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Archive for September 6th, 2006

Google SiteMaps For Your Site

September 6th, 2006
Author: Kyle

A Google Sitemap is a simple XML document that lists all the pages in your Web site, but the Google Sitemaps program is actually much more important than that. In fact, the Sitemaps program provides a little peek inside Google’s mind - and it can tell you a lot about what Google thinks of your Web site!

Until Google Sitemaps was released in the summer of 2005, optimizing a site for Google was a guessing game at best. A Web site’s page might be deleted from the index, and the Webmaster had no idea why. Alternatively, a site’s content could be scanned, but because of the peculiarities of the algorithm, the only pages that would rank well might be the “About Us” page, or the company’s press releases.

As webmasters we were at the whim of Googlebot, the seemingly arbitrary algorithmic kingmaker that could make or break a website overnight through shifts in search engine positioning. There was no way to communicate with Google about a website - either to understand what was wrong with it, or to tell Google when something had been updated.

That all changed about a year ago when Google released Sitemaps, but the program really became useful in February of 2006 when Google updated it with a couple new tools.

So, what exactly is the Google Sitemaps program, and how can you use it to improve the position of your Web site? Well, there are essentially two reasons to use Google Sitemaps:

1. Sitemaps provide you with a way to tell Google valuable information about your Web site

2. You can use Sitemaps to learn what Google thinks about your Web site

Do we think that having a Google Sitemap is necessary - absolutely. Anything possible that can help boost exposure and traffic to a site is worth it. CGI Pro always includes a Google Sitemap with every site it creates.

XHTML - Is It Worth It?

September 6th, 2006
Author: Kyle

Many people who come to us looking for a website have often asked the question - “What is xhtml - should my site consist of it?” Often times, most people can’t tell the difference between a site marked up in xhtml vs. html, and novices complain incessently about the characteristics the coding itself. XHTML is really nothing more than an html document holding itself up to xml standards. XTML is more difficult to program, yet a good coder can make quick work of it.

So is XHTML worth it? Yes, in my opinion XHTML is worth the hassle. It often makes for a more perfect webpage as the developer must make sure the code falls within strict standards. XHTML often reduces the size of a webpage tremendously, making for faster downloads which will make all of your dial-up friends happy. Since XHTML is a streamlined verson of its html equivilant, search engines may rank the page as being more “relavent”, and thus the may come up higher due to its professionalism and conciseness. Does having a webpage as valid XHTML guarantee better rankings? No, it does not. What it does do is create a better overall baseline standard.

How RSS Feeds Can Boost Traffic

September 6th, 2006
Author: Kyle

RSS stands for “Real Simple Syndication.” Essentially what an RSS feed consists of is genre specific content from a specified source. Knowing that, RSS feeds can provide a wealth of exposure and traffic to your site by allowing other to partake in information that you lease out. The user essentially “subscribes” to your feed, thus making them often a much more qualified visitor, and often can be used as content in others sites, increasing traffic to yours as a whole and pre-qualifying those who choose to come to your site. RSS is a great supplemental communication method that does not burden the publisher with maintaining lists or following strict privacy guidelines. Publishers no longer need to be concerned with spam, privacy policies, and age guidelines as you proactive invite those to use your content.

They key concept behind creating RSS feeds is giving out content, knowledge, and expertise in exchange for inbound links and “expert” apeal. It’s a combination of both these aspects concerning “information” that create value. We all live in the information age, those that provide information are almost always rewarded.