Blocking and other bad bots

Search engine optimization includes having the ability to measure your efforts. Using Google Analytics is a great way to do this (and something that I set up for every one of my clients as part of their website package). It allows us to see how people are finding the site. What happens when they get there and so much more. Again, a great tool. However. It has recently come to my attention that there are some unwanted visitors of late. Bots!

Some bots are useful. The Google bot for example. We want to encourage that one. But others can simply be a strain on resources, bloat the visitor numbers falsely and drastically increase your ‘bounce rate’ (Bounce Rate – is a metric that Google Analytics provides that shows the percentage of visitors to a particular website who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page). So the bots show up, register as a visitor, then take off right away. Not ideal by any means.

So we simply don’t want these bad bots in our stats skewing the data. One way to block them is directly in Google Analytics. While it should deflect the problem, it isn’t really as effective as I’d like. So I take blocking the bad bots even further, I don’t let them show up on the site at all (freeing up resources for legitimate visitors) directly through .htaccess. Bye bye bots!

I’ve set this up for all of my current clients as a complimentary service. I want to see all of my clients get the best service possible. Ask your webmaster about blocking the bad bots…or better yet, become one of my clients and don’t worry about it.

You can read more about this from WordPress here – Deny Access Referrer Spammers

Search Engine Optimization Services

Search Engine Optimization services are a critical aspect of every website. As a webmaster, I offer SEO as part of my complete web services.

Regardless of who designed your website, search engine optimization is critical (I build in a basic package as a complimentary service to all of my clients whose sites I’ve designed). So even if GreenBear didn’t design your site, I can still optimize it.

Find out more about Search Engine Optimization and the packages GreenBear offers!

The Key to Keywords

Do I need keywords?I’m sure you’ve heard of them. Someone tells you they are key so you think, I need keywords. You’re not sure what they are but you’ve heard they will help your site do better in the search engines. I often get asked about adding them to websites, so I’m writing today to set the record straight on what are Keywords and why they don’t really matter and along the way, I’ll tell you about their meta compatriots that do matter. They are the title and description.

So let’s start with what keywords are. They are part of the meta data that is…wait…what’s meta data? Good point, I’ll start there. Meta data is data about…well…data. These are little tags that go into the html of your webpage to tell primarily search engines what the page is about. Keywords is one of the meta tags. In olden days, they were supposed to contain words that helped to point out primary things about your webpage. Unfortunately, they were over-used and abused. So Google and other search engines simply stopped using them to rank sites. So they have become effectively useless and simply take up space. Unless…the Chinese happen to be your target market. Apparently Baidu loves them!

Meta Keywords – don’t bother.
<meta name="keywords" content="don't,bother,nobody,really,uses,them" />

Instead, focus on the meta tags that do matter. Title for example is easily the most important and actually does factor into your search engine positioning. A good title should be well crafted within it’s roughly 60 character limit to accurately describe what that specific page is about. Each page should have it’s own distinct title again, reflecting that page’s content. I can’t stress enough how important this one is…in fact, it will become the link to the actual page when it shows up on Google!

You do need a Title meta tagMeta Title – MUST HAVE!
<title>Title is a Must and make it reflect what the page is about.</title>

While we’re talking about how things show up on Google…you know the little blurb that comes after the link (which we now know is the title)? That’s the meta ‘description’ tag. Description should be written with this in mind. It’s your opportunity to tell more about what the page is about when visitors see the results of their Google search. You’ll want the description to entice the visitor to come to your site here. No need to stuff it with key terms, Google doesn’t factor it into their searches. Again, it’s for the human visitor more than anything else. Interesting to note; if you don’t have a description meta tag, Google simply takes the first bit of text it finds on the page and makes that the blurb that follows the link on the search results.

Meta Description – Should have, entice visitors.
<meta name="description" content="Should describe the page for the visitor to entice them to click your link in the search engine. It can be roughly 160 characters in length." />

So now you know what the meta tags are and can see where you should put your effort when it comes to prioritizing what they should be. These are really the fundamentals that every webpage should have (if you ever see ‘untitled’ in the top of a web page on your browser, it means the person forgot their title tag!). description meta tag is good too!So armed with this, have a look through your site and see how well it does. If you’re missing the ‘keywords’ don’t sweat it. If there isn’t a Title, get one and fast!

How to ‘Post’ on your website

Ok, so you’ve got a WordPress site…all nice and customized for you (see my Services!)…so now what?

Well, one of the advantages of WordPress is the ability for my clients to directly add content to their site (without having to go through the webmaster! Why did I set it up that way?! LOL!).

The main method of adding content, especially in the form of news, or coming events etc… is via the ‘post’. The ‘post’ as WordPress defines it is ‘Posts are the entries that display in reverse chronological order on your home page.’ (or news page…or whatever we decided to call it when we set up your site). So it’s not a page (like say ‘About Us’) but it is on a page…umm…forget pages for now…I’ll come back to those in a future article.

Back to Posts! (more…)