Home | Miscellany

Archives For Miscellany

I understand that we all make mistakes and emails get sent too early. What I don’t understand, however, is not sending an apology email.

The other day I received an email from 1-800-Contacts, who I have ordered replacement contact lenses from before, that clearly was sent too early. Here is the whole email. Check out the title!

As you can probably guess from my intro, I’ve received no apology email from 1-800-contacts for this sent email.

A good example

A few months ago I received an email from Hootsuite that was sent out in error. Here is the apology email that was sent out that gave me more respect for Hootsuite:

Thanks, Hootsuite! This email served a couple of functions:

  1. To apologize for spamming my email; and
  2. To build goodwill that Hootsuite is willing to admit their mistakes.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is exactly how it should be done.

Is SEO a team sport?

SEOs are often known individually in the industry, not necessarily for who they work for (though it is great when the company pushes the SEO into the spotlight, and the SEO gives love back to the company).

At the beginning of my SEO career, I assumed that everyone had skills in all areas of SEO, and that they could take care of everything on their own. SEO seems to attract the jack-of-all-trades technology and marketing people.

But is this true?

Have we forgotten to heed the advice of the great John Donne, “No man is an island”?

Code for Food

3 Reasons to Work Together

There are many reasons to work together and collaborate. Here are my top 3:

  1. Your work improves. If you have a trusted “other” to lean on, who will look over your work carefully and provide quality and careful correction, your output will be of higher quality.
  2. Shared responsibility. Hopefully you will have coworkers who can do the tasks that they are most skilled at, while you can focus on the tasks in which you excel.
  3. They can help you out on a bad day. If you have a tough day and are finding it hard to be motivated, a good coworker can pick you up and help you. Coworkers can be invaluable friends.

Being a Solo SEO is not possible

One could even argue that a “solo SEO” is not even a possibility. Even when you are working alone in your office, I bet you have others that you collaborate with and learn from. This is the importance of the SEO social communities and helpful forums, such as Twitter and the SEOmoz Pro Q/A. You could even include Quora in this list.

I posed a question to my friend Tom Harari, who I have collaborated with on some projects, and who was working on a team by himself. Here is what he said about working alone as an SEO:

As for reaching out to other SEOs outside of the SEOmoz Pro community, Twitter and SEO meetups were huge, more so Twitter though. I’ve asked Wil Reynolds, Tom Critchlow, Kris Roadruck, Ross Hudgens, and countless others direct SEO issue questions and have gotten quality responses or resources where to find an answer.

I think as an SEO in general, and as a beginner SEO, if you’re not utilizing Twitter you are severely hurting yourself. It’s not for follower count, though that’s a nice bonus. I see Twitter as a live information feed with the best articles being shared by the big names in our industry and the ability to interact in real time with them is priceless.

I also asked on Twitter, and Derek Mabie made an interesting point about teamwork being more necessary for brands and consultants. I think I agree, that it is more possible to be a solo SEO as an in-house SEO than as a consultant. This is, however, just conjecture and my gut feeling.

Some of us may be thinking that in-house SEOs need a team as well, since you are more hands-on with the websites. I think this is partially true, but being an in-house SEO, especially alone, will force you to learn many new skills. But even so, you still need a community to ask questions of.

Resources

Popular consensus seems to tell us that all SEOs need a place to ask questions. Here are the places I recommend:

If you are interested in a comparison of in-house vs agency SEOs, there is a great post here from David Karalis at SEER Interactive.

Your Turn

What are your thoughts? Is SEO more effective when done on a team? What advantages do you see to working alone? What resources have you found to be helpful when learning SEO, and when you have questions?

Distilled UK*Note – this post contains no SEO tips or tricks or ideas. It’s strictly informational and I am extremely excited about it*

It seems that I mention Distilled quite a bit on my blog. I accuse them of stealing my page titles, I recapped their London conference, and today I must mention them again.

Why?

Because I am joining Distilled and moving to New York to work with Tom Critchlow and some others in the new East Coast office!

This is supposed to show excitement. Photo from Flickr

I am unbelievably excited by this opportunity. Ever since I started full-time in the SEO world six months ago, after a background in web development, software customer support, and running a book publishing company in Switzerland, I have read as much as I can about SEO and tried to engage with as many people as possible on Twitter. Of course, the good people at Distilled have been a huge part of this.

I am excited to work alongside Tom Critchlow and to have access to working with some large brands, building and executing SEO strategies. I know Tom will challenge myself and the rest of the team every day. I also think that moving to New York is a great opportunity for Distilled, and for me personally, to plug into the technology world. We’ll start out small and grow as we need to grow.

What I’ll Be Doing

I will be an SEO Consultant in the New York City office, working directly with clients on strategies for improving their visibility in the Search Engines Results Pages (SERPs for the non-SEOs reading this) as well as driving more traffic to their websites while increasing conversions. Our goal is to work with these websites and brands to improve their online presence as it relates to their overall company direction.

The Distilled Culture

Distilled is all about hiring the best people to work in the best company. They are constantly striving to be better. Part of this happens through unique and interesting ways to motivate employees, in ways that do not feel like motivation.

Tom wrote a great post over on OnStartups (that I commented on) about a few of the internal memes. Distilled has a Duck of Awesomeness that is passed around the office when someone does something awesome (duh).

I also recently found out that they have a Robot of Ownership, which is also passed around when someone takes ownership of an issue/problem or finds a cool new way of doing things, or generally just owns at life. Here’s a sweet picture that Justin Briggs sent to me the other day:

The Robot of Ownership

NYC is Hiring!

Are you a super cool person who is smart, hard working, passionate about technology and the Interwebz, communicates well with others, and wants to do cool things with their career?

The New York City office is hiring! You should apply NOW.

Reading_graphicI’ve been asked a few times what blogs I have been reading to increase my knowledge of SEO. I’ve decided to put together a list here of blogs that I subscribe to via RSS.

The Lucky 13 Blogs I Read via RSS

SEOmoz: If you don’t know that SEOmoz has an incredible blog with the smartest minds in the industry sharing their great thoughts and actionable tips, you’ve probably been living under a rock for the past few years.

YOUmoz: YOUmoz is SEOmoz’s user generated blog, where users can submit their own studies and thoughts. If the post is well received by the community, it will be upgraded to the main blog.

Distilled: (disclosure: I was recently hired as an SEO Consultant at Distilled, but I have been reading their blog for many months) Distilled’s blog contains the thoughts from the many excellent SEOs and thinkers who work there. I have always found the tips contained here to be incredibly useful.

Michael Gray: Michael Gray is a great SEO who writes some very useful content. He also repurposes a lot of his old stuff onto Twitter, so you can find his old writings easily.

Search Engine Watch: SearchEngineWatch brings news about all things search, and not just Google. They offer interesting news and insights into local, global, and international SEO. If you want to keep up on the broader news of search, subscribe to this blog.

Search Engine Journal: SearchEngineJournal is action-oriented and frequently publishes articles containing useful tools to investigate to make your SEO life easier.

Copyblogger: If you care about SEO copywriting, Copyblogger can bring some value to your Reader.

Google Webmaster Central Blog: All SEOs should follow the Google Webmaster Central Blogspot blog. Here you receive updates directly from the Google team.

Outspoken Media: Lisa Barone writes some interestingly actionable tips about SEO, as well as live blogs many conferences. There is a constant stream (and balance) of useful information and good writing.

Dave Naylor’s SEO Blog: Dave Naylor’s (based in the UK) blog is not updated too frequently, but every new article contains good tips.

SEO by the Sea: Bill Slawski (a fellow Virginian) keeps us up-to-date about more interesting search news. He is known to post about new Google patents and other parts of the industry that not many others have the wherewithall to cover.

Yoast (for WordPress): If you have developed anything using WordPress, you should follow Yoast. He is known best in SEO circles for his Yoast SEO plugin (which I use on this site and think is amazing), but he also brings good news and has some entertaining (and valuable) rants.

What About You?

What about you? What blogs do you subscribe to via your RSS/Google Reader to keep you up-to-date about industry happenings as well as to learn new information? Leave them in the comments and provide the value to the rest of us!

I have recently been reading a book called “Escape From Cubicle Nation” by Pamela Slim (and forward by Guy Kawasaki). Pamela was a corporate consultant for years, and eventually realized that her passion lay with helping those trapped in “cubicle nation” rediscover their creative side and, if their idea was good enough, providing actionable tips for leaving the office and becoming a thriving entrepreneur.

I’m not going to talk about entrepreneurship here. I am going to talk about Pamela’s ideas for opening the “creative floodgates” as she calls them on page 50 of the book.

What are creative floodgates?

No matter who you are (and especially linkbuilders, you should listen up), you get tired eventually. We all have bad and tired days (mine are called “before 10am everyday”), but we cannot let those stop us from being productive for our bosses and/or clients.

Creative floodgates are the doors to our creative sides that must be re-opened from time to time. Sometimes they are wide open naturally and traffic is flowing smoothly. Sometimes, however, they are jammed up and bottlenecked. Something needs to be done to get traffic flowing again. So how do you remove the metaphorical tollbooth (the one on I-76 outside of Philadelphia is the one I have in mind specifically…) that is jamming up your creative floodgates?

Pamela’s Ideas

Pamela has a few actionable tips for strategies to take to open up your creative floodgates each day.

  • Morning Pages: Pamela suggests writing 3 pages every morning when you wake up. Now, this sounds horrible to me, as I hate mornings (read the 10am comment above) and cannot function without coffee, but I bet it would work. I may integrate this into my life.
  • Walk through a new part of town: We all have our set routines and ways we walk or drive to work, Pamela says. Break out of those. Walk home a new way from lunch and look at the different buildings. Pay attention to the smells. Recharge.
  • Play hot-warm-cold at an art museum: Pamela suggests going to an art museum/gallery and going to only the photos that really grab you and feel hot to your senses. Let them revive you. (This is a great suggestion if you live in a city.)
  • Document anything interesting with your camera: Take your camera and go on a short photo walk. If the way a leaf sits on a fence grabs you, take a photo. See someone with pink hair? Grab a photo. Don’t worry about the quality, worry about the creativity and going with your feelings.
  • Surf the Internet using tools like StumbleUpon: Use something like StumbleUpon (yes, there are uses other than linkbuilding :-) ) to discover new interesting websites.
  • Get physical: Go for a brisk walk. Do some yoga. Stretch your legs. Take a dance class. Some of these must happen outside of work, but the point is to build creative activity into your lifestyle.

A few of my own

  • Edit photos: I have taken a lot of lifestyle photos in my travels. Sometimes I have to sit back at my desk, open up my iPad, and edit a few photos. I don’t feel bad about it, because it is a mental break that helps me be more productive. I just make sure not to take too much time, but I take enough to refresh my brain.
  • Listen to music: This one is obvious, but it’s worth listing. I listen to Pandora or TheSixtyOne. I also here Spotify is good (thanks Gianluca!) In Pandora you can set up custom stations of types of music (I have everything from Kanye to Metallica), and on TheSixtyOne I like setting the playlist to a certain mood (usually Happy or Rocky for me). It works.
  • Ping pong: My current workplace has a ping pong table. Sometimes when I am really backed up in the creativity department, I’ll challenge a coworker to a game. 15 minutes later, after I’ve demolished them, it’s back to work and my brain is running free.

Apply this to SEO

SEO is a delightfully creatively technical field, I find. Some days you have your creative marketing hat on, other days you have your data hat on. Both require creativity. How will you bolster yours in order to be better at your job?

We always talk about “automating” in the SEO sphere. I’m not talking down on that at all, but if that is our full picture, it is reductionistic. We must engage all of our being (mind, body, feelings) into our work to be truly great, I think.

A Few Cool Tools

For the gadget-geek in all SEOs, there are a few cool things that we can do around the office to to keep our creativity going.

First, have a whiteboard near you. Have something to draw on. The SEER Interactive office has pillars that are chalkboards so that they can sketch out an idea when the impetus strikes. Here’s a picture (taken from their site):

Chalkboard Pillars

Maybe think about investing in a GeckoBoard, or some sort of statistic counter that will keep you motivated and excite you to implement your next project even more successfully.

gecko board

Screenshot from www.geckoboard.com

Rob Ousbey of Distilled tweeted today about these cool glass boards to draw on called Clarus Boards. Classy and gives you a place to sketch out ideas.

Share Your Creative Muse!

What keeps you creative in your SEO work? In your daily life? Share with us in the comments.

I’m a search marketer. It’s what I do. I’m also a human being. It’s what I (as the philosophers like to say) be. I write this as both.

The meta description, it seems, has long been a way that search engines have figured out what a website is about and they have used is information when ranking a website in the search engine results pages (from here on, SERPs). Less-than-ethical SEOs figured this out pretty quickly, along with the meta-keywords tag (now essentially defunct), and have used the tag to stuff in keywords and essentially spam, or trick, or game (insert descriptor here) the SERPs.

The description tag, however, has historically served two roles. One was for the search engines, but the other use is user-oriented. The meta description tag, you know, is the description of the website that is shown in the SERPs to searchers when they see your site. At least, this WAS the case, until recently.

The meta description tag is dying in its current form, but it will never be dead, I do not think. Let’s investigate.

Google’s State of the Description

Google is now saying that they reserve the right to update either your page title (here) or your meta description, depending on the search query used to find your article/page.

This means your page titles and descriptions are not safe. Once again, the ethical search marketers, who are using meta descriptions to try to drive more qualified traffic and improve CTRs (click through rates) have been screwed by the practices of spammers who used to stuff their keywords into the descriptions.

Here is an example from Sphinn where the given meta description is not used. Instead, the title is used again, with ellipses added:

Good for user experience? I don't think so.

Thanks, guys. A big thanks.

So what can be done?

Thankfully, Google has given webmasters two different meta tags that can “suggest” to search engines that you do not want them to use other page titles or meta descriptions. I will be talking about these more in-depth eventually, as in the specifics of what they do, but I will describe them here.

NOODP: NOODP stands for No Open Directory Project. This tag tells Google that you do not want them to use the description of your site that is listed in DMOZ, if your site is listed. (sneak preview: this tag may have some effect even if you are not listed…)

NOYDIR: NOYDIR stands for No Yahoo Directory. Basically it serves the me function as NOODP, but applies to Yahoo (and I guess Bing).

You are also about to restrict specific search engine bots from indexing.

To restrict Googlebot, use this:
<meta name=”googlebot” content=”noodp”>
To restrict only Yahoo bot, use this:
<meta name=”slurp” content=”noydir”>
You can restrict both in a succinct way with this code:
<meta name=”robots” content=”noodp,noydir”>

Many WordPress themes have this built in. Others of us use Yoast SEO or a similar plugin for it.

Recommendations

I do recommend using both of these tags on your site, to attempt to preserve the integrity of the information you have so carefully entered into these meta descriptions. Also, be sure to do enough linkbuilding to the specific pages that you want to rank for specific terms so that your optimized page title and well-crafted description will have the best chance of showing correctly.

As always, do some testing, see what works, and adopt the best practices.

Open Letter to Spammers

John Doherty —  April 11, 2011

I would love to just write this:

Dear Spammers,

Go away.

Sincerely,

John

I cannot however, because I have mixed feelings about spammers.

Background

Today this site was hit with some massive spam by someone labeling themselves Betus Promotion Code. This is betting/gambling website that I guess is trying to achieve rankings through comment spam, hoping that their nofollowed (at least on my site) profile names in comments will help them rank.

Let me be clear: I do not like spammers. However, I do respect a lot of blackhat (and dark greyhat, I guess) SEOs, for a couple of different reasons.

Why I Respect BlackHat

I respect blackhat because let’s face it, those guys are brilliant. You really have to know your code and craft in order to maliciously inject hidden links into websites without their knowledge. In fact, I even think JCPenney’s “SEO” company that was buying links all over the place and achieved #1 rankings for so many terms was brilliant, because they did it for so long without anyone knowing.

Whenever I hear blackhat SEOs speak, I am always mesmerized and impressed by what they can do. When I saw Martin MacDonald build 1.4 MILLION links to Distilled’s website (as a show of what he can do, not what he does do), I was unduly impressed. I was speechless, in fact.

Now, do I approve of these tactics? Of course not. They give the SEO industry a bad name when they are caught and stories are thrown across the Internet (think of JCPenney and Overstock). I don’t like that when SEO was portrayed on CBS’ The Good Wife that the character was labeled a “spammer.” Is that the name our industry has?

Blackhat SEOs think in creative ways as well. In spite of what we might say, or want to believe, they use interesting ways to exploit weaknesses in other websites, and apply these tactics to the same problems that so called “whitehat” SEOs are trying to solve. They simply do it in different ways.

Why Blackhat SEO is Necessary

Blackhat SEO is necessary, in my opinion, because it keeps the good guys in business when the bad guys are caught. Those of us who try to work ethically, earn our links, produce content that is of value and relevant, who desire to build and work with websites who treat others well and want to provide a good experience, also have the opportunity, and challenge, to educate companies about what it takes to win, and to win well for a long time.

If we build sustainable SEO strategies and set companies up for longterm success (which is what all companies should strive for, in my opinion), then we are doing a service to these companies. Also, creating these strategies takes a lot of hard work. It is much more expensive and time consuming to have a team of creative linkbuilders, graphic designers, and IT people working together to dream up, create, and distribute valuable content. It seems much easier, albeit requiring a lot of other skills, to spin content and inject hidden links. Press a button once you have found the target websites, spin your content, automatically create your profiles, and go grab a coffee.

I’m sorry, but that’s not the kind of work I could be proud of.

Risk Talk

Let me end this diatribe by saying that I agree with this article on Sphinn. I think we need to stop using “hats” and talk about “risk.” One of the commenters even went so far as to say “If there’s risk, it’s not SEO, it’s just web spam.” I don’t know if I would go this far, but I would say that risky SEO is just that. It’s not only risking the websites these people are working with, but it is also risking (or contributing to the already existing) the name of our industry.

On Monday, my post entitled “How Distilled Stole My Page Title” went around the Twittersphere. It was interesting to see the feedback and there were a lot of comments from a lot of people I respect. Read the comments here.

Now I run into an issue. I’ve never confronted something like this before, and I want to test in order to see what will cause the page title to change back in Google.

I need your help testing

How should I proceed with the testing? The first test is already in place. I unapproved the comments that Jen from SEOmoz thinks may have been contributing:

This test has been in place for 24 hours. It does not seem that Google has cached the page yet, but according to @rosshudgens:

The title has changed a bit. You can see that there is now a new “- The” in the title:

Compare to before:

I am going to run this test until tomorrow morning. Now the question becomes “What do I test next?”

Take the poll and help me out!

What Should I Test?

  • Request others to add links to the post with anchor text (40%, 4 Votes)
  • Ask Distilled to change the anchor text (30%, 3 Votes)
  • Apply both NOODP and NOYDIR to the site (20%, 2 Votes)
  • Get lots of people to search "John Doherty Distilled Linklove Conference" (suggestion via @billsebald) (10%, 1 Votes)
  • Apply NOODP to the site (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Apply NOYDIR to the site (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Other (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 10

Loading ... Loading ...

If you select “Other”, please tell me in the comments what you suggest.

Thanks everyone! I’ll be publishing my findings once all this is done!

Sitemap (n): A file placed on your web server, in XML format, to alert search engines to a website’s existing pages. Submitted manually to search engines using Webmaster Tools.

I just made up that definition, but it is also deceptive. I’ve been in web development for about 5 years, and I still hate sitemaps. At least, I did. I do sometimes.

Sitemaps can be incredibly helpful for websites, especially new websites, when trying to be discovered and ranked by search engines. They can be easy or terribly difficult to create, depending on the size, scope, and format of your website. I’ll cover this in a later post.

Basic Sitemaps for Beginners

Sitemaps for indexing, and therefore SEO, purposes are created in XML (eXtensible Markup Language) format. To learn more about the format for XML sitemaps, read this article on Sitemaps.org, the first result when you search “xml sitemap format”, and a surprisingly good resource for beginning.

A sitemap can, and possibly should, be generated every time you update your website by adding a new content page or blog post. Sitemaps should be placed in the root folder of your domain (so if your website is http://littlebluewidgets.com, your sitemap path should read http://littlebluewidgets.com/sitemap.xml).

Now, this is not an error-proof way of telling the search engines that you have a sitemap or that they should look for it. After all, if they have not yet found your site, a sitemap simply being placed in your root folder is not going to do you any good. You should use the search engine webmaster tools.

Webmaster Tools

Both Google and Bing have been nice enough to provide webmasters (and SEOs) with Webmaster Tools. Google’s is found here and Bing’s is found here. You must register your website with each tool and then place the given code into your site’s header (or use Yoast SEO for WordPress to do it automatically on your WordPress blog). Wait a few minutes (I usually wait a couple hours) and then verify your site.

Once inside, find the Sitemaps area where you can submit the path of your sitemap on your website.

Google

To find the sitemaps area in Google, simply log into your Webmaster account and click your website. Once the Dashboard appears, click “Submit a Sitemap”, which is found in the lower right-hand corner of the page.

Click "Submit A Sitemap" to move to the Sitemaps page

When you move to the Sitemaps window, click the “Submit A Sitemap” button and the below window will appear:

Google Sitemaps Window

Click "Submit A Sitemap" and enter your sitemap path

If you have entered the correct path, you should see a green check mark under the Status column.

Now on to Bing!

Bing

Submitting a sitemap to Bing is a bit trickier. Once you sign into Bing Webmaster Tools and select your website, you will land on the Dashboard page. Click the “Crawl” section, which is just to the right of “Dashboard” on the top navigation.

Bing Dashboard Screenshot

Click "Crawl" to move to the next step.

Once in the Crawl section, click “Sitemaps” on the left side of the screen:

Bing Crawl Webmaster Tools

Click "Sitemaps" to progress to the next step

Then click “Add Sitemap” and the following screen will appear:

Sitemaps for Beginners

Enter your sitemap path into this box

As long as your sitemap is in its proper place and you designate the correct path, you should see “Success” under the “Status” column.

Conclusion

I have taken you through the steps to submit your sitemap to the main search engines, Google and Bing. I highly recommend that you use a website CMS or blogging platform that allows you to automatically generate and submit your sitemap to the search engines.

I personally use Yoast SEO for WordPress, which I use to update the sitemap (I’ll be doing so directly after this post goes live) and ping Google and Bing to alert them that I have updated my website. This increases the likelihood of your new content being indexed.

Questions? Comments? Leave them in the Comments section!

Do you ever long for the days of 1950′s or 1960′s America, where most Americans lived in small towns, walked to the corner store for groceries, knew their neighbors across the white picket fence, and used word-of-mouth as their gauge for knowing where to eat and who to do business with? I think we’re heading back this way with the advent of brands and, in my work circle, brand SEO.

A Bit of Explanation

A lot of talk in SEO circles recently has revolved around domain and author authority. Bing’s Director recently said on SEOmoz’s White Board Friday that they are taking author authority into account as a ranking signal. Matt Cutts, head of Google’s Anti-Spam team, has also said that author and domain authority are ranking factors for GOOG’s SERPs.

The recent talk I just referred to is brands. More namely, the increased importance of brands on the Internet, of recognizeable, established brands that have earned the right to speak in their specific space. When I talk about smartphones, what brand come to mind? When I mention MP3s, what brand? How about tablet computers? What makes this brand stand out? Yes, they make great products (I’m writing this post on one), but what else?

Why Are Brands Good?

My answer to the above questions? Transparency. Openness. No, I am not talking about throwing all possible ideas out into public for everyone to see. I’m talking about Steve Jobs responding to customer emails (even if they’re not always nice). I’m talking about Bing’s Director, Stefan Weitz, talking to Rand Fishkin on White Board Friday. Shoot, I’m even talking about SEOmoz’s TAGFEE code of conduct.

Brands encourage openness. Personal openness, fiscal openness, corporate openness (treating employees well comes to mind). Over the past decade, and especially the last 3 years, America has been rocked by corporate scandal after corporate scandal. Enron. The 2008 US recession. Circuit City. Obviously the idea that corporations should keep all expense sheets, CEO salaries, and employee bonuses behind closed doors has not worked.

How Might Brand SEO Look?

Brand SEO will also have to involve transparency from the practitioners. I think that as established physical brands increasingly move to the online space (and there is talk that they should not), they should be more concerned than JCPenney was about their marketing professionals and online reputation. This will involve a greater push by the internal marketing execs to have more oversight over their contractors and consultants, which in the end will provide a more robust ethical approach to search, business, and marketing.

How will the details of brand SEO be different from current day? Maybe they will not differ significantly, but I would bet that the practice of buying links will become less widespread, as more SEO professionals seek to be white-hat because of the increased exposure, which we have seen in recent weeks, when the dark-arts practitioners are caught. I think linkbuilding will become more of an art, requiring skilled writers and PR professionals, which will also cause SEOs to become more well-rounded than currently (which is saying something).

Concluding Thoughts

I love working in SEO. I get frustrated when I have to keep things secret, when I have to try to cover someone’s unwillingness to be transparent about their business. I think using brand recognition and authority, and thus author authority and recognition, as ranking signals will make our lives, and search results, better because some voices, the trusted voices, will count more than others. We can no longer trust a number (PageRank) because it can be tricked.

We once again have to trust people. Yes, we trust that these people have not been paid by someone to endorse a product, and also have to trust that even if they have been, they would not agree to the money unless they truly believed in the product. We are returning to the spirit of the days when we would call Mom when wonding where we should eat, instead of stopping a stranger on the street to ask their input, which is essentially what we have been doing with many search engine results.

Long live brands, I say. These are exciting times.