Tips for Search Engine Optimisation

So you have your shiny new website on the internet and you expect it to appear in the search results of engines such as Google and Yahoo but have you done your homework? The method by which your website is optimised to rank highly in the search engine indexes is commonly known as Search Engine Optimisation or SEO.

SEO is not a simple task, there is no one hit solution, it is dependent on a number of factors. The search engines send out robots also known as 'spiders' to read, yes read your website, so how it is constructed is very important.

Listed below you will find hints and tips to some of the factors that affect SEO. How many did you consider when creating your company website?

Your Key Phrase
This should be a short phrase that best sums up what you do. This phrase should be used in the title of your website home page, repeated prominently near the top of your homepage, then repeated again in the copy text on your homepage. DO NOT repeat it as many times as you can on the page even in a colour you cannot see. The 'spiders' will read it and it is seen as cheating by the search engines. Too much cheating and you may even get blacklisted by them and that would not be good for business.

Quality Content
As you may have guessed the text content of your website has to be well written, relevant and original. If you copy text from another website the search engines will know and again this is deemed as cheating. It may be well worth while employing a skilled copy writer who has experience in writing for the web.

Quality Inbound Links
These are links TO your site not a list of links FROM your site to others. If you have links from other 'trusted' and 'respected' sites then the search engines will think that your website is of high quality and has something good to offer the customer. An example of a highly ranked 'trusted' website would be on such as the BBC website. WARNING inbound links should be built up over time at a sensible rate, don't be fooled by people who try to sell you inbound links. Again this is cheating and the search engine spiders will know.

Adding Site Content
This encourages 'spiders' to crawl your site more frequently. Examples of new content could be New Products, News, Articles (like this one), Special offers etc. Something that is useful and relevant to the customer.

Do Not Delete Old Content
Search engines like sites that grow over time. It shows that the business has been in existence for a length of time.

Downloadable Content
Search engines like sites with downloadable content e.g. pdfs or word files that the 'spiders' can look at. This should not just be a copy of the web page but something printable such as your company brochure or a datasheet.

As you can see SEO is a complex business, one that should be taken seriously if you want your website to rank well in the search engine results. Unfortunately you cannot just publish a website on-line and expect it to stay on the first page of Google indefinitely, it is an ongoing process that takes planning and commitment.

As previously mentioned there are many factors which affect the SEO of your website if you want to know more get in touch.


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Why Blogs are Good for Business

Have you heard of 'Blogs'? Do you know what they are? Do you think they sound a bit geeky? Or even a bit pointless?

You are reading one now!

This blog is called thd news and articles. A blog doesn't have to be called 'thd blog' you can call it anything relevant to you and your company. Unfortunately I think blogs are misunderstood, they can be an invaluable addition to any company. They are a fantastic way of connecting with your audience, informing them of upcoming events, writing relevant articles that lets them know you know what you are talking about and much more.

Here's an example: Your company sell coffee, it's called 'The Bean Factory'.
  • Write an article (also known as a 'post') about making the perfect cup of coffee.
  • Write an article about a speciality blend that you will soon be stocking, to whet their appetite.
  • If you are attending an exhibition let your customers know, you can also include links to the website of the exhibition so they can get more details and buy tickets.
  • You are launching a new advertising campaign - let your blog reader know about it first, a special preview. Give them extra information and background on the though process behind the campaign. Maybe include a voucher exclusive to the blog readership.
  • Write posts about anything you want your customers to know. The content is up to you.

You can also show off the articles on the blog by posting links to them on social sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and many more, this will help dive traffic to your site. If people like your articles they can share them with others and will hopefully return in the future to see what other helpful or informative articles you have posted.

You may still be wondering if it is worth it because you have to write articles and keep them relevant and updated. Yes you do but here's a great reason to have a blog on your website, search engines love blogs! It is a great way to get new content onto you website which is important to help keep your website riding high in the search results. You may have a website which ranks high on the listing but if you do not add content to the site it will slide down as new sites with fresh content rise above you. Most blogging software also has an archive function which is another plus for the search engines.

So by now you should be thinking 'this is a great idea', what are you waiting for? Make it your mission in 2010 to get blogging.

If you need a hand or just advice, get in touch.

Happy blogging,
thd


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Free Music...Spotify

spotify_logo
Do you like things that are free? Do you like listening to music? If the answer to these questions is 'yes' then there is a service that is right up your street - Spotify.

Spotify runs from a free piece of software that you can download from the website. The program steams music from the internet and you can choose what music you want to listen to and when you want to listen to it. There are millions of music tracks available right now with more being added every day.

There are 3 types of Spotify service - Free, Day Pass and Premium. The Free service lets you listen to music for free but has the occasional advert slipped in between tracks. The Day Pass is a pay per day service, for a day without adverts - perfect if you're having a party and want to use Spotify as the 'jukebox' without any ads. The Premium service is a monthly subscription service that provides music without the adverts. At present the Day Pass is 99p per day and the Premium is £9.99 per month. I've been using the Free service for a couple of weeks now and don't really notice the ads.

spotify_desktop_client

This is what the Spotify application looks like after it has been installed on your computer. From within this application you can browse for the music you like. Spotify will make suggestions for you based on what's new and what's popular or you can search for artists or albums. Once you have found music you like you can create a playlist so that it's there next time you launch Spotify.

The playlists are an interesting part of Spotify, you can create playlists for your personal use but they can also do more. Spotify wants you to share songs and playlists with friends, colleagues or anyone. You can drag them to your email, send them to people and if they have Spotify they can listen to your suggested song, album or playlist. You can also work on collaborative playlists, there are many ways these can be used and enjoyed, as it says on the Spotify site - Friday afternoons in the office may never be the same again.

People are also sharing their playlists on the internet, one such site is called ShareMyPlaylists.com but there are many out there. So if you feel like sharing, need some musical inspiration or just fancy a change paste 'spotify playlists' into your favourite search engine and see what's out there waiting to be discovered.

For more information about Spotify click on the logo at the top to find out if it is right for you, if it is then enjoy the music.



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What is a Web Browser?

What is a Web browser? A simple question but one which will potentially leave the majority of the world's population confused.

Google recently did some research on the streets of New York with some surprising results. Would the same thing happen on your high street? Watch the video below.





If you're not sure what a Web browser is, it is a software application or program on your computer that is used to view web pages and interact with the World Wide Web. When you want to write a letter on your computer you use a word processing application, when you want to view the internet on your computer you use a web browser application. You can have web browsers on mobile phones and other gadgets but I don't want to complicate matters.

As with most computer applications there is a choice, with the 3 most popular browsers being Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari. All of these browsers are free to download and use, some only work on one operation system e.g. Explorer, others are compatible with all operating systems e.g. Firefox. You can also have more than one browser on your computer - I have at least 4.

All browsers have good and bad points but you don't have to stick with one just because it came with your computer. We are all individuals who like to express ourselves in different ways, go and experiment with browsers to find out which you prefer. Many of them can be customised with plug-ins to make you web surfing experience even more rewarding. I'll be covering more features of individual browsers in future articles.

Go on be brave explore the possibilities.



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Love Typography!

Typography is the backbone of our learning and communication. It is often overlooked and taken for granted but where would we be without type? We really cannot escape type; it's everywhere: on road signs, shampoo bottles, toothpaste, and even on billboard posters, in books and magazines, online ... the list is endless, and the possibilities equally so.

Unfortunately if you ask most people what typography is they probably will be unable to give you an answer, they'll probably guess it has something to do with type. The dictionary's definition is:
‘the art or process of setting or arranging the style and size of the letters in a piece of printing’

‘The art’, for me that is the most important part of the definition, it is something that most people do not think about. Even designers are guilty of not considering the use of typography in their designs, myself included on occasion. Good typography helps deliver, communicate and reinforce the message you are trying to convey to the viewer. Bad typography can harm your business in many ways, from not emphasising the correct parts of your message to making your company look unprofessional and a lot more.

Next time you speak to your designer or sit down in front of Word to produce your company newsletter, consider type. The people who lovingly design each individual letter form and the space in which it sits spent a long time to make things ‘just right’. Shouldn't you?

If you would like to learn more about typography I have found an excellent on-line resource that is rich in information and examples of beautiful type, there's also a game where you can test your typeface knowledge.

Click the link to open a new window and find out more i love typography



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Join the Twitter Evolution

Today thd joined the world of Twitter.

What is Twitter? Twitter lets you post updates, or small messages of 140 characters or less. These can be used to let people know what you are doing, services you are going to offer, events being attended, ideas you are thinking about, questions you need answering - the list goes on, only limited by your imagination.

You can send messages or updates by either visiting the website or sending a text message from your phone. This type of messaging services is also known as ‘micro-blogging’ - as the internet services expand so does the terminology.

Your Twitter updates or ‘Tweets’ can be also be incorporated into your website to give the viewer instant updates as to what your doing right now, latest project, latest offers or whatever you think they should know. Over the next couple of weeks the thd ‘Tweets’ will be added to the site so you can see how it works, check back to see the results. You can see the latest updates by clicking the link below.





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