This Week In SEO – 11/9/07

I thought I’d play the role of the good son and dedicate This Week In SEO to my mom who returned from a three week trip to China a few days ago. I’ve only heard a few details of the trip at the moment, but expect to hear many more when visiting next week. She went with a photographer client of mine so I have a hunch I’ll be seeing quite a few images of the trip while building a new China portfolio.

As always there’s a lot to get to and more links at my profile and StumbleUpon profile. On with the show.

Social Media

Facebook is hot, but I’m guessing you knew that already. How hot you ask? Not quite as hot as sex, but possibly hotter than porn at times. Danny takes a look at how Facebook holds up as a search term comparing Facebook to other popular search terms as well as other social networking sites. As for the site itself, Facebook unveiled Facebook ads. Is the site’s ad system sitting on the spammy side of the fence?

Not to be outdone MySpace is launching its own HyperTargeting ad system. MySpace will analyze non-personally identifiable information on user profiles to present ads specific to that user.

When Jamie Harop noticed a 500% increase in traffic one Sunday he decided to take a deeper look. The traffic came from StumbleUpon, but did all those stumblers really click to other pages and stay on the site for awhile as is commonly thought? Maybe not on closer inspection. If like me, you still have confidence in stumblers as a source of traffic you may want to take a look at the compilation of StumbleUpon resources Aaron of AjaxNinja put together. From an introduction to using SU to becoming an advanced stumbler there’s a lot here.

I finally broke down and signed up for a Twitter account. It’s a pretty empty account at the moment as I’ve yet to tweet, but there have been enough posts on Twitter the last few weeks to convince me it’s time to take a look. This week it was Chris Garret’s turn to convince me that Twitter might be worth checking out. Are you concerned about the planet? Do you think going green is worth the effort? I do too. Bill compiled a list of 15 social networking communities devoted to green talk. It’s not all about marketing you know.


Last week Google made the big announcement about OpenSocial. Comments about the new social networking platform continued into this week. Some love the new standardization initiative, some not so much.


Bloggers everywhere awoke last weekend to a lot less subscribers. The problem wasn’t in their content, but in the count from FeedBurner that seemed to drop all Google Reader subscribers for the day. Guess what? It happened again today. In light of the drops Vanessa Fox decided to explain how FeedBurner comes up with all those numbers in the first place. No matter what your count you probably want more readers. Fred Peters has 35 tips guaranteed to increase your subscribers. Networking with other bloggers is one of those 35 ways and Maki tells us not to see your fellow blogger as a competitor. And Darren tells us how to get the attention of a another blogger through better commenting.

Where does the time go? Do you wish for the 25 hour day? 26? 30? Since the day is going to stay 24 hours long let Ahmed Bilal tell you how to get more done in that time. A large chunk of my time each week goes to reading other blogs. Lee Odden offers some tools you can use to stay current. Where do blogging ideas come from? They can come from anywhere really, and Skellie has 70 unique places you can find them. Skellie also suggests creating a swipe file to collect content, images, quotes, or anything else you come across that you can use to generate ideas or put to use directly.

With all the planning that goes into blogging you might think there’s little room for improvisation. Not so. Brian compares bloggers to jazz musicians and talks about playing to the audience, the band, and you. You know titles are important and you spend time crafting the title of each of your posts. You do, don’t you? What about your opening sentence? A title gets someone to your post and your opening gets them to continue reading. Skellie has 7 ways to create compelling openings.

Design And Development

Last week Michael told us why we should add a sideblog and this week he tells us how to set one up. Do you want to use Ajax, but worry how search engines will see your page or how accessible your code will be? The Google Webmaster Central blog offers a view of web 2.0 through the eyes of a spider. Aaron posted more videos this week. The one below is about making sure your internal links work for both visitors and search engines and includes the idea that your site navigation should match your keyword themes.

Speaking of videos, last week’s Whiteboard Friday was all about landing pages. Rebecca offered tips to make them more effective and lead to more conversions. I know it’s not Halloween anymore, but if the Simpson’s can be late with the holiday every year I figure I can too. Marketing Experiments released their latest study, this time on landing page optimization. And my favorite landing page maven, Roberta offers 12 things every copywriter should know about design.

Your article is rising to the front page of Digg. You’re excited about the traffic you’re about to receive, but just when it starts to arrive your server crashes. Loren tells us how to prepare in advance to reduce the load on your server and ensure your page is there when visitors come suddenly. 301 redirects are an essential part of an SEO’s toolbox, but is there a limit to how many domains you can 301 to your primary domain? Tamar looked at the issue offering some thoughts along with links to other discussions about the issue.

Christina Laun points you to 17 specialty search engines for web developers and Smashing Magazine points you to more than 40 free fonts you can use in your designs. That’s a lot of pointing.

Link Building And PageRank

The talk about paid links is slowing down, but it’s far from over. Darren shared an email from a reader who says Google’s recent PR fiasco has lowered the supply of link sellers, driving prices up. Stony looks at the great lie in the Google guidelines where nofollow is concerned. Newest Mozzer, Mel detailed the numbers on the PR update, which appear to show the drops were a slap to link sellers. Eric Lander discusses the double edge sword of PageRank. Dan Thies discusses why PageRank isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Dan’s post gets complex at times, but it’s worth the read as is the case with most of Dan’s posts. And Aaron offers ways to buy your way to the top of the SERPs without directly buying a link or incurring Google’s wrath.

Are you a whore? A link whore that is? Randa Clay has a quiz that will let you know if you are. I’m barely a tramp. Mother would be so proud. If you’re tired of all the talk about link buying and selling how about some linkbait for your link building campaign? Tom Critchlow has a great idea for getting others to generate your linkbait for you.


Some of you might see link buying as spam. Some probably see social media marketing as spam. A few of you might even see all forms of marketing as spam. So let’s talk spam. Aaron’s second video of the week talks about spamming Google without being seen as a spammer. Dave Naylor notes that trackback spamming is on the rise (Past weeks have shown I’ll have a dozen on this post within a minute or two of publishing). And Roger Hall shows how to bring traffic to your site through the site.

When Google removed the supplemental tag from its search results it became harder to determine the health of your website. Aaron has talked about looking at how frequently your pages are indexed as a measure of determining how Google sees your site. Michael Jensen took Aaron’s ideas and created an IndexRank tool that looks at how many pages of your site are indexed over time. It’s by no means perfect. The number of new pages you add to a site can skew the results, but it’s an interesting tool nonetheless. Aaron debuted his own tool as well. The Website Health Check Tool also looks at indexed pages in Google as well as checking things like duplicate content in the index, canonical issues, page titles, and server error messages.

We can always use a refresher in seo basics or see things through the eyes of someone new to the industry. Nathania mentioned 84 things she learned during her first year of online marketing and Stoney finished his list of 10 useless seo worries. How much impact do things like hosting, domain registration, and geographic location play when it comes to rankings? Loren discussed the effects of each. Dave looked at personalized search and how personalized search affects site optimization now and in the future.

Business And Marketing

We all need a little planning when it comes to making our businesses successful. Aaron shared some of things he did right to help build his business prepare for success. Lucas Ng has 5 books everyone marketer should read. I’d like to tell you I’ve read them already, but they are at least all on my future reading list. If you’re thinking of going niche with your business how do you identify the right niche for you? Vinny Goldsmith shows us 4 simple steps to finding the niche that will work best for each of us.

One of the question that inevitably arises if you’re an affiliate marketer is whether or not to disclose your affiliate links. Darren has the inconclusive results of a poll he conducted, but offers some interesting comments from all sides of the issue. Sheomoney has been one of the more well known affiliate marketers since he published a picture of his $132,994.97 AdSense check. Shoe answered a few common questions he gets about that check and how he earned it. Patric Herber shows us a simple approach he used to make some quick money as an affiliate marketer. $69 doesn’t sound like much, but when the spend is $5 and it only takes an hour of your time it’s not bad. If $1,000 is more to your liking then let Deborah Ng tell you how she makes that much in a month.

The flip side of AdSense is AdWords. Here’s one more video from Aaron; an intro to using pay per click marketing for each of the top three search engines. Andrew Goodman tries to uncover some of the mysteries behind Quality scores. He compared his notes with those of Anders Hjorth and discovered they’d come to some of the same conclusions. And Jennifer Laycock outlines 5 common mistakes she sees paid search marketers making. Cleaning these up should lead to less spend and a greater return on your investment.

Search Engine News

What no Gphone? What about all the rumors? Instead of an actual phone the rumors turned out to be an open source mobile phone platform named Android. Through the Open Handset Alliance, Google hopes to make Android a comprehensive platform for mobile devices. Android will include both operating system, user interface, and applications and aims to increase the pace of innovation on mobile devices. The announcement along with the recent OpenSocial announcement led Danny to speculate that Google can be open when it finds it’s convenient to do so.

Some new themes for iGoogle made their debut. I’m still using the Tea House theme, but I’ll have to give the new ones a look. The server side AdSense code also made it’s debut. Analytics will now show stats from Site Search if you have it installed. Google Reader incorporated new features for mobile that developed in the 20% time Googlers are famous for. I wonder though, if the recent changes have anything to do with the problems in FeedBurner. And Google Earth added a layer to bring you information about the weather.

I’ve questioned some of Google’s decisions recently in regards to link buying, but I’d hardly say Google is hugely dangerous as a Times Online editor did. By the way is it ironic that a article covering what the Times Online editor said displays AdSense on the page? Google may not be hugely dangerous, but they do seem to be everywhere. The $200 gPc is now available at Wal-mart and soon you might be getting directions through Google Maps at the gas pump. Matt tells us why the maps are not a good idea. And Eric Schmidt declares that Google will absolutely positively participate in the wireless spectrum auction.

Yahoo launched their new social network Kickstart, which will be geared towards college students and alumni. Kickstart aims to fill the void between Facebook and LinkedIn in an attempt to be a personal network to connect college students with those that can help them gain employment after school. Yahoo also announced FireEagle, currently in alpha. Built on Ruby on Rails, FireEagle will be a platform for controlling people’s geographic information. Jeremy Zwadny announced the launch of YDN Theater, which is a blog that collects videos for the Yahoo Developer Network.

Yahoo responded to criticism about the new domain blocking feature for advertisers. While Google is opening up mobile platforms, Yahoo is locking down distribution deals to display ads on the platform. Rand interviewed Mona Elesseily from Page Zero about Mastering Panama. Yahoo opened up with information about Quality Index and how you can improve yours. They also apologized for their role in the case of Chinese journalist and dissident, Shi Tao.

MSN/Live Search
Microsoft released a suite of free web services that connect to the Windows operating system. Windows Live services makes available updated versions of email, messaging, photo galleries, blogging, and event planning applications. Eric Enge interviewed Gary Wiseman from Live Search. Steve Ballmer played down Google’s threat to Microsoft online, though he did admit Google leads in search as if we weren’t aware. He also defended the recent purchase of Microsoft’s stake in Facebook. And Bill discusses how Microsoft might determine how images on a page are related by looking at the different blocks of elements on a page and which images are located in which block.

IAC will be splitting into five separate business units. The new business untis will be divided among the five sectors IAC is involved in. Ask, Bloglines, and most other properties of interest to the seo community will fall under the Media and Advertising sector. The split is seen as an indication that Barry Diller’s plans to build a synergistic multimedia empire aren’t working out quite as well as planned.

It’s been a mild week weather wise here in Boulder and hopefully the nice weather will continue through the weekend. Aside from a little work and a day of football, I’ll be getting some last minute errands done both in and out of the house in preparation for my vacation starting next weekend. This time next Friday I should be about 2,000 miles from here in New York visiting family and friends for the Thanksgiving holiday. Have a good weekend wherever you are and whatever you do. And as always happy reading.

Download a free sample from my book, Design Fundamentals.


  1. Thanks Jamie and Tom. You both had really good articles and I wanted to link to them.

    Did you notice any increase in subscribers or links to the article after the traffic? From what I’ve seen most social media traffic visits and leaves, but then a few days later there are a few more subscribers here and possibly a few more links pointing at the page than usual.

    It was coincidence, but earlier in the week I actually did something similar to what you suggested. I had an idea for a blog post and decided to start a thread to get some opinions I was planning on using. Most of what I was going to put into the post I ended up saying in the thread so for now I’ll leave it there, but I think your idea is good one to generate some content.

  2. I saw a slight increase in subscribers, and yes, several sites were linking to the article. Many were just general lists of popular Stumble articles, but there were a few similar to the link here in your post. :)

  3. I guess that makes sense. I’ve had a few posts pull in StumpleUpon traffic here and while the after effects weren’t anything phenomenal, subscribers did seem to increase a little and the posts did get some new links even if they all weren’t the greatest links in the world.

    I’m not sure what the numbers should be for 101 stumblers. Obviously they all wouldn’t subscribe and link. I would think a few of each is what you would reasonably expect.

    I’ll have to look in Analytics and see if I notice the same thing as you about the page refreshes. Stumblers in general seem to leave a site with a lower bounce rate, but maybe there’s something else going on and the original numbers aren’t as good as it seems at first.

    When I have a little time I’ll dig a little deeper and see if I notice anything.

  4. Hi, my name is Dave and I am ‘anti-social’ (for the moment). Thanks for the goodies on the SU numbers it will go into the research pile for my anti-social post :0). I am also very interested in how twitter goes for you…keep us updated.

    I believe in SMM as far as link building and brand management is concerned, but the bounce rates and conversions are horrendously low…. Some one show me the ‘return on investment!!

  5. True Dave. Bounce rates and conversions are pretty bad in general with social media traffic, but the reward is in the subscribers and links that come after. It won’t necessarily happen with every post, but you can get your content in front of a lot of people quickly and even a low conversion rate can still add up with the numbers of people visiting.

    I’ve gotten as far as setting up a Twitter account and tracking a couple of people, but I really haven’t done much else. I tend to sign up for an account and then ignore it for a few weeks before finally getting around to doing anything with it.

  6. Happy to ping you Aaron. You put together a great list of resources so it was easy to link to you. I bookmarked your post at both and StumbleUpon too. (I think I bookmarked it at both). I want to make sure to get back to it.

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