Thursday, May 26, 2005

Free Press Release Distribution Services

One tool to help your web site get noticed are press releases published by the various press release services on the internet. Many services charge a fee to distribute your press release, however there are some free distribution services. The following will distribute your press release on the internet free:

Free Press Release Distribution Service

PR Leap - Free Press Release Distribution to Major Search Engines

Press Release Service from PRWeb

Press World - Free Press Release Distribution Service

The following are specialized free press release services. Even if these are not in your specific area of business, try them, as they may lead you to other topic specific web sites that offer free press release distribution.

Industrial Safety

Sign Industry

Manufacturing Press Releases

Engineering Talk

When sending out press releases, include your local newspaper. Even though your business may not be targeted at your local area, getting information about your business published in your local paper will put another article about you on the web for the world to see.

And, of course, you did include a link to your web site as a part of your press release, didn't you?

Do you need help writing your press release? Try this free tool at Duct Tape Marketing. It will help you to create a professional, correctly formatted press release.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Solving A SEO Problem

This is the most common question I'm asked.

You have a web site, but it’s not showing up in the top results in searches on Google. What do you do?

Jump right in, start going through the pages on the site changing the titles and meta tags, and packing more keywords into the text on the pages. The sooner you get it done, the sooner Google will see your changes and rank the web site higher. Right?


Before making any changes or additions, know what you want to do and WHY you are doing it. In other words, do some planning first.

The first question is always, “What is the purpose of this web site?” Having a high search engine ranking isn’t important for about 80% of the web sites I manage. Some are intended for internal use; some are customer service related, some provide landing pages for adverting, and others are used to support a sales force.

Next ask, “Why isn’t this site showing up in search results? What are the possible problems?”

Here are a few things to look for:

1) Does the site use frames or Flash? If so, this is the place to start. First, get rid of the frames. Search engines will not read the content in the frames, so it won't get indexed. Besides, no web site needs to use frames.

Here's a web site that was originally designed using frames:

The site was redesigned to eliminate the frames. It not only looks better, but now the search engines can spider it: Blair & Vestigo Law Firm

There are some legitimate uses for Flash, but this is the only file format Google says they can not read. So information in Flash movies will not be seen by Google, which means your site won't show up in Google search results. If no one can find your site, then no one will see your beautiful Flash animations.

2) Is the site database driven? Pages built from a database will generally not be indexed by search engines. You’ll need to build some static content that will form a framework around your pages created from the database.

3) How much text is on each page, in particular your home page? Although this is not a firm rule, you should have at least 250 words of text on pages you want to show up in search results. A better rule of thumb is to create pages that have a variety of text, ranging from 100 words on some to 750 words on others.

4) What is your site navigation like? Does it use Javascript or image links? If so, consider changing to text links, or at least put text links at the bottom of each page, that duplicate the Javascript or image links.

If your site doesn’t have one, create a “site map” for search engines that has a link to every page you want the search engines to find. Put in a link from your home page to the site map page. This page makes it easy for spiders to find the pages you want them to find.

5) Is anyone linking to your web site (try link harvester)? What is your deep link ratio? These two tools will give you some perspective on the links coming into your site.

6) How are people currently finding your site? Check your web logs to find out how much traffic the site has and where it is coming from.

You web logs are packed with useful information. You can find the pages most frequently used to enter and exit your site. You can see what search terms and phrases have led visitors to your site. You can find out if you have a problem with 404 errors (page not found).

Once you have this basic information, identify the key problem areas and make a plan to change your web site to address those problem areas.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Google Descriptions

In the old days the meta tags on a web page ruled. Search engines read the meta tags and ranked pages based on that information. It was easy to get a high ranking just by stuffing our meta tags with key words. But people stuffed their meta tags with keywords that were not related to the content of the page. That’s called search engine spam, and as a result most search engines stopped using the meta tags for ranking web pages in search results. Meta tags still have little influence on ranking, but they are rising in importance in your marketing plan.

Under certain circumstances Google now displays the meta description, or part of the meta description, as the description in their search results.

Previously Google displayed snippets of text, containing the search terms, taken from the web page. This gave a description that was disjoined and most often not very descriptive. Google now looks to three sources for a page description: the description meta tag, the DMOZ description, and snippets from the web page. You may now find one of these, or a combination of these used as your description.

In the example below, the text in the red boxes are page snippets. The balance of the descriptions are taken from the page meta description.

This means that you must pay attention to what is in each page description. This is the only part of the Google description you can control. Include the keywords for the page in the description, but don’t stuff it with key words. Remember, the page also needs a compelling description that gives the searcher a reason to want to go to your page. It’s like writing a short classified ad. You need to grab the reader’s attention, and give them a reason to go to your page. Every word is important, and must be included only if there that word has a specific purpose.

Including key words and phrases gets the discription you wrote displayed.

A compelling description gets people to click on the link to your page.

The Google description may display up to 200 characters. Make sure you use them wisely.