Category Archives: SEO

Enumerating Google results

It took me a long time to find an ideal solution for a simple feature: I wanted the results on Google’s SERP (search engine results page) numbered. That would give me an easy answer on how a client’s site at for a certain keyword ranks. (I will make another post later on how to depersonalize a search, to make the number more universal.) I spent over an hour finding the right thing. I hope that reading this post will save you time if you are looking fror th same thing.

SEOBook’s RankChecker is supposedly doing it. However at my company we have to use an old version of FireFox, because one of our vendor’s site only works with that. RankChecker, however, doesn’t work with such an old Firefox. And I can’t run two different version of Firefox on a Mac. So that’s out.

I think SEMToolBar has the feature I am looking for. At least that’s how I read this convoluted explanation: “This is the Keyword (or phrase) being followed. The user wants to know what position or index tracked pages have in the search results when this Keyword is used as a search query. The user also wants to follow the tracked pages’ position in the search results over time.” However this feature is only for paying members and I was looking for a free option. Membership prices http://www.seotoolset.com/ range between $30 and $1500.

The other two better known SEO toolbars are SEOQuake and SEOMoz. The former doesn’t have this feature at all. The latter, might have it but only for members and membership starts at $99/month .

As I am on a Mac I even looked into Safari’s extension. There I didn’t even find anything close to what I wanted, plus I couldn’t search the pool of extensions.

Next I checked out Chrome extensions and found Google Enumerator by Blue Fountain.  I watched their video, installed it and waited for the red numbers. They never showed up.

The most promising FireFox Extension was ResultRank. It only has 1 review and 390 users so I don’t have high hopes that its creator will update the tool to the latest version of Google. I suspect it worked at one point, but Google keeps changing how its SERP is structured and the add-on broke somewhere along the way.

I won’t bore you with all the other extensions I tested for Chrome and Firefox. I even looked into >GoogleParser. It fetches the results from a Google search and returns a clean list of URLs. The list is not numbered, but at least it is easier to enumerate them manually. The method they are using (scraping Google) is on the edge of being against Google’s TOS. Google doesn’t allow automatic scraping. They are using a captchaa to prevent overuse by bots. But that solution doesn’t address the issue, that they store (even if only for a short time) Google SERPs on their server. So this is not a sustainable, long term solution, although the tool is cool.

Eventually I stumbled upon OptimizeGoogle. I finally found what I was looking for. This Firefox only add-on works, has loads of other features. It also has 122 reviews and over 50,000 users. Its version is still only 0.79.1, but the developer is active in fixing bug, adding features and answering user comments. Well done and will bewail used.

Below is a screenshot of a SERP with the numbers. (and at #4 is this site for some weird reason.)

Screenshot of enumerated Google SERP

Getting Google to Love Your Website Webcast

Poster for Spencer's The Art of SEOI joined last week a webcast by Stephan Spencer titled “Getting Google to Love Your Website” organized by O’Reilly. Spencer is the author of the only SEO book I ever read on SEO: “The Art of SEO“, published by, surprise, O’Reilly. The webinar promised to teach “both SEO fundamentals as well as advanced tricks and tactics that only the elite SEO experts know.” Unfortunately the first 45 minutes was spent on the basics, on topics I already knew. Then the last bit, where I would have preferred to spend the majority of the time, was either rushed through or mentioned only in passing, saying that there is no time for it or it will be the subject of a future webcast.

Now, that I got that out of the system I can tell you that it was an excellent presentation. I appreciated that the slides were offered for download for participants. I sent an email requesting them from Mr. Spencer’s assistant and got it the same day. I was asked not to circulate it, so I won’t share it here. In the same email I also received a link to a word file full of SEO best practices. The doc not only included 14 best practices, but also 29 worst practices and detailed explanation for all. I am happy to report that I was already doing most things right.

We were encouraged to tweet through the session from within the interface (that automatically added the #GoogleSEO hashtag), but that didn’t work with Chrome on Mac. So I did it on my own Twitter account instead. To provide a summary of the event I collected here all the tweets I sent out during the presentation, and I boldfaced the ones that either contained new information for me or want to revisit later. (They are in reverse orde, first post being the last.)

  • Worst practices include: using competitor names in meta tags, spamglish, splogging, cloaking, scraping, pagejacking… #GoogleSEO
  • SEO: Metrics That Matter j.mp/sMgnY6 #GoogleSEO
  • Right metrics include: # of fresh pages, % of site indexed, page yield. Use authoritylab.com #GoogleSEO
  • Anatomy Of A Google Snippet j.mp/b6mshN #GoogleSEO
  • Logarithmic nature of PageRank: the higher you get the harder it is to get higher. #GoogleSEO
  • Build quality links, not just quantity. Use j.mp/k87HR for PageRank data. #GoogleSEO
  • Get your pages visible: every page has a song (keyword theme). #GoogleSEO
  • Google index challenges: complex URLs, content duplication, cannibalization, non-canonicalization (www. or not). #GoogleSEO
  • Better pagerank -> the deeper your site will be crawled and more frequently. #GoogleSEO
  • 7 steps: get indexed, make pages visible, build links, leverage pagerank, encourage ctr, track right metrics, best practices. #GoogleSEO
  • Google Insight for Search: with maps, countries and categories. #GoogleSEO
  • Google Trends is simplistic, provides graphical relative search volume comparison. #GoogleSEO
  • Google Adwords: turn off broad matching; turn on exact match (unlike the default). #GoogleSEO
  • Keyword Discovery is at (surprise) j.mp/4zaQGA #GoogleSEO
  • Keyword research tools: Keyword Discovery (with historical data) #GoogleSEO
  • Keyword research tools: wordtracker.com (free and paid version) #GoogleSEO
  • Soovle.com is Stephan Spencer’s (author of “Art of SEO”) favorite keyword brainstorming tool. #GoogleSEO
  • Soovle.com aggregates keyword suggestion from Google, Yahoo Bing, YouTube, Wikipedia, Amazon, Answers.com. #GoogleSEO
  • Google Suggest (autocomplete): search volume inferred based on order, but no quantifiable value. #GoogleSEO
  • Keyword brainstorming tool: Quintura, Google Suggest, Yahoo Search Assist, Soovle #googleseo
  • Right keyword: relevant to your business + popular with searchers #GoogleSEO
  • wetting appetite: “calculating missed income opportunities” with formula #GoogleSEO
  • attending Getting Google to Love Your Website webcast #GoogleSEO j.mp/tJcJ1W

The event was captured and anybody can re-watch it till next March.

Looking forward to the next presentation I signed up at O’Reilly on HTML5.

SEO Daily links 2011-08-17 through 19: Google related, LinkedIn Today, load speed, frames for Google …

  • Gary Price recommended the “Google Related” Toolbar Shows Google Content As You Surf
    On one hand I tested it and my small personal sites apperantly are not related to anything. But they are not “local business, shopping, or news sites” that the tool is focusing on. On the other hand my clients’ site, being all “local businesses” fared well: checking them out with the tool loaded I got a handful of nicely collected info-bites.
  • Rick DeJarnette’s article on “How To Create Your Digital Footprint With Links” is another plug to use the rel=”me” and re=”author” attributes to show who the authors of pages are.
    Good reminder, that there are other reason to mke sure you show up as the author of a webpage beyond vanity: it will become a ranking factor.
  • Matt McGee shared the announcement that “With Its New Explore Box, StumbleUpon Adds Search To Content Discovery
    I’ve never been a big stumleUpon user, but it is a popular site, so if they do searh, that will infulence traffic. How measurabel and quality the traffic will be only time will tell.
  • Greg Finn providedThe Ultimate Guide To “LinkedIn Today” & How To Optimize Your Presence On It
    This is essentially about LinkedIn Today a daily aggregation of “the most shared news on LinkedIn.” My little sites may not ever get a headline, but it the system has a voting component, so yo may never know.
  • Dax Hamman offered3 Simple Alternatives To Attribution Modeling For Search Marketers
    I finally understood what “attribution modeling” is and now I need alternatives? Not unless I work for sites and brands that has truely large volume of traffic. It makes little sense for SMBs.
  • Matt McGee explored how “Google & Bing (Still) Handle Underscores & Dashes Differently
    The bottom line: for new sites use dashes as word separators in URL.
  • Pamela Parker wrote about hoe “Google Testing Unique AdWords Format Designed for Gmail
    I couldn’t explain to a client today on the phone that there are ads on Google as she didn’t see any. She didn’t believe me. I could have just pointed her to this article.
  • Tom Schmitz advised on “SEO Copywriting Tips: Optimizing For Multiple Keywords On One Page
    I was surprised to see so many copywriting companies at an SEO conference I attanded on Wednesday. This article reminded me that there is much more to writing for the web than writing personal, journalist or academic pieces.
  • Matt McGee picked up that “Google Maps Becomes A Mini-Weather Center
    I couldn’t agree more with his opening line: “It’s one of those things that you almost wonder why it wasn’t there before: current weather conditions on Google Maps.” I checked my local map and weather and found it useful right away.
  • Rob Snell gave us a “12 Step Program For Improving The Load Speed Of Online Stores
    For my taste it was stuffed with fluff and not a lot of new info, but it could be useful if you never thought of speed issues for ecommerce.
  • Carrie Hill askedIs Your Blog An Asset Or A Liability?
    D’uh, if you don’t have long tail visitors, don’t post often and don’t interact with your visitors than sure it has little or negative value.
  • Barry Schwartz confirmed that “Google Testing Frames For Search Options & Search Results
    As much as I hate frames for regular websites, it may make sense for a search engine that is not providing content itself, but directs searchers elsewhere.
  • Greg Finn shared the news that “Facebook’s ‘Like’ Button Declared Illegal In Germany
    Uh-oh. I was supposed to work on the website of my first client in Germany this coming week. Better check whether his city is in the state of Schlewsing-Holstein. As the title was misleading, it is only illegale in one state/province of Germany.

SEO Daily links: paid search bidding, multi-click data, structured markup and anchor text for ecommerce sites, andarticle marketing

August 5

  • Josh Dreller gave out pointers on “How To Master Paid Search Bidding
    Some of it was over my head at first reading, but still think I will get back to it, right before I will need to bid for the first time.
  • Siddharth Shah dived intoMaking Sense Of Multi-Click Data.”
    My first learning from this article was that “multi-click” is just an alternative name to “click-path”, which I was already familiar with. The second is the comparative conversion of brand and generic keywords.

August 4

  • Geoff Kenyon wrote up a step by step guide on how to get ther right anchor text for links pointing towards an ecommerce site.
    This was a really useful post for me as I never had to do a link building campaign for, even though I have an ecommerce site on my backburner.
  • George Aspland posted the second part of his guide to “effective online article marketing
    I appreciate when a guide starts off with the goals instead of just jumping into the “how to” part. My mind likes logically built and annotated step-by-step guides and today we were blessed with two.
  • Paul Bruemmer sharedHow Retailers Can Improve Product Visibility Using Structured Markup
    This article combined two ideas for me: I know more and more on how to format a website for SEO, including microformatting, but didn’t occur to me to use schema.org for ecommerce sites.

SEO daily links: volume queries’ effect, handling spam review, Bing’s future, site quality for link building

Minor learning of the day: you cannot change your  YouTube username.

Medium learning of the day: Latest version of Google Chrome can prerender a page if it is coded correctly. This means that after a page loaded a next page can start loading in the background. Useful when there is a predefined or frequently used sequence of pages.

Major learning of the day: You can submit the URL of a single webpage for reindexing if you really want. Learned it from the official Google Webmaster blog via Search Engine Land.

August 3

  • Martin Macdonald shared the thinking, methodology and results of his experiment whether large volumes of searches can influence Google ranking and suggestions.
    He was a bit shaky on how he generated the volume of queries needed to achieve his goal, but the rest was interesting. My impression was though that other methods are more white hat and effective than this one.
  • Mike Blumenthals outlined his thoughts on how to respond when a competitor posts a spam/negative review on Google places for you.
    Rather timely post as we were preparing for the same possibility too. Now that Google Places is displaying their own reviews more prominently and other sites’ review not at all I suspect this issue will gain importance and possibly notoriety.

August 2

  • Greg Sterling tried to figure out how long Bing is thinking ahead.
    The post was prompted by a New York Times article exploring similar questions. Both went beyond the attitude of “Google rules, why does Bing bother at all” and shed some light on how and when Bing may gain a bigger marketshare.
  • Mike Bluementhal noticed a few changes in Google Places Quality Guidelines.
    He confirmed that Google is still using submitted data not displayed. Good reminder to keep filling everything we can in the forms in the hope that it helps ranking.
  • Julie Joyce collected 5 Metrics To Quickly Assess Site Quality When Link Building: Crawl Frequency, Origin Of The Domain, Quality Content, Online Sentiment, Social Media Presence.
    These are all god and somewhat evident, but it made up a nice little piece combined with the rehash of more traditional criteria: Number of backlinks to home page, Number of backlinks to other pages on the site, Home page and subpage toolbar PR, Quality of backlinks, Moz Rank.

SEO daily links: Hotelfinder, enterprise SEO, diversity, Page Speed, Promoted tweets

August 1

  • Learned about Google’s new hotel finder service/experiement from Mike Bluementhals blog.
    Good timing: I wanted to reserve two nights for later in August today. Played with the interface, but the price range didn’t go low enough for my budget. Nice interface though, particularly the mapping of the geographical area where one is looking for lodging.
  • Daid Roth summarized 3 key points for enterprise SEO: Executive Support, SEO involvement early in the project, SEO ownership of standards
    Good points for the future when/if I will be responsible for enterprise level SEO and not just for SMB.
  • Myles Anderson rehashed why and how diversity is important in SEO.
    Yet another article, where every points are supported by common sense, and the value of the piece is the collection, editing and explanation.

July 28

  • Barry Schwartz introduced Google’s new “Page Speed” service: Google fetching the content on your web site and then serving it up with speed improvements of 25% to 60%
    Sounds great, but I feel that there should be a watchdog over Google ensuring that they don’t rank higher unfairly pages sped up by them. This feeling comes from the observation, that Google serves more and more like a utility in our life as opposed to a public company. Different rules apply to business and governmental environment.
  • Vic Drabicky mused whether Has Paid Search Become The New NYC Mailbox?
    It is a lamentation of poorly written and misleading adwords, with the bottom line on focusing value. Just makes simple business sense to me.
  • Pamela Parker reposted and analyzed Twitter’s announcement about “promoted tweets”, that can stay on top of the queue until the follower checks in or removes it.
    I’ve been waiting for ideas how Twitte can monetize their business. This is OK from their perspective, but I personally might be annoyed by the minor change in user interface. Tweets should sank lower as time passes, shouldn’t they?
  • Barry Schwartz retold Searchmetrics results concluding that images, videos and Google’s own materials show up often in Google’s blended/Universal search.
    On one hand: D’uh, that’s the point of blended search. On the other hand this is a reminder to produce more pics and videos and tag/alt them correctly.

SEO daily links

I’ve been bookmarking blog entries since my last SEO post, just didn’t have the time to post about them. So now here is the sumary of two workdays. More coming later.

Learnings of the days:

  1. How two mark up reviews using schema.org’s review specs: schema.org/Review
  2. How to create a custom YouTube channel including a very specific custom image.
  3. I finally implemented the prerequisites of having my picture show up in Google SERPs. It doesn’t guarantee it will happen, but this way it might.

Fun updates:

July 27

  • Greg Finn shared the news that “Facebook Launches In-Depth Guide For Businesses.”
    Timely, considering that I just attended last week a Roohi Moolla’s Facebook for Business Workshop.
  • Rand Fishkin announced the launch of the Open Site Explorer v3.
    I played with it and even the non-paid version is quite useful to get a quick overview and comparison of sites from SEO perspective.
  • Danny Sullivan wrote an article on How Being “Friends” On Google+ Leads To Better Rankings.
    Nothing earth-shattering there but a thorough look into  related aspects.

July 26

  •  Mike Blumenthals listedWhat Else Went Missing on the Places Page in the Update.”
    I don’t know how I think about Google not displaying information they gather, but still say to site owners to submit them. I guess that’s what they’ve been doing all along and by making the data less transparent and the process of them hiding it more evident.
  • Phil Nottingham explained how to turn an SEO report into a good video.
    Best parts: reasons to do so; most useful part: pitfalls of doing so.
  • Eric Ward promisedA Google Plus Primer On Links & Rank
    What he really got is a recommendation to share links in Stream and a list of articles to read. The latter was worth it.
  • Greg Finn showed that Google +1?s Being Sold By The Thousands.
    Oh, the scams people think of. I couldn’t and didn’t. But now even Newt Gringrich did it with Twitter.
  • Barry Schwartz reported that the “Google Plus One Button Now 3X Faster
    Good, but there are still issues with using AddThis and Internet Explorer.

SEO Daily links: Google Places’ features, problems and citations sources + mobile linkbuilding and CTR estimation

Useful fact of the day: WordPress MU (MultiUser) allows running multiple blogs from one installation, under different subdomains or directories

Useless fact of the day: There are more Americans on Facebook than have passports. 150 million vs. 115 million. (Source: Tripl)

And now onto today’s SEO links with my comments in italics:

  • Mike Blumenthals pointed out three features that got more prominent display in Google Places: Coupon, streetview, ratings.
    These changes make Places even more relevant and interesting both for businesses and consumers.

  • Blumenthals also shared a really useful tip on what to do, when Google Places listing says “We currently do not support the location”
    This was much appreciated as we were having the kind of issue mentioned here.

  • WhiteSpark logoRand Fishkin gave tips on “how to find find the sources Google may be using to resource their Places data.
    I finally got a hint why the sudden (and generally positive) changes to Google Plcaes are happening now: FTC’s investigation into “complaints by sources like Yelp, TripAdvisor and Citysearch who claimed that Google unfairly used their content to make the Places pages results useful without compensation or traffic.
    Plus I got a reference to good citation research tool: WhiteSpark.

  • Bryson Meunier outlinedBetter Mobile Linkbuilding In 5 Easy Steps
    So far I consistently avoided commenting on mobile SEO. I don’t have a webenabled smartphone so personally I am not in this market. This simple reason made me not want to go to this increasingly important segment of the SEO world. But I know that I cannot avoid it forever, so this article is as good as any to start paying attention to it.

  • Slingshot SEO presented its study on answering the question “How many visitors can we expect, if we rank [x]?
    The heavily qualified answer 17 to 21% CTR for #1 position. 10% for #2, 5-9% for #3 and then it goes way down. Good to know, even if it is not quotable without the “qualifications/explanation.

SEO Daily links: Google Places changes, negative ranking factors, Bing ads in search

Fun widget of the day: Google+ Feed Widget, used to showing off the Google + public stream on a blog or website. See it on the side of my blog too.

Sad non-sign-up of the page: I have iTunes on my computer at work. I tried to get the artwork for the CDs I have been importing into it. To access that feature I was required to sign up for an iTunes Store account. The process however required giving them my credit card information. Considering that I don’t plan to purchase anything and that it is a machine at work (that might be used by other people too) I didn’t finish the sign-up procedure. Hence I cannot see the cover art. At least I can listen to my music though.

And now onto today’s SEO links with my comments in italics:

  • Mike Blumenthals usually posts 3-5 entries a week. Today he did five, because his area: “Google Maps & Local Search” has seen a serious update. Instead of linking to all of those, why don’t I just point out the two most important ones: his collection of articles from around the web and analysis of “What Does it Mean for the SMB?” (Search Engine Land covered the topic as well of course: Google Overhauls Place Pages, Emphasizes Reviews & Kills Citations)
    This is a big change the business the company I work for is in. There was a lot of excitement and some concern at the office today. Overall feeling is positive, we’ve been expecting something like this.
  • Cyrus Shepard explained a few negative ranking factors in his (transcribed) video.
    Having a long domain and slow response time is a no brainer, But having AdSense ads on your site and higher percentage of followed as opposed to “nofollow” links pointing to your site was a bit of surprise for me.
  • Barry Schwartz had some questions about Bing mixing ads with organic search results.
    The areas that ethics need to cover nowadays amazes me. Just because search engine companies were committed to “clean” SERPs and we the users got used to them doesn’t mean that the companies can change their policies and design. We might just have to relearn what Howard Rheingold calls crap detection.

SEO Daily links: verification issues, keyword difficulty, faster pages, social media engagement

Jetpack logoUseful tool of the day: Jetpack  is a set of WordPress plugins, most of which was previously only available for blogs/sites hosted on WordPress.com. My two favorite parts: Shortcode for adding movies, images, and more to your posts and pages with a single line of code and the WP.me URL shortener.

And now onto today’s SEO links with my comments in italics:

  • Danny Sullivan pointed out the hindrances of verification of real people, i.e. celebrities on 3 major platforms: Twitter, Google, Facebook.
    I can understand how it is a major headache for famous people but thought it isn’t my concern. Then I checked and found that there are 13 people on Facebook even with relatively rare name. What if one of us becomes known. And what about the others?
  • Tom Schmitz explained what to look for when examining keyword difficulty.
    Excellent introduction to a topic, that is key to SEO, but so far didn’t have an opportunity/reason to dive in. Now at least I got a master overview of the logic behind it.
  • Leah Tyler posted an informative set of tips on how to read resumes.
    My favorite bit: “Wondering if you should include your GPA on your résumé? If you received below a 3.5 GPA, then you may not want to showcase it on your résumé. But above a 3.5? Heck ya!” So I am adding it back again, even though I thought it would have little relevance in the business word.
  • Rob Snell reminded us that how fast a page loads still matters.
    The best takeaway from it was the recommendation of using this free testing tool: tools.pingdom.com
  • Greg Sterling pulled some interesting numbers from Palore’s research on US SMBs (small businesses) social media use and engagement.
    The key numbers: 38.3 % of SMBs have fewer than 100 Facebook Likes and 16% has more than 1000. Regarding Twitter followers the respective numbers are 44.5% and 18.5%. The lower numbers suggest low engagement.