Will you be purchasing a tablet in the coming year?

Have you decided which one you will go for?

It seems like the tablet market is going to be THE emerging market during the next year or two with just about every manufacturer launching its own tablet.

It seems as though the 4 main formats competing for your business will be Apple’s iPad and its 2nd generation model, Blackberry’s tablet (rumored to be call a Playbook or Blackpad), Microsoft’s tablet and the various Android powered tablets.photo of new blackberry blackpad playbook

Is there room for all? Which will succeed and which will fail?

What are your thoughts?

Always make sure you use alt tags as this helps with SEO.

What exactly is an Alt Tag?

Wikipedia defines an Alt Tag as: “The alt attribute is used in HTML and XHTML documents to specify text that is to be rendered when the element to which it is applied cannot be rendered. In HTML 4.01, the attribute is required for the img and area element types.”

Wikipedia actually tells us that Alt Tags are really a Misnomer. It says that:

“The alt attribute is commonly, but incorrectly, referred to as an image’s “alt tag”. It is not intended to provide “pop up” text or tooltips when a user’s mouse hovers over the image, though alt text has historically been presented in this way in some web browsers; HTML’s title attribute is intended for supplementary information that can be used in this way. (To use alt correctly and suppress the tooltip that some web browsers generate, a web author can use an empty title attribute.)”.

Alt Tags are really technically called “alt attributes”. But, let’s just call them Alt Tags because that’s what they are normally known as.

How do you use an Alt Tag?

Alt Tags are added to images, in the html code when the image is called for in the html code of the web page. The easiest thing to do is to insert the image on the page and then add or edit the alt tag.

It is important that each image on your web site contains a unique Alt Tag or “alt attribute”. The keywords used should describe the image. Try to be as specific and clear as possible.

So in terms of SEO keep in mind that the keywords in the Alt Tags are very important. They should describe what you will see in the image perfectly. If the image is an image of a red Ford Focus car, then I would use the keyword phrase “red Ford focus car” in the image’s Alt Tag. If you use multiple images on your web site, make sure for each different image you apply a different unique image Alt Tag.

Adding Alt Tags to the images on your web site is nothing new. However, there is now strong evidence that search engines are now giving more weight to Alt Tags than they are the Title Tag or even an H1 Tag on the page. You should still make sure you use proper Title Tags and H1 Tags, but more SEO value for organic search engine rankings can be gained by using proper Alt Tags than using proper Title Tags or H1 Tags.

Having your keywords in the body text of your page is important, but having your keywords in the Alt Tags is very important. Even more so than the H1 Tag or the Title Tag. So, if you are not happy with how your web site is performing lately in the organic search engine rankings, you may need to adjust your search engine optimisation efforts. In fact, if you have not done so already, you might want to take another look at all your image alt tags or alt attributes to make sure that all of the images on your web pages have the proper image alt attributes.

Quite often, one of the most overlooked and easiest to change image alt tags or alt attribute that could make a big difference is the logo image on your website’s home page. Many of us have an image as our logo but many forget to apply suitable alt tags to it.

18 Aug, 2010

Bing and Mircosoft go to Mars

Posted by: drobs In: MSN Bing Search Engine

Microsoft has added Mars imagery to Bing Maps and with the imagery coming directly from NASA.

Bing’s Chris Pendleton:  ”Microsoft Research and NASA are providing an entirely new experience to users of the WorldWide Telescope, which will allow visitors to interact with and explore our solar system like never before. Viewers can now take exclusive interactive tours of the Red Planet, hear directly from NASA scientists, and view and explore the most complete, highest-resolution coverage of Mars available.”

“The beauty of this is that the Bing WorldWide Telescope Map App has been updated with the new imagery, as well,” adds Pendleton. This means users of Bing Maps can immediately enjoy the new imagery of the Red Planet from within their browser via our Silverlight site.”

Is having a dedicated IP address crucial for achieving great search engine rankings and if an IP address is shared among many sites, is the Google PageRank for diminished for each site?

This is very common question in the SEO world, which is repeated asked on SEO forums, despite the search engines addressing these concerns.

A statement by Google’s Craig Silverstein in 2003:

Actually, Google handles virtually hosted domains and their links just the same as domains on unique IP addresses. If your ISP does virtual hosting correctly, you’ll never see a difference between the two cases. We do see a small percentage of ISPs every month that misconfigure their virtual hosting, which might account for this persistent misperception.

General opinion is that the Google statement from 2003 is still true now. Links to virtually hosted domains are treated the same as links to domains on dedicated IP addresses.

That said, if you have loads of sites (sometimes 1,000) on the same IP address which all link to each other and to bad linking neighborhoods, the PageRank between those links which are being passed along could be diluted. In addition, if some of those sites are also practicing questionable SEO methods having them all grouped together could set off some kind of warning to Google that may affect rankings.

On the flipside, such linking would not be natural, so if the sites were all hosted on separate IP addresses, it is likely that Google would still be able to identify the group of sites trading links back and forth, even if their hosting records or domain registrar records shows obvious connection between the sites.

What are your opinions or views on hosting sites on dedicated vs shared IP addresses?

Gator Web Design in Reading provides web design and SEO services

1. Build a search engine friendly website.

2. Determine the right keywords and search terms for your website.

3. Optimise your website with the chosen keywords in the right places and frequency.

4. Submit your site and get it listed on the main search engines.

5. Create a link building strategy to obtain quality links to your site.

10 May, 2010

Twitter Panic as all Followers Lost

Posted by: drobs In: Twitter

Panic spread across the twitter world on 10th May because everyone’s followers and followings/friends dropped to 0.

However, by the following morning this was corrected by Twitter. There are still some minor date issues that are working their way out of the system.

Press releases are a very useful way to inform the market of your product or service. Not only are they useful for distributing news or information, press releases are also very useful for search engine optimisation (“SEO”) and internet marketing.

Normally press releases are written and distributed by public relations or marketing professionals but anyone can write and issue press releases. They can be posted on your own site, but it is worthwhile posting your press releases on other sites, particularly press release sites.

Press release sites often redistribute press releases amongst its readership. Some sites charge you for press release submission, others allow free submission.

If you decide to produce your own press release, you should ensure that it looks and sounds professional. A poorly produced press release can have a very negative effect on your company.

Below I have detailed some useful tips that you should consider when producing and publishing press releases.

  • First paragraph is most important. It must be catchy and to the point. You want to grab the reader’s attention so that he reads the rest of your press release.
  • New. Why would someone want to read your press release? It should contain new information to capture and stimulate the reader. What is your new product? Why is it great? How could people benefit from it?
  • Concise. The press release should not waffle or drag on unnecessarily. Keep it as short and concise as possible, whilst including all the relevant and necessary information. One page of A4 or less is best, but definitely no more than two pages of A4.
  • Contact details and credit. Ensure that the reader is clear who wrote the article and what company it’s in respect of. Always include your contact details at the bottom of the press release. As a minimum this should include author name, company name and website url. I always make sure that the website url is an active hyperlink to make it easier for visitors to click through to your site and help with SEO. You may wish to also include telephone numbers, postal and email addresses although I miss out email addresses to minimise spam.
  • Quotations. A good way of engaging readers and giving your press release some personality is by including quotations that communicate your key messages in a lively manner. The quotes should sound exciting and interesting.
  • Multiple proof read.  The cardinal sin of press releases is to publish something that is littered with spelling mistakes, typos or grammatical errors. Get someone else to proof it too; if you wrote it, you may become blind to obvious mistakes. Then print it out and proof read it again. I find it often easier to spot errors when the article is printed on to paper. You could also try reading paragraphs in different orders.
  • Don’t email as an attachment. If you email your press release to media or public relations companies, do not send the press release as an attachment because it might not even get opened let alone read. Make sure that the press release is included in the main text of the email and include a catchy concise description in the email.
  • Don’t go over the top. You should keep your press release balanced, accurate and not misleading. By all means be positive about your product or service and give it some spin, but you do not want to come across as too biased or blatant.
  • Keep language appropriate. Remember what you’re writing for and your target audience. Do not fill your press release with unnecessarily complicated or flamboyant words for the sake of it. Remember your mission is to get your message across quickly, accurately and in an interesting manner. You’re not trying to prove that you know fancy words that readers may not understand.
  • You are not actually selling in the press release.  Remember you are delivering a message to inform the media and public of your product or service. It is not a direct sales pitch so refrain from sales talk or jargon. Whilst you are drumming up interest in your product that you hope will lead to a sale, do not treat the press release as an advert. If it comes across too much as an advert, it might not get published.
  • Include a hyperlink or two. Make sure you have one or two active hyperlinks within the body of your text if publishing on to a website. This will help with SEO, particular if the content is copied by a bot or copy and pasted by other users on to other sites.
  • Images and photos. If the site you are submitting your article to allows it, add a few photos or images. These can draw the visitor in and make the readers connect more with the press release.
  • Use press releases wisely. Ensure that the press release contains information that people will actually want to know about and is of use. If you publish press releases with old, useless or boring pieces of information, you may create a bad reputation for your company and make people less inclined to read future press releases.

    David Robinson – Gator Web Design, part of Gator Industries, purveyors of fine websites, web hosting packages and SEO services in Berkshire, UK.

    What is an online business directory?

    Essentially an online business directory is a website where business or website owners can add their website URL, contact details and information about their company. This information is generally listed into nested categories to allow visitors to the business directory to find the products or services they are looking for quickly and easily.

    Why use online business directories?

    Traditional advertising is very expensive. Many companies are cutting their advertising budgets and many newer companies have tiny or no advertising budget.  Online business directories and in particular local business directories allow you to reach a targeted local online audience looking for your specific goods or services. Many local online directories offer free submission (perhaps in return for a backlink) and other charge a fee, which is often relatively small. In some instances it is possible to be listed in more than one category.

    How do I decide which online business directory to submit my website to?

    The answer to this question is very varied but as with any business decision, you should conduct some research. Shop around and compare any costs, but make sure you are comparing like for like. You might not have much choice if you are targeting an area with few local online directories or you have a very niche product or service. There are also national or international online directory options available. You’re looking for an online directory that will give you a good level of exposure, traffic and ultimately converted business.  You should aim for the online business directories that provide the largest customer base and the highest number of categories you can submit your site URL to at the most competitive price.

    Keyword or key phrase focus

    As part of your SEO strategy you will hopefully have given consideration to the keywords or key phrases that potential customers will use to search and find you on Google and other search engines. You should apply these to your online business directory investigation and selection. Those online business directories that appear on the first page of the search results for your target keywords should be your first choice, subject of course to their cost.

    Which directory to choose?

    Don’t just stick with one directory, but hedge your bests. If you are going down the paid route, pick two or three different online business directories and select the ones that work best for your particular product or service. Make sure you don’t get tied into a long term contract and make sure you monitor that the directory is yielding the results you are paying for on a consistent basis. If it is not, ditch it and go elsewhere.

    Also submit to free directories because there is no cost involved. However, make sure that they aren’t deem bad neighbourhood sites or link farms. You can check a website or online directory here: http://www.bad-neighborhood.com/text-link-tool.htm. If it is a free directory, don’t get too hung up on the Google Page Rank (PR). It could be a new site and whilst it has a lower PR now, it could soon have a higher one.

    A good example of a free local online directory for Caversham Reading UK.

    Gatorweb blog is brought to you by Gator Web Design – local web design in Reading UK and is part of Gator Industries Limited UK

    Have you heard of Twitter? It’s hard not to have if you’re marketing through the internet or even through normally daily life. Twitter is regularly mentioned on the radio and in newspapers and many websites now ask you to follow them on Twitter.

    Have you thought about using it to help market your business or improve your brand? Still undecided?  We’ll Twitter is free so the only cost is going to be the time you put in and it’s unlikely to have a negative effect on your business, unless you use it to spam or annoy followers with the content or volume or your tweets (Twitter messages).

    If you do decide to take the plunge and use Twitter to help market or promote your business, please consider the Twitter tips I have detailed below.

    1. Set up your Twitter account for your marketing campaign. It is worth reading our introductory guide to Twitter first as it explains the basics of Twitter and also provides the links you need.
    2. Create some tweets. After you have set up your account you should create some interesting or useful tweets. Don’t worry that no one is following you and won’t be sent them. If people find you via a search , in response to a tweet or in response to you following them and they check out your Twitter timeline, they are more likely to follow you if you have decent existing tweets. If they come across a blank timeline or one which contains nothing of interest, they are less likely to follow you.
    3. Start following others. You should target your desired audience or demographic. You could start by following the known twitter accounts of other companies or people in your field/industry or you could follow twitter accounts from a certain area. For example, we manage a Twitter account for Caversham.Info, which is a local website for Caversham, an area near Reading, Berkshire. For this we initially targeted those connected with Reading or Caversham. The idea behind this is that some of the people you follow will choose to follow you and then people check out  who they are following might see you and decide to follow you also; a kind of Twitter chain reaction.
    4. Ensure your tweets are current and topical. Twitter works by providing followers with new, current information. People aren’t interesting in old news or boring, irrelevant pieces of information. Once people choose to follow you on Twitter, you want to retain them and not get them to unfollow you.
    5. Retweet. If you send a useful or interesting piece of information, some of your followers may choose to retweet or RT your message. This means they forward it on to all their followers. Their followers will see that you created the original tweet and they may choose to follow you also. Be a good tweeter and also retweet relevant messages from others; they will appreciate it and might follow you as a result, if they are not already. Retweeting can be one of the quickest ways of building your following on Twitter.
    6. You don’t have to just send text, you can also send images or photos and link to parts of your website. People often find images more interesting than just text,
    7. Regularly check www.search.twitter.com. This brings you realtime search results and lets you see who is talking about your keyword. This might help you identify some potential followers and think of some topics for tweets.
    8. Avoid spam! The best way to lose followers, as with emails or coldcall telephone calls is to annoy them with repetitive or irrelevant messages. Consider every time you send a tweet how it will be received or how you would receive such a tweet. If you annoy someone they will unfollow you on Twitter.
    9. Create another Twitter account to assess and follow the competition. I would not recommend doing this on your own marketing account because you might send followers and ultimately customer to your competitors. However, if you follow competitors through another account you can see what they are saying and what they are doing to attract and retain followers. If there is a direct crossover, you could even try and gain followers by finding and following your competitors’ followers in the hope that they will follow you back. However, such a method is likely to be very time consuming if they have a large following and is no guarantee of success.

    10.  Be patient. Twitter is no quick fix for your internet marketing strategy and requires both time and effort. Twitter should be used in conjunction with other techniques as part of your overall marketing plan. It takes time to build up a decent following and a relationship with your followers. However, you will need to keep at it and nurture it along over a period of time; it is not something that will do itself, unless of course you are a big celebrity or massive company that people will search for you directly.

    11.  An unutilised Twitter account can work against you. If you are supposed to be a proactive company but those visiting your Twitter timeline see you rarely update you status or send tweets, they might not bother following you and it could create a negative impression of your company. Make sure you regularly send tweets. If you run a blog, it is possible to install an add on that will automatically tweet new posts. This is very good because it ensures you have new tweets and it draws visitors into your website by including a shortened URL of the new post.

    12.  Treat your followers with respect. Where possible, respond promptly to tweets or direct messages to you from your followers. It is no different to someone trying to telephone, write or email you and receiving a very late or no response. In all situations it creates ill feeling, a bad impression of you and can lose customers or for Twitter, followers. Because Twitter is instant, many users expect a response quick that other mediums, typically within a day. If it gets to the point where you have a large following and too many messages to cope with, get someone else to review and respond to the messages.

    Ultimately, you must remember that Twitter is an interactive, two-way marketing tool and you will get out of Twitter what you put in. Keep up to date with changes in trends and strategies or new tools or apps that come out. Please come back to the Gatorweb Blog for more information on using Twitter for marketing

    Written by Drobs. Gator Web Design is a web design and SEO company in Reading Berkshire UK.

    Follow Gator Web Design on Twitter!

    As you will no doubt be aware already, social networking sites and social media are very useful tools for promoting your product or brand. Such options aren’t instant solutions and they take a lot of time and effort to implement and to be successful.  It takes time to build a following, but if applied correctly you can use social media to drive traffic/people to your website and increase sales.

    Once your have created your website and/or blog, it’s time to build a Facebook fan page. This is pretty straight forward and easy to get started. If you get stuck or want us to create it for you, please get in touch via Gator Web Design. We undertake social media campaigns on behalf of our clients, which could include just the set up and guidance or complete ongoing operation/management.

    Create a Facebook profle

    In order to create a Facebook fan page, you need to firstly create a Facebook personal profile. If you don’t have one – set one up, just got to the Facebook registration page. The set up is self explanatory; just fill out the information to get started and follow the different sets. You should be able to set up a basic profile in less than 15 minutes. After setting up your personal profile, spend some time looking round Facebook and getting to know the site. Have a look out some of your favorite companies’ fan pages to get an idea of how things work and to perhaps give you some inspiration.

    Set up a Facebook fan page

    Log into Facebook, scroll to the bottom of the page, click “Advertising,” and then click “Pages.” There is some great information here about fan pages, so read through this information and when you are finished click “Create Page.” As you go through the set up process, remember with any branding and marketing exercise, it is important to categorise and index your company in the right area to help people find you. Therefore, choose carefully!

    A good thing about Facebook is the ease of its set up navigation. From here on, setting up a Facebook fan page is really about following the prompts. Rather than point out each step, I have outlined the important ones to get your Facebook marketing and branding going.

    1. Image – Make sure you have a good photo or image for your page. It could be your logo is the best image for your page, but perhaps not. Think about other marketing materials and images you have. You could choose something seasonal or topical. Your goal is for your fans to see your photo or image and recognise your brand/company. However, you may also decide to use an image that may not be directly identifiable to your brand but may help draw people in. For example, a comical image might attract people and create an element of fun. Or you may choose an image of one of your products.
    2. Write something about your company – See the little box under your image that says “Write something about your company”? Well do it! This is very important because this is one of the items that is visible on every tab of your Facebook fan page. You have up to 250 characters to write something interesting to attract people. It’s worth remembering that the wording can be changed whenever you like so it can be a useful way to highlight a promotion or some other news relating to your company. Make sure you include a link back to your website Don’t forget the http:// before the www. (e.g. http://www.gatorwebdesign.co.uk) in order for the link to be clickable.
    3. Wall Settings – Another important tool in the set up of your Facebook fan page are the wall settings. You need to decide if you want visitors to be able to post messages for every other visitor to see or if you only want your own messages shown. Unless you are expecting a lot of negative comments, we normally suggest allowing everything to start with and see how things go. It will help you build your wall faster because people like to post messages. If the posts become out of control or unflattering, you can always delete individual posts or change the setting later. (“Wall settings” can be found under “Edit page.”)

    Once you have filled in all of the basic information, you have successfully created a Facebook fan page. Don’t forget, it is easy to change at any time!

    Make your Facebook fan page live

    It is important to let people know about your page. This is where having an already active personal profile is useful because you can suggest your new page to any existing friends, who have already showed an interest in your company or product.

    Next you need to set to work marketing your Facebook fan page. Marketing and branding takes time and effort. As with a normal website, you can’t just set up your Facebook fan page and expect people find you. Also if there’s nothing on your Facebook fan page that interests people, no one will become a fan or come back and it could create a negative impression of your brand or company. Social media is supposed to be a fun experience so your Facebook fan page should be fun too. Don’t just post interesting things about your company; try to post fun things or things to entice people to respond or post to your page. Posing questions can be a good technique as people like to share their thoughts and opinions.

    Posting links and/or images are a good way to get people interested; they eyecatching and more visually appealing so people tend to be drawn to them more than just text. Adding links to your website has the added benefits of assisting with your SEO/link building and brings people to your website to find out more information. Good practice is to post to your Facebook fan page every time you update your blog – give a summary of the article and link to your blog article. (In a future article, I will tell you how you can automatic post to Facebook from your WordPress blog).

    Don’t forget that the main reason you have a Facebook fan page is to assist with your branding and marketing strategy. So, it is useful to post relevant items and links relating to your field or industry and not necessarily just your company. For example if you are promoting a rugby club, you might want to include links to sports shops, rugby related trips, training drills, and other useful rugby related links. That way you can get repeat visitors to your Facebook fan page if your page is a useful reference point and people are likely to tell others of your Facebook fan page and company.

    I have detailed the basic features of a Facebook fan page, but you will soon realise that there are many more things and apps you can add to your fan page.  For now, however,  I would suggest that you master the basics and build up your friends list/fan base. Don’t forget to mention and link to your Facebook fan page from you website and on Twitter tweets.

    As mentioned early Gator Web Design undertakes Facebook fan page strategies for its clients. This could be setting up your Facebook account and giving instructions or actively managing a long term Facebook or other social media campaigns.

    D Robinson Gator Web Design, part of Gator Industries Limited, UK.

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