SES, SEO, Blogs

Blogging the conference has been a great way to test some ideas about blog ranking and watch Google struggle to bring the most relevant content into the main search (they’ve done pretty well with blog search, not so well with regular search which will have all the blog content listed in a week or so, basically too late to be all that helpful to users).  More importantly the stuff from *this year* will probably be ranked above the SES San Jose 2009 information that is likely what people using that term are searching for effective next year.   I’d think they could simply increase the value of ‘freshness’ for listings tagged as events related.

I had a nice discussion about this “events” ranking challenge with Jonathan from Google at the party. The problem is that to combat spam Google does not push out blog content immediately, meaning that if you search for “SES San Jose”, especially a month ago or so, you would have been likely to get old, dated content rather than the current SES page you’d normally want to find. This appears related to linking issues (newer has fewer), but also I think the regular engine is allergic to new content, which is why you’ll often find the most relevant Google stuff at the blog search if it’s a topic that is covered heavily by blogs such as SES or CES Las Vegas where I noted the same issues of “stale content” in the main search with “great content” in the blog search.

I remain convinced that some of the challenges faced in ranking could be solved by a combination of more algorithmic transparency from Google combined with greater accountability by publishers who’d agree to provide a lot more information about their companies so that Google can get a good handle on the credibility of the online landscape. This webmaster ID is happening now in several ways but I’d think it could be scaled up to include pretty much everybody publishing anything online (ie if you don’t register you’ll be subjected to higher scrutiny).

More Tech Posts moved here

Live from SES San Jose, it’s day 4….

Live from SES San Jose, it’s day 4….
Originally uploaded by JoeDuck

The final day panels have been the best of the conference, ironically as it seems some of the  people have already left for home (though maybe it’s just that the “expo pass” only folks who only come on Tuesday and Wednesday are gone?

I’m in the Inside SEO Info session now …. very well attended.  I’ll blog that separately.

SES Site Clinics

SES Site Clinics
Originally uploaded by JoeDuck

A good team including Dave Naylor, Greg Boser, Dani Horowitz —- on stage is evaluating some websites that have volunteered to be reviewed:

Hmm – not sure on the advice here but they are suggesting Lang avoid full URLs to make server handling more efficient, and avoid putting unrelated content at the site (use a different domain) to be more competitive in that specific niche. ie Generalizing can be helpful in some cases but make it harder to rank for very competitive terms.

s-l-o-w is a problem.

Greg: Narrow title tags to be more focused. Focus on a small number of key phrases or words you want to rank well for rather than several.

Dave: Does not like the navigation on home page – thinks it is weak and will possible get site downranked. Title tags suck all the way through. Cross linking is important. Cannot be excessive, but can be used e.g. to link blog and websites advantageously.

Debby and Greg: Tables are bad. Use CSS. Separate content from layout. Greg – improve titles. Debby – make title tags *backwards* from the breadcrumbs – ie from most specific to the generic. [e.g. diamond studded shock collars, dog collars, dogs]

Blog advice: One of the most powerful tools you have. Check templates. Avoid the template sponsor links at footers? Edit the post URL to exclude date.
Ranking well for Asthma products but no good conversions. Greg – avoid images for important terms – use words or layer image on top of text which is “awesome” according to Dave and Greg. Caveat – be careful overdoing this.

default.asp as home page – avoid multiple home pages.

Question to audience – how many companies use blogs with the site? (very few raise hands). Greg and Dave: Get a blog! Google ranks blogs over product pages. keep bots out of the https.

Greg – use subdomains but keep in mind search engines are sensitive to host name spam.

SES San Jose Final Day – local search

This is an excellent presentation but I haven’t had enough coffee to take good notes, and unlike some of the other conferences I’ve covered like CES and MIX there isn’t much traffic to the conference posts anyway. Anxious to check other blogs covering this to see if they had much of a traffic spike, which one would really expect from search related news.

I’m lazy so only posting the summary from SES:

Local & More
Special Kelsey Group Presentation: Local 2.0: The Evolution of Local Search
What percentage of online searches are local? If you consider searches that end up having some influence on local buying activity, the opportunity is put into perspective. But there are still large gaps between the point of search and the point of purchase. How are online mapping, shopping engines, and directories starting to fill these gaps with user-generated content, video, or inventory data that funnel searchers towards local businesses? And how can marketers utilize these tools to get local searchers to pick up the phone, schedule appointments, or show up at their stores?