Thursday, October 25, 2007

Google PageRank Doomed?

The latest news to hit the SEO community was Google's latest update which resulted in hundreds of sites across the Internet losing coveted Google pagerank, as indicated in the pagerank toolbar, which is the little green strip in your Google browser (if you have it activated).

The big names in the search world, Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz to name just one, are assuming that the most likely reason for this shakeup is the issue of paid links. Many have pointed out that it's extremely difficult to deal fairly with this issue: fingers are already being pointed at some sites that got penalized even where there was no paid linking going on, and others that are blatantly selling or buying links, yet emerged with their pagerank intact (up to this point that is).

Of course it's early days yet. We could see a drop in page rank for a subsequent wave of sites, or it could all end here. Who knows. We also haven't yet seen the full implications of what's happened to date: it's possible that other sites will lose pagerank because those sites linking to them have lost rank. We shall have to wait and see. It will probably be another couple of weeks until the dust settles. You can read more about it on my other SEO blog.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Shifting Emphasis in the SEO World

Things are changing ever-so-subtly in the search engine optimization world! Not so long ago, all there was to SEO was a few paragraphs of well written optimized text, which meant and still means relevant content that contains your chosen keywords, plus a little judicious optimization of the page's code, which usually meant META tags and links.

Now, arguably, your links are the most important thing you have going for you--and then again maybe not. But you also need to pay close attention to the design of your site. CSS, or Cascading Style Sheets, wins hands down when it comes to pleasing the search engines. And if you can get most of your code into external files, which usually means your CSS style sheets and your Javascript code, then you'll also be putting yourself at an advantage.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

What a Summer! Do You Squidoo?

As usual it has been far too long since I posted. This summer has been a whirl of personal events.

I don't have time to write much, but I wanted to post a tip for website owners:

Go on over to and check it out. Creating a lens will help your online presence. It could even be your website presence. Since it's free to sign up for and free to create, and since there are loads of tools to help you, you can afford to be experimental.

Don't forget to read Seth Godin's Lenses. He's the CEO of Squidoo, and a brilliant marketer and online strategist.

Friday, May 11, 2007


I spend most of my working life bringing coherence and effectiveness to other business websites, so unfortunately my own is often in a state of less-than-perfect optimization. It's not perfect now, as we speak, but last week I did manage to put a nice new face on things: Wellwrittenwords.

As usual, I picked a pure CSS design, because these are best for several reasons:

  • You can get wonderful designs without too much code, so your pages load fast

  • The search engines love less code too, so you get an instant boost to your pagerank

  • If you ever want to make a small design change, you can usually do so by making a change to the style file, which means one change for the entire website, instead of one for every page of your website.

  • Last, but not least, I honestly find CSS designs so much more attractive than the old HTML ones.

So go on over to Wellwrittenwords and let me know what you think of the new design.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Get a Blog Feed

Getting your blog up-and-running, and rendering it an effective business tool is getting easier all the time. Take a look at the feeds (to the right here) from my two other blogs. See how neat that is? You can post them anywhere, and what's more, so can other people.

Just pop over to and open an account, and when you're ready to post your feed, pick 'Spring Widgets' as your medium. It's simple and very effective.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Freelance Writers Manifesto Is Up!

After weeks of talking about it, I finally found the time to create the new site for Freelance Writers Manifesto.

Go take a look. And if you know any writers who are struggling with low paying jobs, please direct them over there so that maybe we can do something about it together!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Spence's WordPress Saga

Spence is still trying to get reinstated as a WordPress free installer after weeks of being suspended. His crime? Falling foul of a woman who couldn't handle him asking for a link!

Now, I don't really want to get into that. But it seems to me that we need all the friendly faces we can get on this big, wide expanse we call the Internet. It can get very cold and unfriendly out there when you're dealing with technology you don't always understand, and procedures you need, but can't negotiate. I'm talking in this instance of installing a WordPress theme to run your blog on.

WordPress have done a wonderful job, and they've even provided us with technicians to help us out when we're installing. That's how I came to know Spence. But I think they've made a huge mistake here, that will ultimately detract from, rather than improve their service.

Spence has been so helpful. As a matter of fact, he's just installed my new WordPress blog, Freelance Writers Manifesto. And he insisted on uploading all the latest versions of the files for me. As usual, service above and beyond the call of duty! :)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Are You Blogging Yet?

Running a blog (or even two) can be one of the smartest moves you can make for your business website. You will have a ready source of links back to your business site for one thing. But I wouldn't dream of encouraging you to blog just for links.

Blogging is one of the very best ways to convince your audience that you're an expert. The search engines love blogs too. If you take the time to learn how to do it right, you could have an extremely valuable piece of Cyber real estate on your hands before you know it.

Basically, the keys to successful blogging are great content--lots of it and published regularly, and good links. The best links of all are those that come from other blogs. You can do this is two ways. Either you can arrange to swap a link on someone's blogroll, or you can comment on another blog, thereby getting a link back to your own blog.

If you can do both, so much the better! :)

Of course, once you're firmly established as an expert, your readers may well link back to you all by themselves, and these are the best links of all: one way links coming into your site with relevant anchor text.

Beyond that, there are tips and tricks to enhance your ranking. But you'll never find anything more powerful than content and links for your blog strategy.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Avoiding a Google Disaster

We're all after a better Google pagerank. Coming on the first page of a search is the Holy Grail for many of us.

There's so much that can go wrong though. If you have ignored good SEO sadly, you may find yourself on the painful end of a Google spider. What does that mean? Well, for one thing you could end up being buried in what Google calls 'supplemental results.' Sounds horrible doesn't it?

And it is. This horrible fate can befall you for seemingly small contraventions of the Google SEO code. Like for example, when you haven't bothered to change the title tags of your main page when you use that as a template to create other pages. You end up with a site full of pages all with the same title. A BIG no-no as far as Google is concerned.

If you want to make sure you haven't done anything like this to offend Google, contact me and I'll give your site a quick appraisal for a small fee. five minutes of your time could save you a lot of heartache in the long run!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Freelance Writers Manifesto

If you're a writer you'll surely have noticed that a great proportion of the jobs you see advertised online don't seem to give us writers the respect we deserve. Rates are abysmal in some areas.

Along with several other writers, I've noticed this and feel very concerned about it. Not for myself, as I now charge a healthy rate and get paid well for what I do. But for all those writers who are too timid to tell a prospective hirer: "Hey, this is nowhere near enough. If you want me to work for you, you need to pay me more!"

So, we decided to change our little corner of the world. To this end, Freelance Writers Manifesto was born, sometime in the past few weeks. I gotta tell you, I've been so busy that the exact moment of birth has been, sadly, lost to posterity for ever!

Anyway, if you're interested, pop along to the web page and sign up. You'll get regular updates, and it could be helpful to you if you're trying to build an online writing business.

Freelance Writers Manifesto

The Blogger Code

If you have way, way too much time on your hands, you might take a break from blogging and SEO, and anything else you usually get up to online, to go and take this stupid Blogger Code thing.

You even get a bit of code to paste on your website afterwards! :) As I said, this is only if you have absolutely not enough to keep you gainfully employed today.

On a serious note, what have you done for your blog today? Have you visited another blog to see if you can make some comments and maybe get them to do the same for you? Have you posted and linked to previous posts of your own? That's a tip that not so many people know about ya know!

Note that SEO Blogosphere is now a member of a really cool new blog network. I'll post more details as soon as we get them all ironed out.

Why is it great for your blog if you join a network? It's all about pleasing Google, and Google loves relevant links. That's what the game is all about. For those who say "yeah, but I only link to blogs I really, really like," well, that's all well and good. But I'd like to think that most of us are exerting ourselves creating a website and taking the time to blog frequently because we want someone to read it. After all, what the heck is the point in writing if you don't want someone to read it? And if you want to get read on the Web, quite simply you need to get hooked up and spidered by the search engines ....

You might want to also read about a recent Google update, if you're interested in getting your website or blog to rank better.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Useful SEO Tool

It seems we can never have enough of useful SEO tools to help us get the best of our websites.

Writing good website content requires the skills of a professional SEO Copywriter if you want results that speak for themselves.

If you're determined to have a go at it yourself, the problem is getting the mix just right. You don't want to use too many keywords and end up spamming. On the other hand, not enough keywords and you won't get a good ranking. Using this tool will give you a good idea of how well you're doing. The Search Engine Spider Simulator can let you see exactly what the search engines see when they crawl your site.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Smart Branding Strategies on Squidoo

Smart Branding Strategies on Squidoo: "A good place to start the process of establishing your brand identity is by looking at your brand from every conceivable perspective.

# How warm is general public opinion about your brand?

# Are you unheard of among your niche? Being unheard of among the general population is not a problem, but unless you've really only just started out, being unknown among the very people who your product is directed at is a serious Internet branding and marketing issue.

# If a lot of people in your niche know who you are, do they know precisely what you do? Can they rattle off a description of your services or products without any effort?

# Are you known for excellence in your field, or is mediocrity the name of the game? Once you have been tainted by the scourge of mediocrity, or worse-incompetence-you will have a lot of work to do to turn your brand and your business around.

# Are you maximising all your product's good points? You can influence your branding process with a little judicious branding design. For example, the t-shirt you see above looks just like any other t-shirt with a logo printed on it right? How does your perception change once I tell you that it's 100 percent long-staple cotton (the very best) and that it was grown organically? Doesn't your respect for the brand grow, even if only slightly? This is"

SEO Facts on Squidoo

SEO Facts on Squidoo: "My thoughts on SEO--and this is purely my opinion--is that the business is getting rather like the world of haute cuisine. You will get one esteemed chef who swears that the only way to make a roux is in a cast iron frying pan. Another will say this is poppycock and you absolutely can't create a roux without a stainless steel pan. But both chefs enjoy phenominal success and a great gastronomic following.

And so it is with SEO. Optimizing is a mixture of art and science. You will find that while the basics are the same, such as choosing keywords and avoiding techniques that will get you penalized by the Big Guns, for each project there area thousand variables and each SEO consultant will apply a different set of SEO rules. They'll all get good results though. Puzzling.

Again though, there are plenty of areas where everyone's in agreement, and I won't include anything here that even might get you penalized. Read on with confidence!

So how do we go about optimizing a website so that the search engines absolutely love it? Ideally, the process will begin at birth. Right from the beginning of the design stage, website concepting should be carried out with serious consideration to how the pages will be viewed by Google, Yahoo and MSN. Yes, there are tons of other search engines, but these three are the ones that will bring the bulk of your responses, so you'd" - the blog - the blog: "We live in an age when everything tends to be faster than it was in the past. Speed is of the essence, most of the time. So when it comes to doing things that take up our valuable time, and are a bit boring too, many of us kid ourselves that there is a faster, better way, and we don’t need to bother with it.A

A classic example of this is submitting to the online directories. Again and again consultants advise their clients that getting listed in as many online directories as possible is critical, particularly if you want a good Google ranking, yet few pay any attention tothis."

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Phew time goes fast....

I cannot believe it's been so long since I last posted in here. So much has happened. A lot of family stuff, which was exciting for me, but I won't bore you with it.

At last I took the plunge and started my MBA. I picked Rushmore University because it fits all my criteria, and will give me what I want.

I've been learning a great deal about marketing and SEO. The learning process never stops for me.

My new blog is coming along nicely. I have a valuable offer to anyone who will agree to link to it. Contact me through consultant [at] to learn more.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Invite the Spiders Into Your Den...

There are ways to make sure that Google and the other SEs spider all the pages of your website as quickly as possible. Making your site navigation "spider friendly" is essential. This means you need to make changes if at present your navigation buttons are graphics. When the buttons are created from graphics the words are actually not "visible" to a search engine. This type of navigation often also uses javascript, which compounds the problem.

If you don't want to change your site's navigation (it probably cost plenty), then you can create a site plan instead, and place it at the bottom of your pages. This will enable search engines to do their job and will also help visitors to your site.

Once there are no barriers to spiders negotiating your site, they'll slip gracefully from one page to another. In no time at all you'll have all your pages indexed and this will have a positive impact on your overall search engine ranking.

Need help with your website content? Drop me a line today. :)

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

More Fallout from the Jagger Update

Google's recent Jagger update (October 2005) was notable for the number of sites that just dropped off the face of Google entirely. Some of them were highly ranked, and I know of a couple that had held the #1 spot for their keywords for eons. Yes, Jagger certainly ruffled a few feathers. Can't say I'm sorry though: the sites that I saw disappear were definitely the "spammy" type.

So what have we learned? The algorithm experts are still trying to come up with concrete answers, but we do have some firmish information to work with.

The Purpose of Jagger

Jagger, it seems, was at least partly designed to weed out websites that were guilty of participating in paid linking schemes. We're not talking about link farms here, but the kind of schemes that would render respectable links for a price. They're no longer ethical.

There are two ways of looking at this.

Good or a Bad Think?

Google has every right to try and filter websites so that searchers get exactly the results they're looking for in the form of quality sites. But on the other hand, if search engines are going to accept paid listings, then why penalize someone who is just trying to get ahead through a different channel, with no ostensible difference to the final results.

Personally, while I acknowledge the need to ensure that only quality sites get to the top of a search, I still think that it's essential not to restrict webmasters too much when it comes to what they can do to get noticed.

Having said this, it makes sense to heed warnings if you're serious about getting a good Google page rank. Paid linking strategies are now out. Be extra careful about who you link to.

There are some rumblings that Google will ultimately reduce the importance of links when according page rank. This does make sense in my humble opinion.

Basically, we'll all have to wait another few weeks to see exactly where it's all going.

Oh, one more thing. If your site was one of those that suffered at the hands of Jagger, remove all hidden text or hidden links and read Matt Cutts's information on a request for reinclusion. Good stuff as usual.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Search Engines Come of Age

Back in the "Middle Ages" of search engine evolution, when I was still a new SEO copywriter, the trend was to choose the keywords first and write the text around them, no matter what. If it all didn't quite scan properly, and if the same word was used twenty times in one sentence, it wasn't that important, because getting the search engines to sit up and take notice was the thing that everyone was focusing on.

Irritating Content
It didn't much matter that human beings reading those pages were going to be various shades of bored, confused, and downright annoyed at the results.

Things have changed. Search engine algorithms have developed to the point where stilted text that is stuffed with keywords will be penalized. It may even get you banned. While the use of keywords is still critical, the main focus should be on the flow and quality of the text at any time.

This is all in keeping with a search engine that gives people what they're really searching for, which is, as some of us may recall, the whole purpose behind search engines in the first place. You could say that search engines have become "more human." Now, when they crawl the pages of our websites, they are looking for text and features that will make human readers happy. The result is that written standards are rising fast. This is a great relief to most of us: not just readers but those of us who are responsible for website content too. The result is that website owners are forced to behave in a more ethical and considerate way when they build a website.

The Internet Rises to New Standards
Content isn't the only thing that's improved as a result. Dozens of shady links will also get you penalized. Popups and undesirable programs are the mark of a website that doesn't have a code of ethics and the majority of surfers will now avoid them.

The overall impact is that the Web is becoming a friendlier place to be, in my perception. Seedy websites will begin to fade away quietly when their owners discover that they're not actually profiting from them. Well designed websites with plenty of genuinely informative content will become the norm and we will all be the better for it. Thanks to the search engines and their amazing algorithms.

Monday, October 31, 2005

How Many Words Do You Need?

The news that Yahoo, Google and other search engines prefer web pages with a decent amount of content on them is nothing new. However, most SEO consultants are still telling clients that the maximum they'll need is 250 words. This may do if you're competing in a technical enviroment where competitor pages are typically devoid of content. But if you're competing in a niche where words are used as a matter of course, you need to think about putting up more and better content.

The New Content Recommendations
I has been observed that Google, and more specifically Yahoo, are clearly favoring sites that have more than a thousands words of content on their pages. This may draw a sigh of exasperation from website owners who have had trouble putting up any content at all.

Remember, before you throw up your hands in resignation, that even if you have to pay good money for your website content, it will inevitably pay off sooner rather than later. A good SEO copywriter can make a world of difference to how the search engines see your web pages. Taking the time and trouble to comply with increasingly petulant search engine demands can result in a top placement. This is covetable because quite simply, it can mean that your website goes from being an anonymous needle in a haystack to a valuable source of income for you. It is not unheard of for the lucky owners of a highly placed website to earn six-figure incomes and more.

So you need to balance the price of good content, which might be anything from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, with your desired income level. If you enlist the help of a good SEO copywriter you'll be investing a little to make a lot!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Costly Mistakes

I recently acquired a new client. Part of the process of agreeing about what needs to be done on a new project involves a careful appraisal of the website. On first inspection, I was amazed to find that this one had typos. Not the text. That’s bad enough. But these typos were in the code.

The keyword tags to be precise.

Negating Hard Work
Now this defeats the object in no uncertain terms. Why would anyone go to the trouble and expense of setting up a website, and then allow this to happen? The sad facts are that the task of creating a website is nearly always delegated to an “expert.” Just because someone sets themselves up on the Internet and calls themselves an expert doesn’t always mean they are.

I’m not sure who was responsible for that gross oversight, but it was either the website designer or a copywriter. These professionals are often paid thousands of dollars for a critical service. If there are typos in text it looks sloppy. If there are typos in the keywords, it will have a tremendous negative impact on search engine rankings. A search engine doesn’t determine that, hey, you’re only one letter off, so let’s include it. A word is either there, or it’s not as far as the engines are concerned.

This means that the final responsibility has to be up to the owner of the website. It has to be done. Going through content and code with a fine-tooth comb just to make sure that time and money is not going to waste all because of a small typing error somewhere. It is definitely a case of buyer beware!

Monday, October 03, 2005

The Wonders of CSS

Stepping Into a New World
I love learning new things. However, since my first jaunt with HTML in 1998, I have avoided learning anything new about related subjects. Recently I was forced to. I needed to upgrade my website to reflect my new working status, and I can't afford to pay thousands of dollars for design.

So I decided to learn about Cascading Style Sheets, or CSS. I had been dreading this. It looked so complicated. Once I'd unraveled the basic mystery though, a million possibilities unfolded before me. Within hours I was hooked. Now, I think I'll be spending far too much time tweaking my website when I should be writing.

The Thrill of the Kill
I found this learning curve much more exciting than I thought it would be. Now I know the basics I'm going to aim for a site that is designed completely by CSS. You might wonder why anyone would want to do that.

Actually it all ties in with search engine optimization. The old HTML files that accompanied websites were (and in some cases still are) positively huge. This means that the loading time for a given site is far too long. If you really want your website to do well, the first thing you need to do is make sure you don't put visitors off by making them wait interminable lengths of time for a page to load.

Here's Where the CSS Comes In
It replaces large tracts of code and even a huge page with elaborate tables can load in mere fractions of a second. Most people are now including CSS in their site design. Some are going for the real thing, and insisting on 100 percent, total CSS design.

If you doubt the wisdom in this, I can assure you that there are some really breathtaking examples of CSS sites around. Just take a look. If you know how to get a peek at the code, by right clicking on any web page, and selecting "View Source," you can tell at a glance if the site uses CSS, as there will be a link to the style sheet within the header. It will probably look something like this:

link rel="stylesheet" href="/includes/fredflintstone-style.css" type="text/css"

Here's just one great CSS resource, although there are a great many really good ones on the Internet:

OK, I'm off to do some more designing. :)

Friday, September 30, 2005

Time is All it Takes...

SEO Thought for the day: There is so much pressure for web entrepreneurs to part with their hard-earned cash in order to get meaninful search engine ranking. The truth of the matter is, that once you have ensured that the essential elements to your site are in place and properly configured, you must give it enough time to work. It can take three months for Google to notice you! Spending more money before this time period is up could be simply a waste.

You do need good content for your site. When it's skillfully enhanced with carefully chosen keywords, you may even notice a dramatic difference in your search engine rankings. I increased my monthly hits by over 80 percent in less than a month, simply by rearranging my content (yes, even a writer can neglect her website).

Don't be in a hurry to part with large sums of money for search engine optimization.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Why Another SEO Blog?

It is my fervent hope, that by creating this blog, I'll contribute to a combined effort to clarify the process of search engine optimization. There is far too much hype surrounding the subject, and it's not at all easy to locate concrete facts when you first set out to equip your website with all it needs to do well in the search engine rankings.

By profession I am a copywriter. I have chosen to specialize in SEO copywriting because it's in great demand, and because there are far too many around who make it sound a lot more complicated than it needs to be.

Some experts will tell you that it doesn't matter at all about the quality of text you have on your web pages, while others will tell you not to even bother with META tags because Google doesn't use them to index your site. Both are very wrong. Good content is always necessary, and Google isn't the only search engine out there. In order to rank well nowadays, you need to take care of every aspect of your website. This includes content that is the very best you can muster, and highly relevant to the purpose of your site, along with highly optimized META tags.

I'm working on my website at the moment. If you keep checking back, you'll be able to see what changes I make in the coming months that will hopefully help me to achieve a ranking. :)