This Week In SEO – 10/26/07

One more baseball dedicated edition of This Week In SEO as the World Series is under way. As a Yankee fan living in Colorado I have double the reasons to root against the Red Sox this year. Sorry New England, but you know how it is. I respect your team, but I can’t root for them. Go Rockies!

As always there’s more at my del.icio.us profile, particularly some of the social media and blogging posts I was forced to cut from the links here. If you do visit my profile check out Jakob Neilsen’s Alertbox on passive voice. It goes against common wisdom, but makes a lot of sense. Now on with the show.

Social Media

Which social site is the most popular? MySpace still gets the most visitors, but as you might guess Facebook is growing at a much faster clip. Bigger though, is not always better. Eric Enge tells you why and also links to a number of niche social sites, one of which may be the right match for your campaign. What can all those social media sites do for your business? David Wallace suggests the sites can help you manage your online reputation. Have a look at how social media helps David control the SERPs for his brand. Last month I wondered if MyBlog was still relevant and later offered how to use MyBlogLog as a branding tool. Lee Odden asked TopRank readers for their MBL tips and they responded. Learn how you can use the site more effectively.

I admit I’ve yet to make it over to Twitter. That ‘what are you doing now’ thing just hasn’t been a question for which I needed an answer. I may need to rethink the site though as some are talking about how the site can be useful. Vanessa Fox shared her experiences getting all her news through Twitter. Sheila Scarborough discusses a variety of reasons Twitter isn’t a waste of time. And Jennifer Laycock tells us how Twitter was able to give her the best up to the minute information about the fires in Southern California earlier this week.

Facebook is still the current social networking darling and part of the reason might be the applications being developed for the site. Google announced the addition of of a news app late last week and a couple of days later Facebook opened the application directory to search engines giving them more visibility and possibly giving you a little less privacy. Possibly more exciting to advertisers is how Facebook makes the process of targeting your ads incredibly easy. Rae Hoffman details how to create Facebook Fliers.

Blogging

Last week I pointed you to a couple of blogging series both of which continued into this week. Skellie continued her series on a three month plan to growing your blog and Lorelle continued her series on focusing your blog. I’ve only linked to the last part of the series, though you can find links to the earlier posts within. If Lorelle didn’t convince you of the importance of focusing your blog maybe Skellie can when talking about why it’s important to write for a target audience.

Not enough time is a frequent complaint of bloggers. Mohsin has 5 tips to wring a few more hours from the day. Have you noticed the number of blog posts being published at your favorite blogs going down the last couple of months? Many bloggers are moving toward quality over quantity. Eric Kintz discusses why publishing frequently isn’t as important as it seems and Ben offers ideas on how to get the most out of whatever posting schedule you adopt.

Do you use small words or voluminous words? Do your sentences flow or are they labyrinthine constructions with intricate and tangled turns that meander through a circuitous and undecipherable synthesis of intellectual puzzlement? (I don’t know what the previous sentence means either). Sara Christensen explains why a larger vocabulary doesn’t automatically lead to better communication. Steven Johnson found some interesting stats showing that books written with less words per sentence sell better at Amazon. Michael Martine wants us to tell stories to become more effective bloggers.

Design And Development

Eric Enge interviewed Kim Krause Berg on a variety of usability issues, including how to help the visually impaired navigate your site and the best way to build a survey. Philipp Lenssen offers 11 usability tips specifically about links. Joost talked about using semantic html to improve the search friendliness of your site and Simon Heseltine tells you why you need custom 404 pages.

Stoney has 25 design tips for you to improve conversions on your site. Perhaps no page seeks conversions like your landing page. Roberta is back with version 7 of her landing page makeover clinic and shows an ebook publisher how to boost sales. You do test your landing pages don’t you? Jon Miller wants to know if you possibly test them too much. Jon also shares ideas for knowing how much testing you need to do.

Paid Links

Even if you took the week off you probably still caught Google’s latest volley in the battle over link buying and selling. It was hard to miss. The dust had hardly settled on the last round in the paid links debate when some very prominent bloggers woke up to some big PageRank hits. Below is a random collection of some of the articles I came across this week. Expect more talk and more (over)reaction from Google in the weeks ahead.

Link Building

Of course money isn’t the only way to gain links. Eric Lander learned a lot about linkbait at SMX Social Media and fortunately he’s willing to teach the rest of us. It’s hard enough building links into one of your pages. It’s even harder building them into a site with thousands of pages. Eric Enge gives several methods for building links on a large scale. And Sage Lewis tries to help you solve the link building puzzle. Which link building box will you choose?

SEO

If you’re reading this you probably don’t need to be convinced of the value of seo. But do you know all the ways seo benefits your site? David lets us know why we optimize. One reason to optimize a site is the branding it offers through search results. Mark Jackson discusses how the two sometimes seem to conflict, though I think in the end seo only helps to build your brand. Google recently expanded the number of sitelinks they might show for your domain. Aaron tells us why that increases the value of generic names a lot. If you want those sitelinks you’ll need to get Google to trust you as an authority. Dave Davis has some ideas on how you can build that trust.

You know how many visitors come to your site each day. You know where they enter your site and you know where they leave. Do you know how to measure how engaged they are with your site? Bill looks at a Yahoo patent for measuring user engagement. You probably want to see your pages rank better, but is it important for every one of your pages to rank or even be in the index? Michael Gray asks how if you really want all your ancillary pages in the index. Seasonal changes affect searching. More people are searching for the World Series than will be in January when they search for the Super Bowl. Bill discusses a Microsoft patent on the seasonality of keywords.

Do you trade links? If you do are you trying to manipulate a search algorithm? Could there be reasons to exchange links beyond search engines? Barry points to a Cre8asite thread discussing link exchanges and adds a few of his own thoughts. The most important seo writing you do can perhaps be found in your page titles. Aaron offers ideas on how best to write seo friendly page titles in a new video.

Business And Marketing

A few sections up we had the continuation of a couple of blogging series and here we have a series on making money by a blogger. Chris Garret picks up where he left off last week with his making real money online series. I’ve linked to the first one from the week, but I encourage you to read them all. An important decision towards making money is your choice of niche. Maki has four reasons why the entertainment niche may be the one that has you singing your way to the bank. All niches are not the same. Neither are all people. Ayat started a series on the power of personas this week, which has already left me wanting for more.

Aaron reviewed Alan Greenspan’s book The Age of Turbulence and used it as the backbone of a post about understanding the emotions and psychology driving markets. This is one of those thought provoking posts that can get you to see the big picture a little differently and I think it deserves to stand alone in its own list.

You’ve figured out I’m a baseball fanatic haven’t you? Given that I am it was hard to resist Brian Kaminski’s post comparing the world’s greatest game to business. Of course Brian’s post may have had a different title had he posted it a few months ago or a few months from now. Bill talks about windows of opportunities, including some windows that are seasonal. Ahmed turned a rant into 10 simple rules for online success and Skellie shares the 7 secrets of viral content.

Search Engine News

Google
You probably know how Google engineers are encouraged to take time each week to work on their own projects. The New York Times covered the Google Way and some of the projects to come from that 20% of googlers time. Was iGoogle and it’s easy to add widgets one of those projects? Patrick was at the Widgets Summit where Google has a very active presence. Of course that great entrepreneurial spirit comes with a downside as some googlers inevitably leave the company to go into business for themselves.

AdSense made it easier to make changes to the ads you display by moving the code to Google’s servers. You’ll need to convert your ads to the new format, but once you do future changes will be much easier. AdWords announced a new keyword analysis page to offer more insight on quality score. Eric Lander made an interesting and disconcerting discovery about behavioral targeting. You may end up spending more per click due to when Google displays your ad.

Google appears to be in ‘good shape’ in regards to the long awaited DoubleClick deal. Mozilla likes working with Google. That little search box in Firefox accounted for over $66 million in revenue. The Nielsen Company apparently likes Google too as they worked out a strategic relationship this week. Librarians on the other hand rebuffed Google’s offer to digitize books. Some things aren’t meant to be under the control of a single company.

Daniel noticed Google was ranking scraped content ahead of the original version. Maybe it’s all the AdSense ads on the scraped content Daniel. And Bill discusses how Google may blend information from feeds and extracted data into search results.

Yahoo!
Yahoo made over Flickr’s map explorer to make it easier to find images associated with particular places. Flickr also added online editing tools to Picnik. Chief Marketing Officer and head of the Customer Experience Division at Yahoo, Cammie Dunaway will be leaving the company. Is this recent defection the reason ex CEO Terry Semel exercised options on his Yahoo stock?

MSN/Live Search
The New York Post raised the rumors of a battle between Microsoft and Google for a stake in Facebook. Microsoft turned out to be the winner buying a 1.6 percent stake in the company for $240 million. No doubt Live Search will begin appearing on a Facebook page near you sometime soon.

The things they say at Microsoft. Senior Vice President of Microsoft’s Advertiser Publisher Solutions Group, Brian McAndrews thinks Google has undeservedly gotten credit for ad conversions and said too much emphasis is put on search advertising. He predicts buyers will switch to other kinds of online ads. Would he have said the same if Microsoft made the same kind of money Google makes through those ads? Maybe it’s a case of do what I mean and not what I say. Live Search added AutoSpell and Stemming capabilities to improve search results.

Ask
Remember Ask? It’s been a few weeks since I’ve had news for you about the #4 search engine. Bill tells us how Ask thinks they can improve search results by determining if your query is a name. Is 50 Cent a search about money or the rap star? Barry points to a Digital Point thread wondering if there’s been an algorithm update at Ask. Lisa wants to know why Ask isn’t making it easy to find videos online for some of their recent commercials showing off blended search. She also wondered what was the deal with the KT Tunstall search requiring that capital ‘K’ to work. In an update Ask fixed the problem. And is it possible that Ask’s marketshare has been under reported the last few months. Kevin Gould has the info.

Dark gray clouds rolled into Boulder while I was writing this post and it feels like I’m in for a chilly night. The weather is supposed to be nice this weekend for the Series and I hope it’s particularly nice Sunday night since I’ll be at the game. It’ll be the second World Series game I’ve managed to attend over the years and unlike the last one I hope Sundays’ game won’t be the last in the series. Have a good weekend wherever you are and whatever you do and if you watch game 4 on Sunday look for me in the crowd. I’ll be in the upper deck in right field. Section 306 I think. Happy reading and Go Rockies!

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