Posts Tagged ‘seo’

Sometimes the Best Tools in Life Are Free

October 23, 2009

My fellow students and I are privledged to have acceess to some of the top software on the market. The latest version of Adobe’s popular Creative Suite — which comprises image editing, Web development and multimedia software — was included with our tuition and professional programs not part of that package, such as video editing client Final Cut Pro, are available on campus.

Still, our school can’t afford to buy us everything we need. And, many of us knee deep in student loans, we certainly can’t. So, quite often, we depend on free tools to get the job done. This is good practice as many of us can expect to be working for startups or nonprofits with relatively small budgets.

Free tools, we learned today, sometimes are preffered even by companies that can afford paid ones.

Elon Unversity alumnus Travis Lusk, who was to particpate in a School of Communications networking panel later in the day, told us this morning that most of the Web sites he oversees for WCBS-FM in New York will soon be produced using WordPress’s open-source content management system.

Lusk, as part of a talk on audience analytics, praised WordPress’s clean interface and its customizability through Cascading Style Sheets and widgets and called it the “most out-of-the-box SEO friendly [CMS] on the market, hands down.”

WordPress, for example, makes tweaking urls to match keywords a snap.

While Lusk depends on paid analytics tools like Clicky Web Analytics and for real-time audience information, Google’s free analytics software is a tool he regularly uses.


What You Should Know About SEO

September 18, 2009

Search engine optimization is an entire industry onto itself. Organizations with large online footprints that can afford to hire experts usually do. For this reason, SEO can seem intimidating. But, for casual bloggers who just want to feel a little more popular or useful by allowing more searchers to stumble upon their content, it needn’t be.

Here are five SEO tips you can start applying today that require minimal extra effort:

  1. Include four to five keywords in your home page’s title tag. Be authentic. The keywords should accurately reflect what’s on the site. The site for my hometown paper, The Baltimore Sun, has well-written title tag keywords: “breaking news, sports, weather and traffic in Baltimore.”
  2. Post often. Also vary the length and frequency of your posts. This helps convince search engines your site is being written by a human and not a robot.
  3. Always, always include alt text for images and media. This creates more copy that may potentially match search terms. (It’s also an accessibility commandment.)
  4. Link to high quality content (.edu and .gov sites are especially good). Engines love connections and hate dead ends. Look for places where the copy naturally lends itself to a hyperlink but don’t link just for the sake of linking.
  5. What you shouldn’t do is as important as what you should do. Don’t try to game the system through keyword stuffing or invisible links. Search engines penalize for these and, if they get wind of them, so will readers. Protect your ranking. Protect you brand. Stick to white hat techniques.

There’s a whole SEO universe beyond this, of course, and that universe is constantly changing. Here’s a look at what the future may hold:

  • Greater attention will be paid to optimizing for clearinghouses other than search engines. Restaurants, for example, would be wise to pay attention to Urban Spoon. Airlines, Kayak. Social networking sites will also demand greater attention.
  • As mobile devices proliferate, ensuring pages come up in locational searches will become increasingly important.
  • Optimizing for multiple languages is an important aspect of SEO in Europe. As the world continues to get smaller, this will become more common in relatively linguistically homogenous regions like North America.