Monthly Archives: March 2010

SEO Tips & Tricks – Use Your Title Tags

I’ve been getting some requests for SEO tips so here’s a big one.   Title Tags!  If you don’t know what a title tag is then I’ll give you a quick hint.  Check out your meta-tags located in the header tags of your web page.  For instance, if you want to see the title tag of this article simply right click on any blank space on this web page and click on “view source”.  You will see something like:

<head>
<title>SEO Tips & Tricks – Use Your Title Tags</title>

This title tag is very important to crawlers like Google, Yahoo!, and Bing.  The crawlers weigh this tag fairly heavy when it comes to OPSEO (On Page SEO).    For instance, did you know that the title of a page is the actual text that shows up in blue on a google search?   99% of the time this is what your searcher will see!   That makes it pretty important right?  Right.

While we’re at it, lets discuss how to write a quality title tag.  Knowing that Google is going to put this on its search engine in big blue letters, you want to have a relevant and useful title tag that is an overview of the entire article.   For example, another great title tag for this page might be:  “Title Tags – An important Part of SEO”.    A bad title tag for this page might be:  “crawlers like Google think title tags are important and 99% of the time you see your title tag in big blue letters – so make a really great title tag!”    The second example is extremely long and doesn’t summarize the entire article. Instead its part of your article.   Make it simple and clean.  Usually, the shorter the better.    Don’t get too short though!  A title tag like “SEO” isn’t very useful to google or people running across your site on a search.

Another trick to having awesome title tags is to do your best at putting in keywords that might get searched.    For instance, I’m guessing that with this title tag and this article I will probably rank in google for “SEO Title Tag Tricks”.  I am doubtful that I will rank for “How to write great title tags”.   Though its not certain that I will rank for “SEO Title Tag Tricks” in Google, I’m fairly certain I should rank well because my article is well written and my title tag tells Google exactly what I’m talking about.  I also have every single keyword in my title tag that is in my search.

Finally, try to make your title tag unique and interesting.  Not too short. Not too long. Not too specific. Not too broad.  Use keywords if it makes sense.

I see this all of the time.  This is another example of what NOT to do:
“SEO – Title Tags – The best Title Tags – Great Title Tags – How to make a great Title Tag – SEO Tricks with Title Tags”

A searcher will not be able to tell what in the hell you’re talking about or why he should click on your site.  Though “stuffing” keywords into your title tags might help in the short-term, in the long run you’ll only be creating more work for yourself.  Google will eventually realize that your title tags are stuffed with keywords and users that find your site will be rather disappointed when your title tag has misled them.  Google knows when users click on your site and off your site and it will penalize you for tricking users.  Just do as I say.   Make good title tags.

Are title tags going to get you to the top of Google? Maybe. It depends.   Are they really important?  Yes.  Try it for yourself and you’ll see what a big difference it makes in your rankings.

Compass Bank Steals

Anyone do business or Bank with Compass Bank?  They’ll Rip You Off!

As some of you are aware, I own several online businesses and literally have hundreds of transactions through my accounts every month.  One of my smaller businesses that has been up a few months opened an account with Compass Bank.  Compass Bank has, for the lack of a better term, a “unique” system for doing deposits and withdrawals.  This system landed them in a lawsuit by a company named “Fat Butter” (your guess is as good as mine) and involved a claim that BBVA Compass rearranges the order of deposits and withdrawals in order to maximize the number of times they’re able to hit an account with NSF Fees.  Furthermore, it is claimed that BBVA Compass also holds charges briefly (a day or two) and then allows them to go through if your account happens to go below $0 so that you can rack up even more $38 NSF Fees – something I haven’t knowingly experienced myself.

Since most of my payments are credit cards over the internet I get daily deposits from my merchant company in varying amounts depending on how much product I sold 2-3 days before.  I have no idea why, but it usually takes 2-3 days for the money to hit my account after I have charged a credit card.  This isn’t a big deal as long as it is consistent (and it is).  So, every morning, first thing, I have deposits in my account from my merchant account.  One would think that because my deposits from my merchant company are electronically transferred first thing in the morning I would have money in the account daily.   It is of note that I check my balance every morning and the deposits show up on my account every morning –  the money is there correct??  Compass Bank doesn’t see it that way.

Here’s an example of what one might assume happens in a normal checking account on a given day:

Morning Balance : $1000

6 a.m. – Deposit – Merchant Account Deposits $1000.
1 p.m. – Withdrawal -Various Fed-Ex Charges (lets say 10 x $8) $80.
2 p.m. – Withdrawal – Vendor Check $300.
3 p.m. – Deposit – Cash Deposit $500.
3 p.m. – Withdrawal – Supplier Check $900.

Ending Balance:  $1220

On March 1st, a Monday, I have $1000 in my bank account.  I have a $900 check I wrote to a supplier.  I have various fed-ex charges that are billed once every 2-3 days (10 charges of $8.00 for ease of numbers) . I also have a $300 check I wrote to a contractor.  I have $1000 in merchant credits to be deposited and I also go to the bank and deposit $500 in cash that I received from a customer over the weekend.

$1000 + $1000 – $80 – $300 + $500 – $900 = $1220.   Correct?   Not by Compass Bank’s math.  No, Compass Bank has another way of doing the math and maximizing their profits on the NSF fees.  As stated, Compass Bank very cleverly chronologically reorganizes deposits and charges so that if  it is possible for your account to be below $0 it will reflect a negative balance.   This little trick ensures that you will be charged the highest number of NSF fees possible (at a whopping $38 EACH).   What they have done is examine all withdrawals for the day and then rearrange them so they are all put through before your deposits are put through.   Even CASH deposits are posted AFTER all withdrawals.  Compass cleverly withdrawals amounts from highest to lowest before allowing any deposits to be posted to the account.

Here is how Compass Bank does its Math:

Morning Balance : $1000

3 p.m. – Withdrawal – Supplier Check $900.
2 p.m. – Withdrawal – Vender Check $300.
2 p.m. – NSF FEE $38.
4 p.m. – Withdrawal – Fed-Ex Charge $8.
4 p.m. – NSF FEE $38.
4 p.m. – Withdrawal – Fed-Ex Charge $8.
4 p.m. – NSF FEE $38.
4 p.m. – Withdrawal – Fed-Ex Charge $8.
4 p.m. – NSF FEE $38.
4 p.m. – Withdrawal – Fed-Ex Charge $8.
4 p.m. – NSF FEE $38.
4 p.m. – Withdrawal – Fed-Ex Charge $8.
4 p.m. – NSF FEE $38.
4 p.m. – Withdrawal – Fed-Ex Charge $8.
4 p.m. – NSF FEE $38.
4 p.m. – Withdrawal – Fed-Ex Charge $8.
4 p.m. – NSF FEE $38.
4 p.m. – Withdrawal – Fed-Ex Charge $8.
4 p.m. – NSF FEE $38.
4 p.m. – Withdrawal – Fed-Ex Charge $8.
4 p.m. – NSF FEE $38.
4 p.m. – Withdrawal – Fed-Ex Charge $8.
4 p.m. – NSF FEE $38.
6 a.m. – Deposit – Merchant Account Deposits $1000.
3 p.m. – Deposit – Cash Deposit $500.

Ending Balance:  $840

Yes.  $840 is a stark difference from $1220 isn’t it?   Guess what?  I was just robbed!

Let’s talk a little about Compass Bank’s customer service and how they justify their theft.  First, Customer service (if that’s what you want to call it) at Compass Bank states that they do not have the technological capability to arrange deposits and withdrawals in chronological order.  That’s odd, as they’ve been able to figure out how to hold all of my deposits and take the withdrawals first.  Seems to me that they’re able to arrange at least something.  In fact, if they wanted to be honest about it don’t you think they would give me at LEAST my early morning deposit that happens EVERY day and my CASH deposit that I put in their bank before they take out checks and misc expenses?  It’s also troublesome that they’re able to arrange the withdrawals from highest amount to lowest amount to come out first so that if at any point the larger amounts put me below $0 the smaller amounts hit me with a $38 NSF Fee EVERY TIME!  If they’re able to arrange the numbers in that fashion why aren’t they able to arrange them in the opposite order?  After all, isn’t it logical that if I have money electronically deposited first thing in the morning that the money should be available before electronic debits are taken out?

You might argue that I should simply make sure I have more money in the account than what is being withdrawn.  Well, that’s true.  My rebuttal is that I do have money to cover the expenses – my bank just hasn’t given me credit for it yet!

It’s pretty simple.  Compass Bank says it doesn’t have the technology to arrange fees in chronological order, but they do have the technology to arrange fees from highest to lowest and arrange withdrawals before deposits.   They also make sure that the money coming out electronically is taken out immediately and the money coming in electronically is held until all withdrawals are taken out – effectively leaving you with the lowest balance possible in order to collect NSF fees and penalties.

The ultimate solution is to either put $5000 in the account and never let your balance go below that or switch to another bank that actually does your banking in chronological order.  Wells Fargo has excellent online banking that is far superior to anything Compass ever thought about having.  The only time I got NSF charges from WF is when I deserved them. Furthermore, their customer service is top-notch in my experience.

NSF Fees typically  happen to all of us at one point.  If I deserve it I pay the price, but If I’m robbed I have to complain!