When July rolled in I had every intention of dedicating This Month In SEO to independence. The United States, France, and Canada all celebrated independence days early in the month, but sometimes events happen that change your plans.
By now I’m sure you’ve heard that two of our own have fallen in love and agreed to spend their days together. Bill and Kimberly, this post is dedicated to you both. I can’t think of two people more deserving.
Now on with the show.
What’s the value in social media? Are you better getting 1,000 visitors from social media or search engines? Which brings more quality traffic? Many will probably tell you the smart road to success is consistent organic growth, whiles other will insist social media is the key. If your aim is the latter what traits will you need to market yourself through social media and how can you promote yourself without doing too much promotion?
- SEO vs SMO – Traffic Quality Put To The Test
- Organic Traffic Building: The Only Way To Grow A Sustainable Web Brand
- What Traits Define a Social Media Marketer?
- How To Promote Yourself on Social Sites Without Actually “Promoting Yourself”
Can you cheat your way to the front page of Digg? Cracked.com seems to think so in their tongue-in-cheek way. Of course Cracked.com does have success making the front page and Maki took a look at the template they use for crafting Digg friendly content.
Does Digg really offer a level playing field? Maybe what you need is a network of diggers to increase your odds of making it to the top. And if you’re going to build a network of diggers you need to speak the language of Digg.
So Google didn’t buy Digg and rename the company Giggle. It was still fun to speculate how the combined company would have changed things.
- Digg This!: 7 Cheats for Hitting The Front Page of Digg
- How to Create Digg-Friendly Content: Cracked.com’s Template
- How to Level the Playing-field With Digg
- The Ultimate Guide To Decoding Digg Speak
- The Google-Digg Prophecy – 5 Ways a Deal will Change the Internet
Social media is about starting conversations and building relationships. Remember to read between the lines and take some time to realize what you might be saying between those same lines. What’s unsaid is often as important as what is said. Are you following the herd or are you willing to let your ideas lead the discussion? Seriously, when you get down to it social networking isn’t all that different from trying to get your date in bed.
- Relationship Building – 6 Tips For Working in Social Media
- What Are You Saying Between the Lines?
- Social Networking – Herd Mentality – A Case Study
- Sex, permission marketing and social media – The ultimate Ménage à trois
Others try, but Twitter is still the king of micro blogging. Sure, you can engage in conversation, but Twitter is still a one way monologue at heart. That’s not to say you can’t build relationships through Twitter. You can even if you’re just a beginner. Perhaps the best news for Twitter is their recent purchase of Summarize. Could it be that Twitter now has a business model and does that mean we’ll see the fail whale a little less often in the future?
- Why Twitter Will Always Be King Of Micro-Blogging
- The Twitter Monologue
- Don’t Miss the Post Conference Twitter Networking Effect
- Twitter for Beginners – 5 Things to Do as a New Twitter User
- Twitter Buys Summize For About $15M: Gets Search – And Maybe A Business Model
As Twitter is to micro blogging, Plurk is to micro forums. The community is more welcoming and designed to promote dialog as opposed to monologue. Plurk is the smaller network at the moment, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s quietly achieving while others are whaling. So what insights have early plurkers learned and shared
- Plurk Brings Micro Forums, Like Twitter Brought Micro Blogging
- Plurk: A Welcoming Microblogging Community
- Plurk 1 Month In – Small Can be Good
- Plurk Update: the quiet achiever
- Insight Into the World of Plurk
Traffic doesn’t mean much if it bounces right away. You want your traffic to stick. In order to get your readers to stick around you first need to hold their attention. If done well you may even find your readers participating and interacting more. Naturally you want your visitors to subscribe and become readers, but do you know how to measure what’s getting them to sign up? What’s your subscriber conversion ratio?
- 21 Ways to Make Your Blog or Website Sticky
- Three Sticky Ways to Hold Reader Attention
- Blogging Tactics: Tips for building reader participation
- Ratio Analysis for Bloggers 1: Subscriber Conversion Ratio
You’ve likely heard that guest blogging can be an effective way to build your subscriber base. It can also enhance your search engine presence and help grow your social networks. But does it really work? You bet it does if you’re properly motivated and align your guest posts with your goals.
- Using guest blogging to enhance search engine rankings
- Building killer social networks via guest blogging
- The guest blogging bonanza: My motivations (Part 1)
Promote all you want, but your blog’s success still relies on your content. Don’t worry about word count, but do make sure you say something. It can be surprisingly simple to persuade and by following a few tips your blog will have all the signs of producing effective posts. You can’t miss.
- How to Say Nothing in 500 Words (A Lesson on Writing)
- The Deceptively Simple Steps to Persuasive Writing That Works
- Nine Signs of an Effective Blog Post
- 7 Unmissable Tips For Writing Great Content For The Web
You can avoid common mistakes and make your blogging stronger through bullet points. You can boost productivity with a template and learn by actively watching what other bloggers do. But in the end, it don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing. Your blog either has it or it doesn’t
- 12 Common Blogging Mistakes To Avoid
- Five Ways That Strategic Bullet Points Make You a Stronger Blogger
- Boost Your Blogging Productivity With Post Templates
- Bloggers: Watch and Learn
- The Duke Ellington Guide to Copy That Swings
Are you using WordPress yet? Many businesses are, not only as a blogging platform, but as a full CMS. Still using Blogger? You have my sympathies. You also have some instructions for migrating to WordPress. Don’t stop with the migration though. There are some things you might want to do shortly after installing WordPress to make your blogging life easier and your blog running smoother.
- WordPress Infiltrating Business
- How to Migrate Blogger Powered Blogs to WordPress
- WordPress Tips + Things You Can Do After Installing WordPress
You don’t need to be an database administrator to run your blog, but it’s still a good idea to become familiar with your DB. At the very least make sure to back up your database by sending it to your gmail account. With a few plugins you can simplify the administration of your backend and like it or not the popularity of WordPress makes it a target. Make sure to lockdown your WordPress installation to prevent unwanted breakins.
- Bloggers, Get Familiar With Your Database
- The Perfect Hands-Free Database Backup
- WordPress – Clean Up Your Backend
- The Ultimate Hacker Prevention Guide
WordPress installed? Check. Administrative details accounted for? Check. Now let’s have some fun. Are you up for developing your own magazine style theme? No? How about starting with your sidebar?
What makes for an effective sidebar and did you know you can display different content in your sidebar on different sections of your site? Still more than you want to tackle? How about making sure all links to your feed are pointing to the same place? They are? Good. Then why not simply code your links so they’re all styling.
- How to Make a Magazine Style Theme for WordPress
- Effective Use of Blog Sidebars
- Enhanced Sidebars with Dynamic Content
- Update the Feed Links on Your Header Section
- Even Links Can Look Good
Design And Development
Navigation can make or break your site’s usability and effectiveness It can be a challenge to get right, but it’s worth it. It’s possible a few simple changes in your ecommerce navigation can lead to a significant increase in conversions. And how you architect your site can impact how well your pages and site rank. You may even be able to let search engines know which parts of a specific page are more and less important for them to take into consideration.
- Blog Navigation and the Ongoing Challenges that Arise
- Ecommerce Top Level Navigation | Lessons From the Top 10 E-Retailers
- Architecting Web sites – Design from the SEO perspective
- Architectural SEO – Website Navigation Principles
- Which Sections of Your Web Pages Might Search Engines Ignore?
If you’re not yet developing with css and designing to standards, please enter the 21st century. CSS is not the latest thing. It’s a better way to develop websites. I know, I know, some browsers don’t want to cooperate, but there are plenty of tips to solve the most common css headaches.
You’ll find working with lists invaluable, especially when it comes to coding your navigation and as you find yourself reusing more and more blocks of code from other projects you can put them together into your own css framework.
- Opera Web Standards Curriculum
- Solving 5 Common CSS Headaches
- CSS-Styled Lists: 20+ Demos, Tutorials and Best Practices
- CSS Frameworks, just make your own
Can everyone use your site? Do you know how it looks in a screen reader? Will everyone see the same colors you do? We all know making our sites accessible is the right thing to do. At least we should know. Knowing it’s right and understanding how are two different things. Fortunately Yahoo is helping developers simulate the experience of a disabled surfer.
Accessible design isn’t as hard as it first appears and you don’t have to lose your mind in the process. Remember, though, that accessible design isn’t SEO even if the two often overlap.
- As Seen By The Color Blind
- Yahoo Champions Internet Accessibility for the Disabled
- Designing an Accessible Site Without Losing Your Mind
- Web Accessibility is not SEO
Depending on your perspective web design either got a whole lot better or a whole lot worse when Adobe announced they were helping search engines index Flash content. More to the point don’t expect much to have really changed.
Indexable Flash is a good thing, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. You’re still better off using it as you always have, in limited doses. Flash isn’t as bad as some would have you believe, but it isn’t always good either. If you’re going to use Flash understand the pros and cons and use it appropriately.
- Adobe Advances Rich Media Search on the Web
- Improved Flash indexing
- Google Now Crawling and Indexing Flash Content
- Google Now Crawling Adobe Flash Files, Ruins the Web in the Process
- Bruce’s Guide to Appropriate Use of Flash
- Don’t Build Your Web Site In Flash
- Flash and SEO – Compelling Reasons Why Search Engines & Flash Still Don’t Mix
- Search-Friendly Flash?
- Adobe you just don’t get search!
- Flash SEO Indexing Revisited Part 1
Links matter. We know that. We also know that all links are not created equal. Who links to you and how they link to you say a lot about your reputation. Do you know what your reputation is? If good links offer a better reputation for you, what exactly is a good link?
Are paid links good? Google doesn’t think so, but does Yahoo feel the same? Does anchor text increase relevancy? How about directories? Are there still good ones out there? And once you’ve finally figured out which pages will give you the best links should you get more from that same page or move on to the next?
- Search Engines and Link Reputation: What’s Yours?
- What are Good Links, Anymore?
- Google vs. Yahoo on Paid Links
- Yahoo Patents Anchor Text Relevance in Search Indexing
- SEOMoz’s Trifecta – Used to Rank Quality Directories
- Google counting only the first link to a domain – rebunked
Too much of a good thing isn’t so good after awhile. Same for links. You want to diversify your link profile so it’s more natural. Keyword research can help and so can a greater understanding of how to search. Through the power of search queries you can identify where the best links come from. It’s time to start collecting your favorite queries to find those known, quality linkers.
- Using KW research to diversify link profiles
- The Power of Search Queries for Link Building: The Basics and Beyond Part 1
- The Power of Search Queries for Link Building: The Basics and Beyond Part 2
- Link Building Search Queries Collection
- Getting Links From Known, Quality Linkers
Would you trade a smarte car for a link? Depends on your perception and the authority of the link. Maybe you’d rather build links by giving away widgets. Be careful though or you could find yourself in trouble with the widgetbait police. Yes your content is important, but you still need to get the word out. How do you reach the messenger who’ll spread the word for you?
- Trade You A Smarte Car For A Link
- Trickle Down Link-O-Nomics : Reaching the Messenger
- Widget Optimization Demystified – 16 Experts Weigh In
What’s the best way to learn SEO? Has How would you advise someone to learn SEO in 2008? Would you share some of your favorite analogies? Would you show them how to improve their ranking through content management?
Maybe what they need to know is how to identify how many pages of their site Google has indexed despite the seeming 1,000 page results barrier. Once they can see all the indexed URLs that don’t need to be there they could use a robots.txt file to block some of the duplicate content.
- Learning SEO
- How to learn SEO in 2008
- What Are Your Favorite SEO Analogies?
- 5 ways to improve rankings through content management
- Cracking Google’s 1,000 Page Barrier
- Robots.txt Tutorial
SEO shouldn’t be entirely automated, but there are a wealth of online tools available to help you collect data about keywords and links and most anything else that can be measured. If you prefer you can get some of the same functionality by installing a few Firefox extensions.
One tool that became more useful this month was the Google AdWords Keyword Tool as it began showing numbers. But are those numbers really as useful as they first seem?
- Online SEO Tools – the Ultimate Collection
- 20+ Must-Have FireFox Search Plugins for SEOs
- Google’s Keyword Tool Now Showing Search Volume Numbers
- Why The Google Keyword Tool Is Useless For SEO, Even With Exact Numbers
One of the best ways to learn SEO is to talk to those who have been at it awhile with proven success. Fortunately we can do that this month as some of those successful SEOs happily responded to questions asked of them. For your enjoyment and education here are interviews with Aaron Wall, Tood Malicoat, Michael Gray, and David Harry.
- RedFly Interview With Aaron Wall Of SEO Book
- Eric Enge Interviews Aaron Wall
- The SEO Adrenaline Junkie, Interview with Todd Malicoat
- Interview: Michael Gray on Link Building and SEO Intervention
- Monday Interviews with Dave Harry aka TheGypsy
Business And Marketing
You can’t have a site without first buying a domain. Ok, you can, but not if you want the site to be taken seriously as a business. Time to get started on your virtual real estate deals. You might even want to use Google’s content network to determine what a domain is worth to see if you want to invest. You’ll need to decide what to do with those domains and you may want to evaluate running an ecommerce store.
- Where’s the Structure to the Domain Market? Domain Name Funds, Mortgages and Leases
- How To Use The Google Content Network To Invest In Domains
- E-commerce Platform Selection: 13 Areas to Evaluate E-commerce Solutions – Part 1
- E-commerce implementations: 13 areas to evaluate your ecommerce options – part 2
Article marketing has fallen on tough times in some circles. Can it still work? Can it still bring in the dollars or help increase your ebook sales? Are eBooks still a viable business model and if so how to you write and publish one? Think paid content can’t work? Wondering how to sell content when so many give it away free. All that free content and the misinformation associated with it may actually add value to the paid content business model.
- How to Stretch Your Articles into Dollars
- How to Increase Ebook Sales with an Article Marketing Blitz
- The Comprehensive Paint-by-numbers Guide to Writing and Publishing Your Ebook
- Misinformation / Information Pollution Adds Value to Paid Content Business Models
Traffic that doesn’t convert is like holding 4 aces and watching everyone else fold before you can make a bet. It’s not quite as valuable as it could be. Conversions matter and you should be working to improve them. Creating a sense of urgency is one way to get people to take action. Scarcity is another way to increase the perceived value of your offer.
- What Conversion Is, Why it Matters, and How to Improve It
- Why Urgency Succeeds Like Nothing Else In A Bad Economy
If you want people to talk about you it pays to be remarkable. It also helps if you look at how others have managed to get their ideas to go viral and identifying the design patterns they used. The key, of course is to effectively engage people in an emotional way. Before you begin your marketing make sure you understand what part of the tail you’re targeting and if you have what it takes to get through the dip.
- Word-of-Mouth Marketing: It’s About Being Remarkable
- Viral Marketing Review: Using and Identifying Design Patterns
- The Key to Effective Viral Marketing is Emotional Engagement
- The Long Tail and the Dip
Search Engine News
Can we put the Microhoo/Yicrosoft news behind us yet? Probably not, especially as Yahoo’s board is getting ready to meet. What happened in July?
Investigations formally began over the deal for Yahoo to display AdSense. Microsoft doesn’t want to buy Yahoo anymore, but they may be interested in buying Yahoo search. No they don’t want to buy it. Wait maybe they do. Carl Icahn wants them to buy something though for now will settle for a seat on the Yahoo board. Are you keeping up?
So what if Yahoo isn’t selling to Microsoft. They’re letting us play with their search technology so we can build search engines of our own.
Meanwhile, back in Mountain View, Google launched Knol. Some like it some don’t and somewhere in the office of Wikipedia they’re counting the days till they lose all their traffic from Google.
- Google’s Knol Launches: Like Wikipedia, With Moderation
- Google Knol Is Live
- Knol’s Nofollowing Of Links
- Google Knol – Google’s Latest Attack on Copyright
And if you’re tired of all the major search engines you could always give Cuil a try. It looks nice, but you won’t be able to find what you’re looking for. Was the launch just hype or does Cuil really have something to make us pay attention?
I’m not sure how I managed it, but I made it through another post. Believe it or not this one started with a collection of over 250 links, which led me to think it might not make it’s scheduled publication date.
I wish I could say it was the weekend, but we have one more day to get there. The weather looks to be hot, hot, and hotter. We’ve now had 17 staight days with temperatures above 90 here in Colorado, a few of those days topping 100. Oh, how I look forward to the fall.
Enjoy the end of your week and the weekend that follows. Happy reading.
If you liked this post, consider buying my book Design Fundamentals