Category: Microsoft

The following tips are not necessarily in order of importance, but are in the order you should consider when building a new website from scratch. My top 10 tips ranked by order of importance for high rankings are displayed elsewhere.

1: Know your geographic market and ensure your domain has the correct TLD.
If your primary market is the UK it is important to use a .UK TLD and ideally have your domain hosted on UK based servers.

2: Include keyword in Domain name (using hyphens if necessary).
This doesn’t mean having a domain name like try to stick to the one hyphen and not read as spammy. A good example is a site that sells wheelchair ramps with the URL of the site being

3: Create as much content about your products or subject as you can.
After doing this divide in to 4 or 5 sections (this will help later when creating your navigation structure)

4: AFTER you have your site content start keyword researching
There are tools you can use for keyword research; Wordtracker and The Google AdWords Keyword Tool to name but two. I personally use a combination of the Google Keyword Tool, Google LSI and T.J. Common Sense.

5: Decide on 4 or 5 primary keywords to use as main sub-sections
Ideally have an idea of 4 or 5 main keywords, call them your Primary Keywords and then try to position secondary keywords with the Primary Word most closely associated with it.

6: Sit down and sketch out your navigation system
Put a lot of time in to this and play around until it is right, use Primary Keyword as headers for 5 main Sub-sections and use secondary keywords as headers for content pages under each Primary Keyword

7: Re-write content using knowledge previously gained about keywords and phrases
This doesn’t mean totally re-writing and stuffing the page with keywords, it requires writing paragraphs ensuring the right phrases are in the right places but isn’t obvious that the phrases are written for the search engines. Do not write too much information on each page and do not stray of in to writing about something else.

8: Structure each individual page
With your content rich, keyword balanced page written, you now have to create the page structure. Each page should be seen as an individual website.
Starting from the top,
* Page title should reflect the content of the Page ensuring you use the primary keyword for that Page
* Meta keyword tags, (although not overly important), should list 4 or 5 individual keywords related to the Page you have created.
* Meta Description tags, this should be a short concise description describing what the Page is about. This is very important as a selling point as you can manipulate the search engines in to displaying this when the person searches for the keyword used in the description. A favourite of mine is “Provides information about the latest KEYWORD now in stock and available online” or words suitable for the product.
* Avoid bloated code by using external style sheets and minimum coding.
* Main page layout was previously discussed whilst sketching the navigation system, but it is important that all links are seen by the engines and are using the correct anchor text related to the pages they are pointing too. Avoid using javascipt for links and if you have to use images ensure you use the correct alt attributes. If the page has too many links on it and looks messy this can be overcome by using a combination of css and javascript to create drop down boxes, but should only be used if you know what you are doing. If you have the opposite problem, and want to include links on the page but not necessarily have search engines follow them, this can be achieved using drop down option boxes.
* With yout general layout and your linking structure sorted you should now sort out your headings. The main page heading of the page should use your Keywords and be in H1 Tags, this should be followed by your most important paragraph, ideally working down the page you should use secondary headers from h2 to h4 (always using the keywords if possible)
* If you have used images on your page ensure keywords in the Alt attributes, this doesn’t mean keyword stuff them but just describe the image using the keyword.

9: Proof read your completed page and get a 2nd opinion
With your page completed try and get someone to check it for you to see if it reads to spammy and to see if you have missed out any obvious key phrases that should be on the page.

10: Construct your site.
With the previous procedure completed for all pages it’s now time to put the site together. Simply use the previously devised linking structure, group similar pages together under appropriate sub headings and ensure all links are active and using correct anchor text.

Microsoft sympathizes with people pushing what it calls the “Die IE6, Die” campaign, but argued today that it simply can’t put a stake in the old browser’s heart.

Death to IE6

Death to IE6 | Friends don't let friends use IE6

“Friends don’t let friends use IE6,” said Amy Bazdukas, Microsoft’s general manager for Internet Explorer (IE). That sentiment, however, only applies to some people using Windows and the eight-year-old browser — mainly consumers. “It’s certainly part of our approach to consumers to get them to upgrade to IE8,” Bazdukas said.

But while she agreed that consumers should ditch IE6, and understood the motivation behind the growing chorus of Web sites calling for an end to the browser, Bazdukas said Microsoft couldn’t give the same advice to businesses. “With our business customers, it’s more complex,” she argued. “For them, deploying a browser is very like much like deploying an operating system across multiple desktops. So it’s not a surprise that IE6 is still being used.”

Not that Microsoft’s entirely happy with that. “IE6 use is higher than we like,” Bazdukas admitted. “Most of that is from the business installations, that’s where we see most of the trailing installations of IE6.”

According to the most recent data from California-based Web metrics company Net Applications, 27.2% of all Internet users are still running IE6, making it the most popular version of IE. By comparison, IE7 accounted for 23.1% of all browsers in action last month, while the newest edition, IE8, had a usage share of 12.5%.

In other words, IE6 accounts for approximately 40% of all instances of Internet Explorer worldwide, beating both IE7 (34%) and IE8 (19%) in “IE market share.”

Bazdukas also attributed some of IE6’s popularity to Windows’ high piracy rates in countries like China and India. “There’s a reluctance [among people using counterfeit Windows] to use Automatic Updates,” she said, calling out China in particular. “Rather than download updates, often the solution to problems is to re-image the machine using the pirated, pre-XP SP2 counterfeit. That also helps to drive the persistence of IE6.”

“I think Microsoft would like to have people upgrade from IE6,” said Ray Valdes, an analyst with Gartner. “But the situation is, it’s surprisingly difficult to get enterprises to upgrade. Many companies have old software that depends on IE6, and that software is not upgradable because they have no budget or the developer is not around anymore, or the in-house developer left.”

Like Bazdukas, Valdes thinks IE6 is ancient history. “I’ve recommended to clients for the last two years that they get off IE6,” Valdes said. “Almost anywhere else is a better place to be.”

Bazdukas reiterated what several other Microsoft managers have recently said, that the company is committed to supporting IE6 until April 8, 2014, which is when all support for Windows XP, the operating system IE6 is tied to, will end.

That practice of supporting a browser for 10 years — the same length of time as the version of Windows it debuted with — won’t change, Bazdukas said when asked whether Microsoft would consider separating browser and OS support. “We won’t ask our enterprise customers to shift lifecycles [like that] because the OS and the browser, in their deployment, are so closely linked,” said Bazdukas. “It would put a burden on our customers if the browser was not aligned with how they want to manage their desktops.”

Microsoft really doesn’t have a choice, echoed Valdes, because of decisions it made nearly a decade ago. “IE6’s popularity is an unintended consequence of Microsoft having 95% of the browser market in 2001,” he said. “Now it’s just an albatross around their neck.”

According to Bedecks, Microsoft has no plans to divorce IE8 from its long-term support, which will play out on the same schedule as Windows 7. That means IE8 will be supported until at least 2019.

“IE8 still ships with Windows 7, even though it can be turned off,” Bazdukas said, referring to the so-called “kill switch” that Microsoft added to Windows 7 that lets users disable the browser. “And even in the European Union, we will ship IE8 with Windows 7.”

Late last month, Microsoft reversed course and said it would ship IE8 as part of Windows 7 to customers in the EU, but would add a “ballot screen” to the new OS that prompts users to select their preferred browser from a list that is to include IE, Mozilla’s Firefox, Google’s Chrome, Apple’s Safari and Opera Software’s Opera.

It’s unlikely that the problem of getting people to drop IE6 will pop up again when Microsoft’s newer browsers, IE7 and IE8, reach the same place in their life cycles, said Valdes. According to Gartner, relatively few enterprises bothered to upgrade to IE7 since that browser was tied to Windows Vista, the 2007 OS that most businesses shunned.

And Microsoft’s increased attention to Web standards in IE8 — compared to IE6, anyway, which ignored numerous standards — means it will be easier down the road for companies to upgrade from the application. “People learned their lesson with IE6,” Valdes said. “They’re gun-shy about hitching their wagon to a non-compliant browser.”

Users and Web developers have been aggressively demanding that IE6 die for months, but the movement has picked up momentum as large sites, including Facebook, Google’s YouTube and Digg, either urged their customers to upgrade or said they would stop supporting the browser. Meanwhile, an “IE6 Must Die” petition on Twitter has collected nearly 13,000 signatures.

Two weeks ago, a California site builder added its voice to the movement, leading nearly 40 Web sites that represent 30 million monthly visitors to ask users to leave the old browser behind.

Bazdukas’s comments about IE6 were in line with those of other Microsoft executives recently. Last week, for example, Dean Hachamovitch, also a general manager in the IE group, said “Dropping support for IE6 is not an option.” Like Bazdukas, Hachamovitch cited enterprise use as the reason.