What is SEO? For sure it’s a commodity, and for many it’s a pain in the tookus. SEO is Search Engine Optimization. Quite simply, it is the act of increasing the visibility of your website to the search engines that drive Internet traffic.
So how do you rise to the top of Google, Bing or Yahoo!?
You don’t need an expensive consultant or an extra twenty hours in the day. You take about three minutes and get signed up for Name.com’s SEO Tutor.
We don’t want to insult anyone’s intelligence, but we do want to show you how easy it is to make your business a web phenom.
Step 1: If you already have a domain name you want to use, then go here. Otherwise, start the day like any other day: buying a Name.com domain for your successful business.
Step 2: On your way out of our store, check the free SEO Tutor offer. The easy PageZen web Builder also has a free trial. You may want to do that, too.
Step 3: And this is where your life begins to get much easier. Click the “get started” link and…
Step 4: You’re in. SEO Tutor Begins.
Step 5: Share with the Tutor a little bit about your business and you’re on your way to a quick and easy degree in Search Engine Optimization. Some might say a “black belt” in SEO, but this is school and your tutor doesn’t want you fighting.
Now all you do is shoot to the top of the search engine charts! (And YES, you can use it for your own clients.)
By this afternoon you’ll be in SEO college. And unlike many degrees, this one might actually make you some money.
Hello. My name is Jared. I work on the second floor. And I just tore a hole in the crotch of my pants. I know that’s a lot of details for an introduction, but I think it’s important to relate. That’s what I’ll be doing as the new Community Evangelist for Name.com: Relating. You know how it is the first day on the job. It’s never easy. It’s nervousness and awkwardness frosted with doubt and self awareness. You feel small in stature but large in disaster.
I’m also one to make it worse with errant attempts at humor. I mean, just after you meet someone it’s best to fly low and keep it simple. I try. However, out of my need to fit in, I shared with a new co-worker that I just tore a hole in my pants. That was on the initial handshake, and I’m sure there’s something wrong about touching someone you’ve never met and telling them about your crotch. Now, I sit here behind this Mac computer the size of a car door and quietly admonish myself.
How did I end up here? I’m a radio guy who got out of the industry to care for my mom. If there’s anything you should do it’s take care of your mother. One unintended side effect is that after doing what could be the best thing you can ever do, you have no idea what to do next. You find yourself sitting on the edge of her daybed with fifty-some years of sewing patterns and boxes of pictures of distant relatives. I don’t write this to be melodramatic, only to illustrate the process. You have to find something really darn good. It can’t be just any old gig because suddenly your soul satisfaction has gone all high maintenance.
And then your wife reminds you that the kid we just had needs pants. Oh, that.
So I scurried to the government sector where I discovered all my old radio tricks would help the government save some taxpayer dollars. And then those same taxpayers went crazy for a smaller government and my hopes for a permanent position wafted away with the winds of change.
There I was again, but now with two kids who needed pants. Inspired in kind of a Jack Nicholson Shining sort of way, I spent day and night sending out cover letters and resumes. I didn’t hear a thing back, but at least my friends were supportive and would say things like, “You’ll never hear a thing back.” That drew cause for contemplation. I had been hammering out run-of-the-mill application material, but I’d never been hired for anything run of the mill. I’ve never even used that phrase “run of the mill.”
Newly epiphanized, I went to the DOCC, or Denver Open Coffee Club, a biweekly gathering of tech and media geeks, and asked about a good, local company. A hip-looking dude glanced up from his bathtub of coffee and said, “Name.”
“I have a friend who works at Name,” he said between sips. “And she really likes it.”
I went home and took a gander at the site. Looked cool–a company doing great things with a product of infinite possibilities. I started a cover letter even though I loathe cover letters because you go on and on touting all your greatness and end up feeling like a bad guy in an 80s movie.
So instead I sent them a limerick:
There once was no place for a name
That wasn’t at all a bit lame,
And then from the throng
Came a company strong
A Denver-based master of Domains.
And then, with the same compulsion that has me telling someone I’ve just met that I’ve torn a hole in my pants, I continued with a Haiku.
Boom goes the Daddy
Shooting an elephant at night
and himself in the foot.
You might recognize that reference. If not, then shoot me an email and I’ll tell you about it.
Within a few hours, Paul Carter, Name’s Veep of Operations, sent me this:
“You have my attention 🙂 What does your schedule look like next week to speak?”
We spoke. And now here I am.
Right now I’m feeling a bit small, you know, with the breach and all. But I look forward to big things. Probably even a new pair of pants.
Our ninja developers have been at it again, working hard to provide you with the best tools to find the perfect domain name. Have you checked out the Name.com Laboratory? If you visit www.name.com/labs you will find experimental projects that we’re working on. They aren’t quite ready for the mainstream yet so we hope you’ll poke around, test them out and give us your feedback! The newest addition to the Name lab is UberSearch. The UberSearch tool does just what you’d think – it pulls together all the different search tools we offer into one, mega, totally awesome, UBER search.
What makes UberSearch so cool?
- Combines suggestion techniques from multiple sources
- Translates into various languages
- Performs quick availability checks
- Is a contextual domain builder (so basically you can choose other definitions for the word and then other words that mean the same thing, if you can follow that)
In the past we’ve posted about the Domain Registry of America scam, and there are a few sites out there showcasing some of the other ones that are out there. One of my favorites is http://www.the-name-i-wanted-was-already-taken-so-i-used-a-lot-of-dashes.com/. Rather than continue posting about specific scams, we wanted to share some tips on how to spot them.
Know how your registrar communicates with you.
Most, if not all, of the major registrars will communicate primarily through email. If you receive a letter in the mail asking you to renew your domains, that should be a red flag. If you receive a cold call pressuring you for information, another red flag.
Know your registrar’s payment policies.
Since the majority of registrars do business online, you are most likely going to be paying with credit cards or some form of online payment like PayPal. If you are approached by a company (be it through mail, email, or phone) to pay via check, money order, wire transfer, or cash, that is a big indication that it is a scam.
You should also never give your credit card information over the phone, unless you are 100% certain of who you are dealing with. Giving this information out to the wrong party can cause all sorts of other complications for you.
Beware of fake appraisals.
Sometimes people will try to contact you, explaining that they wish to purchase your domain name after you use their recommended appraisal service. This is often times a scam where the party contacting you has no legitimate interest in purchasing your domain, and is only interested in receiving payment for your appraisal. In these situations, if the deal seems too good to be true..it probably is.
Always check where a link is actually pointing before clicking on it.
It is very common to see emails where the text of the link says one thing and it actually points to something else. You should also check for subtle differences in the URL (misspellings, alternative extensions, etc.).
Name.com will NEVER ask for your password.
We’re not sure what the policy is at other registrars, but at Name.com we will never ask for your password under any circumstances. There are tricky people out there that will try and pretend to be a support agent via chat or email, and they will ask for things like your password or account code to try and gain access to your account.
When in doubt, head to Google.
If you’re unsure about a company or a communication you received, try a Google search or two and see if anyone else has received the same thing. Chances are you’re not the only one.
If you have anything else to add, please share in the comments. 🙂
We wanted to follow up our second podcast (SEO Basics) with a video that shows some of the tips we discussed. In this video we once again use Beer Fridays as an example and show you how to edit your page title, meta data, and permalinks using WordPress.
There are tags in the video you can hover over to skip to the different sections. If you have any thoughts or questions, let us know in the comments!
Building and redesigning your website can be a daunting task, but it is one of the most important parts of your internet marketing strategy. Here are a few tips we thought we’d share:
Use Effective Page Titles
You want your page titles to stand out from all the others when someone performs a Google search. You also want your titles to provide useful information. A good practice is to use the format “Keywords | Business Name” for your page titles. Often times sites will just put a bunch of keywords in their page titles, which only helps it blend in with the thousand other sites using similar keywords. Keep it to a couple solid keywords with a vertical bar and then your business name to help set you apart.
Flash Isn’t as Flashy as You Think
Websites built in flash may look cool, but all this really does is make your site invisible to search engines. Nifty animations here and there are just fine, but don’t overdo it.
Search Engines Like Clean Code
There are a lot of “website builders” out there, but you have to be careful about which ones you use. Some can add a lot of unnecessary code and this is not good when it comes to SEO. WordPress is a great, free platform to build your site on and it generates much cleaner code for your site. However, you want to choose your WordPress theme wisely, some themes have cleaner code than others.
Create Stellar Content
Art touched on this in his SEO basics post, but we can’t reiterate enough how essential good content is for your website. Your content should be relevant, compelling, and there should be A LOT of it. Also make sure you spell-check and have other people read it before you publish. You can have all the content you want, but if it doesn’t make sense chances are people aren’t going to read it.
Don’t Overuse Images
Sure, people like pretty pictures and graphics, but too many images can slow down your site and wear on your user’s patience. Search engines also cannot read images; when you do use them remember to add “alt text” to your image HTML so that the search engines can pick it up.
Think About Site Navigation
It’s important to consider how site navigation affects the user experience on your website. If a user goes to a specific page, can they get back to where they were before (without hitting the “back” button ;)? Using what are called “breadcrumbs” is always a great idea. They are really helpful when it comes to SEO and especially for users navigating through your site.
Keeping these tips in mind the next time you build or redesign a website should help both you and your site visitors. Cheers!
nslookup is a utility used to query Internet Domain Name Servers ( DNS Servers ). nslookup can be found on most operating systems and is fairly simple to use. This guide is designed to serve as a quick demonstration showing the most basic features of nslookup. There are many different ways to use nslookup; most of which are beyond the scope of this document. You are most welcome to read through the help menu by typing help 🙂
Lets begin by opening a command prompt or terminal and type nslookup. This will now show you nslookup followed by >. From here you will use the command ( set q= ). This tells nslookup what record type you are querying for. By default it will look at the record name and return the type and IP address associated with it. Commonly this returns the A record or CNAME record. If your looking for other records, you will place them after the = sign. For this example we are looking up the mx record for name.com ( set q=mx ).
This shows you how the mx records are currently set at the nameservers you are using. For another example lets look at txt records ( set q=txt )
If you see a result with NXDOMAIN, this means the record does not exist at the nameserver you are querying against. Most likely this either hasn’t propagated out or your non-Authoritative Nameserver does not know it exists. The best thing you can do here is check the Authoritative Nameserver and wait out the TTL if it exists there.
Lets break this down a little further. Notice the two sections?
The Non-authoritative answer represents what your current nameservers believe the record to be. The Authoritative Nameservers are responsible for managing the zones for the domain you are querying. These are the nameservers assigned at the registrar to manage DNS for the domain. In other words; if you want the absolute answer, go to these Nameservers. By default nslookup will go directly to the Nameservers your computer is configured to use.
Now that we know the Authoritative Nameservers, lets run a query and see what results we get. This can be done by using the command ( server _nameserver_).
Because this retrieves the information directly from the Authoritative Server responsible for the domain, the information represented by this request shows what other Nameservers will respond with when data is requested. Why is this important? If your not able to visit a website after making DNS changes, your Nameservers may be showing out of date information. By querying for the data from your currently set Nameservers and then from the Authoritative Nameservers, you can determine if your local Nameservers are seeing the new data.
What if the data is different?
While this question is too deep to discuss entirely here, there is one very common reason a Nameserver will hold onto old data. If the TTL has not expired, the non-authoritative Nameserver will respond with the cached result and not look up the new data until it expires. When your record is set with a TTL of 300, this means the record is good for 300 seconds from the last query. After 300 seconds of the last query, the record is marked as out of date by the non-Authoritative Nameserver and then re-verified from the Authoritative Nameserver at the time of the latest query. If you have a TTL set to 86400, the record will stay in place for 24 hours. This means updates to the domain could take up to 24 hours to fully propagate out. One thing to note here. This is per the previous TTL settings, not the new TTL settings. If you set the new TTL to 300 from 86400, the current TTL setting of 86400 will stay in place until 24 hours after the cached records timestamp. Unfortunately, sometimes the record will not update after the TTL expires and you will need to flush the DNS cache to force your computer to see an update. Use caution here and consult with your ISP or Network Administrators if you are unsure of the ramifications from this action.
If you have any questions regarding the propagation of your records, a good place to start at is with the management group for the Authoritative Nameservers. Once you verify the data is set properly at the Authoritative level, you should then go to the support group that manages the non-Authoritative Nameservers and inquire as to why the records are not showing up. As always, if you’re not sure which support to start with, it never hurts to start with your registrar ’97 they can always point you in the right direction.
I came across this handy little tip last week when helping a customer who was experiencing propagation issues. By “came across” I mean our awesome system administrator, Robert, was kind enough to share it with me.
I’m sure some of us have experienced this:
You update your nameservers to point your new domain to your host, but then something’s fishy. Your site is not resolving. Or, it’s resolving for others, but not for you. What it comes down to, is your site is not working right. You’re frustrated and you don’t know whether it’s a problem with your registrar, your host, or your internet service provider (ISP).
If you find yourself in this situation, following these steps will provide enough information to help reveal any possible routing and propagation issues:
Start -> Run -> Cmd
Then, one at a time, enter these commands and hit Return:
- nslookup yourdomain.com > c:\netcheck.txt
- nslookup yourdomain.com 184.108.40.206 >> c:\netcheck.txt
- pathping yourdomain.com -q 50 -w 500 -4 >> c:\netcheck.txt
This then creates a netcheck.txt file in your C: drive.
Applications -> Utilities -> Terminal
Then, one at a time, enter these commands and hit Return:
- cd ~/Desktop/
- dig yourdomain.com +trace > netcheck.txt
- dig yourdomain.com @220.127.116.11 >> netcheck.txt
- traceroute yourdomain.com >> netcheck.txt
This then creates a netcheck.txt file on your Desktop.
Now when you contact the support department of your registrar, host, or ISP you will have an incredibly useful bit of information to send them with the netcheck.txt file. If you’re not sure which support to start with, it never hurts to start with your registrar — they can always point you in the right direction.
Either way, providing the netcheck.txt file will show where the routing is breaking for your hostname and will help support determine what and where the problem is a lot quicker. And quick turnarounds make everyone involved a happy camper. 🙂