Meta Refresh vs 301 Redirects

Apr 21st

Why use the Meta Refresh Tag?

Many people use meta refresh tags to tell the search engines that their pages moved. It is not the most elequent way to do so though.

What does the Meta Refresh Tag Look like?
Place
<meta HTTP-EQUIV="refresh" CONTENT="0;URL=http://www.redirectsite.com/">
in the head of your page copy. The number is a measure of time to redirect the browser to the new location (I believe in milliseconds.)

What is the problem with using a Meta Refresh Tag?

One of the bigger problems with this is that it is a common spam technique. Some people suggest setting the meta refresh to at least 5 seconds to avoid any ranking penalty.

In addition Google will show the URL of the original page in the search results if it has a higher PageRank than the location of the destination page. Last month they discussed Google's problems with the meta-refresh tag at WMW.

What is a 301 Redirect?
A 301 redirect is a perminant change of location code. It tells a search engine spider that a page or website has moved.

What does a 301 Redirect look like?

Redirect permanent / http://www.newurl.com/cool/

The 301 redirect code goes inside a .htaccess file either at the root level or in a local level. You can also use a 301 redirect to move just a single page.

Redirect permanent /oldpage.htm http://www.newurl.com/cool/

Other 301 redirect info
Yahoo! Slurp has been having trouble resolving 301 redirects for a while now, but when they work correctly they garner no penalty and all the link popularity is parsed through to the new location.

How Does Landing Page Effect Conversion Rate?

Apr 20th

GoToast is one of the more well known pay per click search engine management software providers (free 14 day trial). Recently they offered a real quick witepaper covering the topic of conversion.

In this study, we classified 1,000 reasonably well-trafficked search listings representing a broad cross section of industries and approximately 250 distinct Web sites. 4,880,209 clicks/visits were analyzed as the basis for this research.

How Does Landing Page URL Affect Conversion Rate?

Type of Site Landing Page Conversion %
Lead Generation Sites Doesn’t Match Keyword 0.79%
Home Page of Site 6.31%
Matches Theme of Keyword 9.28%
Specific Match to Keyword 11.81%
Product/Service Sites Doesn’t Match Keyword 0.85%
Home Page of Site 1.26%
Matches Theme of Keyword 1.33%
Specific Match to Keyword 2.26%

Does It Make a Difference If the Visitor Has the Capability to Convert on the Landing Page?

Type of Site Landing Page Conversion %
Lead Generation Sites No Form 8.75%
With Form 8.73%
Product/Service Sites No Order Button 1.44%
With Order Button 2.08%

That data is almost motivational enough to make me want to create lead generation websites.

Yahoo! Search Engine Optimization Tips

Apr 17th

Recently Mike Grehan interviewed Jon Glick, who is Yahoo!'s Senior Manager for Web Search. You can read all the good Yahoo! Search stuff (note to self: stuff is a generic word to use in anchor text) in it, or look at my synopsis below. Yahoo! Search
How was Yahoo! Search Made?

The goal in creating Yahoo! search technology was not, you know, let's take a piece here a piece there...AllTheWeb was very, very good at was rebuilding indexes and keeping very high levels of freshness...Alta Vista had a really good core technology called MLR (machine learn ranking).

The best of breed parts of those engines were included with some of the best parts of Inktomi to make the new Yahoo! Search.

Meta Keywords
How is Yahoo! Search using the meta keywords tag?

Each keyword is an individual token separated by commas...For best practice you just need to remember it's for matching - not ranking...‘laptop computers’ will count for ‘laptop computers’ and not ‘laptop’ or ‘computers’ separately.

Essentially this is a good place for synonyms & misspellings (I tend to have some of them in my copy anyway)...Each keyword phrase is unique and separated by commas, so you will not have set off a flag for laptops if you use a meta tag such as
<meta name="keywords" content="Yahoo! laptops, computer laptops, compaqt laptops, compak laptops">

but you will also want to get words such as "lap tops" and "compaqt lap tops" in your meta tags. Each version helps to get your file included in that specific subset of search results, but has no influence on rankings.

Meta Description
How does Yahoo! Search use the meta description tag>

Yes we do use meta keywords. So let me touch on meta tags real fast. We index the meta description tag. It counts similar to body text.

Page Title Tag
How should I write my page title tag?

The title tag? My biggest recommendation is write that for users! Because that's the one real piece of editorial in the search listing that you can absolutely control...We typically show, roughly 60 characters. That's the maximum we'd show. I'm not a professional copywriter, so I can't tell you "is short and punchy better than lots of information..."

Affiliate Marketing
Why does Yahoo! hate affiliate marketers?

Well let me just say first that, in that sense Spam has gotten a lot better over the years. You don't really much have people trying to appear for off topic terms as they tended to. You now have people who are trying to be very relevant. They're trying to offer a service, but the issue with affiliate Spam is that they're trying to offer the same service as three hundred other people.

They also touch on Site Match, search personalization, SPAM, linkage data and other hot search topics...also linked to this visual thesaurus tool at the end of their eMarketing News newsletter.

  • Over 100 training modules, covering topics like: keyword research, link building, site architecture, website monetization, pay per click ads, tracking results, and more.
  • An exclusive interactive community forum
  • Members only videos and tools
  • Additional bonuses - like data spreadsheets, and money saving tips
We love our customers, but more importantly

Our customers love us!

Amazon A9 Search Engine Launch

Apr 15th

Amazon quietly announced the beta launch of their A9 search engine. Currently A9 appears to be a cross between Amazon and Alexa, while not being as commercially built up or invasive as either of those sites. A9 outlines many of their cool features on their "A9 cool features" page, and a more in depth review of A9 is listed below.

A9.com's service currently relies heavily on a partnership with Google, which supplies many of the search results, and Amazon's Alexa subsidiary, which provides traffic, other sites of interest and additional information on specific Web sites.

Search results also include text ads from Google's sponsored links program.

Alison Diboll, an A9.com spokeswoman, declined to say whether the company eventually plans to create its own search technology. She confirmed that Amazon plans to use the technology to serve both its online store and the rest of the Web. source: The Seatle Times

A9 has a couple interesting features that many other search engines do not. Their new A9 toolbar allows people to jot down notes about a website which can be viewed later on anywhere.

The site, and its accompanying toolbar, pull together various elements previously available on Amazon.com in a unique way. Data comes from partner Google, the Amazon.com site and its Alexa division. Three separate columns of results include natural search results, the ability to access Alexa's "what's related" features, book excerpt results from Amazon.com's offerings and the user's history. Personalization features, which use the Amazon.com login and cookie, are probably the most revolutionary part of the offering -- not because of their current form, but because of their potential. source: ClickZ

One of the more interesting things they did at A9 (as far as PR goes) is that they had John Battelle discuss it before any other news outlet so that the blog community could get their hands on it before some of the larger media outlets.

A Spammers Guide to Search

Apr 14th

In the past I have went out of my way to define the concept of "ethical search engine optimization" as being crap. Recently Stanford agreed with this idea. A research paper by Hector Garcia-Molina and Zoltan Gyongyi by the name of Web Spam Taxonomy stated any attempt to manipulate search results is, was, and will always be spam.

If you are doing it with links...it's spam.
If you are changing content...it's spam.

thanks to Webby

Google Changes AdWords Trademark Policy

Google has recently changed it's trademark policy to allow people to bid on trademark phrases of companies within the US and Canada. Inside the US and Canada they will not allow trademark terms to appear in the ad copy. Outside those areas the will check ad text and keyword.

There has not yet been any clear statement in what the valid trademark laws are on the internet. With the advent of <iframe>'s and paid ads triggered by keywords the waters are sure to be muddy for an exceptionally long time...perhaps indefinitely.

Trademark owners should still be able to protect their trademarks via the autmated price system of Google. Trademark terms showing up in ads will warrent greater clickthrough rates since their terms will appear bolded. This will cause the prices to be reduced as these clickthrough rates are factored into click price. Your competitors will be required to spend much more to have their ad compete. Google AdWords Trademark Complaint Procedure – Trademark rights in US and Canada

When we receive a complaint from a trademark owner, we will only investigate whether the advertisements at issue are using the trademarked term in ad text . If they are, we will require the advertiser to remove the trademarked term from the text of the ad and prevent the advertiser from using the trademarked term in ad text in the future. Please note that we will not disable keywords associated with trademark usage. In addition, please note that any such investigation will only affect ads served on or by Google.

Google AdWords Trademark Complaint Procedure – Trademark rights outside US and Canada

When we receive a complaint from a trademark owner, our review is limited to ensuring that the advertisements at issue are not using the trademarked term in the ad text or as a keyword trigger. If they are, we will require the advertiser to remove the trademarked term from the ad text or keyword list and will prevent the advertiser from using the trademarked term in the future. Please note that any such investigation will only affect ads served on or by Google.

Source: Google Trademark Complain Procedure

Free Reciprocal Link Checking Script

Apr 9th

Many articles have came out recently stating that reciprocal link exchanges are a waste of time. This is true if you can afford to spend a bunch on links, but if you are a bootstrapper you will need to do all the little things. Reciprocal link exchanges can still help boost link popularity some.
Shawn over at Digital Point creates some of the best free SEO tools on the market. Recently he whipped up this free reciprocal link checking script, which reads a file of link partners (in the same directory) by the name of sites.txt. sites.txt is a list of URLs to check (separated by a carriage return).

<?php

$mydomain = "yourdomain.com"; // Set this to your domain

$list = file_get_contents("sites.txt");
$urls = explode ("\n", $list);

echo "<B>Checking back links to $mydomain....</B><P><FONT SIZE=-1>";

foreach ($urls as $url) {
if (strlen ($url)) {
echo $url . "<B><FONT COLOR=";
if (strpos (file_get_contents($url), $mydomain) != FALSE) {
echo "GREEN> Found";
} else {
echo "RED> Missing";
}
echo "</FONT></B><BR>";
}
}
echo "</FONT>";

?>

There is an ongoing discussion about his free reciprocal link checking script over at the Digital Point forums.

PageRank Prowler (PRProwler) And Other PR Tools

Apr 7th

Update: Backlink Analyzer is free link analysis software which has probably the best feature set of any of the link analysis software products on the market.

Recently another PageRank analysis tool came out by the name of PageRank Prowler. PageRank Prowler ($97) is somewhat of a hybrid between OptiLink ($224) and the recent free PageRank tool by SEO Guy.

PageRank Prowler
PageRank Prowler allows you to set a PageRank level which it will look through Google search results to find sites at or above that PageRank. These results can be saved as an HTML sheet or in a CSV list. The benefits PageRank Prowler has over other PageRank software are

  • It allows you to search for multiple terms at once. For example, you can search for sites linking to any of your main competitors all at the same time.

  • PageRank Prowler also allows you to search for specific search terms and not just backlinks. (OptiLink just searches the backlinks of a given site).
  • PageRank Prowler will also allow you to search starting from URLs within a given site / sites and return results from there.
  • At $97 PageRank Prowler is significantly cheaper than OptiLink.

SEO Guy PageRank Tool
The SEO Guy PageRank tool is the quickest of the three, but it has the least features and the search depth is limited to 100 documents. This means that if your competitors backlinks are listed at #102 then you will never know they exist. If you can not afford to spend money then this free web based tool is a real time saver.

OptiLink
The biggest downside to OptiLink is that it costs $224, but it is well worth that if you can afford it. It allows you to query different databases and comes with free lifetime updates. Leslie Rhodes is a smart marketer and programmer who will probably even include Yahoo! Webrank in future releases of his software.

All three are real time savers, it's up to you to decide which one is right for you though...

Google's Competitive Advantages

Apr 6th

Recently I was over at Topix.net and glanced at their blog and found a great post about Google by their founder Rich Skrenta which highlights Google's competitive advantages.

...the story is about seemingly incremental features that are actually massively expensive for others to match, and the platform that Google is building which makes it cheaper and easier for them to develop and run web-scale applications than anyone else...While competitors are targeting the individual applications Google has deployed, Google is building a massive, general purpose computing platform for web-scale programming.

I also just finished reading Emergence by Steven Berlin Johnson where he reviews some emergent software and social networks such as Slashdot.

While at Slashdot I noticed they too were eating up Rich's post, as the blog community at large is (last I checked MIT's Blogdex it was the most rapidly spreading idea on the web).

After reading Emergence it became more apparent how smart the Topix news idea is. After reading his post it became even more apparent how smart Rich is. I am just wondering how they will be able to take news market share from the big search monsters. Obviously doing news way better works, but even Rich's own post state how amazingling cheap CPU cycles are at Google. How will Topix overcome Google's competitive advantages?

Linking to Good Stuff

Apr 5th

Ideally links mean more than link popularity. I am not necissarily a moralist or fan of the ethical SEO tag, but I understand some of the fundamental points of marketing. It is good business to be associated with other good businesses.

Have I bought links? Yup. Have I sold links? Yup.

Generally most links do not fall under the buy, sell, or trade category though. Usually they are earned.

When most of your links are greed driven, you are nothing more than a commodity who is working against technology and the forces of nature. When you start linking to things that are good then good things start to link to you.

This morning I wrote a quick article called Keeping Customers, where I attempted to explain that the best way to have customers come back is by sending them away to other good resources.

The web is just a sea of information and the traffic I get is never my traffic to keep.

What I did not realize is that recently Ammon Johns wrote a great little analogy piece called The Real Meaning of Links which describes what I was trying to say a bit better than what I wrote.

(found from Search Engine Roundtable)

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