December 22, 2010

Cayman SEO: W3C Validation and its importance

We are very happy to announce that our Optimization Contracts in the Cayman Islands now includes the web standard of W3C Validation.  A prime example of one of our current clients is www.grandviewcondos.com - when you scroll to the bottom you will see these icons:
When you click through to the W3C Validation the website has passed for both XHTML and CSS codes. Its actually one of a few websites in the Cayman Islands that have been validated.  Why is that important you may ask?

I strongly believe that it is important because it is actually what you are paying for in a website.  The code. ie. If your web developer ever gets hit by a bus (knock on wood), who do you think will manage it next?  It will probably be another developer that someone else recommends.  It will be frustrating for the new developer if he or she takes over the website and discovers that the code was not written properly and cleanly.  Your new developer will have to rewrite the code and you will have to pay your new developer extra money to do so, like buying a new website all over again.  But its going to be too late for you to get angry for having spent so much money on a website that was hastily developed.

We are always ensuring that we follow the standards set forth by the W3C - The World Wide Web Consortium - and even if its validation may or may not directly affect search engine optimization, the ability of of the website to satisfy compliance set forth by the W3C is something that we strongly recommend.

Standards and compliance exist in every industry and more so the Internet.  These governing structures are what form the foundation of emerging technologies of building a more user friendly WWW.

Starting in 2011, every NEW project that we take on will have been validated by the W3C.  Our industry is so fast paced that building compliant websites is the key to ensuring that our clients are paying for a quality website that acts as a sales tool.

November 23, 2010

Cayman SEO: Find real estate in the Cayman Islands FASTER!

Finding your dream house in the Cayman Islands has never been easier, or faster for that matter.

We have almost completed the redevelopment of our client's website adding the page speed algorithm and ensuring that it is source-ordered.  

The Cayman Islands Real Estate online industry is very competitive and having that faster edge could be all the difference for a User searching for their Vacation Home or Condo on Seven Mile Beach. 

As I mentioned on a previous blog, a website's CTR or Click-Through-Rate has been proven to increase 16% more when you have a faster website.  Waiting online for a website to load is no longer an option for competitive industries online and we are proud to say that when you log on to our client's website, you won't have to wait or waste your time waiting.

Update 7/12/10:  Cayman Luxury Property is now the FASTEST website in the entire Caribbean with a pagespeed of 99/100!

October 28, 2010

Cayman SEO: Making Faster Websites

In my previous post I had discussed Page Speed and all its advantages, particularly as it relates to Search Engine Optimization (SEO).  This time, I would like to show you an example of what exactly we have done.  I would to introduce  www.grandviewcondos.com - the most visible website in the Accommodations Industry in the Cayman Islands and now, probably one of the fastest if not the fastest.  I still have to test the page speed of every single website but for the most part, I have tested around 80% of the websites in the accommodations industry, particularly the direct competition of Grandview Condos. 


The most visible website in the Seven Mile Beach Condos Industry 
Grandview Condos is no. 1 for the keyword, "condos seven mile beach" which has global monthly searches of 880 according to Adwords Keyword Tool. 

No. 1 for 'grand cayman condos seven mile beach' which has a total global monthly search of 390

It is also on the first page of all major and minor keywords as it relates to the Cayman Islands and the Accommodations industry. In fact, it is the only property on seven mile beach that shows up on the first page of 'cayman vacation' a major keyword that attracts 5,400 global monthly searches.  The rest of the organic results are booking/reservation websites such as Expedia, Travelocity, etc.
How were we able to make this website faster than most and in effect more visible than its competitors?  It was actually a very challenging and humbling experience.  We are still currently working on increasing its page speed and on some days, some of the guys have wanted to give up but truly, we are very proud of what we have accomplished so far. 
Here is a list of adjustments we have made to ensure the website's optimization: 
  • Source-Ordered Codes to ensure content (not scripts) is read first by the Search bots 
  • Combined external CSS
  • Leveraged browser caching
  • Minify CSS
  • Minify Javascript
  • Minimize DNS lookup
  • Minimize redirects
  • Enabled Compression
  • Minimize request size
  • Optimize Images
  • Remove query strings from static resources
  • Avoided bad requests
  • Combined images into CSS spirts
  • Optimize the order of styles and scripts
  • Parallelize downloads across hostnames
  • Put CSS in document head
  • Serve resources from a consistent URL
  • Serve scaled images
  • Specify a Vary: Accept-Encoding header
  • Specify a cache validator
  • Specify a character set early
Having done all of the above, here is a comparison between www.grandviewcondos.com and its competitors for the keyword, 'seven mile beach condos'

Organic Result for 'seven mile beach condos' on Google

Screenshot of Grandviewcondos.com Page Speed result 92/100
  1. Grandviewcondos.com Page Speed Score: 92/100 - Dynamic /Web 2.0 enabled
  2. Silversandscondos.com Page Speed Score: 86/100 - Static site
  3. Travelpo.com/condos/seven_mile_beach.htm/ Page Speed Score: 82/100 - Booking Site
  4. 10kvacationrentals.com/lodging/cayman-islands/seven-mile-beach/ Page Speed Score 78/100 - Booking Site
  5. Aquabayclub.com/en/index.html Page Speed Score: 60/100 - Dynamic /Web 2.0 enabled 
  6. Tripadvisor.com (lengthy link) Page Speed Score: 77/100 - Booking Site
  7. Cicondos.com Page Speed Score: 66/100 - Dynamic /Web 2.0 enabled
  8. Vacationhomes.com/2097 Page Speed Score: 72/100 - Booking Site
  9. Vrbo.com/49383 Page Speed Score: 75/100 - Booking Site
  10. Cayman.com.ky/condo-rentals-seven-mile-beach.html Page Speed Score: 62/100 - Booking Site
It is important to note that static websites will get a high score on page speed but will probably be ignore by Users simply because the website will feel 'old' and users will feel that it is representative of the rental property. No one wants to rent a tired looking property in the same way that no one will want to use a tired looking website.  It is important to ensure that the website is User friendly with all the intricacies of Web 2.0 (social media) to ensure a high usability rate. 
In closing, please note that Page Speed is a very important aspect of Optimization and that is why we have given it an emphasis in our SEO contracts with our clients.   It is important because Users have become less and less patient with waiting for websites to load.  If a website is clicked off before it loads and a high percentage of users are doing it, the search engines will notice and probably penalize the website by pushing it down the organic searches, and that is something that you never want to happen to your business.

May 21, 2010

Cayman SEO: Page Speed increases Website Conversions

A month back we at Easywebsites.ky started to implement source ordering in all the new web projects currently in the pipeline.  We decided to go in this direction because Google's search algorithm stressed on the importance of page speed over and over again.  It seemed as though Google was dropping hints and all we had to do was run with it. And we have.

Matt Cutts, a Google Software Engineer who heads up the Webspam team, wrote about page speed last month.  Here is a LINK to his blog particularly to the page speed entry.  In his blog he has inserted quite a few links on the process of how and why Google implemented Page Speed.  It is a good read if you have the luxury of time and if this is something that interests you.

In the Cayman Islands, it is a bit tedious to keep up with new algorithms and basically new trends in Search or Social Media for that matter mainly because as a small island in the middle of the Caribbean, we have our own nuances to worry about.  But being in the Web Development Industry, keeping up with trends and practices is something that we have to do, whether we like it or not. Obviously, we like some algorithms better than others.

As for Page Speed - we really like this new algorithm that has been added to the 200 other algorithms that you have to worry about when optimizing your website and today, there is proof that page speed can actually increase your site conversion by 16%!  Watch this video by Webpronews.com which talks about the importance of source-order and how simple it can be. 

For our "old" clients or clients who came on before April 2010 - we urge you to ask us on how to source order your current web design.  As most of you are aware we have just shifted to a cloud server, another important advantageous update.

For new clients, please note that we no longer work with templates except in the design aspect.  Now, we are making an effort to design websites that are source-ordered because we want to be able to deliver that 16% without additional effort from our clients end.  Will this lead to an increase in web development costs?  Yes because it will take a little more time on our end to deliver a source ordered website but that is not the correct question.  The question to ask is, "will it bring in more clients?"  Yes and that will be worth the effort.

March 28, 2010

Cayman SEO: Universal Search has arrived in the Cayman Islands

Search engines have long been marching toward their goal of being one-stop shop for all types of search results. Not surprisingly, Google has been leading this movement since 2007 with their introduction of Universal Search. Prior to this, Google’s search results pages (SERPs) only listed down text results from Web pages. Today, however, Google instantly displays search results in various formats, such as images, videos, blogs, updates and news.
Universal Seach has been shaping how regular users search online for years, as well as how Internet marketers advertise online. While Google’s Universal Search has been extremely helpful for various purposes, it does have its weaknesses. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of Universal Search compared to the old Google search.

Advantages of Universal Search
Information in various formats – Instead of clicking separate buttons for images, videos and maps, users can now get all the results they want in different formats on the main home page by clicking “Search Options.” All these results are arranged according to their relevancy and users have the option to further filter them according to the dates they were published.
One keyword for everything – Google users used to type in “pictures” or “videos” along with their main search terms on the search bar to get the results they want. With Universal Search, one click at the “Show Options” tab automatically generates lists according to their categories, including images, videos, blogs, updates and news. Thus, it is much easier for anyone to come up with the right results, no matter what his level of online search technique is.
More opportunities for SMM – Google reaching out to social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook means more opportunities for social media marketers to bring their products and services to their intended customers. Executing the right SMM strategies should get you to Google’s SERPs if users click on “Updates” on the “Show options” tab. The “Updates” tab shows links from social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and FriendFeed.
More opportunities for SEO – All types of content are now usable tools for SEO, whether it’s blog, news, or microblogs. Since Google is pooling together all types of information and media, online advertisers and marketers have more tools at their disposal to sell products and services to their target customers. Think of Google as becoming a virtual marketplace for all commodities in the world.

Disadvantages of Universal Search
More risk of irrelevant results – While Google’s all-famous algorhythms are constantly improving, the vast number of search results in different formats can also sometimes yield more irrelevant results for the user. Thus, the user might have to learn more advanced Googling techniques to get the information he needs.
Switching to the older version is impossible – There’s simply no going back for Google users. They’ll have to learn to be savvy with Universal Search and learn how Tweeter, Facebook and other websites and functions work in order to use Google to its full potential. Simple webpage search is now permanently a thing of the past.
More pressure on businesses to improve SEO and SEM strategies – This is not really a disadvantage, but it is a challenge that many businesses may still be hesitant to take on – which will be a costly mistake. All types of media are now pooled together by Google, so all users subscribing to these media are in a virtual hub where they can easily be accessed by various businesses. Not taking advantage of this opportunity is committing business suicide and handing your competitors who have intensified their SEO and SEM efforts the automatic victory.

Google vows to further improve their Universal Search. Both regular users and Internet marketers should take note of such improvements regularly to accomplish what they wish to do more quickly and successfully. For more information on how your business can take advantage of Universal Search – please do not hesitate to contact us email fevi@easywebsites.ky or call +345-925-8188

March 2, 2010

Cayman SEO: How Social Media is Changing the Search Landscape

Google has always been the trailblazer when it comes to online search, and with its introduction of real time search, it has altered the search landscape once again. Businesses are now pressured to reassess their online presence and Internet users are pushed to engage in new search practices to keep up with this new fast-flowing stream of information.
Real time search means looking through search results on search engines, which are litereally broadcast in real time. Twitter is one of the pioneers of real time search with its endless stream of Tweets published as a news item unfolds. People have been flocking to Twitter for a long time because they can broadcast what they see and hear immediately just by clicking the “update” button. Thus, microblogging sites such as Twitter are oftentimes more effective than Google and online news companies because they are able to deliver content (text, photos and links to videos) as an event happens in real time. Google had been quite slow to ride the trend, and many Internet users found their stock links to be quite old and irrelevant when it comes to unfolding news. Now, Google aims to take the power back with its powerful new feature.

How Real Time Search Works 
With Google’s real time search feature, you no longer need to search through Tweets on Twitter and status updates on Facebook because every update you need can now be found on Google. For example, try typing in “Chile earthquake” on Google’s search bar and you will find a Feed Box in the middle of the results page displaying related blog posts, news articles, Facebook status updates and Tweets released in real time.
It's not only Twitter and Facebook that have been ahead of Google for quite a long while. Websites like CrowdEye, Tweetmeme, Topsy and Scoopler have been delivering real time search results from major information streams on the Internet while Google was stuck with its old indexes of links. These websites gather real time links from YouTube, Flickr, RSS feeds and Digg – something Google wasn't capable of in the past.

The Difference Between the Old Google and the New Google
If we compare all the stuff uploaded on the Web to the contents of our mind, then real time search results would be our consciousness while regular search results would be our memory. It used to be that Google and all other search engines just enabled us to rummage our memory for answers we need. While this helped a lot in researching general topics with multiple sources all over the Web, regular search results were almost blind to news unfolding in real time. Thus, when a celebrity dies for example, you used to get links to that celebrity's biography or famous films from Google, but no news about his very recent death. With real-time search, you can get the hottest news directly from Google, and not just from news establishments, but from different people Tweeting about it.

Unlike memory though, consciousness can be quite superfluous, taking in everything without considering relevance. This is also the danger with real time search on the part of people searching the Web for real time news. With Twitter for example, it's often the case that important news items are just tweeted by a few individuals while others are merely comments or even spam with hashtags. If search engines like Google archive all of this noise in the Web's consciousness, then people will just get insignificant links, ultimately turning people away from these search engines.

OneRiot, a real time search engine, has a solution to this problem that Google and other search engines are likely to emulate. OneRiot is currently developing a program called PulseRank, which factors in the freshness of information, the link authority of the source's webpage, the authority of the individual sharing the link, and the speed by which such information spreads throughout the Web. Through this filtered system of indexing real time information, search engines could provide users with more relevant real time links. Still, this system won't catch everything and it's still better to browse through real time Tweets on Twitter if you want everything fresh. Search engines must be able to provide users something to be more competitive.

Google knows the answer to this problem: providing users with real time search results not just from Twitter or a single real time microblogging or social networking site, but from ALL sites generating real time information. Jack Menzel, Google's product manager said that Google aims to capture all the streams of real time information from Twitter, Facebook, Digg, Youtube, Flickr and elsewhere. This is great news for users who want to have all pieces of real time information in their hands. Microblogging sites like Twitter also ultimately benefit from this because Google will drive more traffic to them. In fact, Twitter's stats surged the very moment Google launched its real time search.

In terms of SEO, businesses would have to focus more on Social Media Marketing (SMM) to keep up with this new trend in online search. Instead of just arranging websites to be more friendly to search engine spiders, businesses have to assert their presence on as many microblogging and social networking sites as possible. They have to be able to ride the wave of new information or else, people may likely ignore them altogether. They also have to unlock the real time search strategy used by Google and other search engines to know what SMM and SEO techniques to employ. Thus, old school SEO and SMM tricks just wouldn't work as effectively anymore.

As for Internet users, you have dozens of opportunities with the dawn of real time search. It is now possible to get what you want instantly without going through the trouble of visiting multiple websites. If information before traveled at breakneck speeds, information today travels in lightspeed. With the whole world connected in real time, everyone across the globe will be seeing, hearing, and knowing about different events all at the same time. They say it's a small world, and this is the smallest it has shrunk since the beginning of time.

March Keywords for the Cayman islands
Here are the top 25 keywords for the Cayman Islands

1.     Cayman
2.     Cayman grand
3.     Grand Cayman
4.     Cayman islands
5.     Islands Cayman
6.     Cayman island
7.     Cayman hotels
8.     Hotels grand Cayman
9.     Grand cayman island
10.  Little Cayman
11.  Grand cayman island
12.  Cayman islands hotels
13.  Cayman brac
14.  Grand cayman deals
15.  Grand cayman travel
16.  Caymans
17.  Grand cayman cayman islands
18.  The cayman islands
19.  Cayman vacation
20.  Cayman airways
21.  Georgetown Cayman
22.  Grand cayman hotel
23.  Grand cayman rental
24.  The grand Cayman
25.  Cayman diving