This Week In SEO – 9/14/07

Why not dedicate This Week In SEO to someone in the industry who’s given quite a lot to the community and whose posts are often featured here. A few days ago Aaron Wall took off to get married (or to have a real ceremony as I think Aaron already tied the knot) and have a month+ long honeymoon. He may or may not be posting again until he returns in late October. Congrats Aaron. The SEO community will miss you, but we’re also happy for you and we’ll be awaiting your return. Now on with the show.

Social Media

The Project for Excellence in Journalism released a report that compared the news agenda of mainstream media sites with that of user news sites Digg, Reddit, and Findings such as their use of different sources and different focus won’t necessarily come as a surprise, but it’s an interesting comparison nonetheless. Last week Netscape announced they would be changing their home page from user news to mainstream portal and moving the user driven content to a new site. This week they announced the new site will be at

No surprise that Facebook is rising while MySpace is falling. Mu shares some of the details of the Compete report and also tells us the reason is the applications. Speaking of apps, Jane looked at what makes some successful and perhaps even earning them millions one day. If you’re considering developing Facebook apps you might want to read this post. Danny takes another look at the recent changes in the accessibility of Facebook personal profiles in search results and Manoj offers tips for growing a successful Facebook Group.

When marketing to social media should you focus on a few popular sites or scatter your marketing across many? I agree with Vandelay you can only effectively market well to a few. The question is where should you focus your attention. Aaron at Ajax Ninja has 7 reasons why niche media sites are your better bet, but if you still want to focus on Digg, Sujan Patel has 6 simple steps you can follow straight to the front page. And while you may or may not trust the Wikipedia’s content, Wiki admin, Durova has tips on using images to get the Wikipedia to drive traffic to your site.

Is there a downside to social media marketing? How about when the marketing crosses over into spam territory? Even if you don’t see it as spam is it possible the search engines will see it that way. Aaron shows us that sometimes your successful social media campaign can be to successful.


Darren asked Aaron questions about his beginnings in seo and for some tips to optimize your blog. The result is a two part interview.

Chris Garret has been offering link building opportunities lately by requesting and then linking to reader’s posts. The theme of this weeks roundup is community building and participation and Chris shares his own thoughts in addition to those of his readers. Jennifer Laycock says the best way to connect with bloggers is to talk to them. She shares an example of a company that did just that. Darren tells us that one way to build relationships with bloggers is to keep track of what they’re writing and connecting when you can offer assistance. And if you want to connect with bloggers you might want to know who some of the more influential ones are. Leo Babuta shares who he thinks are the linkerati and why they’re influential.

Lorelle shares some great resource for creating and customizing WordPress themes as well as advice for how to protect your blog from spammers and hackers. Ever wonder what you could do with the space at the bottom of your feed? Stephen Ward gives 7 practical examples of how to make use of the space. And Michael has some ideas on how you can spruce up your comment field by adding effects and styling your own comments differently so they stand out from the rest.

Design And Development

Which comes first? Usability or SEO? (Didn’t we just ask this last week?) Kim Krause Berg reminds us that neither comes first, rather both work together. Your website needs to work in harmony. Is site speed important? I think so and so does Aaron Shear. Eric Enge also agrees, and if it’s not enough to give your users a better experience, both Aaron and Eric mention the possibility of your pages ranking better if they load quicker. Ready to learn how to make your pages load faster? Then read Stoney deGeyter ‘s 5 simple steps for reducing download times.

What do people see when they get a 404 error page on your site? Is it the boring default or have you created a custom 404 page? Darren and Rebecca both discuss ideas for making your 404 pages more useful and more creative. What does Google think about duplicate content? The Webmaster Central blog offered thoughts on why it should be important to you and offered advice on how you can reduce duplicate content and help search engines better understand your site.

Link Building

To pay or not to pay? Isn’t that the question? More thoughts on buying links this week. Chris Garrett thinks it depends and wants to know where you stand on the issue. Jennifer Laycock thinks Google’s crusade is idiocy. Dan Thies would welcome the FTC as overlords discussing what they might do and showing why Google won’t win this battle. And Sage Lewis thinks he has a solution to make everyone happy. All it will take is “I Google,” the cyborg search engine.

So should you use nofollow on paid links to please Google? How would your advertisers feel about it if you go that route? And let’s not forget nofollow isn’t all about identifying paid links. Dan Thies continues his discussion on using them to redirect the flow of link juice with some practical examples of dynamic linking. Dan you’re convincing me more and more each week that this is a good idea. To help with all the linking confusion Lee Odden tries to make sense of the big picture and Patrick Adams Sexton wants us to imagine a universe without links. Well, not exactly, but Patrick explains why you can still get traffic even you don’t have billions upon billions of links


Mark Jackson thinks today’s search marketing requires long-tail search optimization. Hamlet Batista offers a different view and suggests we go after the most competitive keyword phrases, but Jennifer reminds him and us why he’s missing the point and why you need to aim low when you’re first starting out with seo.

Ben Cook tells us how images can gain us a few thousand extra visitors each month simply by paying attention to details. Do you offer PDFs on your site? Did you know you can optimize your PDFs to help them rank better? Galen DeYoung has 11 tips for you to do just that. And Kevin Newcomb looks at a Marchex report on local search and tries to simplify things to make local search concepts more accessible.

Search Engines and SEOs don’t always get along. John Andrews explains why in an analogy using card counters and Vegas casinos. Maybe now we can understand why Google wants to keep information away from us and why they took away some useful webmaster tools. The sometimes contentious relationship doesn’t prevent people from spamming and it doesn’t prevent them from getting away with it either. Loren Baker shows a troubling example of a company that used AdWords to direct traffic to its free hit counter and allowed them to direct those links wherever they wanted. Smart, but spammy. I guess it’s ok to buy links if it’s Google that you’re paying.

Eli was back this week with a monster post on how to build your SEO empire. You may not always like the ethics behind Eli’s posts, but you will always learn something from them. Eli your posts have been missed by at least one person and I’m looking forward to part 2.

Business And Marketing

Imagine you’ve been working to build your business for a few years and then suddenly you were forced to give up your name? Could you survive. You could if your brand is strong enough. Shoemoney tells us about having to become and not missing a beat. If anything they’re doing better since the change. Last week he brought us part one and this week Stoney is bringing us part two of his article on small business branding. Philpp Lenssen contrasts karma and image. Each plays a role in the brand of your business.

Apple fanboy Matt McGhee decided to look at Apple the company and see what their marketing can teach small business. And speaking of Apple, Seth Godin tells us how a recent decision that will cost them $20 million was money well spent. Yes, you should be treating different customers differently.

Aaron Wall added video to a couple of posts this week. The first one telling is why publishers need to move away from books and instead become interactive media artists. In the battle for attention, art will win out. The second encourages us to look forward and ride the new wave of vertical markets. Small static sites are becoming a thing of the past. Ahmed Bilal wants everyone to stop bashing Google. Not because he feels the need to defend them, but rather because it’s never a good strategy to get all your traffic from one source that will always come with some risk of going away..

If you only had $100 how would you promote your new blog. Jeremy says it’s all about your rss subscribers. He shows us how to determine the value of each new subscriber so we can determine how best to spend that c-note. Patrick has 3 ways you can get both money and traffic from Google Gadgets and Maki searched the writings of Markus Frind to discover how the Plenty of Fish AdSense millionaire made those millions.

Search Engine News

A few weeks ago Gord Hotchkiss interviewed some big industry names on how the search interface might look in 2010. Part 2 looks at mobile search and search advertising.

Google will soon start displaying AdWords ads through mobile search. The good news for advertisers is they won’t have to pay for the clicks until at least sometime in November. It wouldn’t surprise me, though if they adopt a similar policy as they did when they extended the freebies and were willing to lose money to promote Google Checkout.

Andrew Goodman looked at Google’s contextual ads and discusses that while the ads are showing their age everything will still be ok for Google. Bill discusses research papers on how Google might extract facts from web pages to use in a variety of ways, such as search results and Q&A services.

What would you do if you were Google? David Naylor let everyone know what he would do. If you were making decisions at Google I would hope you could prevent things like the recent timeout for Googlebot. That simple timeout might just have some far reaching consequences in a butterfly effect as Donna Fontenot points out. Maybe you’d be responsible for making things better. Matt Cutts talks about the improved data search that’s now part of Google’s advanced search options. Or perhaps you’d get to be like Sep Kamvar and be responsible for iGoogle and personalized search.

It didn’t take long for the rankings to change in Google News once they started hosting content by the Associated Press. Philipp Lenssen has the news on the leaked video that shows what Google may be planning for Reader. By backing Google Apps tech consultancy, Capgemini, struck a small blow to Microsoft Office. But I thought Apps wasn’t competing with Office. Google is everywhere and now they’re pushing their way further into the solar system. They’ll be sponsoring a $30 million competition for the private sector to make an unmanned lunar landing and send images back to Google.

Googlebombing has always been more of a practical joke, until now that is. A young Polish man may be serving time in jail for getting president Lech Kacynski’s site to rank for a word he’d prefer not to rank for. And Google themselves might be breaking the law in Canada with some of the images that end up in Street View.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Yahoo remains on a cautious course despite investors growing impatience. Perhaps they should have been more cautious with new acquisition Right Media. The new company brokered banner ads that appeared on MySpace and Photobucket and unfortunately also included a trojan back door. Perhaps Yahoo should have hired some of the developers from Hack Days. Yahoo MapMixer is the newest product to emerge from the open forum for developers. Maybe they could get those developers to take a look at how easy it is to get a listing removed in Yahoo Local too.

One strategy for Yahoo is to build their social properties more. This week they worked out a deal to serve ads to Bebo joining Google and MSN who have similar deals with MySpace and Digg. Loren Baker points us to some Yahoo trademarks, which seem to indicate that Yahoo is working on some social networking and telecommunications services. Yahoo acquired news aggregator Buzz Tracker leaving some to wonder why they didn’t go after Techmeme. And Bill looked at some videos of Yahoo Chief Data Officer, Usama Fayyad that discuss how data mining could lead to more effective advertising on Yahoo and social media in general.

MSN/Live Search
Microsoft upgraded the adCenter interface to positive reviews. They offered their take on the Capgemini Google deal saying it’s good for competition (but, Google isn’t competing, remember). Google may be the top brand, but Microsoft still comes out on top for time spent on a given domain. Get ready. In less than two weeks, on September 26th, Live Search is going 2.0. And Bill discusses a Microsoft patent for relating some queries to specific and timed events.

Eric Enge interviewed Ask’s Gary Price about the topic of mobile search and Ask joined Google in offering embedded maps through Ask City.

It’s feeling much more fall like as the week becomes the weekend here in Boulder. A good weekend for football and a reminder that the baseball playoffs aren’t too far away. I’ll be watching both as I try to sneak in a few hours of work. I hope you have a good weekend wherever and whatever. Happy reading.

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