Class 1 (Website Planning) 7th March 2012

 Website Planning  Comments Off on Class 1 (Website Planning) 7th March 2012
Mar 162012

The first week of the website planning course, today we were discussing “.htaccess” and other website configuration settings. Obligatory mind maps follow:

Also available as a PDF file.

 Posted by at 12:54 am

Analysing SEO/SEM

 Website Planning  Comments Off on Analysing SEO/SEM
Feb 012011

For this week’s homework I have been analysing the SEO and SEM of various sites. I have chosen to focus on equestrian sites, because these are most relevant to my thesis project.

Website 1

Horse & Hound

Title: Horses for sale, Equestrian news – Horse & Hound

Description: A 1st class equestrian site with everything for horse enthusiasts from horses for sale, equestrian news, equestrian disciplines such as show jumping, dressage, eventing, horse racing, hunting, showing, carriage driving and endurance riding.

Keywords: horses, horse & hound, equestrian news, events, eventing, horse trials, hunting, show jumping, dressage, horse racing, horse riding, riders, showing, endurance riding, horses for sale, ponies for sale, tack, horse feed, veterinary, carriage driving, point to point, horse show dates, equestrian results, horse care, careers, education, riding, horse riding, competitions, events, shows.

Page rank: 4/10 (, 31/01/2011)

Traffic: 8,308 per day (, 31/01/2011)

Traffic rank: Worldwide: 67,168 / UK: 3,223 (, 31/01/2011)

Sites linking in: 446 (, 31/01/2011)

Key phrases: Extracted terms and phrases: (SEO Moz, 31/01/2011)

1 word 2 word 3 word
horse equestrian news social media awards
horses social media equestrian social media
sale media awards subscription delivery problems

Analysis: Over all, Horse & Hound’s SEO/SEM strategy appears to be very effective. According to (, 31/01/2011), the site has a SEO score of 90% – which is excellent.

When searching Google (UK) for “equestrian news”, Horse & Hound appears 3rd in the search rank. When searching for “equestrian social media” it appears 6th in the search rank and it also appears 6th when searching for “horses for sale”. According to Google AdWords, the phrase “horses for sale” receives 823,000 searches globally per month. The phrase “ponies on sale” receives over 90,000 searches per month so perhaps Horse & Hound could incorporate this phrase into their site to improve SEO.

Although Horse & Hound’s SEO strategy is already very effective, they might want to concentrate on improving their page rank (which currently stands at 4/10). There are already 446 sites linking in but perhaps the quality of the sites linking in could be improved. Google Guide suggests that offering a page translation facility might also help to improve page rank.

Website 2

Horse Deals

Title: Horses for Sale, Horseboxes and Trailers for Sale, Ponies for Sale, Stallions at Stud.

Description: The UK’s number 1 equestrian website offering horses for sale, ponies for sale as well as horseboxes and trailers, saddlery and equestrian products from UK based Horse Deals.

Keywords: horses for sale, horseboxes, trailers, equestrian, suppliers, ponies, uk, saddlery, stallions, property, country ware, breeders, rider, livery, paddock, traders, bedding, show jumping.

Page Rank: 4/10 (, 31/01/2011)

Traffic: 2956 per day (, 02/12/2010)

Traffic rank: Worldwide: 516,268 / UK: 34,700 (, 31/01/2011)

Sites linking in: 31 (, 31/01/2011)

Key phrases: Extracted terms and phrases: (SEO Moz, 31/01/2011)

1 word 2 word 3 word
sale horse deals horse deals magazine
horses jack cochrane big sky gypsy
horseboxes deals magazine bd apprentice scheme

Analysis: According to, Horse Deals has an SEO score of 84%. This is fairly good but they might want to improve their page rank, which is currently only 4/10. There are 31 sites currently linking in to Horse Deals, so if they were able to obtain some links from other quality, appropriate websites, the page rank would improve.

From a coding point of view, there are several alt tags missing on images – this may affect SEO and the usability of the site.

The phrase “horses for sale” is repeated throughout the site. It is in the page title and meta keywords (even though these don’t hold as much weight with search engines anymore due to misuse). There are 823,000 searches per month globally for this phrase, so Horse Deals have done well to use it consistently. When searching for “horses for sale” on Google UK, Horse Deals appears 5th, just after Horse & Hound.

Website 3

Crumley Equestrian

Title: Crumley Equestrian – Quality Sports Horses – Ponies – Horse boxes for Sale

Description: Site Template Theme

Keywords: menus, website, template, your, key, words, here.

Page Rank: 0/10 (, 31/01/2011)

Traffic: Not enough data to display (, 31/01/2011)

Traffic rank: Not enough data to display (, 31/01/2011)

Sites linking in: Not enough data to display (, 31/01/2011)

Key phrases: Extracted terms and phrases: (SEO Moz, 31/01/2011)

1 word 2 word 3 word
horses sports horses /
sale quality sports /
ponies crumley equestrian /

Analysis: From an SEO point of view, including a meta description in the HTML is essential. Meta description provides a chance to include keywords and phrases in a concise sentence that will appear on search engine listings. Keywords have not been included in the meta tags either – this is a wasted opportunity to list relevant search terms such as Horse & Hound and Horse Deals have done.

Alt tags appear to be empty on most of the images on the site. Even though empty alt tags (alt=””) will pass the WC3 Markup Validator, it is incredibly bad for SEO and usability.

Crumley Equestrian’s page rank currently stands at 0, so we can assume that there are very few sites linking in to this website. The site has been developed fairly recently (registered in July 2010), so now would be the perfect time to concentrate on improving SEO and SEM.

Crumley Equestrian should focus on  including relevant keywords in the markup and on the pages. Google AdWords Keyword Tool suggests keywords that could be used. The best ones will have a high number of search queries and low competition. Google AdWords suggests that an ideal phrase to use would be “horses for sale in sussex”.

Keywords suggested by Google AdWords for Crumley Equestrian

SEM: Crumley Equestrian could also utilise community networks like Facebook to promote the site. Creating a Facebook page would increase the number of inbound links and would help more people to find the site.

 Posted by at 12:13 pm

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Analysis

 web planning, Website Planning  Comments Off on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Analysis
Jan 272011

To help me gain more understanding of my thesis project I will be analysing food recipe sites for this SEO analysis.


Jamie Oliver | Official site for recipes, books, tv, restaurants and food revolution

Keywords: Jamie Oliver, fifteen, recipes, fish dishes, meat menus, chicken dinners, Italian recipes, how to cook, eggs, baking, traditional, cookbook, seafood, cake, Gennaro Contaldo, School Dinners, Nora Sands, pasta, risotto, Fresh

Description: Jamie Oliver’s official site with loads of recipes and Jamie’s his latest books including Jamie’s America, Ministry of Food, Jamie at Home and Naked Chef.

Page rank: 7/10

Top Search Queries: (, 26/01/11)

The top queries driving traffic to from search engines.

Query / Percent of Search Traffic

jamie oliver / 14.88%
jamie oliver recipes / 1.53%
jamie oliver food revolution / 0.93
jamie / 0.83%
jamie oliver 30 minute recipes / 0.65%
jamie oliver 30 minute meals / 0.62%
food revolution / 0.48%

Bounce rate: 48.9% (, 26/01/11)

Visits per day: 32,067 (, 26/01/11)

Analysis: Jamie Oliver’s site is one in which it encompasses all his work as a tv chef, restaurant, books, products etc. Therefore in terms of his homepage there are a lot of keywords to cover the wide spectrum of his work.

In terms of keywords and phrases, there is a strong emphasis on the work that Jamie Oliver has done in terms of the density of some keywords. For example, many of his restaurants (Fifteen, Barbecoa) are repeated throughout his homepage. Also there is an emphasis on Italian food recipes and also the work that he has done for television. Looking at the keywords under the meta keyword tag, there is a focus on particular ingredients (eggs, risotto, cakes) as opposed to more general keywords which suggests that they believe that people may be searching for Jamie Oliver under a specific intent as opposed to a general one.

The above image (from Google Adwords – Keyword Tool) shows that many users search his name in addition to whatever they are searching for in relation to him.

Although they have included the word risotto I note that there is quite a lot of searches for the phrase ‘Jamie Oliver risotto’ (approx 18,000) and very little competition for this. It may be worth the site owners looking into more pages on the site regarding Jamie Oliver’s risotto recipes.

Looking at their HTML, they have a rather large navigation system (which is implicit on the homepage i.e. you must hover over the main navigational links to get to the sub-navigational links) which does cover every piece of work or food or ingredient that someone may search for. This is well thought out so that users will be directed to their homepage on a search for anything to do with Jamie Oliver.

With regard to page rank, have a very respectable 7 out of 10. In terms of improvements to this, the site should ensure more high quality sites are linking to them.


Title: BBC Good Food – Recipes and cooking tips

Keywords: bbc, good food, magazine, recipe, ingredients, healthy, vegetarian, chef, organic

Description: With over 5000 tried and tested recipes, you’re sure to find the perfect dish. Browse by occasion, cuisine, vegetarian and healthy eating or try our recipe A-Z.

Page rank: 6/10

Top Search Queries: (, 26/01/11)
The top queries driving traffic to from search engines.

Query/ Percent of Search Traffic
bbc good food / 5.29%
good food / 3.79%
pumpkin soup / 1.13%
bbc food / 0.95%
goodfood / 0.51%
carrot cake recipe / 0.48%
bbc good food recipes / 0.44%

Bounce rate: 54% (, 26/01/11)

Visits per day:27,565 (, 26/01/11)

Analysis: BBC Good Food is a recipe site which runs off its recipe magazine business.
Looking at their meta keywords and meta description tags they believe that there users will have a strong interest in health recipes and organic produce and have catered for this in their site.

Their site has based their navigation on images of food under the heading ‘top recipes collection’. They have correctly labelled their alt tags in their images and have made links to all their categories. They have used this ‘collection’ to encompass every ingredient that the user may search for. As you can see in the image above, it is a rather large collection and in HTML this becomes a long list of keywords or ingredients for the user to find.

3) BBC Food Recipes

BBC – Food – Recipes

Keywords: bbc, food, recipes, recipe, chef

Description: Find recipes from your favourite BBC programmes and chefs, or browse by ingredient or dish. With over 12,000 recipes you’re sure to find the perfect dish.

Page rank: 7/10

Top Search Queries: (, 26/01/11)
The top queries driving traffic to from search engines.

Query/ Percent of Search Traffic
bbc / 6.84%
Bbc news / 3.24%
Bbc iplayer / 2.09%
BBC sport / 1.54%
Iplayer / 1.40%
Bbc weather / 1.40%
Bbc football / 0.87%

Bounce rate: 33.9% (, 26/01/11)

Visits per day:8,549,171(, 26/01/11)

Analysis: The BBC website is a large corporation which incorporates a lot of different facilities for its visitors. The BBC Food Recipes page is one aspect of this corporation. As we can see above their recipes page is, understandably, not one of their strongest search queries for the site.

Regarding my statistics, I am not able to gain insight into the specific recipe page, so the statistics above are purely for the entire site.

Their h1, h2.. etc. titles are well written including the words menu, recipes, diets, user recommended, cooking, favourite dishes.

In terms of their keyword input strategy on their homepage they have gone with the same technique as BBC Good Food in that they have used a categorical image navigation on their page. This then allows them to encompass their keywords quite neatly alongside images of recipes or ingredients in terms of what they believe to be the most searched for.

They should make sure that their alt tags are all correct for SEO purposes as well as for accessibility reasons.

 Posted by at 4:13 pm

Website Planning – SEO, SEM and Site Promotion

 Website Planning  Comments Off on Website Planning – SEO, SEM and Site Promotion
Jan 252011

The Romantic Novelist’s Association (RNA)

Per its meta description: “The Romantic Novelists’ Association was formed in 1960 to promote romantic fiction and to encourage good writing and now represents more than 700 writers, agents, editors and other publishing professionals.” (RNA, 2011)

Keywords identified:  Romance, fiction, romantic fiction, writers, editors, agents, publishing professionals.

Per Google AdWords/Keywords tool, with settings at Match Types: ‘Exact’ (for higher accuracy) and locations and languages set to ‘All Countries’ (we are assuming the site is aiming for maximum coverage).

Continue reading »

Three sites with poor layout/typography

 Poor Designs, Website Planning  Comments Off on Three sites with poor layout/typography
Nov 022010

This week I have chosen three websites with poor layout and typography. I have marked each of the images with a grid layout (in blue) and I’ve marked the viewing screen of the browser window for each section of the webpage.

1) BFI

BFI website

Firstly is BFI’s website. It’s layout is slightly too wide for a 1024×768 monitor and the advert on the side is cut off slightly. The user has to scroll horizontally. Although it’s not much but one still wonders what else is on the page that you’re missing for you to have to scroll that way. The width of the site (not including the orange advert on the right) is 1065px which is quite large.

Below is a screenshot of everything above the fold. It feels slightly messy with each element and the fact that it feels as if you’re not seeing the entire picture. Once you scroll down, the actual layout is not too bad but it’s initial impression is not so good.

BFI above the fold screenshot

In terms of typography, they have embedded their fonts using cufon. As well as this they have used Georgia for the navigarion and Trebuchet MS for the body content. I think it all ties in quite nicely, however the only thing is is that there may be use of too many fonts. Each element seems to have its own different font hierarchy in terms of its headings and this makes it quite messy.

2) Heart

Next up is Kent’s Heart website.

Heart website

On the face of it, it seems like a jam-packed site full of promise. However one thing that bugs me and that I feel has a negative impact on the site and it’s layout, is the adverts. I know they’re probably paid a lot for their adverts but I really dislike the placement of them on this site! They’re placed directly where I want to look (!) and it sort of overpowers the content. Also where they have been placed mean that the layout seems a bit skewed.

They have used the rule of thirds in terms of their content. Like the first website, everything below the fold is perfectly fine and they have used the Golden Ratio rule for it. However it is above the fold which is a bit disappointing.

In terms of its typography they have used the standard font-face Arial. I’m not too keen on the fact that this is the only font used and to show hierachy they have interchanged between red Arial font and black Arial font. Because of this, its unity as a site is a bit off as it is used a bit too much.

3) The Co-operative

Again, the Co-operative website layout seems alright at first glance. There is nothing spectacularly wrong with its layout as you can see from the guides. They have used a five-column layout. Their footer links are pretty expansive and so they must have given a lot of thought into what to actually place on their main homepage which emcompasses all their facilities.

Although all their services are made clear in their navigation bar, their actual content below, the layout and the use of colours don’t really fit in together and the user isn’t really sure where to look first and what to really make of everything. There isn’t really a hierarchy in its elements.

In terms of typography they have used the font-face Arial. I think of Arial as quite a neutral font so, for me, it doesn’t really do anything amazing to a website.

I think rooting around for poor designs is good practice and I have quite enjoyed finding grid layouts and thinking about why a website doesn’t really work. 🙂

 Posted by at 12:17 am