Archive for June, 2011


Friday’s SEO Site of the Week

This week, we uncovered a little mini-site inside a an old pal, SEOMoz. SEOMoz conducted a survey of SEO industry professionals, asking them what they thought the most important search ranking factors were, how they thought those factors interacted, how they stacked up importance-wise, and more stuff like that. They then took all that data, turning it into a slew of colorful charts and graphs, and made a very interesting report out of it.

We think that this is about the coolest thing we’ve seen all year.

If you want to know what the experts think works for SEO now and into the future, read

2011 Search Engine Ranking Factors

We give it a big round of applause.


SEO Comics: CEO View of SEO, part 7

SEO Comics

SEO Comics: This is America, right? We can stuff keywords, cloak pages, and buy links if we want to.

CEO View of SEO part 7


What Makes Content “Good”?

With the recent Panda Update, Google has stimulated a strategic shift among web professionals that we believe is long overdue. By claiming that their intention was to improve the quality of the internet by rewarding “quality” content, Google changed the overriding question facing the SEO from “how can we game the backlink system?” to “how can we generate a ton of quality content?” Which, we believe, makes for a much more interesting game.

With a tremendously interesting side-effect: the overall improvement of the internet.

That is, as long as SEOs continue to play this game the same way they’ve started. A quick unscientific  survey of Craigslist ads shows a measurable uptick in classified advertisements for website writers (31,500 in the last week compared to 2,800 for the same week a year earlier). Some of that can be attributed to the painfully slow economic recovery, of course, but if you don’t think there’s a connection to Panda, why do you think so many of the ads specifically use the word “content”?

Every SEO company we know has been actively pushing the new model of more content, but quality content.

Which really  begs the question: just what the hell makes content quality?

Here’s our quick checklist.

  • Does your web content have a clearly discernible point?
  • Is your content interesting, amusing, controversial, and/or useful?
  • Is your content written in a style accessible to the audience for which it is targeted?
  • Does your content use a reasonable facsimile of grammar and spelling?
  • Does your content make sense?
  • Is your content displayed in an organized manner, with appropriate headings, subheadings, bullet lists, images, and emphasized text?
  • Is your content unique to the page it’s on?
  • Does your content add anything to the overall value of the page? The website? The industry? The internet?

Okay, to be realistic, backlinks still count for a lot and probably will far into the foreseeable future. But if Google’s dominance holds sway—and they continue to call the shots—all the backlinks in the world won’t help you if your content sucks.


Another SEO Infographic

Last Monday we showed you a pretty sweet infographic representation of SEO. So why not continue? Here’s another we found at Search Engine Land, The Periodic Table of SEO.



Friday’s SEO Site of the Week

This week, we’re going back to the old Google mine for another bit of essential SEO. This one is vital to any web site that has a local component.

Google Places

If you don’t know already, Google Places is kind of like a Yellow Pages ad that shows up when someone searches [keyword] and/or [your industry] + [your location]. You’ve seen Google Places listings—they’re the results listings that show up next to a local map full of flags. And it doesn’t matter if your bizz is number one for your money  keyword, if you don’t show up in the Places listings, you’re still way down the page.

Places isn’t quite like regular search results. You have some control over what people see. You can open an account (usually associated with a Gmail account) and enter your business details just the way you want them. You can upload photos or videos. You can list hours of operation, specials, whatever.

The only catch to all this is you have to prove you are the rightful owner. So, you fill everything out, and submit, and Google says “Prove you are the owner.” They will either make an automatic phone call to your listed phone number with a PIN code, or if you prefer, they will mail the PIN in a postcard to your business address.

That’s all there is to it. It’s free. And if you want to do internet business locally, it is absolutely necessary.

We’ll give it some clicks.


SEO Comics: CEO View of SEO, part 6

SEO Comics

SEO Comics: The MBAs in MarCom are sending over a list of mission critical keywords like Nike and women's feet.

CEO View of SEO part 6


cthulhu is your special SEO friend

Remember Squidoo from a few Friday SEO Site of Weeks ago? Well, we were trolling the forums over there when a particular thread caught our attention. It was a plaintive cry for help from a person who was pretty new at all this. They had published some content awhile back, and had grown accustomed to a certain amount of Google search traffic. As a result of the recent “Panda” changes, much of their traffic went away.

I’m sure the poster is a very nice person. Definitely stressed, confused, and angry about losing all their traffic. Which I can relate to. But here’s the thing. We hear that sort of complaint every time Google changes anything. It usually goes something like:

How dare Google take away my traffic! This is an outrage! There should be laws protecting well-meaning web business people like me from these bullies! They should be forced to index my site and return my keyword ranks and traffic to the way they were!

Which is an attitude that has always rubbed us a particularly wrong way. Luckily, this response showed up, and it summed up our thinking pretty cleanly.

cthulhu wrote:

  1. Google does not owe you traffic. You get traffic from Google if Google thinks your site is the best result for some particular query. If you want traffic from Google, do your best to have the best site for search terms that get traffic.
  2. Doesn’t matter what flaws Google may have, they are still the main game. About 70% of all search traffic worldwide comes through Google. This is a fact of life. Perhaps a sad fact, perhaps a happy fact. But a fact nonetheless. You can either deal with it, or you can give up any hope of that traffic.
  3. If your web business model depends on search traffic to survive, it is a very shaky business model. Search traffic comes and search traffic goes. It’s nice when it’s there, but it is not reliable. Never has been. You need to develop other traffic sources if you want long-term success. In-bound links from sites that attract people who might be interested in your site also. Email campaigns. Content that is useful, funny, pretty, entertaining, exciting, interesting, cute, whatever enough that folks will show up no matter how they find you. If you make content that web users find attractive they will come. And you know what? If you do that, and people find your content useful in some way, odds are very good that the search engines will too.

We would also add this: Google is not, nor should it be, a public utility. It is a corporation, run for the benefit of its shareholders.

Okay, we’re not sure about all that business about depending on search traffic. After all, if you run a web business, you should definitely plan to draw a large percentage of your drop-in traffic from search. But the rest, we think, is true. Don’t put all your eggs in the search basket. If you start getting good Google traffic, don’t just sit back and relax. Don’t assume it will last past tomorrow.

And mainly, don’t blame Google. It’s their game, and if you wanna play, you have to acknowledge who’s dealing the cards.