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Google in 2009: The State of The Index By Matt Cutts

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I’ve been so excited about the development in the past year on the Google Webmaster YouTube channel. One notable video I wanted to mention to everyone is the State of The Index 2009. At Pubcon in Las Vegas 2009, Matt Cutts gave a presentation covering various topics Google has done for users, web developers and web designers

Although I follow along on the Google Webmasters blog (and other Google blogs for that matter)… having these videos are such a nice addition. Like most of us, sometimes we don’t feel like reading. We spend our daily lives catching up on emails, Facebook status messages, news, etc… who has time to read blogs? I’ve found videos are a quick way for me  stay up to date on what’s happening in the world of Google.  What’s awesome is Google is now also publishing notes from conferences which really helps stay informed  without even attending.

Even if you aren’t a web developer/designer, I encourage you to watch at least  a part of the video. However, if you don’t have time to watch the video, here’s an outline with links.

Users

google show options 1 Google in 2009: The State of The Index By Matt Cuttsgoogle show options 2 Google in 2009: The State of The Index By Matt Cuttsgoogle show options 31 Google in 2009: The State of The Index By Matt Cutts

Web Developers

Webmasters

  • Rel=canonical -  Worried about duplicate content? Here’s a great way to display your “preferred” version.
  • Ignored URL – In your Google Webmasters under Site Configuration–> Settings, you can specify specific URLS ( up to 15 parameters) for Googlebot to ignore. This can come in handy when reducing duplicate content.
  • Fetch as Googlebot – When you want to see exactly what Google is viewing, try the fetch as Googlebot function.
  • Better malware warnings – Google now has an area in Webmasters to notify you of any malware type activity.
  • Message forwarding – Whoo hoo! Although I try to check webmaster tools weekly, getting email notifications will be a helpful reminder.
  • Keyword details – In Google Webmasters under Your Site On The Web–> Keywords, Webmasters now reports the significance of various keywords on your site. I was really happy to see this type of data as it will help determine the impact of keyword content rewrites when we work on onsite-SEO activities.

keywords1 Google in 2009: The State of The Index By Matt Cutts

Google Communication

  • Webmasters blog -  added more posts!
  • SEO Beginners Guide – Contrary to popular believe, Google does support SEO when done in an ethical, white hat manner. To clarify any confusion in the past, they publish a SEO beginners guide for the public. I encourage any person with a website at least familiarize yourself with SEO .  As you will read, SEO is not difficult, just time consuming!
  • Don’t use keyword meta tags – In the past meta keyword tags were stuffed with various words that were  sometimes unrelated. To prohibit the abuse of meta keyword tag usage, Google announced as of September 2009  they no longer view this as a factor.
  • Webmaster in different languages
  • Webmaster Videos – added more videos!

Caffeine

  • Rewrite of indexing structure – In my recent article, Google Caffeine: Changes for 2010, Caffeine is the “new” search algorithm.  From what I’ve seen so far on our/clients sites, I have seen fluctuation in search results (some good, some concerning). Only time will tell in terms of how this will impact the overall strategy of SEO.


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Google Caffeine: Changes for 2010

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Just to follow up regarding our discussion with Jim Christian at the Phoenix WordPress Conference, I did some additional research regarding the changes in Google  for 2009-2010. Apparently code name: “Caffeine” will be the next generation of search architecture.  Although it appears that the launch will not be until the holidays, there’s a lot of buzz going on regarding how this will impact the state of SEO.

google cafeine Google Caffeine: Changes for 2010

According to Mashable.com,  Google Caffeine may impact the following:

Speed: How fast can the new search engine load results?

Accuracy: Which set of results is more accurate to the search term?

Temporal Relevancy: Is one version of search better at capturing breaking news?

Index Size: Is it really more comprehensive than the last version of Google?

Although I don’t believe you will  see much notable difference from an end user perspective, when it comes to SEO – we may see some changes in the coming months. Areas I specifically will be paying attention to involve site speed with WordPress blogs.  I’ll be conducting some testing and monitoring carefully http://theclashblog.com, as most of our SEO testing is done internally especially during any algorithm change.  Code.Google.com has some fun little tools, which covers areas such as site speed. Keep you posted on what I discover…

With all of this in mind – I still believe the value of quality written, fresh content will still be as important than ever. I fundamentally believe the core of SEO is about improving the user experience. I’m not a big proponent of  “tricking” the search engines as it may generate an initial spike in ranking or traffic….  it doesn’t hold value for companies when it comes to branding, loyalty, and overall marketing strategy.

What do I mean by improving user experience?  Giving your readers what they want… the best, well written content possible (not just for SEO or self promotion), with relative keywords,  appropriate image usage, engaging videos,  interactive social media that participates with the readers  and solid coding.  So, I welcome this change as hopefully Google.com will be able to weed out other black hat SEO techniques that really provide little value.


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What We Learned At Phoenix WordCamp

Posted in Blogging, Reviews, SEO, Wordpress by

On November 13th 2009, Tim and I attended Phoenix WordCamp, a conference for WordPress developers, bloggers, and geeks alike.   The speaker line up was interesting and even entertaining… and of course some spoke about things we already know.  Speakers included Matt Mullenweg founding developer of WordPress, Merlin Mann of 43folders.com, Jim Christian- SEO guru from Godaddy.com, Dave Moyer from , Lorella Van FossenClintus McGintus,  Jayson Cote founder of WPCOOP.com, Brent Spore, and John Hawkins.  Tim and I have often discussed how users of WordPress can take a simple blogging platform and turn it into a business. So what better way than to listen to experts in the world of WordPress.

phxwordcamp What We Learned At Phoenix WordCamp

Although the sound was a bit troubling at times (which really was my only complaint) , we gained some valuable insight we wanted to share with you

Value of content – I really liked Lorelle VanFossen’s mindset when it comes to blogging with a purpose and bringing back the human element into blog posts. So often I’ve seen blog posts written just as a promotion vs focusing on your readers.  I’ve often wondered if people understood the true purpose of blogging – that yes, it can help you promote your ideas, products, services… but if your blog only contains PR … is that really going to hold the attention of your reader? It was so nice to hear another professional blogger state that blogging should be personal, thoughtful and focused towards your readers… not just what you want to promote.

Quick easy ways to blog -  Lorrella also discussed how WordPress has the capability of “scheduled” posting. A light bulb came on and realized how effective this can really be. Often times as bloggers, we run out of ideas or we don’t feel like writing. Then inspiration hits us and we feel like writing 2-3 blogs. With scheduled posting, this makes it easy as you can write several articles at a time, but leave them for future posts. This way you still get a chronological stream of content for your readers, but you write when the mood hits you.

future wordpress posts What We Learned At Phoenix WordCamp

Social Media Overkill - Merlin Mann kept me rolling with his quirky sense of humor about the internet.  In his presentation Something Something Social Media: The Overdue Minority Report …  he discusses how social media can be used in some not so good ways.  According to him social media is about describing our relationships with others in public, specifically on the internet.  Where social media can be cool in many ways, the downside is it can be overwhelming and even disrespectful at times.

aquaticus.social54 What We Learned At Phoenix WordCamp

I totally agree. Often I’ve seen companies and individuals create tons of profiles on various social medial profiles. Although this may sound ideal, I don’t see the point.  I  believed social media is only as effect as the effort you apply. What is the point of a profile with no personal activities? Would you ignore your customers if they walked into your restaurant? So why do you ignore them if they post on your profile?  Kind of like blogging – if the only post on your Facebook profile your specials and discounts without engaging your time with your friends…then it’s not social media. It’s self promotion.  People will see right through it. They know they are just being promoted.  I think it’s insulting for the visitor.

So you have to ask yourself the question…how much time do you have to spend to engage yourself? Between Twitter, Myspace, Facebook, LinkedIn… managing social media can take alot of effort. It’s enough to make you go mental.  In my personal opinion, before you dive into the world of social media… ask yourself  are you committed? Are you willing to reply to comments and actually LISTEN to your customers?   Are you willing to share with the world your personal message about your organization that’s outside of what is on sale for the day? Do you know your voice? You need to define yourself first, apply yourself,  be honest, respectful to others  and keep it going.

Global IP:  During our break we chatted with Jim Christian, lead SEO expert at Godaddy.com. Curious on how to obtain rankings in the US market for one of our clients, he mentioned how from what he understood Google is looking at the global IP. Some things you need to factor in is the location of the server. In addition,   there is a setting in Google Webmasters tools where you can select your Geo targeting. Although he did mention he was not sure about the reliability of this – it was another option.

1. Go to Google Webmasters Tools

2. Under Site Configuration—> Settings, find the Geo Target area.

3. To learn more about Geo Targeting visit Google Webmaster’s Geo Targeting information page.

geotarget What We Learned At Phoenix WordCamp

Changes in Google: During our conversation with Jim, he did mention he’s heard Google will make some alterations in their servers which may impact rankings around Nov/Dec/ Jan……more to come about this topic…

These were tid bits of what we gained from this conference. Useful and absolutely worth the $30.00  You can watch hi-lights at WordCamp 2009 hilights sponsored by Godaddy.com


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RSS Feeds: Why you should follow along?

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In this world of informational overload, how can you possibly keep up? Especially in the field of SEO, following along with industry changes is critical. I am a big nerd when it comes to RSS feeds. Not only do I subscribe to them on my PC but on my Blackberry as well. Although I know I could never get through every single article/post – sometimes picking up snippets of information, following new links or hearing about different techniques is all I need to keep up with the jones.

I’ve seen those little orange buttons, but what the heck is RSS? RSS or Rich Site Summary is a method to publish your current content in a stream of information. Originated in 1999 for netscape.com, it has gained widespread use in news related websites and web blogs. Created using XML coding, RSS gives users the ability to publish ongoing content which in turn can build loyalty. rss subscribe button 300x300 RSS Feeds: Why you should follow along?

So how do I manage all these feeds? There are many different software applications called RSS readers. An RSS reader is a method you can use to subscribe and orgnize your RSS feeds.  I’m a big fan of FeedDemon for the ease of management and functionality.

blog gootum feeddemon 300x156 RSS Feeds: Why you should follow along?

Pros:

  • PC based application that will give me notifications of new feeds in a small pop up box.
  • Internet browser contained in the application is the best. I can comment on blogs, reply to comments, check out new links all within the application.
  • Real Time Watches to keep informed of different keyword type topics. For example, I have several watches in the areas of design, SEO, social media and of course my favorite gardening. I find this function really helpful to discover what people are saying on the web.
  • In Feed Demon 3.0, there is an ability to configure your twitter account to keep informed of your friends postings. You can also reply using Feed Demon.
  • I use the clipping folder often to save specific articles I want to research, comment, or blog about. This saves me lots of time as  i am able to check my feeds and file them when the time is right.
  • New Integration with Google Reader: Since I’m not always at home to read my feeds, I like the fact I can also log into Google Reader, check my feeds and it still be updated in FeedDemon.

Cons:

  • I have not found many cons about FeedDemon. The free version  of 3.0 does have annoying ads. But for $10.00 I could remove them. Right now they haven’t bothered me enough to make me want to purchase a licensed.

So who’s on my list? Here’s a list of some of my all time favorites.

Blogging:

SEO

Google – I follow all the google blogs as who better to go to then the source!

Social Media

Design

So get subscribing and follow along with your favorite industry trends.

Kimberly at www.greenseedwebdesign.com