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Google Social Search; the potential for personalization

Written by David Harry   
Monday, 26 October 2009 13:34

aka - Now Caffeine Makes Sense...

Google ProfilesWhat’s the future of search (and by extension SEO)? Well, some 40% of the people we asked in our recent poll said personalization would have the greatest effect. But how? One such avenue would be taking it a step further than its current state… to add more layers to the search onion. In short, by getting more social; the rise of the social search engine.

Here on the Trail we’d recently we looked at some ways that Google could get social (which wasn’t far off, I’d wager). And then we took it a step farther by looking at their social network behavioural targeting (and potential issues therein). Will this be what the future holds? Or are they taking a completely different direction? It seemed we’d be waiting for the next big move and twiddle our didgits… not so.

Because last week we were (officially?) introduced to the world of Social Search at Google. It has been one of the buzz terms over the last few years and might finally see some adoption from one of the majors. Marissa Mayer was speaking last week of a new addition coming to Google Labs that contains;

“(..) a new feature that allows you to see results for queries from people in your social network. This works by using your Google Profile. If you fill it out with the other social networks you’re a member of, such as FriendFeed, Google will scan who you are connected to and give your results from those people.

Read more... [Google Social Search; the potential for personalization]

The League of Awesome Optimizers!

Written by David Harry   
Wednesday, 14 October 2009 04:20

If SEOs were Superheroes

If your favorite SEOs where superheroes, who would they be? This was a discussion that came up last month with some pals, and I thought would be a bast to play with. Like any good geek, comics and superheroes were part of my youth. So it seems only natural to have some fun and turn some of my mates and people I respect in the industry into some geeky goodiness.

The following is nothing more than a random list of peeps I thought would make cool heroes (it's not a popularity thang m'kay?)


Link Bait aka

From the far away ‘Hypeandpimp’ Galaxy, Link Bait (a.k.a Lyndon Antcliff) arrived on earth with the uncanny ability to craft content that would hypnotize the masses and create unheard of curiosity. 

Few can resist his bait and links attract to him unlike any other before him. To be admired and feared, we're just glad he's on OUR side (he is on our side right?)

If you thought that other green guy that gets mad was something, you’ve never seen the Rant Master in action. A freak combination of brand bias, torrents and too much ‘Caffeine’ turned the once gentle Aaron Wall into a behemoth of unequalled anger.

He’s now a giant in the industry that can squash all but the mightiest of foes.

His nemesis is the Google borg whom he has saved us all from their clutches more than a few times.

Read more... [The League of Awesome Optimizers!]

5 SEO Scams in a Sea of Scumbags

Written by David Harry   
Thursday, 08 October 2009 13:01

(by Brian Harnish)

It has become common throughout the SEO industry to find more and more head-shaking scams full of false promises.  Not all SEO companies will scam you, but there are quite a few out there, that you will want to keep an eye out for when you’re looking for SEO suppliers (or even outsourcing partners).

On a personal level, the majority of these scammers also give SEO a bad name, it’s no wonder that SEO is sometimes referred to as a snake oil laden industry.  Anyway, before I get too worked up, let’s move on to the scams;

SEO Scam #1

Or any variation of the above c-r-a-p.

The fact of the matter is, this is NOT true.  Google does not currently sponsor any work-from-home programs.  They do not hire people to work from home, and they do not offer money to people looking to make a quick buck.  Google is like any other company out there.  You have a hiring process – you have a background check – you have to work in an office. 

The unfortunate thing is that these scammers are banking on the bad economy.  They don’t have any remorse or care about the individual they’re hurting.  Quite simply, these scammers are banking on the economy and people’s desperation to quit working and become their own boss.  The problem with that is that building a business takes years. 

The one thing these people are counting on is your ignorance – that you don’t know that Google as a company doesn’t do that.  Well, take it from me as a professional in the SEO industry – they do not.  These lame advertisers are banking on the Google affiliation, and the fact that you’ll open your wallet without thinking to purchase the latest, greatest get rich quick scheme.

SEO, however, is NOT get rich quick.  True SEO requires hard work, dedication, talent, and a temperament to deal with hours upon hours of content writing, link building, and other technical work that goes into gaining higher rankings.

Read more... [5 SEO Scams in a Sea of Scumbags]

Optimize for the niche

Written by David Harry   
Wednesday, 26 August 2009 13:28

Why generalizations in SEO targeting just don't work

(the following is a guest post from - Jon Stephenson)


"The essence of focusing on a niche, finding the place the customer is going to be when they are going to want or need your product and be there to offer it to them"

The industry of SEO has grown and changed in many ways over the last few years, and its only continuing to change at a faster and faster pace. One of the areas that SEO has grown and changed the most is in the niche vertical markets. No longer is it good enough to optimize for "shoes" (244,000,000 results) you now must optimize for "womens Nike running shoes" (829,000 results), another example is my current SEO target of "blinds" (17,800,000 results) VS "faux wood blinds" (828,000 results). This isn’t a bad thing, it allows the users to get to the relevant information they want faster and allows the optimizer to build better content for their pages that focuses on a specific topic.

Niche targeting for SEO

We, the search marketers, have trained our customers to be more specific in how they search. When I started in search I could optimize a page for about 10 different keywords and be happy; it would rank well for all 10 keywords with no problem. Now I don’t optimize for anything less than a 3 word phrase and at max two very closely related phrases per page. The landing page that I work to have indexed gets right to the point and will lead the user straight to the content they are searching for.

I then work to guide them quickly to the goal for that page. If I don’t make it fast and obvious, even ranking in the top spot won't bring in the conversions I want, users will just bounce back to Google and find another listing.


Read more... [Optimize for the niche]

Latent Semantic Indexing and Google; One more time

Written by David Harry   
Monday, 20 July 2009 08:29

A ranting we will go, A ranting we will go… silly stuff SEOs seem not to know… a ranting we shall go…

Andy and CJ on LSIHiya Kids… over the last while the spectre of LSI (latent semantic indexing) and SEO has raised its ugly head once more…

It began with a piece my good friend Virginia wrote called; SEO strategy for semantic search  - (a good post) which was based, in part on a post from SEO Phill (and comments on the BC blog). Later on, another couple of pals (Andy Beard and CJ) were musing on Twittter about it…

All of this had me wondering how the state of affairs with the LSI-Google train were of late…a look at the Twitter-Hose shows that this topic is alive and well…

the Twitter hose on LSI

For the record, we’ve already covered the LSI madness here on the Trail back in ’07 with; Stay off the LSI bandwagon - but it can’t hurt to look at it again, oui? You see, it is endlessly frustrating to see those peddling so - called ‘LSI Programs’, which are nothing short of pure friggen’ garbage (don’t even get me started with ‘referential integrity’ – sigh)… and so, a ranting we must go.

In researching this point I was (somewhat) shocked at the number of even (cough cough) A-List SEO bloggers that have written about LSI over the years… did anyone do their homework? Or just regurgitate what another ‘expert’ had surmised? Dunno… odd...


Read more... [Latent Semantic Indexing and Google; One more time]
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