Thursday, September 30, 2010

Don’t Forget About the Images

As important as it is to optimize your website’s written content, your website contains more than text. As such, it’s also vitally important to remember to optimize your images as well.

Search engines view Web pages as a series of text and code only; they do not “see” images like we do. When using images on your site, it is important to take time to optimize them so the search engines recognize and index them.

One extremely simple, yet amazingly effective, step is to give your image a relevant name, even using a keyword if possible. While it is crucial to not use a generic, meaningless name, such as ‘photo 1’, you must not stuff in too many keywords, either, as your craftiness will be recognized by the search engines. Just be sure the name you choose is relevant to the image and not overly long, and you should be fine. It’s also a good idea to replace any spaces in the title of your images with dashes.

HTML tags are another great feature that can be adjusted to increase your image SEO. By adding keywords into the tags for your title (the words that pop up when your mouse hovers over an image) and alt text (the text that is displayed when an image cannot be displayed), you’ll be strengthening your site for those phrases. As always, don’t be spammy about it - the search engines will catch on and it will be useless to any visually-impaired users who rely on those tags to experience your content.

Although these steps are very simple to carry out, they are massively effective and the necessary time should be taken to ensure that your images are optimized. You will be amazed by the results!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Foursquare: The Ball is in Your Court!

Since its launch in March 2009, Foursquare has been able to reach one million users in just over a year of existence. The phenomenon of location based social check-in is poised to forever change the way businesses and consumers interact with one another. This leading player in the space is being called the Twitter of 2010. With its game-like quality, it encourages users to explore their neighborhoods with their smartphones by offering rewards and incentives for people who “check in” to various places of business. These rewards can range from simple Foursquare badges to actual coupons, specials, and interactive contests and promotions. So not only is checking in a fun and easy way for users to share their lives with friends, it also offers them tangible (and intangible) rewards for doing so!

While there is no denying the incentive for the customer to check in, the business also reaps many benefits from participating in this new social media service. It is no secret cell phones are everywhere nowadays; it has become an uncommon experience to see someone NOT using one. There is no denying there is an ample audience for this type of communication and, by recognizing and harnessing the power of social media, a company can use Foursquare to easily and quickly give their businesses a big boost.

By making sure your place of business has an up-to-date presence on Foursquare and encouraging your customers to check in, it is simple to get a good “word-of-mouth” campaign going. In embracing this social media trend, you’ll be able to better directly interact with your customers. In turn, by offering their feedback, the customers are then able to provide you with invaluable information they may have not been able to receive otherwise. It’s truly beneficial to everyone!

Foursquare is ingenious because although it is a social media phenomenon with the addictive quality of a Facebook game, is also an extremely smart and simple way for businesses and consumers to better connect. No matter your industry, you can’t afford to discount the power the Internet has to make or break reputations. As a businesses owner, it’s wise to embrace this new way of communication and use your imagination to see how far you can take it.