Well, let me start off by saying thing’s have been busy since the last post back in early November. Most of my time and focus has been spent updating websites to HTML5 code. So my apologize for the long delay of writing. There is still plenty of updating to complete so it could be a few before the next post.
XML and Video Sitemaps
I first started this post with the introduction to XML sitemap creation and then posted a second post about adding images to a sitemap; along with sitemap submission. So if you have not read those, you might want too. This is the last and final part about adding XML code to a sitemap for video’s.
The code resembles the same as the other XML code for the most part and is not really that difficult to add. There are several websites that will help you along with the process if you do not have the access or skills to add the code yourself. You should consult a webmaster if you are not sure of how to go about it. One would be me of course.
Video Sitemap Resources
There are plenty of resources available for video sitemap creation online. Since I do all the coding myself and do not like paying for services I do not know what some of these paying resources can provide other than from online post and reviews. This is supposed to be a good one for video sitemap creation. This is a pretty fancy piece of software to make getting the job done easily. The A1 Sitemap Generator provides multiple options and can produce the flawless code with ease.
The second resource is one I have mentioned before which is a paying service as well. You can get a complete video sitemap generated by using XML-Sitemaps. It is capable of doing any type of sitemap or a combination of different XML sitemap code. It is relatively cheap and robots.txt file compliant.
Video XML Sitemap Code
The first step when completing the XML code on your own is to locate the XML file and open it up in your favorite editor such as DreamWeaver or whatever is clever. Once you have located the sitemap.xml file you will need to add this code to the top of the file in order for it to be namespace compliant.
<!–?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>
If you look at the code above it shows the namespace link for the sitemap. With out this code your sitemap will not be correct and will not validate correctly.
Second, start my locating the page your video’s are located on. Your video’s can be on your own website server or be video’s located on another website.
Video Sitemap Required Fields
There are only five required fields for a video sitemap you must add for the video’s to be indexed correctly. Of course there are several other tags of which can be added to make the video sitemap improved but are not necessary. Here are the five required fields.
With these fields in place on your video XML file you can begin to gain greater results in the search engines and on YouTube. The more fields you add to the video XML sitemap, the more information and control you can have of your video’s. Here is a complete list of different fields you can have for your video sitemap provided by Google.
Final XML Video Sitemap Code
Your video sitemap is now complete. Look at this code if you are not sure of who it should appear. Once again this is the simplest form for adding video’s to your sitemap.
<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>
<loc>Page the video is located on</loc>
<video:title>Title of video</video:title>
I hope this was a helpful edition to the two previous tutorials already created. Here you can find those resources to create a combination of the of sitemap creation for image, video and pages. All an all, the delay between post has been tough due to keeping up with current changes in the SEO industry and of course Google. Plus, I know the benefits for clients is going to be worth while in the long run. Furthermore, having to convert HTML5 will no longer be needed since all website created by Link Worx Seo will be coded in HTML5 from the get go.
“Stay tuned – more to come, just a matter of when”.
Free Sitemap Creation
Considering all the available resources for creating sitemaps, this one is the best around as far as I am concerned. I personally have tinkered around with several sitemap programs and multiple sitemap generators online. Some charge for these services but there are plenty of free resources available online. The option is yours. If you want a good free sitemap or are willing to pay for some extra goodies, then this is the one for you. I use this one to get started usually; then add-on from here. XML Sitemaps.com
Free Sitemap Validation
After you have created your sitemap or changed the original you may want to validate it. Which of course is a good suggestion if you are changing or adding XML code to the sitemap. The code itself is really not that complex and relatively simple to change, but since you are human; errors can occur. Usually typing errors or forgetting to close a tag or two. Do not worry validating is as easy as copying and pasting your code from the sitemap into a text area. There are several validator’s available, but this is the best one you will find online at no cost. W3C Sitemap Validator Free Sitemap Submission
Finally, you will need to make sure the sitemap or sitemaps are submitted to the search engines. There are several options for sitemap submission available, but once again the best option if you got the time is the free option.
This is a free account and actually is very nice of Attracta to offer for free of cost. I have been using this site for years. Very easy to manage and e-mail notifications are sent when updates are needed. One part that is different about Attracta is the fact that the company creates their own version of an HTML sitemap and submits it to the search engines. You do not actually get the sitemap code, but for quick and easy submission without worrying about the sitemap and code. This is a good start.
For those more experienced webmasters, webmaster tools (Bing) are the best to submit your sitemaps to the main search giants. Bing, Yahoo! and Google. Of course your websites must be validated through the webmaster tools accounts first before doing so. You must have access or provide access for to your webmaster to add certain validation code to your website. Although there are three options available to validate your website with webmaster tools you will need access to the code no matter what way you decide to validate your website.
Once you are connected to webmaster tools, (Google) you can then manage your website and submit your sitemaps very easily at no cost. This is the best and most recommended way to submit your sitemaps. As always, if you have questions or concerns, just drop a line. Will be glad to help.
“This was all free sitemap services”.
What is Geo-Targeting?
This is a form of location specific targeting where you literally choose specific locations to market your services or products too. A simple way to understand this objective is to think of it as local listing services that show local results in the search engines. But the main difference is that you have to create specific pages targeting those areas you wish to advertise too. But since these pages are not actually listed in the local results that are truly not local result listing’s, but actual web pages targeting locations by city or state.
Many businesses do not have the time or resources to create such an array of pages aimed at targeting by a city or state basis. This is a time-consuming production of pages that requires research and resources to make it happen. As a result of this large under taking, the cost can sky-rocket quickly and exceed the usual small business budget. Although it is a great strategy, you must consider all variables of time, scope and cost.
Here is an example of page specific and not local listing specific geo-targeting.
Page A: Home Page. The business is located in Indianapolis, IN.
Page B: Geo-Targeted Page. The page is still part of the Indianapolis based business but the outreach is being extended to a larger targeted audience or radius of distance extending beyond Indianapolis, IN.
For a local listing the radius of reach can be set but may not always appear in the local results since the business is based out of Indianapolis, IN. So the work around to grow the business is to create the pages targeting areas beyond Indianapolis, IN. This details writing and marketing your services or products to the next city or state that you already understand will not show in the local listing results.
Since you are required to provide a website address, telephone number and an address for local listing results, establishing more local results is not possible by using the same information of which you already have used for the local listing created for the business unless you actually have a place of business in different areas of which you can do so. Because of this, page specific geo-targeting is beneficial because you do not need to create new local listing’s which require a different address and telephone number.
There are two basic forms of geo-targeting pages. One is a landing page style and the other is an informative or project based page that matches the look and feel of the actual website design for the business. The landing page type are great for A/B testing and mixing it up. This form of page can be tested and measured to learn what works and does not work. So one location may have the contact form on the right while a different page may have the form on the left. By measuring the results, you can gain proper insight about what works well when customers land on those pages. Other parts of A/B testing include changing the content on the page, using different bullet points, wording it differently and even changing color of call to action buttons.
What is the Value of Geo-Targeting?
The greatest value is in the expansion of the business. You essentially are going to gain a greater outreach equating to a larger target audience. You are going to gain the SEO value of more pages targeting more keywords and establishing more possibilities of search engine results. Now, whether you are deciding to create pages with the same effect by displaying projects you have worked on or just want to create landing pages targeting location specific states or cities, the value is worthwhile as a long-term strategy.
“Business Growth is Essential”
Our Blogging Delay Update
First off, if anyone who is a subscriber has been wondering why the news letter has been the same for about two months now, it has been because of being extremely busy. There has been an extensive amount of work being completed elsewhere for another company over the last few months. Secondly, behind the scenes programming has been at a slow for a few due to the complexity of programming and the other work being completed for another company.
Currently, programming is taking place to include tags and categories a long with a website search functionality. Most of the programming is completed, except for some minor details with the indexing of the pages and documents being searched. The project has been extended for several reasons and will be completed as time allows. Has definitely been more than I bargained for at this time.
This new search function and tagging system corresponds to a previous post about external or internal blogging platforms and of which type is better. Because of this, the transferring of the blog post is still not completed yet and is primarily due to the amount of web content and ongoing work being completed elsewhere. Sooner or later it will all be completed, but not holding my breath for it any time soon from this point.
“Now, to the main purpose of the article.”
XML and Image Sitemaps
After researching several areas of creating sitemaps for images and covering other areas of image optimization, it would appear that the use of images in sitemaps is extremely important when getting images indexed. I noticed that through the years images on sites without being in a sitemap seemed to get indexed anyway but were random and dependent on the names of the images, width and height inclusion, alt and title text and proper url formatting.
So figuring out the significance of placing images in a sitemap took a little thought and research. I suppose the most beneficial portion would be that placing these images on pages into a sitemap is beneficial because the images are for sure going to be indexed and not just by chance.
I learned a great deal about images being inserted into sitemaps and found some great resources while doing so. Most of the good sources I found required some kind of payment to actually get the images and pages properly formatted into a sitemap with no effort of coding.
I ended up creating my own sitemap from scratch to get the images for each page aligned/correlated to the specific pages without any additional cost. Although this was much more time-consuming to perform, the benefits are worth it since there were no out-of-pocket cost and the images are for sure going to be indexed.
Between the combination of images being inserted into a sitemap and providing specific instruction on not blocking certain image directories in the robots.txt file. My images are increasing in organic image results which overall more exposure. I also managed to insert a filter for GA to show the results of progress from the data in Google’s Analytic’s. This is leading to more success in results and brings more value to the sites at hand.
Image Optimization Tips
Name each image relevant to your page or image
How to Check Images are Being Indexed
To easily check on whether or not your images are being indexed on Google, try doing a site search with your domain name (site: yourdomain) in www.images.google.com Any relevant images that are indexed for your site will appear in the image search results. Try it, it works.
Creating Image XML in Your Current Sitemap
Option one to let the search engine know your images exists for indexing. This is a combination of the current sitemap being used with XML images information added to it.
<!–?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″ ?>
<urlset xmlns=”http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9” xmlns:xsi=”http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance“
<image:caption>My Image Caption</image:caption>
You are allowed to have up to 1,000 images per page for indexing purposes, so adding more will not matter to the search engines at all.
A Separate Image Sitemap
Option two to let the search engine know your images exists for indexing. This can be done by creating a sitemap for just images in a non-combined XML sitemap for images only.
<!–?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>
The two look very much the same but there is one significant difference you may notice on the XML declaration. The declaration specifies namespace differently as you can see from the examples. This is the main factor when differentiating the two sitemaps. You can name the images sitemap as sitemap_images.xml and place it into your root directory for indexing. These sitemaps allow for more accessible and faster crawling by the search engine bots. Overall, it helps improve the efficiency of the crawl process and ensures all of the important pages and images are indexed.
Extending the Sitemap
The tag’s <image:image> and <image:loc> are both required tags for the images indexing to work properly. As for the addition of the <image:caption> it is not necessary but is an added feature that possibly could be used in the future by the search engines. Basically it could be worth it to add now instead of going back into the future and adding it later. There is also another tag <image:geo_location> which can be added as well along with the tag <image:title> or even an <image:license> for each and every image. For the full list see Google’s page on Image Sitemaps.
Sitemap Tools and Webmaster Guidelines
Plus, here is a list of tools which will generate a sitemap for you. If you run a WordPress site you can install a plugin (e.g. Google XML Sitemap for Images) which will create the specialized Image sitemap for you.
My overall experience by playing around has led to the correct path of adding images to a sitemap as one sitemap and not two separate sitemaps. This seems to be my preferred method of adding images to a sitemap, but could be different for you. So play around with what works best for you and then decide. Plus, images have always been a great way to get more traffic to your website, especially since the search engines have placed more emphasis through the recent years on image search.
“Image optimization adds value”.
Have you ever declined possible clients because of low budgeting, such as a few hundred dollars a month because they want top placement but not willing enough to pay for it. How about possible projects where the client believes top ranking placement is the only measuring factor for their online business? O’, here is another good one. What about the people who believe hiring just any old SEO or Web Design company is good enough?
Well, let us just say you should choose wisely before moving forward with your SEO, Development and Design choice’s.
Although I have made a few exceptions to the rule for a few clients, I am upfront with them. I explain it is a long-term investment and a higher budget goes farther. But for the small business owners not able to pay for quality SEO service and web design, but willing to take the next step of at least trying to get their businesses off the ground, I try my best to help them get started by offering an inexpensive method of doing so.
Choosing a Pricing Model
Placing them on a performance based pricing model allows them to get some results while also being bound with the understanding; increased results equals increased budgeting for services rendered. This is a modest but effective approach to perform as an SEO company as well as providing a value to the client’s business with rewards. This allows for the client to feel more comfortable while also allowing for the client to foresee future expenses once results are met.
Of course the clients I work with understand that marketing efforts should also be done through other channels as well. This only adds to the pot. There are always areas for improvement with your marketing efforts and the sole responsibility should not be placed on the shoulders of the SEO company providing service.
I have had some come to me needing a new website design and SEO who just can only afford a small amount every month. If I find the project to be worthwhile or just flat-out a project I believe to be fun or interesting, I will bring them on board. I suppose it is a matter of preference of projects and the individuals I want to work with that comes to mind.
As a business owner, the affordability has not always been there to choose. So these budgeting constraints are well understood. Often incoming projects were thought of as just a way to increase profits, but as soon as I started to be more selective about which projects, it became clearer that it was funner, more interesting and created a more reliable Business to Business (B2B, or B2C) relationship for me and the clients.
Overall, this is a better route for choosing which projects while also providing a better work strategy and ethical business decision. Business has increased because of this re-thinking about selective project choices and continues to be rewarding in itself.
There are tons of do’s and do not’s when it comes to SEO, Development and design. It is highly recommended that you are selective as well when doing so. Do not settle for just any fly by night company saying they can get you top placement without doing the research first. Remember it is a long-term investment into your business. Would you go buy a new vehicle without knowing anything about the vehicles past history? You should of course answer “NO”.
Not Sure What to do?
If you are not sure where to look or what to ask, trying contacting a few local companies to learn their responses. You should get a similar response from companies that know what they are doing. No cheap gimmicky or false pretenses. Remember there really is not guaranteed search engine results. There are guarantee’s on work performed, but the perceived thought of guaranteed SEO is false, so do not fall for the sales pitch pitfall of guaranteed SEO.
Now, you can try to learn it and do it for free, but is it really free? The answer is “NO”. Yes you might not be paying for someone to help you, but in the long run you still are investing your time to learn it, apply it and understand it. For some it is just easier to find someone to help them along, while others just do not have the budgeting available to do so.
No matter what your situation might be, do some research and learn as much as you can about it before picking up the telephone and making a decision. Like our competitors, we aim to make it as simple as possible. Whether you need a new website design or SEO, pick up the telephone to speak to a representative. Our first time consultation are free. We can be reached at Link Worx Seo or (317) 614-7383
“Try and educate yourself first”.