Archive for the 'Web Marketing' Category

Brute force SEO: NY Times using keyword tagging in the page title tag

Sunday, January 6th, 2008

Building upon a discussion elsewhere on the Web, here’s some brute force SEO for you.

Apparently, the NY Times is inserting tagging in the page META title tag, in the instances where it seems that article headlines lack sufficient keywords. Normally, the Times just carries the article’s headline into the page META title tag.

For example, in the article headlined The Falling-Down Professions, the page title tag reads as “Economic Conditions-Economic trends-legal profession-lawyers-prestige-doctors - New York Times”.

You see, the page title tag is important for SEO as Google in particular lends much weight to the text contained within the title tag.

All in all, the NY Times approach is definitely an interesting methodology for organizations deploying content management systems and who wish to build traffic from search engines.

topix.net redirect to .com?

Wednesday, March 14th, 2007

There was this article in [usually a subscription] yesterday’s Wall Street Journal about, basically, how a large number of companies have lost traffic because of either a change on their Web site or a change in the search engine agorithim, basically, just about everyone has a story about losing traffic.

Two thoughts I had about the article…

1)Did the Wall Street Journal really need to write an article about how what Topix.net really needs is a redirect to topix.com? Honestly, I don’t understand why it’s such a shocking revelation that changing something on a Web site might cause it to change in search engine results pages. Plus, the change that Topix.net needs to do, while a change, is probably the least impactful since if the use a 301, they should be good to go.

Although their CEO is openly doubtful of that claim since he is fearing the move of over 100K urls in the SERPS.

2)If I was someone from Yahoo or MSN yesterday, I would have lost my breakfast. The article in the Journal only talked about Google and pointed out that a number of sites get about 80% of their search engine traffic from Google.

Holistic SEO

Sunday, January 21st, 2007

I had written the following comment in response to a tiny little bit of handwringing about how SEOs are killing Google…

I do SEO oriented Web design for a living, and I’m convinced that backlinks are just one of *many* factors that make a page worthy in Google’s eyes. Just like Page Rank and meta keywords, I don’t get too upset about backlinks. And I just laugh at the professional SEOs who come up with those linking schemes only to see their SERPs dip every so often with the continual Google algo changes.

What makes good optimization (and if you think about it, optimization is just a method of displaying information to the search engines) is a holistic approach. Clean markup, minimizing scripting, simple relevant nav, descriptive labels on buttons and links, use of the title and h tags, strong (I mean really strong copy) keywords that *actually correspond* to the site content.

Also, I have seen evidence on my blog especially that Google does take traffic into effect when determining SERPS. If I have a newsworthy post, I will sometimes see it in the Google Web SERP within a day or two after posting. If the post grabs enough traffic, it will stay on the SERP, if not, it will revert to being on the Google Blogsearch. YMMV, as always.

The Google algorithm has been changing constantly and not only is that due to SEOs gaming the system, but I also think due to the fact that Google’s aims have been continually redefined. Is it good to have product results on Google Web search? What about Blog posts showing on Google Web search? I’ve stopped worrying about specific factors (i.e. PR, backlinks) and mainly look at SERPS for keywords and domains and incoming traffic.

GoDaddy Domain Forwarding

Wednesday, December 6th, 2006

More than a few of my readers have the following scenario. They have a blog hosted on one of the big providers like Typepad or Wordpress.com and they want to redirect a custom domain name to the blog. So, if you type http://cutedomainname.com it will redirect to http://cutedomainname.bigblogprovider.com.

What I am hearing on the street is that the home of famously cheap marketing tactics and the scourge of thousands of parked domains GoDaddy provides domain name forwarding. However, from what I could find online, GoDaddy only provides a 302 temporary redirect for the domain forwarding, not a 301 permanent redirect.

302 Redirected URLs could possibly be subjected to a domain hijacking and but for most people, the bigger issue is that Google doesn’t trust a temporary 302 redirect as much as a 301, which is why real SEOs use 301.

SEO cagefight - Real Estate Marketing Guide SERP

Saturday, December 2nd, 2006

Recently I came across two Web sites - one a blog and the other a product page with real estate marketing products and I thought it would be interesting to take a look at how two different Web sites are doing SEO.

First, what I did to compare them was to take a look at a keyword combination where I could both find them on Google (because you should be able to find real estate marketers via Google, right?). So I used the keywords “real estate marketing guide” to see how each site would rank in the returned SERP.

-The Future of Real Estate Marketing blog appeared first in the “real estate marketing guide” SERP. What’s interesting, aside from the fact that it’s a blog, was that if you take a close look at the Google SERP, the keywords “real estate marketing” are highlighted in both the blog title and the blog URL. This goes to show how important keywords in your page titles and your URLs are to high SEO ranking.

Other SEO best practices that The Future of Real Estate Marketing does includes image alt tags, meta description and keywords (although the practice of including meta keywords isn’t a high priority) and plenty of copy content on the blog’s front page.

-The ArmingYourFarming.com product page appeared 5th in the Google SERP. Which isn’t bad for a page displaying products, in this case real estate marketing guides for sale. To see why the page appeared 5th, let’s go take a look at the the Google cache for the products page.

What is making the page not show higher in the SERP includes the fact that the URL does not have any real estate marketing guide keywords in it. While the page title says “Real Estate Marketing Guides” and image alt tags exist in the page source, there are no meta description tags. In addition, for a product page, while the page has keywords, it doesn’t seem that the page has enough copy with related terms or synonyms. In addition, a recently identified Google practice is the importance of immediate text on either side of the link anchor text - basically, Google judges the context of your links.

Now you may be thinking that The Future of Real Estate Marketing Blog probably has many more incoming links to it than ArmingYourFarming. Not really. Using the link: command in Google, The Future of Real Estate Marketing blog has around 540 incoming links and ArmingYourFarming has over 1300.

To summarize, I think that keywords in the URL and page title and well written descriptive copy with keywords, keyword synonyms and descriptive anchor link text are very important in SEO practices today.

Yahoo User Interface blog

Monday, May 29th, 2006

A few weeks ago I mentioned how I liked the beta Yahoo front page. Well, as it turns out, the developers behind the redesigned page and other Web projects at Yahoo are writing a new Yahoo User Interface or yuiblog.

Now, this blog isn’t merely about Web design or use of CSS, rather, they’re taking design to the next conceptual level discussing User Interface problems and real life solutions. Issues that I’ve been thinking about the past few months. A definite must read for those of us interested in not only appearance but utilization.

Some Web design and Web marketing ideas from the NY Times

Monday, May 29th, 2006

When I’m clicking around online, I’m always on the lookout as to how other sites utilize Web design and Web marketing techniques. One of the more interesting sites these days is the NY Times, which underwent a recent redesign. It seems that the site is still getting tweaked, and although I wish they’d do away with the Georgia/Times font for their headlines, the site manages to capture my attention.

Taking a look through the page source, I found out that they’re using a DOCTYPE Transitional with a hybrid table and CSS layout. Their CSS page is damn large, but it seems like they’re accommodating all browsers with their design.

On the marketing side of things, I was intrigued to notice the recent push for logged in readers to subscribe to NY Times related email newsletters. Rather than merely have a “sign up for newsletters” box on their side menu, the folks at the Times decided to pre-fill the box with your email address, so all that you’d need to do is press the Sign Up button. (But hey, could they make the Sign Up button a little more noticeable?)

NY Times email box

Yahoo Front Page May 06 redesign

Wednesday, May 17th, 2006

Here’s a shocker for you, I actually like the May 06 Yahoo redesign. (Well, aside from the fact that the browser I use, Camino, is not supported already, but that’s probably because of a lack of Ajax support.) As a designer, I can see the direction where Yahoo’s designers are going with the page and it echos many of the same elements that have been recently unveiled on the newly redesigned NY Times and not quite there yet CNN home pages.

Elements I like…

*Boxy boxes. Even though these boxes are like that I do know that Yahoo uses rounded corners in their other branded pages. See Yahoo Tech for an example of this.

*Menu buttons and action box (with the Mail, Weather functions) background.

*Page colors are muted (gray and blue on a white background), stay in background, while photos and video pop out.

*Call to action colors are yellow and orange.

*Drop down hover action for the Mail, Weather, etc. functions.

*Overall feedback I heard from others about the page - new page has less text and seems easier to read.

*Left hand menu seems better organized. The caveat for Yahoo designers is that I wonder if the new organization will direct traffic differently than in the past.

*Major page elements float and have the margins around the boxes - but that was on the old page too. This is indicating that Yahoo is probably planning to allow some configuration of the boxes.

*Designed use of nearly the whole width of the page, save for a margin (depending on screen width).

Elements I don’t like…

*I think the Aqua looking accents will age a little too quickly.

*Yahoo Pulse box can’t be configured to show Pulse items you’d want to see.

*There are some text ads in some weird spots - i.e. a text ads in margins between the boxes on the page.

*When I first viewed the page via Firefox/Windows on 5/16, the left hand buttons had different text sizes - as if to promote various services. The text size issue appears fixed on Firefox/Mac this morning 5/17.

Aside from the look and feel aspects, I will let others debate if portals are so “Web 1.0″. Personally, I have been using Yahoo News and Weather on a daily basis for some time now - I think Yahoo executes those two functions nicely and they are easier to use than some other services. If my use of Yahoo qualifies as a portal which Yahoo provides or organizes content, so be it.

However, I thought that once a long, long time ago, Yahoo had unveiled a simpler Google like search page.