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The Skinny on the Penguin

Google Penguin Introduction

Google’s Penguin algorithm caused a number of web sites to see a significant drop in their Google page rank. Their latest version is 3.0, but reportedly has not had much of an effect on website owners, especially when compared to its original version released on April 24, 2012. Google has consistently tightened up the criteria in determining a site’s page rank with its predecessor Panda, and the goal is to arrive at the most accurate ranking for the consumer. It is important to realize that Penguin, like other modifications of Google’s algorithm is not intended to punish companies but to ensure the search engine user gets the best result possible from their search engine criteria.

The Purpose

The main purpose of the Penguin algorithm was to check on a web site’s backlinks to determine whether they were authoritative, valid, or were suspected to be spam or linking to spam. If any of these conditions were true, the web site would see a significant slide in page rank.

There are two specific types of content the algorithm searches for. The first is the presence and value of backlinks, and the second focuses on anchor text. There are other targets, but these are the two primary focuses that can bring a page rank tumbling down.

When you think about the importance of a link or backlink to your website, think of it as a magnet for Internet traffic. Links that connect to more authoritative websites, or websites that have a reputation for quality information and reliability, will likely attract more visitors because the quality of the link is directly connected to the web page it is on. For example, if you go to www.irs.gov, the reputation of the website having accurate content is very high, and any links that appear on the site are presumed to have equal authority. So, any backlinks that link to other than the highest quality sites will take a hit on the page rank.

The other suspect is the anchor text. Simply put, anchor text is text that is highlighted on a web page that, when you roll your mouse over the text, will connect to a link off the page. This is a similar situation to the backlink. When the Google search engine looks for specific terms, anchor text is also searched. The way a web page could manipulate the algorithm into believing the web page deserved a higher ranking was by using variations of word order. For example, “Geico insurance,” “insurance from Geico,” and “ buy Geico insurance” all point to “Geico insurance” but are hardly need to be repeated in a single paragraph.

The Functions

Penguin had other web site targets as well. Their impact on the overall page rank can be noticeable, but far less than the two major suspects. Here are some of the major minors.

Automatically generated content, or content that is produced through a bot or other type of non-human process, is on the list because AI generated text will almost always sound like it belongs on a voice translator.

Redirects that attempt to fool the algorithm into believing they are valid backlinks or link to authoritative sites seems like it should incur a heavy penalty, yet is not a major ranking issue. Also falling into this category are hidden text or links that can negatively affect the user experience.

Loading a page with irrelevant keywords may seem counterproductive, but there may be reasons for this. Google defines irrelevant keywords in the same breath as keyword stuffing. The general idea is repeating a keyword or keyphrase that is not natural for the context of the page.

Obviously, creating pages with phishing scams, installing viruses or trojans, or other malware will get your website to take a hit, but it is unclear why it took until 2012 to include this and why it has a lesser effect on page rank than backlinks or anchor text faux pas.

Recovery

When we use the term “recovery” in Penguin, it means that SEO processes and website content is modified to remove backlinks and anchors that are subject to being perceived as suspect or spammy. Lesser issues under Functions are also addressed, but with a different priority and urgency.

The most direct way to Fix Penguin assault is to fix your backlinks and anchor text. There are links that you may not be able to remove simply by deleting them, in which case you would want to use the Disavow tool provided by Google available from the Google Webmaster Tools kit. The general advice is to expect to wait about six months before seeing any uptick in your page rank, and perhaps another six months depending on when Google sweeps through the Internet with its latest version of the Penguin algorithm.

Conclusion

There is some debate on the overall effect Penguin had on websites. Some companies cried foul because it affected them significantly, while other said it has little or no effect at all. Even when incorporating recovery procedures, most websites saw little or no upward of their page rank. The progression of the Google Penguin algorithm is to look more closely at website content rather than design or structure. The Hummingbird algorithm, released September 26, 1013, demonstrated this and like Penguin had some website owners scrambling to once again adjust their SEO practices.

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SEO Friendly Web Design

When you are designing your own website, you will want to spend a lot of time ensuring that it is exactly how you want it to be. However, all that time and effort that you have spent will be wasted if you cannot attract visitors to the site. The most important thing you can do to increase the amount of traffic your site receives is to make sure that it is easily found in a search engine. There are techniques that you can use to make your site easier to find when someone carries out a relevant internet search. These are called Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques and they should be given careful consideration when you are designing your website.

seo web design

Make Sure Your Content Can Be Indexed

Most search engines will only index HTML content. This means you need to ensure that everything that you want a search engine to be able to find is in this format. This includes all images and texts. If you are using the services of a web designer then they will be able to make sure that all the content you want to be found is formatted correctly.

Use Of Keywords

Keywords are the words or phrases that people search for in a search engine. You will want to ensure that phrases that people are likely to search for in relation to your product can be found in the content of your website. However, if a search engine thinks that you are just using keywords for the sake of it to try and improve your ranking then it may mark your site as spam. You will need to find a balance between using the keywords enough to get noticed, but not overusing them. This is something that a web designer will be able to help you with.

Make Good Use Of Title Tags

Title tags tell people who have found your site in an internet search what the site is all about. They need to be descriptive but to the point. They also need to be accurate to be effective as if people don’t find the content that they were expecting then they will just leave the page. It is also a good idea to include your keywords in these tags to help the search engine find them easily.

Avoid Duplicate Content

Having good quality content is another SEO technique as this content is more likely to get shared and have other site link back to it and this can improve the ranking of your site. However, if the search engine detects that there is duplicate content on your website it will penalize your site and this can negatively effect the ranking of your pages. It is a good idea to continually refresh the the content of your website as this will not only help with SEO but it will also encourage your customers to check back often to see what is new.

Incorporating SEO techniques into the design of your website does not have to be difficult and if you are using the services of a Dallas website designer then they should use these techniques as a matter of course. An important thing to remember about SEO is that your competitors will almost certainly be using it to improve their own rankings in a search engine and this could give them an edge if it is not something that you are doing yourself.

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Responsive Web Design Techniques

We live in a day and age which has us planning our days around how fast we can accomplish our tasks. Technology and the use of social media has provided us with the ability to communicate on a real time basis from great distances, thus, any use of media from a professional standpoint must be designed to serve the user at the highest standard available. Responsive web design techniques create outstandingly simple navigational capabilities, provide excellent visuals with clear, concise graphic images, and gives the user a much more enjoyable experience during use by minimizing the need for manual adjustments to be made consistently.

responsive web design illustration

Technically speaking, responsive web design consists of three components:

-Virtual imaging made available through the use of technological re-sizing.

– Question and answers are right at the users fingertips.

– With the fundamental design being grid-based, re-sizing is kept to a minimum.

When speaking strictly in regard to responsive web design, a wide variety of devices are compatible with the services offered and the resulting benefits. If implementation of responsive web design is to be effective in use and result in growth, all three core components mentioned above must be available and utilized according to their individual purpose.

In regard to the “grid-based” aspect of responsive design, there are three types that can be considered for use and implemented to the benefit of the user, bringing about speed and efficiency in all regards:

* Media Queries

These permit a page to utilize various CSS forms . The form used is chosen depending on the browser features it possesses. For those of you who have media queries as a focus, any glitches you may have notices on smaller devices are typically due to size adjustments being made during the delivery process.

* Fluid Grid

Re-sizing will need to be conducted when utilizing this grid method. The re-sizing which is conducted needs to be completed on a basis of percentages rather than altering the media by other means of measurement.

* Images which are Flexible

These will also need to be adjusted accordingly, a process which assists keeping the media within its parameters of origin.

Prior to responsive web design being made a fairly mainstream resource, progressive enhancement was commonly used to semi-accomplish the same goal. There was also regular usage of resources such as JavaScript and others. The technology now available for our use in accomplishing the same purpose is far more effective, providing more clarity and speed. These facts make responsive web design technology the best option for optimizing your the applications and sites you use to serve you clients and customers. Research the topic today, and discover the great ways you can use responsive web design to improve your prospects for the future!

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Graphic Design Techniques

Graphic design is the process of communicating a message to an audience through a combination of art and technology. It is used in almost all aspects of daily life, from the packaging on the food that we eat during the day to logos and designs on the clothes that we wear. Companies will often employ graphic designers to create advertisements for their products as they have the knowledge and experience to create eye catching designs. There are a number of different graphic design techniques that are used most often.

Images
If the design is based around an image then this image will have to convey the entire message to the audience. The types of images that can be used for this purpose include photographs, images that have been drawn and those that have been created using a computer program. There may need to be a small amount of text in the advertisement but the main focus will be on the image, so it will need to be relevant to the company.

Typography
Typography based design will use words to communicate a message. The graphic designer will have to consider both the wording of the advertisement and how the words themselves look. Without an image, some people may be put off reading a lot of words so the designer will need to ensure that the words look attractive and make people want to read them and find out more about the product.

Images And Type

A combination of images and text are sometimes used as this utilizes the two most popular design techniques to create an attractive but informative advertisement. The image can be used to get the attention of the audience and to convey a message which can then be consolidated through the information that is provided by the text. The role of the designer involves finding the right balance between the use of text and images.

Logos
A company logo can make it instantly recognizable to customers. They will often be a symbol rather than a specific image. A graphic designer can work with a company to develop a logo that perhaps reflects the industry that the company is in or the products that they offer. It is also important to consider the audience that the company wants to reach and how the audience would respond to the logo that has been designed.

When working with a graphic designer it is important that the company provides them with as much detail as possible about the message they want to get across to their customers and how they want to achieve it. The graphic designer will then be able to choose the most appropriate technique for turning this message into a advertisement that customers will connect with.

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Top Content Management Systems

Content Management Systems make it easier for than ever for a person with very little technical ability to develop a robust website that is capable of doing more than just being a plain 90s style website of images and text sitting in tables.

Thanks to systems like WordPress, OS Commerce and Magento, the average person can build an online store or a very impressive website for their business, or even a simple blog with little effort. In addition most of today’s top content management systems are free and open source, keeping cost low.

There are several online resources including video tutorials to walk most people through how to put them in place in under five minutes, and many web hosting companies offer one click installs of the best content management systems available.

Often content management systems simply what would otherwise be difficult task in terms of coding, programming and designing down to filling out or editing a few simple form fields. Once installed WordPress in particular becomes no more difficult to use to update a page than Facebook.

WordPress


WordPress is probably the most widely known and widely used content management system available today. Much of the reason for that has to do with its versatility. WordPress can be adapted for nearly any use you can think of through its themes and plugins. Whether you are building a company website, a blog, a social network, a member site or even an online store, it can be accomplished under the right conditions using WordPress.

WordPress also offers very intuitive features that make Search Engine optimization very easy and straightforward, which makes it very appealing for businesses to use it for their websites. It also has the ability to easily maintain and take advantage of multimedia such as images, audio and video.

Open Cart

With Ecommerce growing each and every year many people are turning to OpenCart to setup their online stores. In addition to being able to create a very visually driven simple to use online store, it makes other task that would be very difficult more simple and straightforward.

One of the most difficult task is typically inventory management, but Open Cart reduces this task to filling out a few form fields and dragging and dropping in your images. What used to be a grueling task can now be accomplished in a few moments.

Open Cart also makes it easy for customers to find what they are looking for through categories, tags, related items and a robust search feature, and none of it requires the store owner to know any programming.

Square Space

Square Space is a commercial content management system and hosting service that is gaining a lot of popularity. Square Space has a large overall feature set and can be used for blogs, businesses and ecommerce. It provides analytics, search engine optimization, image galleries and more. You even can import your blog content from Blogger, WordPress or Tumblr.

Square Space is easy to use, very affordable and requires no programming or design knowledge making it extremely popular with first time website owners.