Category Archives: SEO

SEO Daily links: Google Boost opens, Lab + Directory closes, Book Search Settles, backlinks

Branchout logoComplex learning of the day: Using Google Event tracking I can tack now track with Google Analytics when somebody clicks a link, downloads a forms or calls a phone number (by clicking the number on the webpage in the smartphone’s browser.)

Simpe learning of the day: CSS text-shadow. I knew that it was possible to crate dropshadow effect for text in CSS, but didn’t find the option for it in my Dreamweaver CS3. A quick search revealed its simple syntax , I tested it and found it working.

Service I signed up for today: Branchout on Facebook. Its tagline: “Tap into your friend network for an inside connection to opportunities at top companies!” I don’t even kow why I signed up as I am not looking for ajob. But it is popular and several people whose network savvy I respect signed up, so did I. Exactly, to the day, a year after it launched. Better later then never.

  • Mike Blumenthal pointed us today to Google Boost, which just went nationwide. It allows businesses to “place a locally highlighted ad onto the front page of Google.”
    His thoughtful analysis shows some aspects that seriously need to be changed for widespread adoption. I wonder how relevant it is for the dental market, where I work currently. After all you rarely walk around looking for dentist on your smartphone. (That’s the kind of scenario, where Boost could be the most useful.)
  • Barry Schwartz noticed that directory.google.com went dead today. Matt McGee shared the announcement that Google Labs is closing too.
    I regret the latter more because I had access to many products there, even if from Google’s perspective they were in perpetual beta and not ready for deployment. Some examples, that started at the (public) Labs and I use every day: Docs, Alerts, Reader, Scholar, iGoogle, Maps, and Video.
  • James Grimmelmann at the The Laboratorium reported that the parties of the Google Books Search legal case are working on an “opt-in settlement.” (via search engine land)
    The librarian in me cherishes the end of a lawsuit that might end with more access to books and placating the publishers too.
  • Kelly Gillease examined the relations between Google’s +1s and AdWords. Key learning include, “not a direct correlation between +1 counts and quality score”, “there is an option to opt out”, “No fees are charged for +1ing”.
    As she noted “hopefully more answers to come.” Google never shared the algorithm for ranking and I doubt they would revel exactly how +1s influence it. But they sure will, so it is important start tracking and learning about it now.
  • This SEOMoz blog post cleared and muddied what constitutes a (back)link.
    It’s a good inventory of various issues about links. Nevertheless as I read more and more SEO articles I start to have the feeling that a lot of them are only written so the author would get more references, followers, authority. A lot of the articles covering such basics issues at such length, that I feel brilliant, that everything in it seems obvious. It i not true for this article but reading it triggered this reflection.

SEO Daily links: Multiple XML Sitemaps, QR codes, RichSnippets

Learning of the day: A few days ago I was struggling with redirecting a whole directory to a single page using the RedirectMatch command. I was told I should use what works on our server, which meant RewriteRule. I found the solution today:

RewriteRule ^oldsite/(.*)$ http://www.example.com/ [R=301,L]

Follow me on SpotifyNew fun tool of the day: I got my Spotify account today and started to listen to music using it. So far didn’t find most of the obscure music I like, but great for classical. Couperin and Glass on the top of my current list.

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

SEO Daily links: Google+ in 15 min, enhanced Google Image Search, PayWithaTweet

Today’s SEO links with my comments in italics:

  • Early in the day I received via email a clear little booklet from one source on “How to Spot Bad SEO Services.
    Later in the day another source asked me about my opinion about an SEO’s company. All I had to do was to point to sign #1: “Making Promises that are Too Good to be True”
  • Dr. Pete advised on how to do Google + in 15 minutes a day: think through your circle categories, flow with the stream, engage the people most likely to reply or reciprocate, be highly visible (you can repost +1 a lot in five minutes), give first-thenk ask (five minutes rule again), use trunk.ly to follow friends’ links.
    Some of these contradict each other: going with the flow assumes being online, so if you are active only for 15 minutes you’d miss a lot. He suggests letting go of the fear of missing something and using trunk.ly to catch up. What if others are not on it… Most engaging sentence for me in the piece: “Lurkers die lonely.
  • Matt McGee shared  Google’s announcement that their image search has now the option to search for images posted in the last seven days.
    I’ve been waiting for something like this. I wanted to limit my image search numerouos time based on time period posted, like you can in the general Google search, but couldn’t. This is a good start towards that.
  • Matt Gratt introduced me the PayWithaTweet service, that “enables web publishers to give visitors content in exchange for a Tweet or Facebook share.” He went further and gave advice on how to use it for SEO.
    Neat idea, but too many graphics as proofs in the article for easy reading. But it was not written for easy reading. :-)

SEO Daily links: shady reputation management, SEO for SMB, Visual.ly, bad landing pages

Today’s handy learning: AddThis, a social sharing tool, has great customization options (see my home page), but centering the buttons has to be done with extra CSS.

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

  • Blumenthals questions the ethics of business that deface Google Places listing with negative reviews and then offers the service of cleaning them.
    There are some great insight in the comments. E.g. “Google shutting down private Google profiles MAY help with this”. I also paid attention to “Jason” dental sites examples.
  • Cyrus Shepard’s wife created an infographics with the list of tips how to make blogs “killer” for SEO.
    The good news that this blog (my personal) implemented already half of them. I wondered how much time I should spend on optimizing my site, following the rest of the tips, considering that I don’t have any monetization option built in. But I decided it is a good playground when/if I have time to explore new ideas. So I might implement more of it. For professional blogs though these tips are essential.
  • Brian Austad summarized “What Small Business Clients Need to Know About Keywords and SEO“.
    Great and current introduction not just for me, who is starting up in the SEO business, but can serve as a reference point for clients who want to know more about what I do.
  • Greg Finn reported that Visual.ly (an infographics/ data visualization search engine) launched.
    This great news for people like me who have an ongoing interest in visualization. (Also for artists/experts who make infographics and can upload/share them centrally on this new site.)

SEO Daily links + Versions + 301 struggle

The new tool of the day for me was Versions. 10-12 years ago I already used an SVN (Subversion), so the concept of “a software versioning and a revision control system” is not foreign to me. But now I was set up with one, I actually used it and it magically worked.

On the other hand I couldn’t accomplish what I set up to do, hence my struggle of the day: I was supposed to redirect every link coming to an old version of a site to the home page of the new one. The site had a functioning .htaccess file so normally I would just add this line to it

RedirectMatch 301 ^/oldsite/ http://www.example.com/

I got that code from this handy and well structured page. But it didn’t work, so I had to troubleshoot. This page says don’t mix RedirectMatch with RewriteRule in the same file. I didn’t find any confirmation for this elsewhere so my troubleshoot marched on. This page suggested to use this code:

RedirectMatch 301 ^/oldsite/(.*[^/])/?$ http://www.example.com/

That didn’t work either. I also tried appending the line with various combination of “[NC,R=301,L]” at no avail. Then I learned that our server is IIS and not Apache, although we have a plugin installed that is comparable to Apache’s mod_alias. Nevertheless RedirectMatch doesn’t seem to be compatible with IIS. I was “this” close to write the 100+ RewriteRule lines that would solve my issue in a rather inelegant way. But I will give another chance to finding the nice solution tomorrow.

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

  • Rand Fishkin, SEOmoz’ CEO posted a comparative chart of SEO responsibilities between 1999 and 2003 vs 2004-2008 and another one for 2011.
    I’v been in the business of SEO for 3 whole weeks and ready to absorb lessons learned from the last 12 years. In order to do well my job now, I should understand what experts did in the past and focus on not just the latest fads, but good basic proven rules too.
  • Ross Hudgens shared some tips based on CDBaby’s success.
    The creativity of their non-standard “your order has been shipped” letter is not just awe-inspiring, but generated plenty of back links. The cool factor of “Call-to-action” links in emails is lower, but still a good idea to include them.
  • Andy Atkins-Krüger reported that the Dutch are the most engaged online, but the Russians are catching up. (On a related note see the launch of today webmaster.yandex.com.)
    I was disappointed not to see Hungary in the stats, and even checked the original Comscore data for them, but they were not present there either. Looks like my old country’s market is either too small or not measurable enough.

 

How to link to a business on Google Maps/Places

I found that finding the “proper” URL of a business on Google Places, also known as Google Maps isn’t obvious, so put together this little tutorial. By “proper” I mean the simple (with no unnecessary information in the URL), unique identifier that will always take you to the right page as long as it exists or as long as Google doesn’t change its system.

1. Search Google for the business by its phone number, name or address.

2. Click the “maps” tab. The result might look like this:

Search results on Google Map for a phone number

3. Right click the business name and select “open link in new tab”.
Notes: Or you can open it in a new window if you wish.
If you are on a mac use command click to open in a new window.
If your results showing only the map and in left side bar, you can still click on the business name, but you might have t click first the drop icon to see it.

The resulting page might look like this:

A business' page in Googee Places

4. Notice the difference between the URLs of the two pages/screenshot. The first one has the search query (the phone number in our case) and a lot of other information in it. The second one starts with this “http://maps.google.com/maps/place?cid=” then a 20 digit number. Cut the rest of the URL off to get to the cleanest address for the business. If you use that shortened URL the page loaded will not identify what browser you used, where you came from or what search query you entered earlier.

SEO Daily links + Bridge + Rel-author

My tool related learning of the day: I used Adobe Bridge for the first time. It is a “media manager that provides centralized access to all your creative assets.” I don’t know about “all,” , but it was great for finding the kind of images I needed for my work from the company’es vault.

My code related learning of the day: how to userel=author” to get my picture in to Googl’e search results. I just need to get a good picture of myself and then I am ready to implement it for my own blogs. Pictures help with higher clickthrough.

My fun learning of the day: how to make a cut up a horizontal portrait of myself and place it in cool chunks onto my Google+ profile page, or as the authors of the guide call it: How to Pimp Your Google+ Profile Design.

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

  • Andrew Shotland muses about What Will Google Plus Google Places Equal?
    Even if only half of his predictions come through it is a nice little collection of forward thinking possibilities. Whatever form the combination of these tools will take shape it will have serious implications for the SEO business.  
  • Barry Schwatrz pointed out the specs on how to get your products included into Google Product Search will change in September.
    I wasn’t even aware that there are recommended ways to get into the products search. I spent a few minutes trying to find out whether a client of mine can get in even if he is not a Google Merchant, but didn’t figure it out. Will spend some time on it, as the implications could be huge for them.
  • An article on SEOMoz on How Google+ Affected Social Shares and +1 Adoption Rates.
    I love numbers, particularly if they are visualized. This article doesn’t have cool infographics, just standard charts, but they are still interesting. They examined the top sites on Technorati’s list and found widespread use of the latest tools. No surprises there though.

SEO daily links: new Google analytics, Google+ rapture, social sharing stats

Today’s links with my comments in italics:

  • Klaas Knook gives advice on how to use the new Google Analytics’ dashoard.
    When I am ready to switch to the new GA this will be a good starting point on how to use the new features for maximum efficiency.
  •  Greg Sterling asked Does Google+ Rapture Indicate “Pent-Up Demand” For Facebook Alternative?
     As I still have an academic interest in religion I notice religious language when it pops up. Calling the arrival of Google+ a “rapture” puts the technology into an unexpected context. Many of us have been waiting for Google’s social networking offer, but I didn’t assume that it would be something that can save us. The article is a solid analysis of the aftermath of this feeling, after the tool is available. The analogy to religious terms stopped at the title though.
  • Greg Finn shared BrighEdge’s analysis and metrics of the usage of “Facebook like” and “Google +1” buttons.
    As I expected: Facebook still leads, but G+1 is catching up. I didn’t think though that Twitter plugin would be so underutilized.

SEO daily links + CSS absolute positioning + Photoshop paths

I am just slight ashamed to admit the two things I’ve learned today. I have studied how positioning works in CSS, but never really tested it. Today I had to to use absolute positioning for a website, so finally I had a chance to put in practice, whet theoretically I already knew. It was a pleasure to see it workings after I figured out the difference between various ways of positioning with CSS with the help of this video.

I also read about and seen the “path” tool in Adobe Photoshop, but never used it. Today I had to and I am slightly clearer on the concept. There is still a lot I don’t know, including tips and best practices for its use, but at least I believe I am initiated and on the right “path.”

The reason for my shame: I should have been using these for years by now. But I never had a real need before, so it’s better later than never, right?

Today’s links with my comments in italics:

  • Jason Stinnett offered 3 Ways to Use Google’s New Search by Image for Link Building: get background info, search for guest posters, find coverage that didn’t result in a link.
    I didn’t even know about the existence of the “search by image” feature tool. Here is how it works, “Just specify an image, and you’ll find other similar or related images as well as relevant results from across the Web.” Sounds fun, but the results weren’t very impressive with the first few images I tried.
  • Greg Finn pointed to an official Google video confirming that On Google+ “Non-User Profiles” Will Be Shut Down.
    This means we don’t have to rush with implementing Google+ presence for our clients as for now only individuals can be there and the business variety of the project will come later. 

SEO daily links + mobile devices + landing page

The best skill I learned today: how to make and what’s important for a landing page, “any page on a website where traffic is sent specifically to prompt a certain action or result.

The most egoistic fun I had today: checked myyself at socialstatistics.com, a site that tracks and sorts Google+ users based on the number of their “friends” and “followers.” If this is a measure of popularity I am one of the least liked person on the block. But it isn’t, so I don’t care. Except I do possess the folly of liking being compared favorably. At the time I was #8458. Which is a large number, but I could still feel being on top of the world.

The most useful page I looked at today: a page listing tools to test how websites look on mobile devices. It is from last September, so in webtime you might think it is outdated. I don’t think it is, even if there are newer tools on the market.

Today’s links with my comments in italics:

  • Reading the second part of an article on “How To Increase Organic Keyword Conversions“: don’t put links/ads on top; have important links/messages on every page; have, test, and  highlight  “calls to action”; check analytics for changes; have an inquiry form, don’t have captchas if not necessary.
    Good little list of pointers, even if many of them just common sense in my opinion.
  • Greg Sterling reported how Ghost of Google+ Haunts Facebook-Skype Event
    Nice observation about the missing elephant in the room, while introducing the new Facebook feature: Skype integration into chat. It was interesting to watch Zuckerberg, as I just watched The Social Network movie two nights before. 
  • Cyrus Shepard tested how Google+ and Twitter influence Google search ranking.
    I loved the meticulous scientific method he used. The results were interesting too:

    1. Aggregators & Scrapers Play an SEO Role
    2. Retweet – Retweet, Repeat
    3. Social Authority = Ranking Potential?
    4. Traditional SEO Still Rules - For Now