This Week In SEO – 3/23/07

It’s that time again and there was plenty to link to this week as always. I even found a guest post by Neil Patel on ProBlogger about using FeedBurner to improve your blog. Neil found through FeedBurner stats that link posts like this one on Pronet Advertising underperformed and were among the least popular. Seems like a knock against the linking out post. I’ve been noticing the opposite here. These “This Week In SEO” posts have been among the most viewed over the last month and have certainly been generating the most comments. I think it shows that the same idea can have very different results in two places. I’d like to think I’ve added a little more than the typical linking out post, but it could all just be coincidence.

Social Media

Let’s start the social media talk this week with Digg. I know you want to make the front page, but even if you don’t you can still draw traffic indirectly through the effect of the Digg front page. Loren Baker talks about how commenting on stories that have been dugg could potentially send you a lot of traffic. But not all is well with Digg’s front page. Former Digg top user, MG Siegler, finds himself visiting Digg less and less these days.

Muhammed is in the middle of a three part series on optimizing Firefox for social media sites. The first part in the series on Digg is actually from last week, but since I didn’t mention it then I’ll add the link here. The second part of the series is on optimizing for Netscape. If you play in the social media space these extensions will make your life easier.

When it comes to nofollow everyone is talking about the Wikipedia. Eric Enge reminds us that there are other social media sites using nofollow tags and with good reason. Have you heard of Twitter or visited the site yet? Twitter attempts to answer the question “What are you doing now?” I’ll be honest that I have no interest at all in the answer, but there’s a buzz around the site. Jane Copland reviews the site and like me wasn’t impressed and Muhammed mentions a few hidden dangers with the new social media darling.


I’m guessing many of you who blog are using WordPress. If you are you’ll want to have a look at the four links below as each has some advice on making your WordPress blog search engine friendly. Loren Baker shared tips on a new plugin for title tags and creating seo friendly URLs, Jim Westergren gives us a comprehensive guide and Michael Gray offers a video on structuring your blog to avoid having duplicate content (There’s even a guest appearance by Googlebot in the video). If you remember last summer I had my own issues with duplicate content causing most of my blog to go supplemental. A simple addition to robots.txt increased traffic about 1500% in a matter of weeks and a few people have shared similar results after applying the few lines of code I mentioned.

Advertising is a common business model for blogs. Steven Hodson took a look at the Technorati 100 and gives us the dirt on who is and isn’t advertising. Chad Randall, director of sales for b5media, has advice on how to attract advertisers to your blog.

It’s not just advertisers we want to attract. A lot of us want to know how to attract the attention of other bloggers. Liz Strauss shares a story of how someone got her attention through a combination of commenting and trackbacks. I’m glad to see that Todd Malicoat is publishing again. (Todd I missed your posts) This week Todd is giving bloggers advice on what not to do so make sure you’re not doing any of the things that will make you an idiot blogger. Once you know your not doing it wrong and are getting people to subscribe to your blog, Sharon Housley has 13 tips on making sure those subscribers keep reading your feed.

Link Building

Rand put together a really good series this week on linkbaiting and appealing to the ‘linkerati,’ that group in your industry that is looking for content to link to. The discussion after the last post raised the issue of how realistic Rand’s advice is for a small business with both sides of the conversation well represented. Realistic or not, (I think it is) there’s a lot of good information here and I think you’ll be able to take something from the posts and apply it to your own site or your client’s sites.

Brian Clarke added a companion piece to one of Rands posts with some ideas about how the Discovery channel can help you build links and Michael Gray proves that even a slug is link worthy in what very well could have been a companion to Rand’s series.

SEO 101

The content below isn’t necessarily intro stuff, but I like the heading SEO 101 better than SEO Miscellany.

Last week in This Week I linked to a couple of CopyBlogger posts on rewriting headlines. Brian continued this week with some headlines he didn’t change and his reasons for leaving them. If cloaking has confused you in the past Jeremy Luebke does a good job of explaining how it might be used when it comes to seo both from a white hat and black hat perspective.

Some say filters some say penalties, but there are almost always issues when it comes to duplicate content. Aaron Wall discusses both filters and penalties and tells us the real difference is in your ability to recover once you understand what has gone wrong. Bill Slawski covers a Yahoo research paper about how they might be determining if there’s a template around your content or an original design and the implications for duplicate content. Bill added some links to more resources on the subject in reply to a comment I made on the post.

Transitioning from duplicate content to talk about URLs is a quiz by John Andrews about the minutia of URLs. Take a look at the 18 URLs John lists for the same page and see if you know how many pages the search engines might think they are. And proving that URLs do matter in seo are posts from Eric Enge and Loren Baker showing how traffic increases when URLs are made more friendly to search engines.

Search News

If you were paying even the slightest attention you would have caught the big news from Google this week. They’ve expanded testing on the pay per action advertising model. The initial testing of pay-per-action began last June and now with the expanded testing it’s another step closer to being here.

There are so many stories about it I won’t try to mention them individually. I’ll simply leave you with the links and some thoughts that the new pay per action model is seen by some as competition to affiliate networks and as a way to fight click fraud.

Google will be using a new type of text link ad unit for pay per click which will only show itself as an ad on mouseover. The choice of text link ad unit is perhaps a bad name given it’s similarity to Text Link Ads. A little bit lost in the pay per click news was the new AdSense referral for Google Checkout.

Yahoo’s Terry Semmel is very happy with Yahoo Panama, though some are saying the channel and domain reporting isn’t quite working as expected. As Panama gains traction, Yahoo is taking click fraud very seriously, which included the appointment of Reggie Davis as click quality Czar. His official title is Vice President of Marketplace Quality. I’ll wrap up Yahoo news and leave you to read an interview with Flickr co-founder Caterina Fake.

Reports are saying that Comcast is unhappy with their partnership with Google and is in talks with MSN. Is Comcast really looking for a new partner or is this a play to get a better deal from Google? I’m sure we’ll hear more on this story before too long.

Barry Schwartz points to a WebmasterWorld thread that’s reporting a possible MSN SERP update and also asks why MSN Live Search still hasn’t added Sitemaps support like Google and Yahoo. Joe Griffin gives MSN credit on adCenter, listing four unique value propositions for the program, but in the end Andy Beal is here to remind us that in the last two years despite promised from Microsoft that they would gain ground on Google they are actually losing market share.

Enjoy the weekend everyone. Just as mine is starting the skies have opened and a heavy downpour is beginning here in Boulder. I may not get the opportunity to get out as much as I’d like, but if it’s nice wherever you are remember to enjoy life away from the computer and spend some time in the great outdoors.

Download a free sample from my book, Design Fundamentals.


  1. What about just calling it “Other SEO News”?

    Actually, I want to thank you for providing some of those links. They’re going to prove of some use to me within the next 7 days.

  2. Thanks Adam. That’s not a bad idea. “Other SEO News” would certainly work.

    Glad you like the links. I’ve been able to refer back to them too when I need a few things. If you saw all the ones I ended up not including here…I can’t believe how many I end up collecting during the week. 50 or so of them here seems to work ok. And last night I created a new category for the sidebar to make these posts easier to find.

  3. I have started to really look forward to your this week in SEO posts Steve. There are always tons of things you post that i haven’t heard about.

    now if you will excuse me i have a lot of reading to do 😀

  4. Thanks Matt. When I first started them I wasn’t sure how they would go over, but the response seems to be positive so I’m planning on continuing with them for awhile. If you missed it in the comment above I added ‘This Week In SEO’ as a category in the navigation to make it easier to find the posts.

    It’s fun collecting the links and putting the post together too.

    Anything you want to see me add to it or any suggestions to make it better?

  5. Great Caterina Fake interview. Her music analogy at the end is point on.

    I do read a lot of blogs, forums, and search related news, but you’re finding some stuff that I missed. I do like your format with categorization and commentary. Nicely done.


  6. Thanks Bill. I agree too about the interview. I’d like to take credit for finding it on my own, but if my memory is holding I think Andy Beal linked to from one of his posts and I just followed that link. I guess I read about 2 dozen blogs regularly, including yours as you know, and quite a few more not so regularly. I also follow many of the links within posts to see what I find.

    I’m in complete agreement about Caterina’s answer to the last question of the interview. I suspect this year we’re going to see more and more niche communities online. I think her analogy is great about going downstairs to pick up the instruments and play for family and friends when you want music and I think we’re going to have that (if we don’t already), but the living rooms will be online communities and your family may be living on several continents.

    By the way I noticed you had posted another comment a couple of minutes before this one that didn’t go through. I have the comment though if you’d like me to replace the one above with the original. I’m not sure why the first didn’t show up. I’ve noticed that happen a few times now and still trying to figure out why.

  7. Thanks for the pointers on the “linkerati” – I’ve been trying to attract more organic links lately, but have been having a hard time, especially for software I’ve written. This is interesting reading material, and gives me a few ideas.

  8. Forrest I really liked those articles too. Rand does a good job setting out the process and doing what you can to help your content attract links. I was and still am hoping he’ll do a post on how to give your linkbait that initial viral push. He left some ideas in his last post in the series, but I think the topic deserving of a full post.

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