This Week In SEO – 6/29/07

I’m back in the swing again after last week’s family visit. I’ve added a few new feeds to my reader and a couple make their debut appearance this week. I’m continuing to work organizing the feeds for the new Design and Development sections so for now the section remains on the light side. I’m also mulling over some ideas for how to better organize the SEO links and I’ve dropped the miscellany tag from the section. But enough about me. What you want is the news and the links. And as usual I’m here to provide both.

Social Media

My guess is when you think of social media your first thoughts revolve around links or spreading your brand or hopefully just enjoying the sites. Michael Gray points out another way to benefit from social media sites through spotting trends for your projects. Dannah Boyd wrote a very interesting article about class divisions in a comparison between Facebook and MySpace. The focus of the article is really about socio-economic class differences in the U.S. and it’s worth a read for that alone. The marketer in you can still gain some appreciation between the two sites and which one might make more sense for your business.

With the previous article as a guide I thought why not limit this week’s social media links to Facebook and MySpace. Besides couldn’t we all use a break from Digg?

A few weeks ago Facebook launched a classified section called Facebook Marketplace. Muhammed discusses how the site will make money through the marketplace. StumbleUpon released a new app to allow sites you thumbed up through SU to be featured on your Facebook profile. LinkedIn also release an app to let you display job openings at your company on your profile. As Muhammed points out there’s no real connection to your LinkedIn profile, but this might be a first step in that direction. Vanessa Fox may no longer work at Google, but she’s still blogging about the industry. This week she has six questions for Facebook, meant to offer suggestions to improve the site.

How much did you ask for the last time you hit your boss up for a raise? MySpace founders Chris DeWolfe and Tom Anderson are looking to get $50 million combined from News Corp. over the next two years to renew their contract. Mr. Murdoch, I’ll gladly run the company for a measly $5 million. I admit I lack experience running a social networking site, but think of how much you’ll save on my salary. The New York Times reported on the new MySpace TV service meant to compete directly with YouTube. Tamar compared both and sees a lot of promise for MySpace.


Everyone loves a success story so let’s start the blogging section with one. Loren Baker tells us about Ken Savage who started out blogging to learn and inform others about diabetes and ended up making nearly $40,000 a year. You might not be able to replicate Ken’s success, but Darren Rowse says the best way to try is through affiliate links. I’d say Darren knows a thing or two about making money blogging so his advice is worth listening to. You may have mixed feelings when it comes review style posts, but if you’re thinking of writing some you might want to read Brian Gilley’s review of the blog advertising sites. And once you do check out Trent Hamm’s post on how to maximize what you earn from your product reviews.

Yesterday I talked about why branding doesn’t require a lot of money and pointed to a series Chris Garret has been writing on blog branding. Here are two more posts from the series and again I’d urge you to read them all. Chris posted today that he’ll be making it easier to find them all on his site. Thanks Chris.

A few months ago I asked if there was an optimal post length for blogs. This week Sreejith made his own observations about optimizing the length of your posts. When it comes to post length John Wesley observed that longer posts tend to hit homeruns with readers. John has even more observations and advice for writing those great posts in his guest stint at ProBlogger. Blogs come in all shapes and sizes. Daily Blog Tips divides blogs into two groups and wants to know if your blog is all about the opinion or the discussion.

If a blog never gets read does it fall in the forest and make a sound? Huh? You know what I mean. You need to market your blog if you want others to read your words. Maki has a couple of suggestions this week many of us overlook. The first is to make it easy to email your posts to others and the second is to take advantage of the FeedFlares offered by FeedBurner. Of course sometimes you think you’re doing everything right and still end up losing most of your traffic. It happened to me last summer when all of my posts wound up on the shore of the river Styx in Google’s supplemental index and unfortunately it recently happened to Richard Hearne when he used the Mobile plugin for WordPress. The good news is he figured out what was wrong and shares the info with us.

Design And Development

Bear with me a few weeks as I get this section going. I’m still trying to sort through design and development feeds and work them into my daily reading. This week I’ll offer three posts for your enjoyment. Fresh Egg points to the Almond Resorts site as a case study for moving to CSS from tables. Carrie Hill discusses using WordPress as the backend of your site and Darren raised what always ends up being a charged debate about whether to open a new window for external links. I’m very much against the practice as I don’t think it does anything to keep people on your site.


I’ll dedicate the seo section this week to Threadwatch, which is closing today. (link may no longer be working) Of course there’s a lot of speculation going on and something tells me Aaron has some plans for the domain. I suspect we’ll see something new on the Threadwatch domain from Aaron before long.

Since TW closing is probably a downer for many of you we’ll start the seo discussion with some posts about the negative side of seo. First up is a Forbes article on the practice of negative search engine optimization where the goal is to hurt your competitors instead of improving yourself. Next Tamar points to a Webmasterworld thread about what causes the -30 penalty in a post that’s generated some interesting comments. And if you’re not sure how to tell if your site has been penalized? Rand walks us through some searches that proved to him a particular real estate site had been penalized for reciprocal linking.

It’s often all too easy for those of us in the seo community to forget that our clients don’t speak the same language we do. Mystery Guest reminds us what the average seo client might know. Another thing we all sometimes need to be reminded about is that search engine optimization is not Google optimization. Lucky for us we have Lisa Barone for that reminder. And Lisa Happy Birthday one day after! Last week I pointed you to Matt McGhee’s article on seo dont’s. This week Matt gives us the essential do’s. Last week I also pointed you to a an interview with Udi Manber who mentioned how 20% to 25% of the queries Google sees they’ve never seen before. Bill continued the discussion with a look at predictive queries and unique searches.

In a section devoted to Threadwatch it only seems fitting to close with a couple of post by Aaron Wall. Both are must reads. First Aaron gives everyone a variety of ways to track your competition. Aaron offers tools and advice and packs a lot of information into this post. Next Aaron has the scoop on the effect of keywords in your domain name. Aaron discusses where keyword rich domains have been, where they are, and where they’re going. Read both of these posts.

Business And Marketing

Last summer coupons were introduced into Google Maps and Jennifer Laycock wants to know if we’re using them. After a walk through on how to set them up Jennifer continues the tour of Google local and shows us how to update our business listings.

When it comes to traffic, remember that it’s targeted traffic that’s really important. Julie Mason tells us that one way to get more targeted traffic is by advertising on vertical search engines. Greg Howlett shows how user reviews can affect conversions. You might be surprised to know they can potentially lead to less sales. Maki is back with some advice on using presell pages to improve affiliate conversions using CopyBlogger as an example of a site that does it right.

PageRank’s importance may have waned over the years, but another PR is still important to the success of any business. How about three posts on public relations from Aaron Wall, Steve Rubel, and Lee Odden respectively.

Have you seen the prices some domains have been selling for recently? Wish you’d bought some of them way back when. I know I do. Aaron Wall compares pricing for .coms. seo services, and business in general while Pablo Palatnik wonders if the domain market is a bubble waiting to bust.

Search Engine News

On Sunday the New York Times published an article on human powered search challenging Google. The Times talks about a number of different search engines, but Mahalo was the main focus of the article. As you might expect the article generated a lot of response in the community.

Google’s Webmaster Guidelines has been given an update. Want to tell Matt Cutts what’s still wrong with them? Now’s your chance as Matt’s asking for comments on what you think is still unclear.

eBay is a major advertiser with Google. eBay isn’t a major advertiser with Google. eBay is a major advertiser with Google again, though just a little less major. Can you tell I’m tired of the bickering.

Google started a new program this week called Google Gadget Ventures where you can earn money creating gadgets for Google. Depending on how many people actively view your gadget and whether or not you want to build a business around your gadget, Google will give you either $5,000 or $100,000. Of course, if you want the hundred grand Google will expect a piece of your business in return.

Google introduced the Google Earth Outreach initiative to help nonprofit organizations advocate for the work they do. Maps added a click & drag feature to let you change directions along your route. It’s much more useful than I’m describing it. Bill talks about Place Rank which allows Google to rank user annotations on maps.

And yesterday Google moved one step further into the affiliate marketing arena with Referrals 2.0 for AdSense publishers. More products, better targeting, and larger payouts.

Yahoo is going through changes with Terry Semel out and Jerry Yang in. Departments are being restructured and executives are leaving. It’s obviously too soon to see how everything develops, but at the moment things don’t seem to be going well for Yahoo.

On a positive note Yahoo ran a Greenest City in America Challenge. And the winner is…Hastings, Nebraska. Bebo search will now be powered by Yahoo and Yahoo Image Search will now serve Flickr photos. Yahoo might do well to better integrate more of it’s social media and networking properties.

Panama saw an upgrade this week including the ability to move keywords from one ad group to another.

Some popular bloggers were criticized last weekend for spokesblogging in favor of Microsoft. The issue called into question the ethics of some very popular bloggers some of whom apologized while others brushed the whole thing off. Microsoft and Google continue to battle with Google still upset over the way Microsoft is integrating its search product into Vista. The good news is Microsoft is beta testing it’s contextual ads program, ContentAds.

Only one story on Ask this week, but it’s a good one for the search engine. Walter Mossberg gives a positive review of the new Ask3D interface. I agree and will also take a moment to urge Ask yet again to drop the algorithm advertising campaign. Ask you have such a natural name for search. Why not take advanatge of it. When we search we are asking for results. Don’t brand the word algorithm. Brand your company name.

For the first time in a few weeks I’m going into the weekend without a plan. There are plenty of things I can do and some I want to do, but for a change nothing I absolutely need to do. I’m looking forward to some downtime and going with the flow for a couple of days. Looks like I’ll have some nice weather to do it in too. I hope you have a good weekend as well wherever you happen to be and whatever you decide to do. Happy reading.

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  1. Thanks Ken. And congratulations on your success. I think it’s great that you started out blogging to learn more and provide a valuable resource for others and have been able to turn that into something that earns a good amount of income for you. I think that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be.

    And since I forgot to link to it in the post here’s Ken’s Battle Diabetes Blog for everyone.

  2. I’m certainly glad you didn’t go the way of the dinosaurs. And I think it’s great you’ve been able to turn this into such a positive experience for yourself and others.

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