under the hood accessibility

So far in this chapter, we’ve only talked about the linking structure of the site. Let’s now dig into a few concepts “under the hood.”

Noindex Tag Removes Pages from Indexes

A common way to instruct Google to not index a page is including a “noindex” tag in the “head” section of a web page. Remember to think of “indexing” like Google’s way of creating a record of your pages. So a “noindex” is essentially telling Google to ignore a specific page. If you add this tag, then the next time Google crawls that page, it will remove it from the index. Manually, this tag looks something like this in the “head” section of any page:

<meta name=”robots” content=”noindex”>

If you’re using one of our two recommended SEO plugins for WordPress, including a “noindex” tag is as simple as checking a couple of boxes when creating a post or page. If you’re using Squarespace, you’ll simply need to follow these instructions: https://www.slrlounge.com/squarespace-noindex

If you do not indicate “index” or “noindex” in the code, Google automatically assumes that you want to index that page.

When to Use Noindex

Noindex should be used whenever you do not want that particular page to display in search results. It’s important to note that these pages can still be accessed. So if a user has the direct URL; or if there is a link pointing to it, that page can still receive traffic. However, the noindex prevents it from being indexed by Google and other search engines. Here are some examples of when to use it:

  1. Information for Current Clients Only – If you do not want your competitors to find pages with information specifically for your clients, you might consider using the noindex tag. These pages might include your favorite locations to shoot, pricing info or contract info.
  2. Private Posts – If your clients are particularly private, you might choose to leave them off of your blog. However, if you still want to give them the “teaser” experience, you can publish their post on a hidden page and give it a “noindex” tag. Without the direct link, this page is not likely to be discovered by anyone besides the client. Note: the more surefire way to guarantee privacy is to password-protect the post. Instructions for creating password-protected posts will differ depending on your content management system.

Robots.txt File Controls Accessibility

In this book, we are going to skip over the concept of “robots.txt” because 99% of photographers will not have to worry about this file. However, for your interest and SEO education, read this website: http://www.robotstxt.org/

XML Sitemaps Help Google Understand Your Pages

XML sitemaps give webmasters the ability to provide data to search engines on how they should crawl a website. These files communicate which pages can be crawled as well as the priority/hierarchy of the site content. Think of these as maps for Google that help it navigate your site and understand the content.

As photographers, there are two types of sitemaps that are critical to create and submit:

  1. The XML Sitemap
  2. The XML Image Sitemap

The XML Sitemap is the general sitemap that contains information about the web pages, while the XML Image Sitemap contains information about the images on the site. The XML Image Sitemap will help your images rank in Google Image Searches.

How to Create Sitemaps

If you’re using WordPress, then simply use the two recommended SEO plugins that we mention in the WordPress bonus chapter and you should be able to create both in a couple of clicks. As a reminder, here they are (though other similar plugins will also work).

  1. Google XML Sitemaps
  2. Udinra All Image Sitemap

For accessing your Sitemap in Squarespace, see these instructions [https://www.slrlounge.com/google-image-sitemaps].

Note that Squarespace does not provide an Image Sitemap. If you’re not using WordPress, Squarespace or another content management system with similar plugins, you’ll need to create and update these xml files manually. For instructions, more information can also be found on these two Google resources:

  1. Sitemaps – [https://www.slrlounge.com/google-sitemap]
  2. Image Sitemaps – [https://www.slrlounge.com/google-image-sitemaps]

Submit Your Sitemap

After these sitemaps are created, go into your Google Webmaster’s Tools and submit the two sitemaps. Google Webmaster Tools is a free service that will cover in the bonus chapters. If you want to skip down to that section and complete your sitemap submission, please do so now. Otherwise, you can complete this important second step later. Access this bonus chapter at http://slrlounge. com/google-analytics.

Avoid Flash Websites and iFrames

Flash websites are often beautiful and sleek, with smooth effects and transitions from page to page. It’s not hard to see why they were all the rage, especially for photographers, in the early 2000’s. However, Flash websites are not SEO friendly and do not display on iPhones and iPads. These two factors are huge deal breakers and make them unusable for photographers.

If you’re not sure what Flash is, simply right-click anywhere on the page and, if it’s flash-based, you’ll see something like the following:

flash-website

If you see this on your own website, then you should immediately start making plans to switch to an HTML5-based Website.

CHAPTER 1.01 – INTRODUCTION

CHAPTER 2: 1.02 – SEO BASICS & KEYWORD STRATEGY

CHAPTER 3 1.03 – CREATING CONTENT

CHAPTER 4: 1.04 – SITE STRUCTURE

Chapter 5: 1.05 – ACCESSIBILITY, SPEED, AND DUPLICATE CONTENT

Chapter 6: 2.01 – LINK BASICS

Chapter 7: 2.02 – LINK VALUE FACTORS

Chapter 8: 2.03 – NOFOLLOW, RELATED LINKS, & ANCHOR TEXT

Chapter 9: 2.04 – LINK BUILDING STRATEGIES

Chapter 10: 3.01 – THE IMPORTANCE OF SOCIAL MEDIA

Chapter 11: 3.02 – MAXIMIZING SPECIFIC SOCIAL MEDIA NETWORKS

Chapter 12: 3.03 – MASTER LOCAL SEARCH

Chapter 13: 4.01 – Initial Decisions

Chapter 14: 4.02 – WORDPRESS AND Squarespace

Chapter 15: 4.03 – GOOGLE ANALYTICS

Chapter 16: PAID DIRECTORIES

ACCESS TO INDUSTRY-LEADING EDUCATION

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