SITE RANKINGS IMPROVING
SEO RANKING IMPROVEMENTS
Over the last four months we have been working to improve the ranking of some of our more popular sites - using some very simple tools and editing the way the site is scanned by search engines. The results have been very good. While we get those advertisements about improving our search engine ranking as often if not more than you do, we know that many of the claims of raising your number of visits is not realistic and the costs that some of these places charge is likely quite a rip-off. Others will claim to enter your site in hundreds of "popular directories of sites" for a small fee. As you can do that yourself its already a questionable value, and really - other than the bigger search engines like Yahoo, Google, and Bing - why bother?
Getting listed in "Billy Bob's list of farm implement sites" is not likely to be helpful for many of us. And while that is a fictitious example - you can get the picture. Being listed on hundreds of seldom heard of places is not likely to help you much.
In studies recently it seems Google is really working hard to be the best search engine and much of what they seek these days is content. The content of your site is a big part of what they rank your site with - not just keywords, meta-tags and how many back links you have to your site. While those features are still important, Google is trying to look for solid content that matches what someone searches for and so having a site with good useful content, and hopefully fresh content from time to time, will help you rank higher on the Google searches.
It is a bit confusing - and no one guarantees that it will stay the way it is now for very long, but you can see examples quickly of how it works. We have a group of sites that are for local areas - showing technology businesses in a particular city or area. They often show as the top or in the first page on Bing and Yahoo, but seldom on Google. As it is estimated that Google does quite a bit more of the search traffic in the world over the others all combined, this is important to us - if we want our sites to be easy to find. Some experiments have led us to various ways to improve the sites rankings - and for example on our online radio station sites, most have had some very good results. Looking at the ALEXA popularity ranking for example, these sites have moved steadily up the list each of the last 4 months and most of them were not even in the ALEXA list to begin with after over a year online. Most of these are now in the ALEXA USA rating - showing in the top 2 million of sites for the USA. While they are along way from competing with AMAZON or CNN, these improvements in the rankings show that these simple tools and some effort do pay off. All of our site packages include some simple SEO (Search Engine Optimization) work and we will work with those who need extra effort on SEO - just contact us and we can discuss your individual needs and what to do to help.
SOME SITES DOWN DUE TO DDoS ATTACK
Approximately one third of the over 100 websites which we have currently in operation were rendered useless late tuesday afternoon December 9th 2014 by what is now known to be DDoS attacks to our primary website hosting provider, 1 and 1 Internet.
For the clients of CommonSenseSites and SiteSmythe this affected 35 various sites that we are aware of. A distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack is when a group of many systems all attempt to request information from a single site. Each one of the attackers will try many hundreds of times a minute -causing it to be overloaded with requests and either very slow or useless to legitimate requests from viewers on the Internet. As this is not an equipment failure - or a section of the network that has failed and can be repaired, it can be a very difficult problem to fix.
In this particular case from what we hear, it was not an attack on a particular server, but on the DNS server for this one group of systems. When you type in a URL or click on your link to open a site, the software in your computer does not know what the actual address of that particular site is, but must request that from a domain name server (DNS) which looks up the actual name and gets the IP (internet protocol) address so that your browser can connect to the site you are seeking. In the attack we are describing here, the DDoS focused on the DNS server - effectively blocking it from answering requests from many thousands of sites that were served by that portion of 1 and 1's server farm. As of this time as we write, wednesday morning, December 10, 2014 this is all we know.
I understand 1 and 1 is working to minimize the problem - this usually requires that they identify each attackers IP address and try to block these bad requests, but modern hackers often can mask their address, and will place DDoS attack software in other malware, adware or spyware - seeding the internet with it far and wide, then send instructions to it to start the attacks. Several major websites have had DDoS attacks recently, and while it is illegal in most countries to do such, it is hard to track down and prosecute such attacks. We have used 1 and 1 Internet for approximately 10 years and this is the first such attack that was bad enough to lose service for a noticeable time period. They are one of the largest systems for hosting websites and we have no doubt they will handle this to the best of the ability available to them. We apologize for this recent outage and appreciate the patience of our clients and the general public. Thank you
INTERNET RADIO PACKAGES
In response to needs we have seen from some of our clients we are now offering complete packages for small to medium sized online radio broadcasters.
This includes setting up an initial website with various information showing in realtime about your station, the current song, how to tune in, how to request or comment, and the last songs played. Common Sense Sites will contact and setup your stations streaming audio hosting with one of the more reliable providers in the USA, and configure your webpages to work with that hosting. All you have to do is add the music and/or stream to your station - and we can help you get going with all of that.
Starting packages, depending on number of listeners and quality can be quite affordable. Check with us for more information. Ongoing monthly costs for the stream and webhosting together can be under $25 for a package capable of supporting 50 listeners with a quality of 96kbps stream.