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Buggy Google Pagerank Update

I’ve heard from several clients today who had their page ranks change both for the better, and worse (my own hardware website went from a PR5 to a PR4). However it seems that a re-occurring bug where Google drops the page rank of internal pages that deserve to be ranked has snuck into this update. After most page rank updates I usually check out one of the previous employers websites to see how their page rank distribution is. Currently of all their pages the homepage, and two of the categories pages have page rank the rest of their website reports as being unranked so not even a PR0. Hopefully we will see a corrective page rank update in the next few weeks.

SEO news blog post by @ 5:42 pm on December 31, 2008

Categories:Uncategorized

 

Happy Holidays

Beanstalk will be closed from December 24, 25 and 26. We will be open from the 29th to the 31st (closing at 3PM on the 31st) and reopening on January 2nd.

We would like to wish you all a very happy holiday season and look forward to serving you with services or just information in our blog and articles in the new year.

SEO news blog post by @ 6:28 pm on December 23, 2008

Categories:Uncategorized

 

New Twist on an Old Domain Scam

Anyone that has a high ranking websites knows the better they rank, the more spam they are going to receive, and we are no exception to this rule. Personally I can find it amusing to browse through some of the more unique spam to see what sort of tactics they use to convert their recipients. One of the better scams I’ve seen is the Internet Brand / Internet Trademark scams, where someone claims to represent a domain registration company who has someone interested in buying your domain name as their trademark. Today I received another one of these scams but in this one they were referencing the financial crisis as a secondary scare tactic. Luckily their grammar is terrible, there is an excess of white space, and it is based completely on fiction which should raise red flags with anyone that reads it.

Dear President/CEO,

We are a domain name registration and dispute organization in Asia, which mainly deal with the global companies’ domain name registration and internet Intellectual property right protection in Asia. Currently, we have a pretty important issue needing to confirm with your company.

On Dec.15 ,2008, We received an application formally.One company named ” Arnolds investment Company ” wanted to applied for the Internet trademark ” Beanstalk-inc ” and some domain names through our body.

During our preliminary investigation, we found that these domain names’ keyword and internet trademark is identical with your trademark. Meanwhile, it is in the special time of financial crisis. Many companies are registering and protecting their own internet intellectual property right in various methods.These days we are dealing with this case, I wonder whether you consigned Panlong company to register these domain names through us? If yes, we will complete the registration on these domain names. Or you do not even know this company what so ever? Currently, we have postponed this application of this company temporarily already. In order to deal with this issue better, please contact us by telephone or email as soon as possible.

Best Regards,

Auditing Department
TEL: 00852-9566 0205 00852-9566 0496
FAX: 00852-9566 0302
Email:Ivy.Ji@westdns.org
Web: www.west-technology.net

SEO news blog post by @ 12:29 pm on December 16, 2008

Categories:Uncategorized

 

Beanstalk’s Magic Beans

magic-beansBeanstalk has decided that we needed to give a little something back to the world. After much thought about what cause we could all share in we decided that noone could possibly have a problem with sponsoring a child through World Vision.

After first choosing our area (El Salvador – hopefully we can one day soon go down and visit them) we let World Vision themselves choose the children for us (that would be too hard a decision to make).

We’ll be posting pictures, stories and updates as we receive them.

And a big thanks to you, our visitors and clients, for making this possible.

SEO news blog post by @ 2:01 pm on December 10, 2008

Categories:Articles

 

Google Update Underway

I’ve had to call a few clients to proactively talk them off a ledge and I thought that perhaps I’d do well to post some recent going’s on at Google up on the blog for everyone. There is an update underway over at chez Google. There appear to be at least 3 sets of data going around and a simple Refresh can provide different results for the same search depending on the datacenter you happen to hit.

In general the differences appear to be minor however I have seen a few cases where a site that is in the top 10 on one isn’t in the top 30 on another.

This updates seems to be a little more major that we’ve seen in a while. I haven’t had time to analyze what’s going on yet and honestly – I’ll probably wait until later in the weekend when things start to stabilize before I look into it too much (why try to study a moving target when you can wait for it to rest?) If there’s anything interesting to note after the update has settled you can be sure I’ll be writing about it here.

I wish you all luck through this update (unless of course you run an SEO company ;)

SEO news blog post by @ 2:24 pm on December 5, 2008

Categories:Uncategorized

 

Dave Forgot To Post …

I forgot to put up a blog post yesterday announcing the release of the two latest articles by Beanstalk. Written by yours truly the articles cover article writing as a link building tactic (and they’re good for our blog readers too :) and another article on how to make your Internet company eco-friendly through reduction and carbon offsetting.

You can find the article on our site at:

I hope that you enjoy them. Stay tuned, we’ve got more coming up next week.

And as a reminder, my weekly radio show on Webmaster Radio airs today from 2PM EST until 3. It looks to be a good show so be sure to tune in at WebmasterRadio.fm.

SEO news blog post by @ 1:47 pm on December 4, 2008

Categories:Uncategorized

 

A Deal From Best Of The Web

Best Of The Web (my personal favorite Internet directory now that DMOZ is essentially DOA) is offering a deal on their already solid pricing for submissions.

BOTW charges $99 per year or $249 for a permanent listing in their directory. A much better value than the $295/yr from Yahoo! in my opinion (but that’s just my opinion).

As a warning, they do actually refuse sites so if you have a horribly designed site or offer no value to your visitors, don’t bother applying. But if you do have a solid site and you do want a great listing, it’s well worth the look.

To make it better, they’re now offering 25% off for the month of December. You need to enter the Promo Code BLIZZARD and the discount will be applied.

To check out their site to see what they have to offer you can visit www.botw.org. And don’t forget your code. :)

SEO news blog post by @ 7:08 pm on December 1, 2008

Categories:Uncategorized

 

Making Your Internet Business Eco-Friendly

The growth of the Internet world as a means for producing revenue and gainful employment has provided those in it a unique opportunity. Rare is it to find an industry where one can produce little in the way of non-recycleable garbage and can easily and painlessly offset the negative impact they have on the world. Can those involved with the oil industry claim to be eco-friendly? Certainly not (though nothing against them – like it or not we need oil to keep our society running … for now). Can even the food industry with the chemicals they use and the methane they produce claim to be eco-friendly? For the most part … no (though again, no problems here with the people who produce our food).

The Internet world however has opened up new doors where one can reduce their footprint significantly and offset that which cannot be eliminated. As we at Beanstalk have constantly strived to reduce our footprint and have just recently purchased carbon offsets to “zero out” that which we cannot eliminate, I thought it well-timed to write an article on the ease and relative low cost of doing this in hopes that other businesses would follow suit.

First, let’s take a look at a problem.

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that global warming is an issue. In case you need more information on this you simply need to watch the news. But that’s not the problem, that’s the symptom – the problem is pollution and the rapid production of greenhouse gases. Or is that a symptom too? I would present to you that perhaps the production of greenhouse gases is in itself a symptom of another problem, a problem we all succumb to too often – the problem being that the issues seem to large to fix.

When one looks at the issue of global warming one can’t help but think of the issue as too large to be tackled. The problem is similar to recycling (also important). What difference is one little scrap of paper going to make in the garbage can? When 7 billion people do it, quite a bit is the answer.

Second, let’s take a look at a solution.

I’ve got to tip my hat to Google and other massive companies that put up solar panels and invest millions of dollars to reduce their impact on the world. Unfortunately Beanstalk is not as blessed as the fine folks at Google and we just don’t have those kinds of resources to “go green”. So what can we do?

Here are some steps that Internet companies can take to help further reduce and/or offset their impact on the world around them. Before I get into that I’d like to extend a big thanks to Erik Blachford over at TerraPass for answering some questions for me and providing additional information for this article and how we can all help out.

1. Reduce paper consumption – One of the easiest things we did at Beanstalk was to reduce our paper consumption. We print double-sided when possible, we use the reverse side of paper for note paper when we can and we always make sure to reuse any paper possible.

2. Recycle whatever possible – There’s the recyclables that we all know about and can recycle conveniently on the curb. The papers and aluminum and plastics. There are recycling programs available however for a ton of other products that we often don’t think of. From soft plastics (all those plastic bags and even the plastic covers on the CD sleeves your hardware drivers come on) to Styrofoam – most everything can be recycled. Even your old computers and the batteries that power your wireless devices. It might cost a bit to drop off or have picked up but how much is your planet worth?

3. Offset your impact – Companies such as TerraPass enable others to offset the carbon emissions they produce through transportation, heating and electricity and create clean energy in an amount that will reduce future carbon dioxide emissions by an equal amount. Basically, this enables you to zero out your impact. Of course, producing less pollution and carbon dioxide is the best option but you’re running an Internet business – you need power (if for nothing else than for your web hosting). Now we can offset this impact in a positive way.

For years we at Beanstalk have sought to fulfill the first two items in this list. This year we have added in the third and would invite others to do the same. The more we do now, the better the world we leave for those coming after.

Rather than babble on further about all you can do, I’m going to simply put some of the better Q&A information I got from Erik at TerraPass and provide some resources to help those of you who would like to make their office (even if it’s a home office) a greener place.

Q&A With Erik Blachford:

Q – What can businesses do to help reduce their emissions?

A – The first step is to measure emissions, which most of our Carbon Balanced Business customers do using our website calculator (www.terrapass.com/business). For most businesses, the main sources of emissions are from things like office or manufacturing energy usage, employee travel and commuting, data centers, and the like. Once businesses have done the calculations, they are in a great position to understand where they make reductions. For example a company whose employees travel often can look for opportunities to combine multiple trips into one, saving on plane rides (saves the company money as well), or skip trips altogether. And a surprising number of companies can save energy in obvious ways such as turning the lights off at night (if the janitorial staff comes through at night, perhaps they can be rescheduled to come during the day). Another popular idea is to provide employees incentives, monetary or otherwise, to take public transportation, ride bikes or walk to work. Quite often companies are already providing subsidies for employee parking, so this again can be a way for businesses to save both the environment and some money.

Q – Internet businesses tend to produce far less waste than most other industries in the form of paper and other waste products. Is electricity really that big a source of pollution?

A – Yes it is, especially for companies that run data centers, though it depends on where the companies and data centers are located. Companies in Quebec, Canada for example are likely getting virtually all of their power from Hydro Quebec, so would have a very low carbon footprint, whereas those in a US state like West Virginia get virtually all of their power from coal-fired power plants, so have very high carbon footprints for their energy use. Electricity is about 79.5% of carbon emissions from commercial energy consumption. Author’s Note: This is not to say that people in Quebec should waste energy. That which they don’t use can be used elsewhere thus reducing the footprint of other areas. In fact, this is one of the fundamentals of carbon offsets. That which can be created cleanly should be used to offset that which cannot.

Q – What is a carbon offset?

A – I would say “a carbon offset represents an independently verified permanent registered reduction of carbon dioxide emissions in an amount equal to the emissions that are being offset.

Other Important Resources For A Green Office

Tip For A Greener Office (link removed as resource no longer available) – An article by the Environmental Defense Fund with some great tips for a more environmental office. We try to follow as many of these tips as possible ourselves. I recommend that you do the same (and it’s pretty easy – they’re all common sense).
Going Green At Work (link removed as resource no longer available) – Discovery Channel’s Planet Green offers these ten tips for going green in the office. Again, common sense but then – the right thing usually is.

SEO news blog post by @ 11:59 am on

Categories:Articles

 

Searching Like A Pro | SEO Articles by Beanstalk

How many times a day do you run a search only to find that the top sites don’t yield the results you’re looking for? Sometimes this can be based solely on the type of search you’re running (i.e. there is a lot of information and it’s a broad field), sometimes it can be caused by those pesky SEO’s out there doing their job and other times it’s simply a matter of knowing how and where to search for what you’re looking to find.

Let’s begin by discussing the origin of this article. I was looking through our site statistics and noticed an anomaly. The phrase “seo for yahoo” was showing up. Now, this is-and-of-itself is not so odd – there are many people out there looking for ways to rank on Yahoo! however what I did find odd was that all of those clicks were coming from Google. To me this didn’t make sense so one night on the phone I decided to ask my father about it. “If you were looking for a way to rank on Yahoo! how would you search?” I got the same answer as my stats showed, on Google. To me it seems obvious that if you want to rank highly on Yahoo! and you’re looking for methods to do so, that you would naturally go to Yahoo! and look for sites that are ranking highly there. If they can rank themselves on Yahoo! then logically they know how to rank sites highly on Yahoo!

This got me thinking about the way that I search vs. the way many people do and in watching others it became clear that a good percentage of the time people spend weeding through the results could be eliminated if they knew how and where to search, something I have spent more hours learning than I would care to reveal.

In this article we will cover the following areas:

  • Long tail phrases
  • The quotation marks
  • The cache
  • Different services
  • Different engines

Long Tail Phrases

The term “long tail” refers to phrases that are non-generic or extended. What I mean by this is that we have added keywords to the search query to specify what type of information we are looking for. Let’s take for example a person who is trying to decide what kind of car to buy. They’ve looked at some Hondas and just want to know more about them. Here are the different types of searches:

Generic – honda (you will end up with a top 10 filled with Honda sites, but what if you want to know about its ratings, reviews and consumer experience)

Long tail if interested in reviews – honda consumer reviews, honda driver rating, honda award, etc.

Long tail if interested in experiences of others – honda consumer review, honda “my experience”, honda blog, etc.

I think you get the idea.

What you need to ask yourself is really what kind of information are you looking for. Any of the long tail phrases will give you results outside of the Honda websites where you will get consumer opinions on the car, awards they may have won, etc.

Long tail phrases are the godsend of the searching world. If you run a search and can’t find what you want, think about what other words would likely appear on the page and add those to the search box. You’ll greatly increase your chances of finding the appropriate information appear higher in the search results. Which brings us to quotation marks.

Quotation Marks

I highly doubt as though there’s any more useful function of searching that is less used than the quotation mark. Quotation marks tell the engine that the words inside must appear on the page in exactly that order. You’ll notice above and in one of my examples I used the query – honda “my experience”. This would tell the engine that I want the word Honda to appear on the page as well as the exact phrase “my experience”. If we think about it, the results should contain feedback from people who have an experience with the brand. While there are a couple sites that appear in the top 10 we may not be interested in the majority provide just this type of information.

The Cache

The cache pages of the search engine results don’t so much reduce the number of pages you’re going to have to look at to find what you want, they simply speed up the process of checking them. Try running a search for something and rather than clicking the actual link to the site, click on the cache of it. What you will find is that all the phrases you have entered into the query are colored so that you can find them easily on the page. This will allow you to quickly scan a page for specific words rather than having to read through everything. In the example above the word Honda would be one color and “my experience” would be shown in a different color. This will allow you to quickly scroll through the page for the words “my experience” to make sure that they are indeed referring to their experience with a Honda as opposed to some other experience they had.

Different Services

All of the major engines offer different search services. Here are just a few of my favorites:

Blogs:

When searching for blogs I like Google Blog Search. There are many great blog search services out there including Technorati and more but I’ve found Google’s Blog Search to be the easiest to access since chances are, I’m already on Google. Blogs are a great resource when looking for opinions and information you may not find through traditional media.

News:

All three major engines have great news search engines. I’m not going to recommend one over the other here as when you’re looking for news, it’s great to check them all as the current nature of the news results in each engine providing different results based on their spidering frequency. You can visit Google News here, Yahoo! News here and MSN news here.

Research Information:

When you’re doing research for a big paper or just want some scholarly information to settle an argument then Google Scholar is a great stop. This is a site I visit when I’m looking up information to help my boys with school or after sitting puzzled while reading Steven Hawking wondering exactly what the heck he’s referring to in some space-time reference or another. This in one to add to your favorites if you’re a student, a researcher or you just find yourself with odd questions that only a scholar could answer. You’ll find Google Scholar here.

Images:

When you’re looking for images or maybe a new desktop for your PC then there are two places to go that will save you time. My favorite is Flickr where most images are viewed and commented on however Google Images (that’s right – Google again) can often provide better results for some queries. To use the example above, if I were looking for a new desktop for my computer I would likely use Google Images. The advantage of using the image search is that it allows you to see – well – an image in the results. You can then go to the page it originates from and see what else is there but it can cut the time it takes to find a site that has the type of images you’re looking for significantly. Flickr is better for images you won’t find elsewhere on the web. For example, if I wanted to view some photos others had taken at the Search Engine Strategies Conference in San Jose I would use Flickr. They have a tag system as well so people with a common theme can tag their images similarly to make them easy to find. For example, at SES San Jose a tag was sessanjose2006. Enter that tag and most of the photos taken there (that people wanted to publish at least) will appear in the results.

Videos:

There are many great services for searching for video content online. You’ve most likely heard of YouTube. If you hadn’t heard of it before Google agreed to purchase the property, you’ve likely heard of it since the price tag of $1.65 billion was announced and widely discussed in the news. The service will be added to Google Video at some point in the future. But again, to lock yourself into Google and Google properties severely limits what you’ll find and how you’ll find it. If videos are what you’re looking for then you’ll also want to visit Spiked Humor, which operates similar to YouTube (visitor submissions) and a new service that’s been launched by Lycos called Lycos Cinema. Lycos Cinema provides a new take in video publishing on the web wherein they are displaying ads at the beginning and the end of the video (which reminds me of what they’re now doing in real cinemas except that Lycos doesn’t charge $20 including popcorn to watch it). The videos you’ll find there are submitted by publishers so you’re not likely to find the newest releases but you will find a great collection, scheduled viewing times and you get the opportunity to chat live with other viewers while the movie is playing.

Different Engines

You may not believe me when I say it but there is more than one engine. I know I know, shocking but true. Whether you use Google, Yahoo!, MSN, Ask or one of the other lesser known engines, most people tend to stick to their first choice without taking too much time to consider that there might just be other engines that can run the query better.

Make no mistake, I use Google and when I say I use Google I mean I use it to search dozens if not hundreds of times per day. As an SEO this is simply a fact of life but when I’m searching for personal interest my use of engines varies from the searching patterns adopted at work.

While I do generally tend to stick to the major engines I find that each one serves a different function. They loosely break down as follows:

Google – Good for finding general information and, if used in conjunction with the tips above, some specific information if you know precisely what you’re looking for and what words are likely to appear on that page.

Yahoo! & Ask – If I’m not sure exactly what I’m looking for but I know what type of information I want then these are the two engines of choice. Both deal well with queries put in the form of a question and provide highly relevant results. Ask also provides some interesting features including Binoculars that appear beside the domain name which, when hovered over, show a snapshot of the site allowing you to decide if you want to go there or not before clicking on the result and waiting for it to load.

MSN – As I mentioned above, there are times when you’ll find the results skewed by pesky SEO’s. With a lower market share than either Google or Yahoo!, MSN is often overlooked by SEO’s who focus on where the majority of the traffic lives. With extremely active crawlers MSN has a great pool of web pages to reference and is far less “gamed” by SEO’s. Their algorithm isn’t as advanced as those of the other two major engines but at the same time there aren’t as many SEO’s building sites that focus on high rankings for MSN so they don’t need it to be.

Alternative Engines – When I’m thinking of alternative engines I’m generally thinking of niche or regional engines that focus on specific information. If, for example, I was looking for information on sites in or information on my native British Columbia, Canada I would visit Listings BC. The majority of these are not so much search engines as searchable directories which means that the pool of sites is likely much smaller however the odds of relevancy are much higher.

Conclusion

I sincerely hope that you find this information useful and your searching experience made better with these tips. There are certainly more ways to increase your searching abilities than I’ve been able to list here but to cover absolutely every scenario would be virtually impossible in anything short of a 300 page book. What I have tried to cover above are the features I use the most and which apply to the majority of searchers. You of course are unique and you may have other requirements or may have developed your own tactics for dealing with irrelevant or less relevant results. Either way, hopefully you feel your time reading this article has been worthwhile and you can now venture forth with increased searching abilities and reduced frustration.

SEO news blog post by @ 12:57 pm on November 29, 2008

Categories:SEO Tips

 

Cutts On Google

Matt Cutts did a great interview with Mike MacDonald from WebPronews. The discussed Google in 2009 and answered a lot of questions that I know I’ve heard from a number of clients and confirmed a few things I believed to be true (mainly Matt’s comments on sub-domains near the end).

The video covers personalization (will it kill search results and SEO). The future of SEO and how we need to expand into other areas including usability and conversion optimization, Flash and video ranking and sub-domain and how they can be used and black hat SEO. Matt answers the often-asked question: do sub-domains work better than files in a site and when?

I won’t repeat everything from the video – that would be redundant. It’s a 10 minute video and worth every minute of your time. Enjoy …(Video removed – no longer available)

SEO news blog post by @ 2:30 pm on November 20, 2008

Categories:Uncategorized

 

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