Monthly Archives: April 2009

AOLs – anygood & why?

adrianland-lovedotcomThere is a new site that has just been soft launched by AOL. has already started to get some limited  attention and criticised.  See SEOBooks good write up on its recycling approach and the story broke gently on TechCrunch.

I have been playing with the site this morning and trying to keep an open mind.  It is easy to comment about that the content is pulled in from a number of existing sources, mainly AOL news.  Plus reformatted Twitter and some other stuff.  Very similar in a way to Cuil which I wrote about a while ago.

This is currently a soft launch and I am trying to guess what they want to do.  

If you think that every popular topic will have effectively its own site.  A kind of a personalised new and current affairs page. Which you can book mark and receive updated via RSS.  This screen grab is for work.  But think about your favourite band or movie star. They will have their own ‘news’ pages.


What is a bit strange, it how, if you want to read an article they keep you on their site.  To read article one you end up on and see this…


The annoying bit is that this may affect any kind of tracking/user stats/impressions as it is calling the page, but not transferring the user.  The green circled bit is the destination site and the red circuled bit header from

I am guessing that this is more aimed at the myspace generation than me.  But it shows an increasing trend convergence of real time stuff!  And how this information is being targetting and segmented by popular topics.

Is it worth buying a domain for its link value?

adrianland_linksThis is something that I have just had to think about for my day job.  The question comes in, “…well there are these sites that rank above us [for vaniety terms] and they are not very good or really being used”, and then “… we are in negoitiations with their owner to buy them, that should help our SEO  position shouldnt it?”.

So, this is a difficult position, as they mean well and generally get SEO, especially as they are talking some serious amounts of money.

In my experience buying domains can generally work for a few reasons.

  1.  You want to set up a business with that name.  Including microsites or support sites to your main business.
  2. A defensive position.  You own it so someone else can’t.  Most business hoard hundreds, if not thousands!
  3. To benefit from their links ! Well lets discuss this one.


Types Scenario Value passed?
Buying Expired Domains Bought from the domain common pool. And not from someone directly. Not likely
Buying domains and redirecting pages Buying a site and redirecting just for link benefit. Not likely
Buying a name and then running it yourself You buy a going concern either a whole website or you start again but keeping it on topic You should benefit from its history
A company merger Your company buys another and transfer ownership Should be fine.

So, the advice I gave was, buy for defensive reasons if you really want.  But dont buy it and ‘close’ it and expect to inherit all its good inbound links.  Personally when I reviewed those sites, I think we can (only launched recently) out rank them when we get going anyway !

Inspired to write after reading an article on Search Engine Land.

And a follow up reference as of the 1st May 2009

Changes coming the Google referring string – part 2

adrianland-graphic-statsFollowing up from the post yesterday >>

There was a follow up post on Blogstorm.  This post actually looked at the detail at the new URL structure and summarised that we (the SEO fraternity) might get some brand new data our PPC colleagues are all too used to.

Patrik Altoft suggests that

Perhaps the cd=7 (click detail = 7th?) is the ranking and ct=res (click through = results?) is indicating that the click came from organic search rather than a universal search (news or video) result.

Matt Cutts chimes in later on in a comment to this post.

I think if you do experiments, you’ll be able to confirm your speculation, Patrick and Brent Nau. As Jamie mentions, I think this is awesome for webmasters–even more information than you could glean from the previous referrer string.

So, watch this space !

Interesting reading 2009-04-16

adrianland-interestingBigMouthMedia has an article about html 5 and how this is a change coming our way. The search engines already have patents for page segmentation, so structuring your mark up in ‘new’ tags is one way to give them clues.

HTML 5 will have semantic meaning.  The tags will be < article > for a real piece of text, an article, blog post or article , < nav > (for navigation), < footer >,< header >, etc and even rich media < audio >, < video >. Will need to talk to our tech teams on this one. And probably worth its own article in due course.

I came across a neat little Social Media tool on that give us a summary of a pages social presence.  Even my small site has a small entry.  If you feel sorry for me, socialise my site ! See my poor score.

A scary article about the use of proxy servers on econsultancy.  It might become law that if you use a proxy server in the States you might be breaking the law.  Governments are trying to regulate the internet and may actually harm the innocent. It wasnt long ago that Australia was talking about country wide blocked site list!

URL shorterners.  They are many. My favourite at the moment is as its tracking is really good. There is an article I used on SEOland which lays out the major players and the pros and cons.

Changes coming the Google referring string

On the official Google analytics blog they have pre-warned us all that they are making some changes to the referring string from Google natural search. You are OK, if you use Google Analytics, you will just need to do a software update.

Other wise depending on your particular set up you may need to make some changes. You can see their article here.

This will gradually roll this out. And the main difference they explain is the change from the part that starts “/search?” to “/url?”.

What does this mean? Well if you use this ‘search’ to determine that the visit is from natural search you need to make a change. Otherwise you will get confused between your paid and natural search results.

Now see part two >>

April fools and easy link bait

adrianland-dialaphone-aprilfoolThe 1st April 2009, many companies used classic April Fools as an excuse to bait for links and it has worked as I will show a few here.

One thing which was new this year was the large amout of Tweeting and other social media that was used to distribute.  And it allowed a very easy way to share to get the reach you can only hope for.

If you use Twitter you can see trends. Here is the  April fool trend.

Here are some that passed infront of me today

  • The Guardian newspaper is going to give up ink and move to twitter!
  • Amazon launch the amazon floating cloud environment (face) for computer processing in blimps!
  • A big one on social media was Google artifical intelligence stuff! and another about how they turned a VP’s office into a beach with suitable pics.
  • Dialaphone launched a coin operated pay as you go phone.
  • MSN messenger can guess you mood and display it in your profile.
  • has deals on hotel rooms on the moon.
  • Expedia has a sales on flights to Mars. If you see the page, they are sold out! but you can get a discount code.

There are plenty more examples from BBC iplayer in toasters for your breakfast fix, through to android driven cars to companies making their site look identical to their competitors.

Techcrunch has a long list – check it out too >>

Its seems to be very wide spread this year.  Well done to those who participated.  What will we see next year?