Natural Search Blog


Microformats Hit Mainstream!

Microformats LogoOver on SEMClubhouse I’ve written up a post on “Why Use Microformats?” which is a mild criticism of Michael Gray’s recent post on “HCards, Microformats and Address Data does it Matter for SEO“. Essentially, Michael suggests people should prioritize implementation of hCard into local info webpages as a lower-priority, back-burner project. I not only believe that Yahoo’s SearchMonkey developer platform and Google’s new Rich Snippets display are proving that the search engines consider the Microformats protocol to be important, but anything presented as a back-burner or rainy-day project for many major corporations pretty much relegates that work to never be done at all.

With the advent of Rich Snippets in SERPs, I think I can safely declare that Microformats have now hit mainstream! (more…)

Key to Relevance: Title Tags

I recently penned an article at Search Engine Land on Leveraging Reverse Search For Local SEO. In it, I describe how in certain exception cases, one may benefit from adding the street address into a business site’s TITLE tag. It’s not the first time that I have mentioned how TITLE tags are key to relevance in Local Search — I’d previously mentioned how critical it is for local businesses to include their category keywords and city names in the TITLE as well.

Yet, a great many sites continue to miss this vital key to relevance, and they wonder why they fail at ranking for their most apropos keywords. Keywords for which they’d otherwise have a very good chance at ranking upon!

Key Relevance: Title Tags
W3C calls the TITLE the “most important element of a quality web page” (more…)

Why avoiding meta keywords tag may be best

Around a year ago, Danny Sullivan did some great research on the Meta Keywords tag to determine which search engines are using it. He found indication that Google and Microsoft Live Search ignore it for keyword ranking (retrieval) purposes, while Yahoo! and Ask are apparently using it. With Google having the bulk of the search marketshare, and Yahoo possibly only using the tag to a limited degree, it would seem rather extraneous to continue using it for search optimization.

Cool-Metatag

Although his research was really pretty definitive in my mind, there are so many search marketers that have some sort of nostalgic devotion to the tag and who continue to obsess over it and insist upon using it. There is a sort of mentality that “if it might help, then I’m damn well going to use it.” (See this recent thread at WebMasterWorld where quite a few express this viewpoint.)

However, I see some compelling reasons to avoid using it altogether… (more…)

Google’s Ranking Advice in Blended Search at SMX West

David Bailey at SMX WestJust a quick post here on some simple tips that David Bailey of Google advised in this morning’s session on “The Blended Search Revolution” at the SMX West conference in Santa Clara:

Yes, you can automate SEO – we’ve done it!

Loren Baker at Search Engine Journal wrote a post highlighting Commerce360′s stated intention to build automatic optimization software, using a lot of venture capital they raised for this purpose. Loren asks, “Can SEO Be Automated?”

Inspired by this thread, Lisa Barone at Bruce Clay, Inc. responds with “You Can’t Automate Search Engine Optimization” (which is just the tiniest bit ironic, since Bruce Clay’s Dynamic Site Mapping tool arguably provides a level of automated search optimization).

While Commerce360 is looking to create search optimization automation, we’ve already been accomplishing it for quite some time here at Netconcepts, as I outlined in an earlier article on Automatic Search Engine Optimization. So, do I think SEO can be automated? Hell, yes!

(more…)

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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When Google Changes Page Titles

As most webmasters are aware, the text put within a page’s <TITLE> tags appears in two places – at the top of the browser window when a user is viewing a page, and it appears as the link anchor text on Google’s and other search engine results pages. But there are some rare occasions when Google will display different link text on their result pages than what is used in the <TITLE> text. So, why is this happening, and could it be happening to you?

I was recently researching some problems that a client was exeriencing due to bad advice given to him by a prior SEO agency (they’d encouraged him to buy links and participate in link exchanges, I found, among other sins). While looking into the site’s problems which included various over-optimizations and bad usability design, I discovered that when I used a particular keyword to search in Google, his site’s homepage came up with a completely different title in the search results. Most of his other desired keywords brought up his HTML <TITLE> text like normal, but this one did not…

(more…)

Tips for University & College Website Search Engine Optimization – SEO

A couple of weeks ago when I spoke at the American Marketing Association’s Hot Topic day on Search Marketing in San Francisco, I got a lot of SEO questions from attendees who were from the educational community. I realized that college and university websites have a lot of unique aspects to consider in natural search optimization, and that there’s not a lot of specific advice out there specifically for them, so I thought I’d put together a brief list of tips which could be beneficial to any .EDU webmasters who are looking to improve their natural search marketing. Read on for more info.

SEO for .EDU Sites

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AMA Hot Topic Series: Search Marketing in San Fran

The San Francicso leg of the American Marketing Association’s Hot Topic Series on Search Marketing this past Friday was really great! The crowd was intimate, which allowed all of us speakers to mingle and have some quality discussions with folx, and the seminar/conference/workshop was excellently organized.

Read on for more details about the AMA Hot Topic Series day’s sessions.

(more…)

In other news, a new free Clinic

Search Engine Journal today opened free SEO Clinic for sites in need of optimization or with specific challenges that have not been overcome.

A group of leading SEOs including Carsten Cumbrowski, Ahmed Bilal, and Rhea Drysdale will review one submission per week delivering a thorough review of usability and site navigation, link building, and copywriting from the perspective of placement in the four leading engines (Google, Yahoo!, MSN and Ask).

It’s clear though that “free” is as free as having your site criticized in one of the SEO clinics experts like to host at conferences.  If chosen for review, the findings and recommendations will be posted for others to peruse.  I’d do as much myself and appreciate their efforts to help others with these case studies but as a website owner, someone responsible for SEO, or marketing manager for a major brand, I might not be so inclined to have my successes and failures outlined in detail for everyone to see.  That concern aside, I do hope they get some quality sites and develop a thorough library of reviews (perhaps I’ll sign up myself!).

To participate, simply contact the team here.

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