Live: Ask The SEOs

Oct 6, 2009 - 3:10 pm 0 by
Filed Under SMX East 2009

Below is live coverage of the Ask The SEOs from the SMX East 2009 conference.

This coverage is provided by Barry Schwartz of RustyBrick & Brian Ussery - Beu Blog.

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

Ask The SEOs(10/06/2009) 
3:12 Barry Schwartz:  Starting up session soon, @beussery is also here.
3:13 Barry Schwartz:  There are literally 8 people on this panel...
3:14 Barry Schwartz:  Ask The SEOs – PowerPoint Free! Put your questions about SEO to our panel of experts and get answers about ranking and crawling issues.

Moderator: Danny Sullivan, Editor-in-Chief, Search Engine Land


Greg Boser, President and CEO, 3 Dog Media
Bruce Clay, President, Bruce Clay, Inc.
Vanessa Fox, Contributing Editor, Search Engine Land
Todd Friesen, VP of Search, Position Technologies
Rae Hoffman, Owner, Sugarrae Internet Consulting
Stephan Spencer, President & CEO, Netconcepts
Aaron Wall, Author, SEO Book

3:17 Brian Ussery:  Danny asks Maile if she would like to stay for the SEO Q&A :)
3:21 Brian Ussery:  Danny says no link questions or ppc because this is for SEO. Vanessa offers to talk about food and cooking! :)
3:22 Barry Schwartz:  Got a US site, but also a Canadain site, but they have about the same content. And it is a subfolder, not on a .ca.
3:22 Barry Schwartz:  Set the Webmaster Tools to that local region
3:23 Barry Schwartz:  Long term, move the Canadian site to it's own ccTLD, i.e. to
3:23 Brian Ussery:  Vanessa says the fact that she Todd and Aaron agree is rare.
3:25 Brian Ussery:  Next question is about duplicate content and Stephan says be sure other versions point to canonical. Vanessa adds in to be sure links are absolute as in http://www......
3:26 Barry Schwartz:  Get a copyright for $45 for your site's content, FYI it does add up
3:26 Brian Ussery:  
Bruce Clay suggest copyright to protect content and avoid being out ranked by duplicate content.
3:27 Brian Ussery:  Danny says check out [dmca] on Google.
3:28 [Comment From davidnilsson]
What do I do if i got a page ranking well but it's the "wrong" page?
3:28 Barry Schwartz:  @david, I cannot submit the Qs for you. It is also a bit of a complex Q that requires someone to look at it.
3:29 [Comment From @mosquitohawk]
@davidnilsson - You could 301 redirect the "wrong" pages link juice to the "right" page, but a question to ask is, why is the "wrong" page outranking the other?
3:31 Barry Schwartz:  Rae said she "assumes" they use everything, in terms of using Analytics, Toolbar, etc as factors and it is beyond what we can comprehend.
3:31 Barry Schwartz:  Vanessa trusts Google more, go figure...
3:31 Brian Ussery:  Next question is will bounce rates, time on page and other be ranking factors from analytics data?

Vanessa - no
Todd - no but you should address bounce rate
Stephan - would look at toolbar before analytics
Rae - assume the do


3:32 Barry Schwartz:  Aaron adds that slow/bad servers can hurt your rankings
3:33 Brian Ussery:  Vanessa adds that Maile mentioned server issues earlier today...
3:33 Barry Schwartz:  Bruce said bounce rates are too easy to spam, so it isn't something he is worried about.
3:33 Brian Ussery:  Danny says Google could look at toolbar data....
3:33 Barry Schwartz:  Danny said, Google can use toolbar data, queries and if people click on results.. Note, danny said the can use it.
3:37 Brian Ussery:  Danny asks users to twitter about the quality of WIFI here.
3:39 Brian Ussery:  Vanessa takes next question about naming subdomains. She says it isn't really important in terms of ranking.

3:39 Barry Schwartz:  Vanessa Fox takes a shot at Yahoo saying they will "only be around for another second" ...
3:39 [Comment From Martin]
I have a web site that is in two languages - Turkish and English. If I get links to the English pages will the Turkish equivalents "piggyback" on those links?
3:40 Brian Ussery:  Can't believe Barry posted that :)
3:41 Barry Schwartz:  @martin lots of Qs for you before I answer that... for another time...
3:41 Barry Schwartz:  Greg is a sub domainer, he does it all the time... Just don't over do it.
3:43 Brian Ussery:  Greg says subdomains help section off your site. IE [microsoft]
3:43 [Comment From @mosquitohawk]
@Martin No. You can of course pass link juice from one to the other but in my opinion, you're not going to see any piggybacking between language pages. Best bet is to optimize the Turkish pages for people searching in Turkish, get links from other Turkish websites, etc. and vice versa for the English pages.
3:44 Brian Ussery:  Aaron suggests .org .net for brand protection. Danny illustrates for query [Google]
3:44 Barry Schwartz:  Danny shows off how Google uses subdomains for, etc
3:46 Barry Schwartz:  Any observations on the Caffinne Google update?
3:46 Brian Ussery:
3:46 Barry Schwartz:  FYI, the caffeine is more of an infrastructure change, new index, but not really a new algorithm
3:47 Barry Schwartz:  That link Brian posted is the caffeine index
3:47 [Comment From Martin]
@mosquitohawk Thanks. Better improve my Turkish :-)
3:47 Brian Ussery:  Todd believes caffeine has done little to impact rankings.
3:48 Barry Schwartz:  Greg is tracking it on a lot of queries, he has a tool comparing caffeine to the current live index
3:48 Brian Ussery:  Greg has seen some shifts and changes in rankings.
3:48 Barry Schwartz:  There are many differences and it is hard to draw all conclusions
  • No longer indented listings for some sites
  • Home page ranking above more relevant sub pages
3:49 Brian Ussery:  Barry brings up a good point, 3 or 4 time home pages have come up today as being a new trend.
3:49 Barry Schwartz:  Bruce said he found pages in caffeine that are older than pages in the normal google index. So normal Google index may be indexing faster than caffeine index.
3:49 Barry Schwartz:  Vanessa makes up an excuse for Google - Go Vanessa!
3:50 Barry Schwartz:  Todd says the obvious, only people looking at the caffeine update, are SEOs, so Google may be watching...
3:51 Brian Ussery:  Vanessa suggets these issues could be based on old data used....

Todd said it's because SEMs are the only folks looking....

Danny says it's due to Bing....
3:51 Barry Schwartz:  Danny also said there is a lot about Bing going on, so maybe this is a way for Google to show off...
3:52 Brian Ussery:  Danny reads next question, "What influences Google suggest?"

Todd suggests query [cash for gold]
3:54 Brian Ussery:  Stephan suggests that Google Suggest may not be correct in all cases.
3:54 Barry Schwartz:  Aaron said you can make your own suggestions by making something viral
3:55 Barry Schwartz:  He won't share examples with the audience.
3:55 Brian Ussery:  Aaron says domain name matching keyword term can be a big help. Aaron mentions Google patents on navigation queries
3:56 Barry Schwartz:  Todd makes an excellent point... With him it is more about online reputation management in Google Suggest... I just blogged about that yesterday...
3:56 Barry Schwartz:  i.e. [company name] sucks
3:57 Brian Ussery:  Vanessa says there is only so much webmasters can do to impact this feature.
3:58 Brian Ussery:  Aaron says "anything that saves folks money" can be good to include.
Twitterfrankmarcel:  RT @fabioricotta: Greg Booser said that position 1-3 in Google is very protected but 4-10 changes a lot #SMX // there´re always exceptions
4:00 Brian Ussery:  What is the difference between Alexa rank and PageRank?

Vanessa says they are both mythical made up numbers. :)

4:00 Barry Schwartz:  Alexa gathers info from people who use the Alexa toolbar, so it is skewed
4:00 Barry Schwartz:  PageRank is very out dated, very
TwitterBarbaraBoser:  Love hearing @dannysullivan rant at the podium - he always steals the show #smx
4:02 Barry Schwartz:  PageRank be concerened with white or gray (if gray, you do have a problem)
4:02 Brian Ussery:  Greg says Vanessa is going dark but Vanessa says everyone is going over to the sunny side.
4:02 Barry Schwartz:  Aaron said what the toolbar shows is not always what is true at Google.
4:03 Brian Ussery:  How can you be sure sites are crawled?
4:03 Barry Schwartz:  Vanessa Fox said submit sitemaps files, it cannot hurt you, but it does not replace good site design
Twitterexclusivetweet:  alexa is based on downloading the tool bar, it is skewed. Pagerank is not stable. Link diversity is most important #smx
TwitterBarbaraBoser:  Ehm why are we spending any time talking about Alexa ranking? #smx #whocares
4:04 Barry Schwartz:  FYI - these Tweets are from people tweeting about this session in the room
4:04 Brian Ussery:  Vanessa suggests an XML Sitemap and architecture. I'd add be sure your page loads quickly.
TwitterTopheratl:  I have said this before people who say Page Rank not mater are people with sites with low or no Page Rank #smx
4:05 Brian Ussery:  Tip from Vanessa: site operator can include dupes.

4:06 Brian Ussery:  Rae metions that the only way to noindex is via noindex.
4:07 Brian Ussery:  Bruce says XML sitemap added in robots.txt will result in a crawl but Vanessa says that shouldn't be the case.
4:08 Barry Schwartz:  Bruce Clay said Google indexed a site of his client even thought it was blocked by the robots.txt file, but then everyone said Bruce is wrong, they don't do that. But in reality, it is possble. Everything you can control, you should control.

Do Sitemaps, canonical, preferred domain, geo, etc.
4:08 Brian Ussery:  Todd says Google screws up all the time. Be sure to cross all your "t"s and dot all your "i".
4:11 Barry Schwartz:  Everyone agrees, use breadcrumbs on sites. But don't make the breadcrumb based on click path (dup content issue)...
4:11 Brian Ussery:  How do search engines crawl JavaScript? Vanessa mentions Maile's talk at IO (where she mentioned Google crawling onclick events in URLs and fragments when local).
4:12 Brian Ussery:  Should you leave redirected URLs from XML sitemaps? Answer is to wait
4:13 Barry Schwartz:  Don't pull the old URLs out of the Sitemap file until the search engine picks up the new urls.
4:15 Barry Schwartz:  People ask about Flash and SEO... It is almost impossible to make a whole Flash site, SEO friendly. I asked Vanessa to talk a bit about but she refused.
4:15 Brian Ussery:  Question about Flash, SWFObject and sIFR. No mention of Google's new #anchor indexing. Everyone seems to say not to use Flash navigation....
Twitterlogosamorbos:  RT @exclusivetweet panelists all advocate for breadcrumbs. do not architect them based on click path bc it is uncrawlable #smx
4:17 Barry Schwartz:  Todd recommends cloaking it, but there is huge risk. Server up an html site for the bot and a flash site for users. But that is against the search engines TOS.
4:17 Brian Ussery:  Bruce Clay says he uses Flash and doesn't care if the top nav is crawled.
4:18 Brian Ussery:  Todd doesn't seem to be a big fan of Flash.
4:19 Brian Ussery:  NEW QUESTION: How do you determine if a site is an authority?
4:19 Barry Schwartz:  Most people agree, if it has sitelinks, it is an authority
4:20 Barry Schwartz:  You can buy these sites and Aaron takes the mic, cause he seems to do a lot of that.
4:21 Brian Ussery:  According to all domain level authority can be passed but Todd mentions not to change whois information.
4:21 Barry Schwartz:  Greg said the "time factor" (referring to old sandbox) you cannot "fudge" so buying old sites might help...
4:21 Brian Ussery:  Vanessa says not changing whois is a little black hat.
4:21 Barry Schwartz:  Thing is, if you buy a domain, it might be 'reset' by Google.
4:22 Brian Ussery:  Vanessa says not changing whois is risky...
4:23 Brian Ussery:  NEW QUESTION, what is the dumbest SEO question you've seen?
4:24 Brian Ussery:  Vanessa mentions Google's new parameter tool in Google Webmaster Tools for dynamic sites.
4:25 [Comment From Wil Reynolds]
Sitelinks for an unbranded term or sitelinks at all.
4:25 [Comment From Michael Martinez]
Who did not agree on the sitelinks indicating "authority" (whatever that is)?
4:25 Brian Ussery:  Todd says the best way to report spam is to go to conferences and ask questions as if you were the spam site.
4:25 Barry Schwartz:  RE: Sitelinks, I think they meant "generic" keyword searches for results that show sitelinks
Twitterexclusivetweet:  How do you know if you site is authoritative? age is a huge factor, links #smx
TwitterTauraFigueiredo:  RT @fabioricotta "Everything you can control, you should control!" said Todd Friesen #SMX
4:27 [Comment From Michael Martinez] gets no sitelinks if I search on "congress".
4:27 Brian Ussery:  Rae doesn't like reporting spam because other folks might be impacted.
4:27 Barry Schwartz:  Rae gets very very made about spam reporting...
4:28 Barry Schwartz:  Yell
4:28 Barry Schwartz:  Biggest SEO mistake you have seen?
4:29 Barry Schwartz:  Rae saw someone submit a reviewer in a site clinic to review an RSS scraper site and Matt was there.
4:29 [Comment From @mosquitohawk]
Has she started cursing yet?
4:29 Barry Schwartz:  @mosquitohawk, yes
4:30 Brian Ussery:  Bruce Clay says he was between Matt (Google) and Yahoo when someone asked a question about their site. The site had a trademark phrase where every character was a link to another site....
4:30 Barry Schwartz:  Stephan said, same title on every page
4:30 Barry Schwartz:  Todd F. Bed Bath and Beyond has every title the same and every meta tag is the same...
4:31 Brian Ussery:  YES, 2400 lines of JS in the bb&b site.
4:31 Barry Schwartz:  Vanessa said it is somewhat common, the robots.txt is blocking the site form being indexed.
4:32 Brian Ussery:  Vanessa says this robots.txt issue is a big problem but so easy to fix.
4:33 Barry Schwartz:  In gaming industry, lots of geo targeting going on... they didnt realize googlebot comes from US ips, so they bounced GoogleBot and they whole site isbeing removed
4:33 Brian Ussery:  Greg mentioned a client who removed his site via GWT site removal tool.
4:33 Barry Schwartz:  Someone accidently used the page removal tool and removed the whole site.. i.e. they wanted to remove the www from the index, but it removed it all.
4:34 Barry Schwartz:  Google ranks Dogpile as the top search engine for "search engine" -- this is really old, but still funny
4:34 Brian Ussery:  Danny brings up using the same page TITLE (title element) and my favorite a Google query for [search engine].
Twitterscottclark:  I’ve seen crap sites with same title on each page outrank great sites with good SEO over and over and over. #smx
Twitterexclusivetweet:  spam reporting is not always worth it. you’re better off studying the spam. Google will actually look at all the top 10 results #smx
4:35 Barry Schwartz:  People really loved this session... that is all, thanks Brian!
4:35 Brian Ussery:  Time is up, thanks for joining us!



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