Wikipedia’s Continued Importance in SEO

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Stephan Spencer, in his essay, The Art of SEO for Wikipedia and 16 Tips, makes the excellent point that Google has given tremendous authority and link popularity to Wikipedia. As a result, Wikipedia entries come up again and again at the top of the first page of a Google engine search. Knowing how to write a Wikipedia article – from an SEO approach – is therefore an indispensable SEO skill.

Stub or Novel?

More importantly, he makes the essential point – something which I have always known– that these Wikipedia entries are often “short on details” and mere “stubs”. This is something which we try and stress to our clients: From the standpoint of SEO, better to have a Wikipedia stub, sparse on details, which stands, and gets you ranking at the top of the search, than a Wikipedia article which says all you want it to say, and gets flagged for speedy deletion.

Are Wikipedia Links Still Valuable Even Though They’re No-Followed?

Short answer. Absolutely! Even external links that include the nofollow tag still drive traffic and make superb linkbait. Journalists and other experts read Wikipedia and so there is a big amplification effect. And some SEO experts muse that Google could choose to disregard the nofollow and still count those external links, if they determine Wikipedia’s new policy is detrimental to relevancy of the search results.

Wikipedia and Reputation Management

Wikipedia is also key for managing online reputation. A Wikipedia entry for your company or organization lends credibility to your organization, and gives searchers who see your entry while searching for you the impression that your organization is authoritative and more legitimate. As Search Engine Land writer, Stephan Spencer, remarks, “Because of the authority status of Wikipedia, it’s easy to get a newly created entry for one’s company or brand to rank on the first page of the SERPs, no matter how competitive the keyword is. So, in a way, this is reputation management. If you don’t like what is in the top 10 currently for a particular keyword related to your company, get a Wikipedia entry to occupy at least one of those slots.” (http://searchengineland.com/the-art-of-seo-for-wikipedia-16-tips-to-gain-respect-11126)

You might want to check out Spencer, and his colleague Hochman, on their 16 Tips for becoming a respected Wikipedian. And check out this interview with Hochman, a respected Wikipedia editor, with Spencer.

useful Tools for SEO

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I recently got penalized for too many blog comments linking back to a site, and got totally de-listed from google. Don’t let it happen to you. How do i plan to fix it? lots of new content, directory / one way legit website links with ‘bland’ anchor text keywords – ie, “my website”, “visit our website”, and the actual URL as anchor text to make it look more natural. Think this has happened to you? These tools can help;

http://www.backtype.com/

check blog comments linking back to your site.

http://www.bad-neighborhood.com/text-link-tool.htm

check for too many blog comments.

morrison nicholson law firm

http://www.morrisonandnicholson.com

Domaintools.com SEO Score: 59% Read more

Contributed by Eric Bryant, SEO specialist, Gnosis Arts

One of the ways to help decrease website load time and improve website performance is by the use of Content Delivery Networks (CDNs). A CDN is a service that hosts certain web elements and objects, such as images, video or audio, and serves up those images to your website. CDNs are often effective because they are a network of servers which caches large portions of your website throughout the entire network. This way, the end user is receiving your website from the nearest location possible to him or her, rather than having to go out to your web server to retrieve your website, thereby speeding up the time it takes to load your website into a browser.

One drawback of a CDN is price. CDNs can be very expensive, and are often outside the budget range of small business websites. However, there is one free CDN service we want to make you aware of.

The Coral Content Delivery Network

The Coral Content Delivery Network is found at coralcdn.org. This is a free service. Coral works in two primary ways. The first is by appending “.nyud.net” to the end of any URL. This activates Coral’s proxy server networks. They cache your web page in their network, and then subsequently each time that URL is requested, it is served up from the Coral CDN network instead of your origin web server. This will sometimes decrease that page’s load time.

We tried this version, but honestly found it wanting. Appending “.nyud.net” to the end of our web pages didn’t enhance the performance of our website. On the contrary, it actually slowed them down. Although we are still testing it out, our SEO team surmises that the reason for the slowdown is due to the fact that we already optimized our site’s load time quite significantly via .htaccess, GZIP and OpenDNS methods, prior to utilizing the Coral CDN. Too many different DNS systems handling requests, we think, has the opposite of the intended effect.

The Second Application of Coral CDN

So, we tried the second version. The second way of using Coral CDN is to prepend “http://coralize.net/” to your web page. For example, if your URL is www.domain.com, then to use the Coral CDN, you would attach http://coralize.net to the front of the original URL: http://coralize.net/http://www.domain.com.

We tried this method for a few web pages, but the response time was really no better.

Then we tried “Coralizing” only certain HTML objects instead of entire HTML pages. We chose relatively large objects, such as audio (.mp3) and large image (.jpg, .gif) files. And Bingo! We struck gold!

Conclusion: CDNs Work Best on Objects, not Entire Pages

Our conclusion is that utilizing CDNs can help decrease load time, but not always. In fact, for sites which load sufficiently fast, A CDN may not help at all. Relying too heavily on them will actually work against you. When we used CDN delivery on entire web pages, we found an increase in load time. Not the desired effect.

However, when we used the CDN to deliver only large object elements, such as .mp3, .avi or Flash files, we noticed a substantial improvement in load time.

In 2008, i started a few tests on multiple websites to confirm my suspicion that WordPress websites are more SEO friendly, or given more weight by Google.

My first test was to convert a static website, already optimized for SEO and used a CSS template to a WP CMS site. This was for an existing SEO client after 6 months of optimization. I changed over the site approx Dec 29, 2008, and I initially forgot to reinstall the analytics code for 4 days after launching the new site (my bad). This actually worked out nicely, as it provides a great landmark for the transition when viewing traffic in Google Analytics. See below. The red line marks the date the new site was relaunched in WP.

envrio-analytics1

Perhaps its coincidence? Only further testing will tell. Please comment if you can attest to your experience with specific software that gives you an SEO advantage.

Kathy Sierra says we’re all marketers: 

“In this new open-source/cluetrain world, I am a marketer. And so are you. If you’re interested in creating passionate users, or keeping your job, or breathing life into a startup, or getting others to contribute to your open source project, or getting your significant other to agree to the vacation you want to go on… congratulations. You’re in marketing.”

Read this excellent post @ bokardo.com

Step 1. After installing WordPress (WP), there are some plugins I would install before I go any further. I always use the following;

  • XML Sitemaps : Automatically updates your XML sitemap when you add a post or page, and notifies search engines.
  • Top Level Categories : Removed the “category” slug from your blog. I go into the importance of this later on.
  • Headspace 2 : An amazing plugin. Lets me create my own Meta keywords, title, and description. Also lets you easily install code into the header site-wide, and provides an easy way to add google analytics, yahoo site explorer meta, MSN webmaster metas, and much more.
  • Page Menu Editor : How does anyone live without this? When you want a long title for your page (ie, “Contact the Philadelphia lawyers at Dewey Cheatem & Howe”), but a short title for the navigation (ie, “Contact”), you need this plugin.
  • Contact Form 7 : If your using your WP as a CMS, you might want a contact page. I’ve used this one in the past as its easy to install and use in multiple places; however, if you like to track goals with Google Analytics, this won’t work for you.

Step 2: Configure permalinks. Don’t operate a blog without permalinks configured! In case you don’t know, permalinks converts your url from http://www.example.com/?p=3 to http://www.example.com/cat/my-page-or-post/. Use custom option and enter /”%category%/%postname%/. Its important to use the plugin “Top Level Categories” because when you post any blog entries, WP will add a ‘base category’ (default = “category”) to your url, so blog posts will look like “www.example.com/category/cars/VW-jetta”/.  For SEO, I would remove the base cateogry (“category”) or change it to “blog”, depending on the structure of your website.

Step 3. If your plugin has an enhanced homepage (look for a file called home.php), you can skip this step. By default WP will display your blog on the index page. Under normal circumstances, when using WP as a CMS, we will want to have different content on our home page. First, create a page in WP with the content you want on your homepage. Give it a title relevant to your content. We don’t need to call it ‘home’ if you have the “Page Menu Editor” plugin installed; you can set that separately.  In the admin, go to Settings > Reading and change “Front page display” settings to display a page of your choice as your homepage.

Step 4. If you will be having a blog as a feature on your website, create a page named “blog”, go back to Settings > Reading and change “Front page display” settings to display your blog on the blog page we just made.  If you are using a blog, you might want to just rename the base category (under the ‘permalinks’ setting) to “blog” instead of removing it with the plugin above.

Step 5. Customize your themes widets as desired. i like to hard code my pages into the header with a horizontal navigation, and drop a quick contact form into the sidebar. If you have a blog feature, you might list the blog categorys in the sidebar instead.

Done. Yeay! Now it’s easy for anyone to make changes or add content to your website.

Free themes – where would we be without them? Employing more designers, but that’s not the point. The evolution of free themes, WordPress themes in particular, has been a godsend for many bloggers – myself included. With the hundreds of free themes available, some bloggers have created blogs around displaying free themes. This is great – a one stop shop for free blogs, somewhat organized by type and design. What isn’t so great is when these free theme bloggers hijack free themes and embed their hidden spammy links.

How can we avoid this? A good rule of thumb is to always download the theme directly from the author’s website. Before using any theme, always check the footer for any code that seems unusual. Compare it to the default / classic theme if needed. Some of these spammers will embed their links under the auspices of a ‘license’, and if removed, it can de-activate your theme.

Here’s one offender to avoid:
www.wordpresstemplates.com

You’ve got a new e-commerce site. Congrats! But you still have a long road ahead of you. Hopefully, you already have a plan for marketing your website. If you don’t, here’s a good jumping off point;

  1. Create and upload XML sitemap and notify major search engines.
  2. Set up google analytics account at google.com/analytics/.
  3. Set up google webmaster tools, yahoo site explorer, and MSN webmasters accounts
  4. Create a product database in excel and upload to google base.
  5. Social bookmark in delicious, stumbleupon, google bookmarks.
  6. Add a local business listing to google and yahoo.
  7. Submit to industry specific directories & dmoz.org.
  8. Yahoo! offers a shopping directory where you can bid to place your products (pay per click).

Additional Tips;

Consider offering your product to affiliates through cj.com or shareasale.com. Other publishers get a commission for each completed sale on your website.

Be sure to make your e-commerce site content rich. Add a “how-to”, a “FAQ”, or other expert advice type article related to your product. For instance, if you sell swimwear, consider writing a fitting guide to help women find the right type of suit for their body type, or perhaps a few paragraphs on the latest designers and patterns for the current season.

I’d like to start this post by discussing color palettes that are NOT appropriate for any legal professional’s website. Let’s take a look at a few websites where the color is actually distracting from the information and services a website is designed to convey.

perlini

While the color scheme here certainly captures the eye, bright colors with little contrast can be hard to look at for an extended period. Black text on a grey background can contribute to users leaving your website in search of your easier-to-read competition. The somewhat sophomoric color scheme makes me think I’m looking at a day care website, not a personal injury attorney’s website.

caimano

Again, bright colors doesn’t convince me this attorney is professional. There’s nothing ‘above the fold’ to really bring me in to the site.

templer

This site, while not terrible, is just impossible to read. Dark text on dark background should be included in the top ten sins of web design. The right navigation has no distinction from the main content.

Overall, these examples help illustrate the importance of making a website’s design appropriate for the client and services offered. Law is a serious profession – having a website that will reflect your professionalism should be a strong consideration when finalizing your design. All the SEO in the world can’t change a first impression.

Avoid:

  • Highly saturated colors
  • Dark text on a dark background
  • Colors or layouts that may distract from the overall message
  • Purple & Pink

Suggested Color Schemes:

  • Brown, taupe, khaki, tans
  • Navy, grey, off-white
  • Maroon, wine, nude
  • Sky Blue, Gold, Black

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