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Google And The Rules May 16, 2011

Posted by Daniel in Search Engines, SEO, WebStuff.
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The guys over at Link-Assistant.com have started an interesting stream of posts analyzing user submitted sites in what they’re calling SEO Crash-Tests.

They decided to kick things off by analyzing Google.com, and the surprise piece of info that caught my eye was their HTML code validation, or lack thereof. Take a look at Google’s 35 errors and 2 warnings (as of today 5/16/2011) on the W3C validation site.

W3C HTML Validation Shows Errors on Google.com

In their defense, Google did follow many of their own recommendations by having basics like robots.txt and xml sitemaps. Can’t wait till Facebook steamrolls Google search with Facebook SocialSearch and Google struggles to get ranked, playing by FB’s rules.

The City as a Chalkboard – There’s an App for That January 8, 2010

Posted by Daniel in Search Engines, SEO, WebApps.
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BlockChalk is a new piece of fun for your phone that lets you “write” in chalk all over your city, town, neighborhood, favorite restaurant, etc. How will this affect search you might ask? It’ll only be a matter of time until Google (more…)

How the Google Stole Christmas… July 14, 2009

Posted by Daniel in Search Engines, SEO, WebStuff.
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An anonymous post on TechCrunch.com calling for SEO/SEM regulation supposedlywritten by a well known executive at one of the largest sites on the Internet” has sparked a tremendous amount of discussion and debate. I agree that we should find someway to credential or license exceptional SEO’s. However, I don’t agree that the government needs to be involved or that total transperancy from the search engines is necessary.

GoogleGrinch

The post makes Google look like the Grinch who stole E-commerce. The author does this by arguing that Google abuses its position as the sole gatekeeper to most of web-based commercial world by changing its search algorithms without warning and disabling clients pay-per-click accounts without notice or reason.

The mysterious author draws the comparison to Los Angeles where the entrances are guarded by one company, and the streets changed sporadically by the same company – restricting the customer’s travel and often completely blocking access to some vendors.

The funny thing is, as I was reading through articles this morning on SEO techniques and tips, one of the articles (from SEObook.com, Is PageRank Important) pointed out that because search aglorythms are always changing, the best approach to search engine marketing is a traditional marketing strategy – provide great content, products, or services and people will come back with their friends.

In constantly updating their algorithms, Google isn’t being a Grinch, they’re attempting to weed out the trickery and magic of SEO to find honest, helpful search results.  On the other end, SEO’s are finding out more and more that their goals should be to produce accurate and high quality content and market it to the right crowd.

In other words, the market is already regulating itself. Nobody is forcing the public to use the Google gateway to the e-commerce world.  Who knows, maybe bing.com will turn out to be a surprisingly strong competitor for Google. The consumer will dictate which gates to use in their online experience, and if Google fails to produce relevant results, the consumer will find another gate.

Thanks Mr. Anonymous for sharing your feelings about regulating SEO/SEM. But its already fixing itself as you write.

Importance of Domain – Free Online Gradebook August 1, 2008

Posted by mikeglanz in Uncategorized.
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A couple months ago a friend of mine asked me to look at the SEO for their site TrackMyGrades.com. Its a great web based software that allows teachers to… well track their grades. I did some research on the competition and realized that not only did the competition have vastly inferior products, but that they had almost no SEO marketing whatsoever.

While looking around at the competition I found it interesting that the second most used keyword – “Free Online Gradebook” was completely was available as a .com domain. I purchased it immediately and setup a free wordpress blog there. Mostly for curiosity to see how it would rank. The results?
Astounding – Within a month – with no inbound links, no traffic, no posts, no content (besides what you see up there currently) I was on page 1 for the keywords, and then page 2 for the keywords “online gradebook“.

Take it or leave it – online gradebook and free online gradebook test results may very – but I’m pretty sure google places a lot of importance on domain.

Monetizing Your Blog June 16, 2008

Posted by mikeglanz in Uncategorized.
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I have to admit I laughed when I got the following voicemail from my much distressed aunt.

“… there is no point… I just had my biggest day ever,125 visits, and I just read that you can’t make money advertising until you have 10,000 visits a day and even then your only looking at a couple dollars”

It’s true – monetizing a traditional blog can be difficult. Between writing content, doing research, having a “real job”, and trying to live your life, not much time is left to seek out advertisers and market your real estate to them. Easy solutions like Google Adsense and other drag n’ drop solutions provide easy but hardly sufficient income.

Here is the solution: Don’t compete with traditional advertisers! One of the sites that we advertised on (with very little success, and littler ROI) was Move.com. They built their business on this model. Get page views, sell pageviews. It doesn’t work anymore (don’t believe me, check out their stock).

Spend your time building a network of trusting readers! Give them content for free! Answer their questions and provide them with a resource / entertainment / interaction. Seth Godin said (and I’m paraphrasing because I can’t find the post) – You should be able to build a very profitable and successful business off your 1000 best customers.

That may be a bit much for the internet world – 1000 visits a month is hard to monetize past a certain point. But 10,000? I think that’s doable.

Query: If you have 10,000 subscribers, each of whom read 80% of your blog posts, how could your monetize that trust?

Joel and 37Signals built databases of their readers interested in jobs.

Seth uses his blog as a platform to sell his books, some of which are just collections of his blog posts!

SEOMoz has paid subscriptions to premium content and tools.

If the most innovative idea you have for monetizing your blog is simply signing up for Google AdSense then you probably aren’t delivering the quality content people want to read in the first place.

Top 10 SEO Recomendations November 15, 2007

Posted by Zac in SEO.
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In a continued effort to write about basic SEM topics here is my list of top some top on site SEO recommendations:

(I am excluding gaining more links because that should be more of a continuous effort. While its extremely important, most people want recommendations they can jump on right away and or want me to point out thing they are doing wrong. So don’t forget about links! they are important but these are strictly on site SEO recommendations)

1. Content – You have heard it once and I am telling you again without at least some decent content on a web page all of your optimization efforts are far less effective.

2. Title tags – Pay attention too and create good title tags. Not only are these what people see in search engine results pages but having your keywords and other relevant information can really add to optimization efforts.

3. Meta Tags – Most importanly the description tag because that is also what can get displayed in search engine results pages. Also make sure that any Meta tag data does not look like you are stuffing keywords in their just for the heck of it, don’t go overboard make them useful.

4. H1 Tags – Controlling and leveraging H tags can help search engines understand what the different topics of a page are and draw attention to particular topics and keywords. Make sure that these are being written for the users sake but understanding how and when to add your key words.

5. URLs – Having URLs that are easy to read, understand and contain your keywords are all pluses as they help to make a website both user and search engines friendly. Anytime their is a chance to simplify URLs and make them look like static pages is time well spent.

6. Sitemaps – Giving the search engines a complete list of all of a websites pages can help get pages indexed faster and help control search engine spiders on a website. Their are ways to complete this in the robots.txt file and some search engines (Google, MSN, Yahoo) have tools which you can authenticate a website and submit sitemaps through.

7. Images – Optimizing images can be a interesting challenge especially for those that have an automated system and or a lot of images. Its important though if possible to give images a meaningful name and use alt text.

8. Text Links – Whether its in menus, a header, a footer or anywhere else on a site text links can be far more advantageous than image or other links because of the anchor text associated with that link (again think keywords).

9. Robots.txt – Excluding certain directories or parts of a website such as a test area or something you don’t want search engines to get into (maybe certain form web pages) can be very important in controlling the crawling of your website.

10. URL Canonicalization – While being a semi complicated issue sometimes this basically deals with multiple URLs going to the same content such as the http://www. and http:// version of a website. Both can be logical URLs pointing to the same page or content and its far better to pick the format you want to use and 301 redirect the other so that search engines understand which version you want shown in their results.

Each one of these topics can be far more than entire post so read up and look for more posts regarding these important on site SEO topics.

SEO Basics October 21, 2007

Posted by Zac in SEO.
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As you can see there is a little bit of a theme on these first few posts as we figure out blogging and the likes, that being getting back to the basics.

Most people would give you volumes about the Basics of SEO but I am just going to outline what I think are some of the most important aspects of the industry and why its important.

The first point which is practically a given but most people don’t think that much about is the importance of search engines. Can anyone even imagine what the internet would be like without them? It sounds painful and frustrating to me so their shear importance to the space is the first point that people need to understand. No matter what search engine you prefer or what you are looking for everyone wants relevant results to help them find what they are looking for. On top of this there are literally billions of websites that could be returned for searches through search engines which simply adds to the complexity. At its core SEO is simply about trying to get search engines to properly index and rank a website. The better the site, the better the ranking for related terms and most of the time people simply don’t understand what makes a “better” site. The fact of the matter is that if you simply optimize for search engines and leave users out in the cold no one will want to use the website, likewise if you forget about search engines it will be extremely hard for people to find the website.

Search engine optimization can really be broken down into two categories:

On Site Factors
These include site structure, internal linking, content, meta tags, page titles etc. On site factors are typically everything a webmaster or site owner has control over, these are usually the first areas to look at when assessing a sites overall search engine value and friendliness.

Off Site Factors
This includes links to your website, link anchor text, etc. Off site factors are usually things that webmasters and site owners can affect but are largely outside their control. The number of links a website has, the anchor text of those links and their value are all things that can not only drive traffic but are used by search engines to rank websites (exp Google Page Rank).

Search engines usually take all of these factors and use them to rank sites accordingly for particular words or phrases people search for. So the goals of an SEO is to use all of these factors to influence the search engines in “good or bad (white hat or black hat)” ways to rank their site highly for related terms. Remember the goal for search engines is to serve the most relevant results, thats how they attain users and make money so they are constantly trying to understand every website as best as possible to complete their mission.

So as I close out the post, a “great” website is all in the eyes of the website creator but a “better” website is something that is useful, valuable, content or resource rich and is easy for both users and search engines to use.