Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Section 2: Around the Net in Search Marketing

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Will We Be Searching Without SERPs?
User Effect
Peter J. Meyers (aka Dr. Pete) uses examples of the many kinds of "non-SERP" style results that searchers can see now, depending on the type of query or device they're using; and questions whether the SERP as we know it will become extinct.

First up is the OneBox, which Google pioneered way back in 2006. The units encompass a map and a ton of local business listings, and they also take up quite a bit of space in the results. Continuing on the local search path leads us to the mobile search interface. Mobile maps on the iPhone, for example, don't even feature a SERP; instead, users can click on individual pins within the map to find contact info for a local business.

"This is obviously useful to end-users, but it changes the game completely for local businesses," Meyers says. "If your business isn't ranking for local searches, an iPhone user probably won't find it, even if you rank well on traditional SERPs." Meyers also touches on how Google's Search Suggest feature likely bypasses a whole first page of SERPs, getting users to narrow down their search from the start. - Read the whole story...

Linking Vocab 101
SEO Speedwagon
Link popularity, link building and link development are thrown about quite a bit in search-focused commentary, but do you know exactly what each of those terms mean? Angela Moore serves up concise definitions in her first post as an Intrapramote blogger.

Link popularity is a metric used to describe both the quantity and quality of the links coming in to all the pages on a site. "It also measures how good the linking sites are by looking at things like how many links are pointing to that site, the quality of the content, the history of the site online, PageRank, and how often that site is updated, among others," Moore says. Link building is just what it sounds like--the act of acquiring more inbound links.

And link development is a bit more holistic, according to Moore. "Not only are you building links and getting new links to a site or page, but you are also looking at the links that already exist and identifying ways to improve them," she says. The practice is also sometimes called link reclamation or link sculpting. - Read the whole story...

Top Tools For Usability Checking
Search Engine Journal
Ann Smarty serves up another robust review of essential SEO tools--this time, focusing on applications that let Webmasters assess the usability of their sites. There are general page viewers and accessibility checkers like Wave, which shows features and red flags possible problems in graphical format; while Lynx viewer shows a text-only version of a page to ensure that it functions even if users turn off scripts like Java and CSS.

You can use Image Analyser and Alt Text Checker to test whether your images have alt tags and are set at the right values, and there are also tools to check the colors of your site. ColorFilter, for example, will show you how your pages looks to someone who's colorblind, while Color Contrast analyzes a page's internal and external CSS to test the contrast and brightness between the text and the background. And Color Contrast's assessment is based on W3C accessibility standards.

Smarty also lists a bunch of Firefox extensions like Web Developer, which lets you disable all scripts, and Fangs, which simulates what a page will look like through a screen reader. - Read the whole story...

McCain's Landing Page Strategy Tops Obama's
Optimize & Prophesize
As the presidential candidates duke it out over the airwaves, Jonathan Mendez takes a look at their search strategies--specifically their landing pages and site optimization--to see who's ahead. "I conducted a heuristic evaluation using the scenario of a person looking for information on the energy plans of both candidates-- arguably one of the most important issues in the election," he says. And John McCain came out on top.

A simple search for "McCain" turned up two pro-McCain PPC ads. A search for "Obama," on the other hand, turned up four ads, one of which was anti-Obama. While the top sponsored link for Obama had a clear message and a strong call to action, the landing page it led to was a roadblock--literally and figuratively.

"I could not enter the Obama site without first giving personal information (email & zip code)," Mendez says. "There is no option to find out Obama's positions, watch his videos, donate--nothing can be done without first giving out information. This breaks two of the cardinal rules of landing page optimization. Never ask for personal information unless 1) the person is explicitly assured they will get something of value in return and 2) they understand why you are asking for the information and what you are going to use it for." - Read the whole story...

Twitter's SEO Benefits
Twitter has quickly emerged as one of the go-to tools for brand monitoring and reputation management, and as Miguel Cancino notes, it's becoming an SEO tool as well. While doing some "vanity Googling," Cancino found that his tweets (or the 140 character Twitter messages) comprised about 20% of the results on the first page. So imagine the potential branding benefits of a company's own tweets (or the tweets of its devoted customers) taking up that much SERP space.

"It appears to me that the single biggest factor contributing to Twitter's impressive SEO is the fact that Twitter profiles/status pages are sub-directories of (i.e., as opposed to sub-domains (," Cancino says. "Whatever SEO benefits Twitter receives is passed to its sub-directories (this is not the case with sub-domains.) In other words, it's Trickle Down Twitternomics."

And that link value is golden from an SEO standpoint, so Cancino suggests doing some keyword research for your Twitter posts (much as you would for a blog). - Read the whole story...

For Clients Who Balk At Price Quotes ...
Conversation Marketing

Search Insider - Around the Net for Wednesday, September 10, 2008


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