Dec 30, 2014

Farewell to Joomla! 2.5

December 31, 2014 is the last day of Joomla 2.5. It is the official End of Life for this version.
Though 2.5 may have had what felt like a rushed lifetime, in many ways it leaves behind its own legacy. It helped the Joomla project to demonstrate its ability to grow quickly and produce a stable product along the way, demonstrated that the Joomla! team has taken steps to improve an already fantastic platform even further, and in many ways has served as an effective bridge between two releases which will have truly lengthy lifetimes with focuses on long term support and stability.
If you are running an earlier release of the current Joomla version (for example, you are running 2.5.1 and the current version is 2.5.6), you should upgrade to the current version. Each minor release fixes a number of bugs and/or security issues. It is always good practice to upgrade to the latest maintenance version as a first step in troubleshooting a problem and fixing any newly discovered security issues.
Download the latest Joomla version , call us for help at 613-2316308 or contact us via Joomla Bliss .

Aug 8, 2013

Google Plus: Why My Clients Complain

My long-term suspicion stands: that Google Plus wants to get a piece of Facebook’s pie or even get the same pie, i.e. draw all gazillion Facebook members into Google Plus. I don’t think anyone can realistically expect people to cancel their Facebook account (wouldn't it be awesome though!!), but it is quite realistic to expect that people will be using Google Plus equally or even more frequently than Facebook – eventually.

For that, Google just needs to get businesses to figure out that being on Google Plus affects your SEO ranking in the upward direction. Right now it does not seem to be the case (you can’t be that obvious!), but with time, I am pretty sure it will be. it won't be immediately apparent though, Google would have the correlation burred in some interesting statistic, e.g. how many followers you have who also "plused" your articles and liked it on Facebook - or something like that. 

For the time being, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn  and Google Plus are more or less equally “valued” by Google Bot – but just wait and see, with time Google Plus will give you more SEO value than the rest. Advertising on Google Plus is also guaranteed to be highly effective.

Eventually, with time, Google Plus will be equally important to people as Facebook, and small independent businesses like my Joomla Bliss will need to spend even more time generating content and pasting it from one site to another to “share”.

While we agree that user “shares” and "tweets" and “likes” are a good measure of quality and success for information-based businesses, such as a newspaper or review magazine or radio station or educational program, for example; it is not a good measure for many OTHER type of businesses.

For us, we just don’t have a lot of news that we feel are worthy of sharing with others every day or several times a day for that matter: work is work, support is support, Ottawa is Ottawa, and web design is web design.

For Google Plus to take off, they need to can the current interface team and hire new (or better old) guys. Google Plus interface is so poorly designed it is hard to believe, especially because Google’s early fame started out with the high quality of its amazingly simple and intuitive interface (AdWords, Google Analytics, the search engine results itself). What happened and why this has changed – we can only speculate, we have no connections inside Google.

But here is what my clients commented they don't like about Google Plus interface:
  • Those “hangouts” and “circles” and “extended circles”…c'mon, we are not all teenagers, you know. Trying hard to be different, but in the end…poor choice of terminology that confuses everybody and requires the use of the Help page.
  • You must have a personal account on Google Plus before you can create a business account. Even Facebook lets you create a business profile page without creating a personal page
  • You can only upload your contacts into your personal account and hope that they will be available inside your business account.
  • You don’t see the items you’ve “plused” from the inside your own account until you go into your account and create a “post” by “sharing what’s new”. 
  • Editing info is tricky, you must pay careful attention, because if you don’t, and if you happen not to notice what mode you are in, you will not be able to edit your business information. You need to get into the “view as yourself” mode. Surely, why bother to display an Edit button and THEN let users see what mode they are in. We all should learn how to read the developers' mind instead.
  • The navigation and the structure..oh dear. Flat, of course, to be on par with the recent web design trends. And as a result very confusing. LinkedIn is a modern site, but it does have a hierarchical and logical navigation and post people don't find it confusing. 

Personally, I am totally happy with using LinkedIn – a professional network where I can look for contracts, jobs, designers, meetings, connect with like-minded people and colleagues. I don’t have the need to “socialize” on Facebook and broadcast to my “friends” what I am up to every second minute of the day, especially in relation my website design business.

But it is not an option these days – you MUST use social network sites, especially Facebook, and you MUST give them all sorts of information about yourself.  Or else – you won’t get any business. I call it the age of Social Media Tyranny, and Google's release of Panda and Penguin sealed in stone - it crowned itself as the Grand Social Media Tyrant.

Don’t get me wrong, I do see a LOT of value in Social Media, personal and social. I see a lot of value in Social Media for public research, market research and analysis, opinion polls, elections, politics, consumer-oriented marketing and advertising, etc., but for businesses like mine, in our day-to-day practice, doing social media boils down to spending a lot of time creating content that might not even be of interest to others and pasting it from one social account into another with some modifications. And this is being “useful to users”? Me thinks not.

Apr 7, 2013

Google Plus - Facebook Minus

The much-maligned Google Plus has received copious amounts of attention in the past couple months after becoming the number-two social network in the world. A report released by GlobalWebIndex, a collection of market research on web usage conducted by London-based consultancy Trendstream, found that Google Plus had accumulated 343 million active users by January 2013, up from 90 million total users a year before. This massive surge means that Google Plus has passed Twitter (288 million active users) but is still a distant second to Facebook (693 million active users).

Speculation about Google Plus’s future growth, the end of the social network’s “ghost town” image, and rumors of “Facebook Fatigue” tended to be the topics discussed in the flurry of blog posts that followed GlobalWebIndex’s announcement. Unfortunately, little time was spent looking into the reasons why Google Plus has grown so rapidly and become a force to be reckoned with in an industry that has killed off many seemingly strong products in the past.

This is good. Facebook is a monopoly, and clearly, it is not going anywhere anytime soon. But like with any monopoly, it is good to have an opposition to it. 

At Joomla Bliss, my website design company in Ottawa, we find it hard to find time to create useful and meaningful content to our main website for our existing and prospective client, but there is also LinkedIn, Facebook and now Google Plus. And don't forget Pinterest!! We really wanted to avoid useless reproduction of the same info, but soon we will have no choice, so we will be copying and pasting snippets of texts from one place to another, like everyone else..

Apr 6, 2013

Facebook Home - In Your Face

Last Thursday Facebook unveiled the closest thing to a "Facebook Phone" that exists. This comes in the form of a new "family of apps" for Android, and an actual phone from HTC with the family pre-loaded. The experience is called Facebook Home.
Facebook's mission is to make your phone more about people rather than about apps (right! it has nothing to do with money or taking over the WWW space, please don't be confused here). 

The core feature of Facebook Home is the Cover Feed, which takes over as your home screen, and lets you swipe through the latest photos and updates from your Facebook News Feed. You can also interact with the posts from there (liking, commenting, etc.). 

But it doesn't end there. Notifications appear on the home screen in a visual way. All notifications will show up on the home screen as separate entries. Tapping the notification will bring up the Facebook app for further interaction.

To even access your other apps in the first place, you have to hold the image of your face that appears (see that little image of Mark Zuckerberg) and swipe it up to the appropriate place.

There is a feature called "Chatheads," which allow your Facebook and text messages to follow you through your other apps. Messages (via these little heads of your friends) will show up at the top right of your screen regardless of what app your'e in. (View image here).

Facebook chose Android because of its open source nature that allows it to take over your phone in the manner it does. It's not so easy for all operating systems. Zuckerberg specifically talked about how Apple's control over iOS simply does not allow it to offer this kind of experience on an iPhone. It would take a partnership for that to happen. 

Facebook already does have a relationship with Apple. As you may recall, Apple touted heavy Facebook integration in the latest version of iOS. Here's what Zuckerberg had to say about Home on iOS in an interview with Fortune:

We'd love to offer this on iPhone, and we just can't today, and we will work with Apple to do the best experience that we can within what they want, but I think that a lot of people who really like Facebook — and just judging from the numbers, people are spending a fifth of their time in phones on Facebook, that's a lot of people. This could really tip things in that direction. We'll have to see how it plays out.

Of course only a select few Android users even get access to Facebook Home at this point. It's only launching on a handful of phones, which is somewhat ironic given Facebook's desire to have it on every phone. It's coming to the HTC One X, HTC One X+, Samsung Galaxy S III and Samsung Galaxy Note II, as well as the newly introduced HTC First, which features Facebook Home pre-installed.

For developers, Facebook has created some new opportunities with Home. The Cover Feed feature lets users access app content as soon as they turn on their phones. More on that here.

For businesses, not only will your Page's posts and photos be more readily available to users due to the in-your-face nature of Facebook Home, but Zuckerberg says ads will be coming to the feature at some point.

Another thing that could make Facebook Home more useful to both users and businesses is the eventual addition of Graph Search. Graph Search has not even been launched on mobile devices yet, and it remains to be seen how long that will take. It will happen, however. Facebook said as much when that was introduced. Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land quotes Zuckerberg from the Home launch:

A famous SEO expert Danny Sullivan makes a good point in that same article in that Facebook Home makes users have to work harder to get to the search experiences on their devices. Just as users have to take an extra step to access their apps, they have to take an extra step to get to the search function (which could very well turn people off of the offering on its own).

Fortune goes so far as to call Android "Facebook's new weapon against Google" because of Facebook Home; 
the point being that Google wants you to live in Google's world and use Google's services when you're on an Android device, and Facebook Home puts you squarely in Facebook's world, distancing you more from Google's products even on its own operating system. It's a fair point, and it's really a similar (but more in your face) strategy to what Amazon is doing with its Kindle Fire devices, which use Amazon's version of Android and its own app store. 

If Facebook is able to get a substantial amount of people using Facebook Home, even if only on Android, it might push Graph Search even further into users' search habits, especially if it's available on their devices in less steps than a Google search. 
Source: WebProNews
Well, Ladies and Gentlemen, our verdict: there is no escape, if you have not done so yet, you might as swore your allegiance to Facebook now. I am secretly wondering about all this, how do people find time to Facebook? How many news do you have that are worthy of sharing? For businesses, if you already have a website and a blog, then what info do you put onto your Facebook wall, all the same content again, slightly modified? 
I find blog and facebook information of most businesses is virtually identical and identically boring. Something has to give. But I am sure it won't be Facebook. But then again, it can't be your official website either. So I guess we are all going to be copying and pasting the same meagerly important things form one place into another or using streamlining plugins to save time and efforts. 
I see blogging and facebooking can be very useful for consultants and pleasure-oriented businesses, but for B2B..blogging is a a great waste of time for the most part.  

Nov 7, 2012

Google's Shakeup: To SEO or Not to SEO

Many folks in the SEO circles as well as individual website owners noticed a lot of changes to Google's ranking recently. There talks about the "end of SEO" and how Google essentially put out of business a lot of SEO companies and SEO tool providers. I hear these talks even in the educated Ottawa SEO community.

Well, there are changes for sure! I don't think there is a reason to worry about the "end of SEO" because it is like saying "the end of search". Website owners will always need to optimize their websites for search engines so there will always be SEO work that has to be done on a website. The question is how "secretive" this work can continue to be.

There are many SEO tools that uninformed website owners sign up for and pay $50-90 per month. Well, most SEOs know that you can get the same results free of charge - just need to know where to look. And there were always 4-5 different places where you would go and run your reports.

Well, now, Google Chrome has come up with a web store - and it has everything your soul can desire for SEO and it is all in one place. Hip Hip Hurray!  But of course, those "secretive" SEO tools will probably go our of business, unless they lower their prices significantly or offer something of real value.

We noticed that on-page content matters much more. Google loves words. Lots of them. And it now pays more attention to the word order. In the past, "website design Ottawa" or "Ottawa website design" were almost interchangeable, but not now. Now you have to optimize your copy individually for each.

We also noticed that links from websites and blogs and forums specialized in your area of expertise give very fast results.

Oh well, all this is not new to us, and as a result, not much has changed for us. Our ratings did change, but slightly, we did not experience a serious shake-down.

SEO has been and still remains the three things: content (lots of it), keywords stuffed everywhere, and quality back links from other websites in your field.

Feb 19, 2012

Mystery Solved: Joomla 1.8 renamed to Joomla 2.5

We were a little embarrassed to find out that the mystery with the numbers between Joomla 1.7 and Joomla 2.5 was solved so easily.  Joomla 1.8 was renamed to Joomla 2.5 and voila  - a whole new Joomla. The next version is going to be 3.5 we hear. We look forward to new changes and hope they will be for the better.

In the meantime, I am doing an SEO seminar for the Ottawa Catholic School Board next week. Very excited!

If you need a website, please review website design Ottawa website. Check out our website portfolio section.

Feb 14, 2012

Joomla 2.5 Released

It is now Joomla 2.5.1

Our question is - what happened to all the numbers in between version 1.7.5?

We are eager to try this Joomla version, but will be very cautious about using it for large projects. Joomla 1.7 did not make us fall in love with it, and it took a while for all the plugins and components to catch up.

With all that said, we will use Joomla 2.5.1 for one of our small web design projects this month and will report back the results.

Our main search terms are: web design Ottawa and website design Ottawa.

For SEO help, please contact me via my SEO Ottawa website.

Jan 20, 2012

SEO for Website Design Ottawa

It is probably not warranted to create a special post for such a small topic, but I couldn't resist the urge to announce that after a few months of arduous SEO efforts, my web design company finally got on the first page on for our two main keywords: website design Ottawa and web design Ottawa.

We managed to get on the 2nd page quite quickly, within 4-6 weeks from the start of the original SEO work, but the fight for the 1st page took a few months. Mind you, we are competing with other web design agencies who are constantly monitoring and supporting their SEO standing. And Ottawa has a dozen of web design agencies per square foot.

Now the real battle begins! We need to move up a few links on the 1st page.

Wish us luck!

Nov 15, 2011

Google changes: Ten recent algorithm changes

If your site got downgraded by Google in the last couple of days, the announcement below is probably the reason why.

The most important ones for SEO are these five changes in Google's algorithm:

  • Snippets with more page content and less header/menu content: This change helps us choose more relevant text to use in snippets. As we improve our understanding of web page structure, we are now more likely to pick text from the actual page content, and less likely to use text that is part of a header or menu.
  • Better page titles in search results by de-duplicating boilerplate anchors: We look at a number of signals when generating a page’s title. One signal is the anchor text in links pointing to the page. We found that boilerplate links with duplicated anchor text are not as relevant, so we are putting less emphasis on these. The result is more relevant titles that are specific to the page’s content.
  • Fresher, more recent resultsAs we announced just over a week ago, we’ve made a significant improvement to how we rank fresh content. This change impacts roughly 35 percent of total searches (around 6-10% of search results to a noticeable degree) and better determines the appropriate level of freshness for a given query.
  • Refining official page detection: We try hard to give our users the most relevant and authoritative results. With this change, we adjusted how we attempt to determine which pages are official. This will tend to rank official websites even higher in our ranking.
  • Retiring a signal in Image search: As the web evolves, we often revisit signals that we launched in the past that no longer appear to have a significant impact. In this case, we decided to retire a signal in Image Search related to images that had references from multiple documents on the web.
The last two are rather vague, but the first three are quite clear: less consideration to Title tags, Headers, menu items and much more consideration to the actual copy/text on the page, so less emphasis on hieararchy - which will make SEO even harder..

This seemed to have affected my website design Ottawa site but has not had any impact to my SEO Ottawa site.

Oct 29, 2011

Referrer Data from Signed-in Searches on Google is Now Encrypted

This October Google launched a new SSL-based restriction on search data, "making search more secure". For users who are signed into their Google account (gmail, blogger, analytics, etc.), while searching on Google for certain keywords, their search terms will not be "passed" along to the websites they visit. So the website owners won't know what keywords those users typed to get to their sites. Note, this affects only signed-in users or those who chose to search from Google's encrypted platform: (note the 's' after 'http').

This is not a great news for online marketers, as many SEOs were quick to point out. Although Google insists that only roughly 1% of all searches will be affected by this restriction, SEOs expect that keyword research and analytics data will be less specific and less accurate. I personally find it hard to believe that 1% of the search value was a good business case justification for Google to undertake this SSL project.

Google is gradually moving towards monopolizing information and, unfortunately, I see a lot more people "signing up" for Google accounts, buying into the teaser of their privacy being "protected". In the future, I won't be surprised to see Google Analytics "selling" some add-on features, for example, keywords from SSL-encrypted searches. What a novel idea, eh?

Ohh, but lets not to forget to mention: this SSL change will NOT affect paid ads on Google AdWords - why am I not surprised?

In hard economic conditions all companies will look for creative ways to increase revenue, i.e. force users into spending more. I think this SSL-encryption for signed users is one such measure by Google to continue to grow revenue: you get more people sign up to your accounts because their "privacy" will be protected and you also get more people buying ads from you to get better analytics data about their websites.

I am waiting for the next announcement..I am guessing, something to do with selling info based on "personalized" or searches: beware of the wolf in sheep's clothing!

Oct 6, 2011

Steve Jobs: The Understood Genius of Our Times

"3 Apples changed the World: 1st one seduced Eve, 2nd fell on Newton and the 3rd was offered to the world half bitten by Steve Jobs".

"No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

I found myself profoundly saddened by the passing of this remarkable man. May his soul find a deserving dwelling in the next cycle.

Apr 5, 2011

SEO Myths (Website Design Ottawa)

Many people believe that if you stop paying monthly fees to an SEO firm, your positioning on Google will drop. If you understand what is involved in an SEO project, you would understand why this is an expensive myth many SEO firms would like you to believe in.

In a nutshell, SEO involves three things:

  1. Content of your website (pages and articles containing unique content devoted to the area of expertise that your desired keywords cover)
  2. Frequency of repetitions of your desired keywords across various elements of your website (URL, Page title, header tags, link anchor text, copy)
  3. Number of links from other websites pointing at your website (preferably, from reputable websites highly specialized in the area of your keywords). 
Here is a more detailed overview of these SEO basics

If you paid an SEO firm to create unique content for you, pepper it with your desired keywords and create back links from other websites, and all this has already been done, then how can they take it away after you stop paying your monthly fees? 

Ask yourself: 
  • Can they remove your content from your own website? 
  • Can they un-create all the back links that have been created over the course of several months or even years? 
  • If the answer to these questions is "No", then they can't do anything to adversely affect your SEO
Once your website has achieved a certain SEO level, there is not much that an SEO firm can do to take it away - except for doing a lot of SEO work for your immediate competitors, perhaps.

In fact, the only real thing that would affect your SEO in the long run is your competition. If they undertake an aggressive SEO campaign by doing a lot of the three things I listed above, then your SEO can get lowered, i.e. your link might drop a few lines down. But an SEO firm cannot lower your positioning on Google. Only Google can.

If is therefore foolish to engage in a forever-monthly-fee contract with any SEO firm.

Yes, SEO takes work and it takes time, but there is a limit to it, and after you've reached a certain level, it does not require a lot of maintenance. 

A savvy business owner would be advised to do the following:
  1. Take an SEO seminar or research SEO independently to learn what is involved in SEO. This is not rocket science. SEO is not difficult. It requires leg work and time, but it is not difficult, and anyone who knows how to type and use email can learn how to do SEO quite well - and within a few hours.
  2. If you are too scared or too busy, hire an SEO firm do to the bulk of the required work for you for a limited fixed fee.
  3. Maintain the achieved SEO results on your own by creating new content every so often and acquiring back links (or by something social media marketing)
On average, this SEO strategy will result in savings of several thousand dollars (anywhere between $5,000 and $7,000 or more, depending on how many keywords you would want to cover) in the course of two years. And in many thousands more - in the long run.

If you need an SEO advice or a new website with SEO implemented from the grounds up, check out this website design Ottawa firm (which is my firm).

Jan 19, 2011

Best Quality Links

Everyone knows that SEO entails link building. In fact, link building is the most important part of SEO. But what kind of links? Any links, from any website?

Well, the answer is any link is good to have but links from specialized reputable websites in the field of your desired keywords is what will affect your SEO in the most noticeable way.

Define "related" and "reputable" websites.

"Rebutable" has nothing to do with PR. In fact, a link from a website with PR0 can be quite valuable if this website is specialized in your area of expertise (i.e. in the area of expertise covered by your desired keyword).

"Related" is best understood in terms of specific keywords AND in terms of general specialization of a website. Again, websites specialized in your area of expertise are a much better link material than general websites.

Plus, ideally you'd want to have a link from a page that has a title containing the same keywords that your website is about and include the same keywords as an anchor text of the link that leads to your website.

If all your links come from these type of websites and these type of pages on those websites then you can only have a few links from each, with the total of 200 or so links, and you will be very high on Google, provided your content is unique and is well saturated with the same keywords.

If you have any questions, contact me via my webiste design Ottawa website or via my SEO Ottawa website. We revently launched a new website design ottawa 4u site, check it out and let us know what you think.

Jan 16, 2011

SEO Tart is Here!

My SEO Ottawa website is getting old, but I have an emotional attachment to it, so I don't want to redesign or change it. Instead, I created a new search engine optimization site - SEO Tart.

I wanted to free myself from the burden of the business style presentation and have a fun site with tons of useful SEO information.

I still maintain that SEO is easy and fun and anyone can learn how to do it well within a few hours. The level of SEO expertise becomes apparent with numbers: how many sites were optimized, for how many keywords, for what level of competition - things like that.

Every now and then I come across nice SEO articles and even SEO books with a lot of good SEO information, but after a couple of minutes of reading it I can tell that the author has very little hands-on SEO experience.

You can also find me via my website design Ottawa site.

Jan 12, 2011

Website Design Ottawa

Yesterday I got a call from a sales person asking if I need help closing on my customers. I politely refused. During the conversation he informed me that one of Ottawa's most prominent website design agencies receives 25 registrations per day. They are on the 1st page on Google for "website design Ottawa".

Here are some of the new websites our designers built:

If you have any questions, contact me via my SEO Ottawa website.

Nov 26, 2010

Website Design for SEO using Joomla

Website design for SEO using Joomla is a bliss - Joomla Bliss!

  1. Create 3 levels of your main menu
  2. Use 3 column layout
  3. Add severla modules on each columns, each with links
  4. Use a calendar of events with proper URIs (i.e. search engine friendly)
  5. Use aliased with keywords
  6. Install a site map component
  7. Buy iJoomlaSEO and work your keyword magic into various elements of the site's hierarchy and copy
There are other things you can do, but these alone will take an average site quite far.

That, and you will need to build back links. Focus on relevant links with kywords embedded in the anchor text. Get as many of those links as possible. For your local search, get links from your local websites.

Contact website design Ottawa for more tips.

Aug 14, 2010

Website Design Ottawa

How long is too long to close on a customer?

Not sure what other web designers are experiencing in Ottawa, but we certainly noticed an unpleasant trend this summer: it takes much longer to sign a contract. People seem to think much harder before parting with their money than before. And this includes some well off people, like lawyers and dentists. I've had two occasions already when the client took almost three months to sign up, and not for large and expensive web design project; we are talking $1500 web design projects.

With SEO, I also noticed that most clients prefer it if you charge them a certain amount per month. For some reason paying for something for an indefinite period of time gives them confidence. They are afraid to understand that with SEO there is little maintenance required, you don't need to do much to maintain your ranking, once youj've achieved it. Some work might be required, yes, mostly link building (which you can do on your own if you care to spend 45 min once a month, this is all it takes for most small businesses). After the initial investment, the maintenance fees should not be as high and you should definitely not be paying for SEO indefinitely... I guess clients follow the infamous classical logical fallacy "if everyone is charging monthly fees for SEO, they can't all be liers". (wishful thinking). Oh, well, a little research can save them thousands of dollards..but hey, good for my fellow SEO agents, right?

Your Ottawa SEO here..

My new SEO website, just for fun (okay, okay, not just for fun, we are testing some ideas).

Jun 23, 2010

Stay Tune: iBible Next!

This is great! iPhone4 has just been released and will start selling tomorrow. iPad has been selling 10 million pieces per months. Lets not forget the darling iPod! Now iPhoneOS morphs into iOS.

Safari5 is coming out. C'mon, what happened here, gotta stay with the brand: iSafari anyone?

I'd say, register domain names: iVodka, iBeer, iBook - oops, it is already a  prodrecognized product!). You'll be rich!

And don't forget iBible, iYoga, iSoul, and heck, iGod too.

How about iSOS?


Website design from Ottawa and SEO from Ottawa at your service.

Jun 10, 2010

CMS for SEO and Web Design

Why Not Use Proprietary Content Management Systems (CMS)
This week I had a meeting with a business owner here in Ottawa who was looking for order SEO for his website. He told me that they are using a proprietary content management system for his website that was provided to him by his web design firm. "Oh, no", I said to myself.

A web content management system (CMS) is a must for any website nowadays. Not having it is like not using email, well, almost. But proprietary CMS would be analogous to buying pipes for your house that were manufactured by your developer who followed their own specifications. So if you want to replace or fix some portion of the pipes you can't just go to Canadian Tire and buy it, you have to go back to your developer. Besides, if you ever want to add some a bathroom or powder room, you will also have to ask your developer to design them all for you FROM SCRATCH - instead of going and buying those pieces ready-made and installing them. This is exactly what you will be doing if you sign up for a proprietary CMS instead of open-source CMS.

But don't listen to me, do your own research. Simply Google "open source content management systems" advantages and disadvantages. Pluses and minuses.  Here is a list of open source web CMS. Focus on the ones based on PHP.

The three most popular open source CMSs based on PHP are Joomla, Drupal and Wordpress. I prefer Joomla because it is much more flexible and scalable than Wordpress and much easier to use then Drupal. Security and load time are virtually identical for all three of these CMSs.

Doing SEO with Joomla or other reputable open-source CMS is much faster. The main reason: there are dozens of plugins and components developed in the last 12 years that make SEO faster. Those plugins and components (i.e. extensions) will not be available to you if you are using a proprietary CMS, so your SEO will need to be done page-by-page by hand.

I had another conversation recently where a company has just built a new website - without any CMS! Using HTML, can you imagine? This was a 800% longer and more expensive project than it needed to be. The reason why they decided not to use Joomla? Someone told them it is not good. Joomla is the most popular CMS on the planet. Does this fact not deserve a little research? How can you rely on one person's opinion without checking it out for yourself? I find it hard to understand. Oh, well, this company paid a huge price tag for this decision. What's most surprising is that the company is in the high-tech field, you'd expect them to be more savvy than an average non-technological business, right? Not so. It is not the first time I encounter this. My coffee business and landscaping clients end up being more clever in web site decisions than many of my high tech clients. Even software development companies - go figure!

I even wrote an article explaining why open-source software is often better than commercial software. Take 10 min to read it and you will understand that using a proprietary CMS would be a very costly mistake.

If you have questions or need help, do not hesitate to contact me via my SEO Ottawa website or Joomla web design website.

Apr 22, 2010

Link Building for Top SEO

It has been noted that the anchor text embedded in the hyperlinks adds a lot of SEO value - and it still holds true. It seems now more than ever.

We recently launched Joomla Bliss, our website design Ottawa shop, and we are now doing directory registrations for it. There aren't too many Canadian directories!  And there aren't too many for web design and Internet Marketing.

In my view directory links have a higher impact on your SEO than links from blogs and forums. With directory registrations the focus should be on relevant directories. One link from a relevant directory is worth five general ones. What is important is directory listings need to be indexable, i.e. easily accessible to search engines. And above all, links from websites with high Page Rank (PR) is what matters the most nowadays. Any website with a PR of 5 and above is a great catch. It is not easy to find such igh PR sites which would not have a "nofollow" tag set up for their outgoing links.

So your best choice for top SEO: relevant directories with PR of 5+ and without 'nofollow' tags. And if you can find a category for your geographical target - bonus!

Oh, and should you worry about paying for your links? Google says yes, yes, and yes again. Google talk so mcuh about the danger of paid links that it should make anyone suspicious (why do you need to talk? just get paid links penalties implemented and it won't take a long time for the SEO and web design communit to notice, in fact, those folks are so savvy, it won't take more than a week - and you won't need to talk about those terrible awful paid links.

In my view, paid links work fine, especially directory links. And how would search engines know you paid for your link anyway? Besides, directories need to be maintained, so charging webmasters a fee for the listing is legitimate business if you run a huge directory website.

Then Google is pushing this "nofollow" business. Again, why would you need that if your spiders can distinguish between paid and non-paid links, eh? I suspect, along with some other SEOs, that those nofollow links still count.

I posted a few comments on two websites related to web design with PR8 and PR9, and within a couple of days, my site jumped 30 links up! Google denies that nofollow links matter, of course, but I am not the only one who noticed that they do.

Try it for yourself and you'll see. Just make sure not to do anything else in the meantime, i.e. do not optimize your site, do not register in directories or build any other links. Give yourself a few days, then post a comment on a related website with PR8 or PR9 with a link back to your website (include your keywords in the anchor text). Then wait another few days - and check the results. And then come back and let me know, the more we know about it the better it is for all of us. There is no other way to find out but trying it with different sites, Google is not going to reveal its secrets anytime soon.

And if you need help with link building, contact me via my SEO Ottawa website.

Apr 5, 2010

Directory Links for SEO

We just completed a link building package for a client. I was pleasantly surprised to see that directory links now seem to give a faster boost to a website positioning on search engines, especially Google, than other types of links. Registering in Yahoo! directory alone - for $299 per year mind you! - boosts your site's positioning significantly. So much for Google's grudges against paid links. Some paid links are less paid than others, eh?

To get the most value from your directory back links, register your site in related directories with high page rank (PR), which is anything over 4.

If you need help with link building, contact us via our website design Ottawa office or SEO Ottawa office.

Jan 29, 2010

Joomla SEO

Over the last two years, at our Ottawa SEO consultancy we began offering website design services. This year, we decided to branch it out into a separate business - Joomla Bliss.

Why Joomla?
There are number of reasons. Some of the most important ones are these:

1) Joomla has the largest support and development community among all other content management systems. There are thousands of free and commercial extensions and add-ons that are available for Joomla. This is not the case with other content management systems. Not yet.

2) Website templates that are designed specifically for Joomla are much better looking than those designed for Wordpress and Drupal, and the sheer number of Joomla websites is impressive.

3) Joomla has an excellent in-built SEO framework. It fas fantastic SEF components, article editing and formatting components, META tags modules and plugins, etc etc.

4) Joomla is very easy to use. And if you have a question, you can find an answer to it within second by Googling it. The amount of information and help tips for Joomla is incredible!

So we are very close to finishing the website, which we already hosted live to start accumulating age and back links. We believe that our background in SEO would allow us to offer a turn-key website marketing solution to clients of all budget size.

Check out our nw site and send us your feedback, but keep in mind, it is not finished yet. We need a few more days..

Jan 4, 2010

SEO: Indexed pages

Pages indexed by Google is one of the most important factors in SEO. What's interesting is that Google does "see" all pages on a site but it does not include all of them in its index. Yahoo, on the other hand, seems to index all pages that it sees.

To find what Google has indexed on your site, go to Google and then type in the search bar the following: . Note, there is no space after "site:"

But note that this will not work with the "link" operator. In fact, the best way to see what Google has on you is to go to their Webmaster Central, signup and add your site. Once you get the ownership of your site confirmed, you can run a lot of vital statistics on your site using Google's tools. And you will get a lot of valuable information.

To find what pages Yahoo has indexed, go to Yahoo site explorer and enter the URL of your site in the very top search bar. The difference between Google and Yahoo is usually quite stunning.

Unfortunately, there is only partial control over how to make Google index more of your pages.

One of the most common SEO tips for page indexing is to create a Site Map, put it a link to it on your home page, and ensure that the Site Map contains links to all other pages of your website. The second SEO tip is to have no more than 3 levels in your site's navigational hierarchy.
And the third SEO tip is to interlink your site's internal pages as detailly as possible. Together, these three SEO tips will ensure that more of your site's pages get indexed by Google.

In my experience, I noticed that websites that are using a content management system (CMS) of some sort - such as Joomla or Drupal or Wordpress - get much "deeper" indexing by Google. In addition, using a CMS like Joomla, for example, allows you to install a Site map component which automatically creates a Site Map page and lists links to all your other pages on it. All new pages are added automatically and all archived pages are removed automatically as well - which is very convenient. Both Joomla and many of its components are free and very easy to use.

So, if you want to have more of your pages indexed by Google without too much work, I suggest you use Joomla and install a Site Map component (Xmap is the one I like).

And if you need help, do not hesitate to contact me vi my Ottawa SEO site.

Dec 8, 2009

SEO: The Most Important Thing

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is a set of techniques that one needs to apply to one's website to make it search engine friendly. There is also a set of techniques one needs to do to increase the site's popularity (i.e. back links). All this is done in relation to a particular set of keywords. In other words, you can't SEO-optimize a site in general. You would always SEO-optimize it for specific keywords, for example: "SEO Ottawa", "Ottawa SEO", "Search Engine Optimization Ottawa", and similar related keyword phrases.

It is commonly said that SEO cannot be done well by doing just one thing. For example, you can optimize your META data and copy all you want, but if you have few back links pointing at your site, your SEO will always be poor.

And yet, if you were to do just one thing for best SEO, what would it be? I'd say, clearly, build back links. Quality back links, that is.

How many back links do you need to have a noticeable effect on your SEO?

There is no scientifically proven answer to this question, but in my experience, a site with 3900 back links usually gets PR7 (page rank) on Google, which grants it to be displayed in SERPs (search engine results pages) as one of the very first links for very competitive keywords. But in that, there is always a good number of high quality links, i.e. the ones coming from .edu or .gov domains or large media outlets or other "important" destinations. So the number of back links matters significatnly less than quality of those links, but it does matter. Here is more information on this topic:

Note that PR7 is a very - very - high rank. For comparison, Yahoo has PR of 8. So, for an average business, PR5 usually guarantees a very good SEO positioning on Google. Anything over that is simply fantastic, if you can get it. In my experience, back links are the most influential factor in Google's ranking decisions.

I did notice, however, that in certain instances sites that have PR0 (zero) still get displayed very high on SERPs, and, in fact, Googlers themselves were open about the fact that the page rank (PR) does not always play the main role (whatever that means!). Since noone really knows exactly how Google makes ranking decisions (it is, indeed, a very well kept secret), we can only form opinions based on our observations. And in this case, my observations are in agreement with the mainstream SEO community: link building is the most important thing for your SEO. And quality links, i.e. the ones coming from reputable outlets, are best.

So get started at it!

And if you need advice on how to build quality back links quickly and cost-effectively, do not hesitate to contact me via my main SEO Ottawa site.

Apr 22, 2009

Quick SEO Audit: How to Check Your Main SEO Metrics

To do a quick SEO audit on a site, you need to check the following metrics:

- PageRank (PR) given by Google
- number of pages indexed by major search engines (this metric is called "search engine saturation"): Google, Yahoo, and MSN
- number of back links indexed by major search engines (this metric is called "link popularity").

How to check SEO metrics on Google and Yahoo:

To check indexed pages and links on Google and Yahoo, you can use these sites:


You can also check directly with Google and Yahoo. Enter the following information into the search bar on these search engines (no spaces):

Note that Google never shows the right number of links it had indexed for your site (always considerably fewer). Yahoo, on the other hand, shows all back links it finds.

How to check backlinks on MSN - April 2009

For MSN, the word is that they no longer show backlinks data. But I tried one thing for my client, and I think it worked. I entered this information into the MSN search bar: who links to I checked the results on every page manually, and they seem to be all valid, i.e. MSN showed me approximatley the same number of links pointing to my client's site from other websites as did Google. One small glitch was that it included two internal links in the results, but this is common for all backlinks checker tools; they are never precise.

If you need help with SEO or SEO training, contact me at