Natural Search Blog


SEO Best Practices – Correlation Testing

Hi everyone,
This post is about the latest correlation testing done by the great folks at SEOmoz in regards to search engine ranking factors. Presented below is a list of the best SEO practices with some startling revelations. It is not exhaustive but covers the crucial factors.

SEOmoz has been indexing the web with their killer app Linkscape and they have been analysing the data to arrive at solid results. Even though the SEO field has lots of grey areas, good evidence in the form of solid data proves that search engine optimisation can be a definitive science in certain areas rather than a skillful craft.
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Is Verizon Responsible for Idearc’s Bankruptcy?

Idearc's Bankruptcy Caused by Verizon?My op-ed piece, “Idearc’s Chapter 11 Bankruptcy: Who’s Really Responsible?” published today on Search Engine Land, and in it I put forth my position that Verizon is responsible for spinning off the company with an unreasonably huge debt load, and the people ultimately paying the bill are the stockholders.

I describe in the article how Verizon spun off Idearc Media (division which publishes print phone books and operates Superpages.com among other online yellow pages), and set that company up to pay back some billions of dollars for its worth. Verizon then turned around and resold those debt instruments to other companies, fully divesting itself of ownership in the new, standalone company.

This sequence in of itself isn’t remarkable – it’s the normal process a company might go through when spinning-off part of itself to form a new company.

But, my contention is that it was done so in a highly irresponsible manner. Verizon had to know beforehand that print directory business was going into shrinkage mode, and that the debt repayment structure would simply be too much for the new company to be reasonably expected to be able to handle. If so, then this could be expected to be a form of fraudulent conveyance, and Verizon could be culpable.

Is my contention outrageous?

Well, even Idearc’s Chief Executive, Scott Klein, has been paraphrased by the Wall Street Journal as saying “Everyone was aware that ‘$9 billion was really more debt than this business could bear’”. So, Idearc was spun off with a majority of this debt from Verizon from the start – clearly set up to fail.

So far, I’ve seen maybe three different law firms filing class-action lawsuits against Idearc and its executives, based on the premise that the stock tanked due to them secretly changing policies, resulting in inflated-looking sales on the books for businesses with higher likelihoods of not paying for contracted advertising. But, I think the real culprit in all this is likely Verizon – they pushed off a part of the company with an untenable debt load, in large part to pay off debts incurred by Verizon FiOS (Verizon’s fiber optic network) expansion.

metric medical devices, inc.

Speaking at Dallas WordCamp 2009

Wordcamp Dallas 2009I’m speaking at this year’s WordCamp in Dallas again later this week.

WordCamp is a mini-convention for WordPress and blogging enthusiasts. Some of the content is WordPress-centric, but other content is applicable to bloggers in general, such as how to promote your blog and other stuff.

I’ll be speaking on how to use social image sharing services for promotion. Social media sites such as Flickr allow people to publish and share their photos with many other people, and the site is well-constructed in terms of search engine optimization, so posting images there helps get media distributed all over. Using Flickr can help one gain more attention, inbound links, and overall search rankings.

I’ve spoken on using Flickr for promotion and optimization before, and I’ve written on details of image optimization here a number of times.

I’d further recommend blogging to everyone – I first started blogging here on the Natural Search Blog as a guest, after Stephan Spencer invited me, and it eventually changed my overall career path. Be sure to check out Stephan’s articles on blog optimization, btw, since he’s pretty much the top authority out there on the subject.

There’s still a few seats left for Dallas WordCamp – sign up before they’re all gone!

PageRank Sculpting – The Nofollow Debate

At SMX Advanced in Seattle last month, Matt Cutts made his intentions clear when he advised SEOs not to waste too much time on internal page rank sculpting using the nofollow tag and instead concentrate on spending that time on creating useful content.
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60-Second Website Audit

While your mother may have taught you not to judge a book by its cover, she probably wasn’t an SEO. Mother’s logic is still pretty good to live by, but for as complex as SEO is or may seem, it’s pretty amazing what you can learn about a website’s SEO quality in 60 seconds or less.

Okay, you aren’t going to fully understand the intricate details and you’d obviously spend far, far more time (closer to hours than seconds) on a true site audit, but I’d venture that 60 seconds is enough for a good gut check and for identifying areas that need deep exploration.  What may make this most interesting is to compare results that your “team” gets from this exercise since we all have our own approaches, hot buttons, etc.

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Harnessing The Power of Social Media In Business

Social media is an exciting medium offering tonnes of opportunities to you, as a business owner, to engage the masses in your marketing efforts and get great results for your efforts.

It is a double edged sword and if done right, you will glow on the winner’s podium with a great name for your product/service/company in the online space reaping rich inbound links to your site from a multitude of powerful and trusted domains. Done wrong, you could end up a social pariah in cyberspace with a bad reputation and poor record of integrity attached to your name and company’s product/service.

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Google Wave – Online Collaboration And Communication Revolution

Google Wave was released at the recent Google I/O event as a demo product. It is an amazing real time collaboration and communication platform with email, instant messaging and heaps more combined to form an awesome product.

The demo product is an HTML 5 applicaion built using the Google Web Toolkit. Wave is being released as an open source product. Its open platform encourages developers to build other Wave clients, extensions and embed waves in other web pages and platforms. The product is characterised by the 3P’s namely product, platform and protocol.

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