the art of blogging

A snip of a snippet

Google rich snippets are the new way forward for good presentation and higher positioning on the infamous search engine.

What are rich snippets? No one knows, they are closely guarded secret known only to a few warlocks found only on the mountains of Lotharious where full details of these snippets are found carved in four millennial old treated beechwood plaques written in the ancient language of Griddorian Moot for which there is no translation.

I know what you are thinking, how can Google use these things then if only a few Warlocks actually know what they are. There is a greater suspicion within the technical communities that Google itself employs these warlocks within its organisation and only the senior management actually know who they are.

There is a vague and unfounded rumour that one warlock serves teas and coffees both within and without the Google empire and feeds back much of the tittle tattle and gossip that eventually forms much of their search engine content.

Of course it is just possible that Snippets are, in fact, HTML highlighted text ‘snippets’ of content within a website that Google uses as a descriptor under a specific search term.

Personally, I prefer the first explanation.

But the importance of using snippets cannot be under-stated. In any Google or any other search engine for that matter, the list that comes up after entering a search term should proudly display the search link, usually the page title being referenced, then the ‘snippet’ which is the descriptive text that will appear under the link.

This link is usually drawn from the content of the site or more specifically the ‘meta-description’ built into the referenced page. If you fail to provide a ‘meta-description’ then often the search engine will pull what it feels is the most pertinent content from your page, usually the first paragraph up to a defined number of characters.

It therefore makes sense to detail and create your own descriptor or ‘snippet’ to better seduce searchers into visiting your page.

A typical search result would look something like this:

Timber Yorkshire Decking | Railway Sleepers | Yorkshire
Welcome To TimberClick Yorkshire. Timber Merchants delivering to Yorkshire, Leeds, Sheffield, Wakefield and the York area. Decking stockists, Railway¬†…

With the top being the title link and the bottom the snippet. An incorrectly formed snippet can result in the search pulling the first html search reference content it finds such as alt-tag information or header text.

So getting this right can be a crucial factor in achieving better search engine positioning.

Unless, of course, you know where to find the warlock.

Backlink concept

The Constant Struggle to market online

To many people, marketing is ongoing struggle.

You manage through hard work and diligence to be able to get your site within the top five of your chosen keyword on Google after months and months of hard effort, only to move onto the next project and begin the process again with a new site, then to return to find that your hard work has been destroyed by your competitors who, while your back has been turned, reviewed your site and done additional SEO work on their site, building even more content into to knock you off the first page.

SEO is a relentless and time consuming exercise in futility where the businesses with the biggest resources and manpower have the greatest advantage. All the while you feel as though Google are sniggering at your efforts and just waiting to press a button that will see ACME Corporation jump into the space that you spent months and months of serious effort to attain.

The simple fact is SEO is a mugs game. Unless you are possessed of an endless pot of money and the staff to write copious amounts of significant and relevant trending content it is unlikely that you will be able to compete with the major multi-nationals on any level.

Site titles, page titles, meta descriptions, content and media are all for nought if you do not possess the resources to be able to then market throughout social media, advertising, affiliate building, back link building network creation and standard physical marketing processes.

The content and titles just do not seem enough or relevant when compared to major TV campaign where you can offer a free Ipad to everyone who can name the 2 Dwarves whose names start with the letter ‘D’.

Suddenly the internet is ablaze with the competition and link on link explode across the inter-world that provide your competitors with the kind of backlink PR nirvana that you can only dream of.

So how do you compete?

There is no easy answer. Ultimately you have to look to provide something that your competitor can’t. Inside knowledge, a tool for measuring the widget that clips onto the thingamabob that you sell.

But be prepared to do this in the full knowledge that within a few weeks your major competitor will have produced a better, slicker and more effective version, knocking you off your spot once more.

There is no doubt that money talks in the marketing game and SEO is a constant struggle that few SME’s can afford to compete in. The only thing we can do is try to be smarter and more innovative, in full knowledge that your ideas will be stolen by the enemy.