This Month In SEO – 2/08

I could have sworn we should have been here yesterday. Isn’t it 28 days in February? What’s that? Leap year? Oh yeah the extra day we get every few years. 29 days may still a shorter month, but there was no shortage of links This Month In SEO. Football ended as the month began and baseball is starting as the month heads out. Spring is almost here, but spring training has begun. Still it’s only fitting to dedicate this post to all the people who are born on this day and have to figure out when to celebrate their birthday the next three years. Happy birthday to all the leap babies of the world. This post is dedicated to you.

Plenty of good stuff this month as always and as usual you can find more at my profile and my StumbleUpon profile. I’m also known to post a link or two at Twitter so feel free to follow along. Now on with the show.

Social Media

“Suicide is painless. It brings on many changes; and I can take or leave it if I please.” If you didn’t sing the previous line you didn’t see the movie M*A*S*H, but that’s ok since we’re talking social media and and the point is you need a social media marketing plan or else you could be DOA. You do want your content to be bookmarked and attract links don’t you? Then again is social media all we want it to be? Is the truth about social sites inconvenient to our plans for monetization? What exactly is the value of social media marketing anyway?

Some of the value is in the networking opportunities. Services like Twitter allow you to connect with people in ways you may not find elsewhere. I admit I was slow to adopt Twitter, but now I’m beyond sold. So is Jennifer Laycock. Jen gave us a 5 part series on why she embraced Twitter. Don’t be a Twit. Most Tweeple will notice Twitter going down once in awhile. Sure it’s annoying, but is it inevitable? Maybe, unless you want the service to use a proxy. Proxy or no the service is working far more often than not and Kevin Dugan has 10 tips to help you get the most out of Twitter.

StumbleUpon is the hot site to drive traffic, assuming your content is deserving. Skellie shares some ideas on creating incendiary content that will turn up the heat at StumbleUpon. If I only knew then what I know now. That thought must have gone through Ciaran’s mind while offering 10 simple SU tips. StumbleUpon isn’t the only site to send visitors and links your way. Matt has some great ideas for getting both traffic and links, if your willing to part with a few photos and answer a few questions. Have a question for Kevin Rose? Ben offers a recap of Digg’s first town hall complete with videos and time tags so you skip ahead to the more interesting parts.


Having a loyal audience opens up a lot of doors. So how do you score more subscribers? Adam Singer has 8 tips to help. Once your audience grows large enough it’ll promote your blog for you. Like a butterfly your blog will break out of its cocoon and begin a second stage of life where it can glide on the wings of your readers. But don’t erect barriers in the path of your butterfly. An unexamined life is not worth blogging or something like that. Do I detect our second series of the month? Is a pattern forming?

Promote your blog all you want, but it’s success will still come down to the quality of your content. But what is good content? Maki gives us a working definition and Chris Garrett promotes the idea of having authority or flagship content to get readers coming back. Creating all that great content isn’t easy and it requires plenty of new ideas. Let Tibu Puiu show you where to find ideas for your freshly squeezed content. As great as your content is a little push in the form of a great headline never hurts. Quadzilla needed something to do while waiting for a plane so why not look through some airport magazines to find 54 headline templates that work.

Your wonderful content and smart marketing has led to more readers. Now what? Perhaps selling advertising is your thing. How do you find private advertisers? Daniel knows. James Mowery would like to help advertisers find you and shares his advice in a guide to creating your own ‘Advertise Here’ page.

Your business will only scale so much. And you’ll scale even less as an individual. Chris Brogan tells us how he managed to scale his skillset. One way to help yourself scale is to make use of the resources of others. Amanda Fazani put together more than 40 such resources so you can get more done. You may find you can get more done by recording your posts instead of writing them. If you’re ready for video blogging Michael Martine shows you how to get started in 5 easy steps.

Design And Development

Speaking of videos not everyone is going to hear them. The 35 million people in the U.S. who are deaf or hard of hearing won’t. They can still enjoy your videos, though. Stephen Hopson tells you how to add subtitles. Wish something other than your most recent posts was on the home page of your blog? If you use WordPress it’s simple to set up. No matter how you structure your blog or site you don’t always want search engines to access every page. Rand shows how to control access through cookies and session IDs. And even with the pages you do want spiders to see you don’t always need them coming back and hogging your bandwidth. Sebastian tells you how to let spiders know if your dynamic pages have been modified.

There are many different things to learn as a web designer and whatever your current skills they can always be improved. It’s never too late to step up your skills. Choosing colors is one I can use work on. If you’re like me maybe seeing 25 beautifully colored websites will give you an idea of how to use different colors together. 25 sites not enough? How about 100 css galleries filled with stunning design? I visit several of these when I’m looking for inspiration and now have many more to look through. Of course to get the whole right you need to get the parts right. Michael recently changed the sidebar on his blog and shares his thought process for the changes. Michael it looks great.

What would This Month In SEO be without one of Roberta’s landing page makeovers. We’ll find out next month since this I think will be the last makeover. I’m looking forward to the new series Roberta. Eric Enge also knows a thing or two about landing pages. This month he teaches how to execute tests to discover the better design. The eagle has landed, but did it buy? Smashing Magazine looks at shopping carts and presents some examples and good practices.

Shopping carts aren’t the only applications suffering from poor design. Jakob Nielsen discussed applications in general and presents his top 10 design mistakes. Philipp Lenssen looked at how designs are often presented to clients. Sometimes the more effective tool doesn’t make for the best presentation. How do you know when you’ve got it right? Carsten Cumbrowski has 50 questions you can answer to evaluate the quality of your site.

Link Building

Links aren’t all about the external. Your internal linking is important too. Aaron has ideas on how to determine if your internal linking is effective. Nofollow has become the latest greatest tool in shaping your internal link flow. Rand tells us sculpting with nofollow worked rather well on SEOmoz. Umm…Rand…did you mean siloing? Lisa wants to know. All the nofollow talk has led some to wonder if using the attribute will set off a red flag and mark you as an seo. Still there are situations where you should use nofollow. As search engines get better at dissecting the parts of a page will some of these issues eventually go away. Bill looks at ways Google might determine ‘boilerplate’ code.

Where do your incoming links come from? If you’re willing to put in the time you might get some from social media. Is the line between seo and social media marketing blurring? Are your linkbaiting efforts focused on your niche? Ryan Caldwell shares his experience of a successful linkbait with proof that targeting multiple niches brings more links. Do you buy links? Eric Enge doesn’t and tells you why.

The best links are the ones your competition can’t get. If we’re all analyzing the same metrics though, our links may end up being similar. It’s time to start looking at some unconventional link attributes. Finding link sources takes time. Why not automate things a little and organizes your sources better? You might not be able to automate the entire process, but there are plenty of tools you can use at steps along the way. But don’t let all those tools make your decisions for you or else you might end up with link building and development mistakes.


It’s easy to get lost in the details of seo and just as easy while lost to lose site of the big picture. Stoney gave us a series on strategic seo planning. Here’s part 3, which also brings us to 3 series so far this month. I sense a trend. One part of forming a plan is understanding the competitive landscape. Analyzing your competition will reveal how long it will take to rank and how much work you might need to get there.

Before you can rank for something you need to know what that something is. Brian Clark created a comprehensive guide to keyword research in 5 parts giving us series #4 for the month. Brian Terry discovered a simple way to get more keywords with less effort and Jennifer Slegg wants to know if we’re covering all the angles in our research. One angle Jennifer didn’t mention is using social media buzz to mine new keywords. Search engines are getting smarter when it comes to keywords too. Bill covers a Yahoo patent on phrase-based indexing detailing ways Yahoo might better understand phrases in documents.

SEO is made up of many disciplines and Hamlet Batista says security should be one of them. Understand why you must learn internet security by reading his post. Shoemoney sees a lot of confusion in posts about cloaking, masking, and redirection. What’s a good Shoemoney to do? Write a post defining each and showing how they’re used. Sugarrae goes one better giving us everything we could want to know about canonicalization (C14N)

How many search engines can you name? Now how many are you hoping will rank your pages well? Esteban Panzera has 11 tips for appearing in Google Definitions and Tamar shows us how to find out when Google first discovered one of our pages. Kurt Krejny is out to stop weeds, the kind that suck the life out of your Google garden that is. Will Google ever stop being associated with PageRank? Why should they be? Andy Beard says it’s the primary Google search ranking factor.

Whatever you think of PR it’s always good to remember that search engine algorithms evolve. What works today might not tomorrow. If you’ve forgotten let Rand remind you. And in the end keep in mind that no two sites are alike. Different sites mean different tactics. Treat each as an individual.

SMX West

All week long I felt out of the loop on Twitter. So many of my tweeps were at SMX this week while I was home working. If like me, you missed the conference, no worries. Barry covered all the SMX coverage for Search Engine Land.

Business And Marketing

With spring training underway the Super Bowl may feel like a time long ago, but it’s only been a few weeks since the big game. (Go Giants!) Do you remember the commercials? Yeah, me either, but how did they score with social media? Julie Kent provides a review of the big game ads. The internet makes it easy to copy most anything. More copies means less value per copy until they become free. It’s not the end of business online, though. It just means you need to be better than free. I’m guessing you prefer to make money. If so Daniel has 28 ways you can monetize your site.

Do you have a reputation? If you’ve ever done anything in public you do. How do you manage your rep? Tamar and Lee Odden have advice for monitoring and managing how others see you and Lee adds a little public relations for good measure and good seo.

One of the best roads to success is to become the authority and have your brand be the first people think about when thinking of your niche. Maki offers 8 content development tactics to become the authority in your niche. By their very nature a niche is less competitive than the larger industry, some more so than others. Skellie walks us through surviving an under-served niche. Crowded niche or empty niche you still need good copy to sell. Simon Townley will hypnotize you with his. With the rising cost of clicks and increased user awareness about ads, one way you can please users and cut costs is to feature your own best content more and sell ads to yourself.

I leave you with an interview to close out the month’s business section. Chris Garrett interviewed Rae Hoffman on a variety of topics and we all get to sit in, listen, and learn a lot about how to be successful.

Search Engine News

The news of the proposed takeover of Yahoo by Microsoft has quieted down a little bit since the beginning of the month, but this is one story that will be hanging around until it’s resolved one way or the other. And any resolution will only lead to a host of other stories of what’s next for each company. Here are a selection of stories, mostly from the first half of February and mostly from Search Engine Land.

We made it through another month even with the extra day. I’m tired. How about you? We’re moving into spring, which for Boulder could mean anything from 70 degree days to several feet of snow falling. The weekend is supposed to be the former so I’ll see about spending some time outside. As always there’s some work to be done. I’m getting close to moving this site to a new domain with a new design and if I can knock off a few hours of that work on a Sunday it’s that much sooner till the move. And sadly I still need to work on my taxes. I’ve been putting them off this year so I’ll see about making a dent in the forms. Have a good weekend wherever you are and whatever you do. Hopefully you’ve gotten taxes out of the way and can just enjoy. Happy reading.

Download a free sample from my book, Design Fundamentals.


  1. Thanks Chris. I enjoyed your post. I really need help scaling myself. I’ve been attacking the problem by trying to create more hours in the day, but have come to the conclusion that’s impossible.

  2. Google doesn’t completely ignore boilerplate code in your pages, but they’ve devalued any repetitive links that are part of your template on every page. I turn up in searches that are partially satisfied by stuff in my footer or sidebar. It might be they’re good at ignoring more than a few links with the same anchor text on a given domain, and know nothing about de-duplication. But I think Google de-dupes sections of a page fairly well. Still, the patent was interesting reading … removing common elements might have some value, but anything following the word or symbol copyright obviously doesn’t work; this would be ignored.

    I’ve been using nofollow for a while on my blog, to block access to my tag cloud. I might add categories and archives. Honesty I can’t really say whether it’s beneficial or not; too many other things are taking my time and attention, so I haven’t been that involved with my site. But, if you look at any blog with a lot of comments, you’ll see a lot of nofollow links. I don’t think that’s a good heuristic even if search engines do want to identify sites owned or worked on by seo types.

  3. Thanks for the link, much appreciate it. Quite a nice resource of great articles you’ve managed to gather, I’ll take some time to read it now. btw do something about the spam comment from above.

  4. @Forrest – The patent is interesting. It makes sense for any search engine to understand how a page is put together and see where links are coming from. A list of links in your footer is different than one in the middle of your content.

    It’s become too easy to spam link quantity, which means stepping up the quality. By understanding boilerplate code an algorithm can make more decisions about which parts it considers more important.

    @Tibi – Glad to provide the link. I enjoyed your post. Coming up with new post ideas gets difficult from time to time so any ideas for finding inspiration is welcome.

    @Steven – Thanks. I hope I was able to point you to a few posts you might have missed.

    @Eric – Thanks. I’m glad you liked the post. You know I hadn’t considered donations for a post, but I have no problem with it. I’ll have to think about adding one next time. Donations or not I promise I’ll have another post ready at the end of March.

    @Jaan – Thanks for the compliment and for subscribing. I’ve been subscribed to your blog for awhile and need to remind myself to include more links to you here.

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