This Week In SEO – 10/12/07

Bear with me as I dedicate another This Week In SEO post to the baseball playoffs. We’re down to four teams and by next week we should know who’ll be playing in the World Series. Hope you don’t mind a little more baseball talk until the series is over a couple of weeks from now. If you do mind, well that’s what you get for visiting a post about SEO written by an avid baseball fan. We seamheads can have a one track mind this time of year.

Plenty of links to get to and a few more at my profile so on with the show.

Social Media

The New York Times looked at StumbleUpon this week as an alternative to Google. Mu agrees, as do I, that StumbleUpon can help you discover content you didn’t know existed where search engines help you find content you know you want. Does that mean social media can supplant search engines? Probably not as each is better than the other for a specific task. Still Lucas Ng looked at a few social properties to see if any could be a Google killer. So which social site delivers the most traffic? Janet Meiners thinks the winner might be StumbleUpon despite the Quantcast chart indicating Digg might drive the most traffic.

MySpace or Facebook? Facebook is working on a music platform designed no doubt to take a share of MySpace’s original user base. MySpace for its part is planning to release a developer platform ala Facebook. Is Fox Interactive Chief Revenue Officer Michael Barrett worried about the competition from Facebook? You’ll have to read his interview with USA Today to find out and while you’re there you can see how Amanda Beard is the newest GoDaddy girl.

Think user generated content is easy? Vanessa Fox knows UGC is still hard work and she shares some of the joys and woes that comes with it. Maki says the key to social media success is influencing the power users. Makes sense. Maki has advice on how you can leverage the brand of social media power users. Dana Larson interviewed Neil and Danny to whet your appetite for SMX Social Media in New York.


Blogging is all about writing, right? Michelle Montoya recently joined the staff at E-Marketing Performance and needed some help getting up to speed with seo and marketing copywriting. Fortunately for Michelle she was given a reading list and fortunately for us she shares that list along with a few more recommendations. As if you needed more links to click after visiting here. How important is grammar on a blog? Sara Christensen runs through some grammar rules every blogger should know. I admit I’m guilty of a few of these all the time.

Want to get your blog into Google News? Angela Booth knows the magic word or at least how you should spread the magic word through press releases. Brian on the other hand thinks it’s time to stop worrying about Google. He shares his growth strategy and reveals his secret was to ignore search engines from the beginning. Whether or not you think Google is evil and care about their traffic I’m sure you care about your readers and would like to make your readers aware of your best content. Skellie has 9 ways to make sure your readers can find your best stuff.

What’s your honest evaluation of your blog? Yeah? Honestly? Raj Dash says maybe it’s not so great. In fact Raj has 41 reasons why it probably sucks. No Raj isn’t being insulting, but he does list quite a few common mistakes we all make. Correcting a few of these should make your blog better. Now that you’re all tense about how bad your blog might be let Skellie tell you how to create a stress free blogging habit. Are we all calm again and focused on the prize? I know you want to be a famous blogger. Cartoonist Dave Walker has the secret on how to do it.

Design And Development

Are you using a free theme for your blog? You wouldn’t be alone. Theme designers can’t know in advance who will be using their designs and so code dynamically to cover the possibilities. Since things like your blog’s name are unlikely to change it makes more sense to change things from dynamic to static for quicker load times. Michael found 13 common template tags used in WordPress themes and tells you how to change them to static text. Michael also reviewed the blog Freelance Stitch discussing what the blog did well and what they could improve.

Rich McIver is not a self-proclaimed landing page expert, but he can still recognize some common mistakes. Rich talks about 9 mistakes he sees all too often. Typical landing page advice is to reduce or eliminate navigation from the page. Most of your pages will have navigation though, and Stoney tells you why your navigation is important and why a well developed navigational system will lead to a better experience for your users and more conversions for you.

How good does your website need to be? Seth Godin says just good enough. The designer in me wants to argue, but I know Seth is right. Last week in this section I mentioned the class action lawsuit against Target over the accessibility of its website. Kevin Newcombe took a more in-depth look at what the lawsuit means for accessibility in the future. I can see you scrambling now to redesign your site and make it section 508 compliant, but can a redesign mean a drop in traffic. A Cre8asite thread discusses how you can redesign without losing visitors to your site.

Link Building

With all the talk about paid links this week you might think there weren’t any good posts on organic link building. Not so. Eric Ward starts us off by letting us know when link building is actually pointless. Something tells me you still want to build more links into your site so why not get some tips from someone who knows how. Peter Da Vanzo interviewed Michael Gray about advanced link strategies. Dan Thies says there are two kinds of link building and he offers advice on both kinds. And if link building isn’t your thing that’s ok. You can always hire out. If you do you might want to read Loren’s post first on what you should look for in a link building service.


One seo question that comes up fairly often is can competitors link to you in a way that hurts your ranking? Google says it’s possible, but not at all likely. Then why do they say to be careful about the directories you submit to? Chris Boggs raises the question and then points to a Search Engine Watch thread discussing the issue. One thing that can easily get you in trouble is using hidden text. Eric Enge talks about a variety of ways webmasters attempt to hide text and why you should avoid doing the same. Hidden text isn’t the only thing that can get you in trouble. Stephen mentions a few other practices you should avoid saying seo is about what you don’t do.

Now that you know what not to do how about some of what you should do. Cre8site brings us two more threads filled with good advice. First is what you should know to set you down the right seo path and second is a continuation thread about seo strategy. Lee Odden looks at Universal Search and has a guide for small businesses to optimize for the new search results. If your site is new you’ll want to check out Stuart’s advice on trustrank and avoiding Google’s aging filter more commonly known as the ‘sandbox.’ And Ross Dunn completed his look at the other engines discussing how to optimize for Ask.

If you’ve been reading these roundup posts for awhile you probably know I’m a big fan of Eli’s Blue Hat SEO. Eli writes about advanced seo tactics. Sometimes the specific tactics cross my ethical threshold, but the advice is always good and you can apply the lessons to whatever color seo hat you wear. A few weeks ago Eli posted part 1 on how he built his seo empire and ever since I’ve been looking forward to the next installment. This week brought the follow up to the initial post and I’m linking to both in case you missed to original. As a further treat Aaron interviewed Eli on empire and other seo related questions.

Business And Marketing

AdSense is probably the easiest way to monetize your site, but often it’s not the most profitable. If you’re looking for something other than AdSense Ben has a few alternatives for you to try. No matter what form of advertising you opt to use Neil says you should get it on your site now and if you don’t you’ll regret it later. Of course ads aren’t the only way to monetize a site. Chris wants to know if you’ve ever considered offering products or services and he has some ideas about the kind of products you might offer. One of those products could be an ebook and Brian tells you how to create an ebook that sells.

Nielsen reported that search ads score low on trust with consumers. That might be ok with John Marshall who says you should never pay for traffic. Well John’s not exactly saying not to use search ads, but he’s advising that you should be paying for intent and not traffic numbers. Dave charts strong words and strong calls to action to easily improve the CTR on your ads. And Andrew Goodman says that sometimes the way to PPC success is forgetting all the analysis and just plowing through. See how Joey Metallica gets rich while goofing off.

Aaron points to an Alan Greenspan video to show why emotions and not rational data is behind economic change and Chris tells us that despite all the technology behind the web it’s still people that are the key to success.

Search Engine News

This may come as a shock, but did you know that Google is the most widely used search engine. comScore has the numbers on Google’s international dominance. But does that mean your potential customers are going to Google first? Maybe, maybe not. It might depend on the demographics of your target market. Eric Enge looked at demographic differences between the search engines and found there are indeed differences in who uses which engine.

Google and IBM are working together to build large data centers that would allow students to engage in remote programming over the internet. The cloud computing initiative allows the computers to run in parallel in order to increase their processing power.

Perhaps rumors of the Gphone were a little off base. Is it possible that the much talked about phone is really a Google mobile operating system?

Video meet AdSense. AdSense say hello to video. The two joined to produce video units which will display temporarily in selected YouTube videos. The ads won’t be embedded into the video itself, but rather they’ll be overlay ads or companion ads and are said to be both unobtrusive and relevant to the video content.

As usual we have some Google patent talk courtesy of Bill. First is the possibility for determining authority pages and using the authority to boost other related pages on the same site. Next is the idea of using a knowledge base of articles for smarter searches. If you search for Danny Sullivan are you looking for the race car driver of the search marketer? You personally are probably looking for the Danny on search, but how would Google know. Could they use information found elsewhere to understand there are two Danny Sullivans you might be searching for and group results to disambiguate between the two?

Could Blinkx be the key to making YouTube profitable? Google has yet to turn a profit from their prized acquisition. Hopefully new acquisition Jaiku will bring Google more money. They desparately need it. Lisa speculated that the Jaiku purchase is part of a larger social media strategy. Perhaps DoubleClick will be able to add to Google’s coffers now that the deal looks likely to go through. New companies may be coming in the door, but it seems some Google employees are walking toward the exits. Philipp Lenssen noticed some mentioning how they were leaving to join companies like Facebook that are more like Google used to be. One Googler that isn’t going anywhere is Matt Cutts and Eric Enge has the transcript of their interview.

Was Yahoo’s deal to sell Japan’s Overture a good move? Eric Jackson questions the sale. Maybe Yahoo needed the cash to subscribe to the Alibaba IPO. Or maybe, just maybe, they’re interested in acquiring Facebook again. Should we start placing bets on which company will be the next rumored new owner of Facebook?

Yahoo rolled out some upgrades, though perhaps they should have double checked for bugs. A few advertisers were greeted with some rather hefty charges. Apparently some of the changes are morphing Panama into AdWords younger brother.

Barry noticed a Digital Point thread claiming Yahoo Site Explorer was showing less links and a few days later Barry discovered Site Explorer was indeed showing less links if you weren’t logged in and checking an authenticated site. Is Yahoo closing off a channel of competitive data?

MSN/Live Search
MSNBC purchased social news site Newsvine and MSN ads are now showing on Digg.

Ask’s partnership with Google is coming to an end. Will Google continue to serve Ask ads or will Ask be looking for a new partner? And last, but not least this week Lisa wants to know what comes to mind when you think about Ask. She talks about the search engine’s continued identity crisis.

Looks like much cooler weather along with thunderstorms this weekend for Boulder. I’m already seeing the clouds rolling in over the mountains and they appear to be the kind that linger over town for a few days. That’s ok since I probably wasn’t getting out of the house much anyway. Plenty of work to do, playoff baseball, and regular season football to watch. A little gray outside is nice everyone once in awhile too. Have a good weekend wherever you are and whatever you do. Happy reading.

Download a free sample from my book, Design Fundamentals.


  1. Thanks Chris. I’m not sure why I haven’t linked to 10e20 more. Just an oversight on my part. With all the links you’d think I’ve been to ever blog in the industry, but there are so many I’ve still yet to get to.

    So if you’re going to skip reading and just visit here am I going to have to do all the reading for everyone?

  2. Thanks Michelle. I enjoyed your post as you can guess. It’s another oversight on my part not linking to E-Marketing Performance more. I always read Stoney’s posts, but I end up reading them on every other site except the original. Another oversight I need to correct.

    By the way, has anyone every told you how much you look like Stoney?

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