Search Engines Control The Eyes Movement of Their Users

January 27, 2007

Funny thing I read not too long ago (I think it was in a study by Enquiro) states that search engines users show different eye-movement behaviour based on the search engine they are using. It seems like users adjust themselves, based on their past experience with search engine results, to scan only specific areas of the SERP, the ones they perceive as the most accurate for their needs.

If you’re wandering what are the differences between “the big three“, you should know that Google-users scan mainly the top triangle on the left , Yahoo!-users scan a much bigger triangle plus some of the sponsored link ads on the top right while MSN-users act almost the same as Yahoo!-users, except the fact that they scan close to 90% of the page results.

From SEO perspective, I guess this doesn’t tell us anything new – optimizing your site for the “big three” should be focused first on getting to the top results at Google’s first page, while when it comes to Yahoo! and MSN, you can still benefits from your site being listed down on the first results page.   

Something to think about:
What will happen once there is a search engine where the results are shown in spiral? Will the users adjust themselves to scan the results in circles? 🙂

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Catch 404

January 21, 2007

For those who doesn’t know what 404 stands for, there are two things you should keep in mind:google 404 error mesaage page

1. 404  is an error message the user gets when the page he had searched for wasn’t found.
2. 404 error page shouldn’t be neglected otherwise it will act like what I call “catch 404”.

I’ll explain myself.
The standard 404 error message leaves the searcher with nothing to do but to press the back button, meaning – and this is where the “catch 404” lies –  you lose a potential visitor.
Searchers don’t mean to make mistakes but they do it nevertheless. Whether it is some typing mistake, misspeling or writing your URL with a non-existed extension (using “htm” extension instead of “html” for example) they’ll get to the 404 error page and from there – the way to the back button and someone else’s site is very short.

In order to avoid this “catch 404”, meaning – not to lose this “wandering visitor”, or any other potential users, there are several things you can do, all of them deal with improving your 404 page:

Enlighten the “wandering visitor” with a short paragraph (of 2-3 sentences) explaining the visitor where he got to and what he can do in order to correct his search.

Add some links to other pages in your site – Since you don’t know what the visitor was searching for, links to your home page and the site map page will be the best ones for you. Doing this will direct the visitor into your site instead of out of it.
Another solution is to –

Use your website design for the 404 page – This will help the visitor to understand where he is and also, since your company logo or your site title will be presented to him (and it should! ), you’ll get to brand yourself in the visitor’s  consciousness. That way, even if the visitor decides to press the back button he’ll get to remember your site.
More than that, by using your site’s design template for the 404 page, including the menu bar, you give the visitor way more options (or reasons) to stay in your site.

If you’re having problems with articulating your 404 error message, just remember to keep it short and simple. Following the above, get it within your website design and offer the visitor some alternetives other than pressing the back button. Your 404 error message could be something like: “Unfortunately, the page you requested for wasn’t find. You can check the following links to find what you were looking for.”

If you’re looking for some original 404 page solutions, you really should check up plinko website – it offers valuable information on 404 error message page plus some links to amusing 404 pages.

Enjoy!


SEOChat is mostly silent…

January 9, 2007

Once upon a time Seochat had a voice. The search optimization information you could have got there was not only of high quality, it was valuable. But as SEO companies started to run their own websites and blogs on the topic – time had changed and so did Seochat.
Nowadays, Seochat is mostly silent.
 

Speaking the right thing at the wrong time
First of all, its content is not very current. The variety of articles still speak the right thing, and do it very well I must admit, the problem is that most of it comes too late, repeating what all the real big ones (professional seo and online marketing websites) had already said in some earlier point in time.  
 
Trying to sell some water to a thirsty cat
Secondly, their commercial inclination is so obvious, so vigorous and at the same time so not “seoy”. It’s quite acceptable to make some money from selling ads, and it’s very wise – from online marketing point of view – to make them textual and to implement it inside the content, but where is the context and what about user usability? Isn’t it what online advertising is all about? Why, for crying out load, do I need to run into a textual link saying “escape” which leads to some advertisement on Mitsubishi outlander while I was reading a very nice article on search optimization? Where is the relevance? this is just like trying to sell some water to a thirsty cat.  

seochat out of context textual ads

Let the readers read 
Readers want to read, period. They want to get some knowledge and valuable information and if some one wishes to try and sell them something, the least he can do is to make his efforts at the right place on the right time.I’m not saying, not for a single moment, that Seochat shouldn’t sell ads inside content. They can do it and they should, but they should also remember that it all about the user (the reader). If Seochat knows so much about google, and it does, it should follow its state of art – being relevant, just as Google adwords basically are. 

 

And please make it easy on them
Speaking of usability, seochat can use another advice. Don’t make it hard on your readers. The few that has left don’t need to go through such a long way (and 3 are quite a long way!) just to get to the beginning of the article they are interested in reading. I’ll make myself clear with a live example.At the homepage of seochat you can find some summaries of today’s articles.Once you decide which one speaks to you, you need to click on its summary. If, mistakenly, you click on the image on the left instead of the article headline (and this mistake can be done innocently, believe my experience), an image that feels very much an inherent part of the text, you’ll get not to the article you wanted to read but to a page about “search engine optimization guide”. Sure, the alt tag says something about it (“search optimization”) but so is the headline of the article…  thus, once you realize you got into the wrong page, you have nothing else to do but to take the back button, or, if this comes to your mind, look for your desired article headline on this page. either way you’ll find yourself clicking more than necessary.
click on image (click number 1) -> use the back button (click number 2) -> click on article headline (click number 3) = 2 clicks more than necessary.
Click on image (click number 1) -> find your desired article headline and clicking it (click number 2) = 1 click more than necessary. 

Actu-quality, relevancy and usability
I don’t know. Maybe I’m stupid and all other readers succeed in getting to their desired article in just one click, by clicking the article headline at the first time, but I’m taking the freedom to doubt it.
Whether Seochat perceives its readers as intelligent more than the average reader, there’s no need to put it to test.
Dear Seochat! You have great writers, who know what’s going on and more than that – know how to deliver a story. Don’t pay them with running away their readers (=your textual ads audience).
In three words, give your audience what he wants:
Actu-quality (actual quality content), relevancy and usability.


Video Blogs and The Written Word

January 6, 2007

It began somewhere at the beginning of the 21st century, meaning I had 6 to 7 years to get used to it, but I hadn’t. Sorry, but I’m a person of written words. If it wasn’t for the internet revolution, I’d still be writing my journal in some notebook, using a pen, sending real letters (and not some electronic version of them) to the people I love.
But time has changed and ‘though *Vlogs (=Video Blogs) are not even getting near my cup of tea, they are out there and I can not ignore them. Last week, reviewing my daily newsletter from “Online Marketing Blog” I found myself forced to watch one of WebProNews videos. No one held a gun to my head, but I knew Lee Odden was there, and he’s one of my favorites, so I “did my click”.

I had survived the whole video interview, ‘though I had to stop and replay it for several times since my partner kept on asking me some irrelative questions.
At the end of it I couldn’t stop wandering: WHAT THE HECK?!?
What is it with people who want to see and to be seen? Why is the sense of sight so strong we can’t stay away from visuals? I guess there are tons of answers for these questions, such as “this is the universal language anyone can understand”, but I don’t buy it. Give it to me in words, written words!

But WebProNews apparently did give to me…Finishing watching the video, I discovered some written (!!!) quotations below. Thanks God and Hallelujah and wasn’t that very smart of WebProNews?
Maybe they did it because search engines like content more than almost anything else, but so do I and it worked for me.
So, please, I’m begging you all –
If you’re also suffering from the visual-disease, video addicted, whatever, don’t you ever forget search engines and people like me. Give us some written words. They’re like images to our eyes…* Leran more about Vlog by Wikipedia.


My SEO highlights for 2006

January 2, 2007

What should we expect from online world now that 2007 is here?
Will online marketing change its ways?
Will SEO remain the same or maybe google and other search engines will suprise us all by going out with their own seo devision?
Will we all keep on chasing after top keywords at the top of search results?
seriously, I don’t know.
Everything can happen just as nothing can. 
The least I can do is summarize the passing year, hoping this will tell something of what will happen…

However, since so many websites and blogs in the industry had already summarized 2006 from online marketing point of view (see also searchenginewatch)  I decided to keep this summary on a personal level and write about the new things I had learned in the year that passed, or, as I see it – SEO top things I learned on 2006 and must never forget:

The short way is the long way (and vice versa)
Taking short-cuts, when it comes to SEO practice, will almost always end up in working much harder, walking a longer path then you would even if you took the longer path right from the begining.
SEO requires long-term planning. Getting into buying tons of links or uploading thousands of articles in order to promote your site in serach engines can get you to the top quite fast but then, faster than you realise – you’ll get to the bottom… 
BlackHatSeo, as it is called,  is very tempting, but we all should stay away from that.
If you want your site to really succeed, take the long hard way and you’ll smile all the way to the top.

The last click is the user’s
No matter how hard you’ll try to make it to the top of SERP, you should never forget it is all about the users, not search engines.
You can get great votes from very qualitive sites, but the last click is the user’s and no one else.
Type one of your highly competitive keyword at search engine’s search box, click on the result where your site is and ask yourself – Is this site (or page) what I’ve been looking for?
If your answer is “yes”, now it’s the time to tap on your shoulders, and I’m more than willing to join you on this one.
however, if you hesitate or your answer is somehow negative – you must do some rethinking…
Make your site a user friendly one and search engines will follow the votes of your users.

Innovate yourself whenever you can
Don’t ever say “everyone else did it so it must be the sure thing”. Use others experience and success for learning, not imitating. If you want your site to be “one in a million”, you must think different from all the others.
Be unique, think originally and don’t stop trying new things whenever you can. Even if your site is very popular and your traffic is higher than the one on highways (or google) don’t ever rest on your laurels.
Even loyal visitors will end up walking away to someone else’s site if you won’t give them what they want. Keep your site alive and your traffic will keep on coming.

Content is the King but so is Elvis Presley
following the above, Elvis Presley is remembered as the King only because he did things differently. He was white man with a voice of black who knew how to shake his thighs like no one before him.
If you’re into satisfying  search engines’ lust for content, do not forget that content is the king only when it says something new, fresh, original. Don’t copy others and don’t duplicate your own content – grant your visitors (and search engines) with something they can remember and think about long after they’ll finish their reading. Do this and you’ll probably double your traffic as well as your inbound links.

Embrace the question mark to your heart
Keep on asking questions (How can I improve my site, my traffic? Should I do things differently? Have I tried anything? What’s going on in my industry, in online marketing?) and force yourself to learn new things everyday. Doubt whatever you do and strive for improving your site or your business. There’s no such thing as perfection, but you surely can get closer to it, as long as you keep on trying.
I’m still learning new things on SEO and online marketing every single day… 🙂

What do you think?
Had this post told you something you didn’t know?
Do you have anything to add?

Feel free to comment…


About SEOSOS

January 1, 2007

Hello Everyone!
I guess you can figure out what this blog is about.
The name “seosos” tells it all, right?
“seo” stands for “search engine optimization” while “sos” stands for helping people out with optimizing their site for search engines by giving tips, instructions and so on.
time and posts will tell the rest so I’ll turn to introduce myself:

My name is Roni, I’m almost thirty years old and for almost two years now I’ve been working at the SEO industry.
Since I’m into writing (still dreaming on my first book to be published) for as long as I  remember myself, I used to work in content writing, as well as editing, mostly for websites, but with all the respect  – doing SEO for my living is the first job I really enjoy!
basically, this is the main reason I’m here today.
I want to share my love and my knowledge with whoever is into online marketing, whether it’s SEO, SEM or SMM.

hope you’ll enjoy your reading
and find it usefull,
yours,
R.

p.s
Please feel free to comment on anything, including my grammar.
English is not my mother tounge, so I’ll probably make a few mistakes…