If you have a commercial site you want to be included in the Best of the Web Directory. It’s a good link to have and you’ll also get traffic from the listing too. Recently I’ve noticed submissions being rejected or live listing being placed ‘on hold’ by BOTW due to sites being down, but the sites are not down.

It makes sense, no site wants broken links so they get the check the response code of the sites listed for 404 errors. If the site is down BOTW contact the webmaster to ask why the site has been down and place the listing on hold.

But when going to the webmaster and checking server logs of the effected sites there has been no problems. What has happened is a broken image in the home page, or a missing image being referenced in a stylesheet. They return a 404 in the page load, even though the page loads up ok which confuses the checker that BOTW are using.

This cause a hell of confusion with hosting company’s saying the sites have had no downtime, BOTW saying that their checks says the site is down and so on.

So the lesson of the story is check that you have no missing images on you site before submitting to BOTW, to check use Live HTTP headers and look for 404 response codes.

Posted in SEO.

Dead Set is a five part TV series running on E4 this week. It follows the Big Brother house in the middle of a zombie outbreak in the United Kingdom. Ok, whats this to do with SEO?

At the end of the show there were no credits which is rather strange for a TV show. Instead a URL is listed on the screen – www.deadsetcredits.com it was on for all of one second. So if you didn’t catch the URL your going to search in Google for “dead set credits”, “dead set end credits”, but the Dead Set website doesn’t appear at all in the listings.

If your going to advertise online make sure your website ranks for the URL your going to display on the TV and all the variations, without the www’s just the domain, with spaces, without spaces etc. So why doesn’t the Dead Set Credits site rank?

To start www.deadsetcredits.com 301 re-directs to www.e4.com/deadset/credits.html so Google’s not going to index the page. Google has yet to index www.e4.com/deadset/credits.html but when it does they they should start to rank well inheriting the strength of www.e4.com.

But… Google might have a problem with that page. It’s a flash page with the credits scrolling up the page. If you check the source.

Dead Set - E4.com

The official website of Charlie Brooker's E4 horror series Get Flash Player 9 to View Deadset
html version
e4

and that H1 is styled up


#flashcontent h1 {
text-indent: -1000000px;
}

So technically the text is hidden (placing the H1 far to the left of the screen), as that text doesn’t appear in the flash file that’s being played it’s breaking Google’s guidelines. If you have a flash file on your site you can place ”hidden” text in the page providing the text is the same as the text in the flash file (you should also do this using the noscript tag and not css styling).

Anyway I fully recommend watching Charlie Brookers Dead Set, I’m a fan of zombie movies and Charlie Brooker, a truly great combination!

Something that I’ve only done on this site today is setting up Google Analytics Site Search for this blog. WordPress has a search function as default. Some themes don’t include the search boxes which is crazy when you see how many people use the search function.

Click edit next to the analytics account you want to add site search.

On the profile settings page click edit in the first box called “Main Website Profile Information”.

Tick “Do Track Site Search” and then add in just “s” as the Query Parameter.

Click save and then your off. Do some test searches, then check that it’s working in 24 hours by going to the reports – Content – Site Search.

One of my favorite tools is Google Analytics and they upgraded the tool this week adding a few extra features.

Facelift
Advanced Segmentation
Custom Reports
Motion Charts
Account Management Dashboard Update

In private Beta Testing

The Data Export API
Integrated Reporting with AdSense

Head over to the blog post for full details.

Google Analytics is the daddy of all Analytics, it’s used on this site but Yahoo are going to try and force their way into the market with Yahoo Analytics. Yahoo bought IndexTools back in April and they have re-branded the tool for Yahoo. They’ll be rolling it out to customers, partners, developers and advertisers in stages, but there’s no news on a general release.

It seems to work similar to Google Analytics, tracking code, dashboards, goal etc but there are a few standout features flexible custom reports, real time tracking (data comes through in in minutes rather than 24 hours). It all seems really good but we’ll have to get the tracking code in the site before making a decision. Until then Google rules the roost once again.

http://web.analytics.yahoo.com/

So, you’ve a beginner in the SEO industry, you’ve read a few blogs and chatted to a few people they’ve probably mentioned about using tools. There are plenty of them out there but it can be pretty daunting to start off with.

If your starting to work in an SEO company ask for a list of tools from the other SEO’s but its often better to start form a fresh this way you use tools suit you. Some of the tools that I’m using at the moment will totally confuse new users so it’s best to build up the tools as you understand more about SEO.

To start, FireFox, yes some people new to SEO will not use FireFox. I’ve come across web developers who’ve never used FireFox in the past and so called SEO experts who only use IE. From there you start to understand that FireFox supports plugins so extra tools can be added to the browser.

And the first tool……. Google Toolbar, yes you may think it’s useless but there’s a good reason behind it. To use the toolbar correctly you need to sign up to a Google Account. Once you have a Google Account, then you sign up to a Google Reader account. That’s the tool that you’ll get the most out of Google Reader.

From there you can subscribe to blogs, like this one or the ones in my blog roll. This is how I’ve learned SEO and this the majority of SEO’s learn. So if your new to SEO, start off with Google Reader.

Yahoo Site Explorer has had a face lift in the past week and there a new feature too. The old version did the job as far as I was concerned, all the tool does is give an indication on internal and external links to a page.

The new version is a little more compact than the last version but has all the same features.

The only new part I can see is the explorer button next to the listed URL’s, this means you start exploring the sites you that are linking to the site you are looking at. Head over to https://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com to check the new version out.

www.warehouse-video.co.uk are another UK based company ranking in Google thanks to black hat techniques, this time using hidden text.

The site looks reputable on first look, nice design, clean, crisp and easy to use. They also are pulling in some natural traffic, e.g. number 1 for ‘dvd jewel case’ and 5 for ‘VHS Tape Packs’ but to do this the site uses a black hat technique of hiding a H1 tag at the top of most pages.

The coding is simple, a div at the top of the page called ‘top’.

Wedding DVD Cases - Blank DVDs - DVD Jewel Case - VHS Tape Packs – Warehouse Video, Middlesex, UK

In the style sheet its hidden, not using the popular display none but using text-indent:-5000px. This is basically displaying the text 5000 pixels to the left of the screen.


#top h1
{
main.css
margin:0;
text-indent:-5000px;
}

If you want to see this hidden text there’s a couple of options, view the Google cache of the page, click on text only. The other way is to use the web developer toolbar plugin for Firefox and turn the css off, the text then appears.

The text appears on every page, with the text just changing depending on what the page is about. At the moment they seem have avoided any penalisation from Google most likely due to them being under the radar, not being a big enough site to get spotted. This will most likely not last, Google will catch up them which is way black hat methods of hiding text are not a sustainable way of getting rankings in Google.

There’s a little link at the bottom of www.warehouse-video.co.uk to www.castus.co.uk whom I’m guessing are responsible for the hidden text. As ever I’ll keep tabs of the site to see if they remove the text or drop out of the rankings.

I’ve been in the SEO industry for around 2 years I still don’t fully understand what UK based company “I have a website now what” are doing. On the face of it they are a SEO company, that rank number 4-5 on “SEO”, so they know what they are doing. When you look into the website a little more they seem to have a strange way of doing SEO.

They place copies of clients sites on there own site. Links are placed at the bottom of their home page to these ‘mini sites’. (note index2.htm which is duplicate home page with different links)

Today the first link on there is sunglasses and links to an inner page called sunglasses.


sunglasses

The sunglasses inner page isn’t great when you get to it, it’s a splash page with a list of key phrases.

That links then to a site, all of this is located in the inner folder called /sunglasses/ but there are then some links out of the site to what I can only guess is the clients site – www.sunglasses-by-mail-order.co.uk.

So what are I have a website now what trying to do? Well they have plenty of links pointing at the home page of the site. The idea is the page rank flows from the domain to the inner pages. It’s similar to how reputation marketing works, set up a profile on a strong site, e.g. facebook and then get the ranking on the sub folder.

Is it working well, yes, search for ‘cheap cutlery’ and you’ll find one of these mini sites ranking at number 3 on Google.co.uk (the sunglasses one isn’t ranking yet so I’m guessing its new). So the client can then reap the benefits and maybe make some sales or enquirers from the incoming traffic but maybe after a bit of time on the site they 301 to the clients site to pass on the rankings and page rank.

This type of SEO isn’t black hat people can put what they want on their own site, it might be grey hat depending on you point of view. It might not yield the same results as a white hat campaign but seem to be working for I have a website now what.

I’ll be checking the site over next few month to see if http://www.ihaveawebsite-nowwhat.co.uk/sunglasses/ gets re-directed to the clients site!

I”ve only been reading Joost de Valk’s blog recently and have found it immensely useful. The main topic is SEO but Joost is also a really good WordPress plugin developer. It doesn’t end there, he’s developed Firefox plugins, grease monkey scripts and SEO general tools.

Generally if your into WordPress and SEO you can’t go wrong with any of his suggestions or plugins. This site is running 3 plugins from Joost and made some changes to the architecture of the site thanks to some of his suggestions.

I have to admit from reading the articles and looking at the plugins he’s created you can’t but be jealous of his talent and expertise in SEO hence the link on the blog roll. So get over to yoast.com and subscribe.