Archive for August, 2011



22
Aug
11

What Would One-Page Google Results Mean for SEO?

We came across this article at Web Pro News yesterday and it really got the old “what-ifs” rolling.

Google May Start Serving All Results On One Page: Good for SEO?

The gist of it is, some folks have spotted what look like some test page layouts that may indicate Google is thinking along the lines of a single, infinite scrolling search results page.  First, to be completely accurate, Google have not indicated in a direct way that they plan to do this anytime soon. The page layout stuff they appeared to be testing are things like sticky navigation—so no matter how far down the page you scroll, the left nav and the search box (and maybe even the AdWord ads) stay in same places. That change would effectively make an infinite single-page results page possible.

What’s not addressed is how they would manage to load those results cleanly, or how much of your browser’s cache they’d use, or whether they’d use all that new page real estate to increase the number of AdWords displayed, or just what they’d do.

Nevermind. All we’re interested in here and now is what effect on SEO all this might have. Here are a few things that popped into our infinitely scrolling minds:

  • Every website would now be—at least technically—on the first page of Google’s search results. The only way to judge success would be keyword rank. And we hate keyword rank. A lot of marketing copy would have to be changed….
  • Would it change search engine user behavior? Currently, the vast majority of searchers rarely go past the third or fourth result anyway. But if there were millions of results on page one, might that encourage folks to go a little deeper?
  • What if they also added more sort features to the ones they have now (price sorts, alphabetical sorts, geographic sorts—all sorts of sorts are possible). Would that not make the job of SEO really, really, really hard?
  • And what would happen if you searched “www”? Would the internet explode?

Just a few thoughts. We’ll let you know if we hear anything else.

19
Aug
11

Friday’s SEO Site of the Week

Found an interesting list of advanced SEO techniques. Some, we wouldn’t actually call advanced, really, but much good info here.

30+ Advanced SEO Tactics, Techniques and Resources (55+ Links)

Since we just got done with some skanky furry giant-nasty projects that seemed kind of random, we’ll give them a random assortment of stuff.

<

18
Aug
11

The SEO Value of Social Media

Doe you like me? Do you really, really like me?

Okay, then, where were we? Oh, yeah. We’re talking about SEO. Today, let’s devote a few pixels to the question at the front of every online marketeer’s overworked brain:

Does social media have an SEO value?

This question is important for two reasons: 1) The trendy popularity of social media means scarce marketing resources are being diverted from traditional SEO; and 2) The ROI for social media advertising has been very difficult to quantify. (Is there measurable ROI from social media campaigns? That, friends, is a posting for another day.)

The answer makes a difference. If a company’s social media efforts adds value to the SEO campaign as well as deliver at least some direct revenue generation, well, maybe that’s enough to justify transferring the budget.

So does it?

Meh. Depends on who you ask. Whenever something new-ish comes along to capture the hearts of MarCom execs everywhere, a circus-ful of promoters and cheerleaders quickly develops. Happened with banner advertising, happened with pay-for-placement, happened with rich media, and now it’s happening with social media. Google “SEO value of social media” and you’ll get a hella lot of “yes” votes, mostly from companies and consultants trying to get you to buy their social media package.

But there are also some “not-so-sure” votes and even some “noes.” What are the facts and what are the spins?

FACTS

  • All the major social media venues (re Facebook, Twitter, Digg, et al) only publish links with “no-follow” tags. Meaning links you post in FB, Twitter, etc, do not directly count as links for page authority.
  • At least two of the majors, FB and Twitter, suggest that they do count social popularity indicators when they figure page authority. (See this SEOMoz post for specifics.) Although whether or not these ranking elements count as high as, say, link authority is very much up for speculation.
  • Return on investment from social media advertising has been roughly on a par with banner advertising. Which is to say “decent for branding campaigns, but iffy for sales and leads generation.” Which is also why it is in social media titans’ interests to claim an SEO benefit to offset the underwhelming ad performance. (ClickZ take on it all.)
  • Social media titans desperately want your advertising dollars. Facebook, for instance, is flirting with an IPO early next year—and if they rake a billion dollars profit from advertising this year (Business Week), it will surely have an “upward influence” on their valuation. Meaning that they (and the other social media venues) have a serious vested interest in convincing folks that their products add value.

SPINS

  • Because the actual ranking value of tweets, retweets, twits, and twattle is complete speculation, declaring that “there is an SEO value to social media” at this point is a lot more like a mantra ( I do believe in ghosts, I do, I do, I do) than a solid reason to throw the weight of marketing budget into it.
  • Because advertising firms are competitive and always trying to come up with new ways to attract advertising dollars, they will always jump on any hype-wagon that rolls into town. Social media happens to be a big ‘un. So believe all the “well, even if there isn’t any measurable ROI, at least it’s good for SEO” chatter you want. Just make sure you’re carrying a very large hunk of salt.

So. The ultimate answer to our original question then is clear.

Yes, there is probably at least some SEO value to social media marketing.

And

No, it’s probably not enough value to justify short-changing your SEO budget.

17
Aug
11

SEO Comics: CEO View of SEO, Part 16

SEO Comics

From now on everybody's salary will be directly tied to the performance of specific keywords. Except mine of course....

SEO Comics: CEO View of SEO, Part 16

10
Aug
11

Busy as a ________

Beware! Two-headed Weasels!

So, we’re up to our armpits in two-headed weasels for the rest of this week and about half of next. Guess y’all will have to do without the wit and wisdom of Eugene for a bit. Promise we’ll be back as soon as we get these bloody things off.

08
Aug
11

5 Optimization Targets Most People Miss

Whenever somebody asks an SEO pro to tell them the most important page elements to optimize, they usually get something like “titles, <h1>, alt tags, body text.” Which isn’t wrong. Those are definitely worth paying attention to. When push comes to shove, if you’ve got your titles and <h1>s lined up, you’re doing better than many.

That doesn’t mean you can do those things and forget it though. Not if you want to succeed at search marketing. Today, competition for ecommerce business is hotter than ever. Any business website worth a nickle has done their basic optimization. That means the battle comes down to off-site tactics like backlinks and old-school promotion and maybe—just maybe—gaining any on-page edge you can. And that is where the devil’s details come to the fore.

Here are some page elements that by themselves won’t count for a hell of a lot. But taken together (and combined with all the other stuff you can come up with) they just might be the edge you need to go from Google #10 to #2.

  1. Image file names. Ah, and you thought it was good enough to put in a few alt tags.  Nope. Make sure every useful visual element uses a keyword variant in its file name. (By useful, we mean don’t worry about design graphics like lines, bullets, spacers and the like.) Don’t worry about hyphens—people don’t have to read these, just spiders. So instead of “image-00203032.jpg,” use “disposablerazor10pack.jpg.” This, along with the alt tags, will help Google’s Image Search find your pretty pictures. And at the same time, pump up your page rank.
  2. Image captions. Captions are an awesome way to improve your site’s accessibility. Most text readers look for alt tags when trying to describe an image—that’s what the alt is for, after all—but why not take an extra step and get another opportunity for related keywords? Just don’t make the alt tag and caption the same. Variation is the spice of life.
  3. Folder names. The best time to start your SEO is when you first start designing the website’s architecture. It always pays to think ahead, and here is no exception. If you know the keywords you want to target, you can name all of the folders (and database records) with them. This pays big dividends. It is, however, somewhat difficult to do in a retrofit. Not impossible. Just difficult. If you do try to retrofit your folder naming conventions, be very careful to check for broken links throughout the site when you’re done.
  4. Link title tags. Did you even know you could do these? Lots of folk don’t But you can, you can! Like so: <a href=”http://mysite.com&#8221; title=”disposal razors cheap”>Disposable Razors R Us</a>. Used on links to important internal pages, title tags can be a reinforcing element when the spider reads your link text. Again, no exact repeats.
  5. Menu heads. When you build a modern CSS pull-down-or-out menu system, you get to use whatever HTML elements you want to identify the menu’s properties. The right and proper way to do lists of links in a menu is the HTML list element, of course. You know, <ul><li></li></ul>. Works great and is easy for spiders to parse. But if your menu system has headers (see image) you can use an <h> tag to define them. <H2> would be a good choice. (Sure, you could define them all as <H1>, but there’s only supposed to be one of those per page.) This tactic gives them a little extra weight when the Googbot comes a’callin. As always, use good keywords.
Menu head illustration

See? The menu head is that one thing up there in a menu that may not even be a link.

05
Aug
11

Friday’s SEO Site of the Week

This week, we’re going with a fellow SEO blogger with a funny name, Beanstalk.  It’s really an SEO provider company’s blog, designed to draw visits and customers to their site and to give said site an SEO boost, but you can’t hold that against them if the blog is otherwise useful, as this one is. Wow, what a crappy sentence. Anyway, check ’em out. Just know that we’re not actually recommending them as an SEO company (don’t know them well enough for that). We just like the blog.

Beanstalk’s Blog

Give ’em a three clicker.