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Archive for October, 2008

How Long a Title Tag?

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

This is a tough one.  I have a habit of trying to fit as much into a title tag as possible.  I try to keep it below 12 words as a general guideline, but I know there is a difference between a short 12-word title, such as “Dine in – fast food fair for people who eat on the go” (53 characters) and a long 12-word title, such as “California pipeline producers – environmentally sensitive petroleum infrastructure for transporting energy internationally” (OK, so it’s just 11 words, but it’s 122 characters).

In addition to being the most valuable real estate on a web page, the title tag is also used by many other websites to link to your page.  So someone linking to the pipeline site, might use “California pipeline producers – environmentally sensitive petroleum infrastructure for transporting energy internationally” as the link text.

A new study suggests that Google reads only the first 55 characters of link text, which means that in the above example it would read only “California pipeline producers – environmentally sensiti”.  If you had to target such ridiculously long words for your search market, that would totally suck.  But it does speak to the importance of placing your most important keywords at the beginning of your title tag.  This is where so many websites that put a corporate name of even their domain name at the beginning miss the mark.  It also means trying to keep words like “the” and “and” out of those first 55 characters. 

A couple caveats: Google could at any time change this to 50 characters.  Or 60.  Or 600.  Or 10, for that matter.  So don’t get stuck on the number 55, but focus on the principle.  Yahoo and MSN will have their own limits, too, so don’t stop at 55 if you have something that might get picked up by someone else.  And, of course, the title tag is not primarily about link text, is it? 

 


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Keyword Discovery – New Features

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

The folks at Trellian have updated my favorite SEO tool, Keyword Discovery.  (Yes, fair disclosure, that’s an affiliate link and I certainly appreciate anyone who uses it.)  Keyword Discovery is my keyword tool of choice, so much more that a cheepie like me pays a monthly fee.  In addition to the detailed keyword research I can do for new clients and to update ongoing clients, I use it to very quickly get a sense of what I might be up against competition-wise when quoting for a potential client.

Here are a few of the latest upgrades to Keyword Discovery, more or less in Trellian’s own words.

KeywordDiscovery Updates:

1. More Keyword Data Options
—————————-

- With every keyword database you now have the ability to search through
even more data. Along with a recent update a new “Historical” option has
been added to every keyword database view search volume data from August
2006 onwards.

- US Regional specific dataset is now available.
The US keyword database has over 868 Million searches in the 12 month
database and over 1.6 billion in the 2 year historical database.

(Editor’s note.  This will come in handy if you have a website that ships ony to the USA!)

2. Three New Features and Three Improvements
——————————————–

- Adult Filter
This function removes adult based keywords from the search results.
http://www.keyworddiscovery.com/feature-adult-filter.html

(Editor’s note.  This follows a welcome change I have noticed in Google image search results!)
- Remove Spaces
This function allows searching for search term with and without spaces.
http://www.keyworddiscovery.com/feature-remove-spaces-search.html

- Domain Score
This is for domainers who are interested to know the search counts for .com
based searches.
For a detailed explanation please see:
http://www.keyworddiscovery.com/domain-score.html

- Keyword Density Tool Upgrade
A range of extra filtering, sorting, stop word list and view options have
been added. If you liked the keyword Density tool before, you will be
impressed with the all the new options.
http://www.keyworddiscovery.com/tour-density.html

- Export Function Upgrade
You can now select the database for search counts at the export prompt.
http://www.keyworddiscovery.com/feature-export.html

- Import Function Upgrade
You can now import directly to a project.
http://www.keyworddiscovery.com/feature-import.html

3. New Features Added to the API
——————————–
For API and Enterprise users only, the API has received a few updates
including the addition of:

- phrase match option
- plural searches
- all regional databases
- all historical databases

All these are incremental changes, of course.  The best part is that you can get recent keyword research to find out what is new in how people are searching, and you can get the high-volume historical research to know what keywords have stood the test of time (and better choose long tail keywords).  Plus, there are a number of country-specific databases.

 


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Offline Links Count, too!

Thursday, October 16th, 2008

This will be a short post (I hope!).  Just a few days ago I returned from some fun in New England, and I was thinking about returning into the mountains of New Hampshire or upstate New York.

So it was with more interest than usual (I didn’t rip it up) that I opened a flyer that read”VOUS venez peut-être de GAGNER un des six forfaits escapade à Lake Placid”.  This delightful and hopeful notice was followed by a website address where I could enter a code to verify that I had indeed won a package to lake Placid: www.LakePlacid/WIN .

So I did.

Or, at least, I tried.

I tried again. 

And again. 

I tried adding .php and .html and .asp … all to no avail.  many people would have given up at this point, or much earlier, but I have a stubborn streak that you really don’t want to catch from me, and finally I figured out what was wrong; they had forgotten to print the .com in the URL.  I knew what to look for, and still it took me a while.  How many people would not have known that a URL is invalid without a TLD?  How many people would have given up without even trying to fix the URL? And most importantly, how much money did the Lake Placid Essex County Visitors Bureau invest in designing and mailing these brochures that were missing four crucial characters?  It is a mistake I am sure they will not let happen again.

When building links, one of the points that even the legions of outsourcing link-builders in India will focus on is that they will make sure to post the correct URL without typos.  Your offline link-building is just as crucial.  In fact, a typo in one online link doesn’t matter too much.  A typo in a pamphlet that hundreds or thousands of people will read matters much more.

By the way, I did not win that package…but I should get an A for effort.  And if nobody else figured out the correct URL, maybe the Lake Placid Essex County Visitors Bureau will award me the prize by default and I’ll get to do some 46er trekking.

 


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Bloggeries Contest

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

There is a really cool contest happening over at Bloggeries forum, and not just because you can win an Ipod Nano 8GB.  It seems that Rob is trying to brand his service in the same way the Kleenex has been branded.  No matter what grand of “facial tissue” you have on hand, let’s face it, you call it a Kleenex. 

Rob wants you to do the same thing with “bloggeries”.  Every time you publish a blog post…oops, I mean a “bloggery”, he wants you to use that term.  If enough people start referring to their posts as bloggeries, his Bloggeries.com forum, directory and other services will get a massive branding boost.  People on the Internet do not think enough about branding, so this is a superb contest — probably the freshest idea I have seen in a while, and one I am already thinking how I could apply to some of my own ventures.

By the way, although I am a member of Bloggeries and occasionally stop in on the forum, I am busy and I would have missed this if I was not following Rob on Twitter.  I am sold – Twitter is great.  You can follow me at  http://twitter.com/amabaie .

P.S.: I just ran this bloggery through a Microsoft spell-check and it seems they haven’t caught on yet.  Rob, better get in touch with the folks at Microsoft.

 


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Now on Twitter

Thursday, October 9th, 2008

I actually opened my Twitter account several moons ago, but somehow Nancy, our news release distribution expert, convinced me to try using it.  So you can follow us at http://twitter.com/amabaie , where you will find a mix of business and personal news. 

Twitter is a humanizing tool.  It is not a place to make sales pitches.  It is a place to connect with people, sometimes one-on-one, sometimes making announcements for all, always letting people know you are a real person.  If you approach Twitter as networking-for-fun-and-profit, you will find it worthwhile.

 


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Effect of a Domain Name on SEO

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

What is the effect of a domain name on SEO?

Over at the High Rankings Forum, where I like to hang out when I have the time, this debate has burst forth (again!).   It began exactly two weeks ago, and Jill Whalen, the forum’s owner, rekindled the spark by choosing it as the thread of the month in her newsletter. 

On the one side, there are people who quite ardently and categorically believe that the domain name has no effect on rankings.  Zero.  Zilch.  No way.

On the other side, there are people who swear that a domain name can make all the difference.  All the way.

And there are of course, those (like me) who think the whole things is fairly non categorical and that domain names play an uncertain role.

Catch the debate here.

My suggestion for an experiment here, if anyone has more time than I to run a real-life test or two.

 


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BrowseRank follow-up

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

Regular readers might have noticed that I have not published any additional posts in the BrowseRank series, despite the fact that there are obviously more to come.  Actually there are not.  But there is something better…

 …an eBook!

Yes, I have decided to publish an eBook on the topic.  Don’t worry, the eBook will be 100% free, so you’ll get all the tips and advice you would have gotten in a series of blog posts, only more.

So fasten your seatbelts and make sure your seats are in an upright position, because we’ll be taking off real soon. :-)

 


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