Sunday, 22 July 2007

How make successful landing pages

I'm going to do something I generally despise here, by posting about someone else's article. It's pretty much a bookmark for me, too. If you don't want to read the article, that's fine, I'll relieve your visitors of their cash instead.

The article is 11 ways to improve landing pages by Michael Nguyen. I keep coming back to this article year on year; it's a clear and concise guide on how to create a working landing page. Thanks Michael, you saved my memory some extra weight, and placed it in my wallet instead. If you're reading this now, you've come too far - click the link (shock) add it to your browser bookmarks.

Seriously, that's it. I've no original content in this post. Stop reading.

Thursday, 19 July 2007

pownce invitation

I don't want my pownce invitations. Link to me, and leave a comment with your email address, if you do. There are some left right now; I'll edit this post when I've run out.

Optimaliser.no

Poor old Netty - they sell undert√ły (lingerie / underwear). Scroll to the bottom of their front page; see a weird thing in the bottom right? Let your mouse cursor hover over it. Their "SEO" company has placed links to all their other clients on the frontpage! I say, sue the buggers. Don't use Optimaliser.no! They're selfish scum, abusing their clients. See video below for the full insult they've levied on their unfortunate customers.



If you don't get it, they've placed links on client's homepages that detract from the client's optimal setup, instead helping Optimaliser.no's business.

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

SEO Theory

SEO Theory is run by a man who actually knows what he's talking about, instead of someone who loiters in forums and regurgitates hype. The latter forms around 90% of SEO blogs that I've found. There are plenty of published, authoritative resources around that Actually Tell You How Search Engines Work. There's no mystery there, and Michael Martinez is rather keen to rub this point in, with a little bile if neccessary. You'll even find long debunkings, exhaustive explanations, and guides on how to do things properly, which saves me having to type all this stuff. You might even find something related to (shock horror) actual proper Internet Marketing there. Go Michael! Now read his blog, you lucky, lucky people.

.htm

I love how people try to get file extensions into three letters these days, but really, why bother? Semantic value is everything - the extension .html tells you that the file contains something that someone, someone believes can be vaguely shoehorned into the category of "HTML code"; .lasso tells you it might be a Lasso file, .pl for Perl or Prolog. I can't think of any reason not to use .html - apart from of course these cases!


  1. You haven't had your morning coffee yet.

  2. You're using PC/MS/MR/4/whatever - DOS, which only supports 8.3 format filenames. Your webserving software also uses this. You probably use token ring cards in your network, which took four painstaking weeks to set up with TCP/IP. There are no known webservers for your OS, so you wrote one in Turbo Pascal.

  3. You don't think there are enough TLAs in the world, and would like to create more. No, that doesn't mean Text Link Ads.

  4. You code a special way, using HyperText Markup. It's not a Language (seriouly, the way you're going at it, it really isn't).

  5. Your 'L' key doesn't work (not really an excuse).

  6. The idiot who set up / mangled your webserver config doesn't believe in HTML, or leaving home, or having anyone but his mother do his laundry.



Seriously, there's no need to bother with three letter extensions. You're not using DOS / Novell / whatever, your clients aren't, your webserver (if it's a good one running on a proper OS) has never even recognised extensions and so definitely doesn't care about their lengths. If you're stuck to them, there's a spanner in your works.

Rankmoron

Take a look at this atrocity of a site - Rankmon.

What on earth is it? It looks like a three listings of sites that have a search function, ranked by some completely arbitrary system (which are apparently not at all privy to), allowing us to determine things like "top organic search sites". Yahoo! and Google must be pretty disappointed at their placings of 4th and 8th, despite being specialists in organic search for the past decade. It must be degrading indeed to have put all this effort in, and still be ranked lower than Tripadvisor or eBay as an organic search engine.

However, I think their pain must pale in comparison to the top dog - Wikipedia, with their number one spot; what was it that guy from Wikipedia said? "... its readers regard Wikipedia as a search engine. It probably comes as no surprise that my spine stiffens at that concept ...".

Further, we have this spurious "growth" statistic. What on earth does it mean? No idea, it's not explained! Perhaps we gan guess by sorting the list by "growth" - ah no, the site operators were too lazy to code that. Or even run the thing through a spell checker, for that matter.

On pane two, "Fastest growing organic search sites in world", we have even greater delights. This is the part where we find out who's going to blow Google's search back into the 20th Century. Who's number 6 on the list?

Rankmon say - watch out for plumbing supply

Plumbingsupply.com! Who'd have thought it! Google, you better watch out. (Yes, I know it's for visibility, but just look at the page title..)

We can even dig deeper; try clicking on any of the sites you see, and you'll see where they rank for what keywords, and how important this is considered.

http://www.rankmon.com/site/index/dressupgirl.net

For example, dressupgirl.net's number 1 contributor to its high place on Rankmoron is "second for girls games in MSN Live". Wow, amazing! Second place! Looking down the list, we can see other lesser achievements. What's this one I see? "first for girl games in Google". Well, that's pretty good, but obviously not as good as being Second (oh yeah!) for such a popular, prestigious and market-share hogging engine as MSN Live Search. How on earth could you reach such an awful conclusion, and publish on the web? I hope this stuff's still in beta, or alpha, or being coded in notepad between classes..

Woah there, though. Maybe a went a bit far. I think I can see a potentially useful tool here - "Competitors"! Let's take a look, and see who else is competing for little girl's dress up games. Perhaps if we can nail these guys, dressupgirl.net can rocket all the way to number 1. On MSN. So who's there?

http://www.rankmon.com/site/competitors/dressupgirl.net

Oh man, they're screwed! Wikipedia, Amazon, About.com, Yahoo!, NeXTaG, eBay. I suppose none of those guys are dedicated sources to dressing up games, and certainly should be easy to knock out of the water. But wait just a god damned minute - haven't we seen this list before?

BS exhibit (a)

So, congrats Rankmon. Your algorithm sucks.

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Good linkbait, Bad linkbait

Good linkbait is easy to find. Bad link bait isn't, because nobody links to it. Get it?

Good linkbait - an iPhone in a blender (how sensationalist can you get?)

Bad linkbait - anything involving paris hilton. Seriously, it's so bad, it gets a javascript link and a nofollow. uurrghh

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Pagerank

Pagerank is not important.

Pagerank is not important.

Ignore it now!

WHy isn't it important, I hear you cry. Easy.


  1. Public (toolbar) pagerank is utterly useless, unless you're selling links. Ignore it if you're buying. There isn't much you can do as a result of your pagerank - it's not something that generates actions for you. It's a scaling of a massive log-distributed curve into a 0-10 integer scale, plus an N/A value, and up to 4 months out of date at any one time. What on earth are you going to do with that?

  2. Although pagerank might buoy your rankings in Google, you'll never be able to define the precise effect of the pagerank of a single page.

  3. If you do raise your pagerank, the main effect will be that you simply hve higher pagerank, and not neccessarily have higher rankings, or traffic, or money. Just a higher number in a toolbar.

  4. It's really far too easy to pick up bought links, unless they're very well placed. Why buy a link in an effort to raise pagerank?

  5. Google listings (shock) aren't ordered by pagerank.

  6. Pagerank's not hugely important. I'd say, roughly 30% of your overall ranking score, based on nothing in particular. After all, it's just an openly disclosed algorithm for valuing links, inbound and outbound, based on a method for ranking academic papers; it doesn't see spam, or topics.

  7. Please ignore forum morons who say that a PR7 link will give them PR+1. Or forum morons who ask if two PR6 links will give them PR4. These questions indicated a need for immediate education - send them to the formal description / specification of pagerank. It's published by Google themselves, so they can just shut right up.



Thanks, that's all for today.

Friday, 6 July 2007

Custom PC

Take a look at this site.

http://www.kustompcs.co.uk/

It's really badly set up for SEO. Really, really badly. For example:


  • Who on earth searches for "kustom pc" instead of "custom pc"? Branding based on a misspelling is a big mistake.

  • If somebody does actually go for a "kustom" custom pc, surely they'd go for one - not many! so why would you buy kustompcs.co.uk? The targeted term here is "custom pc".

  • You can buy a custom PC from kustompcs.com or kustompcs.co.uk - great! The company's bought both domains. So why have they chosen to duplicate content between the sites, instead of set up a permanent redirect? Awful.

  • The title tag.. oh god, the title tag. This tag is critical. Once I placed an image-based form I was working on for a client on a test server, and used the name of the campaign for the title of the page. It happened that the form got spidered; when we went to review the progress of the client's site, our marketing guys found that my creative had stolen the number 1 spot for the name of the campaign, blowing the client's site out of the water. And what have these guys done with it? "Kustom PC's"? Not only can they not spell - the grammar's awful - but there aren't /any/ keywords in there! How about "Custom PC parts and builds at kustompcs.com". Easy. Child's play, in fact.


On top of this - no meta description, no h1, it's in tables (disrupting flow and stopping important content coming to the top), the left category nav uses javascript; problems, guys. No wonder you're so lowly ranked for Custom PC ;)

 
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