Everything you need to know about SEO and website design

Your website is the center of your digital marketing world — the place that all digital rivers run toward. The largest of its traffic sources is generally organic search. SEO is necessary to ensure you are ranked well on a search engine.

Yet all too often, businesses don’t think about SEO until after having a website designed (or redesigned), and these sites are often sadly lacking on the SEO and digital marketing front. They may look shiny, but if the marketing smarts are not cooked in at design time, then you will be running the marketing race with a wooden leg. Or at the very least, faced with going back to the drawing board and wasting a whole load of time and money.

In this post, we look at how SEO should be an integral part of your website design (or redesign) process. We are going to look at what you need to consider to have a site that is built for search marketing and lead generation — and how focusing on happy users keeps the Google gods on your side.

We will also take a look at some of the common pitfalls that can befall businesses looking to build a new website that is central to your digital marketing efforts.

In brief, I am going to help you ensure your next site is a lean, mean SEO and digital marketing machine.

Developing an SEO-friendly website

At a fundamental level, an SEO-friendly site is one that allows a search engine to explore and read pages across the site. Ensuring a search engine can easily crawl and understand your content is the first step to ensuring your visibility in the search engine result pages.

A search engine utilizes a web crawler for this task, and we are trying to work with the search engines rather than against them. Unfortunately, there are many ways to make a website, and not all technologies are built with search engine optimization in mind.

Building an SEO-friendly site requires careful planning and a structured approach to representing your business and the services you provide. For many businesses, this can be complicated — it’s not always easy to document exactly what you do.

As a marketing tool, your website should be built upon a solid digital marketing plan with a clear business model and value proposition. If that’s unclear, then you need to revisit that first.

Assuming you have all that good stuff in place, let’s dive in.

Fundamentals

There are a few core elements that set the stage for a well-optimized website design process.

Domains

Your business may use example.com as the primary domain. You may have others. Ensuring your domain makes sense and relates to what you do is super-important. Ensuring that all variations and subdomains correctly point at the main site and redirect to a single canonical version of the site is important.

Our business is called TurkReno. We operate in the United States. We are a web-based business. It naturally follows that our domain is turkreno.com. All subdomains 301 redirect back to the main URL turkreno.com. We have few domain variations that 301 redirect back to the main URL. This all makes sense.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that having-my-keywords-in-my-domain.com helps. It just looks daft. It can help a little for local businesses, but ensure you are mapping to the real world. Be sensible.

Hosting

Your hosting is also important. A slow site makes for unhappy users. Your hosting should follow common-sense rules. Be situated where your audience is situated. Fast. Platform-specific, if necessary. We have a great hosting platform.

CMS

The CMS (content management system) you choose for your business can hugely influence how successful you are. WordPress is a great option in many situations, but it’s not the only one. It certainly is wired up at a basic level in a way that Google can understand. This is not to say it is the best choice for all situations, but certainly, it’s a good starting point for most businesses. Just be sure that the CMS you choose is the right one for your situation, rather than the one your chosen web company prefers to work with.

Crawling & accessibility

The first step is ensuring a search engine can crawl your site and understand what it is that you do (and where you do it).

Indexation

To understand your site, they have to be able to read the content of the page. This means that the main content of your site should be text-based behind the scenes. Not images. Not flash or video. Even in this ever-advancing world, your main content should still be text-based. There are some great tools, like web fonts, that mean you can still look the part, and your images have a place, but be sure to talk in clear language about what it is you do so the search engine can read and understand your offering.

Images, videos, PDFs and content are also important and can be a source of search engine traffic. Again, these need to be discoverable and indexable.

Link structure

To index your content beyond the home page, you need internal links that the search engine can crawl. Your primary navigation, search engine directives and tools like XML sitemaps all help the search engine crawl your site and discover new pages. Tools like Screaming Frog can help you ensure that your site can be easily crawled by a search engine.

Information architecture and structuring your site

I have always like the filing cabinet analogy for website structure. Your site is the filing cabinet. The major categories are the drawers. The subcategories are the folders in the drawers. The pages are documents in the folders.

  • Cabinet: your website
  • Drawer: high-level category
  • Folder: subcategory
  • File: individual document/page

Context is indicated not only by the site it exists on but also by the position within that site. Our own site has a drawer for services, and each service has sub-services in folders. Your site will be largely the same.

If we consider the following structure of the Bowler Hat site as an example:

Home

– Services

– – Service Area

– – – Individual Service

Home

– Services

– – SEO

– – – SEO Audits

So, there is a page in this information architecture that is simply /audits/.

The /audits/ page exists in the SEO folder in the services drawer. Nice and organized. This can follow through with other SEO elements to clearly indicate context far beyond that which can be indicated by the document alone.

This is relevant to blog posts, articles, FAQ content, services, locations and just about anything else that is an entity within your business. You are looking to structure the information about your business in a way that makes it understandable.

Some sites may take a deep approach to structuring content. Others may take a wide approach. The important takeaway here is that things should be organized in a way that makes sense and simplifies navigation and discovery.

A three- to four-level approach like this ensures that most content can be easily navigated to within four clicks and tends to work better than a deeper approach to site navigation (for users and search engines).

URLs

Context is further indicated by the URL. A sensible naming convention helps provide yet more context for humans and search engines.

Following are two hypothetical sets of URLs that could map to the Services > SEO > SEO Audit path laid out above — yet one makes sense, and the other does nothing to help.

www.example.com
www.example.com/services/
www.example.com/services/seo/
www.example.com/services/seo/audits/

www.example.com
www.example.com/s123/
www.example.com/s123/s1/
www.example.com/s123/s1/75/

Of course, the second set of URLs is a purposely daft example, but it serves a point — the first URL naming convention helps both search engines and users, and the second one hinders.

Navigation

Your navigation is equally important. When a site is well-structured, the navigation works with the structure, the URLs and other components, like XML sitemaps, to help solidify what each page or piece of content is about.

Navigation is more than just the menu at the top of your website. It is how you signpost users to the most relevant part of your site. Navigation can be a tool to raise awareness of additional services and includes not just text links but content on all pages and in the templated design elements of your site.

I have always liked the signpost analogy. I walk into a supermarket and look for the signs to find what I need. Your website is no different. If a user is referred and searches for your brand name, then they will land on your home page. They then need a signpost to get them to the relevant service. And it had better be easy to find!

It is very easy to get this wrong, and careful thought must be applied — before you build the site — regarding the needs and wants of your users. A website is a digital component that should execute the strategy from your marketing plan. Understanding users here is crucial so you can ensure you are meeting their needs.

Navigation should not need any real cognition — it should not make the user have to think. The following image is a sign from my local home improvement store. Which direction takes you to the car park and which direction takes you to the deliveries entrance?

My brain follows the “customer parking” line from left to right, so I of course turn right. However, the customer parking is to the left. There is nothing there to clearly illustrate which is right or wrong.

I have to think. Or in practice, I go in the wrong direction a few times before I learn. However, if users don’t find what they are looking for on a website, they will return to the great ocean of competition that Google search results represent.

Ensure your navigation is crystal-clear — if one user can make a mistake, many others can, too.

Common problems

There are many potential issues with content that can’t be found or can’t be understood by the search engine that can work against you. For example:

  • Orphaned content that can’t be found
  • Content only available via site search
  • Flash files, Java programs, audio files, video files
  • AJAX* and flashy site effects**
  • Frames — Content embedded from another site can be problematic.
  • Subdomains — content split into subdomains rather than sub-folders

* Google has gotten a lot better at reading AJAX pages, but it is still possible to obscure content with pointless effects.

** Flash is going to be retired by December 2020.

Be sure that important content is easily discoverable, understandable and sits in the overall structure of the site in a way that makes sense.

Summary

If everything is done well, a human and a search engine should have a pretty good idea what a page is about before they even look at it. Your typical SEO then just builds on this solid foundation that is laid out by your information architecture and site structure.

Mobile-friendly design

We live in a mobile-first age. Sites optimized for search engines should give equal consideration to the mobile layouts of their websites (rather than just bolting on simple responsive website design).

Yet, in 2017, responsive design is not enough. Five years later, with massive technological progress and greatly improved mobile data networks, your future customers are using mobile as the first, and often only, device to interact with your business.

To create a truly mobile-friendly design and maximize results from mobile search, you must think of the needs and wants of mobile users. What a user will do on a phone is often far different from what they will do on a computer. And even if your conversions tend to be on a desktop, that crucial first touch may well be on mobile.

From an SEO perspective, it is worth noting that mobile-friendliness is a confirmed ranking factor for mobile search. However, far more important, mobile is how your prospective customers are searching for and browsing your site.

Work hard on optimizing the user experience for mobile users and you will reap the rewards for your efforts in terms of traffic and user engagement.

Page speed

Another key consideration in the mobile era is page speed. Users may be impatient, or they may not always have a great mobile data connection. Ensuring your pages are lean and mean is a key consideration in modern SEO-friendly website design.

A great starting point is Google’s mobile-friendly test. This tool will give you feedback on mobile-friendliness, mobile speed and desktop speed. It also wraps everything up into a handy little report detailing what exactly you can do to speed things up.

Suffice it to say, page speed is yet another important consideration that spans how your site is built and the quality and suitability of the hosting you use.

Usability

Web usability is a combination of other factors: device-specific design, page speed, design conventions and an intuitive approach to putting the site together with the end user in mind.

Key factors to consider include:

  • Page layout. Important elements should have more prominence.
  • Visual hierarchy. Make more important elements bigger!
  • Home page and site navigation. Clearly signpost directions for users.
  • Site search. Large sites need a sensibly positioned search option.
  • Form entry. Make forms as lightweight and easy to fill as possible.
  • Design. Great design makes everything easier.

This is just scratching the surface here, and usability really has to be customized to the individual site.

The content marketing funnel

Your website has a hell of a job to do: it must help your business get in front of prospective customers on search engines, and then it has to engage and convert those customers.

Your site needs content to help with all of these stages of the customer journey. Content and SEO is an important combination here, as you may get in front of a customer as they look for similar services from another company they are already considering.

A structured way to consider the content you need here is a typical marketing funnel:

Awareness — top of the funnel

Awareness content will typically be your blog and informational articles. We are helping your prospective customer understand the problems they face and illustrating your experience and credibility in solving them.

  • Blog posts
  • Informational articles
  • Webinars
  • Comprehensive guides
  • FAQs

Consideration — middle of the funnel

The content at the consideration stage helps your prospect compare you against the other offerings out there. This tends to be practical content that helps the customer make a decision.

  • Case studies
  • Product or service information
  • Product demonstration videos
  • User guides

Conversion — bottom of the funnel

Bottom-of-the-funnel content drives conversions and should gently encourage a sale or lead.

  • Reviews
  • Testimonials
  • Free trial
  • Free consultation

Remember that customers will search across this entire spectrum of content types. Therefore, ensuring all of these areas are covered aids discovery via search engines, consideration and conversion.

SEO nuts & bolts

As you can see, there is a lot to consider before we even look at the more familiar elements of optimizing your site and pages. We should only really start to think about keywords and basic on-page optimization once we have this solid foundation in place. And hopefully, if we have structured everything correctly, then the actual optimization of the pages becomes far easier.

Keyword targeting

Nailing your keyword strategy is so much easier once you have a solid structure without internal duplication. If we look at our previous examples for site hierarchy and structure, then adding keywords is relatively straightforward (and is something we would often do in a spreadsheet pre-design).

– Services
– – SEO
– – – SEO Audits

www.example.com/services/
www.example.com/services/seo/
www.example.com/services/seo/audits/

If I use these pages as an example, we have a natural progression from broad keywords to more refined search terms. We can even consider basic modifiers such as location if we are a local business.

Home

– digital marketing agency

– digital marketing company

+ Mobile

+ AL

Services

– marketing services

– digital marketing services

+ Mobile

+ AL

SEO

– SEO

– Search Engine Optimization

+ Company

+ Agency

+ Mobile

+ AL

SEO Audits

– SEO Audits

– Technical SEO Audits

+ Agency

+ Company

+ Mobile

The point here is that a well-structured site gets you a good way toward determining your keyword strategy. You still have to do the research and copywriting, but you can be sure you have a solid strategy to target broad and more detailed terms.

HTML title tags

The <title> tag is the primary behind-the-scenes tag that can influence your search engine results. In fact, it is the only meta tag that actually influences position directly.

Best practice for title tags are as follows:

  • Place keywords at the beginning of the tag.
  • Keep length around 50 to 60 characters.
  • Use keywords and key phrases in a natural manner.
  • Use dividers to separate elements like category and brand.
  • Focus on click-through and the end user.
  • Have a consistent approach across the site.

Even in 2017, we still see a lot of overoptimized page titles. We want our keywords in the title tag, but not at the expense of click-through and human readability. A search engine may rank your content, but a human clicks on it, so keep that in mind.

Meta description tags

Meta descriptions don’t directly influence rankings. We all know that, right? But of course, that is completely missing the point here. Your meta description is the content of your advertisement for that page in a set of search engine results. Your meta description is what wins you the click. And winning those clicks can help improve visibility and is absolutely vital in driving more users to your pages.

Meta descriptions must:

  • truthfully describe the page content.
  • advertise the page and improve click-through rates.
  • consider the user’s thought process and why they will click on this page.
  • include keywords where relevant and natural to do so.

The search engine will highlight search terms in your page title and meta description which help a user scan the page. Don’t use this as an excuse to spam the meta description, though, or else Google likely will ignore it, and it won’t lead to that all-important click!

There are also situations where it can make sense not to create a meta description and let the search engine pull content from the page to form a description that more accurately maps to a user’s search. Your brief meta description can’t always cover all the options for a longer-form piece of content, so keep this in mind.

Heading tags

Heading tags help structure the page and indicate hierarchy in a document: H1, H2, H3 and so on. Text in heading tags correlates with improved rankings (albeit slightly), but what really matters is that alignment between the structure of the site, behind the scenes optimization like page titles and meta descriptions and the content itself. Line everything up, and things make more sense for users, and we help search engines categorize our content while eking out every last bit of simple, on-page optimization we can.

Remember to align header tags with the visual hierarchy. Meaning the most important header on the page (typically the <h1>) should also be the biggest text element on the page. You are making the document visually easy to understand here and further ensuring that design and content are working together for the best end result.

Page content

The content should generally be the most important part of the page. However, we still see archaic SEO practices like overt keyword density and search terms with a lack of connective words used in the copy. This does not work. It certainly does not help with your SEO. And it makes for a poor user experience.

We want to make sure the context of our page is clear. Our navigation, URLs, page titles, headers and so on should all help here. Yet we want to write naturally, using synonyms and natural language.

Focus on creating great content that engages the user. Be mindful of keywords, but certainly don’t overdo it.

Considerations for page content:

  • Keywords in content (but don’t overdo it)
  • Structure of the page
  • Position of keywords in the content — earlier can be better
  • Synonyms and alternatives
  • Co-occurrence of keywords — what else would other high-quality documents include?

Rich snippets

Rich snippets are a powerful tool to increase click-through rates. We are naturally attracted to listings that stand out in the search engine results. Anything you can do to improve the click-through rate drives more users and makes your search engine listings work harder. Factor in possible ranking improvements from increased engagement, and you can have a low-input, high-output SEO tactic.

The snippets that are most relevant to your business will depend on what you do, but schema.org is a great place to start.

Image optimization

Image SEO can drive a substantial amount of traffic in the right circumstances. And again, our thoughts regarding context are important here. Google does not (yet) use the content of images, so context within the site and the page and basic optimization are crucial here.

As an example, I am looking for a hobbit hole playhouse for my five-year-old, and the search brings up image results:

kids hobbit hole playhouse Google Images

I can dive right into those image results and find a multitude of options, then use the image to drive me to the site that sells the playhouse. Optimizing your images increases the chance of improving prominence in the image search results.

Image optimization is technically straightforward:

  • Image name — provide a name that clearly describes what the image is.
  • Alt text — use descriptive alt text to help those who can’t see the images to reinforce the image content.
  • Add OpenGraph and Twitter Cards so the image is used in social shares.
  • Use the image at the right physical size to ensure fast downloads.
  • Optimize the image’s file size to improve loading times.
  • Consider adding images to your XML sitemap.

Image optimization is relatively simple. Keep the images relevant. Don’t spam the filenames and alt text with keywords. Be descriptive.

Common problems

SEO projects at Bowler Hat often include an SEO audit as the first port of call. We can’t cover every eventuality here, but the following are the usual suspects that crop up and that web designers should be mindful of.

Duplicate content

There tend to be two kinds of duplicate content: true duplicates and near-duplicates. True duplicates are where the content exists in multiple places (different pages, sites, subdomains and so on). Near-duplicates can be thin content or substantially similar content — think of a business with multiple locations or shoes listed on a unique page in different sizes.

Keyword cannibalization

Keyword cannibalization refers to the situation where multiple pages target the same keywords. This can impact the ability of your site to have one page that strongly targets a given term.

Where the site architecture and hierarchy has been carefully planned, you should eliminate this during the planning and design stages.

Domains, subdomains and protocols

Another potential issue where duplication crops up is where the site is available on multiple domains, subdomains and protocols.

Consider a business with two domains:

  • Example.com
  • Example.co.uk

With www and non-www versions:

  • Example.com
  • Example.co.uk
  • www.example.com
  • www.example.co.uk

And the site runs on HTTP and HTTPS:

  • http://example.com
  • http://example.co.uk
  • http://www.example.com
  • http://www.example.co.uk
  • https://example.com
  • https://example.co.uk
  • https://www.example.com
  • https://www.example.co.uk

Before too long, we can get to a situation where the site has eight potential variations. Factor in the site resolving on any subdomain and a few duff internal links and we can often add things like “ww.example.com” to the list above.

These kinds of issues are simply resolved with URL redirections via Apache, but again, they deserve consideration by any web design agency that takes care of hosting and is serious about the SEO of their customers’ websites.

Botched canonical URLs

Another common issue we see is an incorrect implementation of canonical URLs. What typically happens here is that the person building the site looks at canonical URLs as an SEO checklist kind of job. They are implemented by dynamically inserting the URL in the address bar into the canonical URL.

This is fundamentally flawed in that we can end up with the site running on multiple URLs, each with a canonical URL claiming that they are the authoritative version. So the canonical implementation exacerbates rather than resolves the issue.

Canonical URLs are a powerful tool when wielded wisely, yet they must be used properly or they can make matters worse.

Golden Bowl exterior - Mobile, AL
Golden Bowl Mobile, Alabama Gift Shop

Golden Bowl Mobile, Alabama Gift Shop

We recently visited the hidden gem that is Golden Bowl, located at 309 Bel Air Blvd Mobile, Alabama, 36606. Restaurants that are hidden gems are one of our favorite finds, especially when we’re hungry. Golden Bowl is a hiding in plain sight in Mobile, Alabama just across from Bel Air Mall. Compared to all of the other Chinese buffets in town, and arguably across the entire state, Golden Bowl has them beat. This fine Asian restaurant serves Cantonese, Hunan, Thai, Japanese (yes, there’s sushi on the cold bar), and Szechuan. This is genuine Chinese food when you order from the menu. And we haven’t ever had Chinese food this good outside of Chinatown.

Their hours of operation are 6 days a week, Tuesday-Thursday: 11:00AM to 9:00PM * Friday & Saturday: 11:00AM to 10:00PM * Sunday: 11:00AM to 9:00PM. They are closed on Monday. They can be reached by telephone at (251) 470-8033 and Fax at (251) 470-8030.

General Tso's Chicken with Fried Rice

General Tso’s Chicken with Fried Rice

The outside of Golden Bowl is markedly deceptive: It’s in a building that’s been around forever that was a Chinese restaurant 20 years ago when Bel Air Mall was the biggest deal around — long before Amazon had ever been conceptualized. When you walk past the golden lions and enter the front door, you will find yourself inside a very interesting Chinese gift shop filled with lucky cats, real bamboo, jade Buddha statues, and stress balls. Very shortly after, you should be greeted and brought into the main dining room where you can have a regular table or Hibachi any time of the day.

Once you’re seated (and if you’re new to Golden Bowl) one of the employees may give you a very thorough walkthrough of the menu. You should also be alerted that there’s a hot and cold bar that includes ice cream when you’re done with your meal. If you’re doing take-out, the hot and cold bar isn’t available, so there’s a perk to dining-in. There’s a large variety of different items that you’d expect from a Chinese restaurant such as Pepper Steak, Moo Goo Gai Pan, Sweet & Sour Chicken, and everyone’s favorite General Tso’s Chicken.

Golden Bowl Mobile, Alabama Hot Buffet

Golden Bowl Mobile, Alabama Chinese Buffet

Most of these full entrees, plus the hot and cold bar, are available for $9.95. This also includes white or fried rice. Lunch is just $6.95 during the week and $7.55 on the weekend. That’s honestly a steal considering what a large Whopper Value Meal at Burger King costs. Hibachi starts at a modest $6.95 at lunch and $8.50 for dinner.

You’d think that with prices this cheap that the quality of food is going to be poor, but you’re very wrong if you do. Golden Bowl serves extremely fresh food that’s made to order. If you’ve put off Chinese food in Mobile, AL since you’ve gotten burned by China Chef or Golden Dragon, Golden Bowl is the best place to go in, arguably, the entire state and Gulf Coast.

Don’t forget to like Golden Bowl on Facebook or check in to “Thai Fountain” since they have a Pokemon Go PokeStop at their location! Golden Bowl also has an amazing new website at http://goldenbowlmobile.com. Enjoy!

Benja's Thai and Sushi Restaurant

Eating out every once in a while is an experience that most of us appreciate. Sometimes making a decision on where to eat and what to eat might be the elephant in the room. For all the food lovers out there, trying out new recipes or tasting exotic food is one of those things that make life worth living. There is something about Thai food that is simply breath taking. I do not know whether it is the unique combination of essential ingredients or the kind of passion and emotions behind making the dishes. But one thing is for sure – Thai food is fantastic. If you live in Mobile, Alabama, and you have been wondering where to take that special someone on a first date, Benja’s Thai and Sushi is the place for you.

Benja's Thai and Sushi Restaurant - InteriorThe ambiance is inviting, and the aura brings this exhilarating feeling that assures you that you are in the right place. There is a touch of beauty in the simplicity of the decor but at the same time hidden behind the simplicity is a wave of sophistication that only an artistic eye can decipher. The hangings on the wall are the perfect stimulant, and they are just right for this kind of setting. On the contrary with a theme color of blue and somewhat orange or peach, there is something warm about Benja’s Thai and Sushi that makes you fall in love at first sight.

Benja’s Thai and Sushi is in Tillman’s Corner area of Mobile. The feeling of being treated like the king or queen that you are is not only rewarding but it makes you understand that indeed this is value for your money. There are no regrets walking into a place like Benja’s Thai and Sushi. On that note, even your date may get the impression that you have indeed gone out of your way to make them feel special.

Benja’s Thai and Sushi is a family restaurant. There is something for everyone, and you can tag your kids along for that long awaited dinner and believe me they will have the time of their life. There is so much to appreciate about Benja’s Thai and Sushi. It brings a sense of authenticity and belonging. This restaurant is merely a glimpse of what real Thai cooking has to offer.

What’s on the Menu

A good chef understands his or her clientele especially when serving a population like those living in Alabama; it is important to comprehend the need for diversity. This is exactly what Benja’s Thai and Sushi offers-variety. There is no limitation to what you can get. As a matter of fact, the minute you skim through the menu you will be spoilt for choice. There is an array of dishes to choose from based on preference. For lunch, you could try the chef’s special. Thai fried rice with Chicken or Pork.

Pad Thai Chicken from Benja's Thai and Sushi Restaurant in Mobile, AlabamaFor the vegans, some broccoli or carrots will serve a worthy accompaniment. To any observer or reader for this matter, these might sound like your usual combination of main dishes, but there are certain times when you let your taste buds be the judge. The Chicken is cooked just right, not to tender but with a burst of natural ingredients that leaves a lasting impression on your tongue.

If your heart points towards exquisite Thai food, I would recommend the Pad Thai Shrimp. Seafood, when not done right, can turn out to be wanting. However, this is not the case at Benja’s Thai. From the name, you get the impression that seafood is their specialty. The Pad Thai Shrimp is one of the best dishes that you can try out. It will give you the whole Thai experience and without a shadow of a doubt, it will keep you wanting more.

I must commend Benja and her team for their culinary skills. The servings portray a lot of creativity with lots of attention paid on the presentation. The goal is to stimulate naturally your visual senses, which will only be complemented by the amazing taste. Many have presented their great testimonials about the Spicy Tuna Roll or the Thai Boxing Roll. The Alabama Roll has also received commendable recognition from the customers.

If there is one thing that pre-determines a judge of a good main course is the kind of appetizer served. The soups at Benja’s are scrumptious, and they have a touch of elegance, you might think they are made out of a secret recipe. On the other hand, the deserts are also mouth watering. I would recommend that you try out the Table side banana foster for dessert. The taste of this particular piece is purely heavenly.

It is impossible to talk about a good restaurant without a mention of the kind of drinks that they offer. There is something creative about the cocktails served. The wait staff go out of their way to ensure that you get the perfect saki. Such little things that point towards customized service are some of the things that keep this restaurant afloat amidst the growing competition in Alabama.

From the chicken nuggets to French fries, even the kids have something to delight in. If that sounds cliché, the crispy corn dog with some French fries is what your children may eat on their day out.

Angel Roll from Benja's Thai and Sushi Restaurant in Mobile, AlabamaSushi is not just the usual sushi at Benja’s Thai and Sushi. It is interesting how they can work their way around and create so many different types of rolls from the very necessary ingredient. From the Dragon Roll, to the Angel Roll, to the Mexican Roll, every single roll makes the sushi delightful. If these doesn’t fancy you, the Bama Roll might catch your attention. Well, this is not before you start off with an assorted five-piece sushi appetizer. Just the thought of these sushi rolls brings an awesome feeling that makes you want to visit this place. If you are one of those people who likes going all natural, the California Roll might be exactly what you need. With some crab, cucumber, avocado, and Masago on top, the taste is refined. It might be a little confusing at first, but it gives a perfect blend at the end of each bite.

The bottom line is that the menu at Benja’s Thai and Sushi offers an array of different food options. To some extent the options can be quite confusing but the fact remains that every option is viable, and it all depends on your preference. If by now you are not convinced that this place might give Hell’s Kitchen a run for their money. In my opinion, it is simply pitch perfect.

The Prices

Every restaurant owner understands that although the business must be successful, denting people’s pockets is not the way to make your restaurant attractive. It is fundamental to accommodate clients from various walks of life without a compromise on the quality of services and the touch of class. Good food is not the only thing that keeps the customers coming back.

Bama Roll from Benja's Thai and Sushi Restaurant in Mobile, AlabamaCan you imagine having a sushi appetizer for as low as $4.00? This looks insane but at you can get the Sashimi appetizer at this price. This is entirely fair for such a restaurant. To scale it up a little bit, the crispy calamari appetizer goes for $7.95. These are just examples of the high prices at Benja’s. An unfamiliar customer might imagine it is one of those days when everything is on offer. Most of the entrees might cost a maximum of $12.95. Simply put these are great meals for awesome prices.

With only $2.95 your kids can have themselves some Thai donuts for or with $5.95 they can enjoy some fried ice cream for dessert. The chef’s special for lunch or dinner also attract an average of fantastic prices. One of the things that put Benja’s Thai and Sushi on top of their game is the fact that the prices are customer friendly.

Each and every day we seek convenience and to narrow it down, there is nothing better than having good food delivered at your doorstep. If you love thai food, all you have to do is call and place an order and they will deliver right to your door within 15 minutes of the restaurant. Need I say more? Thai food is excellent and so are home deliveries. Check Benja’s website for their delivery menus. These attributes take popularity of local restaurants a notch higher.

If you have not had the chance to wine and dine in this elegant restaurant, go to Benja’s Facebook page and like their page. You can also leave a comment behind right now, and this automatically earns you a chance to win a $25.00 gift certificate or a free Sushi roll. In other words, there is no excuse for not dining at this Thai restaurant.

Conclusion

The testimonials regarding Benja’s Thai and Sushi are remarkable. It is not enough that they offer more than just the ordinary, but having something for everyone puts them at an advantage. This restaurant even saw itself make it into the finals of the Nappie’s “Best Ethnic Restaurant” category in in the first year open. This is evidence enough that they more than what meets the eye when looking at this very simple yet catchy place to wine and dine. With an extensive international clientele network it goes beyond just any other place to have lunch or dinner but it also a great avenue to network and hold meetings. Benja’s restaurant is an awesome choice for that anniversary dinner or maybe if you want to pop the question this is the perfect place, right after trying out their Pineapple curry with steamed curry.

The authenticity of the Thai culture portrayed by the nature of the food served makes it imperative that people should head out to Benja’s and get a taste of what Thai food is all about. The truth of the matter is that the Chef has outdone himself. The staff has a mastery of words and refined service, and the interior designers knew very well that appearance speaks volumes.

Benja’s Thai and Sushi is not just your average corner restaurant; it is one of those places that leaves a lasting impression. Regardless of what your mood was for the day, you can be sure that there is only one feeling that you can take out of this restaurant- fulfillment.

Pick your coat and walk to Tillman’s Corner area in Mobile, Alabama and get a firsthand experience. Tell your story about your most recent escapade which is eating out at Benja’s. Better still, take a friend with you or show that special someone the other side of food which can only be found in a Thai restaurant. There are no regrets, and there are disappointments. Benja’s Thai and Sushi is by far one of the success stories that are yet to be told. Truth be told, if you have never had a meal at this excellent restaurant, you have yet to discover what you have been missing.

SEO Word Cloud for SEO in Mobile, Alabama

One of the hottest topics on the Internet is that of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). There is no question that optimizing your site to the extent possible is an important function. The operative phrase here, however, is “to the extent possible”. You can burn a whole lot of time and energy trying to follow every last “tip” you get for SEO (nevermind the fact that some of these tips turn out to be contradictory). In this article we will explain some of the fundamentals of SEO.

The actual programs that go out and look at all the sites built by Google, Yahoo! and Bing on the web to collect, classify, and rank them for the search engines are called “spiders”. They are also know as “bot”, “crawlers”, and a number of other names. Basically speaking, the spiders look through your site to see what you have.

Content
First and foremost, it’s all about content. We are talking about text content here; relevant content. Search engines love content rich sites. Flash intro screens may be all the rage, but they tend to be a problem for search engines and also are being discontinued. They can’t pick up any discernible content from Flash intro screens. Same thing applies to sites that have more graphics than content. Pleasing to look at, but they don’t do anything to help your page ranking. As it relates to SEO, you can actually wind up shooting yourself in the foot by making your site too flashy.

So when you design your site, make sure it includes lots of text-based information. You also want to make sure that the keywords you believe people will search for are used within that text. If at all possible, you also want to have more than just a few pages. A minimum of 20 pages would be our recommendation. Spiders just love to crawl around interconnected pages.

A number of years ago, many webmasters used a little trick of embedding and repeating “hidden” keywords on their pages. This is done by having text the same color as the background. For instance, if someone ran a dog grooming site, they would place “dogs” and “grooming” on the page in all the available areas not used by visible text. Don’t use this technique. The spiders see it for what it is and will actually penalize a site for “keyword spamming” as a result.

Spiders also love “fresh” or new content. Sites that don’t change much tend to lose page ranking. No one is interested in seeing the same information over and over again. So try to add new content as often as possible. Two great techniques for this are discussion forums and blogs. If you can get other people to participate in your forums and blogs, they in effect, provide content for you.

Meta Tags
Most spiders don’t really pay that much attention to meta tags, but even so, you want to use them. Your Title tag should be short and concise; no more than 60 characters or so. Same thing for the description tag: short, concise, and containing some of your keywords. Maximum length shouldn’t be more than around 160 characters.

We all put our keywords in the keyword meta tag, even though we know that most modern spiders don’t care. But there are things you can do that will hurt more than help. Spiders really don’t like seeing the same keyword over and over. No word should be used as a keyword more than three times. Using the dog grooming analogy again, having your keyword list contain dog, dogs, dog grooming, grooming dogs, dog salon, and so forth is NOT a good idea. This is more keyword spamming. If you can’t think of a more varied list of words or phrases, then just keep it to a few relevant words. You also want to keep the total character count for keywords to no more than 120 or so.

Links
The number of “referral” links you have (links to your site from other sites) is one of the factors considered when determining page ranking. Of course, link quality matters. Having people come to your site from cnn.com or msn.com carries alot more weight than having them come from one-eyed-llamas.com.

Try to get as many other sites to link to you as possible (many sites offer a reciprocal link feature). You have to work at this. It may cost you a little money, but putting ads on sites such as classifiedads.com or others like that certainly won’t hurt. For a small fee, classifiedads.com will “blast” your add to thousands of other ad sites. This serves two purposes. First, if your site is for business, it may get you sales or leads. Second, your site link will be distributed to other potential “referrer sites”. Even if you have to pay to get your ads or banners on larger sites, it may be worth it.

Site Map
A site map is nothing more than a page that provides a “road map” to all the other pages on your site. The spiders seem to like this (there is some debate) because if provides an easy means for them to access all the other pages you have. This can be particularly effective if you have a content-rich site.

Closing
At TurkReno, we live, eat, breath, sleep and work SEO, SEM and SEV. We’d love to help you and your business be found online, no matter how complex or simple the project is. Give us a call today, (251) 279-0278, or contact us.

OK Bicycle Shop Mobile Alabama Dauphin Street

On any given day that you happen to be in downtown Mobile, Alabama and have a craving for beer, sushi and/or tacos, the OK Bicycle Shop and Dauphin Street Taqueria should be your absolute first choice. This past Sunday, we decided to begin our reviews of Mobile, Alabama food at this lovely establishment. Since the OK Bicycle Shop is open every day from 11AM until 3AM (and serving food until at least 2AM), we were more than happy to grab a bite of Mexican and Japanese in the same sitting. I believe a recent episode of Louie called this a “Bang, Bang”, except here you can stay in the same restaurant. And yes, they sell bicycles (and deliver on them) too.

OK Bicycle Shop Sign
We’re sure the OK Bicycle Shop has some awesome beers (16 on tap) and margaritas (7 different house made ones to be exact), but this visit we were here strictly for the food. We started out with Chips & Queso Fundido but decided to mix it up a bit and go half-and-half on the dip and add the Salsa Chipotle. Ask your server and they’ll be more than happy to do this. The appetizer alone is extremely filling and probably great with an IPA. This queso with a kick is a melted white cheese with chorizo, roasted red peppers and onions. We noted it as warm and creamy with a twist. The Salsa Chipotle was the perfect amount of sweet and heat. Visually the dish we were served looked like it would be hot, but it is served cold. It had the perfect balance of spice with the heat just tickling the back of the throat.

Sampling an appetizer from the Liquid Lounge side, we decided to have the Calamari Salad – which is marinated squid with herbs. Out of all of the dishes we ate in this sitting, this was the only one we knew that could be easily replicated elsewhere. A very sizable amount of food compared to other sushi restaurants though. Served cold.

Beef, Pork and Mushroom Tacos
It didn’t take long to get our food and our drinks stayed full too. From the Dauphin Street Taqueria side, we ordered the Crispy Fish, the Beef, the Pork and the Mushroom Tacos. Each is an adventure for your mouth. The Mushroom Taco was tasty, but not spicy, mushrooms marinated and cooked perfectly. The pico combined with the goat cheese creates a smooth flavor. The Pork Taco, which is marinated in cumin and slow roasted topped with cabbage and pickled red onion, all we can say is “wow.” This was a flavor explosion of sweet, sour and tangy. The Beef Taco was probably our least favorite of the four we had as the salsa was a little overpowering and it made the taco a little watery. Visually, it wasn’t that appealing either. The Crispy Fish Taco on the other hand was excellent. It’s a masa-crusted white fish topped with avocado cream, cabbage and pico. The fry on the fish was perfect too – not greasy and just the right amount of batter.

Bayou Roll OK Liquid Lounge Sushi
We end our food journey at the OK Bicycle Shop with a dish from Liquid Lounge – the Bayou Roll. The Bayou is one of three tempura five-cut rolls and is listed as a Crawfish roll with cucumber, cream cheese and red curry sauce. This was the roll that brought us back. It has an extremely peculiar and addicting flavor along with a perfect tempura fry. Very creative and very tasty.

For under $50 plus a good tip, a Mexican/Japanese dining experience like this is a must-do if you’re in the area. If you visit in the evening, there’s a good chance you’ll be visiting when there’s some local musicians playing in the courtyard. Parking is available either in one of the many surrounding parking lots or on the street. Stop by and you won’t be disappointed.

Here are some photos we took of the delicious food from the Dauphin Street Taqueria and Liquid Lounge.

Provided below are menus from the OK Bicycle Shop, the Dauphin Street Taqueria and Liquid Lounge.

We give this visit an overall 8.5/10 score. The OK Bicycle Shop is a “must visit again.”

The Plug

Looking for a review of your restaurant or venue? Look no further. We also make websites, do online event promotion and social media for restaurants. Contact us and we’ll make arrangements to stop by.

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Mobile Mardi Gras Flag

We all know that Mardi Gras started in Mobile, Alabama (contrary to what those will tell you who live in New Orleans). So why not enjoy Mardi Gras where it started?!

Mobile is known for having the oldest organized Carnival celebrations in the United States, dating to the 18th century of its early colonial period. It was also host to the first formally organized Carnival mystic society or “krewe” in the United States, dating to 1830.

Here’s the schedule for the 2012 Mardi Gras events happening in the Mobile, Alabama area:

Mobile, Alabama (courtesy of the Mobile Bay CVB) —

The Perfect Little Gift

This year, the Thomas Hospital Foundation commissioned Elisabeth Goree to paint an original image. Her colorful abstract is featured on a set of beautiful coasters. For a small donation of $10, you can make a gift in honor of a family member, friend, co-worker, teacher, or business associate. They will receive a set of coasters, tucked in a festive envelope with a card letting them know that a gift has been made in their honor to the Thomas Hospital Foundation.

Each time the recipient uses the colorful coasters they will be reminded that you made a gift in their honor that in turn helps provide the very best in compassionate healthcare for their family and friends.

All proceeds stay right here at Thomas Hospital, improving the health of the people in our community.

Place your order online or print out the order form and mail it to the Thomas Hospital Foundation, Post Office Box 929, Fairhope, AL 36533. We’ll mail them out right away.

If you need any additional information, call 251-279-1517 or email jeana.barnes@infirmaryhealth.org.

Some further fun to be involved with from the Thomas Hospital Foundation.

Fun Family Project

This is a great activity for young and old alike. It was featured in Family Fun Magazine.

What you’ll need:

  • Small popcorn balls
  • Mini candy canes
  • Colored sugar
  • Frosting
  • Mini M&Ms

Instructions

You’ll need a small popcorn ball for each person (they used store-bought and about 3 inches wide). Use a wooden skewer to poke a small hole in the top, snap the end off of a mini candy cane to create a point, and gently press the sharp end of the cane into the popcorn ball far enough to make a loop, as shown.

For the sugar dots and lines, pour colored sugar onto a flexible paper plate (the flexibility makes it easy to pour the extra sugar back into the container when you’re done). Fill a pastry bag with frosting, or scoop frosting into a quart-size plastic bag and cut off one corner. Working on one dot or line at a time, pipe frosting thickly onto the ball, then press the ball gently into the sugar so that only the frosting touches it. Use frosting to glue mini M&Ms to the ball.

Mobilizing Mobile, AL - A Google Initiative

Mobilizing Mobile, AL - A Google Initiative

It’s official: Google is coming to Mobile, Alabama first to launch the GoMo Mobilize Initiative. And we’ll be there! Here’s the official schedule of events that’s taking place:

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 14

6:30 PM – Mobile for Advertising Agencies

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 15

8AM – 7PM – Mobilization Jams

7:00PM – Mobile for Larger Businesses

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 16

8:00AM – 7:00PM – Mobilization Jams

If you want to register, there’s limited room left, but you’re more than welcome to visit online at https://www.google.com and take it from there.

Remember, we’ll be an Agency that can help you with your site after it’s all said and done, so don’t forget us when you need to make a change!

And most of all, Thank You Google for coming to Mobile, Alabama and helping the Web here!

Checkers LogoIf you’ve driven down east Airport Boulevard in Mobile within the past few weeks, you’ve probably noticed something great. Checkers is coming back with a brand new look. And coming back is great because they have some of the best burgers and fries around. Not only that, but they’re going to be giving away to the first 100 people who attend the launch on Saturday Free Checkers Fries for a year!

According to their website, Checkers was first started in Mobile back in 1986 and has been cooking up great burgers ever since. The Checker’s story, which some of you may know from outside of the area as Rally’s goes like this:

“Checkers & Rally’s restaurants were born out of the idea that a bland and flavorless burger was downright bad and that Americans everywhere deserved a better tasting burger — one that was unexpectedly bold, made-to-order and priced at a value that was hard to beat. Founded by experienced foodies with a renegade spirit, both the Checkers & Rally’s unique double drive-thru concept, with its over-the-top checkerboard squares, chrome styling, red neon signs and of course the food, was an instant hit. These two new burger experiences were hot, fresh and served with a smile. People were hooked, and the world of cookie cutter corporate burger establishments was about to change.”

And here’s the official release about the re-opening:

Checkers French FriesThe new reimaged Checkers restaurant at 2213 Airport Blvd in Mobile, AL will host a Grand Opening celebration for the hungry public on Saturday, November 12, 2011.

To kick off the grand opening on Saturday, November 12, Checkers is offering FREE fries for a year to the first 100 guests in line. And, guests in line, 101 and after will receive FREE fries with purchase all weekend. So, be sure to be one of the first people in line, as we anticipate people camping out!

During the grand opening celebration, there will be a kickoff to food eating contests open to the public with a competition showdown at 11am between the University of South Alabama’s STATS (Students Today, Alumni Tomorrow) student organization versus the University of Mobile’ SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise) student organization.

Checkers will also give away prizes, coupons, and promotions to reward the community and its loyal fans.

Hoping to see you all there!

Shrimp Hibachi from Hibachi on the Go in Daphne AL

Shrimp Hibachi

It’s always great when a good restaurant opens. It’s even better when a good restaurant opens that has awesome food for a reasonable price. Japanese Express, formerly Hibachi on the Go, located at 28825-A Hwy 98 in Daphne, Alabama (near Subway and I-Hop) is the latest addition to the Eastern Shore that is definitely worth it if you enjoy Japanese cuisine.

Miso Soup and Seaweed Salad from Japanese Express hibachi in Daphne, Alabama 36526

Miso Soup and Seaweed Salad

They’re open every day from 11:00 AM to 9:30 PM and can be reached by phone at 251-626-8818. Lunch and dinner portions are available. The restaurant features appetizers that you can’t find anywhere else in the area such as Japanese Egg Rolls, Tempura Mushrooms, Kani Salad and Japanese Nachos. The hibachi and teriyaki choices are vegetable, chicken, tofu, steak, shrimp, salmon or tuna, which is also a larger variety than that of all of the other hibachi restaurants around and offer a huge selection of sauces to accompany the meal.

Japanese Express hibachi in Daphne Alabama Japanese Eggrolls and Sushi

Japanese Eggrolls and Sushi

In addition to traditional hibachi they offer Yakimesi, which is fried rice, with chicken, steak and shrimp. And hibachi isn’t the only thing they offer; sushi is also an option to eat while dining here. From favorites such as the California Roll to Spicy Tuna Rolls, to specialty rolls such as the Hibachi on a Roll and the War Eagle Roll, the selection is large enough to satisfy any craving you might have. And sushi is worth a try for the price.

One of the best things about Japanese Express hibachi, aside from the food, is that you can call ahead and pick up your order from their drive-thru, literally making “on-the-go” a reality. Or if you would rather dine-in, you can easily seat a party of 6 or more in the dining room area as well as sit at the bar for a quick bite.

We’ve had a few meals here already, have been patrons since their grand opening and we’ve yet to be disappointed. With hibachi at nearly half the cost of their competitors and the drive-thru alone, you can’t miss this. The wait for the food is usually about 10 to 15 minutes or less depending on if you called ahead or not. Don’t let the absence of cars out front fool you though as they get their food out quick and you’re “on the go”. The price is moderate and about $12 to $15 per person with appetizers, hibachi and a drink depending on your selection.

We hope you’ll give them a try as we’ve thoroughly enjoyed everything on the menu so far and will continue to stop by, even if to satisfy our seaweed salad craving. Here’s the menu so you won’t have to go hunting it down.

Hibachi on the Go Menu - Front

Hibachi on the Go Menu – Front

Hibachi on the Go Menu - Back

Hibachi on the Go Menu – Back