I am an seo - a search engine optimizer. I call myself an seo because I have achieved high listings for popular keyword phrases. I believe there is no other criteria for calling yourself an seo .
Before I started blogging this site to attract business, I made many seo experiments on my main fun site webmelon.com.au. Its was not supposed to be serious content, but the seo experiments were and still are very serious.
Now I am pleased to report that two days ago the stats for my seo blog fun site, webmelon, went mung. Usually I get 300 - 500 unique visitors a day, but I got 3000 unique visitors yesterday. With the spike in traffic came a spike in bandwidth, and yes, I exceeded my monthly limit. Hostingbay, CURRENTLY my hosts, yanked my site and replaced it with a 'bandwidth exceeded' page.
Suffering the pain of talking to support for a good hour (I was not happy Jan), I agreed to some ridiculously expensive plan so I could get my site back on the internet.
So this is the double edged sword of the seo. If you wish to go to dinner with Paris Hilton, imagine how awkward you feel when she only ever looks at you with one eye and forgets your name.
So be careful if you hire me to get you internet traffic with seo - you might just get it.
If you are an seo attempting to get high listings for popular search terms, where do you put your energies?
Put your seo energies into building links:
This is a marketing arm of the seo. It involves navigating to directory websites and including your site. To include your site in a directory you need to find where in the site to add your listing. Usually there will be an ‘add listing’, or ‘submit site’ section. Once you find this you must read the terms and conditions. Though advertised ad free, some directories require a reciprocal link which you must add to your page before they make your listing active. There will usually be a part of listing that requires a short description and a long description. I recommend storing this information in a word doc and cut and paste to save you writing it out again and again. This is not rocket science for the seo.
How to find directories
Apart from that the trick is to find directories to add your site to. As a good seo you can do a search on ‘directory submit site’, or ‘directory add site’. To start you off here is a list of over six thousand business directories – see you in September!
Link Builders Beware
If your site garners hundreds of links over a short period you may be penalized for spamming. Build your links slowly over a period of time. Paying for links is a no-no too and will be harder to benefit from in the future so spend your link dollars carefully.
Put your seo energies into building great content:
The other thing you can do is to make compelling content. As an seo this is my preferred option. If you want to build links my advice is to write great articles and people will link to your site organically. Some people write controversial articles in the aid of getting people to link to them – this is called link bait. The most important concept is that it is content driven.
If you really don’t like doing something, why do it? Spending time submitting my site to hundreds of directories does nothing for me; writing articles does. In the future the algorithms will be more sophisticated and weed out the sites that have hundreds of mindless inbound links from directories. As they strive to improve user experience, it will be the content that determines the importance of the page – after all, it is the content that determines the user experience.
Why the google local results are so abstract? Look at the screen grab above - this little seo, graphic designer (that's me) is looking for guitar lessons and getting cricket -it's an seo nightmare!
I am still perplexed why they rolled out local business search in such shoddy condition - what happened to relevancy?
Possibly google are getting even greedier and want to maximize advertising revenue at the expense of quality search results - at least it keeps the seos guessing!
When I first started my web design, graphic design, seo business I got some very good advice. And like most concepts of substance it took time, study and investigation before I understood.
When introduced to a concept words hit the ears and a green light goes off in the head. It is over time, after you have ‘worn’ the concept, seen it behave in all kinds of situations and learnt its pros and cons can true understanding be achieved.
So here it is:
Most people go into business because they have a skill, be that a doctor, lawyer, graphic designer, web developer or seo. In general the success of a business is NOT determined by quality of the work, it is determined by how the business is marketed.
And that was enough to get this little graphic designer thinking. You see it didn’t matter how good my graphics are, it was how well I marketed myself. So a great graphic designer who is a bad marketer will fail, and a great marketer who is a bad graphic designer will succeed.
Matt Cutts continues producing shit sandwiches which keeps them coming back for seconds, thirds, then throw away the bread and just eat the filling.
So when the seo super chump writes about ‘minty fresh indexing’, it’s time to gargle, rinse and repeat.
In his seo blog, Matt reckons Google indexing is getting faster and faster. He further reckons that some results are so fresh they are less than half an hour old. Seo Matt shamelessly blows up the arses of his colleagues, and I quote:
“Congrats to the Googlers who are improving Google’s ability to re-crawl, index, and score web documents quickly.”
Sorry Matt, your internet seems to behave a little differently to mine. This little seo, graphic design, web design website - the one you are now reading – takes weeks for google to crawl and update; which is very different from the alleged half hour turnaround time.
Look at the screenshot above – five days old at the time of writing!
But surely he is not lying. No. I think the indexing team bases their results on a very small sample of web sites. The conclusions being abstract when compared to the majority, having no real meaning to the seo, you or me!
**update: Now 8 days old
Shortly after removing the supplemental index from the search result listings, google are considering removing the page rank tool.
People Obsessed over Supps
One of the main reasons that google have yanked the supplemental information is that they claim that industry is pushing too many resources into the study and manipulation of supplemental results. Google figure that if the effort spent on supplementals was put into producing quality content, the web would be a better place. And by removing the supplemental label eliminates the ability for the webmaster to identify them, and you can’t fix what you can’t find. The underlying algorithms on how the serps are returned are unchanged; it is cosmetic, only the supplemental label is gone.
Pagerank could be History
Now all the talk in the forums is that google is now going to remove the pagerank tool. Pagerank is the way that google ranks the quality of a site by evaluating links. Web designers and seos put huge effort into building pagerank, the most obvious by spamming or paying for incoming links. Google’s reasoning is consistent; content before pagerank. The underlying algorithm behind pagerank will still take effect; but the tool to find out your pagerank will disappear.
In the seo world of smoke and mirrors it was heartening to identify a reason. Seos will have less actionable information, and with less information we have to rely on more guess work.
Medicate the seo
The other way of thinking is to provide the seo with more rather than less information. As well as pagerank and supplemental information; they could provide info on duplicate content, keyword density, linking structure and how ever else they evaluate pages. This would give seos so much to obsess over; we will need medication.
I'm going mad. All the red hot American seo bloggers are missing so much, they must be using a different internet to me.
But wake up and smell the serps.
Obnoxious American alpha male and seo blogger, the gray wolf, writes about google local results. And not before time - it is outrageous to imagine my little webmelon media ahead of the pack!
You can read his blog here
Seo blogger Andy Hagans from tropical seo has gone a bit fruity lately and does not seem to be blogging seo at all!
You are not an seo beacause you have read an seo book
You are not an seo beacause you subscribe to seo blogs
You are not an seo beacause you write an seo blog
You are not an seo beacause an seo has told you all about search engine optimization
You are not an seo beacause you have been to seo boot camp
You are not an seo beacause you are a graphic designer
You are not an seo beacause you have watched over an seo’s shoulder as they optimize web pages
You are not an seo beacause you have completed an seo certificate
You are not an seo beacause you have done hundreds of hours seo research on the web
You are not an seo beacause you have hired an seo
You are not an seo beacause you do web design
You are not an seo beacause your friend is an seo and talks about search engine optimization at the pub
You are not an seo beacause you have attended a seminar
You are not an seo beacause you call yourself an seo
You are not an seo until you have high listings for popular keyword phrases
“Graphic Design Melbourne,” is an seo keyword I am chasing. What is interesting is the google maps local results. Lets have a look at the top web sites that are returned from this search:
seo result 1: http://editorial.australiangeographic.com.au/
Australian Geographic is a magazine promoting travel to rural Australia. If you are looking for graphic designers it is totally irrelevant, and upon arriving at the web site you would quickly hit the back button and keep searching.
seo result 2: http://www.vanbar.com.au/
Vanbar is a photographic studio. More relevant than a travel magazine, but still quite a way off graphic design. I suspect any user looking for graphic design services would again bounce this web site.
seo result 3: http://www.areeba.com.au/
Hallelujah, we have graphic designers. The web page returned by the search is relevant.
This is a complete dog’s breakfast. When the top search results for popular keyword phrases are irrelevant I say google is broken. The user experience is diminished, and confidence in the quality of the results is lost.
To put it simply: it’s knackered.
As I mentioned in my previous seo blog, google local business results are turning up in organic search results as they continue to roll out their universal search.
Funnily enough, if I type in “web design Melbourne,” there are no local business results; but if I type in “web design Melbourne Australia,” they magically appear.
When you’re on a good thing…
Any change to the brilliantly minimalist google interface is a risk. As it is, it is easy for novices and newbies, providing a framework that pulls the web together. Adding a level of complexity will distract, even repel those working at 110% capacity working with the simplest of interfaces. People don’t accept change easily - even seos.
As google and the seo carefully monitor the results, I predict the local business results to bobble in and out of the main organic serps until the situation stablilizes.
Some very talented people can learn to do the graphic design themselves. I will never judge someone’s artistic ability even if they have no experience. If you think you might have flair for graphic design it’s worth giving a go, especially if you have the time and no budget.
You will need graphic design software. I recommend industry standard: Adobe photoshop and illustrator. There is much information and the products are easy to obtain. Search for “graphic design tutorials,” or “graphic design blogs,” to get the idea of how a graphic designer thinks.
One of the fundamental concepts of graphic design software is the “layered object model.” Although it initially takes some time to get used to, it applies to photoshop, illustrator, flash, indesign, premier – just about everything. Even if you don’t need to develop your graphic design skills to a high level it’s worth knowing.
It takes experience with the programs before they become intuitive. But the main thing is jumping in and having a go. Every journey to becoming a graphic designer is a story in itself and I am sometimes surprised at results from people who have next to no experience.
Before you know it, you will be doing your posters, business cards, email signatures, brochures, letterheads, Logo Design, Web Development, Web Design, Web Programming, SEO and all your Print media.
What happened to the supplemental index? Where are all the seo bloggers?
I woke up this morning, checked some listings, and to my surprise NO SUPPLEMENTAL RESULTS. They are all gone.
The only article I found was at searchengineland, google dumps the supplemental results label:
“Google has announced that it is dumping the supplemental result label for pages listed within its supplemental index. Does that mean the supplemental index has gone away? No. But Google promises that being in the supplemental index versus the main index should be less of an issue for site owners, going forward. ”
Well this is a good thing. Hopefully valuable content and pages which were in the supplemental index will now be found. The search results should be more relevant and of a better quality. The google supplemental index was implemented in a heavy handed manner, web pages being relegated to it without rhyme or reasons never to be found again. Seos, fixated on garnering high listing, became obsessed in their efforts to get their pages out; me included.
The puppy has just been let off the leash. A new algorithm will mean that listings will change positions. Some pages lost in the supplementals will now rise, taking the place of other pages which could get lost.
Interesting times for the seo, it’s time to watch your stats closely and see if the changes affect the performance of your web site.
I first noticed google maps business results turning up in the organic search results a couple of weeks ago. It appeared like a trial run, and after a couple of days it was removed- now it is gone.
“Universal Search” is where results from sister search engines are included in the mainstream organic results. Up until now I have seen results from the image, video and news search results included in the organic searches, and they seem to be here to stay.
But I am going to look for reasons that the business maps search have been quicky retracted so quickly after it was rolled out.
Demographic SEO considerations
Demographic searches have their own particular set of challenges. Brunswick Melbourne is a different place to Brunswick Germany or Brunswick Canada. When I was exploring this new feature, looking at the serps for “Graphic Design Brunswick,” I was surprised to get German results. Now this is big bad bug, one which makes the results irrelevant. One way round it would be to make the user choose which one they are searching for, but this puts an extra procedure in the search process which is supposed to be simple. Maybe the feature is in remission whist they are fixing the problem.
There has to be some fair process in evaluating which web pages get to the top. The method of ranking pages for local searches is not the same as for normal websites. There is only the listing itself, a small bunch of content to discriminate. How can you evaluate the strength and relevance of a business in a couple of hundred words? Possibly they had a huge body of complaints, or a word from the department of fair trading.
Reluctance to Change
Maybe it was just too far off the track for some users. People are used to the simplicity of google, and when the local business maps results get first listing they think they are using a different website; it looks and feels different to the search engine they know and love. People like familiarity and resist change, so Google could have retracted the feature to hang onto their searchers.
The numbers tend to suggest that the google local business search is relatively incomplete. When doing a search on google.com for “graphic design Melbourne,” I get 1,960,000; and when I do the same search in maps.google.com.au I get 2855.
Maybe there are not enough listings in the local business maps index to make them relevant.
I have a feeling that google business local maps search is a thing of the future. It would not surprise me if we see them re-appear at any time soon, and will be watching the seo landscape very carefully.
The search industry is chock a bloc full of experts. Eight out of ten graphic designers consider themselves to have seo skills, and it appears that anyone who performs the slightest morsel of research and understands the concepts of keywords and backlinks too quickly awards themselves the title of seo.
Does installing photoshop and illustrator on your PC make you a graphic designer?
Graphic design programs are getting easier to use. Each release includes more user friendly features making the tools more intuitive. The pitfalls and stumbling blocks that require specialist user knowledge to get around are being identified. The programs accumulate a greater base of knowledge as they gather mainstream acceptance; everyone is a graphic designer.
But we all know this is not the case. Graphic designers need to understand art and how it is made. They need to understand composition, shape, color, form. In my experience, good graphic designers can paint, draw and illustrate - by hand – no computer needed. It is not the tool, it is how it is used.
Sure the nature of graphic design changes with technology; but it is the graphic designer that accommodates the features and pitfalls of technology and makes art.
In fact when someone calls themselves a graphic designer with no art background or experience, people want proof in a “all labour pain no baby” environment.
An expert is someone who says something you don’t understand. And when the Seo babbles gibberish people with little or no knowledge assume they are an expert. Reading information can arm you with enough knowledge to hang in there, even to talk with authority, but you need experience to call yourself an seo. This is a modern phenomena; in the old days we needed expert technical knowledge to gain high listings. The drive towards user experience has seen google tweak their search algorithm over time, making the content on the page more important than the site structure and underlying codes. The nature of the seo changed. The skill set becoming more content creation and marketing and less site structure and off page considerations.
The full impact of seo is yet to be realized here in Melbourne, Australia. Do a search on “seo blog,” or “seo blog melboure,” and there are surprisingly few people out there doing it. This tells me there is an opportunity; many prepared to talk the talk, but hey, I’m blogging seo and walking by myself here.
So it’s time to bung the seo slab on the yardstick and see how she measures up:
What are my target keywords?
Where am I?
Position 17 in google.com.au and position 22 in google.com
I call myself an seo because I publish my listings, I have no reason to hide behind techno-babble. I am always making seo experiments; targeting keywords and monitoring the progress. This very article here is part of an ongoing experiment.
Keywords are what searchers type into search engines to find information.
Single keywords attract huge traffic and deliver general information. It is difficult to get sites ranked highly for single keyword phrases as there are so many sites competing.
But don’t fret; even thought the traffic is high, returns from them have proven to be low. An example of a single keyword phrase would be “seo;” returning 140,000,000 web pages from google.
Multiple keywords phrases
The more words you use the more your traffic is targeted. Web surfers tend are quite comfortable using multiple keyword phrases to narrow the results down.
The search “SEO Melbourne” returns 1,290,000 web pages from google, less than one percent than for the generic search term of just “seo.”
Popular Keyword phrases
When businesses realize the economic benefit of highly ranked key phrases, they become popular. High listings are seo trophies, and the methods used to obtain them are the art of the seo.
Niche Markets and the Long Tail
Longer keyword phrases are called the “long tail,” used to drill down to niche markets. Although the traffic for longer keyword phrases is less than for more general terms, the returns are greater. Because the term is less popular, a high listing is easier to attain and is a good place to start your seo efforts.
Not Rocket Science
It is about knowing your market. Knowing what people are looking for and how they are finding it. Keyword research is not rocket science, especially identifying the popular keyword phrases, however long tail and niche markets are not so obvious.