Category Archives: SEO reading

Book Review: 50 Ways To Make Google Love Your Website

google book small image

A must read says Land

The book: “50 Ways To Make Google Love Your Website” by Steve Johnston and Liam McGee, is pretty good.

As a cover testimonial, I thought I would re-read it now that I have a physical copy, and I have to say I still like it.

It focuses on Google, but the principles apply easily to all regular search engines. It is an easy to read explanation of the key aspects of ethical, long term SEO best practices in words even a layman can understand.

They go on to explain the concepts from webots, duplicate content through to the importance of links in the Google ecosystem. There are few bits that on this time reading I have learnt. For example I never previously knew what a “hypernym” was ! There are many SEO books on the market and in my time I have read a number. This is definitely one of the best and that is why I was happy to put my name on the back cover. I would recommend this for beginner and advanced practitioner alike.

my quote

My quote on the back cover

Here is the full back cover:

The back cover of the book

Click to enlarge

If you fancy reading it yourself you can do via the link on the Search Johnston site.

Interesting reading – week 16 2010

I can read you know!

Migrating a site and following best practice is a nerve ranking time and when the latest discussion of losing some value through the server side 301 redirect hit the SEO community there was a flood of discussion, some useful and some not.  The disadvantage of being a corporate SEO is the level of detail I personally can share about my employer, but some can and some also can talk generally.  There was a nice article on Seer Interactive called “how much link juice are you losing”. It is worth a read and shows similar patterns that I have seen a number of times.  Its nice to know other are having the same joys as I am.

In the same vein, after some major overalls here to the day job (multi-billion dollar business) at a global level, moving >70 sites, and in some places technology & platform too, there is always the debate about domains. Should it TLDs or ccTLDs, which is best, which is worse.  People selling a service or that ideology supports their company stance are always very vocal and incredibly noisy.  And they can be as people who have actually done it for real cant talk about it.  And as per my comments above, when some are able to, its interesting to see their thoughts.  I liked this blog, and the first article I saw on their site – well done Antezeta for your domains and SEO article.  The short answer, is that it depends.  Depends on your particialar situation, what it is going to be like the future, what makes sense to your business. What are the business objectives and resources. The list goes on.  But as a corporate SEO, you have to make workable, winnable, best-fit decisions all day long !

SEOBook’s Aaron Wall posted a cynical (that’s good in my book) argument around renting links and search spam and a grumble about the level of SE policing. And then how content farms are low quality and that SE’s are generally the worst offenders of ‘scraping’ other peoples content and making it work for their own ends. And the bit I liked were the comments about how community sites allow outbound links, then they get big and call out the “SPAM!” card, nofollow all the hard links and the people who supplied content in good faith, lose their hard work, well ‘payment’ for it. Well written article and I thought worth a mention.

One for the day job to care about! We have known about this for months and actively been supplying our data for this test, but when Google announced that they were going to show hotel prices on their SERPs it could be seen as a ‘butt-clenching’ moment for SEO. My favourite public write up after their announcement went out to the wider world was on John Battelle’s site, I liked the title – “Experiement to freak out Expedia and”, We will see what happens and if this is the death of the body terms in hotel/travel industry.

And my fun sites to watch at the moment are SEOBullshit and always a bit of Seth.

Interesting reading 2009-06-26

A huge pile of reading!

A huge pile of reading!

So what from my reading has stood out this week?

My stance on content is to produce helpful, informative and engaging content. That keyword research tools are used to help design the angle of the page, but not to lead the final content. There was a great article on ScienceforSEO which talks exactly about this.

Glenn Murray summarised his approach to content planning as:

  • Do some keyword analysis to identify what customers are searching for;
  • Plan a cluster of pages around each target keyword phrase;
  • Supply the copywriter with a list of topics to write about (preferably one topic per page).

On Social media, there was a standout article on SiteVisibility about what you should measure.

The article suggests a) Clicks per thousand followers, b) Follower velocity, your follow rate, using a 3rd party site such as Twitterholic, c) CTR, clicks vs followers, an indication of what is popular and d) RT’s, how socialable your posts are. Makes sense to me, its an steer on your buzz

Changing tack and looking at some history, Stuntdubl has a easy to follow chart showing the evolution of SEO, check it out when you need a reminder/flash back to the milestones we have all encoutered. See the chart here.

EConsultancy have an article talking about the use of social media by ‘real’ journalists. Here is an extract from their article.

In 2008, 44% were reading feeds regularly; while 19% were reading five or more feeds every day. Use of online video had jumped from 28% to 38%.
This year alone has seen quite a shift: Over 70% of journalists surveyed wanted organizations to provide a page in the online newsroom containing links to every social media environment in which that company participates. 38% of journalists prefer to receive information via company tweets!
28% now say RSS feeds are important, and 62% read them regularly.

It seems in the time pressed world of writing, getting information sent to you helps!

Then on a techie note, on the official Google blog there was an article talking about making the web faster and some of the things that have happened in the past few years. Such improvements in JavaScript speed, code optimisation, server work and the new standard of HTML 5. All of which are currently on my tech wish list for my current employer.

Andrew Girdwood, I think “ranted” (IMHO quite rightly) about the state of the UK SERPs on his personal blog. I won’t even try to paraphrase – take a read.

Interesting reading 2009-05-01

Books image on a new in my reader is Thats SEO.  Today this post about the role of your IP address in your SEO efforts.  It defines the usual why you need to know where you site is going to reside e.g. “bad neighbourhood” etc etc.  But continues with some explanations of what this actually means.  Too many posts these days, including mine are too brief and dont lay out the context!!  A good read, thank you Raghaven. Oh, and if you want to check to see if your IP is blocked on a number of bad site lists check out what  is my IP address.

If you are ever considering going solo, then reading 10 lessions from a failed start up would be negligent.

On SEOMoz there is some detail, although a pseudo sales pitch, but some interesting facts about what they have seen with their crawl of the web.  Some highlight numbers.  That 2.7% of links are NoFollowed, 73% of these were internal, so site scultping is popular.  I do it.  And 16million pages have the new canonical tag. 

On black hat seo, link to a digest page on recent popular articles, such as “why spam works” ; “How to break captchas”, and more. All in very simple to read articles with a ‘can-do’ attitude.

We all like a good list.  On SEO Optimise they have a non-Google focused list of resources for social meda. Worth checking out.

And as mine are all broken (work ones), its good to look at sitemaps. SEL have published a casestudy. See it here.

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.

Interesting reading 2009-03-26


An expose piece on the Dave Naylor site regarding national newspapers linking for commerical gain. It is implying that the papers and possibly media owners are starting to understand the commerical power of adding links to their articles.

The blog has a couple of articles that I found interesting this week.  The first is there take on global market share of the main search engines. It seems that Google is clawing back its market share.  The 2nd article is about travel companies and how they can target social media. Compete who obviously aggregate data to show relative positions and importance of sites are suggesting that the social media sites is increasing in absolute terms the amount of referrals to Hotel sites.  Of which I am interested in !  You can see the full article on compete’s blog.

Sticking with social media on SEOOptimise is another social media article asking what is it all about? The term that this and many other speakers, articles are writing about “Conversations” and community building.  It is very simpley laid out article that talks about the hows, wheres and whys.  Seth Godin always has an opinion. EConsultancy’s angle this week is about how social media is now main stream and not for kids.

Interesting articles 2009-03-17

Books image on to keep on top of the rss reader is near on impossible.  I have articles bookmarked and I will get to them.  I hope they are not out of date before I get to them !!

A slightly different tack from my normal straight SEO, but believe it or not I know a fair bit about PPC too.  Jennifer Slegg is showing how to stop your competitor from seeing (for competition reasons) or them burning your budget.  See her post called “How to prevent competitors from seeing your Adword ads“.

Once again the MSN Live people have another quality post.  This time they are talking about considerations international sites. The articles lays out some of the issues people have when doing international. They actually very helpfully spell out their criteria for deciding the intended audience of your site.  They list these in this order.  1) ccTLDs 2) Hosting, server location especially for .com .org etc. 3) the language of the body text on the page, 4) the locale of pages that link to the page.  This fits observations made in Google recently.  Thank you MSN.

On SEO theory is an article about duplicate content, causes and the new canonical url tag.  It lays out some things that I haven spouting for a while and is nice to read.  How duplicate content can dilute inbound link benefit, can ruin onsite search and if you are very unlucky a penalty.  But as we know it is more likely to be ignored.

Yahoo have another article about this canonical URL. Ysearch blog.

There were a couple of posts from Matt Cutts that caught my eye this week.  The first is about paid or sponsored links.  And he lays it out quite clearly that they are bad ! And the 2nd is about the number of links on a page.  There is a brief history lesson of why, when processors stopped around 100kb ! And how the rule-of-thumb should be for usability reasons as too many links are hard for users.  It acknowledges that it may follow more than a hundred (which we know from monitoring spiders onsite) but may not! and you will dilute page rank.

There have been in recent weeks many article about how social media is creeping into every day life and can be form an Twitdiction (trying to coin a phrase) and Business Week’s angle is about time management and how sites such as Twitter can actually help productivity.  Today, I posted a tech question and got an answer before I could leave the site !

We all love a classic what not to do to you site.  Here is one one Marketing Pilgram that is fairly good.  Take a look and enjoy.

Interesting articles 2009-03-05


An article by Steve Johnston’s consultancy on whether Affiliate links are or are not a paid link from Google’s position.  A bit old, from Oct 08, but came across this, this week.  So, lets not worry is the advice and run your affiliate programme and hopefully, maybe in the short term, you are adding links – on top of the normal justification for an affiliate programme.

This article on the new Econsultancy site is a very brave and overly honest casestudy of a domain migration.  You can see the story to-date here.

Going old-skool.  I have been making some robots.txt adjustments this week and have been re-using a classic.  Never forget for all your bot needs.

Another oldy-but-a-goodie on Link Bait.  An article I can across again this week during some research for a forthcoming cunning plan in social media.  Its amazing how simple solid articles stay the course of time.  See the Link Bait article.

A techcrunch article talking about the slow down in domain registrations.  I was actually also suprised by the number of .net registrations.  I maybe stupidly assumed that dot net was spammers.  The large dot cn probably are though.

This article shows a list of search engines and their employees who are using Twitter and giving another (if it needed any more help) push to the main stream for early adoptors.  See the original list on SELand.

Interesting articles 2009-02-18

Books image on new favourite to the RSS reader is the blog by Will Carling, the ex-England rugby player.  His direct opinion on the games, squads and players is a must for all rugby fans.  And if you are that way inclined he Twitters during the matches in real time.  See Will’s world >>

A straight forward and strangly honest write up on how-to link spam to lazy way. Slightly shady SEO >>

The new canonical link tag from all the main search engines.  So, if you cant sort out your URLs correctly you can use this to indicate to Google, MSN and Yahoo which version of the page is the real one.  I thought they could do this.  Oh well. 
Its on MSNs blog >> &  See the article on Matt Cutts’ blog >>

An interesting piece talking about how Google’s SERPs may be on AJAX to stop scrappers, bid management software etc getting an unfair advantage. >>

The MSN blog is starting to produce some useful and well written practical guides.  Here is a link to part 4 of a series on how to optimise your large sites for search.   MSN Blog article >> 

A new blog from the google team, this time for social media.  This could be good. Take a look at Social Web blog for yourself >>

Blackhat-SEO is also worth a read. There were a couple of articles that I enjoyed this week.  Well done guys.  You should subscribe to this site if you havent already done so.  See Black Hat SEO >>

Interesting articles 2008-11-12

Here are some of the things I have read this week …..

Social Media
This article is spelling out a few home truths about Social Media and some mis comprehensiions.  My personal take on the diggs, stumbles, yahoo buzz and their ilke are good for creating a buzz, to get your page spread wide and put in front a lot of active internet people.  My personal experiences show that if you make your tipping point you can get blog and even main stream coverage.  Its about spreading your idea!

See the original Is social media a waste of time? on SEOBook >>

A picture of the physical internet
Not really sure how I have this on my screen, but thought it was interesting to see the physcial connections of the internet. Anyway check it out. 

See the picture here >> 

How many searches are done?
This article is on an American site citing American data but still interesting to see that overall all searches are actually up.  From the UK perpsective and specifically in travel, we have been told that the volume of searches are generally down!  So, I wonder what sectors or vertical are booming?

See the article on PropelMedia >>

SMX Round ups
There have been many this week, some good, some bad and some alright!  Anyway here is a link to just one.

See this post on SEO Gadget >>

And this one for Day 2 >>

Internet usage stats
Its always good to know your potential opportunity.  The first hurdle we sweep past is that your audience is online and believe it or not, some people in some locations arent even online !  There is some good tabular data on  There are some internet stats and it breaks down in to individual countries.  I didnt realise that just over a quarter of online people are Europe.   And in Europe we are not even at 50% usage penetration in the UK.  

See the article on Internet World Stats >>