A Smattering of SEO News: 6/3/13

Hello everyone, and welcome back to our Smattering of SEO news. Since last week started off with a holiday weekend here in the U.S., there wasn’t as much news as there usually is, but we still have some great tidbits for you. Here’s your news to get your week started, and I hope it’s a great one.

Google News:

  • Matt Cutts Details How Google Looks at Advetorials – In a recent video, the Google Engineer laid out the guidelines for how webmasters should approach the practice of paid editorials, or “advetorials”. Essentially, the article should pass no PageRank by using nofollow attributes in links, and these should be clearly marked to consumers and sponsored editorials. Violating these could have the content removed from the search engine, Google News and elsewhere.
  • EU Wants More Concessions before Settlement of Antitrust Investigation – Recently, in talks with members of the European Parliament, EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said that Google would need to “improve its proposals” with further concessions before the EU decides to settle its antitrust investigation. This is likely in response to strong lobbying efforts from Google’s critics FairSearch.org and SearchNeutrality.org.
  • Google Adds New Tool to Make Structured Data Easier to Implement – Google has made adding structured data to one’s website much easier than ever before, thanks to the revision of an existing tool and the addition of a new one. First off, their existing data highlighter only allowed the addition of information about events, but now allows information on products, apps, movies, TV episodes and much more. Going further, Google added the new “Structured Data Markup Helper” tool. This allows you to tag specific pieces of data on your page. The tool will then give you HTML code to implement into your website.

Other News:

  • SEOMoz Changes Name to Moz – In a surprising move, long-time staple of the SEO industry, SEOMoz, has changed their name to simply Moz. This seems to denote a branching out from just SEO to search, social, content and branded marketing channels, as well as further development of their various software tools such as Moz Analytics, which go beyond just SEO. We’ll have to see if it pays off.
  • Bing Launches XML Sitemap Plugin 1.0 – Bing has brought it’s XML sitemap generation tool out of beta and into a final release state. This plugin, installed on a host server, creates XML sitemaps and then alerts Bing and Google that the sitemaps are updated. This would be handy for sites that have no plugins of their own to generate sitemaps.FB-verified-pages
  • Facebook Adding Verification to Celebrity and High Profile Pages – Facebook is following in the footsteps of Twitter by now certifying the validity of celebrity-owned pages and other high-profile pages. This is unlikely a result of more and more complaints by both celebrities and their fans of fake pages.
  • Email is Tops in Conversion Rate for Ecommerce Sites – In a recent study by Monetate called the Ecommerce Quarterly, they studied over 500 million shopping experiences and found that email had the highest conversion rate at 3.19%, beating out search (1.95%) and social (0.71%). Email was also found to be the top referrer of most pages on Ecommerce sites. However, search engines still brought in the most traffic.

Did you hear any other SEO news last week? Please feel free to share it in the comments below. See you again next week!

Alternatives To Yahoo! Site Explorer

On Friday November 18, 2011 Yahoo posted the following, brief statement: “With the completion of algorithmic transition to Bing, Yahoo! Search has merged Site Explorer into Bing Webmaster Tools. Webmasters should now be using the Bing Webmaster Tools to ensure that their websites continue to get high quality organic search traffic from Bing and Yahoo!. Site Explorer services will not be available from November 21, 2011.”

We knew this day would come, in July Yahoo! officially announced that they expected this transition to happen later in the year, we simply did not know the exact date. Even before that we knew that having two platforms feeding data for a single source of organic rankings was not efficient. It took months to make the switch because they had not transitioned to the Microsoft search platform in many areas of the world. They wanted to be sure that it was a smooth transition on one date, worldwide.

Many SEO evangelists and webmasters are sad to see this tool go as they actively use the competitive link data provided by Yahoo Site Explorer. Bing Webmaster Tools simply does not provide the same insight and therefore many are turning to SEOmoz, Majestic SEO, Open Site Explorer, and free web-based tools such as our own SEOAudit Tool, in an attempt to gather the same insights.  For most, Bing Webmaster Tools  platform will be sufficient and users will no longer have to submit their sitemaps and updates to both locations.

Do you have thoughts or suggestions on other webmaster tools that would help fill the void once Yahoo Webmaster Tools is officially gone? Let us know!

How to Boost Affiliate Revenue Using eBay, Facebook, and TinyURL

I recently sat in on an Affiliate Marketing panel at Pubcon 2008 in Las Vegas and learned that now is the best time to be an affiliate marketer. I IM’d this to Scott, the Director of Performance Marketing at Wpromote, and he suggested I ask why this is so, especially with the recent downturns in the economy.

http://www.wpromote.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/pubcon-aaron-kronis-question.flv
(note: taken using 12seconds.tv, hence only 12 seconds long…)
The thinking behind the announcement? As the traditional advertising world converges with the interactive marketing world and high-end video ads are being integrated into websites, affiliate marketers have more opportunities to become media outlets and get a piece of ever-expanding online marketing budgets.

With that being said, here is a great way to boost your affiliate revenue using filtered search results, affiliate links, and social media.

Monetizing witheBay logo

Try Searching for something on eBay. For my example, I used ‘guitars’. Here are some of the results:

eBay UNFILTERED Guitar search results

Notice how there are several products in here that no pro guitarist would really want, which wastes their time while searching.

If you use eBays ‘advanced search,’ you will start to see the URL changing and the results improving as you remove ‘unwanted’ results.

For my query on ‘Ernie Ball Guitars,’ initially the results were about 300 items, many of which were garbage results of products such as promo ads, picks, strings and other things that weren’t actual guitars. After carefully adding negative keywords such as strings, picks, straps, and chord book, the results were streamlined and my search returned 109 results, almost all of which were actual guitars for sale.

Now Make the Affiliate Link

Next I went into the eBay Partner pages and created an affiliate link to make sure I get credit for anyone who purchases from my filtered results.

eBay screen shot
eBay screen shot

You use the link generator to create the link:

The end result is something like this:

http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/***-***-******-0/1?type=4&campid=*********&toolid=10001&customid=&mpre=http%3A%2%2Fshop.ebay.com%2Fitems%2F_W0QQ_dmdZ1QQ_dmptZGuitarQQ_sopZ12%3F_nkw%3DErnie%2BBall%2BGuitar%2B-strings%2B-picks%2B-trucker%2B-hat%2B-pick%2B-conditioner%2B-slide%2B-slides%2B-straps%2B-how%2B-chord%2B-book%2B-promo%2B-cables%2B-cable%2B-pedal%2B-volume%2B-strap%2B-nylon%2B-ad%2B-hammett%2B-hybrid%2B-slinky%2B-string%26_sacat%3D0%26_fromfsb%3D%26_trksid%3Dm270.l1313%26_odkw%3DErnie%2BBall%2BGuitar%2B-strings%2B-picks%2B-conditioner%2B-slide%2B-slides%2B-straps%2B-how%2B-chord%2B-book%2B-promo%2B-cables%2B-cable%2B-pedal%2B-volume%2B-strap%2B-nylon%2B-ad%2B-hammett%2B-hybrid%2B-slinky%2B-string%26_osacat%3D0

Now You Place Your Link – But 1st You Have to Shorten It

Well there are several places I have at my disposal to place guitar-related links. Any of my blogs, near the top of  my guitar-related blog (guitartechnician.com), or to the Facebook group of which I am an officer, “Guitar Shredders Unite!”.

Guitar Shredders Unite Facebook Group
Guitar Shredders Unite Facebook Group - Click to Join!

So what’s the problem?  That huge link above is likely not to fit everywhere you want to post it (WYSIWYG editors, for example), and it’s size alone makes people suspicious – is it a scam? An affiliate link? Did I just blow your speakers and its time to call for speaker repair? Is clicking on this link going to infect my computer with a virus?

The solution is to shorten up the link with Tiny Url.

Using Tiny Url, I was able to get clean url slugs for my posts, and now my link looks like this:

http://tinyurl.com/ernieball

The link above can be posted anywhere. When someone clicks, they will get filtered eBay results. If a purchase is made as a result, the affiliate makes money.

Some examples of links I’ve placed on my blog:

ebay guitar search links
eBay guitar search links

In the sidebar of the guitartechnician.com, I have affiliate links to ESP Guitars, Ernie Ball and Mesa/Boogie eBay search results that don’t appear super spammy and provide the user with great filtered auction results.

Best of luck with your affiliate earning, and don’t take all the good tinyURLs!

Your friendly neighborhood SEO Rockstar SEO

P.S. Here are some cool pics from PubCon…enjoy!

This is the room where they held the Affiliate Marketing panel.


This is the private SeoMOZ party.
A bunch of SEO’s sitting around a table playing “Search Spam.”

Good times.

SMX Advanced 2008 in Seattle, Washington – KRONiS Update.

SMX Advanced - Seattle, June, 2008

This Year’s Seattle Search Marketing Expo (SMX Advanced) conference was great, aside from the uncomfortable red chairs it went off without a hitch.

Space Needle Seattle

⁃ Monday night started with a Microsoft sponsored party that had great catering, a DJ and great hors d’oeuvres. It took place close to the conference at the Olympic Sculpture Park.

They were offering to take pictures of people for fancy luggage tags (branded by Microsoft of course) which was funny to watch as people were drinking from an open bar and taking silly photos.

Olympic Sculpture Park, Seattle, WA

Many of the well known SEO companies were present and it was a nice start to the conference, I found some people I had met at SXSW and SMX Long Beach and the networking had begun.

It did rain the entire time, but that’s alright as we were inside the whole time anyway. Looking for cabs could get you wet and annoyed, but at least there were lots of ‘Vancouverish’ trees everywhere and it was a beautiful location on at the Bell Harbor Convention Center.

The three major search Engines, Google, Yahoo and MSN Live finally announced some clarifications on how they treat the Common REP (Robots Exclusion Protocol) Directives.

Yahoo Search BlogSee YAHOO!’s blog about REP Directives.

Google Webmaster Central Blog

Google’s Webmaster Central Blog re: REP Directives.

MSN Live Search Webmaster Central Blog
MSN’s blog about REP Directives can be read here.

There were some different answers regarding how the SE’s treat things such as the ‘nofollow’ attribute in links.

SMX Advanced Conference PanelsThe MSN crew at first didn’t seem clear on what their own standards were, however at the end they did clarify that they don’t do anything different for nofollow links at this time. I’m still confused by their confusion. Good old Microsoft!

Google: – Were very clear that they don’t use noindex, nofollow for discovery (finding new content to index or at least store somewhere)

Yahoo: – Confirmed they do use nofollow links for Discovery.

I think the way to go here is to follow the industry leader, Google and do what they say and suggest.

For example, Yahoo! was really pushing the use of Yahoo Site Explorer to provide rewrites for URLs that are not SEO-Friendly – This will drive tons of traffic to Yahoo Site Explorer but I think its a pain in the ass to be honest. Plus the Yahoo folks didn’t even know how to use the microphone or speak in a way you could hear them, at EITHER panel I saw different Yahoo! folks at.

Google’s reps put on their ‘Google faces’ and obviously had public speaking training and were very easy to understand. Google’s Maile Ohye recommended that you take care of your own canonicalization issues using cookies for session IDs and putting the exact URL in your sitemap of canonicalized pages.

Friends as SMX Seattle

Pictured here is Maile from Google with Michael from Penwell, Colin and Pete from the UK and Mike from San Diego. I rolled with this fun crew most of the time, pictured here at the SeoMOZ party. Kudos to Jane and Rand’s crew for always being easily accesible to discuss SEO and for giving out sweet shirts and hoodies. – Back to the technical stuff…so this this can seem rather confusing…USE the sitemaps and tell Google which versions of pages to use. The key here is to put the canonical version IN the sitemap, NOT the human readable version and 301 the canonical page to the SEO friendly URL.

i.e. http://www.example.com/prodinfo.asp?number=CF300%2D006 would go in the xml sitemap.

And you would 301 redirect to http://www.example.com/human-readable-page.html

Obviously…

http://sofia.usgs.gov/virtual_tour/images/photos/enp/enp_road.jpg

There’s a long road ahead of us but at least the Search Engines are finally starting to try and work together to provide standards for webmasters to follow that are the same for each engine. Google is obviously way ahead of the pack on this one.

Another interesting and completely unrelated topic was when a presenter explained this: How do you explain the word ‘spicy’ to a child that has never tasted spicy? It is pretty much impossible without ever tasting something spicy….he also mentioned how the dictionary is a circular reference…A book full of words describing other words…circular. You would be able to point to a tree and say that physical thing over there is a tree…but without that the words describing it are all defined inside the ‘circular reference’ of the dictionary. I never thought if it that way…one for all the nerds out there i guess…

BUZZWORD: Progressive Enhancement

Some of you may not know this term. The Wikipedia definition is as follows:

“a strategy for web design that emphasizes accessibility, semantic markup, and external stylesheet and scripting technologies. Progressive enhancement uses web technologies in a layered fashion that allows everyone to access the basic content and functionality of a web page, using any browser or Internet connection, while also providing those with better bandwidth or more advanced browser software an enhanced version of the page.” – Source – Wikipedia

It is now recommended to start websites over using this methodology to make them accessible at every level rather than try to implement backwards changes to your existing sites.

Buying old Domains:

Some cool ways to find and buy old sites without losing their historical strength in Google were discussed. The goal is to use a TRUST to keep the WHOIS information the same, and to also buy the hosting account from the owner as well.

The way to do this if you do NOT want to see the WHOIS information change is to do the following three things.

  1. Get a Lawyer and establish an intent to create a trust.
  2. Make sure the certainty of the property – Take inventory and it is a wise idea to include the hosting as part of what you are buying to avoid any WHOIS changes.
  3. The Object is the beneficiary.

So what does this legalese mean?

– Well I’m not a lawyer but the general idea here it to use legal means to ensure that the WHOIS registration does not change and it is also highly recommended to also purchase the hosting account from the current owner of the domain.

If you are interested in this I recommend checking out Seoroi.com who presented this at SMX Advanced.

H1 tags – only one per page? that’s what all the SEO’s say, but really why? any proof?

So I had an opportunity to discuss an issue about H1 tags that my company was having with Matt Cutts who is very easy to talk with and obviously passionate about his work at Google. Even during one of the panels he was sitting with some of the folks I was hanging with and was very helpful with his little notepad describing how Google does specific things that would affect the sites he was asked about.

Matt Cutts with Michael K explaining duplicate content solutions.

At the end of it all we pretty much agreed that, – Matt even said this – “You don’t need Matt Cutts”. The reason is that it is at this point pretty obvious when something is shady or not. If the work you are doing is for the search engines and not for the users and affects the user experience than it could be risky.

Matt Cutts from Google talking with SEO Aaron Kronis

(Matt Cutts discussing use of multiple H1s on pages with Aaron Kronis) and using his diagram pad as always.)

We discussed the issue that our programming team here at Wpromote is having with regards to the use of H1s at the beginning of sections rather than reserving it for just the main page header.

Almost every SEO I know swears by ‘One H1 tag per page with the top keyword phrase for that site in it’ and here Matt said that it was alright to have MULTIPLE H1s on the page as long as you don’t stuff too many keywords into the H1 tags and design the site for the users.

My question to any SEOs out there (thanks to Merlin for pointing this out btw) is that other than all the SEOs saying to only have one H1 per page, where is this proven to be any different then if there are multiple H1s used at the heading of each section the way the H1 tag was designed. This reserves H1-H6 for usage if needed – great for automated pages and sites… the limit of the H1 to one usage can change the programming and possibly cause you to run out of Hx’s if you get up to the depth of H5 o H6 and have used up your H1 at the top of your pages. Not super critical but nonetheless not very well explained or documented in the SEO community.

Other things to note – if you are using IP Delivery (Cloaking) then the content you serve the search engines MUST be the same as the media you are normally serving users. i.e. the text of the flash better look like the text you send Google or you will be booted from the index. The question was asked “Can you describe the video that is in flash?” the answer from the Search Engines was ‘NO – you may use a static image however’.

– So if some of this was a little dry, there’s a lot of new exciting things going on in the SEO community and with the new tools that Wpromote are developing (thanks to CP) for our SEO division will really help us out with getting the best results for our clients. Welcome to the next generation of Internet Rockstars who know how to use Progressive Enhancement to build search friendly and great user-friendly websites.

I missed the SeoMOZ party but I had to get home…back to LA.

wing-sunset

Taken on the final approach to LAX looking off the edge of the world.

-KRONiS

 
Posted on

Content – More Than Meets The Eye

Being someone who is on the phone, live chat, or email with clients throughout the day, one of the biggest misconceptions of people, and simultaneously the most important thing a webpage trying to advertise needs, is about what good content is.

Most of the time, this is how things break down – people think they have a great website, and while they have a visually appealing one, it is not “content rich.”

To get the most out of sponsored link advertising in Google and Yahoo, it is best to have a good amount of content on their webpage, which can you lead you to having good keyword quality score, or in other words, your keywords have good relevancy to your webpage and what you are trying to do. Things like “about us” pages, pages describing your service – both what and why it works – along with blogging and other extension pages are all how you make your site content heavy.

Now this all may seem simple, even if it may be more work than someone wants to put in to create a good site, it is something that a lot of people (webpages) lack and lack understanding in. I get dozens of phone calls from people each and every day that end up being an explanation to clients and potential clients that despite how visually appealing a site may be, without the proper content, and presentation of information, you may have serious problems getting a decent “quality score” with Google and Yahoo. Since this quality score concept, as noted in the beginning, is so determinant of how Google and Yahoo will rank the relativity of your keywords to your webpage, there is sometimes little an advertiser can do if the site they are trying to work with is a page with one or two pictures and pretty graphics on it.

It is integral to web developers and webpage owners to gain and understanding in this, so that they may assimilate it and then synthesize it into a successful webpage and subsequent successful advertising efforts.

Barry Diller Sends Web Wake-Up Call to Media Companies

IAC/InterActive Corp CEO Barry Diller says that big media companies have been slow to reap the benefits of the internet and that some just “don’t get it.” Story

Although Barry Diller is referring to companies on a billion dollar scale, we can equate it to smaller media companies, agencies and Search Marketing.

This has been an issue that we have discussed internally for some time. One of the toughest challenges we face is convincing traditional media companies that search is right for them. Specifically, it is most difficult when dealing with those individuals who for whatever reason don’t know or don’t want to know how search works. They have built extremely successful business through traditional advertising and aren’t thrilled to learn that the model they have been perfecting for 30 years has changed dramatically. It is our job to help them understand that search can drastically transform their business and we can do it cost effectively.

Now it is not quite fair to lump all media companies together in this group. We do work with a number of traditional advertising agencies and media companies who have a very good understanding of the power of search. Some of my favorite conversations have been with marketing directors and executives who understand the direction their company is heading and they are making a strategic shift online. They realize that print in dying and that they need to offer their users a better online experience in order to maintain viability, with so many alternatives just a click away. I think as time progresses, these slow moving media companies will catch up and jump into the online arena with both feet, which makes this an interesting market to be in.

Wpromote Policy Change

I am sure everyone has experienced it, a groggy morning, power failure, late start, late night, nothing to wear, traffic, botched snooze button… whatever the excuse may be, most all of us can run late from time to time. We recently wanted to find a way to motivate our employees to minimize morning tardiness, while providing a fun way of giving back to others.

The solution: Our Kiva Late Fund.

To share with readers outside Wpromote, here is how our new program works. If you aren’t in the office by a set time each morning, you must donate $5 upon entrance to our late fund, each time you are late.  The fund is then collected on a monthly basis and put towards our Kiva fund. For those who are not familiar with Kiva, www.Kiva.org lets you connect with and loan money to unique small businesses in the developing world. Each time one employee is late and $5 is donated we are 20% closer to a micro loan to help sponsor a developing business in a third world country.

Since we started one month ago, our late fund has allowed us to lend $25 to four different business worldwide. This new program has not only created an incentive for employees to arrive on time, but directly benefits those in need when we arrive late.  Please feel free to view our sponsors.
http://www.kiva.org/lender/wpromote 

We are excited to grow our Kiva profile and truly owe this to our wonderful employees!

Wpromote Sponsor’s US Olympic Hopeful Forrest Gay

Wpromote is sponsoring 2008 Olympic Sailing hopeful, Forrest Gay. Forrest is in the process of competing at the 2007 Olympic Trials in the Finn class. The Finn Olympic trials are currently taking place at the Newport Harbor Yacht Club in Balboa California. With 41 boats, the Finn Class will be the largest fleet at the Trials. Forrest recently placed 8th at the Finn North American Championship that took place September 21-23rd at the Coyote Point Yacht club. Forrest of course is favored to win at the Olympic trials, at least by the odds makers at Wpromote. How could he not with this sleek looking boat?
wpromote boat

For the past year Forrest has been dedicating himself to chasing down his Olympic dream and has the full support and admiration of everyone here at Wpromote. Way to go Forrest! We are pulling for you.

eBay’s Interesting Trademark Bidding

I came across something today that I found intriguing; eBay, obviously a huge advertiser on Google AdWords, is bidding on the keyword “ebay”. That alone is not strange; most every advertiser with a known brand choose to bid on their name, even though they are most likely tops in the organic (free) search result.

Quite simply, they more real estate on a search results page that you control, the better. If you are eBay, you do not want users heading off towards Amazon or another retailer to make a purchase, thus purchasing the top spot for your brand name is usually always worth the cost.

What made this interesting in this case is that eBay sites take up basically every organic listing on the page (with the exception of the omnipresent Wikipedia entry, which is not going to be taking business from eBay), and none of eBay’s competitors are advertising on the paid results for their brand. With tens of thousands of clicks per day I have no doubt, this means to me that eBay is paying quite a bit for advertising on their brand name, paying for clicks that in this particular case they would undoubtedly end up getting for free.

This could be an oversight, or it could be that their ad budget is so big that this is a drop in the bucket, or it could be a defensive move, as not advertising under the term ‘ebay’ could invite competitors or affiliates to do so.

Google Stumbles?

Or that’s what Wall Street seems to think when you report second quarter net profits of a paltry $925 Million on revenue of just $3.87 Billion. Revenue was up 58% from a year ago, profits up 28%, as they invested massively in infrastructure and expanded their workforce to 13,500 people, adding over 1,500 people in a single quarter.

Oh yeah, and just in case times get tough, they are sitting on a cool $12.5 Billion in cash.

Seems like a pretty darn good quarter to me, but Wall Street analysts are strange beasts.