This Week In SEO – 6/15/07

Can it really be Friday again? Woo hoo! Ready for another episode of This Week In SEO? I hope so since that’s what you’re getting. I’ve got the usual assortment of links across the usual assortment of categories so let’s get started with some of the stories of the week that held my attention a little more than the others.

Social Media

Let’s start things with some social conscious networking. Muhammed has the scoop on Linked for Good, which allows you to leverage the network to promote a cause. Bill talks about a Yahoo patent for structured tags that would allow applications beyond the bookmarking site to make use of the information. Shane Navratil, writing for Shoemoney, shares his experience using the pay side of StumbleUpon for links.

Do you think your products are boring and wonder how you can still get in on super sexy social media optimization? Michael Gray shows us that even a site that sells accounting software (yawn) can generate social media traffic. The web is a virtual world and sites like Second Life might be considered a virtual world inside the virtual world. Pablo Patanik thinks virtual worlds like Second Life are a great opportunity for marketers. I can’t wait till someone creates a virtual world inside of Second Life to take us one more step away from reality.

Raj Dash started an interesting series this week using Yahoo Pipes to analyze Digg. Raj shows us some ways to easily track what’s happening on Digg such as sorting the Digg home page by category or submitter or votes. I’ve got all three posts in the series for you. MG Siegler posted about the idea of sites creating content as “Digg Exclusives” and making sure the stories are posted to Digg prior to taking them live on the home site.


Does size matter? Get your mind out of the gutter, I’m talking about the length of your blog posts. Darren Rowse raised the issue again and of course the answer is it depends. If you remember Yuri and I had some things to say about the use of images in design. Lorelle posted to ProBlogger this week with some ideas to combine words and images in blog posts.

One decision you need to make about your blog is where it will live on your site. Will it be in a subdirectory, on a subdomain? Chris Garret has the pros and cons of each. Seriously, though, what’s the point of having a blog if you can’t obsess over your web stats? Lee Odden teaches us how to find some cool Technorati graphs to show us some of those stats.

Most people probably read your posts through a feed reader or directly on your site, but some still want your content delivered to their inbox. Chris tells us that he recently launched an email newsletter, but even better he tells us why. One of the reasons to create a newsletter is to open up a new monetization channel. Wendy Piersall has even more ways to monetize your blog if you can handle the out of the box thinking. And hopefully you’re making enough money to make the last post here worthwhile. Kelly Phillips has 7 things we should all know about taxes.

Link Building

I’m not sure how I missed it last week, but one of the interviews Rand conducted was with Matt Cutts. It’s a week late, but here it is. It’s not solely about link building, but it did lead to another post by Rand on Google penalties in the real estate industry. This post also extends beyond links, but it seems many real estate sites are suffering due to massive link exchanges and Google’s subsequent discounting those links. Justilien Gaspard has some advice on creating linkbait and when it comes to linkbait you might want to start thinking about widgets. comScore has some interesting numbers on what types of widgets have the largest audience.

It’s been a few weeks since we had something about paid links. Google wants more input and added a form where you could report examples of paid links and improve search quality. Micheal Gray questioned the idea. I agree with Michael. Speaking of paid links do you have $1,995? If you do Scott Woodard will tell you how to get a PR8 link direct from Google. Yes, Google

SEO Miscellany

Over the weekend Aaron Wall shared how we could turn off Google’s personalized search while still logged into a Google account. Joost de Valk took it from there and created a search plugin for Firefox and IE7 to save on the typing. While on the subject of tools, SEOmoz released a new one to check where your page ranks for a given keyword at the four major search engines. Early in the week Eli began signing up people for access to a new set of seo tools. Later in the week he explained how the tool works in case you want to build your own. Even if tool building isn’t your thing there’s a lot to learn in the post

Mike Grehan proclaimed seo dead again. This time because of the effect of universal search. Changing certainly, dead I doubt it. And if like me you don’t believe seo dead you might be interested in the skills an seo should have. Tamar created a list and I’ll point you to my own arguments for copywriting and coding as important seo skills. But changing Seo is, and Lee Odden looks ahead to seo 2.0, digital asset optimization.

How about a couple of posts that started out on YOUmoz, but were later promoted to the main SEOmoz blog? First WebGeek follows up a post he read and offers proof that Google is using behavioral data to determine ranking. Next Identity looked at data from some long tail searches to discover universal patterns you can use when building your own keyword lists. And Aaron Wall has an interesting take on why it’s not always best to rank #1 in Google results.

Business And Marketing

Video is coming! Video is coming! Ok it’s here, but as connection speeds gets faster and we all get used to watching more video online video advertising is only going to increase. Pablo Palatnik offers two videos that are examples of how it can be done well. Still video isn’t going to kill PPC advertising anytime soon, if ever. Brad Geddes has tips on writing ads for the search network and the content network with a strong message that they needed to be treated differently. Eric Enge gives us a case study to show the importance of quality score in your PPC campaigns. See how one insurance company cut costs and raised conversions.

Not everyone will enter your site through your home page. Every page of your site is a potential landing page. So how do you direct your traffic where you want it to go? Stoney DeGeyter discusses the how to create paths to conversions by leaving stepping stones along the way. When traffic finds its way to your sales page Roberta Rosenberg tells us it’s all about a single column, just like a direct mail letter. In his first post on CopyBlogger, Michael Steizner created some controversy by telling everyone not to deliver on instant access. He shows some of the ways you can improve your image by making everyone wait just a little bit.

Todd Malicoat doesn’t seem to write as frequently as he once did, but whenever he does post it’s always worth linking to. Now that’s remarkable. This week is no exception with Todd’s review of David Ogilivey’s book, “Confessions of an Advertising Man.” I can’t speak for you, but I’ll be picking it up on my next trip to Barnes & Noble. Todd I’m looking forward to a peak at the rest of that reading list. And Seth Godin reminds us that we should all be responsible marketers and think about what we’re promoting and what might happen if we’re successful in promoting it.

Search Engine News

comScore reported that when it comes to Yellow Page searching Yellow Book is the fastest growing property. But can they compete with video advertising. Enid Burns discusses the video advertising forecast, which is expected to double by 2001

Lot’s of news as usual out of the Googleplex. So much that I had to break out the biggest story about Google’s record on privacy into its own post last night.

Vanessa Fox announced she was making a few changes and leaving Google to work at Zillow. Sad news for Google and all of us, but good news for the real estate market. Barry Schwartz compiled some posts from the search community about Vanessa’s departure.

Gord Hotchkiss reveals results from an eye tracking study that may make you wonder why Google is second to Baidu in China. Gord does shed some light on why and how one or two changes by the Chinese government could reverse the positions of the two search engines.

Google became more transparent with AdWords advertisers about where their ads are appearing over the content network. The transparency includes how well the ads are performing on different URLs within the network. This will make it much easier for advertisers to decide which sites on the network to exclude from displaying their ads. Another AdWords improvement is a new tool called “ad text ideas” which helps write titles and descriptions for your ads.

AdWords wasn’t the only Google property to see changes this week. You can now specify which sites are allowed to display AdSense ads with your publisher ID. Analytics started hourly reporting among other minor improvements. Custom Search Engines are easier to create and update. And Google has begun testing video identification tools to help determine what is and isn’t copyrighted material. The tools stem from the audio fingerprinting technology they’ve been using to identify audio content.

Google and eBay waged their own mini war this week. Something tells me there’s going to be plenty more of these to come. Can’t we all just play nice?

Ready for some Google patent talk? Time for Bill and SEO by the Sea. First is a post covering two new patents with an approach to using large amounts of data about pages and queries to rank those pages. Next up is a patent I’m still trying to absorb, but it sounds very interesting. The idea would allow you to easily call up search results based on something you typed into an email, IM chat, of blog post. Third and last is a look at how Google might reject ads on the basis they are too annoying. Bill takes it further to look at how other parts of a document may potentially be identified. Imagine if you will an end to annoying flashing text.

I haven’t been able to replicate it, but this week Yahoo began testing first a blue bar in the header of search results and later a purple bar. I think I like the purple look better.

Not everything was so colorful at Yahoo, though. A small group of shareholders (less than 0.2%) challenged the company’s direction and the pay of CEO Terry Semmel, who they’d like to see removed. While Semmel and other board members remained unscathed by the vote, nearly one third of the votes for each board member were cast against election.

Flickr goes multilingual with seven new languages. Frank Watson shares an email where Yahoo credited him $11,000 due to click fraud. The links Yahoo shows you in Site Explorer are based on the quality of the links. (Didn’t we already know that?) My Yahoo now offers more module integration including one for Gmail.

And Pablo Palatnik gives his first summary of the recent Future of Online Advertising conference with a look at Ron Belanger’s, (VP, Agenc Development of Yahoo!) presentation on Web 2.0: Collaborate & Share = Consumer 2.0

Microsoft has an ally in the U.S government when it comes to complaints filed by Google. Expect that to change with a new U.S. president in 2009. James Joaquin has an interesting look at Microsoft’s naming strategy with the conclusion that Google does it better, at least for the moment. Jordan McCollum covers a Keynote conversation from SMX with Satya Nadella. And Bill looks at research from Microsoft that attempts to better understand advanced searches to help those not so advanced.

Seems I wasn’t the only one to like Ask’s new 3D interface. Emile Sokullu is reporting that the new interface is providing 20+% more satisfaction to users. Ask might want to work a little more on that algorithm they’re so fond of promoting. Any reason why they’re still indexing pages that were 301 redirected years ago? Speaking of the algorithm, most people including 78% of diggers think the campaign was for Google. C’mon Ask, isn’t it time to change advertising firms? How about something simple like “Ask the Search Engine” or “Just Ask”?

Lucky me I get to spend a good deal of time cleaning up this weekend. I have family visiting next week and you know how the place has to look nice for mom. It’s going to be hard staying in with the weather so beautiful, but I’ll do what I can to make it out on the bike at the very least. Enjoy the weekend in your part of the world and happy reading.

Download a free sample from my book, Design Fundamentals.


  1. You’re making me want to read the book even more. I’m a sucker for a bit of nostalgia. I’m not sure how anyone could skip it though after Todd’s review. I’m hoping he’ll review some of the other books he’s now reading.

    My view exactly on SEO. It’s really unfortunate the name SEO was given since it’s always been about more than it’s definition.

    I forget which of his books, but I’ve read Seth Godin talking about the idea if being responsible before. It’s great to see any marketer talk about a goal beyond the bottom line too. I know we all get put in situations where we might have to work for a client that we’d prefer not to in order to feed ourselves or our families, but it’s always good to keep that idea of being responsible in our heads.

  2. I picked up an old dog-eared copy of the Ogilivey book years ago, and parts of it may make you feel like you’ve been transported to a time of black and white television and rock-n-roll before the Beatles. Parts of it are sheer brilliance. Excellent review from Todd.

    SEO isn’t dead, it’s just transforming. :)

    Liked the post from Seth Godin a lot, too.

  3. The goal behind the bottom line is important – and it can make marketing a lot more fun and meaningful if you feel good about whom you are working with.

  4. If you keep it up, you’ll pass SEL Cap by worthiness. Too bad I keep my reading circle to a minimum, though. It is fun to read on the edge from time to time.

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