Links Only Your Mother Could Love – This Month In SEO – 5/08

Who to honor This Month In SEO? Two worthy candidates exist for the dedication of May’s roundup post. Fallen veterans who we honored just a few days ago on Memorial Day and moms who we celebrated a few weeks back. Got to support the troops for all they do, but no way I can ignore Mom. Something tells me I’ll be hearing from her much sooner and more often. So moms everywhere, this month’s post is especially for you.

As usual you can find more content worth reading at either my del.icio.us profile or my StumbleUpon profile. And it’s about time I mentioned my Sphinn profile as well.

Now on with the show.

Social Media

Twitter remains the social networking darling of the moment, though many still have doubts about joining. Are you a small business owner who isn’t tweeting yet? You might not realize why you need Twitter to take advantage of real opportunities for success. More followers usually means more opportunities, so how do you get more followers and build your Twitter presence? Maybe all you need is a few tools to see who’s following you, who you should follow, and what’s being said in the twitterverse about a particular topic.

Is the quality of Digg’s home page declining? And if so why? Could it be that the new algorithm favoring submissions by a more diverse group of users is leading to less overall quality? Could be. Is there a solution? Maybe Digg just needs to listen to the reflections of a recovering Digg addict. Then again quality, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Many in the Digg community would be happy to see core members go, regardless of the perceived hit in quality the site might take.

Speaking of quality content, is there a reason why great content fails to make social media front pages? There are at least 10 reasons why some content doesn’t do as well as it should and if you don’t follow some basic etiquette your submission may prove to be a complete waste of time. Does doing everything right guarantee success? Not according to the occasional skeptical loudmouth who says that social media in general might not be all it’s cracked up to be.

I’m thinking you’re not so cranky and you do believe in social media and understand the value of ‘friends’ on social media sites. Even if the front page isn’t in your future you know that social media can still lead to success. You probably even know that participating in social sites can result in more subscribers, fans, and clicks. But don’t take my word for it, ask social media legend Neil Patel

Blogging

When you write a blog post you naturally hope people will read it, but are they reading all your words? How little do users really read? Why aren’t they reading everything and how much do they actually read? Is the answer to use less words or does the volume of text on your page even matter when it comes to your success?

No one’s reading, but apparently we’re all writing to the point where blogging is no longer a unique business strategy. Unique or not, you probably still plan on blogging so how do you grow your blog? How do you write popular posts? How do you build subscribers and keep readers engaged? How do you make money from it all? A guide (or better two guides) would help don’t you think? Maybe the secret is in developing a blogging routine that works for you.

If you want people to read your post you need to first hook them with your title. Your work doesn’t end at the title, though. Try engaging your readers by quoting others, but do make sure to choose your quotations wisely. Regardless of the length of your post it’s always a good idea to trim the fat. It’s not just your midsection that could stand to be a little leaner. And remember that the success of your post could come down to how you frame your story. Select the wrong angle and no one will care. Select the right angle and your content could go viral.

Want to know how to highlight your comments on your WordPress blog? It’s easier than you think. Change one line of code and then style your comments however you want. Now that your comments have their own unique look think about using them to point your readers to some of your other posts. It’s a knockout strategy for keeping them on your site longer. You could have styled your comments with a plugin, but even if you opt to change the code yourself there are still many seo plugins you can add, including one to handle the various user roles WordPress assigns to registered members of your blog.

Design And Development

The larger your site the harder it can be to maintain. You can ease your workload by following a few crucial tips. One reason for difficult site maintenance is trying understanding all the code you wrote months ago. Why not use a style guide to improve code readability? It might be the difference in no longer being a bad or a lazy coder. No matter how you write your code you will need something to write it in. Sure you can use the generic Notepad, but you’ll probably find one of these 35 code editors more useful.

Coding is only one part of website design. It’s a process to build an effective site and your design project will be headed for success if you take the process one step at a time. What colors to use in your design is a choice you’ll make on every site. How much color do you real need to use? Could less color be the right choice for your project. Give a monochromatic palette a spin. Typographic choices are also important, yet often overlooked. Perhaps some examples of great web typography will get your creative juices flowing.

Your design choices are important. A well designed site will guide your visitors and persuade them to take action. Of course as a field persuasive design still has a long way to go. Perhaps a site clinic is in order. Learn to create a professional design with easy navigation if you want to see conversions increase on your site. Or don’t. But do know that design may just be the next search marketing battleground. If your design isn’t good you may find you aren’t getting the clicks.

Before creating the visual design of your site you should make some decisions about how you’re going to organize your content. (You do have your content written don’t you?) How your content is organized and how your site is structured do play a role in how well your pages rank. The time is now to learn more about your information architecture options. Search engines are looking to understand the various segments of your pages, shouldn’t you do what you can to make it easy for them to understand what your site is about?

Link Building

Does link building scare you? With all the methods for acquiring links are there some you wouldn’t touch with the proverbial 10 foot pole? Afraid to buy links or trade them with other sites? That’s ok. You don’t need to engage in every method of link building in order to gain more links. Maybe some linkbait will keep the terror away. But is any of it really search engine optimization?

I think link building is search engine optimization too, but not all of it. Don’t forget the basics if you want your link juice to taste sweet. Don’t forgot your content either. Before others will link to your site you need to give them a reason to add that link. Your best bet is to create remarkable content. Do remember that while great content attracts links you’d still like to optimize the anchor text if you can. The lack of optimized anchor text could be the Achilles heel of gaining links naturally.

Is it ok to create fictional content in order to quickly build links to that content? I suppose if your a fiction writer it’s perfectly fine. What about for a piece of content that seems to be implying it’s factual? The question has been debated all month and will likely continue into next month. I won’t offer any moral judgments, but I will leave you with a handful of links so you can judge for yourself.

SEO

When targeting keywords should you look to the search head or the search tail? I agree you should be looking toward both. Keywords in the head do drive more traffic, but keywords in the tail tend to lead to more conversions. With a little practice you can learn to write better long tail copy and convert that longtail traffic into sales. Your long tail writing should also lead to traffic you might not have expected as search engines substitute related search terms in user queries.

Is your site growing? Do you know how to compare month over month or year over year traffic in your Analytics program? If you use Google Analytics it’s pretty easy to track your traffic over time. How well is your analytics recording data? How many visitors did your site get this month. The answers might depend on where you locate the javascript code that does the tracking and could lead to different measurement of the ROI of your SEO. Remember that analytics won’t tell you everything, though. Sometimes you have to do the analysis yourself by looking at your web pages through the eyes of an SEO.

How much does Google know about spam? Quite a lot I’d imagine, though probably not everything. Is duplicate content spam? Sometimes, though certainly not always. Too much duplicate content can hurt how well your pages rank, spammy or not. Is it due to a dup content penalty? Maybe, maybe not, but penalties do exist. Google basically admitted there is such a thing as the minus 60 penalty, which raises the question how many penalties are there?

Fakebait wasn’t the only hotly debated topic in the community this month. Shoemoney set off the expected controversy by proclaiming seo has no future. Lot’s of people weighed in on the subject as you’d expect and a few of the reactions are below. I find the whole debate somewhat pointless since most every opinion is based on a different view of the definition of seo. Until we can all agree on what seo is, is it even reasonable to think we’ll agree about its future. Maybe it’s an indication that educational seo standards aren’t such a bad idea.

Business And Marketing

Does being in business automatically make you dishonest? I don’t think so and neither does Michael Fortin. When it comes to marketing I know what I know. What do you know and what should every good marketer know? One thing you may or may not know about is the gulf between passion and pop. You can appeal to the passionate or you can appeal to the mainstream, but can you successfully appeal to both?

Do your landing pages load quickly? I hope so, because starting in a few days your page’s load time will affect that page’s quality score at AdWords. It might be a good time to test your pages with and without some slow loading images to see if they’re necessary. Make sure you’re testing the right way. A/B testing could be costing you profits at every step. Perhaps it’s time to try multivariate testing. Testing isn’t just for AdWords, though. You might want to split test the AdSense ads you display to improve your earnings.

Any idea what a #1 ranking on Google is worth to your business? Aaron Wall attempted to figure it out. You know the usual “if you’re only going to (blank) one (blank) this month?” Well this is that link. It’s also a sample of what’s inside Aaron’s seo training course that evolved from his seo book.

How much profit would it take to declare your new ebook a success? Would $2,952 without spending a dime be enough? I’d like more, but if 4 days work resulted in almost three grand I’d consider it a success. If you want those same results you might need to put on a show. After all every successful marketer is really just a storyteller in disguise

Search Engine News

It’s been at least 20 minutes since someone mentioned Microhoo or Yicrosoft so you’ve probably forgotten what’s going on. The deal is off. Or is it? Is Microsoft playing a waiting game? Are they now only interested in Yahoo’s search technology? Is Jerry Yang wishing the original deal went down? Did Jerry make a big mistake holding out for more or will Yahoo be worth $50 a share sometime in 2009? Will Jerry even be in charge this time next month? Not if Carl Icahn has his way.

Does Microsoft need Yahoo? They could just pay us to search. Or maybe they should air some new tv commercials.

With all the talk about Yahoo and Microsoft where does Google go next? Sure they want to keep improving search quality, but do they even need to? Is it possible Google is already untouchable when it comes to search marketshare?

So we’re still living in web 2.0 and we’re somewhere inside of search 3.0, right? Is it too soon for Danny to be gearing up for search 4.0 then? And what happened to all the minor revisions in between? How come no one wants to write about web 2.3.1 or search 3.4.1.12?

Seems that getting an early start on this post today means I’m finishing a little earlier than usual. Who’d a thunk it? Guess it means I can get an early start on the weekend. The weather is looking to be very summery the next few days here in Boulder. Hopefully it’s the same in your part of the world. Good weather or not enjoy the weekend, don’t work too hard, and happy reading.

Download a free sample from my book, Design Fundamentals.

12 comments

    • Thanks Eric. Glad you enjoyed the post.

      By the way I just visited your site and looked through the slide show of your art. Good stuff. There’s a nice variety of styles running through everything.

    • Glad to Kevin. I’ve been reading Blogging Tips for awhile. One of the first blogs about blogging I discovered actually. I think I’ve linked to the site before, but probably not as often as I should have.

      One of these days I’ve been meaning to write some css related posts for you. I could probably write some WordPress posts for you as well.

    • Thanks Garrett. Always happy to share some of the good posts I come across during the month. As long as people keeping finding these roundups useful, I’ll likely keep writing them.

      Thanks for spreading the word too.

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