Natural Search Blog


Automatic Search Engine Optimization through GravityStream

I’ve had a lot of questions about my new work since I joined Netconcepts a little over three months ago as their Lead Strategist for their GravityStream product/service. My primary role is to bring SEO guidance to clients using GravityStream, and to provide thought leadership to the ongoing development of the product and business.

GravityStream

GravityStream is a technical solution that provides outsourced search optimization to large, dynamic websites. Automatic SEO, if you will. Here’s what it does…

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Build It Wrong & They Won’t Come: Coca-Cola’s Store

I just wrote an article comparing Coke’s and Pepsi’s homepage redirection, concluding that Pepsi actually does a better job, though both of them did ultimately nonoptimal setup for the purposes of search optimization. Clunky homepage redirection isn’t the only search marketing sin that Coca-Cola has done — their online product shopping catalog is very badly designed for SEO as well, and I’ll outline a number of reasons why.

Coca-Cola Store

In this article and in the redirection article, I’m criticising Coca-Cola’s technical design quite a bit, but I’m not trying to embarrass them — like any good American boy, I love Coca-Cola (particularly Coke Classic and Cherry Coke). In fact, this could ultimately benefit them, if they take my free assessment and use it as a guide for improving their site. I’m doing this because Coca-Cola is the top most-recognized brand worldwide, and the sorts of errors they’re making in their natural search channel are all too common in ecommerce sites. I chose Coca-Cola’s e-store because they make such a great example of the sorts of things that online marketers need to focus upon. If such a juggernaut of a company, with huge advertising and marketing budgets makes these sorts of mistakes, you could be making them, too.

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Use LinkedIn for Career Building & Reputation Management

This past week, LeeAnn Prescott at Hitwise reported that usage of LinkedIn has risen by 323% in the past year:

Hitwise LinkedIn Chart
(click to enlarge)

For those of us working in the internet and information technology fields, this probably isn’t a big surprise. I started getting increasing amounts of LinkedIn invites a few years ago. If you’re not yet aware of the LinkedIn phenomenon, it’s a professional social networking site which allows you to post some biographical material, resume information, and then you can link up to your colleagues and other professional contacts who also have LinkedIn profiles.

If you haven’t joined LinkedIn yet, I’d encourage you to do so, because I think it’s beneficial to your career and good for your company. You should get everyone else in your company to integrate with it as well, because this could be beneficial to your company’s search engine optimization, too. Read on for more details.

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Domainers Can’t Get No Respect

Last week the second part of my “Domaining & Subdomaining in the Local Space” pubbed on Search Engine Land, and I’m particularly pleased with it, although my friends can deservedly kick me around a bit for writing articles too long. I did quite a lot of research for the two-part series, most particularly for this second segment which was focused entirely on Local Domaining.

One of the main things that I’m pleased about was my effort to be as objective as possible in writing the article — not only did I want to report on what is going on in local-oriented domaining, and who’s involved, but also to provide some concrete conclusions and recommendations which people could take away. I was upfront in disclosing my past negative bias about domaining, and in the course of writing the article I found that I had to revise my assumptions a few times over – in favor of Domaining, actually. Working off and on, I wrote the article over the course of about two months.

While doing the research, I became aware that the Domaining industry seems to have a bit of “younger sibling complex” — as an industry, they wish to be considered a respectable, bona fide line of business. Unfortunately, they have a few things which have been hampering that aim to some degree:

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Where’s the Google search result?

I had a client ask me the other day where his traffic was coming from, since he couldn’t find his listing in the top few pages of search results for a keyword that was showing up in his analytics reports. The analytics system had reported that he’d received a number of visits from users who’d searched for “Keyword X” in Google and had clicked through to his site. Problem is, when he went and searched for “Keyword X”, he didn’t see any of his pages listed in the first dozen or so pages of results in Google, and he figured it’d be unlikely that a number of users would click very many pages deep anyway.

So, how did this traffic happen?

This isn’t the only time I’ve seen something like this happen. Probably a number of people have had the experience of calling up a partner or colleague to talk about something they see in the Google search results, only to find that the person at the other end of the phone sees a very different thing when they commit the same search in Google. The listing could be shown 9 places down from the top of the page instead of 2 places down, or it isn’t showing up at all for them while it’s showing plain as day for you.

Unfortunately, this is going to become a more and more common experience for webmasters. Google’s diversity of search products and results sets are becoming more and more differentiated for different users, and as this happens, people searching for the very same keyword are going to be seeing completely different search results. Read on for more details.

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Google Quality Scores for Natural Search Optimization

Google made big waves in the paid search marketing industry when they began introducing a Quality Score which impacted cost and rankings of AdWords advertisements. Similar quality scoring methods are likely in use as ranking criteria for Google’s natural search results as well, and Google’s Webmaster Tools may hint at some of the criteria. Here are some details of that quality scoring criteria and some ways for you to improve rankings with it.

Google provides a very rough “formula” for their AdWords Quality Score:

Google AdWords Quality Score Formula

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