SEOSOS is back!

July 22, 2007

It has been a long-long time, I know.
There shouldn’t be any excuses for such a behavior, but I have some:
1. I was in vacation in Cuba (kisses to dear Che Guevara) and had some hard time to adjust to the regular life and its routine.

2. My partner to life brought me a puppy (which now is quite a horse I have to admit) and this lovely creature stole all my attenetion.

3. I got a little bit frustrated from the fact that all of this blog pages (except the homepage) got into the supplemental results on google.

BUT – I’m back!
Wanna read the real reason for my coming back?
I want to test this supplemental results thing. Some say that you can get out of this lousy situation by simply getting your pages linked to eachother.
So I decided to give it a try.
Get ready for tons of inner links… 🙂

On Bookmarking and Social Search

February 17, 2007

Bookmarking is great. Not so much because it allows you to access your favorites from anywhere, but because it opens you a door to social search. What is so great about social search, you ask?  As far as I see it, social search, comparing to the regular search made via search engines, is much more pure, free of commercial interests (‘though, unfortunately, this is starting to change…) and thus much more relevant.

Just as ma.gnolia – one of my favorite bookmarks platform – put it: Since bookmarking involves taging your favorite sites, “when you search for something, you use words that people choose and look only at websites that people think are worth saving. Suddenly you have access to a human-organized bookmark collection”.

bookmarkers communication creats valid social search

Following the above quote, this is the basic of how bookmarking works:
First thing – you open an ccount and bookmark all your favorite sites. 
Then, if you have some real passion to a specific subject, you can check what others have to say on this subject by searching for the relevant tags. This way you may find some valuable sites on your favorite subject otherwise you could’nt find.
More than that, some bookmarks platform also allow you to open or join a group on your favorite subject. By checking relevant groups you can discover some additional information and discuss it with others who share the same interest as you are.

fraud bookmarking is easy to detect
All these features are purely social. No doubt that some online marketers, including seo experts, might abuse this platform to promote their own interest, but it can be revealed in a much more easier way. People who engage in social platforms, such as bookmarks, on a regular basis get to know each other and thus identify frauds with no more than a blink of an eye. More than that, some bookmarks platform, such as Technorati, have their way to filter out the spamming bookmarks.

Anyway, to make it short, I find bookmarking a highly valuable social search tool and I intend to keep on using it. At least as long as it stays social, meaning it will not turn to be just another “used-to-be-social-tool” abused by online marketers.

For your convenience, here are some recommended bookmarks platforms:
Ma.gnolia – Includes bookmarks, groups, discussions and also sposored links (by Text Link Ads). I admire the site’s visuality and its clean interface. On the right you can find recent bookmarks, hot groups and hot bookmarks. – One of the most popular bookmarks on the web. Visuality is not the strong side of but the nice thing about it is that entering site you can get the latest most popular bookmarks right away.
Shadows – Not so different from ma.gnolia. Includes bookmarks, groups, conversations and tracking groups changes. I give it 4 stars for its easy and very user-friendly navigation bar.
Technorati – Blogs bookmarks, based on tracking links and comments on blogs around the web. The fact that Technorati tracks blogs activity and doesn’t depend on users “announcements” makes it a powerfull social tool. 

Please feel free to add your recommended bookmarks platforms
and of course – bookmark this post… 🙂


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? 🙂

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.


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…