Archive for June, 2008

Google Launches Trends for Websites

Friday, June 20th, 2008

Google launched Google Trends for Websites today and I’m excited.

Not a lot of time today, but if you are a linkbuilder this is great news for you.

Barry Schwartz from Search Engine Land, makes a good point that I agree with:

Now, if you think like a link builder – you can use this tool to find sites that are within your “neighborhood” or industry. So if I want to find link partners for the Search Engine Roundtable, I enter in seroundtable.com, look at the related sites and ask all of them for links. Then I go to all of those sites and see who is related to them. You can, theoretically, keep expanding that list, as far is it makes sense.

Our best tool so far has been Alexa and Compete with Yahoo Site Explorer thrown in. This could change things drastically. And I personally like the price: FREE. If it is half as good as Google Analytics it will be a very helpful tool for SEO companies. Competitive reporting for the masses, so to speak. Give it a look and start thinking of the awesome power of knowledge.

Should I use Adwords with my SEO campaign?

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

SEO Question: I am already ranking well for my targeted keyword phrase in Google, so should I also start using Google Adwords so I have the the top Adword ranking and the top organic ranking?

SEO Answer: This is a question we get a lot and the answer is always the same. If the ROI is worth it, then do it. If you are making more money by using Adwords with an SEO campaign then it makes sense. Running Adwords will not affect you SEO work postiviely or negatively so do not let that be a factor in whether you do it or not.

In fact, using Adwords while your SEO campaign builds is even a better idea. Also using it to test some keywords is a great use for Adwords. After all, you don’t want to rank for keywords that won’t convert into sales or clients. Adwords can test this for you rather inexpensively. Remember to watch your Adwords CTR and set up a conversion testing method.

One concern I can offer is to watch your sales and make sure you aren’t stealing from yourself. Obviously both methods, Adwords and SEO, will bring traffic an sales but if too many sales are coming from Adwords that would naturally be coming from SEO you may be shrinking your profit margin. Test this by dropping your ad for a time and watching your sales. Do they remain consistent? Ditch the ad. Do they drop? Put the ad back up.

In the end the decision to continue your Adword’s campaign should be based on actual traffic data.

To the left is a screen shot from our client’s children’s toy store, showing an example of an organic and Adwords/PPC rankings, click for a larger image.

If you have a question you would like us to answer, please send to contact[at]bigoakinc.com. Due to time constraints we may not answer all questions.

URL Rewriting for IIS – SEO-Friendly URLS for ASP & .Net

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

We often have clients that host their dynamic sites on IIS which means the file extensions are .asp or .aspx (.Net). This also means the dynamic URLs are SEO unfriendly with many parameters such as: “www.blendermania.com/index.asp?sg=vj6fxvpnixys8vkjk&p=24&c=12″. If this were hosted on a Unix platmform with PHP then a mod_rewrite would be in order to clean up the URL structure making it SEO friendly: “www.blendermania.com/blenders/oster-blender-gx.php”, which is a much nicer URL with descriptive terms. Search engines love that stuff.

So, with a Unix/Apache platform hosting PHP pages, a rewrite is simple. You can read more about it here: Mod_Rewrites.

But for asp and .Net pages it is a bit of a chore. To help with this we have listed a few sources that can help get your URLs rewritten in a jiffy…most of the time. Sometimes is depends if the server has other applications that don’t play well with the ISAPI (Internet Server Application Programming Interface) rewrite module, but you’ll have to ask your host and/or developer about that.

Here are some of the modules that can do URL rewriting on IIS.

Helicon Tech ISAPI_Rewrite
http://www.isapirewrite.com/

“ISAPI_Rewrite is a powerful URL manipulation engine based on regular expressions. It acts mostly like Apache’s mod_Rewrite, but is designed specifically for Microsoft’s Internet Information Server (IIS). ISAPI_Rewrite is an ISAPI filter written in pure C/C++ so it is extremely fast. ISAPI_Rewrite gives you the freedom to go beyond the standard URL schemes and develop your own scheme.”

QwerkSoft IISRewrite
http://www.qwerksoft.com/products/iisrewrite/

IISRewrite is a stripped down implementation of Apache’s mod_rewrite modules for IIS. Webmasters who have used Apache’s mod_rewrite in the past will find that much of the configuration and functionality is the same. IISRewrite is compatible with Microsoft’s ISAPI specification and has been tested on Windows NT Server 4.0 running IIS 4 and Windows 2000 Server running IIS 5.

OpURL
http://www.opcode.co.uk/components/rewrite.asp

“An ISAPI filter that provides powerful, integrated URL re-writing for IIS. OpUrl has many benefits, including helping to ensure search engines crawl even the dynamic parts of your site. Most search engine crawlers don’t index dynamic pages, e.g. page.asp?item=1 so OpUrl allows you to use static URLs instead. The functionality is very similar to Apache’s mod_rewrite.”

URL Replacer
http://www.motobit.com/help/url-replacer-rewriter/iis-mod-rewrite.asp

“The ISAPI filter rewrites/replaces defined parts of URL from browser. It enables url to scripts (.asp, .cgi, .idc) with parameters look like static html pages or specify exact download filename generated by script. You can also create a simple proxy server with IIS and any script engine (.asp,. aspx, …) using URL replacer.”

Microsoft Article on URL Rewriting in ASP.NET
http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms972974.aspx

“Examines how to perform dynamic URL rewriting with Microsoft ASP.NET. URL rewriting is the process of intercepting an incoming Web request and automatically redirecting it to a different URL. Discusses the various techniques for implementing URL rewriting, and examines real-world scenarios of URL rewriting. (31 printed pages)”

Thesaurus.Reference.com is a Synonym for Spammy.Ad.Site

Monday, June 9th, 2008

We have a few clients that sell products that are not labeled as “cheap” but they are considered inexpensive. The problem is very few people do a search for the term “inexpensive”, they usually use the search term “cheap”. But you don’t want to put the word “cheap” in the text so you hope the search engines will figure out the semantics if you use word similar to “cheap” such as “inexpensive”. So I went to the online site http://thesaurus.reference.com and was very surprised to see the amount of advertising on the site and in some cases how far off that advertising was.

Of course every one has the right to earn a living and capitalism is the fuel of our country, but there has to be limits to the commercialization of a website, especially one that is an academic website, or so I thought. But even if you allow the number of ads they have displayed, the sneaky way in which they try to trick you into clicking is reprehensible.

If you click on the image to the left (view it larger) you will notice that the advertisements are the first links you will see to click. Luckily in the subject matter of text ads the ads themselves were so far off from my search term (Homemade Jerky showed up for a lookup of the word “cheap”) that I didn’t click them by accident. But I did additional searches and could have easily been fooled. Some of the ads actually had the clickable ad link read, “Synonyms For” which might lead an unwary Internet traveler to click it.

I’m certainly not idealistic enough to believe that advertising on the Internet will go away or even believe it should. Too many people feed their families and make their living through Internet advertising. No, I’m simply saying a website owner should take responsibility for the ads they show their audience and the consider the number of advertisements on the page. At some point, too many ads make the website in question extraneous, extrinsic, immaterial, impertinent, inapplicable, inapposite, incidental, inconsequential, insignificant, marginal, moot, nonessential, peripheral, pointless, tangential, unapt, unconnected, unessential, unimportant, unrelated, wide of the mark…well, you get the point.

Rant over.

Ranked Hard, SEO Comic – June 2008

Thursday, June 5th, 2008

Our latest SEO Comic, Ranked Hard, deals with the delicate subject matter of PPC (pay-per-click) advertising. Read “The Real Reason Your Site Dropped in Google” and leave your thoughts about this tricky issue in the comments area.

And for all the conspiracy theorist out there let me make a statement, saying definitively, that we do not believe Google changes the ranking’s of any web site based on whether or not you use Google’s Adwords.

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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