Friday, August 28, 2009

HTML 5 and SEO

It's a busy Friday but the HTML 5 draft just ramped up another level and it’s too exciting not to brain storm some SEO impact.

First off; death to frames!

HTML 5 will not support <frame>, <iframe> and <noframes>. It’s bad for accessibility notes the W3. It’s a nightmare for SEO too.

That said there are some people who try and PageRank sculpt via iframes. If you’re doing that now then you’ll better be working on plan B.

Page Structure

HTML 5 proposes some changes to the page structure. I’m a little worried that they’ll be ignored.

Rather than just having a <head> and a <body> we’re now also given <section> for generic sections but also <article> for articles. The W3 suggests that <article> should be used for blog posts or newspaper articles. Already I can see shades of grey where I wouldn’t be sure whether to use <section> or <article> or perhaps you use <section> inside <article>.

I should stress again that I’m writing this on the fly after just a quick run through of the spec so may have missed where W3 explain the logic of this.

I did spot that <article> is designed to be used together with <h1> -> <h6> tags. As a result I think we’ll see more web devs building in the <hx> tags into their site design. This is good but I also suspect they’ll be harder to get changed.

What could impact SEO if enough sites start to use the tags correctly are the additions of <nav> and <footer>. As you’d expect <nav> denotes text and links that make up your main navigation and <footer> makes up the footer. If I was Google I’d certainly consider treating links in the <nav> differently from links in <footer>.

The <hr /> tag is used to break up thematic elements. I still think you’d be better off having one keyphrase per URL than trying a format that looked like <section>keyphrase #1<section><hr /><section>keyphrase #2</section> but we’ll have to see how the draft progresses.

HTML 5 also introduces <aside> as a way to make an aside and this seems like an ideal solution to making a relevant but off topic comment. In other words, <aside> may be used to keep pages interesting without losing their focus.

If you’re beginning to wonder whether you should put your blog comment section in an <aside> area then you’ll have to wrestle with that and the <dialog> element designed for, yeah, dialogs.

There more on HTML 5 here.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Microsoft apologies for fruits having sex

I may be mixing up stories about Microsoft and Haribo but this picture looks photoshopped to me.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Not impressed with the Google Reader Power Readers

Google have bundled and packaged up some Power Readers as exemplars for Reader.

I'm a raving Reader fan but, really, this effort is entirely underwhelming. Why would I care about a bunch of US centric feeds?

Google is listed on an American stock exchange. Most of Google revenues from the States (the UK being the only country big enough, in revenue terms, to warrant its own mention in the financial data). Google's HQ is in America.

I'm not saying Google isn't allowed to be American.

It's my sense that Google aspires to a global scope though. We've recently seen them open an active EU policy blog where they've tackled issues such as privacy. Isn't it a step backwards to use a global platform like Reader to push forward an exclusively American recommendation.

Google's on good terms with many UK and EU newspapers. I know this first hand. The Power Readers would have been global if Google had managed to get just a few extra people in - someone from the FT? Easy. Someone from the Guardian? Easy. Someone from Le Monde? Easy.

I suspect I may be somewhat out on a limb on this one. What do you think? Are the recommendations too American centric? Is this even a bad thing?

Monday, August 24, 2009

SEOmoz ranking factors 2009

SEOmoz have released their SEO Ranking Factors chart for 2009.

I'm pleased to see that I'm among many UK search professionals. SEOmoz are a well traveled bunch and I think that's one of the reasons they're good at what they do. They do get to see the best of the world has to offer.

Next year Europe can aspire to get some more mainland professionals in the chart. I can think of some people in Germany, Spain, Italy, France and Scandinavia who'd have some useful insight.

Congratulations to SEOmoz for all the effort behind this piece of SEO research!

Ranking Factors Badge

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Confused and Gio Compario

Well known price comparison site GoCompare is currently running a TV campaign which features an opera singer and a 'go compare' car insurance song. The character's name is "Gio Comparario". The ads are pretty much a response to Compare the Market's meerkat success.

What caught my eye is They're poking fun at one of the jokes in the ad. "How much do you think he costs?" asks one of the actors, "He's only a tenor," says his mate. Boom. Boom. are bidding against the name - a good idea given the state of the organic results. GoCompare don't rank for the character and their site isn't launched yet.

Their ad text reads;

Forget tenors, you could save
over £205 with

The Confused ad runs through tracking site so either The Search Works, an agency using Searchware or a Tradedoubler affiliate is responsible for the ad.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Oh no. Yahoo Pipes to loose Term Extraction

Yahoo! Pipes visual interfaceImage by Tom Raftery via Flickr

A lot of people have Yahoo Pipes on death watch simply because they're a Yahoo product which make no money.

Yahoo Pipes is incredibly popular. Well. Um. I like it and the data I've at hand suggests it is a well used service.

Today Yahoo have announced they'll be discontinuing the Term Extractor module.

This was an excellent module. It would let you look at a blog title or comment and distill it down to keywords. That would then let you, for example, sort through lots of blog posts automatically to look for keywords that interested you and were significant in the blog post. In effect you could jury rig a basic monitoring tool if you wanted too.

Why is Term Extractor module going? We can only assume this is due to the Bing deal. Yahoo are winding down their search engine and that technology must have been a key element in the module. The module is likely to have been an expensive one for Yahoo to run.

Hopefully this will be the only hit Yahoo Pipes takes. It will worry developers who may now start to consider alternatives (if they hadn't been already). What do you think? Is Yahoo Pipes doomed?

Update: Yahoo have listened to the community and decided to keep this module. Rar.

Friday, August 07, 2009

You have been rate limited. Enhance your calm.

After doing no more than five or six Twitter searches this morning I find myself stuck behind a rather bland "no you don't" screen from Twitter. The message reminds me very much of dialog from Firefly.

I suspect it's all part of Twitter's struggle against the DDoS. They may just clawing back resources or it may suggest the search site is also included in the assault.

And they say teenagers don't tweet #welovekevinjonas

I think he's some squeaky clean American pop idol. A teen sensation.
We Love Kevin Jonas is a trending term on Twitter. You might wonder what the world of tweets would talk about as the site fights against a Russian DDoS and now you know; the Jonas Brothers.

If you check now a lot of the tweets supporting this trend are nothing but spam. The original tweet-surge rose in conjunction with 'Fly With Me'. If teens aren't a recognisable presence on Twitter then this is an odd result indeed. It may be 4chan.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Cool Outbrain ads for bloggers

Imagine my surprise when I noticed ads on this blog! It's all going to charity and too cool to opt-out of. If you don't see the ads then it's because they're not targeted to you.

What on Earth am I talking about? I use Outbrain to provide the star/rating system for my posts. As this is a blog and not Wordpress I don't have YARPP and use Outbrain instead. It's in these related posts that the ads have started to appear.

I think I know how this works. Advertisers use blogs to connect possible customers to other good editorial content. If a blog is saying something cool about you - then wouldn't it be great to give that blog post some oomph. Outbrain does this. It also does this openly and with the ad disclaimed (an interesting ethical point when compared to link building on behalf of positive blog coverage).

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

An average man spends a year ogling women - and other crowd sourced steals

Apparently The Sun has a clever article today in which research which suggests that the average UK male spends a year of his life looking at women. I've not read it. In fact, I had to look twice to see where the news came from.

Google passively suggested this article to me. It wasn't in response to a search. It was in response to the fact that a number of people had marked the repeat of the story on The Times of India as "liked" on Google Reader.

If I was The Sun's mastermind behind that story then I might be annoyed. I might say that The Times of India stole the story from me. I might also be annoyed at my readers. Why didn't 8 of them mark the story as "liked" via their Google Reader?

Questions of readership demographic come up, don't they? I think it's safe to say that the average The Sun reader is a very different sort of reader than the average The Times of India reader.

I think this sort of "crowd selection" will rise in importance throughout this year and in 2010. We already see the Twitter crowd picking stories in a similar way.

I do think that the "like" feature gives news writers the advantage over news repeaters. I'm not going to use terms like "newspapers" and "blogs" as I don't see the difference any more (is an online only newspaper a blog?). There are, however, sites which do very well by being a quick second to important news or by watching Google Hot Trends for suggested topics to write about.

The "like" feature (or similar) provides a way for news writers to present their original version of the story in front of the mass of readers. Once they've done that then there's less reason/reward for the news repeaters to re-write the story.

That's what you want; speed and readers who help propel your version (your original) of the news to the limelight as quickly as possible. We're going to see more and more internet agenda setting from populous countries like India and China.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

More and more Google Docs template failures

I'm quite fond of the templates available in Google Docs. Very often you'll find someone else has gone to the effort of building a nice looking template for you and sharing it public.y.

Increasingly this process is buggy. Here's an example of a template in the public share section ... but yet not been available for use.