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SES 2007 – Organic Open Forum

Day 4
9am-10:15
Organic Forum – random questions from Organic SEO’s – open floor. We all look tired…a bit too much partying at the webmaster party last evening??? Our moderator was the famous Danny Sullivan. Also on the panel:

Bruce Clay, Bruce Clay Inc.
David Naylor, Bronco
Todd Friesen, Range Online Media
Sheri Thurow, Omni Marketing Interactive
Mike Grehan, Bruce Clay
Greg Boser, WebGuerrilla

Q: Does content have to be toward the top, or important tags near the top of metas and page?

A: Not always, but good practice says it should be. Take off code that’s on every single page, and stuff that pushes content down. KISS. Spiders are stupid too. Brad will like this, he first taught me about KISS 🙂 You know…Keep It Simple, Stupid.

TIP: Read about “table trick” in Google to move certain things that are always at the top of the page (like the nav) on every page to push the REAL content to the top. Clients don’t like it? Print out the source code and press print, fax it to the client with the content highlighted. They’ll get it then. http://www.constructioniworld.com/ has more info.

Q: Is there an advantage from CSS over the table trick? Should we convince our clients to change their websites due to this?

A: DO use something. DON’T use the font tag anymore in websites. CSS is difficult because it doesn’t work well in IE. The panelist literally said ie is a piece of crap. (I still use ie, my clients do, I try to use what you guys do) Google says the cleaner the code, the better they will be able to understand what you are about. So stop mucking it up, KISS again.

Q: Is it safe to use .net?

A: JUST SAY NO to .net according to the panel.

An advertiser who is trying to sell one scientific article on different domains asked how she could avoid duplicate content issues when she is running the same article from the same database. These scientific articles can’t be changed, so the panel basically told her “its nice to want things, but you’re screwed”. The panel suggested to leverage the content in another way, do conditional 301 redirection. The question becomes which domain to put it on, and the answer is do your research and see what is most relevant. She wants the panel to tell her boss this, haha. KISS again – 1 URL for 1 piece of content.

Q: I do great in Yahoo, Google, and MSN. Why can’t I get indexed on Ask?

A: Question back…why do ya care? The asker admitted its totally a pride thing. Ok then, fair enough. Ask looks at communities, and themes, and areas. The authoritative sites in your industry need to be linked to you, and other relevant sites in your industry too. Ask understands relations of communities and groupings on the internet very well. BUT, wait and see how they change now that the search has the 3 panels. Link anchor text is also an important factor. Panel is laughing, though….and saying “Don’t spend too much time because it doesn’t really bring traffic.” It was suggested to pay for Ask ads, because their paid listings are included in good sites. Also include a robots.txt file, Ask supposedly sends you to the back of the line if you don’t have one. Whatever then…

Q: How can I get articles we write organic traffic within a week of publishing? The CEO wants it.

A: The panel laughs…Damn CEO’s, they are a white hat nightmare. The panel suggested to blog and use RSS, and it increases the crawl frequency for your domain. Fire off a press release through PRweb too. Bruce Clay said that his blogs for this SES conference are available on Google within 15 minutes of the conference. I’m not checking that quick, but I will tell you everything’s there for me the next day when I refine my notes. Is that quick enough for your boss?

Q: Is DMOZ a player anymore?

A: NO…submit and forget. It’s a dilapidated POS. Yikes, this panel is harsh for 9am. Sometimes, descriptions showing in Search engine directory pages are not what you have on the site. This may be due to DMOZ. If the description showing in Google is still drawing from your DMOZ, there are webmaster articles for code you can use to change it. This can happen sometimes on any major engine. Its called NOODP tag, I had to look up 🙂 The panel thinks all directories are crap now, but searches do still have them. Bottom line… they don’t drive traffic.

Q: How come my jewelry site doesn’t rank? I sell it on Amazon and ebay and I blast the content to all of them regularly.

A: Well…you just put duplicate content all over the place and the search engines are going to choose the site they think is valid. Of course they will choose to rank those big sites over you. Try to syndicate a different VERSION of the content to the partners. If you have to keep it the same, put this CITE=”http://www.supposed-to-state-the-authority” HTML code in your syndicated content

Q: Is there a simulated “test environment” to test organic SEO?

A: Not really, you could totally get flagged for spamming. The panel said choose a dummy domain or blog you don’t care about, and do it there. Its also hard because you can’t test authority, age, etc of a site. Webmarketingnow.com has a decent testing system, the panel suggested to try that.

Q: What tools do you like?

A: Register for webmaster central in Google. Xenu Linksleuth is also cool. There’s 132 “free SEO tools” if you search. We’ll add the important ones to our SEOtoolbox, in case you VA’s want to know 🙂

Q: How do content management systems or iframes affect organic SEO?

A: Look for good URL structure, NO iframes, use a CMS system like wordpress or that has the same qualities as wordpress. You HAVE to be able to customize unique title tags and descriptions. LIGHTBULB!!! Ask for a list of clients and see how those sites are getting crawled. That will tell you if the CMS is any good. I think I will do this in the future with people who want me to optimize their dynamic sites. The proof is in the puddin.

Q: Do Yahoo and MSN have difficulty indexing long tail searches and deep pages? I’m not coming up in them, but doing fine in Google.

A: The answer is industry specific, and the search engines are diverging. Its hard to optimize for all of them. MSN openly admits having trouble with longtail searches. The panel didn’t see why he cared, and Sheri piped up with Yahoo users tend to have card-n-hand when they search. Well that’s enough to make ya care 🙂

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