Monday Morning SEO - The Unexpected and the Extreme
Bill Slawski, August 13, 2012
I have a morning ritual that I like to follow most workdays. I like to stop for breakfast at one of the nearby coffee houses or bakeries and sit down with a newspaper, some coffee, and something to eat, and spend some time talking with some of my neighbors. Seems like many of them are older, and while I get some questions about things like how to reduce the amount of email spam they received, I usually learn more in those conversations than I'd ever imagined.
One couple has been active in the local community for decades, and have been sharing details with me about local history. They're also world travelers, and are off to Paris for a couple of weeks now. I've been getting a number of questions from them about how to publish ebooks because they want to share some family history about a Texas ranger and the taming of the old west.
Another is a retired school administrator who remembers the evolution of computers in education from punch cards through PCs, and was a high school sports coach. And another of my neighbors is a retired electrical engineer who started filing patents about 40 years ago, and holds some really interesting ones, including some for very high speed scanning of documents.
So when I read Joel Runyon's An Unexpected Ass Kicking, I wasn't surprised about his chance encounter with someone who had helped create the technology that he was writing on. You just never know who the people around you might be unless you strike up a conversation, and actually listen.
Some Search Posts I Liked From Last Week
One of the most popular publishing platforms on the Web these days is Wordpress, and while it comes out of the box pretty SEO friendly, there are a number of tweaks and changes you can make to it to make it even better. Dan Shure published a helpful post on the use of Tags in Wordpress that everyone using the software should read, in Let's Get Real: This is what your WordPress Tags Are Like
If you're concerned about attracting and acquiring links to your pages, there's another post from last week that I recommend highly. Ross Hudgens shares his thoughts with us in How to Scale Your Link Building, in which he discusses scalable Link Building and Passive link acquisition. It's always interesting to me to gain some insight into the practices that some people use when it comes to SEO, and Ross provides some very interesting insights in his methods to draw links to his site.
Google has been more transparent in recent months with news of the many updates it makes to its ranking algorithms, but didn't publish a list of updates that it made to its search results in July for the month of June. I was afraid that they may have decided to stop showing us something about those updates.
Fortunately, the Google Inside Search Blog made up for things with an omnibus collection of updates titled Search quality highlights: 86 changes for June and July. I'm still digging through those. While they point to many new updates and changes, the ones that stand out to me so far describe updates to how Google may handle Universal Search.
Another announcement at Google on some changes include a change to Knowledge Graph results, the inclusion of GMail results in Google's web search results, and better Voice Search results. The post is Building the search engine of the future, one baby step at a time
A little frightening was the post Extreme Negative SEO: Know Your Vulnerabilities from Kristine Schachinger at Search Engine Watch, which described some ways that people might attack our websites that go far beyond pointing lots of links to them from questionable domains and bad neighborhoods.
It reminded me of the broken gas pipe I saw recently on a walk down Main Street in my town. I hope the nightmares the post has been causing me stop sometime soon.
I decided to take the plunge, and get a new phone this weekend so that I can better keep on top of mobile search. The phone has one of the latest versions of Android running on it, and is rumored to be one of the first to be upgraded to Google's Jelly Bean platform release. In Speech Recognition and Deep Learning, we're told that Jelly Bean will enable us to talk directly to a neural network trained to recognize our speech. I'm excited to discover whether or not this neural network will be a match for Apple's Siri.
I haven't been including any links to whitepapers from the search engines in these Monday Morning SEO posts, and I want to make up for that in the future of I can. One that came out from Microsoft this morning is Anticipatory Search: Using Context to Initiate Search (pdf). Just how, and how well does a search engine anticipate the context of a search before returning results?
For today's retro corner, I have a couple of posts to share with you. The first reminded me of old news clips from the days of Walter Cronkite. I was brought back to when I first ran into and recognized Rand Fishkin at a conference, by the color of his shoes:
Rand Fishkin's Yellow Shoes, the Truth Revealed:
When you're conducting keyword research, one of the questions that's important to ask is how appropriate the keywords you are looking at might fit in page titles, in headings, in the body of pages, and in anchor text pointing to those pages.
Good anchor text not only contains the keywords you're interested in, or very related terms, but it also acts as navigation that encourages people to click upon links, and have some idea or confidence about what they might find on the other side of those links.
A paper that I came across years ago has helped influence my decisions about choosing link text, and it's worth digging up for another look. Jared Spool's Getting Confidence From Lincoln describes how the right words within links can make it a lot easier for people to navigate through a website and find what they are looking for on its pages. A snippet from the article:
Some very clear link attributes immediately jumped out at us. First, users expect to find 'trigger words' in the links. A trigger word is a word (or phrase) that causes the user to click. When the trigger words match the user's goals, they find those words right away and the links make them more confident that they are going to find their content.
I've been looking for keywords that also are very effective trigger words ever since.