

Timmy


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Chris Blair
Re: Search Engine Optimization
on Dec 23, 2009 at 3:20:36 am

Fernando Mol: But I have to admire your boldness. Just because you had a bad experience with a web company doesn't mean all the people posting here are just goofing around.

I respect your opinion because you've helped me a time or two on the web design forum. Especially considering that (by anyone's account) I'm no expert when it comes to site design and production.

But we've actually had many bad experiences with web design companies. We're an ad agency in addition to being a post house...so we've helped some clients by reviewing the development and design of their sites, usually as a consultant after they've already initiated things.

Time and again these clients (not us mind you) would complain of the exact same problems that we experienced.

Companies that:

1. Push design over content and function. Often to the extent that navigation is at best confusing, at worse, downright maddening.

2. Insist on totally flash-based designs despite their incompatibility in many mobile applications.

3. Not take the design through to completion...with no assistance with the site technically or making sure it went live or correcting bad links or browser issues etc.

4. Not helping the client with designing the site to enhance their search engine ranking, and in most cases, never even mentioning search engines as being important for the success of the site.

5. Not properly setting up the client's backend application for easy updating, and charging absolutely ridiculous fees ($200 and up) to do things that quite literally took them 5 minutes and half a dozen mouseclicks.

I'm sure there are many, talented, thorough and honest web designers around, especially right here on the Cow...but there are also many hacks misrepresenting or sugarcoating their skills to unsuspecting clients who trust these people with tens of thousands of dollars for web development. There is also a TON of misinformation about website setup, design, administration and especially use of video on sites, most notably using flash video.

It just bugs me to see so many people get bad advice about web stuff...not so much on here, but from companies that claim to be web experts.

The same myths get repeated over and over. As Tim points out, meta keywords haven't been used by the major players for nearly a decade. And from what I've read, search engine algorithms have gotten so sophisticated that a lot of the optimization stuff that SEO companies push just isn't relevant anymore.

I've visited and read dozens of SEO companies websites and many of their sites are filled with jargon and lingo that when broken down, is common sense. My favorite is the ones that push things like "keyword messaging." Here's how one company describes it:

The web site optimization team conducts content and competitive analysis to generate a keyword glossary. This glossary indicates the keyword concepts being used to find the kinds of content and solutions present on the company web site.

Well DUH! Translated, use words that describe your services and use them alot.

Here's another:

XYZ company takes a holistic approach to SEO. It’s similar to a zone defense. We adjust a mix of tactics including content and code SEO, links, public relations, PPC and various online media according to the situation.

Huh? And I swear that paragraph makes more sense than anything else on a very long page describing their "holistic" approach to SEO.

I'm sure that SEO is valid for a big company that relies on its website for sales and revenue, but in my opinion for small service based companies, it's just not necessary, relevant or cost effective.

Chris Blair
Magnetic Image, Inc.
Evansville, IN
http://www.videomi.com


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Fernando Mol
Re: Search Engine Optimization
on Dec 23, 2009 at 1:23:12 pm

I think I understand the reasons of your post. This thread was getting extensive and kind of complex.

All the magic behind SEO is that you get free traffic (potential clients) to your site via organic search results, thats free traffic. But if you have to pay for a SEO service that's no so free anymore.

In my opinion, SEO should be part of a full service in every web design company, just as accessibility. Is like expecting your print designer understand the differences between an ad for a magazine and one for a newspaper. He must or go back to school.

Special SEO efforts that are part of a full marketing campaign are understandable, but if I got your advice well, you are right to say that the best way to go for must of us is to keep it simple, keep it cost effective.


*Always share a link to your site and rate the posts. This is a free service for you and for us.


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Chris Blair
Re: Search Engine Optimization
on Dec 23, 2009 at 2:11:34 pm

Fernando Mol: All the magic behind SEO is that you get free traffic to your site via organic search results...In my opinion, SEO should be part of a full service in every web design company

Yes this was exactly the reason for my post. The sad truth is that it's not part of most web design companies services here in the midwestern U.S. There's also a misunderstanding about what SEO is. It doesn't have to be a specialized service you pay for, but should be an integral part of how a website is designed and written. Again...the sad truth is that most web design companies don't even think about it while building, writing or designing a site.

Chris Blair
Magnetic Image, Inc.
Evansville, IN
http://www.videomi.com


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