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Beanstalk's Internet Marketing Blog

At Beanstalk Search Engine Optimization we know that knowledge is power. That's the reason we started this Internet marketing blog back in 2005. We know that the better informed our visitors are, the better the decisions they will make for their websites and their online businesses. We hope you enjoy your stay and find the news, tips and ideas contained within this blog useful.


June 9, 2011

Chrome XII Released

If you’re not too busy playing around with Google’s tribute to Les Paul’s 96th birthday..

Google search logo tribute to Les Paul's 96th birthday

..you may have time to check out some of Chrome 12′s new features.

Chrome’s never been big on fluff, and most users upgrading to the version 12 release are going to have to look carefully to see anything new. Part of this is due to the very speedy release cycle that Chrome adheres to.

Some of the changes include:

  • Proactive alerts on malware detection to avoid downloads
  • Full flash integration with local shared object management
  • Hardware support for accelerated 3D CSS transforms
  • Small tweaks like the new default favicon: Chrome 12s Favicon

H.264 is still in place even though many speculated that the next release would be dropping H.264 to pave the way for more open standards with HTML5 like WebM and Theora.

The flash integration gives access to cookie management and more:

Flash management screen in Chrome 12

Release 12 wouldn’t be a new version without some issues, and much like the recent performances by the Canucks this latest version has a few failings:

  • Proxy support is broken. If you need to use a proxy, there is a fix. Check here for updates.
  • The version jump has enraged numerologists around the globe to the point where I couldn’t resist busting out the Roman numerals. Version 20 next week?
  • Native HTML5 Netflix support is still not working for everyone

So while it could have had a bit more time on the ironing board, it’s here now and we can try it out. If you wanted to see the 3D CSS transform upgrades try viewing this HTML5 video demo before and after you upgrade.

SEO news blog post by @ 5:15 pm

Categories:css,html 5,web design

 

 

June 8, 2011

Official IPv6 Test Day

Don’t forget, June 8th is the official IPv6 test day!

IPv6 Test Day

We should have a full blog post later today but I wanted to remind everyone to take a look and see who’s passing the test.

This is a link the test site to see if you have an IPv6 compatible connection: http://test-ipv6.com/

Have a great day and don’t forget the game tonight (Go Canucks!).

SEO news blog post by @ 6:37 pm


 

 

June 2, 2011

Windows 8 – First public showing

Yesterday was an exciting day for more than just hockey fans (Go Canucks!). Wednesday was Microsoft’s first public showing of the new Windows 8 user interface.

Windows 8 Start Screen

Microsoft isn’t kidding when they admit to having some strong influences from the mobile phone market!

Moving towards web technologies and taking a page from the ‘Google Gears’ handbook, Microsoft is saying that Windows 8 is geared towards 2 unique application types. The first being the traditional compiled windows application including games and software you currently run on windows. The second would be more of a full screen HTML5 + Javascript full screen application.

Google made great success out of exploring what a browser can do without an internet connection when they built the Chromebook and Microsoft clearly wasn’t ignoring this development. Beyond the usual stock tracking widgets and weather displays that could be running from an internet connected browser, this will extend to innovative applications like the customizable touch Piano application that was demonstrated.

Hardware in general seems to be an interesting focus of Windows8

  • Internet Explorer 10 is built into Window 8 and it will be very touch friendly, allowing the OS to run on a tablet or make full use of a PC with a touch screen.
  • Microsoft has stated the OS will be compatible with ARM processors and NVidia hardware. There should be a showing of that later today.
  • Windows 8 continues the tradition of Windows 7 where dependance on improved hardware is not a given. Indeed the way forward seems to be extracting more from the current hardware vs. demanding more under the hood for each new feature.

Our next public blurb from Microsoft on the Windows 8 front is due in September during a developer conference in California.

 

Dave’s Footnote:

While this post focuses on Windows 8, Dave believes that the author may have glossed over the truly important point (tsk tsk Ryan) which is captured in the following video:

SEO news blog post by @ 6:24 pm


 

 

May 10, 2011

Dr. Nick’s Post-Panda Prescription

"Hiii Every-body!"

Since the release of Google’s Panda algorithm update in February, Webmaster’s have been attempting to determine what it will take to get their websites back to their former rankings.

The Panda update designed to help to reduce the amount of webspam that had been saturating the SERPs for years. The update was designed to remove these low-quality sites from and level the playing field in an attempt to return to a more pristine and organic internet where content and visitor experience are the paramount ranking factors.

In theory, Panda was designed to address sites that were considered low-quality; that is they did not offer a good user experience, were spammy, or had duplicate or scraped content.

In a metaphor akin to the cream rising to the top; once the lower quality sites were removed or relocated in the SERPs, the sites that did offer good content and a positive user experience would automatically rise in the SERPs as a directly result of the reorganization.

The algorithm wasn’t perfect and many legitimate sites with quality content were still hit hard. Many problem sites that have been addressed and updated have yet to regain their former rankings. This created a lot of frustration amongst webmasters as Google was slow to release any specific information as to what constituted a "quality site" or any real concrete solutions for repairing your site.

On Friday, Google posted an update on its Webmaster Central blog called Providing More Guidance on Building High-Quality Sites.

Since the beginning of the update the mantra that I have been repeating to clients is: How would you design your website if there were no Google, or search engines or rankings to consider? How would you woo new clients and get them to share your website with others?

The answer is that you would have to focus on being an authority in your area of expertise, offering quality content that portrays this knowledge and developing not only a pleasing design, but one that is easy to navigate, has clean code, and was not spammy, or full of ads. Another question to ask yourself is: "Do your trust the site?" Would you feel comfortable releasing your credit card information on the site? In other words; does the site inspire trust?

So listed here in its entirety is the list of tips and suggestions from the Google post. Ask yourself these questions when evaluating your site:

  • Would you trust the information presented in this article?
  • Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it shallower in nature?
  • Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?
  • Would you be comfortable giving your credit card information to this site?
  • Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?
  • Are the topics driven by genuine interests of readers of the site, or does the site generate content by attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?
  • Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?
  • Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
  • How much quality control is done on content?
  • Does the article describe both sides of a story?
  • Is the site a recognized authority on its topic?
  • Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?
  • Was the article edited well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
  • For a health related query, would you trust information from this site?
  • Would you recognize this site as an authoritative source when mentioned by name?
  • Does this article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
  • Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
  • Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
  • Does this article have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?
  • Would you expect to see this article in a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?
  • Are the articles short, unsubstantial, or otherwise lacking in helpful specifics?
  • Are the pages produced with great care and attention to detail vs. less attention to detail?
  • Would users complain when they see pages from this site?

There was an interesting comment from Tom Critchlow and Matt Cutts via Twitter where Tom asked:

@mattcutts "assuming a site completely reworks their site/content after panda, how long before they will regain traffic?"

@tomcritchlow "short version is that it’s not data that’s updated daily right now. More like when we re-run the algorithms to regen the data."

This would also explain why so many webmasters have not seen their site regain traffic or rank as quickly as expected. Unscheduled crawling will certainly make the implementation of changes harder on a website. As SEOs we can no longer make changes on a site and then wait for the page to be crawled at a predictable interval and see the results quickly. Perhaps Google feels that by leaving the crawl rate undetermined, or more organic that this will help dissuade spammers from gaming the SERPs.

There are also rumors of a third major Panda update release that has was released around May 3-6th. Many webmasters have been reporting wild fluctuations in rankings and some oddities in the Google cache and in some instances with site search commands. If you have experienced any problems over the last week with rankings that you feel are attributed to a third Panda release, leave us a comment. We would love to hear about it.

SEO news blog post by @ 6:14 pm


 

 

April 29, 2011

Make Your Site More Legitimate…or “PROPER!”

I came across a great post on Michael Gray’s blog (aka “GrayWolf”) where he gives some great advice on how to make your website appear more professional and legitimate by instilling visitors with confidence in your brand. I would like to expand upon some of his points and offer some other techniques for you to consider in order to bring your website to a whole new level of professionalism.

  1. Get a Real Address
  2. Get yourself a real world address and phone number and use it everywhere. Invest in a real world mailing address. Indications show that Google does give a ranking bonus to websites that have real world addresses that match their WHOis information. If you work from home and are concerned about privacy, you can obtain a mailbox rental at a local mailbox rental service such as the Mailboxes Etc. or similar.

  3. Get a Real Domain Name
  4. Nothing says “unprofessionall” like a url that is linked to your ISP. Anyone trying to promote themselves as a legitimate business with an address such as: http://members.shaw.ca/username, is not going to be successful in portraying themselves as a legitimate business. For only a few dollars a year, invest in a real domain name that accurately reflects your business.

    It is worthwhile to enlist the help of a qualified SEO to do some preliminary keyword research to ensure you are choosing an appropriate address. You can change it later, but it is always best to leave it as is from the beginning.

  5. Use Your Domain Email Addresses
  6. Once you have a real domain name, stop using you ISP email address. mycompanysales@yourisp.com is wholly unprofessional and does absolutely nothing to instill confidence in the person viewing your site. It also shows a lack of understanding of basic web hosting principles. Most people that do this are usually not aware that emails can be forwarded from you ISP to your domain email address.

    By using sale@mydomain.com or contact@mydomain.com not only makes you look more legitimate, but allows you to track incoming volumes of mail and to change the routing to recipients. It also allows for distribution lists so that multiple users can receive the same emails. For instance, you can add/remove recipients to staff@mycompany.com as employees change.

  7. Use Boiler Plate Pages
  8. It is vitally important to have pages on your website for the areas that people expect to see when visiting a business’s website. Ensure that you have an about us, contact, privacy policy, terms of service, disclaimers and similar pages where necessary. These “boilerplate” pages go a long way in proving that your site is legitimate. It is also important to make sure that you have sufficient content on these pages and clearly show you company name and logo.

  9. Brand Marketing
  10. When you factor in the value of instant product recognition that a well designed logo provides and the amount of advertising opportunities it can offer, the cost of hiring a professional designer to develop a quality logo become less of a financial concern. Once you have a professional looking logo, use it consistently in your favicon, your social media profiles and in all of your communications. You should make it easy for others to use and share your logo, but at the same time take steps to protect against trademark infringement and reputation management.

    Your company logo is a graphical representation and a declaration of who you are, what your company provides and can reflect your company’s values. It is without a doubt the single most important form of social recognition that you can employ. Even if you can say or spell McDonald’s, almost every man, woman and child understand what the golden arches represent.

  11. Use Quality Content
  12. If the content on your site does not win over your visitors, it is all for naught. You can have a great website, a winning logo and a great domain name, but well written content is still of paramount importance and by far the most effective method of instilling your customers with a sense of your company’s legitimacy.

    Develop well written content and make sure to place it on appropriate pages. Information about the company’s history and mission statement go on the “About Us” page, contact information goes under the “Contact Us” section, etc. Good content is even more crucial after the Panda algorithm update from Google. Regardless of whether or not you think your viewers read the content, nothing drives away a potentially converting client faster than poorly written copy.

  13. Update Your Website
  14. By engaging in updates to the content of your site, it shows visitors that you are an active participant and that you are committed to providing an interactive customer experience. Actively engaging your audience through company blogs and other site content gives life to an otherwise static environment. This reassures the viewer that there is an actually organic and human component to the website and that it is not being run by a faceless corporation.

  15. Clear Navigation
  16. This may not seem like a significant factor to make your site look legitimate, but having shoddy navigation will not only infuriate and frustrate your viewers, but it will cause them to leave as well. Make the site’s navigation easy to follow and ensure that customers do not get confused. If you are selling products on line be sure not to hid access to your shopping cart section. It is also important that you do not bury your critical content five levels down. Anything that you want a customer to see or experience should be up front and no more than two clicks away.

  17. Press Releases and Media Kits
  18. Inform the public about the things that your company engages in that are "press-worthy." This helps to attract people to your site and can help to build links back to your site which is helpful for search engine ranking purposes. Incorporate press releases into your ongoing marketing campaign. Submit these press releases to a select number of high-quality, relevant news websites.

    Press Kits, often referred to as a Media Kits are pre-packaged sets of promotional materials for your business that can be distributed to members of the media for promotional usage. They are often distributed in conjunction with a press release or news conference. Create a professional looking media kit and embed links to your web content. Have a media kit comprised of PDFs; promotional materials, logos, company information and affiliate programs. Press Kits help to increase your company’s profile to media, businesses and the public.

  19. Social Media Profiles
  20. Having a company website alone is insufficient. You need to be actively engaging you viewers and customers. Using social networking sites such as Twitter or Facebook are not meant to replace your website, but are used to promote your company. Learn about different social networks and use only the ones that are most relevant to you and your business. Use a select few social networking sites and syndicate great content among them. It is not worth the expenditure of your resources to spread yourself too thin across too many. Good syndicated content will propogate itself.

    Specialize in your area of expertise and promote your strengths as a business. Try to keep your focus on what you know. This portrays you and your business as an area of expertise. A business that neglects the importance of social media will not be realizing their full marketing potential.

  21. Ads and PPC Campaigns
  22. There is a large temptation by online businesses to try and subsidize their revenue by engaging in sponsored ad campaigns. Use these tactics with caution. They may generate some extra income, but they look tacky and do little to portray the legitimacy of your site. If you decide to use ads, make sure the not obtrusive, are relevant to your site or products and do not any cause confusion in navigation or design.

A great site with a strong design that provides a great customer experience, not only instills confidence and trust in you and your product, but makes your visitors want to tell everyone else about the great site they have discovered! You can also read this post for further tips on surviving the Panda update. As M.C. Hammer would say, make your site:PROPER!

SEO news blog post by @ 6:57 pm


 

 

April 7, 2011

Refuting Debunked SEO Practices

I came across an interesting blog post from ISEdb.com that was titled: "16 SEO Tactics That Will NOT Bring Targeted Google Visitors" where Jill Whalen was discussing strategies that she felt were no longer valid seo tactics. I have reposted some of the points here and have added in my comments on each. Jill’s posts are in green italics.

Individually these tactics amount to very little; on this point I agree. However, add them up together and they become significant to your rankings. Being so absolutely "Google-centric" in your tactics is going to hurt you in the long run. Suppose there was no Google? (scary I know…) then you would have to redesign your sites for other search engines that may put more weight on these signals.

Meta Keywords:

"Lord help us! I thought I was done discussing the ole meta keywords tag in 1999, but today in 2011 I encounter people with websites who still think this is an important SEO tactic. My guess is it’s easier to fill out a keyword meta tag than to do the SEO procedures that do matter. Suffice it to say, the meta keyword tag is completely and utterly useless for SEO purposes when it comes to all the major search engines and it always will be."

There is sufficient evidence to show that Yahoo and Bing do use the keywords tag to help categorize and index pages. Google has been clear that they do not use the meta keywords tag as a ranking factor. The fact of the matter though is that unless it is totally deprecated from the W3C it is still best practice to include the tag. Just don’t expect that it will put you up to number 1 based solely on your use of it. There are many other search engines that are used that may or may not use this tag to index your page. Again this is a case where being too "Google-centric" can harm you in the long run. Ignoring all other search engines, seems irresponsible and is poor business sense.

XML Site Maps or Submitting to Search Engines:

"If your site architecture stinks and important optimized pages are buried too deeply to be easily spidered, an XML site map submitted via Webmaster Tools isn’t going to make them show up in the search results for their targeted keywords. At best it will make Google aware that those pages exist. But if they have no internal or external link popularity to speak of, their existence in the universe is about as important as the existence of the tooth fairy (and she won’t help your pages to rank better in Google either!)."

I agree that proper site architecture is of vital importance to have your pages indexed properly. The fact that Google gives you the ability to upload xml sitemaps through their webmaster tools indicates that it has some import. It can be debated as too how much weight it carries but the clear fact is that anything that helps the bots crawl your page, is not a bad thing.

Link Title Attributes:

"Think that you can simply add descriptive text to your “click here” link’s title attribute? (For example: Click Here.) Think again. Back in the 1990s I too thought these were the bee’s knees. Turns out they are completely ignored by all major search engines. If you use them to make your site more accessible, then that’s great, but just know that they have nothing to do with Google."

This is another case where I don’t necessarily disagree. If the W3C states that best practice is too include the title tag in images, then it should be there. Google has clearly stated time and again that W3C validation IS a ranking factor and as such it makes sense to follow W3C Validation practices. What I do not recommend is using the generic "click here" on your page as this ends up building densities for "click here" which you do not want either.

Header Tags Like H1 or H2:

"This is another area people spend lots of time in, as if these fields were created specifically for SEOs to put keywords into. They weren’t, and they aren’t. They’re simply one way to mark up your website code with headlines. While it’s always a good idea to have great headlines on a site that may or may not use a keyword phrase, whether it’s wrapped in H-whatever tags is of no consequence to your rankings."

This one I absolutely disagree with. These are of significant value, especially when used in conjunction with keywords in the page title, meta description and in the Heading Tags. Google absolutely uses these factors as signals for indexing and determining relevance to search queries….which in turn affect your rankings.

Keyworded Alt Text on Non-clickable Images:

"Thought you were clever to stuff keywords into the alt tag of the image of your pet dog? Think again, Sparky! In most cases, non-clickable image alt tag text isn’t going to provide a boost to your rankings. And it’s especially not going to be helpful if that’s the only place you have those words. (Clickable images are a different story, and the alt text you use for them is in fact a very important way to describe the page that the image is pointing to.)"

While this does not have a direct affect on rankings, it is again part of creating a W3C validated page….which Google uses as a ranking factor. This is also an important consideration in keeping your site accessible to those with visual impairments or using a text based browser.

Keyword-stuffed Content:

"While it’s never been a smart SEO strategy, keyword-stuffed content is even stupider in today’s competitive marketplace. In the 21st century, less is often more when it comes to keywords in your content. In fact, if you’re having trouble ranking for certain phrases that you’ve used a ton of times on the page, rather than adding it just one more time, try removing some instances of it. You may be pleasantly surprised at the results."

Certainly there is a balance to be had. I agree that over doing will cause problems. The best practice is to write valuable, concise content that is not spammy or of low value. Google wants you to write quality content and your readers want clear, valuable content. Doing so should organically place the appropriate amount of keywords within the textual content.

Linking to Google or Other Popular Websites:

"It’s the links pointing to your pages from other sites that help you with SEO, not the pages you’re linking out to. ‘Nuff said."

Again this is another instance, where it may not help your rankings, but if you can serve your visitors better by sending them to an external link then you should do so. It is of paramount importance to provide a quality site experience for your viewers. If you have a great site that serves your visitors well, then rankings will follow.

IMHO, it makes sense as an SEO to employee best practices always. It covers all your bases and will never hurt any of your SEO efforts.

SEO news blog post by @ 9:38 pm


 

 

April 6, 2011

the Power of the Meme & SEO

What is a MEME?

You have probably seen several and may have even used them before without even knowing it. Wikipedia defines a meme as a "unit of social information. It is a relatively newly coined term and identifies ideas or beliefs that are transmitted from one person or group of people to another. The memes can be said to transmit idea and belief information."

mems.gif

To brush up on some of the currently popular memes, you can check out: knowyourmeme.com. You can create new memes from pop culture references, or revive an existing one by breathing new life into it. A great example of a popular meme that most people have seen is the Antoine Dodson’s Bed Intruder song. This is a great example of using popular media to work for you. Another popular meme is the LOLCatz. This is an example of a meme that has been reused in a unlimited number of iterations.

The term meme has often incorrectly been used to refer to internet fads; even though many internet fads are in fact memes. SEO, in some respects could be considered a meme since you are manipulating the positioning of a website in search engines which also spreads the specific ideas that improved the rankings themselves in the first place. So how can memes be used to improve search engine rankings?

Creating a Successful MEME

For a meme to be of value, you need to think of visitors to your website as "carriers." It is up to the carriers to pick up on the available meme content and spread it for you. The only memes that survive are those that get picked up and spread by those carriers. Carriers can be your website, your visitors, search engines, social media…anything that gets your meme distributed.

In much the same way as a virus attaches to a host and is transmitted through the public, the more people it is exposed to, the more successful the virus is. In this respect, this is how a meme goes "viral" on the internet. Memes don’t have purpose or motivation. Memes spread because of what the carriers do.

MEMES & SEO

Memes should not be thought of as a link building tool per se. More correctly it can be thought of as an effective marketing tool. It is also an effective way to create an online following and a way to build trust between you and your visitors. If the visitor can identify with the meme you are using, it will create an intrinsic value and an amount of "trust."

The meme can reinforce that the visitor is on a site they can relate to, or that the site has a certain amount of social relevance pertaining to them. Moreover, a successful meme builds up social popularity and will increase the time spent on site for people visiting to see your meme. In this context, a meme can be akin to "viral marketing."

A meme is a self-replicating idea and as such, means that it only works when it is copied and shared with others. By its very definition, a meme cannot exist in only one place; meaning that your website will not be the exclusive carrier of the idea. So how can a site benefit if the ideas/memes are allowed to spread without keeping ownership of them?

When you are recognized as the source of the meme, the very act of people sharing it benefits you the most. Every new Google search regarding the meme should bring a new visitor to your site. This is because searchers tend to gravitate towards the source of the information. Give the meme a very distinctive name and spend time optimizing your site to rank for those keywords in the meme before distributing it.

Being the creator of a popular meme is always best. The closer you are to the originating source of the meme, the better as viewers like to link to the originating source. Memes can encourage links, visits and increase mentions of your site through the use of social networking.

Memes take time to spread. Making use of popular social networking sites will help to promote your meme. Use Facebook to share it with friends and to recruit followers. Uploading your meme to sites like imgur.com and reddit.com is a great way to help it go viral. You can use these sites as a test bed for the potential success of the meme by tracking viewer’s comments and reactions to it. Also watch for the number of views your meme receives and the number of upvotes it gets.

SEO news blog post by @ 4:54 pm


 

 

February 15, 2011

SEO Opinion of IE9 RC – Day 1

Well it’s day one with Internet Explorer 9 for this SEO nerd and I have a few things to say already.

Why ‘day one’ you might ask? Well the thing is, I’m a complex fellow, I have the 64bit version of Microsoft’s latest OS, Windows 7, installed on my work machine. This über ‘bleeding edge’ configuration was giving previous installs of IE9 too much to cope with and so I have been limited to testing Chrome, FF, and Opera browsers almost exclusively.

Yesterday the first reports of IE9 RC hit my in-box, and I chuckled at the thought of testing to see if it was stable enough to run on my ‘bleeding edge’ work machine. Surprisingly, all that was required was a restart of the whole computer and I was finally able to see the beta of IE9 firsthand! Eat your heart out, Windows 95!

Want to know what it looks like? Load up Chrome or Opera and open a couple tabs. Now picture the tabs on the same bar as the address box, just to the right of it, instead of at the very top. That’s what IE9′s layout looks like to me. The big difference is that instead of seeing a long address in the address bar, I see it in the title bar of the whole window, just like Opera except that Opera doesn’t even try to mask the sad fact that 3 bars are in use (title on the top, tabs in the middle, and then address and buttons on the bottom bar).

Speaking of Opera and wasted space, IE9 has taken the same approach as Chrome with regard to the status bar at the bottom of the screen. There is now a ‘status area’ where messages will pop-up as needed, and only Opera is wasting pixels at the bottom of the screen (by default, you can tweak it).

IE9 is supposed to be a great HTML5 browser and this was something I really had to test on day one. Things got off to a rough start with IE9 RC failing to run one of the first HTML5 test drive functions on Microsoft’s IE9 test pages. Admittedly it was an error with some MS geo-locational service, but that doesn’t explain why all the other browsers succeeded. IE9 also does not render HTML5 pages precisely the same way as Chrome, FF, Opera, and Dreamweaver. In fact it’s only IE9 that mangles my personal HTML5 markup, and trust me, I wouldn’t complain if it somehow improved my work. The speed of IE9 did impress me, and even Opera clobbered my Chrome install in a few benchmarks which was shocking. IE9 overall was the fastest to render the HTML5 tests on Microsoft’s pages, and quite fast in other benchmarks, but Chrome still does best in my favorite test, the CC Real-World HTML5/Javascript browser benchmark putting out a score of 14,443 vs. IE9′s 3,942 (Opera 11 = 11,943 and FF 4 = 6,454) out of 50,000 possible points.

Paste and Go gets a whole paragraph because it’s so badly overlooked. Come on IE, everyone else stole this, why can’t you? This is a no-brainer, so stop avoiding it and get it into the right-click menu. I could show you how to code this in less time than it took me to curse at it’s absence today.

Finally we get to how it feels. Fonts are tiny, 9-10 point looks like a 7-8 point font in IE9, and single spaced lines look double spaced.

IE9 Font

IE9 Font


Normal Font

Normal


I wrote a number of emails in IE9 with GMail and each time I was in a panic to make sure I was typing the body of the message without any unwanted font settings. This part of IE9 is likely to take too long for me to become accustomed to and combined with giving me bad renderings of my own HTML5 pages, I clearly can’t see this trial lasting that long on my machine.

SEO news blog post by @ 11:57 pm


 

 

February 10, 2011

How can BAD_REV be a very good thing?

SEOs spend an awful lot of time thinking about searching. I’m not just talking about finding links or car keys, I mean how searches service the user.

At the end of 2010 I was talking wistfully about setting up a site where the glass is always half empty, and you can expect to find the worst attributes of anything popular.

My logic was sound: “If you can’t find anyone saying something bad about an item, it’s either too new, or not bad at all. People rarely say anything about a non-problem, so why do we search for positive reviews?”

In true SEO style was even looking at some domain names like halfempty.com or pessimist.com wondering how much it might cost to re-purpose them for a greater good bad.

Truth be told, there are a plenitude of review sites online, the real problem (sorry to be so negative) is that unless your Google-Fu is quite strong, quickly finding the issues with a product can be a challenge. The instant you add ‘review’ or ‘compare’ into a search you play right into the hands of marketing types who don’t want to ‘review’ anything except for your shop-cart checkout.

Obviously starting another review site was not the solution and I just let the idea linger in the back of my head. That is, until a recent discussion on rating the ‘success-fulness’ of search engines by the amount of visits leading off the search page was brought up by some recent data over at Experian.

My take on ‘successful’ searches it that Google does it best. If I don’t leave the search results for anything other than a purchase or to post something, then Google has done their best. I know that seems like a contrary opinion for a SEO, but even SEOs are aware that there’s little value in having info seekers bouncing around in a shopping cart if we know they aren’t going to click ‘purchase’ or post something handy. We’d honestly rather have them get the info from the SERPs and stop there.

This is where “BAD_REV” came to life. What if everyone who did a negative review used a tag/keyword to help searchers find that review? Google would instantly give us the dirt on the next purchase we’re considering, and it really wouldn’t matter where the review was located online.

A typical review in a blog post or forum for a fictitious item could look like this:

BAD_REV Samsonic Cordless Shaver, BAD_REV SAM-CS-101, This shaver was such a good price, I purchased it on sale with a mail in rebate. Sadly, after bad experiences with battery life, blade jams, and poor operation, I wouldn’t make the same purchase next time.

Currently in Google’s cache there’s 4 instances of “BAD_REV” used in the last year! (Ok make that 5+ now) To the point, after posting that online, I could expect to search for “BAD_REV Samsonic Cordless Shaver” or the model number “BAD_REV SAM-CS-101” and find this review.

As a consumer this is a real improvement in information access, and for manufacturers this provides a quick and easy method of getting feedback on a product/service and/or see where the bad feedback is coming from. If I felt someone was using my product incorrectly I would have an easy way of locating them and helping them overcome any hurdles.

For review sites, adding this tag properly will help users find your content, and it can be used with existing information quite easily. All we really need to do is start using it.

Remember: The glass isn’t half empty, it’s just twice the size it needs to be!

SEO news blog post by @ 11:17 pm


 

 

January 27, 2011

Debunking SEO Myths – follow up

As a follow up to my previous post (Debunking SEO Myths – part 1):

After getting some flak for my less-than-aggressive stance against the use of html tables for webpage layout and reading through a great article from: HotDesign (http://www.hotdesign.com/seybold/everything.html) about why using “Tables for Layout is Stupid”, I felt I should reconsider my stance on the use of tables. I still maintain that tables can be used to hold tabular data. At least that is what they were intended for. The problem arises when you start using tables for layout.

As the web continues to evolve and html 5 becomes commonplace, related technologies need to grow and adapt as well. CSS is the evolution (revolution?) of web design. The above article did a great job in clarifying this point and really driving that point home to me.

To those of us trained in the usage of html tables, they just seemed to make sense in using them for page layout. Sometimes it seems easier to stick to what is familiar then to accept that there is a better way to do things (something this writer is guilty of :-)). The above article mentions that there are some things that are just easier to do with tables. However, if you were to list the pros and cons of both, tables for layout fall tragically short.

Tables were never meant to be used for layout purposes. They were only meant to hold tabular data. Using them in such a way is now actually interfering with building better, more accessible and flexible websites. Not only that, but they can and do interfere with SEO efforts (gasp!). Many sites are now forced with a daunting task of going back and re-coding all of their legacy websites in order to bring them up to new standards…especially with the advent of mobile websites (hey, no one ever said that the web was static right?).

The simple fact of the matter is that the benefits of using CSS are certainly not limited to its use in table-less site design. It is time to throw out the old school thinking and move towards a brighter future of low-bandwidth, table-less website design. This writer is now a full-fledged convert. No longer will I use tables…CSS all the way!

SEO news blog post by @ 1:14 am


 

 

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