This Week In SEO – 7/27/07

Is it just me or did the week fly by? I could swear yesterday was Monday and here we are at Friday and another episode of This Week In SEO. As always there’s plenty to get to, but a reminder that if these links aren’t enough to keep you busy you can find more at my del.icio.us profile. Ready for the week’s news, stories, articles, and tips?

Social Media

Maki tells us that traffic from social sites are reliable sources of defensible traffic and has ideas for turning social media visitors into supporters of your site. Cameron has five ideas for driving traffic from StumbleUpon. So is Sphinn just a popularity contest? Rand said it wasn’t, but Ciaran disagrees. If social media sites are a popularity contest then it’s a good idea to get in with the in-crowd. Mu points us to Cornell University software that helps identify who the community leaders of social sites really are.

Digg made news earlier this week by dropping Google ads in favor of Microsoft ads, but most of the news continues to be about Facebook. Will Facebook replace MySpace as the social network? I don’t know, but the site is growing fast and the company has a new CFO. Mu says the jury is still out on Facebook Apps driving traffic, but the best news for the site may be coming from the judge in the ConnectU case who isn’t seeing much evidence of intellectual property theft.

Blogging

How do you create great content? Be yourself, find your blogging voice, and whatever you do don’t fake it. Being yourself is only part of the equation, though. Brian Clark has 7 steps to make sure all of your words get read. And don’t let technical difficulties trip you up with search engines. Fight duplicate content issues on WordPress

Think it has to take a lot of time to build your brand? Think again. Jordan did it in less than a year. Think you have to work 80 hours a week? Think again. Tim Ferris promotes the 4 hour work week and now he’s offering advice on doubling your readers in two weeks. If it’s that easy why am I so tired come Friday?

You do need great content, but you also need to market that content and work the system. One way to work it is to be courageous. Stop being bland. Polarize your audience and be remarkable. You hear about going niche a lot, but does that mean you need to go niche with your topic? Maybe you need to go niche with your audience. That’s what Gala did. She’s got a few other blogging lessons for us as well.

Design And Development

The best designs stay out of your way and foster ease of use. Lisa Barone advises you to stay invisible with your web design and I agree. After telling Rand how to design his landing page Roberta Rosenberg is back with another makeover, this time for StartBreakingFree.com. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it, but what if you don’t know if it is or isn’t broke. Sometimes ignorance isn’t all that blissful. I know you’ve heard of Ajax. You might even think it’s cool. Do you know all the issues when it comes to developing an Ajax application. Danielle Sahiner will fill you in on some of the basics. And while we’re on the topic of design what do you think of the new look for Search Engine Watch? Barry shares some opinions along with a screen shot for screen shot comparison between the old and new. Barry I agree. It’ll take some time to get used to, but I like it.

Keywords

Scott Van Achtie offers advice and a process for building your keyword list and Alan Rumm-Kaufman would have you subsidize weaker keywords with your stronger ones. And no matter how much you want to get all those keywords into every page, please don’t stuff. You might incur the wrath of the mighty Matt Cutts and perhaps disappear from Google results like Alex Chiu. Dave Naylor thinks Alex wasn’t really guilty of keyword stuffing, though. Dave would call it spam.

SEO

All links are not created equal. Commit that to memory. It’s not about the quantity alone. It’s about a quantity of quality links. How do you tell which links deliver more quality? Aaron tells us how to determine which links pass what. Debra O. Mastaler says one of the most effective link building tools is customer surveys. And Rand has a follow up to last Friday’s video on directories with more about how to determine the value of directory links. Still no matter what we do the paid link debate isn’t going away.

As marketers we’re trying to persuade. DazzlinDonna applies the ideas of persuasion to different aspects of search marketing. Persuasion begins the moment someone encounters your site. Lee Odden discusses title and meta tag optimization as a way to persuade. And isn’t it great when a search engine will share information on what text results in the most clicks? Bill has the rundown on a Microsoft paper that shares information about how titles and snippets affect clickthrough.

Sometimes you can think you’ve done everything right and still your Google results drop and drop and drop. Aaron gives us 9 reasons why our rankings may tank. It’s one thing to optimize a small site and something completely different when your site has grown to several thousand pages. Stephen Spencer has tips for scaling on-page optimization for larger sites. I like to look forward where search engines are concerned. While it’s important to understand where they’ve been I prefer to make decisions based on where they’re going. Michael Marshall looks at the semantic web and explains why in the future it will be even more important to know who your target audience is and what they want.

Business And Marketing

Al Ries has an interesting piece on some big name media players who aren’t finding success online. Al thinks the problem is their attempt to go multi-channel and says they should stay offline. I think it’s more an issue of not understanding how to make things work online. Most of us aren’t starting out as large media companies. Maki tells us if we want to succeed we need to start thinking more like entrepreneurs. Jeremy Leubke is sure to raise eyebrows by saying business doesn’t need SEO. He’s right of course that the business model is still more important. (The real question though, is why is Jeremy stalking Dave Naylor) When it comes to a business model for your online empire should you go with a stable of mini-sites or focus on one flagship website?

How you package your marketing message is important. Aaron advises not to be a brute and Seth Godin advises we seek permission instead of forcing junk and spam on people. Duane Forrester says our most powerful tool is networking. And yes it is a popularity contest, Rae Hoffman says, while Michael Gray follows up letting us know if we can’t manage to make ourselves popular maybe we need to look at ourselves and realize it’s because our personal marketing sucks.

Search Engine News

Is it ok to talk about AOL as a search engine? They’re getting into the acquisition game agreeing to acquire the behavioral targeting firm, TACODA. Last week it was Google and Ask making changes to how they handle data and this week Microsoft and Yahoo are following suit. Microsoft will delete data after 18 months and Yahoo after 13 months. And with all the data search engines can collect is it any wonder that in a recent poll 62% said they don’t trust search engines with their private data.

Google
Google must be doing something right to see their “brand value” increase 44% over the past 12 months. That value will likely increase in the future, especially if their bid for wireless airwaves is accepted.

Another company can now call itself Google as the search engine acquired ImagingAmerica, maker of high resolution cameras for aerial imagery. Maybe Google will upload some of those images to Picasa, which introduced some new features this week and released a new API. Bill has the news on a patent that was finally granted to Google for a method to enable understanding of semantically meaningful phrases.

Gord Hotchkiss interviewed Nick Fox and Diane Tang about Ad Quality and User Experience. Wiep Knol shows us a great example of personalized Google ads and as that Google brand keeps increasing in value, Geoff Colvin of Fortune, doesn’t want anyone going gaga over the stock.

Yahoo!
Yahoo rolled out a search update last week or did they. Barry can’t seem to find many people talking about the after effects. Aaron noticed a few changes though. Before you can start worrying about where you rank in Yahoo you need to get into the index. How long does that take?

Yahoo began beta testing of Panama’s quality score in Europe and Yahoo Toolbar is teaming up with CA inc. Home/Office products for safer web browsing. Yahoo has a new travel destination shortcut. Type in a location and get back quick links for planning your trip. Danny Sullivan describes Yahoo Search Assistant as search suggest on steroids. And together with other companies Yahoo formed the Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse.

MSN
Don’t look now, but Microsoft is surging. Even Google says Live Search is #1. This week Microsoft, with a little help from Ask, seemingly led the charge for privacy protection. No matter who’s leading the way it’s good to see all the search engines take privacy concerns seriously.

Details of Microsoft’s Analytics tool , Gatineau, were leaked. I’m not crazy about the name, but I like the ability to segment traffic by age and gender. Gatineau is set to be available later this summer.

Microsoft will finally support the new Sitemaps standard and aims to improve video delivery with the release of cross browser, cross platform plugin Silverlight. Microsoft purchased ad Exchange, adECN, though while Microsoft will get the revenues from adECN, they won’t be getting any special treatment in the network. And finally Bill discusses a Microsoft paper that looks in depth at long tail searches.

Ask
Since some of the Ask news was absorbed above and I still wanted to include them, here’s Jordan to tell us why she expects more from Ask’s advertising than what she’s currently getting.

For a change the weather here in Boulder doesn’t look great. Clouds have rolled in bringing the occasional storm with them. It’s actually a nice change of pace after all the heat we’ve been having. Regardless of the weather I’m happy like always for the end of the week and the start of the weekend. I hope you have a good weekend in your corner of the world and happy reading.

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