Natural Search Blog


MS Live Search Tip: Keyworded URLs

Nathan Buggia, Microsoft Live SearchI was pleased to sit in a presentation by Nathan Buggia last week at the Web 2.0 Expo conference in New York. Nathan is the Lead Program Manager for Microsoft’s Live Search Webmaster Center, and his talk was on “Getting More Traffic from Search: Advanced SEO for Developers“.

One of the more interesting things that Nathan covered were factors which provide specific benefit to page rankings in Live Search.

It was striking when he covered one element in particular: URL formatting.

Nathan stated that URLs which were shorter and which contain valuable keywords are likely to provide greater keyword relevancy benefit to pages which have them. URLs which are shorter and which have richer words that describe a page’s content work better for endusers and for marketing purposes. Users seeing a keyword-rich URL are more likely to click on them when they see them in search results page listings, because they reinforce the perception that they contain what the user is seeking. URLs also should have keywords delimited by dashes, rather than underscores or even periods.

Check out this slide from his presentation which demonstrates how keywords within the URL can provide additional signal to a page for the terms they represent:

Keywords in URLs - SEO benefit
(click to enlarge)

Have difficulty in adding keyword URLs to your site? This is one of the things which GravityStream provides automatically (or even manually-generated). GravityStream proxies a site in order to automatically optimize a great many search ranking factors, including keyword-rich URLs.

Retailers Recession Proofing Through Optimizing Internet Retail Sites

Overall economic fears are causing many retailers and other businesses to step up their games in terms of promotion. While some retailers are cutting back on advertising or paring down on their inventory, there are compelling reasons to increase the intensity in marketing efforts in order to offset the expected reduction in average customer spending. If your competitors are cutting back on efforts, not only could you have a chance to dominate in your sector, but you could even increase profits at the expense of your competition’s market share.

The internet is a prime area to focus in this period, since the net reduces distance barriers and the difficulty of locating products for buyers, and efforts to increase sales through this medium can be accomplished at lower costs than many other options. One of the most cost-effective areas for internet promotion is via increasing your “natural” traffic referred to your site from search engines.

Many internet retailers haven’t connected the dots sufficiently (more…)

Hello from New Zealand

Swans on the LakeI’m in New Zealand for this week and the next, working with our fantastic Kiwi development team at our Netconcepts offices in Browns Bay, at the northernly end of Auckland’s metro area. (We’re working on more innovative SEO features for our GravityStream product, but Shhhhhhh)

I’m still adjusting to the radical time zone twist from over here — it’s currently about 2:20 pm Tuesday here at the office, while it’s about 7:20 pm Monday back in the Central time zone in the US. So, I’m responding to emails and such a bit later in the day than I normally do.

If you want to see some of the beautiful sites I’ve been seeing while over here, keep checking back at my Flickr New Zealand Photos album which I’ll be updating consistently.

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Hello 2008 @ Natural Search Blog!

Hi, all!  As you may have noticed, I’ve been quite silent of late due to taking a lengthy time off for the holidays. I spent Xmas in Central Texas with my family, and then went down to Galveston to a vacation rental for the annual New Years reunion with a bunch of old friends from college (we choose a different location every year, with most being far away from Texas).

Even before the holiday vacation hit for me, I’d gone pretty silent/infrequent with my postings since I was heavily focused upon helping our major online retailer clients get shipshape for all the Cyber Mondays and we made little tweaks to help them maintain their juice as needed. (Oh, yeah — we were also targeted here by some malicious hacker, but that proved to be mostly an annoyance and it’s not really why I’d slowed down postings. Thanks to all of you who sent us notes of encouragement and offers to assist with that, btw!)

While the business sections of the newspapers have subsequently reported a mediocre-to-bad holiday season for retail sales at the end of 2007, it looked quite different from the stats that we watched pouring through our many servers for our GravityStream clients.

I’m pleased to report that this holiday season was very sunny for the majority of our GravityStream installations, and our automated SEO service made a significant difference for the retailers using us, resulting in many millions of dollars in sales. I’ll check and see if I can later circle back and share some actual performance figures.

I’m looking forward to this new year, and I’m now revving back up to blogging and article writing and such along with the usual analytic/consulting work I do behind the scenes at Netconcepts along with fantastic teams of other pros within our company. In the near term here on Natural Search Blog, I expect to write a bit about future developments I foresee happening in the search space — my little contribution to the many 2008 predictions that are globbing about in the blogosphere.

Stay tuned!

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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…

(more…)

GravityStream

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