Ramblings of an IT Consultant

Archive for the ‘SEO’ Category

Do single page websites work?

In blocked drain, Customer Service, ebay, Google, monocle, SEO on November 28, 2010 at 6:09 pm

I have recently been commissioned to build quite a few single page websites.  My clients believe that a single page selling them or  their only product is all that is required.

I am from the school of thought where a website should have lots of pages to attract search engines.  I have a number of sites where this works well,  however other sites only 1 or 2 pages rank well in the likes of Google or Yahoo.

Recently I have been wondering if a well written single page website can fight against its content rich competitors.  My findings were quite interesting.  The first site I tried it on was a site offering a Drain unblocking service –www.mmdrainsunblocked.co.uk.

Basically this site offers plumbing services across the south-east of england.  However a site like this needs to make a fast impact.  If someone has a blocked drain or a leaking pipe, do they need to trawl through several pages to find out which number they need to call, or if the service they require is available?   Saying all of this I was a bit sceptical about the single webpage approach, but the customer gets what the customer wants.

So I set about creating the webpage.  I got in touch with my designer who did a fantastic job of making the site look professional.  My thinking was that we needed to say a lot in an instant to make an impact.  His design was bright and simple.  Now it was over to me.  I then built a content management system allowing the user to modify each section of the new page.  Again if google and the user only have one page to view then content is king,  so it would need to be updated regularly.  We made sure that the key towns were listed with their telephone numbers at the bottom of the page.

Quite quickly we found that the single page approach was successful.  Within 3 weeks the new website was on the first page of google for quite a few search terms.  We still agree there is a long drawn out battle still to be won with this website; as you can imagine there is a lot of competition in this sector.  We will have to review the number of jobs that come in via this approach but the initial findings are promising.

The next single webpage site was developed to help my dad.  My dad sells monocles online using eBay.  He decided he wanted a website so sell his monocles, but there was a challenge.  How can you describe a monocle and make it sound interesting?  I went over and over his eBay advert and just could not find a way to make a monocle sales pitch.  I toyed with the idea of having a history of monocle page, but again I could not come up with a reasonable explanation as to why this website needed one.  After all if you arrive on his site you know what a monocle is anyway.

So this weekend we launched another single page website selling gold monocles.   The website allows you to buy a prescription monocle and checkout with either PayPal or Google Checkout.   The website www.themonocleshop.com has only been around a few days so it’s too early to tell if it is a success.  If it works as well as his eBay page then I am sure it will be!

Have you ever created a single page website or are contemplating it?  Who knows maybe single page well written websites are the future.

SEO and Link Building – The Dilemma

In SEO on November 4, 2010 at 8:09 pm

I was having a discussion with a friend of mine about optimising websites for Google and the importance of using Webmaster tools and Analytics to track search terms and traffic to a website.  We were chatting and agreeing on everything until they brought up the subject of link building.

Linking to other websites and getting links back can build traffic and lets google know you are a popular site, but only if the links are useful.  However my friend disagreed and went on to prove how if you type one of their customer’s names into Google it appears on the top of the search results because of the level of his links, even the unrelated ones.  However this can be true of any website, even one without links.  An example of this is a website I built for one of my clients called Xeles.  Now, this website does not link to any other website online.  However in Google it appears on the top of page 1.  So to me this blows the theory of link building out of the window.  I have launched a number of new sites and if they are built correctly they will appear on page 1 if you type in their name with or without external links.

So what does Google say about link building in its terms and conditions regarding exchanges to sites that are unrelated?  They clearly state that this could hinder your pagerank and position in the search results.  However most web designers will disagree that this is the case and still believe that linking to a website with a higher ranking helps to increase your pagerank.  I cannot disprove this opinion, however I tend not to follow it.  An example here is a chocolate fountain hire website that my friend developed recently.  Their links page has links to contact lens specialists.  If I was  looking for their product but found thier links page chances are I would click away.  Why?  Because they are desperate for traffic and have no focus on their products or their customers.

In my opinion linking to nothing is surely better than linking to something unrelated, no matter how desperate you are for your traffic.  Also my fear would be if Google decided to improve googlebot’s ability to detect these links.  I would not want my website dropping in the search results.

One final thought: as of today my WordPress blog has been running for jut over 3 weeks,  and is already on Page 2 if you search for Gallagher it blog.  All of this without link building…..  or is this just luck on my part?

ASP.NET 301 Redirect in VB

In Google, Microsoft, PageRank, SEO on October 22, 2010 at 10:05 am

I have been recently been moving a complete website to a new domain and the client asked what will happen to all of the broken links in Google.  They were quite concerned that their page rank would drop due to the massive changes.  Simple I said a 301 redirect and an update to the sitemap will help.

There is a way you can do this from within the web.config or even java script, but for this site decided to create 301 code in the page init event.

Protected Sub Page_Init(ByVal sender As Object, ByVal e As System.EventArgs) Handles Me.Init
Response.Status = “301 Moved Permanently”
Response.AddHeader(“Location”, “http://www.gallagherit.co.uk”)
End Sub

I made sure that all of the old pages were redirected to their matching new page and following a quick update of the sitemap to remove the broken links and away we went.  I used XML-Sitemaps.com to generate my sitemaps which is free if your website is less than 500 pages in size.

The good thing about 301 redirects is that it keeps Google happy and we all like to keep Google happy dont we?