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Codecademy – The Easy Way To Learn To Code

By | tech news, Uncategorized | No Comments

 

Following our post the other day about CSS sprites, and the theme of improving your developer/technical skills to be better at SEO – we wanted to encourage would be SEO-ers to have a look at Codecademy, a fantastic (free) resource to help develop your Java Script, CSS and HTML skills.

 

While mad coding skills aren’t a prerequisite of being able to undertake some SEO tasks, they certainly don’t hurt, and being able to understand code on a site, implement changes or even recommend code improvements, is a big asset for any online marketer.

 

If you were only going to learn one language, HTML is by far the most important for SEO. Learning how a page is rendered, formatting links and structuring code for search engines are all important tasks.

 

Java Script is probably more difficult, but it can help you create and build tools to help with your SEO efforts, as well as understand how a site is working.

 

Code Year, run by Codecademy, is a week by week set of interactive tutorials aimed to help anybody learn how to code  – from the ground up. You can start now, even though we’re more than halfway through the year, and just do the tutorials at your own pace. While the tutors won’t help you directly (apart from writing out the lessons), there is a forum of users who can help you when you get stuck, so that you don’t feel like you’re doing it all on your own.

 

Code Year was marketed as a new years resolution, for people who wanted to make 2012 the year they learn to code – even New York City Mayor Bloomberg signed up (I wonder if he is still going?).

 

If you’re an experienced coder and think you could help the community of wannabe coders, you can also submit lessons through their teacher tool.

 

 

 

 

 

Google Local Pushes 6 More Spots Off Page 1

By | Google News | No Comments

 

We noticed in search today some instances of Google local results being counted as ‘normal’ results and thus pushing a lot of normally ‘page 1′ sites onto page 2.

 

See below – the red line shows 7 ‘local’ results for ‘plumbers Sydney’, whereas the blue line shows only 3 ‘normal’ results on page 1.

 

Google Local taking up page 1

 

I could be all conspiracy theory here and suggest that Google is pushing sites to use Google Local, which is now actually Google Plus. In this page, if you want good page 1 real estate you have to either be using Google Places or Google Adwords! The top 3 results of organic listings are way below the fold.

 

 

SEO Explained: What are CSS Sprites?

By | SEO | No Comments

 

A wide range of people dabble in SEO: SEM marketers, web designers, developers, content writers, bloggers, just to name a few. Not all of these people will have a great grasp of development language (ok, except the developers), but it is very useful for SEO’s to have a good knowledge of the code on their site – in fact, some SEO tasks make it essential.

 

Have you ever used SEO tools or read SEO Blogs and wondered what some of it even means? Maybe it’s in Google Webmaster tools, your CMS, Google Page Speed Tools, SEOMoz, there  is a lot of technical stuff to learn.

 

Today we’re going to explain one tiny bit of that, and in the future explain even more tiny bits, so that slowly you can expand your SEO vocabulary and knowledge.

 

Today we’re going to learn what CSS Sprites are. You might have seen this term being bandied about with reference to site speed – but maybe you didn’t know what it meant. Hey, we were all in that position at some point, we weren’t just born with the knowledge of what CSS sprites were!

 

Google Page Speed Tools might recommend you to “Combine images into CSS Sprites”… what does that mean? Well a CSS Sprite is a single image file which contains lots of different images. So, for example, below, the image in red is the whole file, but we might like to use parts of that file, individual images, like the Facebook icon there in blue.

CSS Sprites example

So what Google is saying is, that instead of having the six icon images stored separately, you might want to make it just one big image file (or ‘sprite’), and when you need to use one of those icons, you just reference the area of that picture you want to use.

 

This will improve your site speed, because instead of having to make six different http requests to get those images, you will only have to makeone. Then, whenever you need to reference that image, you just use pixel measurements to say which part of the picture you are talking about.

 

Don’t worry, you don’t have to do all the hard work on this, there are sites which can help you create these sprites.

 

Now, even if you’re not the one making changes to the website, you can be the one making recommendations and sounding like you’re knowing what you’re doing!

 

Adwords Editor Tips – The Edit Menu

By | PPC | No Comments

There are many ways to make changes to ads, keywords and adgroups in Adwords Editor. You can choose the ‘Make Multiple Changes’ Button or you can even download to a CSV, make changes, and upload the results.

However, a very quick and easy way to make changes to many ads at once is to use some of the options in the ‘Edit’ menu.

 

Find/Replace

 

I consider this one of the most useful features in Adwords Editor. Say you want to change all the URLs in your ads from www.thiscompanysite.com.au to m.thiscompanysite.com.au. Or maybe you want to change from thiscompanysite.com.au/folder1 to thiscompanysite.com.sg/folder2

 

You can use Adwords Editor Find and replace feature to make these changes very quickly.

  1. Go to the Ads tab
  2. Select All the Ads you want to make changes to
  3. Click Edit, then ‘Replace Text in Selected Items
  4. Choose the fields you want to make changes to and make the change.
  5. Make sure you choose correctly from the ‘in’ dropdown, so you don’t make unexpected changes to display URL or something else.
Adwords Editor PPC

 

You can use the find-replace function on other tabs as well. For example, say you had an adgroup selling Lenovo Laptops, and now you want to sell Dell laptops as well. Rather than create a whole new adgroup from scratch, you could simply

1. Copy and paste the Lenovo Adgroup

2. On the keywords tab, Find/Replace Lenovo for Dell (assuming no other variations in keywords other than simple brand names, such as “Buy Lenovo laptop online”)

3. On the ads tab, do a similar Find/Replace for Dell in the ad text,

4. On the ads tab, do a Find/Replace to make the URLs correct

 

Append

 

A similar operation is the ‘append’ option in the Edit menu. Here you can easily add things to the end of your fields, e.g. if you want to move all your destination URLs to go to a new subfolder. e.g. from www.thisstore.com to www.thisstore.com/laptops.

 

Capitalise

 

You can also choose from the Edit Menu ‘Change text Capitalisation”, which will help you change your ad to have capitals for either each word (Title Case), no words or just at the beginning of sentences.

Adwords Editor PPC

 

This can be helpful to see which version works best in your ad, though for most of our ads it is the Title Case, so we don’t find this feature particularly helpful. However, if you have someone who has uploaded ads without using the Title Case, this is a great way to quickly fix that.

 

 

 

 

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