So many times I see a sign that says “like us on Facebook” but there’s no clue given on how to find the company’s Facebook page. I’m not sure the example above is totally foolproof but it at least gives a way to find the page, and importantly, it works.
If this was shown on a website it would be a link to the Facebook page, but on product packaging that is just not possible.
The Facebook block on this product’s packaging is well done. It sets out clearly why you should engage with the brand (brand provides tips and opportunity for users to provide feedback). And it shows a way to find the page.
How do I think this could have been done better? Here’s one option.
It uses a well recognised icon for Facebook and follows it with the name of the account.
The worst thing you can do is ask for people to “like us on Facebook” and then give no clue at all about the company name, what to search for or the Facebook name. Even if the sign is shown somewhere on your premises don’t assume everyone knows how to connect with your Facebook page.
The process of asking and getting a “like” should be as frictionless as possible. A bit like a good shaving cream.
NB: I have no affiliation with Hobson Dell Pty Ltd the makers of Fast Shave Master, other than using the product.
A recent article at Search Engine Land Yahoo Turns To Yelp To Beef Up Local Search adds another incentive to add Yelp to the web platforms where your presence must be claimed and polished. By itself, Yahoo doesn’t represent a significant portion of search traffic, but when combine with the share from Bing and the use of Apple Maps, this platform represents an increasingly significant share of traffic from location based searches. Even though Google is not directly utilising Yelp data, Yelp is fully searchable and is often found in the results for location based and brand name searches.
Some readers have baulked at my suggestion that Yelp can play an important role in their business plans. One of the complaints was about the low visitor rates to the relevant Yelp page. This is significant but is only part of the story.
Visitor rates will vary for each industry niche and each location. If you are in a niche that has low visitors rates in Yelp, it’s likely the visitor rates to your website are low. These are both impacted by the number of people using online methods to find businesses offering the products and services. You can’t control the niche. The visitor rates to your page within Yelp and traffic levels from Yelp to your website are different issues. You do have some control over these levels.
The first issue to address is the volume of traffic to the Yelp page, which means your website has to rank higher in Yelp. Rank is controlled by Yelp, and they don’t publish their algorithm. Industry observer’s are confident the presence of reviews within Yelp and the quality of those reviews are significant factors influencing your position in Yelp. So if you want more prominence in Yelp, which will help the levels of traffic to your Yelp page, you need to start getting reviews. This represents double value, because Yelp reviews are likely to help your Google results and encourage more business.
The second issue is how to get someone to click on the link at Yelp to visit your website. This almost certainly is influenced by the quality of your Yelp page. Have you added a meaningful description? Are photos relevant to your business showing? Do you have any favourable reviews? This process is all about convincing visitors that you have something of value, that your website is worth visiting.
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As a matter of fact, the internet would be a very different place without them.
A site I wrote about in Nov 2011 has solved one problem but created possibly an even larger one for themselves - they have block all of their content from search engines using their robots.txt file. (For anyone interested the original post was Who wants to rank for “Warning: getimagesize(D:\hosting\member…”)
What is a robot?
In the context of the Internet, a robot is a program that visits websites to collect information. The most common instance are the robots used by the search engines. These robots visit as many pages as they find on each site they visit to understand as much as possible about the products or service offered and about the organisation itself. The information gathered is used to determine the words and phrases for which the site will be found in the search engines and the rank of the pages.
What is a “robots.txt” file?
It is a file the owner of the website can create to limit the pages a robot can visit. Most of the major search engines follow the instructions precisely. However, it is possible to create a set of instructions in the robots.txt file that will severely limit what the search engines can see, perhaps even to the detriment of the websites chances of ranking for valuable phrases.
This image shows the outcome of a bad robots.txt file - one page in Google and no description. This means it is almost impossible for the site to be found for any search other than the company name.
I’m not the only one writing about this topic. You can also read This one mistake turns away so many customers on Andy Sernovitz’s site “Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That!”
Why do we need them?
The most common use of the robots.txt file is to keep search engine robots out of certain parts of the website - perhaps a new version of the site. If those parts reached the search engines listings it might be confusing for search engines and visitors, as it might it appear you have two versions of your website operational at the same time.
It is not a substitute for security system as it doesn’t hide the content. It tells anyone who reads the file where not to look. Of course, that can be an invitation to unscrupulous operators.
Is my robots.txt file working properly?
A give away sign that it’s not working is seeing “A description for this result is not available because of this site’s robots.txt” against one or more of your pages in Google results.
However, there can be other indicators of problems. If you have any concerns, ask a trusted web adviser to verify your website.
In a lot of my client visits when the subject turns to ideas for content creation for their websites, I talk about the questions they are commonly asked by their clients. Every industry has them. You are probably well aware of the questions you are asked. Sometimes you hear them so often you almost don’t notice them. These questions and their answers generally make for good content.
But as more and more businesses adopt this strategy, it gets harder to stand out from the pack and continue to produce content. We need other ways to spark the creation process.
Perhaps it is time to think of the questions not asked but that should be asked. What are those areas that would help to make a potential client make a decision to buy from you?
What do you know that could help a customer make a better decision? Is a new model coming out soon? Is one product more durable than another? Warranty options? Price or availability of spare parts? Anything that helps the customer, helps your long term relationship with them.
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Thanks Gideon, but that’s not the way SEO works any more.
This situation arose from a tentative project to develop a new website for Gideon, a client. For various reasons the project was deferred. When talking with Gideon recently, I discovered he has been using a website building (WYSIWYG) tool to create his own version of a new website. That’s a pretty adventurous undertaking and the intention should be congratulated. However (you knew there was one coming didn’t you), I think there are some significant pitfalls with this approach.
Here are the issues I can see:
- Is it the best use of his time?
- WYSIWYG tools are notoriously poor at writing clean HTML, which means the finished product will almost certainly be compromised
- All new builds should incorporate Responsive Design. This generally takes skill and experience well beyond the capacity of a WYSIWYG tool
- The time and effort required to clean up the generated HTML to make it efficient and SEO friendly will be significant and change the cost of the project.
- Not all WYSIWYG tools allow a template to be created to ensure consistency across ALL pages created.
I understand the attraction of DIY and that the price may seem attractive. I also understand the cost of hiring a designer to create something to your exact specifications can be daunting, taking the project outside of any reasonable budget for a small company.
The end result is what matters for a commercial website (even for small businesses), but timetables and affordability are also important.
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Recently my brother forwarded to me an email he received at his office. The subject line of the email was “Hire SEO expert for your website”. We all get these emails. I would like to think if his company was in need of SEO services they would call me. Wait a minute - they did.
The words and senders change but we see these spam email all too regularly. In this case the opening sentence was the big sell - “Do you want to see your website in Top 10 positions in Google or other major Search Engines?”
As it happens, later that same day I read Buyer Beware: 5 Tips For Spotting SEO Charlatans, which highlights many of the over priced, under performing services offered by many of these companies.
There are too many SEO practices that are not worth the effort. In fact some of the practices are now counter productive and could result in lower rankings or penalties.
For those who already delete these spam emails without reading them - congratulations. You are taking a very sensible step.
In case you think you are the only one suffering this blight, perhaps you can take comfort in the fact even Google receives this sort of email. Matt Cutts, head of the web spam team at Google, explains in his post Funny SEO emails, part 6)
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The image above is screenshot from a Samsung Galaxy S4. Where’s the phone number? Where’s the email address? Where’s the menu to find the contact page? Hard to find, aren’t they? Less hard to find is the blue cube replacing a Flash script that can’t be played on this device. Unfortunately, it doesn’t add much value.
This issue is not limited to Android devices. Apple’s iPads and iPhones will show a similar replacement object because the Flash script won’t work. Apple has a much publicised position that will prevent Flash being supported on their platforms for the foreseeable future.
There is a menu across the bottom of the page, but the size and colour of the font in the default rendering of the page makes it hard to see.
Actually the Flash problem is only responsible for the missing major menu. The lack of contact information is down to a deficient design.
This business is one of many that have been let down by designers who haven’t yet learned to operate in the continuously evolving web environment. It continues to skew towards mobile devices.
Wikipedia’s Usage Share of Web Browsers page suggests the percentage of mobile usage is above 20% (and growing). This number is in line with the client sites I manage. Some are actually much higher than this but seems related to the typical demographic associated with their niche. Websites providing wedding related services (e.g. dresses, cars, catering, photography, etc) typically have a much lower age audience (and more likely web savvy) than say websites servicing household needs (e.g. plumbers, pest controllers, electricians, appliance repairs, etc). However, these are not absolutes.
If this usage percentage is accurate (20%+ on mobiles), one visitor in every five is visiting your site using a mobile device. If your website is not mobile friendly you could be losing business. It’s hard enough getting people to visit your website. Can you afford to alienate every 5th visitor?
When I visited the site in the image above on a desktop browser with Flash enabled I discovered the Flash script also had sound effects which played every time any page is loaded, even on pages already visited. Very annoying. I won’t be going back any time soon.
Every so often something goes wrong - a page is renamed and all links to that page aren’t updated (some are off site and beyond our control) or someone mistypes the web address - and the page requested is not found. If it’s your website would you prefer this
or something more like this
I’m happy to concede our 404 is not necessarily the greatest in the world but I am content it gives the visitor some options. Hopefully this will be sufficient to stay connected with us.
The purpose of this post encourage website owners and developers to provide a simple alternative to the one provided by the hosting company. If you don’t know if you have a 404 page, we can help determine that very easily. Creating a new one might take a little longer but we’d be happy to help.
Or you could take this approach WOM Tip #321: Hide fun stuff for customers to find
Anyone as ancient as I might pick up on the very lame play on words in this post’s title. It is a poor reference to an ancient TV program called “Car 54 Where Are you?”. I can’t be the only one that remembers it. If you are even vaguely interested you can read more about it at Car 54, Where Are You? - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Author: Chris Faber
I see a lot of crazy things on the web during the course of my travels. The image above is one example. This page belongs to someone in the financial services industry. The The Wayback Machine has this site since Sept 2013, but the copyright notice at the bottom of the page suggests it’s much older.
There is never any value in a page like this. It might be acceptable for a week or two (a long time in internet years) but never for any longer. I understand it’s not always feasible to launch a full blown website with all the bells and whistles you want / need or think your visitors are going to need, but you can start with a simple one page site setting out the business name, address and phone number, plus any other relevant contact information. It should also include a brief description of the primary product or service offered. These data elements provide some context to the website for both human and search engine visitors.
If you must use a countdown to launch, make sure it’s working. In this instance it makes the site look very unloved.
Once a basic website is in place, then you can plan to grow it over time with the necessary features. Search engines love sites that grow.
If the idea of creating content and fleshing out a website is a bit too challenging and you just want a domain name to provide a professional looking email address (a great idea), you should still create a minimum website as I have already outlined. This is a good step just in case you change your mind.
I found these icons on the bottom of a website I visited. They give the appearance of social connections. But that impression is wrong. These are just images, they are not links to social accounts associated with the website. Don’t do this or ask your web developer to do this. Any visitor who decides to see what you say or your customers say about you on your social pages will realise you are a sham socially. This may have a serious impact on your professional appearance. If your web developer suggests showing some social images to give the impression you are socially connected - get a new web developer.