Week 11 Summary

Search Engine resources:

Search Engine Watch

20 completely free SEO tools – Tools to let you see ways your site can improve for search engine finding.

SEO Software, Simplified – Search Engine optimization.

Search Engine Roundtable

Search Engine Placement Tips by Danny Sullivan
This article gives advice on how to increase your chances of ranking high in a search engine listing. One good piece of advice is to make your search keywords more than a single word long (my intuition would have been to use single words, so this is helpful advice). Most people type phrases when they are searching for something specific, but more people have single keywords in their webpages, so there is more competition to end up in the results. Having a more specific keyword makes you more relevant to specific searches. The placement of your keywords also affects its search listing, Search engines give preference to sites where the keywords are listed high on the page. Including them in your title and headlines is the best way to go. Having HTML text instead of including text in graphics is always better because it gives more words for the search engine to scan (anything written in a graphic can’t be seen by the search engine), and the more times a keyword is repeated the more it will get the engine’s attention. Making sure that all of your internal pages are well linked together is also important, so that the search engine will follow the trails of links and process more of your site. Having your site linked to from other quality sites on comparable topics will also improve your ranking by search engines, as well as potentially get you visitors who are already visiting the other sites.

The Benefits of Slicing Images
This article explains the advantages of using Fireworks to slice images and export them as pieces instead of as single entities. Often your image will have different sections which will work best in different formats. Slicing an image allows you to target the different sections and save them in the format that will most optimize them (such as exporting a photo portion as a jpeg, and a text portion as a GIF, etc). Often slicing an image will reduce the overall file size. However, even if the file size is not reduced, the page will often load faster when it contains several small images instead of one large one.

Blasting the Myth of the Fold
“Above the Fold” of a webpage is everything that is visible on your page without having to scroll down. The name is taken from journalism, where above the “fold” of the newspaper, is a literal fold–everything that is visible when the newspaper is folded in half. Traditionally it is assumed that casual browsers will not bother to scroll down when they look at websites, so it is important to concentrate all the most essential information above the fold, in order to avoid missing the user’s attention. Over the years research has shown that it is becoming common for people to scroll down, and the risk of information below the fold getting missed is not as relevant as it once was. In spite of that many people cling to the idea that it is critical to keep as much content above the fold as possible. Some techniques for encouraging people to scroll down is to strategically place content (such as photos) overlapping he fold, so that they are clearly cut off at the bottom. This makes it more noticeable that there is more content further down the page. It can be difficult to predict where the fold will fall on various users’ computers though, due to the wide variety of monitor sizes these days, so you cannot entirely rely on content placement to compel people to scroll. The best way to get people to scroll below the fold is simply to have high quality content which people will naturally want to finish reading/looking at through its completion. Although people are more inclined to scroll these days, the fold does remain relevant. Content like navigation and any type of user controls should be above the fold, whereas interactive features which rely on reactions to the content do better at the bottom of the page.

ClickTale – A service that records your users’ activity on your site and gives you statistics on how your site is being used, what parts are receiving the most attention, etc.

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