- 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 provided “The 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 offered “3 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 asked “Is 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.
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.
Complex 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.
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. :-)
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.)
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.
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.
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
According to my records I had an affiliate account at Amazon.com since at least the beginning of 2000. It might have been earlier, but that’s when I first got payment from them. (An affiliate account allows linking to Amazon.com and earning a fee when somebody follows that link and buys something there.) On June 29 I received an email from Amazon stating that if the California Governor signs a new law they may terminate my account. (Full text of the letter.) As soon as I got the letter I started looking for alternatives. I signed up for Google Affiliate Network, which was a prerequisite for becoming affiliate with AbeBooks, Barnes and Noble (BN) and Google eBooks.
The next day the Governor signed the law and my 11 years old Amazon affiliate account suddenly ended. (See termination letter.) On the same day I got approved to become an affiliate for AbeBooks and BN. A few days later I got declined to become an affiliate for Google’s eBook program. I was disappointed as that’s the program I was the most interested in. But they probably looked at my sites and decided they are not professional enough. There was no real explanation given for the decline. I might try again later, after I made the sites beautiful, useful and successful.
So now I am learning how to create links for AbeBooks. On the one hand their terms say “Affiliates are NOT allowed to direct link. Any sales generated through direct linking are not commissionable.” On the other hand they have a page for creating direct links. Confusing and I don’t have the time right now to sort it out.
BN doesn’t seem to allow creating more than a few direct links and I would need hundreds. I still have to figure out how this system works and the help/FAQ fils I studied so far didn’t help. Have to invest more time into it if I want to make it work.
I am not going back to hundreds of pages and blog posts to remove the Amazon.com links. But from most of my sites where the links are generated in a more automatic fashion (eg. from a database or from Drupal) I already removed the links to Amazon.
This fiasco made me rethink why I am building these sites (SocRelig, KabbalahBooks, and FilmAndReligion). On the one hand these cover topics I am interested in and I thought I can provide a service to the online world, by making them. On the other hand I always hoped that one day they can generate some revenue for me. I never earned more than few dollars a month via my Amazon.com account, but at least that contributed towards the ISP fees. Now I have to ponder upon
- how important it is to make money from these ventures
- how much energy I can put into them if they don’t
- what other channels/methods should I explore for them to generate revenue.
I need a bit of time to figure these out…
To start off my new SEO career I read a book (The Art of SEO) and started to follow these three blogs: Search Engine Land, Blumenthals and SEOmoz. I read these daily and from now on I plan to post links to the more interesting pieces, particularly if I have a comment or observation about them. I know that there are plenty more good resources about SEO, but this is what I have mental bandwidth for. For now.
But first, the big news of the online world: Google + arrived on June 28. It took me a week to get in, but I joined it on July 5. This makes me an early adopter, but doesn’t put me on the bleeding edge. And for those who haven’t heard about Google+ yet, it’s official description is “The Google+ project makes sharing online more like sharing in real life.” The unofficial opinion about seems to be that it is a new social networking site intended to compete with Facebook .
And now today’s links with my comments in italics:
- Julie Joyce’s tips on how to do (very) low budget link building include: advertise the old-school-way, do online branding (e.g. use Knowem to check on what SNS your brandname is available), guest post on other blogs, conduct interviews and answer questions.
These tips sounded a bit obvious, but well collected for clients who want link building. (As you know getting links from quality websites pointing to your site increases your ranking at Google, which is a main goal of SEO.)
- Danny Sullivan went after the story of why Google Realtime (the service that provided search of the latest updates on various fast-paced channels) went offline: because Google’s deal with Twitter, that gave them access to the latter’s special feed, expired.
I am so curious what’s going on between these companies. I am sure there is much more to the story, than accidental lapse. There must be some big business ideas that influenced a conscious decision before this. I hope the consumer, me, will end up with better services out of the battle of the giants.
- Matt McGee reported that Picasa will be renamed to Google Photos.
I haven’t been a frequent Picasa user, because I found Flickr a better tool and because the 1 GB limit of the free Picasa account (you can always purchase more space though.) But now that one of the main features of Google+ is “photos”, by which they mean Picasa, I might end up using it more often. I understand that from a branding perspective Google Photos makes more sense for the company, but I also know that changing the name of an existing product/service is always a hassle and might mean losing existing customers. On the other hand Google probably hopes that with the help of Google+ the number of Picasa/Photos users will increase dynamically. So they gain more users by calling it Google Photos, than they lose by renaming an established brand. I hope that the changes in the service itself will not be too radical, as we just learned with my mother on how to use Picasa’s photo management tool.