Spyware, Search Engines,
and Meta Tags
Times are changing. In this month's article we will examine
factors impacting you and your online business: which browser to
consider when designing, spyware, keyword density for Google and
keyword meta tags.
Should My Site Be Designed For More Than Just Internet Explorer
In The Beginning, There Was Netscape...
Long, long ago (maybe 1997-1999), in an internet far, far away,
there existed a browser called Netscape. Netscape was everywhere
and you had to make sure your web page looked good in Netscape.
Netscape was free and was good.
The Evil Invaders From The North...
Microsoft, like a cold wind from Mongolia, then invaded the
browser market with its various PC and Apple computer
permutations. During this time we designed web sites for almost
all the options as you just didn't know what your browser your
visitor would be using. It was time consuming and expensive to
create these subtle variations on web pages. A page that was
perfect on a PC browser, looked like the writing on a pin head
for a Mac machine.
Over the course of a couple of years (at least a decade in net
time) Microsoft took the overwhelming market share from
Netscape, to the point where we stopped designing for "lesser"
browsers. The rational was that if the visitor was using such an
old browser, it was probably an old machine, and thus probably
not a "real viable" client.
While Microsoft based Internet Explorer browsers are now even
more dominant, something is beginning to occur. We are starting
to see in our logs a slight shift away from Internet Explorer.
In fact, our office switched away from Internet Explorer to
Mozilla FireFox. We are frequently asked why.
I Spy, And You Don't Even Know It...
We installed several Anti-Spyware programs on our office
machines and found EVERY one of our 23 stations was infected
with spyware. Most Spyware was the pop-up kind, where we simply
see unwanted ads. Some of the software would hijack our browser
and make their home page or results appear. A common example is
that competitorís mortgage ads could appear when people come to
Also we found a very malicious spyware, software that captures
keystrokes and sends those keystrokes back to the person group
that installed the spyware. Those keystrokes can include
password and user names, they can also include credit card
numbers, all sent without you even knowing it. My 14 year old
daughter, using the parental control version of AOL, plus cable
access for her browser, averages about a Spyware program a day
on her machine.
How Did The Spyware Get On My Computer?
Frequently the spyware is installed, without your permission or
knowledge, when you visit a web site and the program exploits a
flaw in the Internet Explorer program. Microsoft has released
fixes to combat this problem, but the bad guys continue to find
and exploit holes.
As a result, we switched over most of our
office machines to Mozilla. The Spyware hackers know that
Microsoft is the major player for the browser market and thus
make their software exploit Internet Explorer. Lesser companies
like Opera and Mozilla typically fly under the radar. Using this
logic, we also use Eudora, not Outlook, for all our email.
All of this brings us back to which browser should you design
for when creating new sites. We think more companies will start
to mandate an alternative to Internet Explorer until the Spyware
issues are under control. We suggest you monitor your logs and
note how which browsers are being used to view your site. This
will help you decide which browsers to test when designing your
Keyword Density for Google
Oh, That Is Too Little...
We are often asked how often we should repeat a keyword on a web
page to somehow solve the mystical formula that makes up the
Google ranking algorithm. There are various levels to the answer
of this riddle. The first is easy, you must have a keyword you
expect to be found for, included in the visible content of your
page. In example if you expected to be found for both Fort Worth
and Ft. Worth mortgages, but only have Fort Worth on your web
page, you will not be found for Ft. Worth. The same goes for Los
Angeles Home Loan versus LA Home Loan. On a larger level, if you
only have the keywords "home loan" but not "home mortgage" you
will NOT be found for home mortgages in a search.
Oh, That Is Too Much...
As far as how many times to repeat a keyword on your page, there
is another easy answer and that is, "Not too many times."
Sometimes, with good intentions you accidentally fly to close
the Google sun, and your wings are melted because you have used
a keyword eight times with a 3.87% keyword density and,
hypothetically, they only allow a 3.72% density. On the far end
of the spectrum, if the Google spider visits your site and finds
you have repeated the word "Phoenix Home Loan" 46 times on a
page with 200 words, you are likely to be deemed "keyword
spamming" and your site will probably only be found after they
discover the location of Jimmy Hoffa's body.
Ah, That Is Just Right... Or Is It?
So far we have been a bit like Goldilocks and the Three Bears,
where Goldi is trying to find the "just right" amount of keyword
density. Unfortunately, that is difficult to decipher as keyword
density is just one component of the Google ranking algorithm.
Once you think you have found a way to cut through the Gordian
Knot of this formula, you simply find you have gone to the next
step which is a 144-squares per side Rubik's Cube. We suggest
using keywords no more than 2-4% of the time on any given page.
Meta Tags: Should They Stay Or Should They Go?
Meta tags are the little bit of HTML coding that doesn't show in
the visible text of your web page, but was originally designed
to contain keywords relevant to your site. Many web masters
abused meta tags by including a set of keywords that might read
as follows: Chicago Home loan, Illinois home mortgage, Pamela
Lee Anderson. Before too long so many irrelevant keywords were
crammed into the meta tags creating a Thanksgiving turkey
overflowing with Paris Hilton, sex, download music, Survivor,
MTV and MP3 stuffing. Because of this most search engines began
to downplay the weight of meta tags.
We recommend the continued use of meta tags, but only a single
keyword or keyword phrase per page.
In a few years we will be writing an article starting off with
long, long ago, in an internet far, far away, and be talking
about when spyware was prevalent, when Google was king, how HTML
used to be the language of choice and how there was this thing
called the "first internet" in late 2004. Times are changing.
Web site: www.mortgagepromote.com