Monday, January 24, 2011

An Advanced look at the use of Sitemaps

A sitemap is such a simple, and quick win to aid your Search Engine Optimisation efforts, providing a structured overview of your entire website, and all its pages, videos, pdfs and more. This hand-holding exercise with the search engines enables you to tell the search engines directly what is on your site, improve your site saturation, and increase your search visibility for your business. If you would like some direct assistance with a sitemap for your business let me know, and the team of is available to assist in getting the most for your business from your online marketing activities.

Using Sitemap index files (to group multiple sitemap files)
You can provide multiple Sitemap files, but each Sitemap file that you provide must have no more than 50,000 URLs and must be no larger than 10MB (10,485,760 bytes).
If you would like, you may compress your Sitemap files using gzip to stay within 10MB and reduce your bandwidth requirement. If you want to list more than 50,000 URLs, you must create multiple Sitemap files.

Sitemap Generator Tools

SiteMap Generator
Fill in client's website address. It goes through and generates a dynamic list. Allocate priority, frequency. Then click on [XML Sitemap] to provide layout.
Click anywhere below to highlight all 56 entries, then right click, choose copy. Paste into notepad. Then save as sitemap.xml

Google Sitemap Generator: Installation
Gsitemap Free Google Sitemap Generator Tool for Windows - VIGOS
VIGOS Gsitemap is a 100% FREE, easy-to-use but versatile Windows sitemap generator tool to help webmasters and website owners to create, edit and submit sitemap files.

XML Sitemaps
Create an XML sitemap that can be submitted to Google, Yahoo and other search engines to help them crawl your website better.
Create a Text sitemap to have a plain list of all your pages.
Create a ROR sitemap, which is an independant XML format for any search engine.
Generate an HTML site map to allow human visitors to easily navigate on your site.

The GSiteCrawler is available for free and runs under Windows.
The program also offers tons of options, settings, tweaks, and more - if you want to do more than generate just a simple sitemap file. How about a urllist-file for Yahoo? an RSS feed? a ROR file? a HTML sitemap page? It's all possible with the GSiteCrawler!

If you do provide multiple Sitemaps, you should then list each Sitemap file in a Sitemap index file. Sitemap index files may not list more than 1,000 Sitemaps and must be no larger than 10MB (10,485,760 bytes). The XML format of a Sitemap index file is very similar to the XML format of a Sitemap file.

The Sitemap index file must:
Begin with an opening <sitemapindex> tag and end with a closing </sitemapindex> tag.
Include a <sitemap> entry for each Sitemap as a parent XML tag.
Include a <loc> child entry for each <sitemap> parent tag.
The optional <lastmod> tag is also available for Sitemap index files.

Note: A Sitemap index file can only specify Sitemaps that are found on the same site as the Sitemap index file. For example, can include Sitemaps on but not on or As with Sitemaps, your Sitemap index file must be UTF-8 encoded.

Sample XML Sitemap Index
The following example shows a Sitemap index that lists two Sitemaps:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<sitemapindex xmlns="">

Example Sitemap.xml
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
<urlset xmlns="" xmlns:xsi="" xsi:schemaLocation="">

<changefreq> options:
    * always
    * hourly
    * daily
    * weekly
    * monthly
    * yearly
    * never

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Using Social Media for Link Building

Link building is one of the important aspects of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) activities.

Promote Your Content in Social Media

If you want people to link to your content, they need to know about you, so start spreading the word. Get involved in Twitter, Digg, Facebook, FourSquare etc. Connect with people in Google Groups or LinkedIn Groups. Ensure you have a profile for yourself in LinkedIN as well as your business. Simply do whatever you need to do to connect with your audience in a way that’s engaging for them. The aim, is to become a valuable resource and they will be more likely to link to your content.

The key concept here then becomes making your content shareable.

Make sure to put links on your site so that people can tweet and share your content via facebook. Instead of spreading the word about yourself, let people take the initiative to spread the word about you!

Remember, as I have recently mentioned, links in social media now count as inbound links for search engines.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Class C Checker - Check if IP from same host

When developing a network of linked web sites, you should bear in mind that search engines incorporate historical and IP address data. So in order not to be penalized for receiving links from the same Class C IP (the number of bits used to identify the network and the host vary according to the network class of the address) you should check where your linking partners are hosted and test what their IP Address is. This could make a difference for SEO purposes if you are going to get new links from different web sites.
Class C Checker - Webrank Info
Class C Checker - SEO Chat

Friday, January 7, 2011

Creating Confidence for the Consumer, A Secret Ingredient of Internet Success

Hello and welcome back from the holidays!

This Christmas, has certainly been a period of time where we have seen more and more consumers online comparing products and services, doing their research before making their purchases.

With this level of competition increasing, online retailers must make consumers feel more comfortable on their web sites, instilling confidence in order to support sharing personal and financial information and ultimately completing purchases.

This will be key to reducing abandonment rates at the checkout, or actually any part of your website, and increase your website conversions. Consideration of attention to this area of your website will also support our Search Engine Optimisation activities driving targeted traffic to your website, as well as adding in some recommended features that increase your site saturation (additional content pages), and Local Search potential.

What we are interested in is instilling trust with our website consumer. Giving them the confidence from your website that the interactive experience is going to be successful and hassle free, that they are going to get what they expect from the transaction, and that their data, be it email address or credit card details are going to be looked after securely.

If you have one now, or are considering in the future, adding in a shopping cart to your website for direct online purchases, ensure that you encourage the user to provide their credit card details via a secure encrypted interaction. SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificates vary in quality and strength of encryption, and provide the means to encrypt important client data during the transaction. For ecommerce sites consider using an EV (Extended Validation) SSL certificate, as this generates a green URL bar in your web browser, providing a very visual indication that this component of the website and transaction phase, is moving into https (not http mode) - the 's' being secure. Note that EV certificates do cost more than standard SSLs, but have been shown to significantly increase confidence in the online buying cycle. Associate this with clear information / logos indicating that you have a secure site will help with the visual recognition right from the beginning (Consider clearly showing what payment methods your website accepts from the beginning eg. Credit Card Types). If you would like more information on this topic please just let me know.

Even without the need of a shopping cart process, there are some simple components that you can include in your website structure to provide confidence and integrity.

Firstly, what information have you supplied on your contacts page? Many web users get quite frustrated when they can't find a simple email address to communicate to your business. Yes, I know you might have a nice looking submission/feedback form, which is great... but, what if the user wants to email you through a scanned document or picture, or similar? Some users will try emailing to default or standard expected email addresses to the business eg. admin@ sales@ info@ so a sensible tip is to have your IT guy create a 'catch-all' that captures emails sent to any address variation and sends this through to a specified account (albeit via a virus and spam check first!) so that you can receive and monitor potential communication from clients.

On the note of email addresses, it looks a lot more professional to have an email address that matches your TLD (Top Level Domain) name rather than using the local ISP address that may have been provided when you set up your ADSL account eg. It is normally very easy to have your IT guy set up or and have this redirected (as an alias) to your standard email address. Appearance is important!

Consumers have to weigh up many factors when preparing to make their online transaction. What if there is no physical street address provided for the business on your contacts page? The consumer may be considering how do they track you down if there is a problem with the transaction. Some smart web users will use Google Earth/Maps or Google Street View to see if a business premise exists at the address you list. And this also becomes a significant factor in enabling your business to have a Google Local Business listing adding to your website traffic potential. Including the physical address, suburb and postcode on the page can assist with searches performed by street address, suburb, state and postcode associated with industry, service or product keywords, so why not include this? I also recommend the use of geo-tags, your location's latitude and longtitude positioned in the code behind the page of your front page and contacts page, along with using embedded Google Maps on your contact page to help further support local search efforts.

Moving beyond the contact page, other on-page factors I suggest consideration of including in your site are a Frequently Asked Questions, Terms & Conditions and a Privacy Page (If you don't have these already). Administrative pages such as these help to create that consumer confidence that we are looking to embody, and also provide another area where we can show your brand image as being professional and thorough. Consumers are very conscious of their privacy particularly, and how you intend to look after their personal details, which is what a Privacy Policy outlines.

You may like to also consider the creation of a behind-the-page .xml version P3P privacy policy to support your on-page version. According to the W3C the main goal of P3P “is to increase user trust and confidence in the Web through technical empowerment.”... I know, sorry, getting a bit too technical now, but it is useful to be aware of your options when it comes to putting your business's best foot forward and creating that overall confidence to encourage the consumer to enact in some Call To Action on your website and engage with you. If you would like some more information just let me know.

Have a great 2011!

Maximise your efforts in your Social Media bios

Regardless of the Social Media platform, I strongly recommend that you don't leave your bio blank, or created with little thought, time and effort.

In the exercise of setting up your new online presence in each Social Media channel, take some time to consider firstly your choice of username (does it include any useful keywords for your industry for example?)

When your Twitter account shows up in the SERPs, your description will also show up in the SERPs. This makes is quite helpful when trying to be found for a keyword and/or phrase in your industry vertical.

Many Social Media channels enable you to upload images, backgrounds and customise the design. Use this important screen realestate to reinforce your brand and business logo, keep consistency with your corporate colour scheme, and include useful information such as web address, email address, physical address, and other contact details.

Now take note, if you weren't already aware, Bing and Google confirmed in December that social media positioning, and commentary has a direct impact on rankings. So let's use the value from this to aid your online marketing efforts and get it all tied in together for your business.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Initial SEO Audit process for clients

In today's post, I thought I would go through the process that I follow for a new client's initial SEO (Search Engine Optimistation) audit of their website, so that I can understand what has been done so far for the site, what obstacles may exist and create a structured plan of action tailored to the client's website requirements.

In this initial audit process I don't just put the SEO hat on, but look at Social Media engagement and opportunities, Online Marketing activities, Design and Usability issues, as well as hosting, coding and site performance efficiencies.

Business Details
Contact Person:

Business Address:


Comments on visible front page:
* In this section I'll review elements of the front page and list all issues seen and opportunities of where to add in improvements. This includes functionality and usability.

Google SERPS:
* Here I'll list the primary listing for the front page of the business from Google's results, and pick it apart.

Developed by:
* Determine who created the site, and whether that carries any common and known issues. Surprisingly, working with many web design companies throughout Perth and Australia, I have come to recognise many of their stock standard template deliveries and issues that keep being generated.

Shopping Cart/eCommerce:
- SSL cert type:

* Any information about their online shopping cart and security is noted.

IntraSearch tool:
* Do they provide an internal search tool, how effective is this, do they provide any specialist product/service search tools as part of their site.

Newsletter Subscription Option:
* Is one provided, if yes, subscribe and test it out and make recommendations.

RSS Feed:
* Does the client provide RSS/Atom feeds via the site, how are these implemented.

Number of pages from site indexed in Google:   Yahoo!:   Bing: 
* Check on how many pages (site saturation) for the client website in the major search engines. Looking also at canonical (www and non-www issues).

Google PageRank:
* A look at how Google scores the pagerank for the front page and some inside pages.

Domain Age:
* How long as the domain been registered and in use.

URL matches business name:
* Does the domain name reflect the business (not an acronym), is it keyword rich in the industry vertical, have they used an appropriate TLD (Top level Domain) such as for Australia.

Title Tag: <title></title>   * Review the current home page title tag and comment upon its structure.

Meta Description Tag:
* Review the current home page description tag and comment upon its structure.

Meta Keyword Tag:
* Review the current home page keyword tag is used and comment upon its structure.

Heading Tags on page: x<H1>, x<H2>, x<H3>, x<H4>, x<H5>, x<H6>
* Review how heading tags are being used on the front page, and comment.

Number of images on the webpage:
ALT Tag attributes:   images are missing their ALT tags.

* Review how images are used on the front page, naming conventions and file structure, as well as whether ALT tags have been appropriately implemented.

Site uses Frames:
* Determine if the website use frames/iframes in any shape or form.

Site uses Flash design:
* Determine if the website uses flash, and how, and work out any impact and navigational issues, or display issues for mobile devices (eg iPod/iPhone).

Different titles are used on inside pages:
* Determine if different titles are used through inside pages (no duplication).

Canonicalisation Issue:
* Determine if any form of canonical issues affect the site.

* Has a robots.txt file been created, is the structure correct.

* Has a sitemap been created, and is the structure correct, is it missing pages etc.

Custom 404 error page:

* Does the website have a customised 404 error page, and analysis its design.

Google Analytics code in page:
* Confirm the presence of GA code, or other types of website stats being used on the site.

Number of backlinks to website on Google:   Yahoo!:   Bing:
* Determine how many sites (not including itself) link back to the client's website.

Directory listing on DMOZ:   Yahoo!:
* Any listings exist on either DMOZ or Yahoo directory?

Social Media backlinks:
* Find out who may be talking/linking back to the client's website.

Twitter username: is available:
Facebook username:  is available
YouTube username:  is available
MySpace username:  is available
FourSquare username:  is available
LinkedIn username:  is available
* A look at some of the more popular Social Media websites to check if the client already has a presence and if a suitable username is available for their engagement.

Wiki article:
* Is there any wikipedia articles generated about the client.

Does site use Favicon.ico:
* Confirming the status of the use of the favicon.ico for the client matching their business.

Site hosted in:
* Listing a lot of technical mumbo jumbo about the hosting, server, webserver, location, IP, DNS, concerns or issues.

gzip Compression:
* Does the website use compression?

Comments from looking at source code from front page:
* A review of the code behind the page looking at a range of elements.

Any obvious site loading issues/concerns:
* Checking for 404 errors, Site Validation, Speed issues, image compression and much more.

Keyword Density:
* Reviewing the use of text on the page, and the subsequent keyword density from this.

Keyword/phrase group:
* Outlining what keywords I believe best summarise this business.

Related Sites:
* Determine what competiting sites exist in the client's area, and how they are doing.

Keyword Traffic Estimate Volume:
* Generate some stats on keyword traffic volumes and CPC bidding estimates.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Social Media Optimisation with

The Web 2.0 phenomenon continues to advance and social networks continue to gain in popularity. Our Social Media Optimisation (SMO) packages are a fantastic way to reach highly targeted individuals, boost traffic and generate sales enquiries.

Search Group can market your business via social media networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn, FourSquare, YouTube, Squidoo and Twitter.
Social Networking allows businesses and websites to gain exposure on the Internet by using a variety of social media such as blogs and social networking sites. It also allows for more specific targeting, enabling you to select your target audience with a high return on investment, as it is one of the cheapest ways to currently market.

If you’re after increased visibility on your site and want to spread information about your business then one our Social Networking Packages can help.
Request more information about our Social Media Optimisation Packages: