This Week In SEO – 9/21/07

Autumn, OJ, Barry Bonds? Who should we dedicate This Week In SEO to today? How about Google? Seems fitting, especially as their stock price reached a new high earlier today, closing over $560 a share. Seeing your stock multiply more than six fold in two years? Priceless. Literally. And certainly better than dedicating anything to OJ. Guess we’ll have another trial to watch just as the new tv season is getting underway. Must see tv returns. As always plenty of posts to get to and more at my del.icio.us profile. Now on with the show.

Social Media

Digg moved from social news to social networking when they updated user profiles mid week. Reactions were mixed with some appreciating the new ability to interact more with friends while others preferred the old profiles were happy to be networking on sites like MySpace and Facebook and preferring Digg to remain loyal to it’s social news origins.

Maki looked at StumbleUpon’s sharing features offering reasons why sharing content should be used to build relationships with other users. He also shared tips for doing just that. Patrick interviewed Jon Aizen, CTO of Dapper, a company making it easier to create Facebook apps. Two weeks ago Netscape announced their social news would be moving. Last week they told us it would be moving to propeller.com. This week Propeller went live. Loren was unimpressed, but will still give the new site a chance to grow. Jordan reports on the MySpace launch of contextual ads, which is expected to double monthly revenues for the site.

Blogging

On Monday WordPress 2.3 will be released, but you don’t have to wait to see some of the changes. Aaron Brazell details some of the things we need to know about the latest version. Darren put together a video post about how to choose a niche topic for your blog and is it just me or does Darren come across as the nicest and most down to earth person in the industry. You’ve installed WordPress, chosen your niche, and have been blogging for awhile. Now what? Ahmed puts it all together with 27 tips to improve your blog, such as being unique to stand out.

Creativity is about seeing things in a different way. Brian tells us we’re all creative and it’s not about stepping outside the box. Instead he shows us 10 things we do to build that box around us and how we can avoid that cardboard construction in the future. Scott took a different look at popular topics and has reasons why you may not want to be the 50th person writing about what’s hot. Mea culpa Scott, but I agree. 4-hour a week worker, Tim Ferris has some uncommon ways to save you time and Mu suggests you should work a little more and not take the weekends off.

Controversy is one of the linkbaiting hooks you might use when crafting a post, but should you aim for consensus instead. Chris thinks it’s really about having an opinion and being able to support that opinion. Both Maki and Sujan think you need to build relationships with others in your industry. Each shares ideas on networking with fellow bloggers.

Design And Development

Is it time for a redesign? How do you know when it is? Christine Churchill asks 9 questions that can help you determine if now is the time. Should you opt for a 2 column layout or a 3 column layout for your site. Michael chose the 3 column layout for Pro Blog Design, but he offers pros and cons for both layouts. Michael also has some code you can use to separate comments and trackbacks in your comment area. Do you know about If-Modified-Since Headers? That’s ok I didn’t either. But Patrick does and he lets us know why it’s important you know about them

Ever since Rand first announced the SEOmoz landing page contest I’ve been eagerly waiting for results. We now have a winner (congratulations Paul) as well as a look at the 10 pages that were tested. The long copy sales page showed again why it’s used so frequently. This post is worth looking at if just to compare each of the 10 entrants and the associated conversions each was able to achieve.

Brian set off an unintentional controversy when he suggested ‘click here’ as good anchor text. Lisa thinks Brian’s wrong and your anchor text should be more descriptive. Joost tells you why the occasional ‘click here’ will help make your link profile more natural. This is really one of those debates that should be a non debate. Your choice in anchor text is context dependent and should take into account your goals for that particular link. Ben Yoskovitz talks about 5 different types of links and which anchor text makes the most sense for each.

Link Building

Justilien Gaspard’s link building philosophy is to think globally and act locally. The small things really can make a difference. Matt Inman may be leaving SEOmoz, but it’s good to know he’s not leaving the industry. Joe Whyte interviewed Matt on linkbaiting. It’s your call when it comes to buying links. Google doesn’t like it, but most will tell you it works, especially if you stay under the radar. Neil stays away from the ethical debate and just gives you some tips about how to get in on the link buying. Though they’re not always included in the discussion many directories are essentially paid links. Rand offers his opinion on what makes for a good directory and why some seem to be penalized by Google.

SEO

You’ve probably noticed there are a lot of seo blogs. With as many people talking about seo as there are is it any wonder there’s a lot of noise. John Andrews looks at a case of bad advice in an entertaining rant to illustrate the seo noise problem. Does the noise contribute to the reputation problem of the industry? Probably. Carsten Cumbrowski looked back at the seo reputation discussion at SES San Jose as a jumping off point for his own thoughts on the subject

Jill Whalen revisited the topic of art in seo with the hope of getting us all to see past the formula seo mindset. One example of where art comes into play is in different strategies for different markets. Micheal Jensen illustrates with a car driving metaphor. Art may also play a part in which search engine you choose to focus on. Google may have the most users, but do their demographics match your target market. Perhaps Yahoo would be a better fit for your search traffic. Ross Dunn looked at the current #2 and shares tips on optimizing specifically for Yahoo. Todd Malicoat sums it up best when he mentions that “good seo is balancing optimal solutions with all the other variables that impact the web.”

Bill looked at patents and papers to update his list of 20 ways search engines may rerank search results. These may or may not be in the algorithms, but they’re probably good to think about and they’re certainly fun to speculate about and debate. Bill’s list inspired Rand into thinking up his own list of ways search engines may rank results. The search engines have their metrics and we have ours. Julie Mason discusses Key Performance Indicators to help you make better sense of all that data your analytics program collects. And Rand used some advanced search operators to uncover as much competitive data as he could from search results.

Business And Marketing

Is it content that’s king? Is it links. Aaron (who should be on vacation) says the debate is flawed and each is only one asset in the battle for attention. I can’t speak for you, but I’ll pay more attention to a source I find credible. Dave Davis discussed 10 factors that you need to keep in mind if you want to stay credible. Controversy brings attention. Michael Gray tells us the key to making controversy work is to have a firm understanding of your market. Understand who you are targeting and who you can alienate.

Mo money, mo money, mo money. How do you get mo money? Raj Dash has 25 tips you can use to maximize your freelance income. You don’t have to be a freelancer to profit from his post. Wendy Piersall recently converted her blog into a small media empire. Ben Yoskovitz offered his thoughts on how she pulled it off and his thoughts may just help you grow a media empire too. And Wendy says the short answer to making money blogging is in advertising. She offered a breakdown of advertising models you can use to monetize your site.

The first step in a conversion is bringing targeted traffic to your site. Patricia Hursh offers tips for writing killer ads. Searchers read your ad and land on your page. Now what? Khalid says one way to increase landing page conversion is to target specific genders. Boys and girls aren’t the same you know. Not enough? Then use the 5 steps Andy Hagans has to triple your conversions. You might need to work harder on the first 4 steps though, since tip #5 involves meeting Andy and PubCon and getting drunk.

Search Engine News

Hitwise reported that Google received 64% of all U.S. searches in August. That’s up from last year, but down slightly from last month. Mu reports on Compete data showing MSN, which had gained market share few months ago, is now back to the status quo. Are you familiar with eye tracking studies? Have you gotten used to the typical ‘F’ pattern associated with search results? You may need to rethink that pattern now that personalized search is here. Gord Hotchkiss reports on the new chunking pattern in search results.

Google
Late last week Google called for international privacy standards and early this week they published a security checklist for webmasters to follow. Ironic then that the day after Google announced they were releasing presentations to Google Docs, Philipp Lenssen found a privacy vulnerability (now fixed) and shortly after Google announced Shared Stuff Philipp discovered a security flaw (no word on a fix yet).

AdSense went mobile and while traveling found their into Google Gadgets. Kevin Newcomb sees success for Google ads if they get vertical.

Your business model and website may merit a reduction in you AdWords quality score. Advertisers naturally reacted, mostly to say this should have happened sooner.

Webmaster Central added new features including subscriber stats. Are coupons on the way? Loren thinks they might be based on some URLs Google registered or transferred recently. It’s time for Congress to get involved with the DoubleClick decision. Will Google get their ad firm? In the end all is good as both Sergey and Larry made Forbe’s 400 list.

Yahoo!
Yahoo! announced an agreement to purchase open source email and messaging producer, Zimbra. They also released MySpace and Facebook clone, Yahoo! Mash. You can now create badges for your favorite Yahoo widgets and Yahoo expanded community moderation to take in steps combating “low-quality questions and answers” on Yahoo Answers. But perhaps best of all is Yahoo Teachers, a research services aimed at making life easier for, you guessed it, teachers.

MSN/Live Search
Live Search went web 2.0 with a new interface and Microsoft gave us a sneak peak at Gastineau, their coming analytics platform. (Am I the only one who thinks of that other Gastineau the defensive end for the New York Jets from the 80’s whenever the name is mentioned?) And Bill wants to know if it’s possible that queries made by one searcher could be used to rerank the results for the next person who makes a similar query. Details can be found in the Microsoft patent application he talks about in his post.

Fall is here, or will be in a day or two. The leaves are turning and if you ever make it to Colorado you have to catch the Aspens before their leaves are completely gone. It’s worth the trek into the mountains. More baseball, more football, and cooler weather are on the calendar for me this weekend. Maybe a little work too. I hope you have a good weekend wherever you go and whatever you do. Happy reading.

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