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SEO Best Practices August 20, 2008

Posted by simarprit in : Blogging, Internet, Search Engines, SEO, websites , 1 comment so far

The most important takeaway for me from the SES 2008, San Jose is that I have come to accept SEO as an integral part of doing business on the net. I must put a quick rejoinder, Ethical SEO is good and it must center around the concept that Search Engines need you more than you eed the search engines. Search engines main stay is good content and high degree of relevant top quality results.

This post is going to be an ever evolving post on SEO Best Practices, this would be an extension of my own own learning and growth as an SEO practitioner.

Search Engine Optimization is good and is here to stay, it all depends on you as an SEO practitioner on how strongly you define your best practices and how religiously you follow them and live the guidelines.

So what is the rule of thumb, and the most critical best practice:

Make your site in a form that it enhances the search engines usage experience. In other words, Search Engines should need you at the least as much as you need them, preferably they should need you more than you need them.

Much more to come, it has just begun…

SES 2008 – Landing Pages August 20, 2008

Posted by simarprit in : Blogging, Internet, Search Engines, websites , add a comment

Landing Pages and Science of Online Business

This write-up is inspired by the two sessions I attended on Landing Pages at SES 2008, San Jose. I must add a disclaimer that this write-up includes certain parts of my own “random gyan” beyond the framework of the sessions attended by me:

Sage Lewis is good at introducing and setting pace for the speaker, Tim Ash did a good job of not ony talking candidly but also did a good job of letting people know that he is an accomplished expert by encouraging them to buy his book “Landing Page Optimization – The Definitive Guide to Testing and Tuning for Conversion”.

The second session – Landing Page Utopia: Expert Roundtable – was a half ‘n half session. Half knowledge and half sales pitch. Moderator was Ron Belnager from Yahoo ad speakers were Scott Brinker from Ion Interactive, Frans Keylard from Widemile, Alissa Ruehl from Apogge Search and Jonathan Mendez from RAMP digital.

  1. Landing Page – The page where your visitor arrives/ lands. It can be any page and in today’s world of deep diving every page is a landing page. However in this context, landing page(s) is a term referred to those pages which have to run the kitchen and pay for the  mortgage, and pay for the gas, and pay for the fee of attending conferences and seminars like this one 8)
  2. Landing Page Testing – The act of experimenting (real life/ live) on a large data set to reach to the most suitable, appropriate and optimized landing page, tweaking and tuning on the way
  3. Define your Landing Pages
  4. Define the goals and expectations from he landing pages
  5. Set measurable targets
  6. Let the visitor determine and have the final say on how your landing page should look like
  7. Keep it above the fold/ envelope to the extent possible
  8. Your visitor is a smart customer/ don’t waste his time
  9. Define the size of your test
  10. Business expectations and your PPC or other spending should point to the test size and techniques you would like to implement/ deploy
  11. Focus on test Data Collection and detail methodologies to be adopted for the same
  12. Plan quick and precise Data Analysis
  13. Use optimization tools effectively including Google Optimizer
  14. Always challenge between the wireframes, which is better
  15. Being minimalist is good
  16. Don’t confuse when closing
  17. Basics of conventional sale apply to your landing page
  18. Give the same respect to your unknown visitor as you give to the potential standing across you
  19. You’ve got him, now convert -eliminate choices, unclutter what remains and focus on on your goal
  20. Be at your best and cut the chase at this stage
  21. Always tell yourself and anyone who matters “Less is Better” when it comes to landing pages
  22. No shortchanging, give him what you promised him on the “click to me” page
  23. Deploy as many confidence building measures (CBMs) in a discreete manner but above the envelope as you can to break the ice. Use risk reducers or CBMS across your pages, don’t create doubt
  24. Customer recommendations on landing pages help, customer references, logos and recommendations on Landing Pages push the envelope little more
  25. Smart transaction interaction could help, avoid re-entry at all stages, avoid useless or unnecessary entry, every data entry beyond stage one pains and pains a lot
  26. No surprises should be your motto with the customers
  27. Measure, maintain and monitor your conversion rate (CR)
  28. Be normal with your error messages, error messages as and when they come should be non intrusive
  29. Having a consistent landing page for a customer helps, use cookies if required.
  30. Plan effective follow-up. Put your phone number at all convenient positions
  31. Make measurement easy, plan micro-sites for your landing pages (where ever possible)
  32. Net is going local, local is critical to your game plan
  33. Search engines can do their job only if you have the data
  34. Make lead generation forms simple, simple, simple.
  35. Seek opinion on your cruical landing pages from all quarters
  36. Design your landing page to meet the goal of the individual even if it doesn;t meet the prefernces of the individual
  37. Testing is continual, just keep testing

SES 2008 – Beyond Google August 20, 2008

Posted by simarprit in : Bay Area, Blogging, Search Engines , add a comment

If you don’t do SEO on Google and you don’t buy clicks on Google, what do you do to increase your traffic? This session said a lot can be done and at presumably significantly lower costs. The session excluded Yahoo and Microsoft too, and essentially became a session on “Beyond top 3 Search Engines”

So here we go…

  1. Pay bloggers to post (PPP – Pay Per Post)
  2. Try to ignite social spark
  3. Remember pay per post may fail if what you are looking at is a niche
  4. Ask.com – Ask claims to be number 4 and promises to deliver higher yields ad relevancy
  5. Superpages.com
  6. Facebook Business Solutions
  7. Looksmart.com
  8. Quigo services
  9. Yellowpages.com
  10. Local.com
  11. Travel Ad Network (TAN)
  12. Tribal Fusion

While buying alterantive advertising to the top three

  1. Define clear goal of the campaign
  2. Allocate 10% to 25% of your budget to testing
  3. Keep your focus, just work with “what works for you”
  4. Content Networks get 95% of surfer time, search engines get 5% – important actionable point to remember
  5. Allocate your budget between content and search
  6. Remember homepage maybe yet another page, we all do deep diving and reach anywhere on the site
  7. If you can build your own ad network, build it now
  8. Online advertising spend is growing, it has already overtaken Television in UK, US is few years away
  9. Dynamic titling of insertion codes can help
  10. Make keyword prospecting reports
  11. Don’t club networks, each has their independent life, treat them differently
  12. Do category targeting where possible
  13. Use targeting and optimizations tools effectively. Lots of tools are available
  14. Create your own Document on Best Practices, and follow it in letter and spirit
  15. Always keep your eyes open for cheap and quality clicks, a click is a click
  16. Audience profiling and its continuous updating can help
  17. Never ignore social traffic and social notworks
  18. Be watchful on negative blogging
  19. Tags and synopsis can help
  20. Prefer plug and play solutions for all your needs

SES 2008 San Jose August 18, 2008

Posted by simarprit in : Bay Area, Blogging, Internet, Marketing, Search Engines , 1 comment so far

For all my posts on SES 2008: http://simarprit.wordpress.com/category/ses-2008/ 

Long Tail of Search & Semantic Search

It is my first time at Search Engine Strategies 2008 – San Jose, California (SES 2008, San Jose), two sessions down and currently attending the panel discussion here are my early thoughts on what’s going on:

Random Gyan:

Long Tail of Search

  1. Long tail can count to about 30% of the organic search
  2. Use blogs to harvest long tail traffic
  3. Use local long tail terms in local listings
  4. Use attributes in Google Maps
  5. Look for the “very Long Tail” and not just the long tail
  6. Weigh your advertising options
  7. Smaller Niche sites maybe a cheaper option, and may give great results at fraction of cost
  8. Links with navigation can help
  9. SEO’s have a role in online search market
  10. Mind your Traffic vs. Bounce rate
  11. Three phrases per page maybe the most optimum and effective targeting
  12. Live out of logs, they hold he key
  13. Shoot upto 20 “me too”: terms per key phrase
  14. Make sure your pages get indexed, search engines are busy, they may miss you.
  15. Divide your site into Key Phrase Zones
  16. SEO is no longer dead, it is making a comeback, and a big comeback
  17. PPC is becoming expensive
  18. Understand your Page Yield
  19. Account for your bottom 100 pages, analyzing them may help
  20. Attack your freeloaders
  21. Plan your SEO Dashboard, ensure it has everything you need, right under your mouse
  22. Measurement is critical, Measure visitors per page
  23. Know the lifetime value of your customers
  24. Search friendly URLs are important, but there is also life beyond them.
  25. Use “No Follow” effectively to increase your page rank
  26. Slicing and Dicing the content is critical
  27. Ideal length of the URL is a very subjective thought
  28. Anchors within the documents help
  29. Rate your keywords and assess your value
  30. Optimize Pagination
  31. Re-look at your internal linking structure
  32. Surrogate sites can help
  33. Getting high value back-links remains critical

Semantic Search:

  1. Let us talk to search engine and forget abstract codes and mono syllables
  2. Semantic Search engines attempt to understand underlying structured data
  3. Semantic search engines tend to eliminate ambiguous queries
  4. Search monkey project by Yahoo is an attempt to open up Yahoo Search platform for further development, based on semantic qualities and natural language expressions.
  5. Boorah claims that semantic search is happening. A quick 20 word analysis revealed little and exposed lots of limitations to the project.
  6. Google is implementing high degree of behind the scene semantics
  7. Hakia is a full blown version of Semantic Search (Beta), some of the attempts looked to be right, results are coincidentally close to Yahoo
  8. Powerset claims to have extreme semantic capabilities, which were not visible when I gave a set of questions to the website
  9. Ask.com claims to be amongst the best semantic search engines around with best results in Natural Language Query processing
  10. Generalization Vs. Specialization, Parallelization, Question Type, Categorization, Compressions, Content Characterization, ontology science applications are amongst some of the terms introduced.
  11. Inside the page semantic results could be another deliverable.
  12. Semantic Search has a lot to do with Aggregation of facts
  13. Improving relevance would remain a challenge
  14. Linguistic capabilities aided in ample measure with AI can deliver a great product over couple of years.

Is Google Down? August 9, 2008

Posted by simarprit in : Blogging, Internet, News, News Reaction, portals, Search Engines , 6comments

I noticed at 4:40 Pacific that Google.com is not working. GMAIL was also not working but Google.co.in was working and so was Google.ie

It took me about 10 minutes to conclude that Google.com was indeed down, atleast for me.

If Google can go down like this - Oh my God!

There must be a vulnerability, there is so much of technology available. Am I the only person who is not able to use Google.com?

Google.com for me went down after 4:30 Pacific and came back before 5:20 Pacific. I am right now in India and accessing from there.

Maybe Google.com was not down and it was a DNS glitch?

Please inform, if you faced n problems?

Google Cuil Comparison Report July 31, 2008

Posted by simarprit in : Internet, portals, Search Engines, websites , 1 comment so far

Search Engines have always excited me, and I am loving doing Google Vs Cuil Comparison or Cuil Vs Google Comparison, choose the form you prefer. I am neutral.

For data reference please look at my other post title Cuil Review, available at http://simarprit.wordpress.com/2008/07/30/cuil-review/ 

  1. In Cuil Google comparison across 70 plus datapoints Google wins hands down
  2. Cuil is a serious attempt
  3. Cuil’s launch could have been delayed, or only a beta done at this stage
  4. Cuil needs to be thoroughly debugged
  5. Cuil needs to carry and define boundaries for geographies and verticals
  6. Cuil doesn’t recognize itself – Search for Cuil Reviews on Cuil and enjoy
  7. Cuil doesn’t speak or understand spoken English try “World Map from Mapsofworld.com” Google does it very well.
  8. Most of the filters require serious re-look
  9. Error Messages need to be polished
  10. Image integration is an issue
  11. Local data integration is non existent a search with a particular hotel address stated No results found – try “1510 North First Street San Jose” on both the search engines
  12. I would consider it much inferior to even Ask/ Yahoo/ Live and the gang, forget comparing it with Google
  13. Updating content process is not defined – As a result on search terms “Google Cuil Comparison” & “Cuil Review” – Cuil doesn’t pick up any of the results while Google picks both these posts. (July 31,2008 ). Even four days later August 4, 2008, Cuil just can’t locate this post.
  14. Some specifics, I checked for Great Mall at Milpitas, and I gave over 10 combinations for it – I didn’t;t get the official site even once. No chance. I check for “The Great Mall”; “Great Mall at Milpitas”; “Great Mall of the bay area” and so on.
  15. Be prepared to see “West Indian recipes” when you look out for Indian Recipes. Categorization looks to be a major issue.
  16. Google’s maturity shows when you search for “Time in New York” on both the search engines. Cuil gets a BIG ZERO, while Google tells the EDT as aspecial result.
  17. Cuil doesn’t understand “Geography Filter”. Search for “Map of San Jose” as an absolute search. Google knows that you are sitting in Bay Area and shows you San Jose, CA results fisrt, it also shows one result of San Jose, Costa Rica. Cuil gets it all wrong. 
  18. Cuil doesn’t have “read my mind features” at all. I don;t know how correct it is to compare both on this account, I had the same experience when I checked the search engine for the word Time in New York I just now checked now for California Area. Google read my mind correctly and Cuil sent me over to Alcoholics Anonymous. For those who are alcoholics and need help the result was relevant.
  19. Google understands Wikipedia and does excellent meshing up of wiki information with search results. Look for “California Area”, it goes to Wikipedia, picks up the Area of State of California from the table on the right hand side and displays it up, bingo! Now search for California Capital, the special result is Sacramento.  Cuil is yet to co-exisit with Wikipedia the way Google does. Google’s “spoken english language interface capabilities” are awesome. I just tried this “What is the area of California” to check whether Google still shows me the wikipedia culled out result or not, yes it does. It just truly filters out what is the and of. When I searched for “Where is California” Google showed its map of North America and also brought the wikipedia result telling me exactly “Where is California”. I may not go further making Google a destination site itself.
  20. Google realizes that there are other wonders on the Internet and is always looking at an opportunity to gain from them and provide a better user experience. Shall we call it maturity? Cuil is miles away ad Google on this count is many smiles 8) ahead.
  21. “Coffee Company Pleasanton” searched on both the sites brought in 100% different results. Google’s precise and accurate (and also justifiably with my post on the very top). Cuil struggled to find out where Coffee, Company ad Pleasnton were. This search phrase was given by me to look at categorization depth. My questions were – Do they know where it is? Do they have a meshing up table to bring the most apt rsult on the top? Is their weightage system working? is there database really the largest? I am afraid it doesn’t look like. It is about two month old post, a niche post. Zero on ten  again. I am sorry Cuil, but I am just trying to make you better. Free of cost.
  22. Official Sites Filter – Cuil kept on getting searches wrong all the time. Worst happened when I gave both “Paris Vegas” non absolute. Google promptly understood that I was looking for Paris Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada and promptly brought me the Map and the official site. Cuil couldn’t find the official site and showed me assorted results.
  23. No results were found for: Biography of John Travolta

    If you’ve checked your spelling, you could try using fewer or different keywords to broaden your search.

    Still no luck? Send us your feedback: noresults@cuil.com - Good Morning Cuil aren’t you making a Fuil by actualy running this search engine. Why I am loosing my cool, a tester just tests.

  24.  

The 70 plus parameters on which I did my reserach are mentioned in http://simarprit.wordpress.com/2008/07/30/cuil-review/

This post is being edited by me on daily basis and made more comprehensive.

Last update: August 6, 2008