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Social Media Marketing: Google Moderator Adds a New Twist to YouTube

If you are like most ecommerce entrepreneurs, you are constantly seeking ways to improve your social media marketing efforts, and the new Google Moderator might just be an innovation you will want to get in on!

What is Google Moderator?

Here it is, straight from the Google website:

  • Let your audience decide. Get to know your audience by letting them decide which questions, suggestions or ideas interest them most.
  • Everyone’s voice is heard. The voting box at the top of page focuses attention on submissions recently added and on the rise, making it simple and easy to participate.
  • Be creative. Include people in your preparation for lectures, interviews and hard decisions or work together to organize feature requests and brainstorm new ideas.

So, what does this mean for you and any future YouTube videos you make?

Basically, it gives you something that is golden right now in the virtual world of the internet: the ability to allow users to interact! Internet research has shown that online users have a strong desire to interact.

The Google Moderator gives them this option of interactivity. From the YouTube blog:

“YouTube is about starting a conversation. Every day, hundreds of millions of videos spark dialogues on everything from the future of the African continent, to what should be done about the oil spill to the best slam dunk of all time. But until now, it’s been difficult to harness those free-flowing discussions.

That’s why, starting today, we’ve integrated the ability to use Google Moderator into every single YouTube channel. Moderator is a versatile, social platform that allows you to solicit ideas or questions on any topic, and have the community vote the best ones up to the top in real-time. We previously used Google Moderator as part of our interviews with President Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.”

This YouTube video will give you a great understanding of what the Google Moderator does and how to use it:

One of the prime rules for success is to always give the people what they want. Internet users want to interact, so use Google Moderator with your next YouTube video for your online dropship website or other internet business and you’ll be giving your potential customers what they want!

Start your own online dropship business today!

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Getting Long Tail Traffic From Custom Google Maps

long tail searchOne of the neat things about being a small business owner is how creative you can be in your marketing efforts. Earlier this week, local search expert Chris Silver Smith shared yet another long tail search opportunity for SMB owners using Google Custom Maps to try and attract new eyeballs. And it’s actually kind of fun!

A few years ago, Google introduced My Maps, which allowed users to create personalized maps with their own placemarks and area information. It was part of the UGC crazy and allowed people to make maps for virtually anything they found interesting. Once created, map owners could build them out and optimize them by adding descriptive text, photos and video and then share them with others on the Web.

They’re fun. But how can a small business owner taken advantage?

According to Chris, these maps are more than just fun. They’re a great long tail search tactic.

Because of the nature by which most people search, if optimized correctly these custom Maps can receive a LOT of traffic. I moved to Troy, NY a year ago. And when I got here I would often search directly within Google Maps to find local establishments. Google Maps and Yelp was how I found coffee shops with wifi, a salon to get my hair cut, places to eat, etc. I’m not the only one taking advantage of Google’s Search Nearby functionality. Lots of people do it. And if you can hit on something with a large search volume, Google will display your UGC map right along with the regular map results.

Take a look at a search for Catalina Island, CA.

googlemaps

Google is also showing UGC maps on the newly-launched Google Place Pages. And if you’ve filled out a Google Profile, you can drive traffic back to your main site by including a link in your profile.

So how can SMB owners take advantage?

Think of a value-add map that you could create to highlight local areas. Maybe you can create a map of the best date spots in your town, highlighting your restaurant. Or if you’re an independent theater, how about the best places to see a movie? Or the best pumpkin picking spots in your areas? Or all the vendors in town you’d need to plan a wedding?

Often being helpful and creating something that betters the community is an excellent way to brand yourself as an expert in a certain area and expose you to more customers. Because you get to completely fill out (and optimize) the content located within all the Google Maps info bubbles, you’ll also benefit from having more content in Google. Use the keywords that people would be searching for in Google Maps in order to find you, but also think outside the box a bit.

Once you have your idea, create your map following the super easy instructions below:

  1. Go to Google Maps
  2. Click My Maps
  3. Click Create new map.
  4. Add a title and description for your map.
  5. Decide whether the map should be public or unlisted. Public maps are automatically included in Google Maps search.
  6. Use the icons in the top left corner of the map. These include:
    • Selection tool. Use this to drag the map and select placemarks, lines and shapes.
    • Placemark tool. Use this to add placemarks.
    • Line tool. Use this to draw lines.
    • Shape tool. Use this to draw shapes.

Being a small business owner gives you a license to be creative and creating custom Maps is super easy. Use it to your advantage!

From Small Business Trends

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Crawling & Indexing – It’s Not as Simple as Just In or Out

Posted by randfish

Short post tonight as I’m just back from a short trip with Mystery Guest to celebrate our one year anniversary (which was awesome, BTW) and need to get caught up on lots of email.

Let’s start with a quick quiz – which of the following statements is true?

  • A) My pages are in my XML sitemaps file, so they must be getting crawled
  • B) My pages have been crawled, so they must be in the index
  • C) My pages are in the index, so they must be able to show for queries
  • D) None of the above

If you guessed A, B or C, congratulations, you’re part of a large contingent of folks doing SEO who are (rightfully!) a little confused about how the engines might be doing this. I’ve created a quick graphic to help out:

Levels of Indexation

The takeaways here aren’t tremendous, but they can be valuable to help explain to SEO outsiders why pages may not be drawing traffic even though metrics like appearing in your XML sitemaps, showing in Google Blogsearch queries or appearing to be crawled in Google Webmaster Tools suggest they should. If you want to determine if a page (or set of pages) are actually included in the engines’ main indices, there’s only two definitive ways to know:

  1. Perform queries that show the page appearing in the results (without having to use the &filter=0 in the URL string)
  2. Check your traffic logs to see if queries are actively sending the page traffic

This is why I love the metric of # of pages that received at least one visit from search engine X each month. If that number is trending in a positive direction, you can at least rest assured the engine is indexing (and holding onto) your pages.

Comments are strongly encouraged on this topic (particular since I didn’t get to cover it in great detail). Thanks!

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Google Quietly Pushing More Links + Data in Snippets

Posted by randfish

The last 3 months have heralded a bevy of new tests and features from Google’s search results, and it’s worth taking a review of the most frequent of these and examining what it potentially holds for optimization of the future.

The new results types include:

Growth of Rich Text Snippets

Perhaps the most obvious and well-covered, rich text snippets enable certain sites to provide Google with extra “structured” information about their pages and receive data callouts in several formats inside Google’s results.

Google Rich Snippets for Volterra Restaurant Seattle

Google Rich Snippets for Hulu

Google Rich Snippets for YouTube

BTW – Notice how Hulu’s rich snippets aren’t quite as “rich” as YouTube’s? I’m not entirely sure why that is, as Hulu does feature star review numbers just like YouTube.

Google Rich Snippets for LinkedIn

Internal Anchor Links

Google’s been recognizing use of the hash tag (#) in URLs and has taken a new approach of showing these embedded anchor links right in the SERPs as separate callouts.

Google internal anchors for Wikipedia

Google internal anchors for SCNF.org

Google internal anchors for SEOmoz

Google internal anchors for Gmail

This last Gmail result is among the more recent changes Google’s shown with the “jump to” feature embedded inside the snippet (rather than below it).

Page-Specific Sitelinks

Domains have, for a long time, been able to achieve “sitelink” status, whereby important subpages are listed below the main URL, taking up a significant portion of a SERPs’ real estate. Now, Google is offering a similar, though slightly less spacious, piece of real estate to sub-pages on individual internal pages.

Google's Page-Specific Sitelinks for Wolf-Howl.com

Google's Page-Specific Sitelinks for SEOBook.com

Embedded Vertical Results

Several forms of this feature have received mainstream coverage, but the use of embedding vertical data and links, typically with the “+” link, has grown in recent months to encompass data of all kinds.

Google Vertical Results Embed for Intel.com

Google Vertical Embed for TripAdvisor.com

Google's Vertical Embed Data for Scholar on Lehigh.edu results

Google Vertical Embed of Google Book Data in Results

Multi-Page Article Results

One of the least reported (at least in my brief survey of blog posts) effects, this rich snippet format can have a dramatic effect on the vertical space devoted to a listing. It shows for certain types of forum threads & articles where multiple pages are (in Google’s eyes) relevant to the search query.

Google Multi-Page Listings for ForumGarden.com

Google Multi-Page Listings for RetailMeNot.com

What Does this Portend for SEO?

  • Smart, valuable internal anchors may be a good way to get more visibility in the SERPs
  • Attaching vertical data or vertical connections to URLs can earn more visibility (but Google may also take those clicks away as they lead back to other Google properties such as Maps, Finance, etc.)
  • Earning authority to individual internal pages may be a valuable tactic to receive greater eyeball activity in the results (even if your page’s don’t rank #1)
  • Multiple authors and pages on blog/forum style content can attract greater SERPs real estate

I’d love to hear other new kinds of SERPs you’ve been seeing and the impact you perceive on the practices of SEO and content creation.

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Getting Comfy In Google Webmaster Central

One of the best free resources out there for small business owners are the free tools available inside Google Webmaster Central.

If you’re not familiar with GWC, Google provides site owners with free access to a series of tools aimed at improving their Web sites. All you have to do is register your site. Once you do, you’ll be provided with insight into how Google views your site, how your site is performing, which keywords you’re receiving traffic for, any crawl errors you may have, and more. If you haven’t experimented with it, now’s a very good time to start taking advantage of everything Google offers up.

So how do you get started?

First, register your site. As with most things, it takes just a few minutes to sign up and verify to Google that you own your site. Once you’re registered and logged in, you’ll have full access to your site dashboard.

Through your dashboard, you’ll be privy to a lot of very important information about your Web site.

  • Site Configuration: From this section, you can submit a Sitemap to make sure Google knows about all the important pages on your site, specify which pages you want to appear in the search results and which are off limits, remove outdated site links, select a custom or default crawl rate and tell Google if you’d like the www or non www version of your Web site to be the preferred domain.
  • Your Site On The Web: This section gives you information on your top search queries, what you keywords you’re ranking for, where you get the most traffic, who’s linking to what pages on your site, the most common keywords on your site, and where you’re linking internally.
  • Diagnostics: This section will alert you to any errors that may be present on your site. You’ll be able to see if Google encountered any kind of crawl errors on your site, get crawl stats (how many pages are crawled per day and how long Google spent downloading them) and get HTML suggestions straight from Google.

The tools available through GWC really present site owners with a goldmine of information that they use to help themselves and Google better understand what’s happening on their sites. By reviewing the information provided by Google and then acting on it to improve weak areas of your site, site owners can capitalize on traffic, eliminate crawling roadblocks, make spidering easier for Google, find broken links and more.

To stay updated, you may also want to check out and subscribe to the Google Webmaster Central blog. You can also find videos on ways to improve your site on the YouTube GoogleWebmasterHelp channel.

From Small Business Trends

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10 Valuable, Actionable, Take-Aways From the SEOmoz Pro Training Seminar

Posted by Whitespark

This post was originally in YOUmoz, and was promoted to the main blog because it provides great value and interest to our community. The author’s views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of SEOmoz, Inc.

Whitespark is an Edmonton Search Engine Optimization and Web Design Company in Canada

Having recently returned from the SEOmoz Pro Training Seminar Series, I wanted to recap a few of the things I learned, and create a list of actionable items that I need to start implementing in my SEO business. I’m writing this for my own reference, but figure that I might as well write it as a YouMoz post as it could be useful for those of you who couldn’t attend. Of course, what I found valuable and actionable may be different from what other attendees found valuable, so if you attended the seminar it would be great if you could share your top take-aways in the comments. The conference was packed with a ton of useful information, and this list focuses on the items that I’m currently excited about.

Take-Away #1 – Ask For A Link In Order Emails (And Other Customer Communications)

Tom Critchlow suggested asking for a link in your order emails. It’s a genius tactic, and I’m ashamed to say that I have heard this tip a few times before, but haven’t implemented it yet. That’s no good. This is so simple, so easy to do, and potentially so valuable that there is no excuse for not doing it, right now.

If you control the code on your e-commerce sites, then stop reading right this minute, fire up your code editor, and add some kind of version of this text to your outgoing order confirmation emails:

Do you have a website or blog? Link to us! Just copy and paste this code: <a href=http://www.oursite.com>Subtly Optimized Anchor Text</a>

If you don’t control the code, then stop reading right this minute and fire off an email to your dev team.

I just did this on five different e-commerce sites I manage and it took me exactly four minutes and 12 seconds. You do the math and figure out what the ROI is on that, even if it results in just a few extra links.

While you’re at it, think about other places this could be added to. Put it in the footer of your email marketing, put it on your website somewhere, maybe even put it in your email signature. You’ll be surprised what people will do when you tell them to, and “link to us” is a clear and direct call to action.

Take-Away #2 – Use The Top Pages Tool To Identify Your Competitors’ Link Bait And Learn From It

Rand pointed out that you can use the Top Pages Tool (Pro only) on your competitors’ sites to see the pages that have earned them the most links. Run this on a good set of sites in your industry to learn about what kind of link bait content will likely be successful for attracting links to your own site.

Take-Away #3 – Use The Google Adwords Keyword Tool To Identify Keywords That Have High Search Volume, But Low Competition

Ken Jurina from my home town of Edmonton, Canada showed how you can run your keywords through the Google Adwords tool and then sort the columns to identify high search volume keywords that have low competition. Optimize a page of your site for these terms for some easy pickings in the rankings!

Google Adwords Keyword Research Tool

Take-Away #4 – Use The Top Pages On Domain Tool To Find Linked To Pages On Your Domain That Should Be Redirected

This may be old news for many of you, but somehow I missed a great YouMoz post from Richard Baxter where he describes a sweet side-effect of the Top Pages Tool. You can run your domains through it and it will show you all the pages that have in-links, but that are now 404ing. Redirect them and keep that link juice flowing through your site!

301 redirect pages that now 404

You might be thinking that you can identify these cases in Google Webmaster tools, but there are a couple scenarios I can think of where you might not be able to:

  1. You’re analyzing a site for a prospective client where you haven’t been given access to their Webmaster Tools.
  2. When the old domain has been redirected to a new domain. Webmaster tools won’t show you the data if the entire domain has been redirected (I think), but the Top Pages tool will. This is the case that Richard points out in his post. This is awesome because now you can 301 those “lost” pages too.

Take-Away #5 – Use The Competitive Link Finder!!!

Nick just posted about this hot new SEOmoz tool, so maybe you’re already aware of it, but I saw this for the first time at the Pro Training Seminar and it is crazy awesome. Looking for some links? This tool makes it so easy! They have officially called it the Competitive Link Finder, but I like to think of it as the “Link Intersect Tool”. You punch in your domain, and your competitors’ domains (works best with 3 or more competitors), and the tool magically shows you the pages that link to multiple competitors. If they link to a couple of your competitors, then chances are good that you can be included in that list too with a carefully crafted email.

Take-Away #6 – Optimize Your Google Local Listings With these Tips

David Mihm is a great speaker and his talk was full of great info. Here are some of my highlights from it:

  • It’s better to claim your listings manually, even for multiple listings. Google trusts these more as bulk uploads are susceptible to spam.
  • Use Keywords in the Business Title, but don’t overdue it. (I can say from experience that this is a huge LBC ranking factor.)
  • Adding custom categories can be a helpful ranking factor. Use the maximum # allowed. (I have also found this to be a big factor in my own Local rankings.)
  • Citations” are the links of Google Local rankings. Get listed on Localeze, InfoUSA, Openlist.com, etc. Americans should check out this list of places to get citations. Others should check out David’s guides to citations in Canada, UK, Australia, and Continental Europe.
  • You can also identify citation sources by checking the “Web Pages” tab of your competitors.
  • You can use the search engines to find even more citation sources:
    • yourcity, st blog
    • yourcity, st directory
    • yourindustry, st blog
    • yourindustry, st directory
    • yourindustry yourcity, st blog
    • yourindustry yourstate directory

Take-Away #7 – Use the Google Adwords Content Network To Find Sites To Buy Links From Directly

Tom Critchlow mentioned this tip in his talk. Building links can be hard work. If you have more cash than time and want to just buy some links, this is a great tip for identifying potential link sellers. If they are trying to make money on their sites with Adsense ads, then chances are good that you could contact them about “purchasing some advertising”. If you’re willing to walk a grey line, well, then this could be an interesting tip for you.

Take-Away #8 – Enjoy Some Serious Link Love By Becoming A “Green” Business

Also from Tom’s talk, “going green” can be a great way to get some authoritative links! There are a ton of sites out there that will list your business if it’s “green”. Ethical Directory, EcoFirms.org, Guide Me Green, etc. If you’re not green now, then figure out what you can do to be more earth friendly in your business, get a badge and info up on your site about it, and then contact all these sites that list green businesses.

This tip got me thinking about other angles for this. I can imagine plenty of link opportunities for a shoe store that sells “vegan shoes”. I can imagine a pet supply company that donates a portion of its profits to animal shelters. I can probably think of something along these lines for almost any business.

Take Away #9 – Use Seth Besmertnik‘s Market Opportunity Calculator To Help With Your SEO Sales Pitch

Seth Besmertnik‘s talk was super funny, and super valuable. One of my favourites of the seminar for sure. He showed us how to demonstrate the value of SEO, and how to keep an SEO project on track.

You can download his presentation and a number of useful spreadsheets here: How to Win SEO Budget and Influence your CMO. One that I particularly like is the Market Opportunity Calculator. All you have to do is this…

  • Input the list of keywords in Column  B
  • Input Current Rank in Column C
  • Input Global Monthly Search Volume in Column D
  • Input Conversion Rate in Column R
  • Input Average Value per Conversion in Column S

… and the Excel template will produce stats on what your current market share is for those terms, and what your potential market share could be if you had top positions. It also gives you a great looking pie chart that should make the serious ca$h value of SEO very clear to your potential clients.

Chart Illustrating Value Of SEO

Take Away #10 – Start Working On Your Conversion Rate Optimization Immediately

Is it just me, or do many of you also suck at Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)? After seeing Ben Jesson’s presentation on CRO, I felt like I had just received a serious wake-up call to remember why I’m optimizing websites in the first place. I’ve been so caught up with increasing my clients’ ranking and traffic, that I have not been giving nearly enough attention to making sure that the visitors we do get become customers. Sure, I have dabbled in this a little bit by removing extraneous text from my forms, moving the important stuff above the fold, and dropping in a few starburst graphics to get attention, but damn, I have a lot to learn. Fortunately, Ben’s presentation was full of great advice and direction.

There are many things you can and should be doing to better understand your customer’s needs so that you can properly address them on your website. If I had to pick out a few pieces of wisdom from the presentation for you, it would be these:

  • Implement tools on your website to learn from your customers. Find out what their objections are to buying your product, signing up for your service, subscribing to your e-newsletter, or whatever conversion goals you have, and then make sure you address those objections clearly on your site.
  • Get some unbiased feedback on your website (not from your friends or family.) Ben’s tip: ask someone at a café if they wouldn’t mind giving you some feedback on your site. Tell them you’ve just had it redesigned and you’re just not sure about it. Offer to buy them a coffee. One of the best quotes from the seminar was when Ben said something like “The sign of a good usability test is when you’re holding back the tears because they told you the truth about the problems with your site.”
  • Here is a list of good tools for learning about your customers
  • Long sales pages are ok when done right. In fact, they are often necessary to be able to address all the different objections your customers might have about your products or services. Check out the Conversion Rate Experts optimized SEOmoz Pro Page, or the Amazon Kindle Product Page for two very successful examples.

Conversion Rate Optimization has a massive return on investment. Get started on it right away!

Conversion Rate Experts Testimonials

Check out these great articles on the Conversion Rate Experts website, and also sign up for their newsletter. I have been on their list since January, and they do not spam you. They just send you an occasional email every few weeks that is full of good tips.

Well, that covers the top take-aways I can think of at the moment. I am certain that I forgot a few gems, so please, if you attended the seminar, it would be great to get your additions in the comments. Hope this post is helpful to you!

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Does Google Like It When You’re Fresh?

Posted by Dr. Pete

Warning: This post contains tactics that may be considered black-hat. SEOmoz does not condone these practices. I have simply done something dumb to my own website to prevent you from doing something dumber to yours.

If you believe the rumors, we all now live in something called the real-time web. The once steady trickle of user-generated content became a torrent, and search engines face the difficult task of drinking from a fire hose without drowning. It only stands to reason, then, that fresh content is becoming more important, and anecdotal evidence seems to back that up. Every day, blog posts and Tweets seem to get indexed and ranked a bit faster.

Freshness seems important, but what signals does Google use to determine freshness? Beyond the original cache date, do the spiders pay attention to on-page signals, such as dates in body content or URLs? I thought it might be fun to try and find out.

1. Manipulating URLs (non-301)

My plan started out simple: manipulate a URL on my blog and rename it to use a date-based format (as some blogs do by default). So, for example, a URL that normally looked like this:

http://www.mysite.com/topic-goes-here

…became something like this…

http://www.mysite.com/2009-09-01-topic-goes-here

I chose a blog post that was recent enough to still be archived and spidered but not so recent or popular that it was likely to attract new inbound links. I chose 3 long-tail keyword phrases to track for that post, and then flipped the switch and changed the URL. In part 1 of this experiment, I did not 301 the old URL to the new one. By not 301’ing, I was hoping to nudge Google into updating the original cache date. The graph below shows what happened:

Rankings without 301

The rankings axis is inverted to show low rankings at the top, with 1 line for each keyword phrase. Here’s where things got weird. Even after spiders indexed the new URL, that URL showed up in rankings on 3 different days for the 3 phrases (indicated by the gray, dotted lines). Some rankings dropped before the new URL appeared, others after, until they eventually stabilized slightly lower than the original URLs. Oddly, the one keyword that hit #1 after the switch also managed to cache the 404-error (so, that ranking was completely useless).

2. New URLs, Take Two (301)

Of course, outright changing a URL without 301 redirecting it is a bit unusual, and would mean that I lost whatever inbound link juice I had flowing to that page (it wasn’t much, but it still can’t be ignored). So, not generally one to learn from my mistakes, I tried again, this time with a new blog post but with a 301 in place.

Rankings with 301

Not surprisingly, the spiders were a bit better behaved, with all 3 rankings reflecting the new URL on the same day. Somewhat surprisingly, though, some keywords lost ranking, some gained, and the overall average ranking change was roughly a wash. Not a promising sign for my URL-based freshness theory.

3. Mad Science Is Science, Too

So, what can we learn from my little experiment in freshness? I’m not entirely sure, but I’d like to offer a few takeaways to trick you into believing that reading this post was a good idea:

(1) Google Isn’t That Dumb
If you were considering changing all your URLs to trick Google into thinking that your posts are brand, spanking new, here’s some advice: don’t.

(2) Always, Always 301
Although I had my reasons for not using 301s in the first experiment, don’t ever rename an important URL without redirects in place. If nothing else, Graph (I) should be a lesson in what can happen if you do.

(3) Proceed With Caution
Even if you do rename your URLs for a perfectly good reason, and you put 301s in place, expect some short-term consequences. Rankings may fluctuate, and where you end up when you’re done might not be exactly where you started. Changing your URL structure is a big job – sometimes, it’s necessary, but don’t do it just to make a minor SEO tweak.

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This Week in Search for 9/3/09

Posted by Sam Niccolls

Henry Ford said that if he had asked his customers what they wanted before he built the Model T, they would have said they wanted a faster horse. The reality is few people are industry leaders. Most try to make faster horses. But had the need in 1907 been for web analytics and not transportation, Avinash Kaushik would have been a likely candidate to put America on wheels. So prompted by something Avinash said in a blog post earlier this week, here are some analytics quotes that’ll get the ole pistons firing.

Avinash Kaushik Quotes that Belong on Hallmark Cards:

7. Not segmenting data is a crime against humanity.

6. Never let your campaigns write checks that your website can’t cash.

5. I believe God created the internet so we could fail faster.

4. Magazine advertisements are faith based initiatives.

3. All data needs context, even server errors go up and to the right over time.

2. Bounce rate is brilliantly dumb. It shows that your customers came, they puked, they left.

1. Social media is like teen sex, everyone wants to do it. No one actually knows how. When finally done, there is surprise it’s not better.

Five Thumbs

  • Tips for eCommerce websites: From site architecture to product interlinking, Everett Sizemore’s post is a shopping cart of tips and tricks that eCommerce marketers shouldn’t abandon.

Four Thumbs

  • Seth Godin: comparing your business to the status quo: The best airport restaurants are those that compare themselves to other restaurants, not other airports. The lesson here is simple yet poignant: if your customers crave better food, don’t be afraid to go gourmet, even if your competition is happy serving McLeftovers.
  • Robots exclusion protocol tutorial: For those looking to learn more about robots files, Bing’s post on robots exclusion protocols is informative, as well as digestible for non-technical folks.

Three Thumbs

  • Submitting a Sitemap on Bing: In June Bing rolled out Sitemap.xml support, but if you’re looking to create, submit, or validate a Sitemap with Bing, the post on their webmaster blog is a great tutorial.

Two Thumbs

Rocking on YOUmoz

From actionable seminar re-caps to ethical SEO debates, there were many fantastic YOUmoz posts this week. Apparently dummerboy9000 was not the only mozzer who read Jen’s post about creating great UGC blog posts and noticed that YOUmoz links are followed.

  1. SEOmoz Training Seminar Takeaways by Whitespark
  2. How I got 200 Backlinks for Free by Trafikant
  3. Extreme Local Optimization Put to the Test by Rstellers
  4. Standing Out in the Crowd by Sly-grr
  5. The Ethics of Search Engine Marketing by Thomas M. Schmitz
  6. My Twitter Experiment at SEOmoz Training by KitsapKing
  7. Immersion at the SEOmoz Day Spa by erikellsworth

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Competitive Link Research with the Linkscape Index

Posted by Nick Gerner

Just before the SEOmoz PRO Seminar, over the weekend, we updated the Linkscape index.  This is great timing because we’re also unveiling (to PRO members only, sorry free members) the prototype for a new tool!  We’re calling it our competitive link finder, powered by Linkscape.  But Tom Schmitz was good enough to explain things in a blog post some weeks back.

But before I dive into the new tool, as is traditional, some numbers:

  • URLs: 39 billion
  • Root Domains: 55 million
  • Subdomains: 208 million
  • Links: 443 billion

The sharp members of our audience will recognize that this index is, in fact, smaller than our last.  Our index size is varying from update to update as we tune quality vs coverage.  And this creates some issues around historical tracking.  Believe me, we are working on the issue, stay tuned for more information around this scenario.

More interesting is an Index Quality Study we finished just before this update.  From that study two things are immediately interesting to me.

Linkscape Index Coverage vs Yahoo! Site Explorer

First, we estimate that between 60 and 70% of what Y!SE might give you (including no follows, duplicate links) are in our index today (the small one, remember?).  Moreover, we estimate that nearly 50% of what Y!SE will give you, we could too, but we filter out as duplicates, nofollows, or otherwise less important than other data we’ve got in our top 3000 links.

Next we’ve gotten a lot of feedback about how mozRank matches intuitive understanding.  Sure it’s a 10 point scale, similar to Google Toolbar PageRank, but often people are finding it’s off from what they’re expecting.  This is because of the data we’ve been optimizing our index for:

Linkscape Index Focus on high PageRank pages

In the past we’ve been concentrating on a more or less random sample of pages users might care about (the red bars).  As it turns out, you guys care a lot more about important pages and want mozRank to be focused at describing the authority of these pages (the blue bars).  So we’ve dramatically shifted the focus of mozRank toward these pages.  Hopefully you should get a better experience out of mozRank and mozTrust for these high authority pages and sites.

We have more data for partners and power users.  PM me if you’re interested.

Finally, here’s the new competitive link tool. (I know you guys already took a peek at it!)  The idea is to identify authoritative sites and communities you could get links from, but don’t already.

Linkscape Competitive Link Research Tool

What we do is take your site, and up to five related sites (maybe competitors).  From those we find all the links the related sites have, and find the common ones.  From that we create a check-list.  These are the big important sites your industry is engaging with, but you aren’t.

Of course, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to get some of these endorsements too.  I mean, you’ve got great content, products, tools, and services.  Users want that stuff.  Google, et al. want to deliver those search results.

So go check out your latest updated data, our new tool, and stay tuned for a Linkscape FAQ adapted from my PRO training slides.  That’s a little something for those of you who couldn’t make it to the seminar :)

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