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Archive for November, 2008

Google’s Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

It pays to browse through The Google Webmaster Central Blog on occasion.  You just never know when you’ll come across a Google gem.  For example, they recently created and distributed a document called Google’s SEO Starter Guide.

As the title implies, it’s SEO 101 for Google Website Optimization, but many of their recommendations should translate into positive results for other Search Engines: There are other search engines after all, right?

Some suggestions are just common sense, while others are excellent reminders for those familiar with and new to SEO; for example:

  • Creating unique and accurate ‘page titles’ for every page on your site
  • Making proper use of your ‘meta description tags’
  • Structuring and optimizing URLs
  • Navigation and usability guidelines 
  • Website Writing tips 
  • And More…

It’s curious to note that there is no mention of ‘meta keywords tags’, which would lead one to conclude that Google pays them no attention at all. 

And for those more experienced SEOs interested in Optimizing Flash for Organic Search Results, check out Dan Morris’ article in Search Engine Land.

Ray Litvak
Website Writer Toronto Ontario Canada

Music on Websites: Compelling or Repelling?

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

The answer to the question should be based on ‘user intent’.  More to the point, the purpose of your website and who you are trying to attract.

For example, if your website is about promoting music, and/or if you are The Apple iTunes store, it’s a safe bet that people are going to your site to listen to and download music.  If you are a plastic surgeon and your site is about attracting new patients, music may not be welcome or appropriate.

In many cases, music on websites results in high use of the ‘back button’.

Still thinking about music for your non-music based website?  Consider the following scenarios:

1. Office Surfing: in other words, surfing while working.  With ‘Born To Be Wild’ blaring in the background of the latest site you visit, the boss may catch on that you’re not really working; unless you work for Harley Davidson.  

2. Shock and Awe: it’s a fact; innocent web surfers love nothing better than to unsuspectingly stumble upon these ‘sound mines’, especially with their computer volume turned on.

3. The Law: besides annoying innocents, as a website owner, your selection of website music may put you at risk of ‘Copyright Infringement’.

4. The Cheese Factor: as a website owner, you may be trying to set a mood with your music, similar to that found in elevators, shopping malls, department stores and finer public toilets.

Speaking of cheese and an annoying use of website music, give a listen to  Tylenol not included.

Ray Litvak

WebSite Content Writer & Developer – Toronto


The Web Copywriter and the Retention of Rights

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

When it comes to keeping content new and fresh, many a blogger and webmaster turn to web copywriters to assist them in developing and maintaining fresh copy for their sites.  Sometimes, however, questions arise after content has been paid for.  Who has the right to the content provided by the web copy writer?  Here are a few scenarios to consider when paying for web content.

Is the content yours exclusively?

This is only the case if you have clarified the terms of your agreement.  Often a contract is required to secure exclusive rights to web content provided by a web copy writer.  The terms by which the content was purchased are what need to be questioned in this particular case.

Is the content theirs?

Technically, yes.  Unless you have made an exclusive arrangement using legally binding paperwork, chances are the content and its rights have been reserved by the writer of the content.  Again, contracts and terms of use need to be fully explored when purchasing web content from a web copywriter.

Do they have any claim to the copy since they produced it?

Again, unless terms were agreed upon prior to the exchange of money for services rendered, the point is moot.  Keep in mind that many web copy writers practice their craft regularly and may generate copy that closely resembles what they have produced for you.  This is the nature of developing content for the web.  Things simply get repeated over time.

Non-Disclosure Agreements

The best way to ensure that the content a web copy writer creates for you remains yours exclusively is to have them sign a non-disclosure agreement.  Both parties are protected and the rights are retained by the purchaser of the services, who does not have to disclose where the information was gathered.  Additionally, web copy writers who sign NDA’s are not allowed to discuss the work that they have done for you.

Summing Up

Ultimately, you need to learn about what kind agreement you are getting yourself into before you make it.  Many web copy writers want to retain rights to the copy they have produced; others are willing to sell their work for cold, hard cash.  Find out who and what you’re dealing with before you purchase web content to prevent any issues from arising at a later date.

This post was contributed by Kelly Kilpatrick, who writes on the subject of online colleges and universities. She invites your feedback at kellykilpatrick24 at gmail dot com


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