This Week In SEO – 7/20/07

Today’s This Week In SEO post is dedicated to my friend ‘H’ who’s celebrating a birthday today. Happy Birthday ‘H’ As always there’s a lot to get to, but first a reminder that not every post that catches my attention makes it here each Friday. This post might go on forever if it did instead of just seeming like it goes on forever. If for some reason you want even more links check out my profile on del.icio.us. You can find some of the links I didn’t get in here and some articles from weeks prior to this one that either just now found their way in front of me or I finally remembered to bookmark. Ok, ready for the posts from the week that was? I know I am.

Social Media

I mentioned Sphinn’s debut last week and this week the coverage continued. We have a review from Maki, a first look at the effect of getting Sphunn (is that a word?) from Matt, and a slightly different perspective from Kim Krause Berg.

Facebook has become the most talked about social networking site recently, but was it originally built from stolen code? The courts will have to make the determination, but in the meantime Facebook is growing quite fast. Hitwise reported the site has overtaken MySpace in UK searches. Rumors continue to circulate that profitable Facebook will be acquired by one of the usual players, though while we all wait Facebook has begun making acquisitions of its own by purchasing Parakey.

If you’re looking to market yourself through the Wikipedia then please do it right. Wiki admin Durova gives us all some white hat ways to both improve the Wikipedia and still draw some marketing benefit for yourself. Dave Naylor adds a tip of his own about how to get Wiki links. Maki offers some advice for social media marketing through images. First how to gain traffic and brand awareness through Flickr and then how to get more stumbles by using images

Blogging

Let’s start the blogging section with something inspirational. This probably won’t happen to most of us, but it’s good to know that a blog that started as an inside joke could be turned into something so profitable so fast. It can happen, but you might want to know which of the three little pigs our blog resembles. Bloggrrl explains in a cautionary tale.

Now that you know what kind of blog you have how many columns should you use? Two? Three? I think it depends on your blog and what you need to present. Mu has some great writing advice about keeping it brief. Less is more you know. Leo Babauta fills us in on the four pillars of writing exceptional blogs and since Leo’s post comes via ProBlogger it’s a good example of the benefits of guest blogging.

Moving a blog to a new domain can be a scary prospect. It’s something I’ll be doing soon and I’m naturally nervous even knowing most of what I should do. Jordan reassures us with advice on how to migrate safely. And how about a link post that links to another? Ryan Caldwell links to 10 articles every blogger should read. The half of the list I’d previously read are all good reads and I suspect I’ll be reading all of them more than at least once.

Design And Development

Design is important even for blogs. Last Friday Chris Garrett asked readers to look at a few popular blogs and figure out what they do to welcome new readers and not scare them away. His Monday follow up walks us though some ideas to make your blog more friendly.

Redirects have long been an important consideration in site development and redevelopment. Which one of the two major soft drinks does it better and which might be losing a lot of sales through indifference? Aaron Wall proves that even the best of us can make mistakes. Fortunately Aaron caught his $10,000 mistake to the robots.txt file on one of his sites. Attention to detail is important. Site architecture is an often overlooked aspect of site building. Bradley Leese has been writing a series on theming with silos that he finished early this week. You can find links to parts 1 and 2 at the start of the part 3 article. Yuri has written a very good post on designing for the unconscious. Many of his ideas are the very reason I advised playing off the emotional response to romance in order to sell lingerie and why I believe you should always let your story guide you.

Ready to put your landing page design skills to the test? SEOmoz is running a contest where you can prove your skills in a competition to see who can generate the highest conversion rate for their premium membership landing page. Hurry though, since submissions need to be in by Tuesday. And to help you out here are a few more links to helpful advice on designing landing pages.

SEO

Many bloggers didn’t care much for Jakob Nielsen’s latest Alertbox column including myself. Jakob completely missed the idea of blogs as conversations. It’s not just his take on blogging that people disagree with. Nielsen also thinks search results haven’t changed much over the last few years, and Bill offers proof they have changed. I agree with Bill. While the quality of results have improved over the years search engines don’t always get it right. Hamlet Batista has seven reasons why they sometimes get things wrong. Right or wrong those results will be changing over time, perhaps placing more value on relationships over data.

Last night I pointed to a possible case of one business stealing competitor’s customers through some shady practices in Google Maps. One solution to deflect the problem is to optimize your site for local search. Sujan Patel has five tips you can use. There are more honest ways to beat your competition. Aaron Wall looks at competitive analysis using his new beta account for compete.com’s search analytics tool.

Google Maps isn’t the only way some people try to sabotage the honest work of another business. Eric Ward discusses link saboteurs and why they will ultimately fail. So why not just build links the right way. Alan Rabinowitz finishes up his series on link building styles this week. Are directories a useful way to gain links? Depends on who you ask and the directory in question. Rand talks about what he looks for in a directory and since he mentions the Aviva directory as one that probably isn’t a great value it seems only fair to let Aviva owner, Jeff Behrendt, offer some ideas on what makes for a good and bad directory as well.

Business And Marketing

As more people get comfortable with the social nature of the web, what’s said about your company will increasingly be out of your control. That’s actually a good thing if you run your business right, but even if you do you won’t always like everything said about you. Jody Nimetz tells us why online reputation management is important, Kevin Gold encourages customer reviews, and Riva Richmond shows us one person working to improve her business’s online reputation

Going niche is a common strategy when entering a crowded market. But how niche should you be? Are there times when it makes sense to expand your niche and times when going niche is simply wrong? Andrew Goodman starts the discussion and Aaron Wall picks up on things with a follow up post

Chris Gaylord of The Christian Science Monitor has an interesting look at auction sites like eBay and why people don’t always act rationally when bidding. Pablo Palatnik looks at some second tier search engines and PPC advertising and likes what he sees. When you’re creating your ads for the second tier engines or the majors a few words can make a big difference in click through and conversion. Rand lets us inside his thought process when starting a new PPC campaign. Watch as he writes, tests, and improves the effectiveness of his ads.

Search Engine News

Bill has some interesting ideas on strategies search engines might use to provide a better user experience. He looks specifically at a Google paper, but the ideas make sense for all the engines.

Google
Funny how Google can show some pretty good profits and still see its stock fall. That’s what happens when you set the bar so high and don’t meet Wall Street’s expectations. If only the rest of us could have the same problem.

Google made steps to be more transparent and communicate issues with webmasters through Webmaster Tools. I’m all in favor of transparency in business.

Google released Custom Search Business Edition, a hosted site search solution, to positive reviews. Phillip Lenssen used custom search to build a a comprehensive Google Blogs search, since the official one from Google doesn’t work as well as it should.

AdWords opened up print ads to all advertisers and if print isn’t enough maybe you can wait for the video game ads. AdSense can now crawl your password protected pages if you’d like in order to provide more relevant ads to those pages. But make sure you don’t move before Google sends you a check. It just might bounce. Maybe Wall St. does need to be concerned.

Is Google doing enough to maintain privacy? This week they reduced cookie lifetime to two years. Of course your Google cookie will only expire of you don’t get a new one for two years so is the change really significant? Google’s toolbar is one point of concern for privacy advocates. Bill looks at the history of the toolbar and a way for Google to make recommendations based on your search history. Things aren’t going well in Google’s bid to acquire DoubleClick. Not only is the FTC investigating, but now Congress is getting involved.

Yahoo!
Yahoo! released their Q2 earnings report this week. Not quite the same growth as Google, though.

Q3 might not be much better if network problems with the publisher network continue. Apparently things will be fixed by next week, but Yahoo has no intention of reimbursing publishers for lost revenue since “they lost revenue as well.” Good luck in Q3 Yahoo!

Yahoo did acquire a stake in Indian advertising company Tyroo Media to help capture more of the country’s online ad market. And the recent Weather Report should be done in the next few days so go check how your pages are ranking in Yahoo.

MSN
Microsoft had a good showing in Q2, but the revenue probably has little to do with search. MSN adCenter upgrades include a negative keyword filter on a campaign level. And adManager is now selling Ask.com sponsored listings.

Ask
Ask has finally adopted support for the new Sitemaps protocol, but the big news is AskEraser, which gives users more control over the information that’s collected about them. Ask will be implementing an 18 month data retention policy, but through the eraser you’ll be able to completely erase your search history. It looks like Ask is taking a big step in the right direction toward securing people’s privacy.

Like usual I’m read for the weekend to begin. I assume you are too. I’ll be celebrating the birthday of a friend tonight and then continuing the celebration over the weekend. We’ve got a day of garage sales planned for tomorrow, which is always fun even if I never buy anything and then maybe some relaxation on Sunday. The weather is hot, hot, and hot. It’s approaching three digit temperatures, though hopefully not getting there. Dry heat is still pretty hot. I hope you have a good weekend wherever you are and happy reading.

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