David Leonhardt’s SEO and Social Media Marketing

Tips for better SEO (search engine optimization) and website marketing …

THE HAPPY GUY MARKETING

 

Why blogs are good for SEO

May 05, 2008 - filed under blogging, bookmarking, content, deep links, linking, SEO 8 Comments
 

Just a few reasons why a blog is a great tool for SEO.

  • Fresh content – the search engines love that.
  • Growing website – the search engines love that, too.
  • Multiple variations of keywords to attract highly-targeted long-tale searchers.
  • Highly relevant pages from which to link into the main pages of your website.
  • Keeps you in touch with your topic, not just the technicalities of SEO.
  • You can submit your blog to blog-specific directories, providing extra link love.
  • You can easily trade content, not just links.
  • Assuming you can generate even a modest amount of traffic for your blog, you can get links to individual posts through social bookmarking (especially if you have a tool like TheBookmarketer at the bottom of each post, as I do).
  • Blog open doors to real-people networking on the Internet, and that is always helpful when it comes to link-building and other forms of collaboration, such as blogrolls and webrings.

There are probably a few dozen more reasons why blogs are good for SEO, so why not post your favorite reasons in the comments section below?

Multilingual SEO and link-building

May 03, 2008 - filed under French, linking, multilingual SEO, Spanish 2 Comments
 

This question came up on forum recently (I can’t recall which forum, sorry) and it interests me because multilingual SEO is something I quite enjoy.

 The question as I recall it is whether on-topic links in various languages or from various language websites is helpful for SEO purposes.  The answer is not clear-cut.

First, any link is a good link…almost.  That is, unless the linking website is truly despicable (Did I spell that right, Sylvester?), the link carries some value.

Second, in many niches Anglicisms creap intot he lingo.  For example, SEO is a word used in Spanish and therefore a link on a Spanish page about SEO would be keyword relevant for this blog.

Third, you can always include a bilingual link, so a link on a French page to an English page about restaurant jobs could read “Emplois Restaurant Jobs”.

Fourth, it is possible that the search engines can relate some cross language themes.  There are plenty of carpet websites with sections in several languages.  There are plenty of car accessory websites with sections in several languages.  There are plenty of hotel websites with sections in several languages.  The major search engines are smart enough to recognize patterns, such as that very often English sections of a website themed around “carpets” and “rugs” also have French sections themed around “tapis” and Spanish sections themed around “alfombras” and “tapetes”.  I am not saying that Google and Yahoo actually do this, just that they can.  They can probably also tell which sites of various languages might be similarly themed by their link profiles, for instance if the websites were both linked from a lot of directories or blogs in the same niche.

Fifth, keep in mind that there are a lot of multilingual people out there.  There are many people in my neck of the woods who would click on a link whether it is in French or in English. 

Your best bet – the most sure thing – is to seek links from websites in the same language.  But if you see a good opportunity to get a relevant link from another website in another language, don’t feel you have to pass it by.

Yahoo and web design quality

Apr 30, 2008 - filed under rankings, web design, website conversion, Yahoo 5 Comments
 

A recent patent application by Yahoo makes it clear that it has plans to look at the quality of a web page in terms of layout and design as part of its ranking algorithm.  Careful – I did not say that it does or it will, just that it has plans.Yahoo’s reasoning is solid.  A web page that is full of clutter, where it’s hard to find where to go, if not a page that will please the searcher.  And Yahoo, like all search engines, wants to please the searcher.In its patent application, Yahoo lists 52 elements it might consider when deciding whether a web page is cluttered or not.

  • Total number of links
  • Total number of words
  • Total number of images (non-ad images)
  • Image area above the fold (non-ad images)
  • Dimensions of page
  • Page area (total)
  • Page length
  • Total number of tables
  • Maximum table columns (per table)
  • Maximum table rows (per table)
  • Total rows
  • Total columns
  • Total cells
  • Average cell padding (per table)
  • Average cell spacing (per table)
  • Dimensions of fold
  • Fold area
  • Location of center of fold relative to center of page
  • Total number of font sizes used for links
  • Total number of font sizes used for headings
  • Total number of font sizes used for body text
  • Total number of font sizes
  • Presence of “tiny” text
  • Total number of colors (excluding ads)
  • Alignment of page elements
  • Average page luminosity
  • Fixed vs. relative page width
  • Page weight (proxy for load time)
  • Total number of ads
  • Total ad area
  • Area of individual ads
  • Area of largest ad above the fold
  • Largest ad area
  • Total area of ads above the fold
  • Page space allocated to ads
  • Total number of external ads above the fold
  • Total number of external ads below the fold
  • Total number of external ads
  • Total number of internal ads above the fold
  • Total number of internal ads below the fold
  • Total number of internal ads
  • Number of sponsored link ads above the fold
  • Number of sponsored link ads below the fold
  • Total number of sponsored link ads
  • Number of image ads above the fold
  • Number of image ads below the fold
  • Total number of image ads
  • Number of text ads above the fold
  • Number of text ads below the fold
  • Total number of text ads
  • Position of ads on page

 This is actually a superb website review checklist.  Go through your website and see how it stacks up on most of these items.  Keep in mind that there are reasons you might want to violate some of these principles, but in general you would want your website to meet most of these criteria in order to please your visitors and convert them into customers.  And soon, you might also please Yahoo.

REALITY CHECK – one way links

Apr 24, 2008 - filed under Google, linking, marketing 5 Comments
 

It seems I have been encountering an awful lot of doctrine at webmaster forums recently about the high value of one-way links or the low value of link exchanges.  This is a myth, based on those people who engage in what the search engines view as “unnatural” linking patters.  If most of your links come from reciprocation, then it stands to reason that your website does not have a lot of value, or else it should get lots of links based on the quality of its content or its usefulness.

But if your links come from a wide variety of sources and in a wide variety of formats, there is no truth to the myth that a link exchange is worth less than a one-way link.  When faced with Internet marketing issues, it is often worth doing a reality check.  What would you do to promote your business in the real world?

Suppose you owned a tourist attraction and you wanted to place your brochure in the lobby of a local hotel. The hotel might say:

  • Great. That’s a wonderful service to my visitors.
  • No problem. That will be $50 a month.
  • Sure, if I can place my brochure on your counter (like a link exchange!)
  • OK, if you give me a season’s pass.

Does it matter which way you get the brochure (link) into the lobby (webpage)?  No.  What counts is that you are where your target market can see you.  And that is what counts with link-building.  Find the p[laces you want to be seen by real people and by the search engines and get your site listed there in whatever way you can.

A note about paid links.  Google do not like paid links.  But does that mean it is wrong to buy a link if that’s what it takes to be where you want to be?  No, that is just good marketing.  But it does help to understand what Google is doing.

Google does not care how you do your marketing.  Google does care that the public perceives it as the most useful search engine.  Google is a business, just like you, and the customer is always right.  To keep customers coming back, Google has a very complex and carefully balanced ranking algorithm. Who is ranked at what position is a moot point to Google, but if the overall integrity of its results is placed at risk, Google has to take action.  The massive purchasing of paid links on high PageRank websites, often irrelevant to the topic of the link, has the potential of skewing Google’s results.  For that reason, these are not looked on favorably.

I do not recommend as a matter of practice that you buy or lease irrelevant links to boost PageRank.  I do not recommend that paid links be a major portion of your linking campaign.  And I do not recommend you buy links where there are a dozen other paid links all together.  But if there is a relevant link that you want and the price is money, I do recommend that you don’t feel obliged to keep your money in your pocket.

One way or link exchanges.  Barter or paid.  Three way or five way linking.  Do whatever it takes to get the highest quality, relevant links to your website.

Mature Domains – Ranking Advantage at Google

Apr 22, 2008 - filed under domain, Google, linking, pagerank, rankings 2 Comments
 

Those of us who have been paying attention new about the importance of domain maturity already a couple years ago.  But it looks like 2008 might be the year that the webmaster community starts to realize the importance of the issue, with Google’s United States Patent Application: 0080086467 being publicized.

The bottom line is that it is to your advantage to hold a domain that has been around — and in your ownership — for several years.  Maturity counts, and SEO gets easier as your domain ages.  It is also to your advantage to see links from mature domains, although I don’t think I would waste time checking the ages of every domain I hoped to get a link from (more on this in a moment).

Why are mature domains better?  Like so many things, especially on the Internet where much is ephemeral, a mature domain has stood the test of time and therefore is more likely than average to provide useful information or services.  An established domain is much, much less likely to be a spam site set up to turn a quick profit and disappear.  The bottom line is that a mature domain is more likely to be a trustworthy one.

And trust is what it is about.  When Google sends traffic to your site, it is placing trust in the site.  Maturity is one way Google can measure trust.  However, it is far from the only way.  PageRank is another.   There are likely dozens of measures of trust that Google employs, which is why I would not waste my time checking domain age.  A much better trust test is too see how well a site ranks for its own target search phrases.  If it ranks well, Google must trust it at least a fair amount, and therefore it is a good website to be associated with.

5 Reasons to Shorten Your URLs

Apr 16, 2008 - filed under domain, email Comments Off on 5 Reasons to Shorten Your URLs
 

Here is a great list of reasons why you would want to shorten your URLs.  Here is the abridged version of the list, but the link above gives a more detailed explanation, well-thought out and pretty obvious for anyone trying to spread their website by means other than links. 

  • Avoid broken links in your emails/messenger text
  • Save characters in your SMS
  • Tell others your links via phone
  • Hide your affiliate links
  • Much better for audio recirdings or repeating the URL over the phone

Location of Google Data Centers

Apr 15, 2008 - filed under Google, rankings Comments Off on Location of Google Data Centers
 

Hang around any webmaster forum long enough and you will run into the newbie question, “How come I don’t see the same results as my friend in San Francisco or Mexico City?” And the predictable answer, “Because Google serves up slightly different results from different data centers” or “Because Google has updated one of its data centers earlier than another, so just be patient until it updates all its data centers”.

But exactly where are these data centers. Today I present you with some clues, and I will explain why I use the word “clues”.

Here is a map of all the Google data centers around the world:
World map of Google data centers

Here is a map of the Google data centers in North America (Yes, there is one in Canada):
Google data centers in USA

And for our European readers, here is a map of data centers in Europe, from Russia to Ireland:
Google data centers in Europe

These maps were found through an interesting blog post on Google data centers at Pingdom.  These maps are based on a data center list at Data Center Knowledge.

Interestingly, when you search Google Maps, here is what it shows:


View Larger Map 

Just another example of the search engines not delivering their own information as well as they deliver others’?

Deep Links in Bloggeries

Apr 10, 2008 - filed under blogging, deep links, linking, SEO 1 Comment
 

With all the tempting examples of silly things we see on the Internet, not to mention pure stupidity, it is sometimes easy to overlook those who do things right.  Such an example is Bloggeries Blog Directory .  This is a mid-priced paid directory specifically for blogs.

First, they give you a link in the category listings, as 99% of directories do.

Then, they give you a details page, which maybe about 2% of directories do.  This is nice, because it is a page that is totally optimized for your website.  If the page has any link juice at all, it is a good page to have a link from.  This blog is listed here: David Leonhardt’s SEO Marketing Express.

Third, they offer deep links.  Now you have surely heard me expound upon the benefits of deep linking.  Directories I am involved with, such as WV Travel and DevDream, not only feature listings on multiple pages, but also include the option of up to three deep links for each listing.  Well, Bloggeries have outdone me on this.  Look at our listing again, and you will see they offer three deep links, and they also include links to our most recent posts across the middle of the page, thanks to the magic of RSS.

On top of that, they have a forum that is quite busy and one incentive to participate is that they provide backlinks in your signature line plus a link to the post you wrote (which is a great enticement for people to visit your blog, so write provocative titles!)

This really was not intended to be a review of Bloggeries, as much as another chance to talk about deep links.  But I suppose plans change.  :-)

Yahoo Violating NoFollow Attribute?

Apr 09, 2008 - filed under Google, nofollow, Yahoo 3 Comments
 

The nofollow attribute is supposed to mean no follow.  More specifically, the major search engines have committed to not following any link that has a nofollow attribute attached.  So why do we see Yahoo following links from comments in Matt Cutts blog?  Here is an example of where Yahoo’s SiteExplorer lists at least two comments in blog posts as backlinks: https://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com/advsearch?p=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.seobuzzbox.com&bwm=i&bwmo=d&bwmf=u

Check the source code in the blog:

<a href=’http://www.seobuzzbox.com’ rel=’external nofollow’>Aaron Pratt</a>

Here is another example:  https://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com/advsearch?p=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.thinkseer.com&bwm=i&bwmo=d&bwmf=u

Do those links factor into Yahoo’s algorithm?  Who knows?  But just the fact that they are being reported…

Saaaaayy … this wouldn’t be one of those tricks to mess with webmasters’ minds, would it?  Like that silly green PageRank bar that means so little and has cost so many sleepless nights and missed link exchanges?

I would love to hear your opinions on this. 
  

Don’t Waste “Useless” Traffic

Apr 07, 2008 - filed under content, Google, marketing, rankings, traffic, website conversion 1 Comment
 

Not everybody has this happy problem, but many websites get traffic they cannot use because it serves only a narrow spectrum of people who arrive from a broader search.  People do a search for a broad search, such as “marketing gimmicks” at Google or Yahoo, find your web page about a very specific marketing gimmick for real estate agents, discover that the website does not address their needs to market beauty products or metal bending or accounting, and they go.

Wait.  Stop.  Where do they go?  Back to the search engine?  No, no, no, no. 

From an SEO perspective, you don’t want to send the search engines the message that your page was a poor choice to rank well for the search term “marketing gimmicks”.  If that happens, the search engines might just demote your rank, and you will love the good prospects with the “useless” traffic.  We have no evidence that the search engines are factoring bounceback data into their algorithms, but we do know they are capable and have an interest in doing so.   It’s coming.

Of more immediate concern is all that hard-earned traffic that could be buying something from you is just leaving without spending a penny.  What a shame!  In a case like that, it would be worth having a very prominent affiliate link to a website that sells a broader marketing package with a text like “More Surefire marketing Gimmicks Here”. The result would be to convert some of the “useless” traffic, and to both reduce the bounceback rates and increase the bounceback lag time of those who do go back to Google.
 

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