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Beanstalk's Internet Marketing Blog

At Beanstalk Search Engine Optimization we know that knowledge is power. That's the reason we started this Internet marketing blog back in 2005. We know that the better informed our visitors are, the better the decisions they will make for their websites and their online businesses. We hope you enjoy your stay and find the news, tips and ideas contained within this blog useful.


March 19, 2014

Is your business wearable aware?

Has your SEO been mentioning Mobile/Tablet apps and designs a lot?

SEO Concerns for Mobile Websites – August 16th, 2013

Google Q3, Mobile Ads & Hummingbird – October 21, 2013

I For One, Welcome Our Google-Android Overlords! – May 3, 2011

Who needs a mobile website? – June 23, 2009

It seems like YEARS of nagging, so why haven’t you made the moves? Are you waiting for the mobile fad to die?

In 2012 Google dropped the bomb that Android installations had hit the 400 million mark with a pretty snazzy video:

Then in 2013 Google did another high-def video announcing they more than doubled the install base in just one year to 900 million installs:

While I haven’t seen a video for 2014 yet, I can only imagine that we are in the billions of installs now and here I am still trying to get business owners to see that even if this was a fad, it’s worth being part of, in a big way.

Need more ammo to dig into the mobile ‘fad’? How about Google going public with the Wear SDK for Android?

On Tuesday, March 18, 2014, the Offical Google Blog published:

Today we’re announcing Android Wear, a project that extends Android to wearables. And we’re starting with the most familiar wearable—watches.

Google is not only ‘gearing up’ with the recently acquired Motorola Mobility division, but it’s also working with hardware partners like Samsung, LG, HTC, Asus, and major brands in the chipset manufacturing/fashion industry to make sure that top tier products will soon be available from multiple brands, with high tech and high fashion rolled into a desirable wearable.

The ‘Information that moves with you’ video, aimed at consumers, is a bit ‘goofy’ and the shrug at the end sums up how I feel about these demonstrations of fledgeling hardware innovations.

However the developer preview video is where I would like business owners to focus their attention:

This video is FAR more interesting in that what we want to do is get behind this tech before our competition, supporting not just early adopters, but also getting the recognition that comes from being first to market with a solution.

As an SEO, Beanstalk has to constantly monitor and appraise site health and rankings for a number of our client websites. Right now we’re just testing our automation and only publish monthly reports focused on key areas of interest, but that’s going to change as we push our abilities.

Worried about negative SEO tactics? Very soon we should be able to offer a unique level of protection for our clients with respect to instant alerts for a spike/drop in backlinks/no-follow flags on backlinks. If you suddenly lost 100s of backlinks overnight and there was a spike of backlinks becoming no-follow, wouldn’t you want that info immediately?

Want to watch for syndication of an article or keyphrase with some special criteria? We would be able to get that outreach info to you instantly on the Wearable SDK thanks to the scripts and tools we’ve purchased and developed for maintaining our client’s web rankings.

Obviously our client’s core SEO needs always come first and we’re in the midst of a server hardware rollout so I can’t say “check back next week” but I can say to expect more from us soon!

SEO news blog post by @ 2:08 pm


 

 

August 16, 2013

SEO concerns for Mobile Websites

You want to serve your clients needs regardless of what device they visit your site with, but how do you do it easily without upsetting your SEO?

Lets look at the various options for tackling Mobile sites and what each means in terms of SEO:

Responsive Design :
 
Visual demonstration of responsive web design

  • Responsive design is growing in popularity, especially as communications technology evolves, and bandwidth/memory use is less of a concern.
  • This method also gives us a single URL to work with which helps to keep the sitemap/structure as simple as possible without redirection nightmares.
  • On top of that, Googlebot won’t need to visit multiple URLs to index your content updates.
  • Less to crawl means Googlebot will have a better chance to index more of your pages/get deeper inside your site.
“Why is/was there a concern about mobile page size?”

Low-end mobiles, like a Nokia C6 from 4+ years ago (which was still an offering from major telcos last year), typically require that total page data be less than 1mb in order for the phone to handle the memory needs of rendering/displaying the site.

If you go over that memory limit/tipping point you risk causing the browser to crash with an error that the device memory has been exceeded. Re-loading the browser drops you on the device’s default home-page with all your history lost. I think we could all agree that this is not a good remote experience for potential clients.

Higher-end devices are still victims of their real-world connectivity. Most 3rd generation devices can hit really nice peak speeds, but rarely get into a physical location where those speeds are consistent for a reasonable length of time.

Therefore, even with the latest gee-wiz handsets, your ratio of successfully delivering your entire page to mobile users will be impacted by the amount of data you require them to fetch.

In a responsive web design scenario the main HTML content is typically sent along with CSS markup that caters to the layout/screen limitations of a mobile web browser. While this can mean omission of image data and other resources, many sites simply attempt to ‘resize’ and ‘rearrange’ the content leading to very similar bandwidth/memory needs for mobile sites using responsive design approaches.

The SEO concern with responsive designs is that since the written HTML content is included in the mobile styling it’s very crucial that external search engines/crawlers understand that the mobile styled content is not cloaking or other black-hat techniques. Google does a great job of detecting this and we discuss how a bit later on with some links to Google’s own pages on the topic.

Mobile Pages :

Visual demonstration of mobile web page design

 
If you’ve ever visited ‘mobile.site.com’ or something like that, you’ve already seen what mobile versions of a site can look like. Typically these versions skip reformatting the main site content and they get right down to the business of catering to the unique needs of mobile visitors.

Not only can it be a LOT easier to build a mobile version of your site/pages, you can expect these versions to have more features and be more compatible with a wider range of devices.

Tools like jQuery Mobile will have you making pages in a jiffy and uses modern techniques/HTML5. It’s so easy you could even make a demo image purely for the sake of a blog post! ;)

This also frees up your main site design so you can make changes without worrying what impact it has on mobile.

“What about my content?”

Excellent question!

Mobile versions of sites with lots of useful content (AKA: great websites) can feel like a major hurdle to tackle, but in most cases there’s some awesome solutions to making your content work with mobile versions.

The last thing you’d want to do is block content from mobile visitors, and Google’s ranking algorithm updates in June/2013 agree.

Even something as simple as a faulty redirect where your mobile site is serving up:
mobile.site.com/
..when the visitor requested:
www.site.com/articles/how_to_rank.html

.. is a really bad situation, and in Google’s own words:

“If the content doesn’t exist in a smartphone-friendly format, showing the desktop content is better than redirecting to an irrelevant page.”

 
You might think the solution to ‘light content’ or ‘duplicate content’ in mobile versions is to block crawlers from indexing the mobile versions of a page, but you’d be a bit off the mark because you actually want to make sure crawlers know you have mobile versions to evaluate and rank.

In fact if you hop on over to Google Analytics, you will see that Google is tracking how well your site is doing for mobile, desktop, and tablet visitors:
Example of Google Analytics for a site with mobile SEO issues.

(Nearly double the bounce rate for Mobile? Low page counts/duration as well!?)

 
Google Analytics will show you even more details, so if you want to know how well you do on Android vs. BlackBerry, they can tell you.

“How do the crawlers/search engines sort it out?”

A canonical URL is always a good idea, but using a canonical between a mobile page and the desktop version just makes sense.

A canonical can cancel out any fears of showing duplicate content and help the crawlers understand the relationship between your URLs with just one line of markup.

On the flip-side a rel=”alternate” link in the desktop version of the page will help ensure the connection between them is understood completely.

The following is straight from the Google Developers help docs:

On the desktop page, add:

<link rel="alternate" media="only screen and (max-width: 640px)" href="http://m.example.com/page-1" >

and on the mobile page, the required annotation should be:

<link rel="canonical" href="http://www.example.com/page-1" >

This rel=”canonical” tag on the mobile URL pointing to the desktop page is required.

Even with responsive design, Googlebot is pretty smart, and if you aren’t blocking access to resources intended for a mobile browser, Google can/should detect responsive design from the content itself.

Google’s own help pages confirm this and provide the following example of responsive CSS markup:

    @media only screen and (max-width: 640px) {...}

In this example they are showing us a CSS rule that applies when the screen max-width is 640px; A clear sign that the rules would apply to a mobile device vs. desktop.

Google Webmaster Central takes the information even further, providing tips and examples for implementing responsive design.

Ever wondered how to control what happens when a mobile device rotates and the screen width changes? Click the link above. :)

SEO news blog post by @ 3:51 pm


 

 

December 11, 2012

Thinking of making an ‘App’ for the Apple Store?

You may want to re-think that decision, perhaps even focus on a ‘mobile’ provider for your site, or an Android app instead of one for Apple’s store.

Rotten Apple with bite mark

Why? Well lets list the reasons:

- Android OS is shipping on more phones currently than any other mobile OS
- 2013 should be the year that Android overtakes iPhone in subscriber #s
- A mobile ‘face lift’ should load on any phone/browser
- Apple is cracking down on all ‘Apps’ that generate revenue outside their store..

The last one is a real kicker, especially for Microsoft who is currently unable to update their SkyDrive app after Apple realized it was handling in-app purchases without going through the Apple Store.

Essentially Apple is rejecting all Microsoft app updates and 3rd party apps that communicate with SkyDrive until Microsoft has a solution to Apple’s need for a 30% cut of all transactions done through it’s App Store.

So if you made an Apple Store ‘App’ for your site, all you can do with the ‘App’ is browse information and provide free resources, since any attempt to engage in a financial transaction would require the Apple App Store to participate, at a 30% margin.

That’s just.. wait for it.. rotten.

Making Easy Money by Ignoring Copyright Infringement

A North Korean Won with Park Jae-sang's face.

On the surface, it may seem counter-intuitive to your profit margin, but not letting people steal your content could be what’s stopping you from getting rich.

PSY, the chubby Korean behind the most popular YouTube video to-date, is raking in the profits from his ‘Gangnam Style’ video, and it’s all because he didn’t censor his own work by chasing copyright violations.

If you look at TV commercials, ad revenue, product endorsements, and other direct revenue from his popularity, PSY is making over $8 Million in 2012 alone.

Clearly there’s a trade off between copyrights and profits that doesn’t favor always locking down your content.

I’m wondering though, once fame has taken hold, if next year we’ll have a story about PSY suing people for copyright infringements?

SEO news blog post by @ 12:59 pm


 

 

October 30, 2012

3 Musketeers: Google Nexus Style

We blogged about the new HD Google Nexus tablet coming from Samsung and Google in the beginning of the month as a stub to an SEO post about Google’s Exact Match Domain fallout, and it’s already official on Google’s Blog.

Google’s press-release/blog post announcement is far more than some details on the new Nexus HD tablet, indeed Google has 3 treats for us in November.

Sadly, while the digital press is unhindered, the actual NYC based Android 4.2 release event was cancelled due to some infamously bad weather.

Nexus 10

Google Nexus 10
Ooop! Ooop! Hey pretty tablet!

 
Lets start with the new HD tablet’s confirmed specs:

  • 10.1″ 300PPI 2560×1600 Resolution LCD
  • Android OS v4.2 (Jelly Bean)
  • WiFi 802.11 b/g/n (MIMO+HT40)
  • + Bluetooth and NFC (Android Beam)
  • Dual Core Cortex A15 ARM CPU
  • Mali T604 ARM GPU
  • 9000 MAh LiPo Battery
  • 9hr Battery run-time (>500hrs in Standby)
  • Front facing HQ stereo speakers (Movies!)
  • 2 GB of internal RAM
  • 16/32 GB of internal Storage
  • 603 grams (~240 Pennies)

Heck looking at this thing’s sensor list (5mpx front Camera, 2mpx rear Camera, Microphone, Accelerometer, Compass, Ambient light, Gyroscope, Barometer, GPS), all it’s missing is the ability to taste.

… and removable storage?! I find it very odd there’s not one mention of what sort of interface the tablet has for removable storage, though I’d be really shocked if it didn’t support MicroSD cards.

The price is almost as shocking, with the 16GB selling for $399US, and the 32GB version selling for $499US. Both models should be available on the 13th of November, which is also shocking because it’s a bit early for an xmas promotion, but that’s Google for you.
 

Nexus 7

Google Nexus 10

When discussing the middle device in a lineup I’m always reminded of Stealers Wheel – Stuck in the Middle with you.

In this case there’s no clowns to the left or jokers to the right, and nobody’s stuck.

In fact the Nexus 7 will be the mainstream device to buy for each of the kids, and at $199US for the 16GB version, you can afford to have a big family!

Heck the 32GB version is only $50 more at $349US, unless you wanted mobile high speed data access, which tacks on another $50 for a $299US price tag.

The specs aren’t as impressive as it’s big brother, but you do get what you pay for:

  • 7″ 216PPI 1280×800 Resolution LCD
  • Android OS v4.1 (Jelly Bean)
  • NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core CPU
  • 16/32GB Internal Storage
  • 1GB of Internal RAM
  • 8 hour 4325 mAh Battery
  • WiFi 802.11 b/g/n & Bluetooth/NFC

The Nexus 7 sports many of the same sensors as the Nexus 10, but it’s single 1.2Mpx camera is clearly just for web-chat/video calling.

The $299 Nexus 7 has fully unlocked HSPA+ support which I am almost certain will be used for more than just web-surfing given the available internet telephony options.
 

Nexus 4

Google Nexus 4

Last but not least is the latest cell phone from Google, the Nexus 4. In fact I seem to have saved the best for last.

This is way more than a phone at this point, we’ve really got to start looking at these devices as mini-tablets because the Nexus 4 has better features and functionality than most existing tablets.

The price gives the Nexus 4′s secret goodness away, the 8GB version goes for $299US, and the 16GB retails for $349US, both of which are unlocked/contract free. That’s not a typo, if you spent $799(CAN) on an unlocked 32GB HTC One X, which has inferior screen hardware, you might want to sell it, quickly.

According to Google’s blog:

The 16GB version will also be available through T-Mobile for $199, with a 2-year contract (check here for more details).

Sadly, I’ve really run out of space to explain the specs, but the Nexus 4 page on Google’s Play store does cover the details quite nicely.

In a nutshell it’s 4.7″ display, at 1280 x 768, has got the highest pixel density (320ppi) of any device in it’s class.

Indeed, if the world were to switch to this grade of phone and/or tablet hardware the concept of a ‘mobile version’ of your website would be pointless since this hardware has more than sufficient resolution to display a desktop style website.

At these prices the idea of the world switching to Nexus isn’t too far fetched either. I know I’m in the market for a better phone and I’m so glad I went with a standby device and waited for something this good of a value to come out.

SEO news blog post by @ 12:55 pm


 

 

October 11, 2012

Windows 8 / IE10 and Flash Certification

Windows 8 is a tablet OS, and like any modern OS focused on tablets/touch/mobility options, there’s compatibility concerns with content not specifically written for a tablet/mobile device.

Apple’s famous for their certification process and using it for more than just the sake of ‘quality’ or ‘compatibility’ controls.

Indeed Microsoft has had certification for drivers, and applications in Windows for some time, but never to the point where something cannot be used without their certification.

If you wanted to install something that isn’t certified you’ll get a spooky warning, but I’ve never seen something completely fail to work due to a bad/missing certification on Windows.

Enter Windows 8 and IE10, a whole new ballgame, with two browser modes, one for normal use and a ‘desktop’ integration mode which has to play nice with the new Windows UI.

If you wish to publish web content that leverages the new ‘desktop mode’ you’ll want to visit Microsoft’s ‘developer guidance’ page for information on new meta tags and HTTP header codes that help flag such content.

In a nutshell they explain that either the header:

X-UA-Compatible: requiresActiveX=true

OR the meta tag:

<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="requiresActiveX=true" />

… work to create a handy little prompt explaining that the content on the page requires the page to be viewed in ‘desktop’ mode, and even gives a single-click shortcut to switch over:

IE10 desktop warning

The same page also deals with ‘Compatibility Verification’ and the steps to test/certify that your flash content is compatible with the extra features of a tablet OS.

Of particular interest is the option of a single registry entry that allows testing of your site for ‘debugging’ to see just how broken your flash content is.

The key is located here:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Flash\DebugDomain
.. and if you wanted to make a .reg file for easy access the contents would be:
REGEDIT4
**Blank Line/Carriage Return**
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Flash\DebugDomain] @="www.mywebsite.com"
**Blank Line/Carriage Return**

At that point you could right-click the .reg file you made and click on ‘install’ from within the pop-up menu.

Passing this .reg file to your developers would be fine, but since only one site can be specified, this is NOT a solution for your end users.

Obviously the best advice we can give, as SEOs, is to ditch your Flash content completely.

HTML5 with all it’s perks can replace almost anything you’ve done in Flash and Google’s even willing to help you make the switch by offering the Swiffy Flash -> HTML5 Conversion Tool.

If you feel your content is too sophisticated for Swiffy, or you haven’t tried the tool recently, you should!

Here’s an example of how well the tool works on a flash game with keyboard and mouse controls:

SEO news blog post by @ 12:07 pm


 

 

June 28, 2012

Chrome on iOS: Your move Apple

We know that Apple has been making a break from Google, I even blogged about it last week in my ‘Apple: On the Charge!‘ post discussing the switch away from Google Maps and Google Search.

Now, almost as if they were holding back a sucker punch, Google has released a version of Chrome for iOS. This means that you can stay logged into Chrome on almost any device you can connect to the internet with, and that’s some pretty big bragging rights!
 

Google logo with d20 dice
If this was DnD Google just landed a 19 on a d20 attack roll and with Google’s attack bonus Apple is going to either get a critical head shot or get lucky with a dodge roll.

 
Here’s the video Google put out to tease us (this is also a great round up of the Chrome profile option):

 
Now don’t get too excited.. Even with a video demonstration from Google, word is that the App isn’t available yet and common opinion is that Apple is going to stall or veto the option to use Chrome on iOS.

Keep in mind that the browser demo is using the Safari Webkit engine, not Google’s modified engine or rendering improvements. You won’t get flash support from this, and you also won’t be able to make this your default browser even if Apple allows it, which is still dicey. ;)

We’ve been a bit light on the blog this week due to end of month madness but we’ll be back to regular soon, and just in case we don’t manage a Friday post, Happy Canada Day!
A Canadian mountie holding a domokun and a flag

SEO news blog post by @ 1:27 pm


 

 

June 23, 2009

Who needs a mobile website?

I’ve refrained from joining the plethora of mobile web users so far due to the fact that I’ve never wanted to surf the web on a squished cell phone screen at near dial-up speeds, but online hand held devices are becoming larger and more user friendly all the time with bigger displays, better software, and increased network speeds. Meaning that the time is “now” to catch the wave (and the gravy train) of the mobile web boom.

We’re already seeing incredible growth in the number of people using mobile devices to surf the web all around us. I think this is just the foundation for the exponential growth that is going to take place over the next few years and it will be one of the next great booms and revolutions of the internet. Entrepreneurs will find new services for mobile web surfers that we didn’t know we needed.

Up until last week I would’ve probably asked the same question many of you will ask. “Who needs a mobile website?” Who would surf the web on that tiny screen with that clunky interface at those terrible speeds?

That is until I heard that Panago (a pizza shop here in Victoria BC) has their menu on a cell phone friendly webpage and that if I were driving through an unfamiliar town I could find some good grub without even pulling over to find a phonebook. Even better, wouldn’t have to go to the restaurant or find a wireless access point for my laptop to even look at a menu? Alright, you’ve sold me. Now the question is, “Who doesn’t need a mobile website?”

Imagine you go into Walmart and have a look around but wonder if Target has the item for cheaper. Well if you’re one of the current mobile web surfer geeks who is ahead of the curve you’re going to be frustrated that the rest of the world hasn’t caught up with the convenience and services that businesses could be offering you online via mobile-friendly websites. But in a short time you’ll be able to walk down the isles of one store and on an impulse, pull out your smart phone and compare prices with other nearby stores.

In the near future providing mobile websites and services for your customers will be a must. There will be new conveniences to offer and new expectations from consumers. Businesses that don’t keep up with the conveniences may find themselves losing customers to more tech-friendly competitors. Businesses that do should see a lot of extra attention considering it doesn’t cost much to build and maintain a mobile website in comparison to daily business operations and advertising expenses.

I imagine this will be the next big .com style boom. The borders of yet another digital land of intrigue and opportunity are in front of us. Welcome, once again, to the Wild West.

SEO news blog post by @ 1:07 pm

Categories:mobile

 

 

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