Friday, January 27, 2006

Whoa Google!

Has anyone seen this?

Today I was listening to SEO rockstars and they were talking about branding, so I decided to look up the word cola, expecting to see www.coke.com as number 1. It was. But what I wasn't expecting was this:
What is this? Is this new? I have never seen this before. The only firefox plugin I have is the google toolbar for firefox. I was signed in to google at the time, but I did the same search when i was signed out and this still came up. For those of you who can't see it, it looks like the word "cola" has multiple meanings and Google is showing top results three of those meanings.

Crazy!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

What Search Engines Want

In my expereince on the worldwide web, I have learned two things.

1. There is a dude that programs the algo-s
2. I'm not him.

However, I have taken away a few valuable observations as to how each of the three major search engines (google - yahoo - msn) rank pages differently. And I will break it down like Hammer now:

Google:
  • Loves links - just make sure they're not reciprocal.
  • Loves title tags
  • Actually... Loves all around optimization of a singular page.
  • Definet sandbox.
Yahoo:
  • Up until July, these cats loved an optimized page. Now they only half love it.
  • Love anchor text - provided it is varied. Love it, love it love. it.
  • Still like an optimized page (good keyword density, good title tag that sort of thing)
  • Don't love pages with no links. In fact. They aren't very big fans.
  • Has the least amount of problems with dynamic pages.
  • Possible sandbox.
MSN:
  • The spammer's dream.
  • LOVE an optimized site, meta tags, h1 tags, all that old-school stuff.
  • Enjoy links, but would rather return pages with the search term in the head.
  • Seems to index the quickest of all three.
  • NO sandbox.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

What will a top listing get you?

When I began with the SEO, I had this problem. I obviously knew that I wanted the top positions in the SERPs but I wasn't sure why. My boss would ask me, what is the difference in CTR between the number 1 result, and the number 7. Or 1 &3. Paid and Natural. I never knew exactly what to tell him. Sooooo I did what I always do when I am asked a question to which I don't know the answer. I researched it. The answers have direct baring on your online marketing mix. This is what I found:

This data is accurate as of February 2005

  • 60% of all searchers clicked on the first three Organic listings
  • 85% clicked on the first three PAID listings
  • 95% of users use Google sometimes or often, while 64 percent use it as their primary search engine
  • More than 92 percent of searchers never use brand names as search terms.
  • A majority of 70 to 80 percent of buyers searched on generic terms, with searches on brand names peaking immediately before purchase.
  • 97% of Google searchers don't click past the first three pages
  • There is a 300% increase in unique visitors when moving from page 2 in the SERPS to page 1.
  • Eye Tracking Study for SERPs

This data has some incredible implications. For example, we can extrapolate from this data that because searchers search on generic terms and because they shop around (clicking in and out of sites) and because generic terms typically cost more than specific ones in paid search that free natural ranking is very valuable. Natural High ranking should be sought after for higher keywords, while brands and more specific keywords SHOULD be targeted with PPC.

Think about it. According to the data which you can find in the links below, a higher percentage of searchers click the top paid listings than the top natural listings. AND when people do search on brand names or very specific terms they are usually about to purchase.

So doesn't it stand to reason that you want to be at the top of the most clicked on part of the page for terms which are likely to have a higher conversion rate? If these searchers are ready to buy and they find a price in their range, they may never even get to natural search. All other things being equal (usability, conversion rates between natural and paid, etc), you want that top spot for those specific terms!

So. Those are my thoughts on the matter. Enjoy them.


References
Googling the bottom line.
Google Stats

Search Engine Acronyms

I've decided to make a list (in order of when I think of them no listed alphabetically) of Search Engine Optimization acronyms that you will more than likely come across in every search forum ever.

SEO: Search Engine Optimization/Optimzer
SEM: Search Engine Marketing/Marketer
BL: Back link
SE: Search Engine
SERP: Search Engine Results Page
PR: Page Rank
PPC: Pay-Per-Click (paid search)
CTR: Click through rate
ROI: Return on Investment


That's what I got right now. Its 9:30. I can't think this early. Back off me!

Friday, January 13, 2006

How to get out of the Sandbox

This could be the most useful post that I ever write.

In 2005 you couldn't go to a forum or listen to a podcast without hearing something about this mythical Google Sandbox. Ontop of which, everone had their own opinion on it. There is no sandbox. There is a sandbox. The sandbox is only for competetive terms. The sandbox won't effective old sites. Blah blah frickin blah.

Well apparently, to all the people who said the sandbox didn't exist, there is a sandbox. If there wasn't a sanbox, there wouldn't be an effective way to get out of it. So there. Call it what you like. So click the title of this blog or the link above me and you will find the way to get out of the Google sandbox as of 1/13/2006.

This method will no doubt be made obsolete in a month or two. Maybe even in a week or two. Or hell, maybe it already is. But it's worth a shot.

The World's Most Not-Famous Celebrity!

I hereby declare Matt Cutts of Google the world's most not famous celebrity. No man or woman in the the history of civilization is more beloved and admired, and put on the world's highest pedestal by SEO people around the world than Matt Cutts. Think about it. Senor Cutts is the King of search. The King.

Well, he's not lying in bed next to me when I wake in the morning presenting me with a meatnormous sandwhich, but he is the king in his own rite.

Honestly though, the search engine industry is heirarchilly set up in such a way that Matt Cutts is the effective Feudal Lord, and everyone else - no matter how B+ list you may be - are all his lowly serf's.

However! Matt Cutts is not famous. In no way is he in the public eye. I mean, if you took a poll asking people of the United States who was more famous - James Lipton or Matt Cutts, I garauntee you James Lipton (inside the acotrs studio - B list celebrity AND professor) would take 85% of the poll. That is of course unless you also gave the option of neither. Now, give that same poll to SEOers and Matt Cutts is the most Famous person on earth, winning 98% of the vote.

The man is simply not famous. Infact, I even think more people would know the name of Bill S Preston Esq. from Bill and Ted's excellent adventure than would know Matt Cutts. It is insane. Absolutely insane.

This has been the worst blog entry ever.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

SEO Podcasts

Recently I got into SEO podcasts. I got into SEO podcasts because, I want to have my own SEO podcast. I want to be ridiculously awesome enough to hear my own voice on itunes. But I digress.

For those of you unaware of what podcasting actually is, download itunes and check it out. Podcasting is like radio blogging. And just like every jackass with an opinion has a blog, every jackass with an opinion can also have a radio show. But also like blogging, there are some genuinely good and educational programs out there - chock full of information - that you can listen to at work without your boss getting pissed. Oh, and they're free.

The SEO podcasts are great because they really keep you up to date on what the smart people are saying. Yes, I know. You thought you were getting all that by just reading my blog. Sadly, you were wrong. I know half of what these cats do, and that's a gross overestimate of my knowledge.

The two podcasts that I listen to are:
SEO rockstars
The Daily podcast

You can find both of them here or on itunes

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

My Two Sense on link building

Now that I've provided you, the reader, with two great blogs that go over link building, I feel incline to throw in my own two sense.

There are a few problems with the posts that I have below this one. The greatest problem is the emphasis on reciprocal link building, and while it does wonders in Yahoo! and MSN, it has been majorly devalued by Google. For example:

On the site that I optimize, those keywords in google whose links were mainly reciprocal, have fallen from the first page, to the third page. THose pages whose links are not reciprocal have stayed atop the SERPS. And as a rule of thumb, anything Google does will shortly thereafter be followed in suit by Yahoo!.

What remains the challenege in link building is finding ways of soliciting large amounts of nonreciprocal links in a relatively short period of time. The best ways to do this is by syndicating content and by offering incentives to web owners other than a link in exchange.

Write press releases, offer to write articles, give discounts or coupons to linkers. What I have done recently (and by me I mean the IT guy here) is syndicated a tip of the day script that anyone can post on their blog or website that just so happens to have a link back to me on it. This way, the linker gets content, and I get a link. Think of a widget that is perfect for you.

Firthermore, for niches not counting web design and real estate and ridiculous things of that nature, blogs are a major untapped resource for links. Does anything that you sell have a hobby associated with it? If yes, then there are sure to be countless blog communities out there, just waiting to link to you.

I do reccomend old sites as mentioned in one of the posts below here. Old sites are usually owned and operate by some old coot that created it as a hobby, and never realized that he/she could make money off of it. These people are more than willing to link to your site.

Link Building Blog

This is an excellent blog all about link builing. That is its sole purpose in internet life. So, as I previously mentioned, link building is absolutely imperative if you want to rank on the first page for any term for an extended period of time. So there you have it.

Here is the link....building

Link Building tim Maximazation

Ok. So for those of you who are unaware. You need to link build. In SEO, link building is a lot like working out. It's a damn pain in the ass, but in the end, you get the really fine ladies. (I should write a book of analogies)

Link building takes a ridiculous amount of time, and is frequently met with failure. You can spend 40 hours link building and only get 40 links. So... its pretty damn tedious. Fortunately, your friend and mine Mr. Ploppy has written a fine blog about how to maximize your time in link building. It's fantastic.

Google is Huge

Just in case you were wondering when a good time to sell your Google stock is. The answer is: NEVER! They just keep getting bigger:

Google Giant

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

I'm just giving you the Condoms - I'm not telling you to use them.

OK. A very odd title for this entry, but well worth it. This is a blog entry that pretty much lists all the black hat (evil get you kicked off the search engines) tools that you can use to get quick and easy rankings. But much like that spell that brought the kid back to life in Pet Cemetery, they come with a terrible curse.

These tools are bad! THey're very very bad! You wanna get banned? Ok well, then, these are the tools for you. If you don't want to get banned, don't use them. Use my white hat tools found a few entries below.

And to use yet another similie, just like public schools only educated kids about contraceptive because they don't want them to use them, I am learning you about blackhat so that you will never give it a try. And if you do give it a try, just like teen pregnancy, you will be out of commision until that kid is 18.
Blackhat SEO

Hilarious!


courtesy of... no one. I stole this without permission!

Speaking of the Future of SEO

This article offers a cool perspective about the future of SEO, and its something that I'm facing down quite often myself. It is very difficult to get top rankings anymore for even three term keywords. Websites are optimizing more and more and more. Reciprocal links (largely the easiest way to build link popularity) have been grossly devalued by jagger (the name of Goggle's last algorithm update). Its becomeing very difficult for the little guys to find their way to the top. And so, with that in mind I have posted this article giving some insite on the future of SEO

Heres a blurb:

SEOs will need to take usability and conversions into consideration when coming up with your search engine marketing campaigns in the future, if they're not already doing this. Therefore, I see there being a much brighter future for those SEOs who are able to make the transition. Whether that means learning all that stuff themselves or partnering with those who do, it's gonna have to get done somehow. Since SEOs are generally the ones "fixing" broken sites, it makes sense for this to become part of their regular job description.

Search Update January 2006

Here is a cool article to give you an idea about how SEO really is, and where it's going as of the new year. I'm sure these numbers will only inflate more. What will burst the bubble? Who knows, but while the internet probably will last forever, search may not. Here's the link to the article the State of Search

And here's a blurb.

Rashtchy is confident enough in his calculations to raise his one-year price target for Google's stock from $445 to $600, which would give Google a market cap of about $175 billion, making it eligible for a position in the top ten of the S&P 100, with approximately the same market capitalization as stalwarts Johnson & Johnson, AIG and Pfizer (though still worth less than Microsoft, at least at current prices.

Ideas on when the bubble will burst? I realize that the INTERNET will go on for a very long time, but will search?