This Week In SEO – 5/18/07

Better weather, less last minute demands on my time, and progress on a project of my own made this week a better one that last for me. I’m looking forward to a couple of days off as always, which will begin with me filling in at 3rd base for for a friend’s softball team tonight. Of course I couldn’t run out to play without another week’s worth of links to the seo advice and news of the week.

Social Media

Just a few months ago MyBlogLog was the darling of social media as everyone with a blog rushed off to get an account. Slow widgets, spam, and a fallout with Shoemoney have driven many away. I think there’s still benefit and potential to MBL and hope the announced changes are only the first step. David Dalka was the first to report the planned changes, which include a rebranding and Loren Baker gives a brief history lesson on MyBlogLog and looks towards the future of MBL under Yahoo’s direction.

When diggers revolted against Digg and Kevin Rose there was a lot of speculation about what it would mean for the site. Last week Neil Patel tried a little experiment and came to the conclusion that many posts on Digg get buried internally and not by the community. Neil wasn’t alone in observing the censorship.

Rand noticed referral traffic from Digg is down and speculates it might be due to the recent HD-DVD incident. Cameron Olthuis reminds us, that while Digg gets most of the focus, it’s not the only site when it comes to social media marketing and that leveraging some of the other social news sites is the best way to a successful campaign.

Blogging

WordPress released version 2.2 this week. Whether you’ve upgraded or not Daily Blog Tips has a list of 10 very useful plugins you may not know about.

Do you look California, while feeling Minnesota? Brian Clark continued his series on using metaphor in blogging and explains the previous sentence for those of you not familiar with the Soundgarden song Outshined. Chris Garret looks at the AIDA process of sales leads and Brian posted a follow up to tell us why we’re always selling with our blogs. Darren Rowse gives us a process for persuasive blogging to help guide people towards taking an action and while we’re on the subject of selling and hopefully making money Raj Dash reviews Bidvertiser as an advertising mechanism for your feed.

If you’re looking for a new feed reader or simply curious about what others prefer, have a look at Darren’s Rowse post in which he asked his audience which feed reader they liked best. There are over 200 comments offering opinions. Is there an optimal post length? Stuart Brown took a look at the average post length for the Technorati top 100 and discovered the majority of posts were between 100 and 500 words. We’ve all made mistakes with our blogs. If you haven’t you probably aren’t blogging. Mani Karthik tells us the top 5 mistakes he made when starting.

Link Building

Earlier in the week I blogged about the updates Matt Cutts made to his post on reporting paid links. Dave Naylor is already seeing the effects of Google’s war on paid links these last couple of weeks. He offered some advice on how to build a clean link profile and followed up with some data to to show the effects he’s seeing. Loren followed up Dave’s posts with some thoughts of his own.

Linkbuilding is naturally a major topic for SEOs to cover, but it seems like I’ve been seeing more posts on building link campaigns and strategies in recent weeks due to the paid link debate. Eric Enge, Debra Mastaler, and Raj Dash all weigh in with ideas this week. Debra’s post is from late last week, but I’m sure you won’t mind the inclusion here.

SEO Miscellany

Aaron Wall re-released his history of the search engines this week. Knowing where the search engines have been and understanding how they’ve evolved gives cues to not only where they are likely heading, but also the underlying principals they’re built on today. The history is worth reading and digesting. Looking ahead Lee Odden wonders if search rankings may be a thing of the past as search engines move toward personalization and make fundamental changes to their search interface.

Even if Lee is right I’m sure at the moment you’re still concerned with where your pages rank and the up and down movement in the SERPs that can happen to your pages. Stoney DeGeyter looks at the cause and effect of ranking changes and Eric Ward cautions that you don’t always need to worry when it seems like Google results should be temporarily institutionalized. Of course ranking is only one part of the equation. You still need people to click on those results. Bill looks at a paper from A9 and Yahoo researchers about how results are perceived based on things like text choppiness and truncation, query term presence and density, and abstract length and genre. Understanding these perceptions can go a long way in the success of your ads, titles, and meta descriptions.

Not feeling love from the world? Andy Hagans comes to the defense of SEOs with reasons why the world should be thankful we exist. Todd Malicoat discusses why seo is misunderstood and does his usual good job of setting the record straight. Most of us aren’t quite as experienced as Todd where seo is concerned. If that’s you then Dan Horton’s post on his early experience in seo should be both interesting and informative.

Rand decided to get into the mind of searchers and attempts to segment their intent with various queries. Intent matters as certain types of queries will prove much more valuable to your business than others. Keyword themes are a good way to structure your content so that your long tail phrases can help reinforce your more generic phrases. If you don’t believe me maybe a couple of images will drive the point home.

Business and Marketing

The best way to market your customer service is to practice good customer service. Shoemoney shares a story about Sprint going above and beyond. I thought if you didn’t succeed right away you were supposed try, try again. Brian Provost thinks otherwise. He’s not really telling you to give up, but rather to move on to something else. If you’re like me you’re always looking for ways you can be more productive. Darren shares a tip he uses to start each day that should save time and alert you to the issues you need to get to ASAP.

Andy Beal points to a study showing in the world of B2B it’s still referrals and word of mouth that matter most. Of course search and ppc still play a role and Jon Miller offers some advice on improving B2B landing pages through a case study. Roberta Rosenberg, filling in for the day on CopyBlogger, has some tips of her own when it comes to designing landing pages.

Search News

Fair Issac is set to issue a report claiming that billable click fraud is in the 10%-15% range, which seems to go along with other reports done outside of the search engines. However their report has yet to be released and there’s plenty of speculation that the numbers are there to help Fair Isaac launch fraud protection services. I’m sure there will be a lot of talk once the report is out.

Google
During a week where Google got a new tagline, set off another privacy debate over using gaming behavior to deliver ads, launched audio ads, and a way to preview mobile ads, the big news still came from their Searchology Day announcements.

The biggest news was Google’s new universal search, which will blend news, video, images, local, and maps, among other results into general search results. If Google can rank it in some way it looks like it will find it’s way in. There’s a lot of implications in the change for both searchers and the seo community and you should already be seeing the new SERPs depending on the searches you typically perform. Lots to read now and lots more to read in the coming weeks and month.

Universal search wasn’t the only announcement at Searchology Day. Others include navigation changes to the Google interface and Google Experiments where you can opt in to various tests of Google products.

Yahoo!
Yahoo made news this week with the appointment of Blake Jorgensen as new CFO and by giving Yahoo mail accounts unlimited space.

Yahoo also found itself on the wrong end of a class action lawsuit by shareholders that alleges the company’s search advertising technology was ‘operationally defective’ and officials misled advertisers and investors. On a positive note Yahoo launched a ‘green’ initiative to build awareness about global warming.

Yahoo has a new mission to connect people to their passions, communities, and the world’s knowledge. Makes sense given some of their social media holdings like del.icio.us, Flickr. and MyBlogLog.

Yahoo maps saw an upgrade that includes offering driving directions to 34 European countries.

I’ll leave you with two interviews with Yahoo employees that make for interesting reads.

MSN
Bill Gates Sees PC And Web Evolving Together. I have to agree with him. However I don’t agree with Microsoft’s stance to claim 200 patent violations against free software. Is Redmond afraid of Linux?

Like Google, Microsoft will now be offering an accreditation program adCenter managers and has started its own experiment to deliver more than the usual links in search results.

Microsoft had an interesting week in the negotiating room. First losing out on 24/7 Media and later buying aQuantive.

Ask
IAC will spend $100 million to promote the Ask brand in 2007. Perhaps some of that money will be spent on mobile. This week Ask launched Ask Mobile GPS to GPS enabled Sprint phones. If you’re among the lucky you’ll be able to share your location with people in your address book, get driving or walking directions, and gain access to the CitySearch database.

One last interview to close out the week. Ask is often applauded for is their interface. Gord Hotchkiss interviews one of the main people behind that interface, Michael Ferguson.

We made it to Friday again. Assuming the rain stays way I’ll be filling in at hot corner in a couple of hours and hoping I can still react faster than the ball coming at me. Seems like a good way to start a couple of days off. Enjoy your weekend wherever you are, happy reading, and see you back here on Monday.

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