Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Search Engines - Pt 3 - Keyphrases

Keyphrases are a weird science

More specific (ie multiword) combinations are generally lower volume and more targetted than single words. For instance, take the word READING. It turns out that most people who type in the word reading are looking for the something astrological. Also, many are interested in a town called Reading. Then there are those who are interested in education or literacy. To avoid the confusion from using a broad term, focus on more specific terms such as:

learning to read
remedial reading programs
2nd grade reading skills
learning elementary reading skills
pre reading skills such as phonemic awareness

Sometimes two word combinations are less popular than one word combinations.
Heres a quiz - What two word combination is more popular than the single word search: "school". Yes, it is...." school girls"

Each search engine treats the details of keyphrases differently.

For instance,
- which engine treats 2nd grade and second grade the same?
- which engine treats them differently?
- which engine treats learning game and learning games differently?
- which engine treats them the same?

To get a a feel for a behind-the-scenes look at my keyphrases, check out my private guide to keyphrases and links to them - http://www.time4learning.com/include_archive.shtml

Search Engines & How to Place in them - Intro - Pt 1

I'm frequently asked to explain search engines and how to place in them.

1. Natural Search vs Paid Search - Type in any term (try reading) into the google search engine, you'll notice that there are two columns of info.

On the left is whats called "natural search". This is google's effort to provide you with the most relevent and important matches. On the right side, in a column titled "sponsored search", are advertisements which have been matched with your search. These are PPC (pay per click) advertisements. When you click on them, the advertiser pays google some amount of money.

2. There are many many many search engines. Focus on Google for starters, its at least 55% of the search market. When you start looking at the different search engines, one tricky to understand issue is that some search engines use other search engines. And this keeps changing. For instance, AOL relies on Google for search. AskJeeves (now ASK) primarily uses the results from Google. Yahoo relied on the google sponsored search results until they bought Overture and now they use their own sponsored search results. The three biggest search engines in order are:
- Google - 60% of the searches
- Yahooo - 15% of the searches
- MSN - 15% of the searches and climbing fast
- Ask, tom's search engine, dick's search & directory firm, harry's A-Z business directory & search etc etc
BTW - search engines are different than directories but we'll get to that another day.

3. Find out what people are searching for. The volume matters - http://inventory.overture.com/d/searchinventory/suggestion/ will tell you for the previous month what the number of searches were for a given key phrase in the US on the yahoo search engine. Another useful free tool is http://www.goodkeywords.com/ which you can install and use on your computer. Its not at all obvious or intuitive what the volume searches are. Plus, why.

Continue to part 2

Demos - Remote Learning

I have found another great tool - I can now do remote demos using:

This will allow us to show www.time4learning.com's great K-6 Homeschool Curriculua to users without hoping that they look at the right educational fun games for kids.

I wonder if it works with flash?

Browser Compatibility

I thought that testing required getting access to all the different browsers and a mac....While doing this is always a good test, I just discovered this gem:
http://www.browsercam.com/ - a site for testing for all the different browsers.

Our educational teaching games and implementations of Compass Learning Odyssey will now be tested there.

Friday, August 19, 2005

search engines - Pt 2 - Natural Search -

4. Pick some relevant keyphrases and be realistic, you can get some good ones, but the keyphrases with huge volume are not accessible generally to new sites. The best strategy is to spend some time finding some mid-volume phrases that match well with what you do and which have not become too competitive. Details to follow.

5. google counts links in a sophisticated manner. Obviously, links from big sites count more than from little ones. External more than internal. From strangers more than same address. Text links in body count more than ads.
6 Track your links.
7. Build your links

Monday, August 15, 2005

SEO - Alt Tags - Animated Gifs

Can I put anchor text that will count for SEO relevence in google when using an animated gif tile ad?


How would i use that animated gif with:
- alt text - kids math games learn to read programs educational teaching games
- a link to - http://www.time4learning.com

Would I do better to use link to the gifs or to copy over the gifs?

kids math games learn to read programs educational teaching games

SEO - What links matter?

Do links in sites like bookmarks count?

Will those links help the people? Can a bookmark page get a high enough rating so it helps lift other pages?

Does an entire blog have the same ranking or can individual articles have different ratings in google?

Server Side Includes - SSI - Include Archives

For simple management of a website, you can use build with templates or SSI - server side includes. One of the problems is keeping track of the ssi's that you create. Since they are invisible, it can be very difficult for a new designer or for an absend-minded one (and aren't we all?) to take advantage of the SSI's that exist.

Introducing the incredibly-simple : Include Archives !!!

For asset mgt, this is a nifty solution. Other assets are easy to track since pictures and headlines etc are visible and you can point at them to get their reference. But having an archive of server side includes - SSI is great. To quote one of my chief designers.... :-D

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

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