Archive for July, 2007

Google Speaks Through Messages

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007

Looking at my Google Webmaster Tools Dashboard today I saw something I hadn’t noticed before. Probably been there for a while since I’m so focused on the Site info, but anyway there is was: Message Center. I had no messages but I clicked the [?] and the following text was revealed as an explanation:

What is the message center?

The message center provides a way for us to communicate important information to you regarding your Google webmaster tools account and the sites you manage. Our intent is to make it easy for you to receive important information associated with your sites.

To view your messages, sign in to your Google webmaster tools account, and then click the link under Message Center.

So maybe Google is tearing the veil, so to speak, and will begin communicating with Webmasters. We can only hope. Has anyone recieve a message from Google yet? Let us know.

Matt Cutts, Google Engineer, also talks about Google Webmaster Tools in a video, if you don’t know what this post is about. A good explanation is given by Matt Cutts.

 

How to Find Relevant Links – SEO Tip Week 30

Friday, July 27th, 2007

52 SEO TipsSEO companies have two major functions when working with their clients: optimize the site content and finding quality, relevant links. So please forgive me if you already know this simple yet effective SEO tip, I’m sure those new to the SEO game will find it helpful. This tip on link building will help you find link opportunities but it will be up to you to acquire link placement.

I am posting this tip in response to a question I receive on a continuing basis from perspective clients.

How do you find links?

We have many methods but the simplest way to find links, that aren’t paid links, is to search for them. Searching with the right terms will increase your efficiency and success in securing the maximum number of links in the shortest time. What are these terms? I’ve listed some of the search terms we use to find good linking sources. Of course there are many others to try but this list should get you started.

Search Terms to be used with your keyword or phrase:

  • Add URL
  • Links
  • Resources
  • Related sites
  • Related urls
  • Submit a link
  • Submit a site
  • Submit URL
  • Suggest a link
  • Suggest a site
  • Suggest URL
  • Suggest an URL
  • Directory
  • Recommended Sites
  • Add Profile
  • Add Site
  • Article

For example, if you are trying to find quality links to help market your website which is selling pet turtles (We bought two, Bear and Grylls, while on vacation last week.) you would type into the Google search box something like this: “add url” + pet turtles. It would give you these results Links for Pet Turtles. The page shows five promising link opportunities that are already in the Google index. From here you can try more of the search phrases and then try different keywords and phrases to match with them.

There are also free tools that will help in finding backlinks. Some that I like are:

http://www.webconfs.com/backlink-builder.php

http://tools.seobook.com/general/link-suggest/

If you have any other tips on finding links, please share by commenting, we are always looking for new and better ways to do our jobs.

Google’s Other Search Engine – SearchMash.com

Thursday, July 26th, 2007

I feel like the guy who wants to talk about a movie he just saw, but came out over a year ago. Sometimes SEO research can put blinders on you and you miss the little or not so little things. I have just used a search engine created by Google called SearchMash. It launched October 2006 and I’m just finding out about it. But, better late than never as it has some nice features and looks to show the same results as Google, but with some nice tricks. It’s AJAX-based and has web page, image, blog and wikipedia search results as options.

They show images, videos, blog and wikipedia results to the right of web page results and they are in expandable menus. When you click on “more web pages” or or more of any search results it will expand the list on the same page, giving you a longer scrollable page instead of a new page. Videos will also play in the same page so you don’t need to leave your results to view it.

SearchMash.com is certainly worth checking out. Who knows, Google may find its best competition is from its own sibling search engine.

Google’s Supplemental Results – SEO Tip Week 29

Friday, July 20th, 2007

52 SEO TipsGoogle is indexing more pages now then ever before, but that’s not always a good thing. Sometimes these pages get sent to the supplemental index instead of the main index. It’s perfectly normal for most sites to have some pages in the supplemental index, but if your main pages (and especially your home page) get sent to the supplemental index you’ll likely not see much traffic from Google any more.

My site’s listed in the supplemental results, what does that mean?
As Google states, “Supplemental sites are part of Google’s auxiliary index.” Google will always show results from their main index before showing results from the supplemental index. This means that supplemental pages will almost never show up for searches, and will only show up for super specialized searches if few or no results come from the main index. With so many blogs and tag pages out there, even crazy many-word searches will bring back at least a few non-supplemental results.

How did my site get in the supplemental index?
One way pages end up in the supplemental index instead of the main index is a lack of PageRank (PR). This could be because you orphaned the page (no links pointing to it), the page lies too many clicks away from your home page, or your home page itself has a very low PR. If this is the case, you should work on your link building to those important pages of your site and build up their PageRank.

The other way your pages end up in the supplemental index is by having duplicate content on your page. This could be because you used the same manufacturer written product description that dozens of other sites use, you copied content from another website, or your pages have very little content and too much template which is duplicated on all pages. If this is the case, try writing unique content or changing your template so it doesn’t have the same elements on every page.

I changed my pages, what’s next?
Now that you’ve fixed your pages, it can be a long and hard process for getting them out of the supplemental index because the supplemental spider doesn’t come along very often. You should create or edit your Google sitemap XML file and hope that will be enough. If that doesn’t work, try changing the name (URL) of those pages and delete the old file.

Feel free to add your own observations about supplemental results here, we’d love to hear your stories.

Research Your Competition with Yahoo Site Explorer – SEO Tip Week 28

Friday, July 13th, 2007

52 SEO TipsI’ve got a simple SEO tip today. As an SEO Company we are always doing competitive research. Many of our clients are astounded at the wealth of information that can be discovered using Yahoo’s Site Explorer especially for competitive link research. Site Explorer can help you track down the links pointing to your competition and allow you to contact those same sites and request or pay for a link to your site.

Yahoo’s search engine also provides information about competitor backlinks. You can find tools to do this for you but going to Yahoo! Search and typing in the following commands will work just as well.

  • If you are looking for web pages that link to multiple competitor, usually you will find good backlink pages like this, you would type in:
    linkdomain:competitor1.com, linkdomain:competitor2.com
  • We also should all know how important .edu and .gov links can be to our site. So why not look for competitors who have these links. I’ll give an example as if I was looking. I would type in a keyword such as “seo” and then do a search for only .edu domains. I would type in: seo site:.edu Replace the .edu with .gov for government backlinks.

Of course there are many other things you can do for research and seeing what advanced options are available can be a great catalyst so be sure to view the advance search options in Yahoo! for more ideas.

Google also has advanced search but I think Yahoo! does a better job with options and functionality, especially when it comes to researching backlinks.

Please send any suggestions or add them to the comments on this SEO tip. We are always looking for new ways to improve our SEO research methods.

SEO Blog Nominated for Blogging Award

Thursday, July 12th, 2007

Big Oak's SEO Blog was nominated for Best Marketing Blog!

If you feel this blog has given you good advice about SEO, helpful examples for search engine marketing and/or been an interesting read, please think about giving us a vote for Best Marketing Blog. In a world where we say thank you so little, this is an opportunity to say thanks to Big Oak and it’s blog authors. Sorry to interrupt with a shameless solicitation. ;-)

But, if you would like to do us a favor and massage our egos, you can vote for us here: http://www.bloggerschoiceawards.com/blogs/show/22014#

You will have to sign up for an account to vote (bummer), but you can also nominate and vote for other favorite blogs or even your own blog.

Flat Site Architecture is SEO-Friendly – SEO Tip 27

Friday, July 6th, 2007

Why you should use a flat site architecture rather than a deep, or nested, site architecture if SEO is important to your site?

52 SEO TipsIn my previous life as a website designer and HTML developer I loved to have a folder/directory for everything. While I’m not a organized person (ask my wife) I did like keeping my files structured in clearly labeled directories. So nesting directories 4 or 5 levels deep was common practice. When I transitioned to an SEO specialist my ideas on structuring files and site architecture began to change and here is why.

A flat site offers quick access to all the pages within the site. A minimal number of clicks are needed to find all the pages within your site, usually no more than three clicks is ideal. According to the views of the search engines (SEs), less clicks mean higher importance. The view of the SEs are that more important information will be easier to reach. Home page information is the most important, one click from the home page is secondary information and two clicks is tertiary information and so forth.

Think of it like bodies of water. Your home page is the ocean and off of the home page are large rivers and then smaller rivers, then streams, then creeks and brooks and finally the smallest trickle of water is all that is left. Don’t let you products, services or information be at the end of the trickle, drying up eventually. Closer to the ocean is always better and that is how the search engines will rank your pages too.

I’ve seen some site place everything in the root folder and this isn’t good practice either. Structure your sites as to what makes sense, but be aware that more clicks can mean less viewers, both for search engine traffic and visitors on your site.

1-800-GOOG-411 Maps – Pseudo GPS Device

Friday, July 6th, 2007

In case you hadn’t heard, a few months back I posted about Google’s 411 service 1-800-GOOG-411 (1-800-466-4411). It’s a free telephone service that helps you search for businesses by voice and get connected to those businesses for free.

Now Google has upgraded this service with the addition of mapping the locations. If during your call to 800-GOOG-411, just say “map it”, and you’ll get a text message with the details of your search plus a link to a map of your results right on your mobile phone.

Now you can always have a GPS device, well kind of.

Not Ready for Traffic? Google Comes Anyway.

Monday, July 2nd, 2007

Be careful when you are launching a new site. Remember the search engines will find you if they can find links pointing to the domain. We ran across a humorous example of a site in development while reserching the term “runaway teens” for a client.

The site http://www.projectrunaway.net/ came up during our research. While it has nothing to do with our subject matter search the term runaway was the connection. Our researcher, read the first paragraph and got a chuckle. I’m sure they will finish the site soon and this post will make no sense so I have attached a screen shot for future generations.

So if you are building on a live server, be sure to block the search engines until you are ready for them. Here are two methods to employ. Both work well.

A simple addition of a robots.txt file with the following command will do the trick:

User-agent: * Disallow: /

You can also add this meta tag to head of your the page you don’t want indexed:

<META NAME=”ROBOTS” CONTENT=”NOINDEX, NOFOLLOW”>

Big Oak SEO Blog

This SEO blog is provided by Big Oak SEO, a SEO Company. Most blog posts are related to search engine optimization, short reviews, SEO tips and increasing site conversions. Email us at contact@bigoakinc.com or give us a call 804-741-6776 to see how we can help your company. More

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