Search – SEO (Search Engine Optimization), SEM (Search Engine Marketing – PPC, etc.), Search Engines and the like.

Age

Domain Age and SEO

So you’re steadily optimizing your site using various SEO strategies, and you’ve made some visible progress.

You’ve come up in the SERPs (Search Engine Result Page), and yet – there is that one competitor who you just can’t seem to pass. You do some Competitive Intelligence reporting and look at your benchmarks. You’ve got higher stats in most areas, and they haven’t done much.

What’s going on here?

You need to consider the Domain Age of your site and that of your competitors.

If you’re not sure how to do this, use this handy Domain Tool. Just enter in a domain name, and you’ll find lots of interesting information, including when the domain was created, when it expires, and when the domain entry was last updated.

In short, the older the better.

Consider the age of the website & the length of time the domain has been registered.

Domain Age is a pretty large SEO factor in Google’s algorithm. Why? Think about spam sites that pop up and die off quickly – should they really rank above a real, quality site? The age factor is akin to business in the brick & mortar world; if a company has been in business for quite a while, then they’ve built up trust, reliability and are fairly good at what they do.

The same logic applies online.

Unfortunately there is little you can do about Domain Age. All you can do is to continue with fresh & unique quality content, and continue to tweak your on-page factors, as well as working on your off-site factors as well.

So before you pull all your hair out when running analytic & status checks on your SEO campaigns – look at the Domain Age.

Eat at URL's>

SEO - URLs and Domain Names

Domain Names are an extremely important consideration in SEO.

If you’re selling used green pants, how do you think www.usedgreenpants.com or www.pants.com/usedgreen.hmtl would fare in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Page)? Well, I think you know – it would do great!

Domain Names

So what should we do about Domain Names, URLs and what are they?

Wikipedia’s entry on Domain Names says this:

A domain name is an identification label that defines a realm of administrative autonomy, authority, or control in the Internet. Domain names are also hostnames that identify Internet Protocol (IP) resources such as web sites. Domain names are formed by the rules and procedures of the Domain Name System (DNS).

Domain names are used in various networking contexts and application-specific naming and addressing purposes. They are organized in subordinate levels (subdomains) of the DNS root domain, which is nameless.

The first-level set of domain names are the top-level domains (TLDs), including the generic top-level domains (gTLDs), such as the prominent domains com, net and org, and the country code top-level domains (ccTLDs).

Below these top-level domains in the DNS hierarchy are the second-level and third-level domain names that are typically open for reservation by end-users that wish to connect LANs (local area networks) to the Internet, run web sites, or create other publicly accessible Internet resources. The registration of these domain names is usually administered by domain name registrars who sell their services to the public.

Use keywords as part of the domain name where possible. Purchase other domain extensions to protect the brand. Buy the .net, .org, .us, and other extensions so competitors do not. Keep URLs concise & descriptive. And ensure that the user should be able to determine where he is at based on the URL.

What I suggest is that you look at this article: How to Choose Domain Names for SEO.

Now get out there and optimize your domain names, master of your SEO domain!

Personalized Search in Google

Google Personalized Search in SEO

Google’s Personalized Search is a very cool feature, but when working with SEO (Search Engine Optimization), can give a skewed view in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).

Attempting to personalize the results to your query, Google’s Personalized Search happens usually by default, so…

If you’re logged into Gmail or any other Google-based service while entering in a search query into the box, the results will be personalized, based on you’re click history, as well as other factors.

This means that if you’ve done some SEO work on your site, go into Google to check your ranking and are signed in, you get personalized results. And when you continue to click through to your own pages – well this tells Google that you really like this site and are "voting" for it; thus personalized/altered results may happen in the future.

But for SEO, we want to see the actual results – not the personalized ones.

There are two ways to avoid seeing Google’s Personalized Search results:

  1. Log out of your Google services
  2. Add &pws=0 to the end of your search string in the search box or address bar

Now get out there and optimize your searching skills, you saucy SEO searcher!

RSS-SEO

RSS in SEO

RSS (Really Simple Syndication or RDF Site Summary, Rich Site Summary) Feeds can add to your SEO campaign.

Aside from being a great alternative way to receive updated content on your site, RSS feeds bring you closer into that hip Web 2.0 world.

And not to mention that Google looks for fresh content; having feeds ensure your people get your information in a timely manner, as well as the search engines.

What is RSS?

As Wikipedia says:

RSS (most commonly expanded as Really Simple Syndication) is a family of web feed formats used to publish frequently updated works—such as blog entries, news headlines, audio, and video—in a standardized format.

An RSS document (which is called a "feed," "web feed,"

or "channel") includes full or summarized text, plus metadata such as publishing dates and authorship.

This brought forth the term SLATES (Search, Links, Authorship, Tags, Extensions, Signalling) during that whole Web 2.0 time.

Web feeds benefit publishers by letting them syndicate content automatically.

They benefit readers who want to subscribe to timely updates from favored websites or to aggregate feeds from many sites into one place. RSS feeds can be read using software called an "RSS reader," "feed reader," or "News aggregator," which can be web-based, desktop-based, or mobile-device-based.

How do RSS feeds work?

RSS Video

Check out this cool and informative tool / video on RSS by CommonCraft.

Now…Spend some time optimizing the text in your RSS feeds just like you’d do for your pages and posts. Be sure to use descriptive, keyword targetted text in your titles and descriptions.

Now get out there and optimize your feeds, you SEO spider!

Titles in Google SERPs

Title Tag in SEO

Title tags are an extremely important factor in SEO. Unlike other aspects of Search Engine Optimization, page titles can not be over-emphasized.

Think about it for a minute…A Title Tag:

So how do we optimize the title tag for each page?

Do:

  • Make each & every title tag unique, based on the unique content of each page.
  • Include keywords & key-phrases, based on content.
  • Put those keywords at the beginning of the title, yet make it human-readable.
  • Use a maximum of about 63 characters, or somewhere between 3 – 10 words.
  • Branding & Company name can go here, but probably at the back end of the title; is your brand so household-recognized that people will be searching for it?
  • Ensure the words in the title tag of your page are in the body text and various headings in the actual content of your page.

A good example would be: "Very Important Keyword Phrase – Company Name".

Do Not:

  • Have multiple title tags. This does not work and may prevent the proper title from being used.
  • Have more than 63 characters in the title.
  • Don’t put keywords in the title that are not contained on the web page
  • Don’t use stopwords or dead word such as "with, the, and, of, or welcome, etc."
  • Repeat words

Now go and make us a good Title, you SEO rockstar!

Google PageRank

Google PageRank

PageRank is an important consideration in SEO, however don’t get too caught up in it.

PageRank is just one small piece of the SEO puzzle, being a Google-specific link analysis algorithm in its own right.

Google explains PageRank in their Patent page on it, as well as the life of a Google Query. This makes for great reading, and will help you grow your SEO understanding. I highly recommend checking it out.

PageRank Resources

In case you want to study up on Pagerank for your SEO efforts, however, here’s some places to start your research:

So yes, PageRank should a factor in your SEO efforts, as well as even your personal (but quiet) KPI (Key Performance Indicators) but it’s definitely not everything. Understand what it is – perhaps even track it – and then move on, to more important on-page and off-page SEO factors.

Uh Oh Google

Google Glitch - This Site May Harm Your Computer

Sorry, folks just had to mention this…Too funny!

Google had a hiccup recently, where almost every single search result (including its own www.Google.com) was giving out the "This site may harm your computer" notice.

From the great Stop Badware site:

Users who attempted to click through the results saw the "interstitial" warning page that mentions the possibility of badware and refers people to StopBadware.org for more information. This led to a denial of service of our website, as millions of Google users attempted to visit our site for more information. We are working now to bring the site back up. We are also awaiting word from Google about what happened to cause the false warnings.

Check out Google’s official response to this hiccup.

SamePoint Social Media Search

SMO for SEO - SAMEPOINT

Update regarding SamePoint

Unfortunately, the SamePoint website is D-E-A-D. 🙁

As you may have figured out by now, using SMO (Social Media Optimization), tied in with SEO in your Online Marketing efforts, is fast becoming a must-have.

But with all the Networking sites (professional, social, and somewhere in-between) APIs (Application Programming Interface), tools and more out there, where do you start and how do you manage it all?

Well, there’s a lot of good ones out there, but let me tell you about one of them along your SEO road.

I just recently found out about this wonderful tool, and I personally find it to be pretty decent. Go on over to SamePoint and check it out.

With a Google-like interface, you simply enter in a search query and what is returned are listings from various Social sites listing your query, like Twitter, Wikipedia, Blogger, WordPress.com, friendfeed and many, many others.

For example, I did a search on "Northern Shaolin", as that is the style of Chinese Martial arts or more commonly known as Kung Fu, over at PATHS Atlanta Northern Shaolin Kung Fu section.

Check out what the results page looks like – very intuitive, user-friendly, and more importantly, valuable!

Search by filetype

Google Search Filetype SEO

In my SEO consulting, I can’t tell you how many times I hear this flawed phrase "I want my site on the top of the search results. Please optimize my website and make it number one in Google." Firstly, you optimize pages, not sites. Secondly, and almost as important is the idea that anything can be optimized!

True, back in the day, it was about sites. And mainly due to the limitations of the times and technology. Earlier on, search engine crawlers, or spiders, the least visible component of search engines’ workings, discovered and indexed only the titles of web pages, and common themes among them would rank well. However today, that is far from complete.

Enter a query, a keyword, key phrase, or just your basic "Search" on any Search Engine, and you are bound to see quite a few different types of files in your SERPs (search engine results pages). Everything from Adobe Acrobat PDFs and Microsoft Office documents, to videos, Flash movies or applications, news stories, blog posts, maps and more.

Further still, you can actually limit your search results to specific types of files that you want! This is extremely powerful, and if you’re a power-searcher, you probably know all of this already. By adding in various search commands, aside from the actual words or query terms, into the search box, you can achieve this.

Also, clicking on the "Advanced Search" on almost any major engine will give you options to narrow down your choices as well.

The Secret Search Command

Okay, Okay, I will give you this powerful search command. Put your search terms into the Google search box, then put in a space, and then type "filetype:" and then put (with no spaces between the colon and this) the 3-letter abbreviation for the file type.

For example, if I want to find only PDF documents about um…let’s say cat food…then I would enter this into a Google search box exactly "cat food" filetype:pdf.

Now if I wanted Microsoft PowerPoint slides instead, I would replace the pdf with ppt (the PowerPoint filetype extension).

Got it? Good.

File-type Searching and SEO

Now, how does this affect SEO and the optimization consultant? In a big way. Think about it. If anything can be searched…Anything can be optimized.

That’s right!

This is finally the time to go into that area of documents that none but secretaries usually use; File -> Properties. Here, you can add…wait for it…Meta information. Description, keywords, dates, and more.

We all know of the Alt attribute for images in regards to SEO, but what about this other aspect of other file types?

Look into it. Get into it. And Optimize. Everything. But just don’t get caught Over-Optimizing and getting all Black-Hatty.

Google Zeitgeist

Zeitgeist - Searching SEO

I’m into SEO and it helps to know what people are "searching" for. People everywhere are looking for stuff; business stuff, relationship stuff, news stuff, fun stuff, illegal stuff – all kinds of stuff.

So for different reasons at different times, I like to ask the question "What are people Searching for?"

Of course, depending on the reason – say for an SEO campaign, for example – how I’d go about answering that question, and the weight of the answer, will vary.


Zeitgeist

Zeitgeist is the spirit, or the ambiance of a time. (Starting to see how this might be important?) It can relate to the cultural, spiritual, ethical, intellectual, political and economical climates of an area.

From the Wikis…

In 1769 Johann Gottfried Herder wrote a critique of the work Genius Seculi by the philologist Christian Adolph Klotz and introduced the word "Zeitgeist" into German as a translation of genius seculi (Latin: genius – "guardian spirit" and saeculi – "of the age").

The German Romanticists habitually attempted to reduce the past to essences and treated the Zeitgeist as a historical character in its own right, rather than a generalized description for an era.

"Searchers" of answers, of the truth, of ideas…This powerfully enigmatic concept of Zeitgeist has given birth to many endeavors of creative minds. For example:

Although a bit "over the top", some of these projects help to shed light on how the Spirit of the Time might influence certain behaviors, ways of thinking, and more.

Understanding what might be a hot topic for a certain area, in a certain niche, for a certain group of people, at a certain point of time – could be very beneficial for Marketers.

Enter Google.

Google Zeitgeist

You may have already formed an idea of how all this comes together, but I’ll let Google sum up their endeavor (that began 2001) for themselves, from :What is the Google zeitgeist?

"Zeitgeist" means "the spirit of the times", and Google reveals this spirit through the aggregation of millions of search queries we receive every day. We have several tools that give insight into global, regional, past and present search trends. These tools are available for you to play with, explore, and learn from. Use them for everything from business research to trivia answers.

See what Google says people have been searching for…Google Zeitgeist:

What people have been Searching for – Google Zeitgeist

What are you searching for?