What are your thoughts on having links to other pages of my web site at the bottom of each of my web pages? Will this help or hurt our rankings? Is this a more outdated practice?
Including Links within a site wide footer is a fairly common practice that has been around for a long time – and in fact has seen a bit of a resurgence in the designs of a lot of Web 2.0 sites.
Providing you are sensible in the use of these types of links they should help, rather than hurt your rankings. In many cases the footer provides a logical place to provide links to the main sections of your site – and also allows you to include search engine friendly text based (and keyword rich) anchor text.
Footer links can make it easier for users to navigate your site – without having to scroll back to the top of the page. However, I recommend that you use footer links in moderation – I suggest a maximum of a dozen or so. If there are too many (particularly if they are heavily keyword optimised) they can start to look spammy (to search engines as well as users) and may start to have a negative impact on rankings and conversions.
Google has also suggested that you should try and limit the number of links per page to a maximum of about 100. If you have a large number of links in your page footers this could become an issue.
As a general rule, if it’s good for your users it will be good for search rankings. If you are thinking of doing anything to your site primarily for the benefit of the search engines rather than your users, then you should think long and hard before going ahead with it.
Ireckon Web Marketing
I was wondering if you have an active ppc program if this hurts you in natural search optimization since your paying for keyword placement. Why would Google/Yahoo rank you high if your already paying them lots of money. I tested this by pausing my Yahoo ad for 1 month and sure enough my keywords are all on front page when beforehand they were are pages 3-5. Too nervous to do with Google since we spend a lot per month.
This is a topic which has been much debated over the years, but the short answer is No, running a PPC Campaign will have no “direct” impact on your rankings.
People have speculated that using PPC might improve your rankings (as a reward by the search engine) or – as you’ve have suggested – decrease your rankings (presumably to encourage people to click on the ads).
It should be very easy to test, and many people have tried to prove it one way or the other – but I am unaware of any conclusive proof. Even though your test seems to suggest a correlation between your PPC and organic rankings, you only appear to have done a part of the test. In order to prove the correlation you would need to turn on and off your PPC campaign over an extended period and track this against changes in your rankings.
In my opening sentence above, I emphasized that there is no “direct” effect, because running an aggressive PPC campaign could in fact have an indirect impact on your organic rankings – in a couple of different ways :
- By running PPC you will get extra traffic in a shorter amount of time, and the data that this generates can help you to tweak and improve factors that can influence your organic rankings. For example, through using a broad range of keyword phrases on your campaigns – and by looking at the impressions you get, you will get an idea of which phrases are being searched most often. You should also be able to determine which keywords are converting better. By focusing your optimisation efforts on high volume and higher converting phrases, you will boost your rankings and your sales or enquiries.
- Running PPC will also raise the visibility of your brand and your site. You will be getting extra visitors – and if they like what they see they are likely to link to your site. This in itself will also improve your organic rankings.
Ireckon Web Marketing
I have a question about SEO and flash. We insert flash headers into our web pages sometimes and also use it to insert video into site pages now and again, but we don’t do entire sites in flash. Are there any recent tips or tricks to optimizing the type of flash we use for our sites? Are there any standard coding tips we should be implementing?
As you are aware, fully Flash websites present a major problem for SEO. Traditionally most flash websites do not rank very well (if at all), and despite recent improvements in the ability of search engine spiders to crawl Flash, this is still mostly true. These days, even though search engines are able to navigate through flash sites, idenify content and locate (and follow) links, it is still (as far as I am aware) not possible for search engines to link to specific sections or “pages” within a flash file.
The approach that you have taken – using Flash elements within a traditional page – is the best way to make the most of the Flash functionality and still maximise your ranking potential. Once I would have recommended that if you use flash for navigation you should also provide a text based navigation alternative, to allow search engines to crawl the site. However, I believe that this is no longer necessary as I am starting to see pages indexed by the search engines that are only linked from within flash – proof that crawlers are in fact able to navigate and index them successfully.
There is less evidence however, to show whether search crawlers are able to associate relevant anchor text in the flash file with the link (as they would for a text based link for example). There are also fewer constructs within flash to allow you to associate additional keywords to links, so text links are still likely to be better for optimizing your site. By all means use Flash elements if you need or want to but be sure to also include plenty of other non-flash content.
Flash Video Optimization
Optimization for Flash Videos is much the same as optimising any video. Even though search engines are getting better at understanding video – and I suspect it may be sooner rather than later that they will be able to automatically transcode and decipher comtent for the audio track of videos – this is not yet the case, so you should ensure that any pages containing video content also contain relevant text based content and keyw9ords (and preferably a full transcript from the video).
As for other tips and techniques for optimizing Flash – it’s really too big a topic (and probably to technical) to cover in this blog – but you may like to take a look at this Flash Website Optimisation Strategies post by dgm in Sydney.
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