Live Coverage of Expert Technical Review of Your Website at SMX West

Feb 10, 2009 • 7:25 pm | comments (1) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Search Marketing Expo 2009 West
 

Below is live coverage of the Expert Technical Review of Your Website from SMX West 2009 conference.

This coverage is provided by Keri Morget of Morgret Designs.

We are using a live blogging tool to provide the real time coverage. We will publish the archive below after the session is completed. In addition, you can interact with us and while we are live blogging, so feel free to ask us questions as we blog.

Expert Technical Review of Your Website(02/10/2009) 
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4:33
Keri Morgret:  Site review panel is about to start. A lot of sites have been submitted, so we're going to go through things quickly.
4:34
Keri Morgret:  There won't be any pictures this session, as it broke the computer last time I tried.
4:34
Keri Morgret:  First site is motherearthnews.com.

4:35
Keri Morgret:  Magazine site, they want to sell subscriptions. Magazine about sustainable living, green things.
4:35
[Comment From @CoupDeGras]
Thanks for the coverage, Keri.
4:35
Keri Morgret:  Types of queries they'd like to be found for: solar, sustainable living, diy.
4:35
Keri Morgret:  @coupdegras You're welcome!
4:36
Keri Morgret:  They're ranking decently well for the queries, but wanted to see if the panel could come up with anything.
4:36
Keri Morgret:  Vanessa sees they have a lot of video, but that they can't submit a video site map since they don't host the video.
4:37
Keri Morgret:  Vanessa puts the title of the video above the video in the text. Instead of "featured video" put title and short description, transcript would be great too.
4:38
Keri Morgret:  Nathan Buggia sees a lot of good things on the site, including sitemaps defined in robots.txt. He likes the URL structure, they have relevant words, separated by hyphens, has a date in there. Call to action on home page is good.
4:39
Keri Morgret:  With javascript off, the search engines might not be able to get to all of the content featured on the home page (top five featured stories on the left).
4:40
Keri Morgret:  Vanessa suggests branding the title tag, adding Mother Earth News at the end of the title tag.
4:40
Keri Morgret:  The popups on the page are annoying to people, especially since they are on other pages. They do get more conversions from popups than they do people leaving, according to their analytics. They do run a/b split testing.
4:40
[Comment From @CoupDeGras]
Keri, are the tech panelists using specific tools to perform their analysis ?
4:41
Keri Morgret:  @coupdegras I think they're using secret search engine tools. =]

Vanessa's using just the regular ones she talked about last session.
4:42
[Comment From @CoupDeGras]
Secret !?!? I need to get back to the Convention Center to get the skinny. I love secrets...
4:43
Keri Morgret:  @CoupDeGras they're not showing any of the secret tools!
4:43
Keri Morgret:  Lots of compliments from the panel about the site.
4:44
[Comment From @CoupDeGras]
I like the layout on motherearthnews.com.
4:45
Keri Morgret:  Panel is disappointed, since they can't find any spam or major errors or stupid things with the site.
4:45
[Comment From @CoupDeGras]
It's a lot to absorb but the general layout looks pretty solid.
4:45
[Comment From @CoupDeGras]
Hah !
4:45
[Comment From @CoupDeGras]
Stump the panel!
4:46
Keri Morgret:  @CoupDeGras there are more sites to come, so I'm sure we'll see more fun.
4:47
Keri Morgret:  Vanessa reminds us that the robots.txt file contents is case sensitive. I've been bitten by this one. :(
4:48
Keri Morgret:  shoptoit.ca is the next site.
4:48
Keri Morgret:  Site is a canadian comparison search site.
4:48
[Comment From Robert Wright]
Mother Earth News should try positioning their best block of text at the top of the source so bots don't have to crawl through 1000+ lines of code to get to it (starting with: Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget)
4:49
[Comment From @CoupDeGras]
Did the panel speak to above the fold and below the fold positioning for content ?
4:50
Keri Morgret:  @CoupDeGras No, that hasn't been mentioned yet.
4:50
Keri Morgret:  Vanessa mentions that there are other versions of the site on different domains with more authority, and this may account for some of the indexing/ranking issues.
4:51
Keri Morgret:  Mocking Yahoo!
4:52
Keri Morgret:  They'd like their site to rank higher, so they earn more of the revenue, rather than the other sites rank, since they have to share revenue. But considering they're going up against places like Yahoo, it's going to be difficult. They need some more unique content.
4:53
Keri Morgret:  Blocking subdomains in robots may be a solution, but can also have problems. If you don't get the traffic, you might lose sales, if they don't come to your content instead of the blocked subdomain content.
4:53
Keri Morgret:  Maybe add some user generated content to their own site?
4:54
Keri Morgret:  It's on their list for this year to do user generated content, promotions on facebook, etc.
4:55
Keri Morgret:  With UGC, maybe start in small area instead of whole site.
4:55
Keri Morgret:  They're not always ranking the way they'd like for keywords.
4:55
[Comment From Robert Wright]
How often do they change their homepage title? it looks like every holiday? Not sure how healthy it is to swap out a homepage title frequently.
4:57
Keri Morgret:  Maybe changing Home to be something more descriptive, to help with anchor text as well when other people link to you as well.
4:57
Keri Morgret:  Might also try ranking for landing pages, like categories.
4:57
Keri Morgret:  Images are missing alt attributes.
4:58
Keri Morgret:  Vanessa suggests looking at site checklist.
4:58
Keri Morgret:  Their product pages to have a lot more alt tags.
4:59
Keri Morgret:  try to make meta descriptions more unique, instead of just one word differences for the category pages.
5:00
[Comment From @CoupDeGras]
Go Vanessa!
5:01
Keri Morgret:  His site has replaced ? and & with things like --. Search engines don't understand this, that it's actually dynamic. If they fix this, be sure to use redirects.
5:01
[Comment From Robert Wright]
Very little text for "context." Almost all text on homepage is hypertext. Maybe a paragraph up top just to establish context would be helpful.
5:02
Keri Morgret:  Do be aware that there might be a drop after a big change like this with the URL structure, but it's worth it.
5:03
Keri Morgret:  Vanessa has noticed that french and english version have same URL and cookie chooses which to show. The search engines can't index both pages.
5:04
Keri Morgret:  The two Nathans at the front are snickering about something but not telling us what.
5:05
Keri Morgret:  Nathan Buggia is asking why they changed the title tag text to Valentine's Day. Answer: Might be because they're grabbing it from CMS. Lasts 4-5 weeks usually.
5:06
Keri Morgret:  Using a 302 redirect, which can make it hard for search engines. SEs want to know what they're going to show users, they're not sure where it's going to go. Maybe instead have part of home page be dynamic?
5:06
[Comment From Robert Wright]
Why are all their product pages target=blank? how many times do they expect a visitor to close browsers (instances) after a visit? Bad for usability reputation?
5:07
[Comment From Benjamin]
HI
5:07
Keri Morgret:  Status code is returning 200 Apple instead of 200 OK. It's an Apple thing. Doesn't matter, but got some laughter.
5:11
Keri Morgret:  Talk about geotargeting and language crawling. Missed this part of the discussion.
5:11
[Comment From Robert Wright]
Is "English" and "USA" real keywords for them? Après Ski Beauty Collection - English USA
5:14
Keri Morgret:  talking about become.com now. They've had a bunch of pages disappear, and are also asking questions about their subdomain strategy.
5:14
Keri Morgret:  They use different subdomains for different categories, such as home-and-garden.become.com
5:16
Keri Morgret:  They don't have a html site map, but have a conceptual site map with the "similar queries" area.

Vanessa says Google doesn't want to index search results pages.
5:17
Keri Morgret:  Vanessa notices it's confusing, because they have their own product page, and you can also go to an external site.
5:17
[Comment From @CoupDeGras]
Small usability problem on top menu. Clicking 'Home and Garden' opens a sub-menu where you have to click on 'Home and Garden' again...?
5:18
Keri Morgret:  There are a lot of other pages indexed with the same description, 136 results for a long description for an individual item.
5:19
Keri Morgret:  Challenge that comparison shoping sites in general have is how to make them unique. Search engines want to show the best page to the user, why should your page show?
5:20
[Comment From @CoupDeGras]
ignore that last comment... looks like they planned it that way...
5:28
Keri Morgret:  Apologies for no blogging, it was my work site we were looking at.
5:28
Keri Morgret:  Looking at bobscycle.com. Wondering if they have a Google penalty, as they rank OK in Yahoo.
5:29
Keri Morgret:  My site was http://www.oercommons.org, had questions specifically about URL structure for queries.
5:31
Keri Morgret:  Back to bobscycle. Vanessa mentions lot of canonicalization issues.
5:31
Keri Morgret:  Google Nathan says to double and triple check the back links.
5:33
Keri Morgret:  Vanessa: If the Google rep is suggesting to check out X versus Y..check out X. :)
5:34
Keri Morgret:  Suggestion to look at directory and article submission that had been done for the company that this person may not be aware of.
5:35
[Comment From @CoupDeGras]
article submission ?
5:35
[Comment From Barry Schwartz]
going into overtime, eh?
5:36
Keri Morgret:  @CoupDeGras I'm not sure the exact details about article submission -- may have been something with marketing department.
5:38
Keri Morgret:  There are vendors out there that deal with backlinks that can maybe help, too.
5:38
Keri Morgret:  We're over time and shutting down.
5:38



 

Comments:

Robert

02/11/2009 12:45 am

They should try positioning their best block of text at the top of the source so bots don't have to crawl through 1000+ lines of code to get to it (starting with: Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget)

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