This Week In SEO – 8/17/07

A couple of days ago I learned that Wednesday was Independence Day in India so let’s dedicate This Week In SEO to my Indian friends. As usual you’ve come to the right place for the weekly roundup in the world of most things search and near search. And as usual you can find more links via my del.icio.us profile. Time for the links and the start of the show.

Social Media

Susan Esparza starts us off with the impact of social media and why it’s important to your website’s success. When it comes to making the front page of sites like Digg and Reddit who you know can be just as important as your content. Chris Winfield has advice on winning friends and influencing social networks. Influencing is not quite the same as manipulating. Rand wants to know what people think about all the social media exchange services that are springing up on forums like Digital Point.

StumbleUpon is still one of my favorite social media sites. I think SU does a good job finding sites for you and somehow the community seems a little more genuine to me than others. ProBlogger gave us two posts this week to gain legitimate traffic from StumbleUpon. First was a guest post by Skellie who tells you how to draw stumblers to your blog. And the second was from Darren who discusses the benefits of running an advertising campaign on StumbleUpon.

Last week I pointed you to the reasons why Kim Krause Berg doesn’t care for social media and why Lisa Barone thought she was hanging out in the wrong places. This week Kim discovered that Lisa may indeed have been right when she found comfort at Facebook. No matter what online community you join you need to be careful. Andy reports on a study showing that not everyone who friends you is really your friend. Do you have programming skills? If so you might want to start developing apps for Facebook. TripAdvisor just sold for $3 million. And Bill takes us on a tour of the history of Facebook from 2003 to the present.

Blogging

Developing your blogging voice is the most important thing you can do as a blogger. Edrei Zahari has some tips for defining the voice of your blog. Your voice can help make you an authority on your topic and Ryan Imel has further thoughts on becoming an authority blogger. Notice too how Ryan’s post is put together. If you’re a regular CopyBlogger reader you’ll notice how Ryan makes use of techniques Brian consistently teaches. It’s one way to analyze your blog’s competition to understand what they do well and incorporate it into your own blog. Learning from your competition is one thing. Stealing from them is another. Shoemoney tells us before we start complaining that our content is stolen we should be adding a policy to our feeds about how the can be used.

Two questions I commonly see in regards to blogging are what are blog carnivals and why do FeedBurner subscribers seem to fluctuate so much. Chrs Garrett answers the first question and Darren got the answer to the second question directly from the source.

Darren had some more good advice about making our blogs stickier. First a video from Darren and next a discussion of creating sneeze pages. The idea behind both posts is to help propel visitors deeper into your blog from whatever page they happen to land on.

Design And Development

The recent ProBlogger makeover was designed by Ben Bleikamp and Ben posted last weekend about his goals for the redesign. It’s an interesting look into the thought process of a designer. Louise Story wrote an article for the New York Times that looks at how product packaging design is now shouting to gain your attention among all the other products on the shelves. In a follow up, Jennifer Laycock reminds us that when everything is shouting for your attention nothing is really heard.

Erin Walker offer several good reasons to listen to your visitors when designing your site, which apparently is something USA Today forgot to do when they redesigned their site a few months back to be more of a social network than a news site. TechCrunch shows the data that USA Today has lost 4 million users since the redesign. Lisa has a follow up telling us where USA Today went wrong.

Lisa is quickly back talking about search friendly design with a focus on the the legality of creating accessible designs in the U.K. Part of building a search friendly site is search friendly URLs. Matt Cutt’s dissected URLs from an search engineering perspective. Maybe the Webmaster Central team can use an advanced lesson. Michael Gray discovered that Webmaster Central is having some difficulty following URLs that were redirected with a 301. Not good news for anyone planning to migrate to a new domain, like me.

Link Building

Esoteric had some interesting thoughts about the way Google Guidelines refers to link schemes and not liking the implication that any exchange of links could lead to banning. Later in the week Google added the word “excessive” in front of it’s mention of reciprocal links, which is better, but still leaves the situation vague as to how much is excessive. Fortunately for us there’s Eric Ward who shares his own thoughts about the cult of reciprocity.

Sage Lewis says that integration is the key to link building, while Maki describes four characteristics of successful viral linkbaiting. If you’re like me you can see many linkbaiting ideas yet don’t always have the resources at your disposal to make them happen. David Mihm has some very good ideas for link building that you can do as an individual or small business. They may not bring in as many links as some ideas, but all are within the reach of a lone developer or small business that can hire one.

Matt Cutts warned against link buying again at SMX Seattle. David Wallace had some rants about people who sell links. Not because he disapproves, but rather because he thinks they’re doing it wrong. Rand followed up with some tips on how to buy links under the radar, but Eric Enge warned to be careful of the approach.

SEO

Fernando Chavez has some ideas about identifying how difficult it will be to rank for certain phrases and shares a strategy for competitive keyword analysis. After you’ve identified your keywords Aaron tells us how being too focused with them can lead to your site being filtered out of results and why it’s best to write naturally. Aaron also has a new keyword research tool you can use if have a Google account and use iGoogle.

Another week and a few more ways to spam Google.

Lee Odden interviews Mike Grehan and Eric Enge interviewed Danny Sullivan. Good stuff from a couple of people who have likely been at search longer than you.

And Aaron goes inside the mind of a Google search engineer to let us know why we shouldn’t trust their blogs, how we can spam Google and more. This post is more than worth the time it will take to click and read.

Business And Marketing

Brian Clark used David Lee Roth as a case study for marketing in light of the news of a Van Halen reunion tour. While not specifically mentioned by Brian a part of Diamond Dave’s marketing success was his opposite in Eddie Van Halen. Seth Godin discusses why it’s hard to build a brand without being able to play against an opposite. Is web 2.0 a bubble waiting to burst? I don’t really think so and neither does Rand, but Rand decided to play what if and offer advice on how to prosper in case that bursting bubble is on its way. Bubble or not Maki has some good tips for reinvesting in yourself and your site.

What others say about your business is far more important than what you say about it. Maki shows us how customer reviews can increase conversions and Chris Garrett tells us how to write better testimonials. Eric Enge takes a look at a tool designed to help you learn what customers think of your site.

Search Engine News

Gord Hotchkiss wondered what search interfaces might be like in the far off distant year of 2010. He asked a variety of usability experts, interface designers, search engineers, and more and asked them what search results pages might look like a few years down the road.

CNET asked the search engines how they deal with privacy and rated each engine. Ask came out on top when it comes to protecting privacy. Mu thinks the competition over privacy issues is a good thing for end users and I agree.

Privacy wasn’t the only way search engines were compared this week. The American Consumer Satisfaction Index showed more people satisfied with Yahoo than Google, though much of that has to do with properties outside of search itself. And Lisa decided to look at all the engines to determine who’s doing blended search the best. Lisa’s winner? Ask.

Google
Should Google be worried that Wikipedia is developing a search engine? What if the Wiki partnered with Firefox?

Webmaster Central added new reporting features aimed at fighting malware. Good for Google. Webmaster Central also improved its robots.txt tool and added more meta tag support. Another nice feature from Webmaster Tools.

Google changed the AdWords ranking algorithm to a maximum bid model last week and this week the reactions started coming in. Also this week Inside AdWords introduced the Ad Traffic Quality Resource Center.

Both Google and Microsoft want to change health care, but does anyone really thinking having a search engine store your personal medical records is a good idea? See how well they do with privacy above.

The New York Times reported that Google is closing its video retail operation. GigaOm thinks Google should acquire Adobe to take advantage of Flash as the default delivery system for video. Google also began including StarOffice as part of Google pack (“No, we’re not competing with Microsoft for the office space”) and will soon provide the means to make embedding maps directly on web pages easy.

Yahoo!
Shoemoney wondered what if Firefox used Yahoo as the default browser instead of Google. Would people switch engines? Asa Dotzler of the Mozilla team responded that financial contributions had nothing to do with which engine FF used by default. However, Asa did say Yahoo could distribute a version of Firefox with Yahoo defaults if they were so inclined. Anyone listening at Yahoo?

Drop down maps are one of the enhancements appearing as a result of the new Yahoo shortcuts and Bill looks at an interesting Yahoo patent for determining a users geographic location based on their queries.

Yahoo Local has a new look with added user generated content and Eric Lander gives us three reasons why Yahoo can dominate Google when it comes to local search.

Yahoo joined Google in launching a new traffic quality center.

MSN/Live Search
Microsoft lost a key vote to adopt its alternative to the open document format, but it’s all good as they’ve decided search is now the main focus of the company and their web search business remains on a “positive trajectory.”

Perhaps one reason for the positive vibes is that the aQuantive acquisition is finally complete.

Ask
Ask’s commercials in the U.K. are leaving many puzzled, but they’ve taken a much simpler approach in a new U.S. commercial. Not everyone cares for the new simplicity, but I think it’s a step in the right direction for Ask.

While Google and Microsoft want to store your medical records, Ask decided instead to provide better search results around health related questions. Enter Ask’s Health Smart Answers. I much prefer Ask’s way of dealing with health.

Ahhh, Friday. Looking out the window I’m seeing very dark storm clouds and I’m thinking it’s a good night to toss a DVD in and make some popcorn. Sadly for me I have plenty of work to do this weekend. Fortunately I enjoy my work so I really don’t mind. I hope your weekend is a good one wherever you may be and whatever you decide to do. Happy reading.

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