Monthly Archives: June 2007

Graywolf’s Blank Blog Post

Hey Michael, here’s a nice meaty question you can get your chops around for your blank blog post :)

During your recent podcast with Jason Calacanis he asked if it was you that started the the negative campaign against him. So much these days is talked about reputation management from the standpoint of defending a company, but there’s not much info about the other side. So, if you were to start a negative PR campaign, or were trying to combat a reputation management campaign, what would you do?

Black People On Ebay Again

Ebay recently pulled ads from Google when the Google Checkout people decided to arrange the Let Freedom Ring event on the same date as Ebay Live. Ten days later the Ebay ads are back online and I’m so excited because once again I can find black people for less on Ebay! Yay! (sarcasm)

Black People For Less On Ebay

This is a great example of when broad match, dynamic keyword insertion and lack of negative keywords can harm your professional reputation and cost you a lot of money.

Ok, Ebay has a very large list of keywords and a few like this are going to slip through the cracks, but it just goes to show that you need to keep on top of your pay per click accounts and look at the keyword reports carefully.

Why Didn’t Anyone Stop?

Last night I was driving back home from the office and witnessed a car accident. A lady in a cavalier two cars ahead of me wanted to turn left and didn’t yield to the oncoming traffic. She ploughed into an old camaro and although everyone walked away, both cars could be totaled by the insurance companies.

I was the second car behind the cavalier and saw the collision, the person between us obviously saw what happened and the driver behind the camaro must also have seen the accident, but I was the only one who stopped.

I’m still stunned that the guy at the gas station who only heard the collision, a passing nurse (and her husband) and myself were the only people who stopped to bear witness and help. I can only figure that people did not want to stop because their dinner was getting cold, they were late for an appointment, or they had fears of being caught up in a law suit for trying to help.

Once the cops arrived on the scene and took over directing traffic, I gave my statement and contact details. The cops thanked me and seemed grateful that I had bothered to stop.

If you witness an accident, please stop and help. Even if it’s to move something out of the road, help open a car door, or just be there for someone to talk to. If someone you were close to were involved in a car accident, you’d want someone to stop and help them right?

Changing A WordPress Post Title The Search Engine Friendly Way

I recently wrote a post with a glaring typo in the title – I wrote loose instead of lose (one of those late night posts). I hadn’t noticed until someone pointed it out to me. Since the post had already been cached by the search engines I thought I’d do the right thing and make the correction but also ensure it was all nice and search engine friendly. Here’s what I did:

1) Edited the title under Manage > Edit
2) Edited the post slug (you don’t have to do this if you don’t use the title as the post slug)
3) Added this line in the .htaccess file:

Redirect 301 /top-5-ways-to-loose-rankings/

(Note the code above needs to be all on one line, it’s wrapped here due to space constraints)

This will ensure that link popularity from the old URL is pushed on to the new one.

Website Optimizer Is Search Engine Friendly

Website Optimizer by Google AdWords is a multivariate testing tool, that is to say, it takes A/B testing one step further. Instead of testing 2 versions of a page, you can test multiple page elements and the various combinations.

When you create an experiment you can specify page elements that you want to test, for example, a page heading, intro copy or a lead image. It uses javascript on the landing page to swap out the test element with the other variations that you specify within Website Optimizer.

I participated in the beta test of this and my initial concern was that it may not be search engine friendly due to the changing page elements, however, after a short call with the Website Optimizer Product Manager, he confirmed that it would not have any impact on organic rankings.

If you are still concerned about it, then you can always set up a specific landing page that is not linked to from your main navigation and use either the robots.txt or meta noindex tags to prevent search engines from crawling those pages.

Once your AdWords account is fairly well optimized, I would highly recommend trying out this tool. You will learn new things about your website, its traffic and motivators. Just make sure you carefully plan the test elements and don’t test too many elements at once to ensure that you can run through enough iterations with conversions to gain meaningful data.

Google Analytics Gets Hourly Reporting

I love the new version of Google Analytics, but the missing hourly reporting was a frustrating omission, but not anymore. Google has updated the functionality with some new features:

1) Hourly reporting
2) Clickable URLs
3) Cross Segmentation by Network Location
4) Increased number of data rows per page
5) Bounce Rate increase/decrease colors switched
6) Easier AdWords Integration

Smashing Magazine Google PageRank Article Misleading

Through mybloglog, I came across the smashing magazine community and an article entitled Google PageRank: What Do We Know About It? The article does a very good job of explaining Google PageRank and has 15 points listed under how PageRank works and 13 factors impacting PageRank, but also does a good job of confusing content, quality and ranking factors with items that affect PageRank. I started writing a comment to the post, but quickly realized that it was going to be too long, so I decided to post my comments here:

Summary: How Does PageRank Work?
1. PageRank is only one of numerous methods Google uses to determine a pageís relevance or importance.Google uses over 200 signals to determine a page’s rank within the index. While PageRank is one of the signals, the PageRank calculation itself is not actually used to determine relevance or importance, that’s the job for other parts of the algorithm.

2. Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B. Google looks not only at the sheer volume of votes; among 100 other aspects it also analyzes the page that casts the vote.In the PageRank calculation there aren’t 100 other aspects, the formula calculates links, that’s it.

3. PageRank is based on incoming links, but not just on the number of them – relevance and quality are important.Relevance and quality are not part of the PageRank calculation. You should try to obtain relevant, quality inbound links to your website, but judging relevance and quality is a content issue.

7. Bad incoming links donít have impact on Page Rank.The PageRank calculation does not understand what is good and bad, it just calculates a value.

8. Page Rank considers site age, backlink relevancy and backlink duration.Site age and relevancy are ranking factors, although backlink duration is a factor. Just as you can accrue PR through links, it can also be diminished when links are removed.

14. Google calculates pages PRs once every few months.Actually it’s calculated all the time, but what we see in the Google Toolbar (or other online PR tools) is a snapshot in time which is updated every 3 months or so.

Summary: Impact on Google PageRank
1. Frequent content updates donít improve Page Rank automatically.They don’t update them manually either. Content is not part of the PR calculation.

6. Wikipedia links donít improve PageRank automatically (update: but pages which extract information from Wikipedia might improve PageRank).Content has nothing to do with the PageRank calculation. Creating great content will earn you links, but referencing Wikipedia here is misleading.

8. Efficient internal onsite linking has an impact on PageRank.I think this needs to be explained further. When developing a website, you should strive to make it search engine friendly and especially Google-friendly by ensuring that your site does a good job of linking to its internal pages. This passes on PageRank from page to page which can help keep internal pages out of the supplemental index. This is important because those pages aren’t spidered anywhere near as frequently and are indexed slightly differently than pages in the main index. So good internal linking has an affect on the PageRank of pages deeper in your site.

9. Related high ranked web-sites count stronger.Ideally you want to acquire links from pages with a high PageRank, but again, the reference to related sites (in terms of topicality) does not have an impact on PageRank. A page with high pagerank may actually pass you less if it has more links, because it’s spread too thin. A page with a PR of 4 could feasibly pass on more PR than a PR8 page depending on the number of links that are on the page.

10. The anchor text of a link is often far more important than whether itís on a high PageRank pageThis is a ranking factor, not something specific to calculating PageRank. Again, the content or topicality has nothing to do with the PR calculation.

11. Links from and to high quality related sites have an impact on Page Rank.Topicality again, see previous comments.

Google Analytics Authorized Consultant (GAAC) Requirements

I looked into this a while back and wrote to Google Analytics support. They responded with this set of requirements for becoming a Google Analytics Authorized Consultant:

  • In business for 1 year
  • At least one dedicated person for Google Analytics support
  • Must provide full service i.e. setup, support, training, and consultation for Google Analytics
  • Must have an online ticketing system that Google can access
  • Must provide support for both Google Analytics and Urchin software
  • Must have a web site of sufficient Google Analytics/Urchin content and quality
  • Proven background in Analytics and Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
  • Must have at least one Google Adwords Certified employee
  • Must attend training sessions at a Google office – usually once per year

While I have most of these items covered, I just need to find another 6 hours in a day and I may be able to get the rest done.