Yesterday Google announced in the Webmaster Central blog the added expansion for images within XML Sitemaps.

By expanding your XML Sitemap to include images in the new format, this will allow Google to easily learn which images you consider important. With image related queries being performed at Google every day, this extra step may help you to benefit from a bit of increased image related traffic. Read more…

Although Chrome is relatively new it has become one of the easiest web browsers to interface with.

Kawsar Ali shares some of the top extensions for Google Chrome and for anyone using Chrome these are a worthwhile download. These extensions, “can help you increase your productivity and enable you to perform your jobs easier and faster.” I am highlighting a few of these below.

For those of you having many Social Network sites, Shareaholic converts the web page you are on into a short URL which allows you to share it across the social media sites you use to talk with your friends.

A few of my favourites are Evernote Web Clipper which will save me oodles of time as it saves the content of my clipboard along with a link back to the original page therefore I do not need to worry about forgetting to bookmark a certain page or image. Split Screen is perfect for viewing more than one page on the same window.

After reading 10 Google Chrome Extensions for Boosting your Productivity I am sure you will agree Chrome is indeed far ahead of the other web browsers.

I am in the midst of a project at the moment and I got distracted by a couple of interesting articles from Google that, I expect, are well worth the read for many of you:

25 Google Website Optimizer Tips for Better Product Pages

Segmentation with Google Website Optimizer = Testing on Steroids! Not all customers are created equal, nor should you deal with all customers equally. Testing different versions of your page or funnel is powerful. Testing different versions based on the type of visitors is even more powerful. There are different ways of doing this, but we recommend starting with BTBuckets or with these instructions.

5 Buzz Tips

Mute posts so they don’t get sent to your inbox. Comments on your posts and comments after your comments send buzz directly to your inbox. If you don’t want a lively conversation to keep appearing in your inbox as people reply to it, you can mute it. Click the arrow in the corner of a buzz post and select “Mute this post.”

Just a couple things to keep you reading…

Google Webmaster Tools is very useful for a number of things, but this article will focus on improving your inbound links and on site Page Rank.

Even the best webmasters sometimes have broken links on their site. Even the best webmasters sometimes move or delete a page without properly 301 redirecting the old URL to a new replacement. It happens all the time, but if the 404 error created by these mistakes is not addressed the website may not be living up to its full potential. Read more…

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Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

The Little Things Add up with SEO

Let me give this analogy a try; It takes 100 pennies to make a dollar. If you are happy and content with having just 90 cents, then that’s okay, but if you demand the full dollar, you can’t ignore a few pennies just because they are not perfectly shiny, they must be included.

The same goes for SEO. There are many bits and pieces that allow a site to be well optimized. Many are fundamental and easily implemented, such as proper tags, while others are more trivial and easily ignored such as page load time, but it’s these trivial things that really add up to make the difference. Read more…

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Monday, January 11th, 2010

E-mail Scams to Watch For

Remember the Nigerian scam messages way back when? Perhaps not so much way back when but quite awhile ago and still on occasion coming into my junk mail folder.

Scams are annoying, fear mongering, and down right rude. In 10 email scams to watch out for, Debra Shinder explains what you should watch out for to avoid being ‘duped’. Read more…

A picture of a brick wall with barred windows and the words "YOU in GoogleJail" - "How to get out on good behaviour"Search Engine Guide kindly republished my article called “How a Google Penalty Can Make Your Site Stronger” which prompted some great questions from readers which I have reformatted and posted here for readers of the StepForth Web Marketing Blog:

Question 1) My site has been penalized by google coz of paid post and links, which left my site with a PR 0, do you have any suggestions for that?”

Ross Dunn: Yes, the best way to go is to have all of the paid posts and links removed; if that has not happened already. Then once you are certain you are no longer infringing on Google’s guidelines, go into your Google Webmaster Tools account and submit a request for reconsideration of your website; if you can’t find the area to do that, then just do a quick search in the help area and you will find it.

Unfortunately there is no guarantee this will get you back into Google’s graces and there is also no telling how long Google will take to even get to your request, however, it is an excellent first step. The next step is to build your site into a powerhouse of excellent information by creating a blog or getting more active in the one you have. This involves posting original, high quality content that provides potential readers with something of value – be it simply an enjoyable read or useful tips. The act of building your site’s reputation through new quality content will help your odds of getting back into Google’s graces considerably.

Question 2) “I am eager to know if we go for URL removal request and make changes to site and then again submit link to google.Does it faster way to get out from penalization?” Read more…

There are several billion images indexed in Google Images. Are yours there? If you’ve been wondering what it takes to get your images ranking, then this article is for you. Here are some tips to help you increase the exposure of your images, and with a little luck, have them appearing at the top of the regular web search results.

1. Image File Name
The first step towards having your images appear in image search is with the image file name. When naming images consider using a target word or phrase whenever it makes sense to do so. If you run a hotel, consider naming a photo of your building as “victoria-hotel.jpg”.

Use hyphens instead of underscores in file names. While these days underscores are supposedly being treated as word separators by Google, consider sticking with hyphens to play it safe. Read more…

Okay, in all honestly, if you are actually in bed with the swine flu, you are probably better off sleeping, but if you are nurturing the tail end of a flu, or even just the common cold, you may be able and willing to get a few things done.

The other day I was feeling a bit under the weather, and for some reason got to thinking – what SEO work could be done from bed? Sometimes illness can wipe us out so all we can do is sleep the day away, but other times it is just bad enough that you wind up being stuck in bed, but lying awake bored.  I came up with a few tasks a sick site owner could work on while not requiring too much brain power.

This list is for those who want to be at their desk, but just can’t make it off their pillow. Laptop required. Read more…

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Thursday, August 20th, 2009

How to Identify a Google Penalty

Last week I wrote a story called “How a Google Penalty Can Make Your Site Stronger” and since then I have received a lot of inquiries about how to identify if a site has been penalized. Instead of answering every email individually, which I could never find the time to do, I figured I had better create a quick list of the most obvious indicators of a Google penalty which I could refer people to and build on when I have more time.

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