Last week’s post was dedicated to baseball and this week’s will too. That’s what happens when you use a show about baseball to name a series of posts This Week in SEO. Expect the next few weeks to have the same or similar dedications as we move closer to the fall classic. Last weekend’s close of the regular season was as exciting as it could be and the National League needed one more game than scheduled to determine who was in and out of the post season and it only gets better.
Once again have a look at my del.icio.us profile for some very good posts that didn’t quite make their way here.
What do you get when 4 ex-googlers join together and form their own company? This week the answer was FriendFeed, which allows you to track your friends around the web assuming they participate. I’m not sure I want even my closest friends knowing what I’m doing at all times, but I suspect there are many who do. Do you have a single nerve center for all the information you wade through each day? Last week I pointed you to an article on turning NetVibes into a blogging start page and this week Michal Gray has some interesting thoughts on combining some web services to create your personal hub. Still lacking is tighter integration between the services.
- Service Helps Friends Share Their Online Discoveries
- Friendfeed: Track Your Friend’s Web Activities
- Creating the Ultimate Personal Hub and Nerve Center
How do you identify which social sites you should participate in? Chris Winfield shares some ideas for finding the right niche social media sites. Facebook will begin letting people sort and organize friends so you can deliver different profiles to different groups of people. And Danny Sullivan runs down some newer top lists in the social space including how to find out which sites have the most cumulative diggs and the new Techmeme leaderboard.
- How to Identify & Target The Right Niche Social Media Sites
- Facebook to Add Groups – More Targeted Networking, More Targeted Advertising?
- New List: Sites With Most Cumulative Diggs
- Techmeme Leaderboard is live
- Techmeme Leaderboard
Bloggers write for several different audiences. There’s your loyal readers, your new readers, and the linkerati. Mu has advice on writing for one more audience, the social media everyman. Before you can write you need to find content ideas for your blog. Lorelle shares ideas on finding that content. Glen Stansberry categorizes bloggers in one of two ways and knowing your blogging DNA will tell you what types of posts to write and how often you should write them. I’ve never seen an episode of “Heroes,” but that didn’t stop me from enjoying Ben Cook’s post using the show as a backdrop for lessons in blogging.
- Writing for the Social Media Everyman
- Blog Struggles: The Search for Blog Content
- Finding Your Blogging DNA
- Heroes’ Lessons on Blogging
How do you build a better blog? Ahmed Bilal thinks one way is to improve the blogger behind the blog. He has 21 ways you can build a better you. 22 comes after 21 doesn’t it? Good for us Deborah Ng found 22 places you can find blogging jobs. The lifeblood of any blog is its subscribers. Daniel has some real ways you can attract subscribers including a 7 point checklist to sum up his post. When Darren Rowse asks a question he gets a lot of answers. Darren wanted to know what WordPress plugins readers used and shared the ones he uses. Be sure to scan the comments on this post as I’m sure you’ll find several useful plugins you didn’t know existed.
- 21 Ways to Build a Better Blogger
- 22 Places to Find Blogging Jobs
- How to Attract More RSS Subscribers – For Real
- Which WordPress Plugins Do You Use?
Design And Development
If you’re not sure where to go to learn better design have no fear as Daniel put together a list of the top 25 design blogs. I’m familiar with several of them, but now I have quite a few new blogs to check out and add to my reader. If you’re not a designer, but are looking to hire one, then Michael’s post on how to get the most out of your designer is just for you. The poor lonely footer. The most neglected part of any web design gets some support from Lorelle this week with two posts on the purpose of a footer and how to customize yours.
- Top 25 Web Design Blogs
- 5 Tips to Get the Best From Your Designer
- WordPress Themes: The Ignored Footer
- Customizing Your WordPress Theme Footer
Yuri had a frustrating experience shopping at Amazon. The good news is he turned that experience into a usability post that can improve any shopping site. Lisa has had her share of frustrating usability experiences as well. Last week she mentioned 7 usability mistakes that bug her and she followed up this week on the specific point of how to treat visited and unvisited links. Accessibility issues made national news when a judge certified a class action lawsuit against target for not building a website that was accessible to blind users.
- 7 Shopping Cart Tips That Even Amazon Could Use
- When Usability Guidelines Go Out the Window
- Judge allows class action against Target Web site
Paul was back to finish up his post on how he won the SEOmoz landing page contest. Even if landing pages aren’t your thing, Paul’s writing is sure to pull you through the post.
Identifying good links from bad isn’t always easy given the many factors you can compare. Justilien simplifies it all for us with some common sense ways to determine the value of a link. Many will tell you that reciprocal linking is dead and link exchanges have little value. Stoney decided to find out for himself and shares a test he began a year ago to show how reciprocal links are treated by Google and MSN. Sujan thinks WordPress theme development can be a great way to build links. He offers tips for what you should include in your themes to maximizes how often they get used.
- Link Value: Top Rankings, Secrets and Lies – Part 1
- Reciprocal Links Are (Still) Not Dead
- Generate Backlinks with Custom WordPress Themes
To pay or not to pay is the endless debate when it comes to building links. Rand tells us why paid links and the debate about them isn’t going to go away anytime soon with examples to back up his case. Aaron tosses in his own example of a site doing well buying links. And Loren tells us about TNX.net a new link advertising network that changes things up a bit by creating a linking economy that uses points to buy links on other sites.
- The “Google Payola” Issue Isn’t Going Away Anytime Soon
- How to Rent a Half Million Links & Stay Below Google’s Radar
- TNX.net Link Advertising Network
Are you better off building one large site or many small niche sites. Rand has 5 reasons he thinks the former is the better option and I agree. So how do you gain authority status? Jennifer Mattern has 10 tips you can use to get people to think of you first. By definition a new site isn’t going to be an authority, but that doesn’t mean new sites can’t be successful. Scott Buresh gives advice for new sites so they can build long term authority while still optimizing for the short term
- Five Reasons Why It’s Better to be Big & Popular than Small & Niche
- Ten Tips for Building Authority Status in Your Niche or Industry
- Brand New Websites: A Search Engine Optimization Company Perspective
On page optimization has taken a back seat to links over the years, but you should still be optimizing your pages. Stoney has a checklist you can follow to make sure you’ve covered the bases. Of course you can do everything right and still get in trouble such as when your feeds start showing up in search results. Last year I had my own supplemental problem and solution for dealing with indexed feeds. Joost has come up with another potential solution to the indexed feed problem. Your meta description tag may not mean much for your ranking, but it’s still a good idea to pay attention to them. The Webmaster Central Blog offers advice for improving search snippets by writing better meta description tags.
- The Best Damn On-Page Optimization Process Checklist, Period
- Feeds in the search results?
- Improve snippets with a meta description makeover
Aaron observed some possible changes with the way MSN and Yahoo are ranking pages and fortunately shares his observations with the rest of us. Ross Dunn followed up his post last week about Yahoo optimization with one on how to optimize for MSN.
If you put your faith in seo tools or think it’s important to constantly check your rankings have a look at the following three posts. If they don’t convince you to change your ways nothing will.
- Page Position Checking SEO Tools Waste Time and Money
- Dear Small Business Owners: Put Down Your Ranking Reports
- Why Website Grader is a Bad Idea
Business And Marketing
If you haven’t heard mass marketing is on it’s way out and something new is on the way in. Seth Godin recently started a series called meatball mondae to describe the new revolution. Radiohead is taking a big chance by offering their latest album for download. They’re not working with a record company and the price of the album is whatever you think it’s worth. Maki took an in-depth look at the band and their recent marketing. Of course there are still some tried and true methods when it comes to marketing. Greg Howlett tells us that email still delivers and Stephen discusses why treating your customers right turns them into your best sales and marketing team.
- Meatball Mondae (#2)
- Radiohead’s In Rainbows: A Look at Anti-Marketing in the Music Industry
- Email still delivers sales at the lowest cost
- C2C 5 Step Series: Clients are the best sales & marketing team
Repeat traffic is important for any site. Maki has a checklist for getting visitors to come back for more. Aaron says you need to own ideas if you want to build attention and grow your subscriber base. He also sees passion as the way to build profit. All three of these posts are well worth the time to read.
- How to Get Repeat Visitors for Your Website
- Building Your Attention, Traffic, Trust, & Subscriber Base by Owning Ideas
- Exploiting Passion for Profit
Donna has an interesting story along with copies of the email to show why a customer was unhappy with MSN adCenter. Roberta offers tips for writing smarter AdWords copy.
Search Engine News
Yesterday I talked about Yahoo’s Search Assist changing seo as one part of Yahoo’s new blended search. Lisa looked at data from Compete to talk about how blended search may be changing things in general. Lawsuits are not new to search engines, but how about a lawsuit that accuses four engines of violating a ‘competitive bidding’ patent.
- Does Blended Search, User Type Change Compete’s Data?
- AOL, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo Sued Over Competitive Bidding Patent
Tamar and Barry point to a couple of Webmasterworld threads discussing things Google. The first is the possible SERP change some are seeing at a few Google datacenters and the second wonders if some of Google’s advanced search operators are buggy.
- Webmasters Report October 2007 Google SERP Changes
- Are Google’s Allintitle, Allinanchor and Allinurl Operators Buggy?
Google is beefing up the security and storage of its corporate email services. They also expanded their own storage by opening new offices in San Francisco.
It may not be the Gphone, but Google is apparently working on software to hook mobile phones into Google online services. Bill tells us about a recent patent application describing how Google might use OCR technology to read text within image map navigation on mobile devices. Another patent application Bill covered this week involves the possibility of Google displaying an ad where your rooftop would normally show in Google Maps.
- Google’s Friends And Family Plan
- Smaller Screens Means Smarter Image Processing by Search Engines
- Would You Rent Your Rooftop to Google To Show Ads Upon?
Google is no stranger to the international scene or the courts. Germany has concerns about the DoubleClick deal in regards to privacy. German courts ordered Google to pay $14,000 for violating trademark with their m.gmail.com domain. Philipp points to a draft paper discussing trademark law and suits against Google over bidding on trademarks in AdWords. On the positive side Google is gaining ground on Baidu in China.
- Google Privacy Concerns in Germany
- Google fined in German Gmail trademark case
- Google and Trademark Laws
- Google Challenges Baidu for China Market Share
Sometimes it takes a little inspiration to move from #2 to #1. Yahoo decided the man for the job was Steve Jobs who made a guest appearance at a meeting to inspire Yahoo VPs. Yahoo search marketing has undertaken several initiatives to improve your traffic quality. Yahoo’s acquisition of Blue Lithium gained FTC approval. And Bill talks about a Yahoo patent application dealing with categories and classifications. Could the way you classify your products in one place be used to form a broader classification system. If you call it six and I call it a half dozen could a search engine create a larger system that understands we’re both talking about the same thing?
- Yahoo Calls In Steve Jobs to Inspire VPs
- Driving Traffic Quality
- Yahoo/BlueLithium Gets FTC Approval
- Search Engines, Classifications, and Assignment of Categories
Is there a conflict of interests when a search engine offers search engine marketing services? I think so, but apparently Microsoft doesn’t as they joined Google in being both search engine and search marketer. Office Live Small Business users can now get help with search engine marketing and optimization from the source.
- Microsoft Adds SEM Services to Office Live
- Media Alert: New Microsoft Office Live Small Business Offering Helps Small Businesses Get Started With Search Engine Marketing
- Microsoft Joins Google in Offering SEO Services, Is This Ethical?
I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t trust a search engine to store my health records. But that’s just what they want me to do. Microsoft beat Google into the health sector with HealthVault. Should we place bets on when the first lawsuit will be?
- Microsoft ‘Unlocks’ HealthVault Search Site And Personal Records Database
- Microsoft Unveils HealthVault, Online Health Info Storage
- HealthVault (Microsoft Health Vault)
Microsoft’s latest purchase is the shopping search engine Jellyfish.
Ask parent company IAC relaunched web stalwart iWon.com. In time the site will offer more social networking features such as profiles, chat, and widgets.
Summer is still trying to hold on here in Boulder even as the leaves are starting to change. I’ve got baseball on my mind and will be heading to Coor’s Field tomorrow night to watch what I hope will be the last game between the Rockies and the Phillies. Sorry if I sound like a broken record for a few weeks, but this is my time of year. October means every day we move one step closer to the World Series. We also get a feel for who the real Super Bowl contenders are. The NHL started this week and the NBA should soon as well. All good for this sports fanatic. Enjoy your weekend and happy reading.