Not all backlinks are good

If you have too many bad links for your site can not only lower your site’s importance in the page rankings of search engines it can also encourage some search engines like Lycos, Yahoo and Google to permanently remove your site from their search engine ranking pages. This is something you do not want to happen.

Normally the more links you have on your web page, the more Google and other search engines will love you and try to boost your search engine rankings. Part of most search engine algorithms has been to raise the ranking of a site that has a great deal of link popularity. This is why it is always essential to monitor the people who are linking to you. If their links are broken they will be damaging your site. Google, the grand master of this ranking methodology, often penalizes sites that provide links to links that serve no purpose or that is broken. This leads to a potentially very dangerous situation because you have no real control over what sites choose to link to yours unless your website is a blog in which case you can banish links from being attached to your site (Trackbacks and Pingbacks).
The drag is that the more popular your site is the more links you are going to have and the more time you are going to be spending checking to make sure that the links are operative.

There is a quick way to see if sites that are linked to your site are active. On Google download the Google toolbar and do a search on the site. If the site’s link is broken it will not be green in color on a sliding green scale that is pictured on the toolbar. If they are gray get rid of them, as these sites are just dead weight in terms of links and probably already affecting your searchability on the Internet.

A few tips:

  • Have no more than 100 links on each page of your site (Internal and external links)
  • Do not link from your website to ‘Bad Neighbourhoods’ (Link Farms, Porn etc).
  • Check your outgoing links once a month to make sure they still work.
  • Have a Google webmasters account to check incoming links.
  • If you have incoming links from somewhere you don’t want, email the website owner and ask them to remove.
  • Avoid incoming links from Porn sites, Link Farms etc.

Building links is something many photographers struggle with. For the best in Photographers SEO, contact us today, and we can help build and implement a strategic link building programme that is search engine friendly and tried and tested.

Five Big SEO Do’s

We recently published an article called ‘Five Big Seo Don’ts‘ so here is the five things you should do to help your photography website.

Whether your web site is big or small there are five basic things that are must do’s when it comes to optimising your website for the search engines.

Number 1:

The first key thing is to take the time to do a careful search of all of your keywords and key phrases and make sure that they really do relate to what you are selling. Use a good program like Google Adwords Keyword Tools or hire us to do professional keyword research as not knowing your keywords is like driving blind in the dark. There is also no point in targeting keywords that no one is searching for.

Number 2:

Make sure you write a short descriptive title tag of what each page of your site is all about before you submit it to the search engines. This information can also help the users that are searching for you locate you easily. Avoid the temptation of creating title tags that are longer than 30 characters, since they might have a dilution effect in your rankings of certain search engines.

Number 3:

Make sure that the main text on your web page has the same as the keywords contained in your title tag. This is so that the search engines have something to hook into when they search your site. Try and repeat these keywords two to three times in the main body of the text without sounding repetitive. You should try to keep your keyword density to around 5% of the article total.

Number 4:

Add a sitemap to your site as that assists both the search engines and users in assessing your pages. It also helps Google properly index your site. This sitemap can be submitted to Google using the Webmaster Tools interface. The sitemap helps search engines find all the pages on your site.

Number 5:

Another tip is to build links to your site, from a variety of different sources. Increasing the number of links that point to your site will boost you in the results pages. You should only link from pages that have similar themes to your site, and stay away from bad “neighborhoods” or from so-called link farms or FFA sites. Make sure you have links from Forums, articles, social networks, other blogs, bookmarking sites etc.

For help and assistance with any of this, to make your photography site go up through the rankings, please contact us. If you know of anymore Big SEO Do’s, please comment below.

Five Big Seo Don’ts

When search engine optimising your web pages there are five basic things you should avoid doing or all of your hard work trying to achieve rankings will go to waste.

Number 1:

First of all avoid using cloaking mechanisms. This is automated software that doesn’t work unless it knows the IP address of a search engine spider. Cloaking is a form of SEO deception that serves a unique, optimized page to the search engines, while presenting a completely different page to people visiting your website. Most major search engines will penalise or ban you altogether if you use this tempting black hat SEO technique that often backfires.

Number 2:

Avoid using professionals that guarantee you a number one position or first page rankings. There is no such thing as this guarantee. To be safe always ask what techniques your would-be SEO firm uses to achieve a good positioning for your site.

Number 3:

Don’t use software that automatically submits your sites on a weekly or monthly basis, since it might penalise you in the long run. You can be considered a spammer so you if you submit URLS too often so you don’t really need to submit more than once.

Number 4:

Don’t entrust your site to people that will submit it to “thousands of engines.” There isn’t that many search engines in the first place. You will be submitted to link farms.

Number 5:

Keep Flash technology out of your site. As far as your rankings in the search engines go, the best way to develop a site is in using standard technology, such as HTML. Text written in the HTML format is proven technology that all search engines have long recognized and approved, since the beginning of the Internet. Using the right technology will always help your site attain a good position in the search engine ranking pages.

We hope these help. For more advise on how to correctly SEO your website, please contact us.

The Moo Moo Website Directory
Human Edited Website Directory with strong one way links with options for free or paid reviews

How to get more Twitter followers (Real one’s that is)

Twitter is one of the great social media sites, and is a brilliant way to let people know what your doing, where you doing it, and to interact with friends, colleagues, customers and potential customers. However, many people join, follow Stephen Fry, Justin Bieber and a few other celebs, posts a few tweets and then wonder why no one is following them.

Other people spend hours following others, and wonder why no one is following them back. There are a few things you can do to increase your number of followers, that work and that help improve your social network reach. So here’s a few tips that should help:

  • Follower sanity is better than follower vanity. What does this mean? Well, it’s easy to go to fiverr.com, and pay $5 for someone to give you 5000 followers in a matter of hours. However, all these followers will be accounts that are made just for following people, not real people who will read and interact with your Tweets. There is also a risk that Twitter will close these accounts over time, and your follower count will drop. This is good if you just want to overtake your friends in follower numbers, but no good for business.
  • Use it, or lose it. Twitter is all about interacting with people. If you don’t interact, its a bit like standing in the corner of a room at a function, not talking to anyone, and hoping someone will come over and speak to you. You need to get out there, start Tweeting relevant tweets, interact with people, and don’t be afraid to join the conversation.
  • Start Local and Branch out. Depending on who you want to target on Twitter, start by targeting one area. Many Photographers work mainly in one town / area. So go to Twitter and use their search facility and enter your town or area. On the results page, you can choose to view the Tweets containing that name, or the people who have listed this as their location as well, or its in their bio.

That’s the basic tips to start with. Use Twitter, interact, post relevant Tweets and find people in your local area. These are the ground rules which you should always follow. Now we know this, we can move on a bit and follow some do’s and don’ts.

  • Do Follow people in the hope they will follow you back. This may sound obvious, but someone may never know you existed until you start following them. Many people follow back their followers (we @BadgesPatches do). Others will want you to interact with them before they follow you back.
  • Don’t follow inactive users. When you view someone’s profile on Twitter, you can see when they last Tweeted. If they haven’t tweeted in the last few months, is it worth following them?
  • Don’t be afraid to unfollow people who don’t follow you. If you’ve followed someone, and interacted with them, but they haven’t followed you back, don’t be afraid to unfollow them. It may be worth just asking them to follow you, as they may have overlooked it. Unless their Tweets really appeal to you, is it worth following them?
  • Do ask people to ReTweet for you. There is nothing wrong with Tweeting ‘We have an amazing offer 20% of everything, Please RT’. The more people that RT for you, the more exposure you get.
  • Don’t use Twitter just for business. OK, we may get shot down for this, but people deal with people, so use your personality, and talk. If your account is just 100% business, you may put of some followers.
  • Do put your twitter username in your email signature, your business cards, your Facebook profile, your website, your advertising, basically anywhere anyone can see it!
  • Do use the Twitter search. I know we mentioned this above, but the search is a great way to find new people to interact with. Try searching your profession, your area, even yourself!
  • Don’t expect overnight miracles. Some people may jump a few hundred followers overnight if their Tweet goes Viral, but this is rare. Expect it to take some time, but don’t worry, you’ll get there in the end 🙂

That’s just a basic overview for now, we will be doing more, to help you get more Twitter followers. This will include using Hashtags, and going over the numerous websites that can help you manage your followers and Tweets.

If your really keen to get more relevant Twitter followers, we can do it for you. It does cost, so please do contact us if your interested.

My Twitter Account Has Been Hacked

Don't let spammers ruin your Twitter experience
Follow these steps to regain control of your account.

When your Twitter account gets hacked, many things could happen. One of the most common things to happen is that all your followers (who you’re also following) will receive a DM (Direct Message). The message normally takes a standard format, and is along the lines of:

  • Hello some person is making very bad rumors about you…
  • Hello this user is making really bad things about you…
  • Hello some person is posting nasty things about you…
  • Hi someone is saying horrible things about you…
  • Hey somebody is posting terrible rumors about you…
  • Hi someone is posting really bad things about you..
  • Hello somebody is posting horrible things about you…
  • rofl…OMG I’m laughing so hard at this picture of u someone uploaded

Followed by a shortened link for you to click. Most people would think ‘Oh My Goodness’ and click the link without hesitation, to see what these terrible rumours are, or what the picture is of. The link goes to a page that looks like Twitter, and asks you to log in. Once you enter your log in details, you’ve then given the hackers access to your account.

Following on from this, the hackers will start to post tweets to your account. Normally these are spam Tweets, along the lines of ‘Lose 20lbs with this amazing weight loss plan’ or something similar. These are all spam, and more than likely something that your followers don’t need.

We know of lots of people, who have had this happen to them, and then closed their Twitter account, never to return to one of the best Social Marketing sites again. There is no need for this to happen. Just follow the steps below:

  1. If your account has been hacked, log in via the proper twitter page at https://twitter.com/ Check the padlock is there, and it shows Twitter Inc US as the certificate holder.
  2. Change your password. Don’t make it similar or near your last password. Make sure it is a different length and contains a mixture of letters and numbers.
  3. If you have allowed 3rd party apps access to your Twitter account, revoke this by visiting the ‘applications’ tab in account settings.

These steps should hopefully stop the hackers from accessing your account with almost immediate effect.

Then we need to think about how to protect ourselves again in the future. Here at BadgesPatches we manage about 15 different Twitter accounts, totally about 120k followers across them all. We receive these DM’s every day, and every day we ignore them.

  • If you receive a DM, and are a little bit unsure if its real or spam, send a DM back to the sender asking them. Most people don’t mind this.
  • Never enter your Twitter password on a site, unless you are 100% sure it is the real Twitter site. If you click the link in a DM whilst logged into Twitter, and it goes to a page asking for your Twitter login credentials, you can be fairly sure its a hackers page you’ve gone to.
  • If you do receive a DM, and know its spam, refer the sender to this page, so they can stop them being sent any more.

Twitter has a really helpful Help Center, that contains many tips on how to protect your account once its been compromised. It can be found at http://support.twitter.com/articles/31796

Meta Tags Explained

Meta Tags are little pieces of information, that you can enter into most websites, to explain to the search engines what your site or page is all about. They shouldn’t be the same across your whole site, with the Meta Tags being tailored to each and every page of your website.

When a search engine views your website, it doesn’t see all the fancy pictures or layout, instead it sees lots of code. Go to any webpage, right click with your mouse, and then select ‘View Source’. The result you get, is what the search engines see.

Meta Tags are a great way to control what the search engines think of your site. There are 3 main types of Meta Tags for the main body of your site (images are slightly different, and we will cover these in another post):

Title: This is what your page is about. Like a book title. It appears at the top of your browser, and may be the words within the tab. When you click to view source, it is contained within 2 <title> tags, like this:
<title>Badges Patches | SEO and Websites For Photographers</title>

Description: A quick and brief summary of what this page is about. Normally no more than 160 or so characters. When viewed in source, it will look like this:
<meta name=”description” content=”Providing SEO services to photographers and websites for photographers..” />

Keywords: The keywords for you page, and what you would like to rank well for. Google openly admits that it dosen’t use the Keywords Meta anymore (and hasn’t done so for many years), so this part is up to you. The content on your page should be enough to let the search engines know what your main keywords are. When viewed in source, it will look like this:
<meta name=”keywords” content=”SEO for photographers, Photographers SEO, Websites for photographers, Websites for photographers” />

Of the 3 items listed above, the only one that will be visible to anyone who views your website normally would be the title tag. The others they would need to view the source to see what is there.

Although Meta Tags are incredibly important, it is important to remember not to stuff them full of just a couple of keywords. Entering to much of the same words can have a detrimental effect on your listings within the search engines.

If this all sounds terribly complicated, and you have no idea about where to enter this information in your website, there are many ways you can get help. Many Photographers now have websites that run on WordPress, and there are plugins such as ‘All In One SEO’ and ‘Platinum SEO’ that will insert and extra box at the bottom of your add post or add page page, and let you enter the title, description and keywords without having to worry about the coding involved.

Please feel free to enter any comments below.

Google PageRank Explained

Google ranks all websites, and webpages that it has indexed. It does this on a scale of N/A to 10. If your website has no rank at all, its classed as N/A, then there is 0, 1, 2 all the way up to 10. 10 is the highest page rank, and this goes to the most influential webpages. To give you an idea, at the time of writing this, Facebook has a pagerank of 9, whilst this website has 1.

Whilst Google may update its pagerank on a regular frequency, it is only updated to the end user about once every 3 months. Google does this to stop people learning how its ranking system works, and then ‘reverse engineering’ the process, so they can get their website a rank higher than they deserve.

Some people get really hung up on pagerank, and think if they can get a PR4 site, their life will be complete, they will marry a beautiful person, make loads of money and be at the top of every possible search term for their sites. Sadly, this isn’t true. Pagerank is just Googles way of ranking your site, and has very little, if any, affect on your position within the search results.

PageRank Factors:

No one knows quite how Google calculates pagerank. There are many myths and theories around, and some people believe the old method of ‘number of backlinks’. Unfortunately, this is no longer true, and there are many more factors included, rather than it just being about backlinks.

If you sign up for a webmasters account, or have Google analytics, you are giving Google loads of information about your sites, and what your visitors are doing. This includes;

How many visitors your getting
How long they spend on your site
How many pages they view

Google also looks at who is talking about your site, how many links you have and where they come from, social networks, age of domain, and lots more and tries to work out how influential your site is. This all goes into a complicated maths formula (we presume, as no one really knows) and this then out puts what your page rank should be.

Site or page?

When people say, ‘my website has a PR of 4’, what they really mean is ‘My home page has a PR of 4’. The PR is assigned to a webpage, and not a website. Go onto any website, and (normally) the home page has the highest page rank. They may then be pages within the site with a slightly lower page rank, and some pages of that site that have no page rank at all. This is perfectly common, but it is incredible rare for an entire website to have exactly the same pagerank, when you get above 1.

if your buying a domain with a high pagerank, be careful. You need to be sure that that (unless your buying the site content as well), you fill it with well researched, unique and influential content, or the page rank will be lost at the next update.

 

 

Photography Website SEO, The Basics.

Your a photographer, you know about the shutter speed, DOF, and you may even know the difference between an EF and EF-S lens. But when it comes to your website, is it all a foreign language, and a myriad of different terms that mean absolutely nothing to you? Well read on, and we’ll explain the basic SEO principles for your website.

Firstly, what is SEO and what does it mean and do?

SEO stands for Search engine optimisation. It is about maximising your site, so the search engines (Google, Bing etc) know where your site should be for various search terms in the listings. SEO for photographers is pretty much the same as any other sites SEO. If you wanted to be on the first page for the search term ‘Wedding Photographer London’ you would maximise your site for that term.

So, how do we do it, and what do we need to know?

Lets stick with our ‘Wedding Photographer London’ keyword, that we want to do well in the search engines for. Ideally, for any page we want 3 keywords, so we’ll add ‘London Wedding Photographer’ and ‘Wedding Photography London’ in as well. This gives us our 3 keywords to start working with. From here, we can build our page, and put these keywords into the various areas.

Depending on what browser your using, at the top of the page, maybe in the tab, it says what the page is about. For this page it says ‘Basic SEO For Photographers’. This is called the page title, and should include your main keyword.

Next, in the address bar is the URL. This should also include another of your keywords. The URL is the bit that looks like this: http://badgespatches.com/photography-website-seo-the-basics

Then we have the Meta Description. This is a hidden piece of code that explains what the page is about. Depending on what browser your using, you may be able to right click on a page, and have an option to ‘View Source’. This will bring up a page with alot of code, that will include an area that says ‘<meta description’ . This is read by the search engines and is sometimes used in search results as the description of your site. This should also contain a keyword.

And finally for this section, we have the page content. This is the writing that is on your page. Ideally you want this to be about 500 to 750 words, and have a keyword density of between 0.5 and 5%. Don’t over do your keywords, as the major search engines don’t like this.

That is a very basic view of what you need to do to your own site. We will write more posts going into greater depth about this all. If you have brought one of our websites for photographers, you can enter all the above points into your posts and pages by activating one of the SEO plugins.

Some people suggest that SEO on your webpage is only about 20% of what you should be doing, and the other 80% is off site. Have a look at our SEO packages for some ideas of to build backlinks into your site, and you can also order a page review there, to see if your webpage is optimised enough for the search engines.,

How do I add and edit a page?

A page for your site, is somewhere to place information, that you would like to be kept at the front. A page is normally used to showcase something, such as a speciality, where as a post is normally used to display recent achievements, or views.

To explain, if your a photographer, you may have a page for Wedding Photography, but would write a post for Jack and Jill’s wedding. You can then leave your wedding page in place, and write more posts for each wedding you do.

To add a page:

In your websites admin panel, hover your mouse over the tab that says ‘Pages’. The menu will the flyout, giving you options for ‘All Pages’ and ‘Add New’. Click Add new.

On the page that then loads, add your page title, and and content that you would like included in that page.

On the right hand side of the screen, you will see a blue button that says ‘Publish’. Click this when you have finished.

That’s it, you page is now ‘Live’.

To edit a page:

In your websites admin panel, hover your mouse over the tab that says ‘Pages’. The menu will the flyout, giving you options for ‘All Pages’ and ‘Add New’. Click ‘All Pages’.

The page that loads will display a list of the pages that you have written. In that list, find the one you wish to edit. Hover your mouse over the page title, and a number of links appear below the page title. Click ‘Edit’.

This then loads the page you saw when you wrote the page. Carry out any changes you wish to make, and then click ‘Puiblish’ again.

The changes have now been made, and the page is now live to view.

How do I put a link to my page in the sites menu bar?

The menu bar appears on every page of your site. It normally includes links such as ‘Home’ ‘Contact Us’ etc. To add a link to the page you’ve just written from this bar:

In your websites admin panel, on the left hand side, hover your mouse over the ‘Appearence’ tab. The menu flys out, and you want to click on ‘Menus’.

This then loads the page that controls the menus. There will be a box that says ‘Pages’. In that box, find the title of the page you wish to add. Next to the title will be a small box, click in this and it will place a tick, meaning we wish to add this page.

At the bottom of the pages menu, is a button that says ‘add to menu’, click this, and you will see the page title appear in the big right hand side.

Click the blue ‘Save Menu’ button, and your done.

Go to your home page and check, and it will now be there on the menu.

How do I change how my website looks?

Changing the appearance of your website, is as simple as clicking a few buttons.

The appearance of your website is controlled by pieces of software called ‘Themes’. We have already installed many of these Themes, and will now explain how you can change between them, and change the appearance of your site.

In your admin panel for your site, on the left hand side is a tab that says ‘Appearance’, click on this.

The screen that then loads, shows the ‘Theme’ that is currently installed at the top, and all other themes are listed below, and on subsequent pages.

Under each available Themes, you can see 2 links, Activate and Preview.

Activate will change the theme immediatly, so what is seen on the public view of your website is that Theme.

Preview will open a window that shows how your website would look, should you choose to install that Theme. From the preview screen, if you like what you see, you can click in the top right corner, where it says ‘Activate Theme Name’, or click on the top left hand side, where there is a small x to close the preview screen.

Changing Themes will only change what is ion the ‘Public’ side of your site, and do not change how your admin looks.