Saturday, November 28

Microsoft Office 2010 beta download

This is just a break from my SEO series. I was surfing a couple of days ago, and somehow found my way to the Microsoft site. On it, they said they were offering free downloads of the beta version of Microsoft Office 2010. I didn't download it then, but I was going to go back and find it. I found it again, and went through to the download page. Turns out you need a Microsoft ID, I guess these are just a normal user/password combo that you could easily get from their site. But I've got the link to the page that will link through to the download.
I must stress that this is a beta version only, meaning there could be a few bugs with it, although most people, it seems, find it quite usable. But the best thing is, it's valid (I think) until October 2010, giving you nearly a year to use it. This means you'll get a years free Office use, which I wouldn't say no to!
Click here to download Microsoft Office 2010 beta.
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Saturday, November 21

Search Engine Eptimization, part 2 - Basics of Links

Hello again! In this second part of my SEO series, I'm going to explain the basics of off-page SEO. As mentioned in my last post, off-page SEO is generally the process of building backlinks to your site and which links are better etc... Here I'll talk about the importance of different links and how to implement this knowledge. I've had to put in this and the previous post, just to set the scene for anyone new to search engine optimization (if you're fairly experienced, skip through for the tips and techniques).
I assume you all know what a backlink is (if not, check out article on backlinks). Many beginners think that to get lots of traffic and a good search engine ranking, you just need to post your link all over the net. This is not the case. Certain backlinks have more 'weight' - influence your ranking better - than others. So what factors determine how much weight a link carries?

The main factor is whether the link is nofollow or dofollow. Nofollow is basically the presence of the 'rel=nofollow' attribute, in the link tag, in the HTML of the page. Dofollow is the absence of this attribute. What a nofollow link does is tells any search engines not to count this link when calculating the website it points to's ranking. Obviously, then nofollow links are not much good unless they are placed in a place on a page that will draw traffic. So you want your links to be dofollow, but many blogs where you can comment or article sites to post articles on use nofollow. Check out this article on dofollow/nofollow links for information on why websites use the nofollow attribute.
Ok then, but how do I tell if a link is nofollow or dofollow? Well, you could sift through tons of HTML markup, but that's not much fun and takes a looonnnggg time. Or you could use a tool like NoDofollow (and add-on for Firefox). What it does is highlights links on a page a different colour depending on whether they are nofollow or dofollow. This way you can see if your favourite article site or blog uses nofollow on their article backlinks or post comments. If the site uses nofollow, I would recommend you put it to the bottom of the of the list of sites you want a backlink on. Don't disregard nofollow links completely - they will still bring valuable traffic if placed in a suitable place on a page, it's just that a dofollow link will do this and help your search engine ranking.
In my next post, I talk about the importance of PageRank (PR) and how to increase your PR, that's where I'll get on to the actual techniques of SEO.
Thanks for reading, and if you enjoyed any of my posts, follow me on twitter!

Tuesday, November 17

Search Engine Eptimization, part 1 - Introduction

Right then, I have finally got round to planning and writing some of that promised SEO series. What it will include is basically a set of posts centering around search engine optimization for websites/blogs, ie - link building, on page SEO and getting more targeted traffic. It will mainly be aimed at beginner webmasters but I'll put in a few tips that may also appeal to those more experienced SEO-ers; some little pieces that could help you with your site optimization.
In this first post of the series, I'm going to talk to you about what search engine optimization (SEO) is. SEO has been around since the first search engines started to crawl the web and index web pages (I'm going to assume you know what a search engine is!). Nowadays, many people think Google is the 'god' of the search engines. It seems all powerful with its hundreds of seperate branches ie - blogging, e-mail and I think Google even owns YouTube now. And it seems to most people that The Big G has been around since the dawn of time (or at least the start of computing and the Internet). But in fact, Google is one of the newest of the big search engines as it was only launched in 1998. But since then, Google has introduced a huge number of techniques to help them rank sites more effectively, leading to them becoming so successful. An example of these is PageRank. This technique counts the number of links to a page, as well as analyzing the quality of the link (more on that in my next post), to influence where it ranks in there results. Google is constantly changing how they determine where to rank websites. This means that people have had to find ways to make their website rank better - come up higher in search results - than their competition, and also adapt to these changes, thus getting more clicks and therefore traffic. This process of SEO has become a large industry and there are many companies offering it as a service, but the best way is to learn it for yourself, so you can have total control over your website.

First of all, there are two types of SEO. On page SEO and off page SEO. They are both pretty self explanatory - on page search engine optimization is changing aspects of your websites to influence how much the search engines 'like' them. On page has the benefit that it is very quick to do, and easy to start doing but harder once your reach an upper ceiling. Off page search engine optimization mainly involves garnering links to your pages from all over the web. This is great because it can also bring you traffic from these links, but many links are hard to get (especially high PR links).
I will explain about these two types of search engine optimization in more detail, in my next post and what you can do yourself to help your site rank higher. EDIT: Click for part 2 of my SEO series.
Thanks for reading, and if you enjoyed any of my posts, follow me on twitter!

Saturday, November 7

Dofollow links

Hi! Since my last post ,which was quite a while ago, I've done some things to change it. You may have noticed I've changed the template - the other one was very bland whereas this template has a bit more variety. And probably the best change for you, I've made my blog commenting dofollow. Now if you're a web developer or the like, you will probably know what dofollow and nofollow links are. But for the layman I will explain what dofollow/nofollow is and how to change a blogspot blog, into dofollow.

Well then, dofollow technically doesn't exist. What it is, is when a link is posted it can contain an attribute that reads 'rel=nofollow'. This means that search engines will not factor this link in when they rank your pages, thus you get virtually no benefit from commenting on a nofollow blog because not many people will click on your comment URL. Sure, a nofollow link from a high traffic page, in a good position, will earn you traffic, but that link will not count for anything as the search engines see it. A dofollow link is basically one without this 'rel=nofollow' attribute. It is seen by search engines and they count this link when working out how to rank your site in their indexes (I'll talk about the importance of better/worse links and what they are, in that series I keep saying I'll; trust me I'll do it next post!). So commenting on a dofollow blog is useful.
There are drawbacks of a dofollow link though. If a lot of links are dofollow on a page, they get the link juice split between them. You can liken this link to the flow of water from a bucket with holes in it. The PageRank (PR)or link juice is the water, the holes represent dofollow links and the bucket is the homepage (or any other page for that matter). Out of these holes flows the water, thus leaving less water in the original bucket. If you stopper one of the holes (apply the nofollow attribute to it) then more water is left in the bucket. Having more holes in the bucket - links on the page - means that more water flows out, but less water  - PageRank - is passing out of each link. Basically, if a page has more links on it, these links will take some of the giver pages PR and each link gets less PR passed to it. Therefore a page with less dofollow links on it will pass more PR on to each link. But overall, dofollow is giving a bit back to the net.
How then, I hear you asking, do I make my blogspot blog's comments dofollow, so that people can benefit from it?

  1. Go to Blogger layout and click "Edit HTML".
  2. Check the box reading "Expand Widget Templates".
  3. Search for "NoFollow" using a word processor or other program. You will find at least two of them in your template's code.
  4. Remove "rel='nofollow'" from the tag that begins with
    "<a expr:href='data:comment.authorUrl'”

  5. The second nofollow is for trackback URLs. This displays links to blogs that link to your post. You may choose to keep this attribute or not. It's up to you.
  6. And that's it! Your blogspot blog has now been made dofollow. You can now submit to dofollow search engines to get more traffic!
For more information on nofollow and dofollow links and other aspects of SEO, check back for the series on search optimization that I will start in a few days. Thanks for reading, and if you enjoyed any of my posts, follow me on twitter!