PageRank Really Doesn’t Matter Anymore

“If you look at Google’s Technology Overview, you’ll notice that it calls out relevance as one of the top ingredients in our search results. So why hasn’t as much ink been spilled over relevance as has been over PageRank? I believe it’s because PageRank comes in a number, and relevance doesn’t.”

http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com.au/2011/06/beyond-pagerank-graduating-to.html

http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2216396/Why-PageRank-Doesnt-Matter

AdSense Channels Explained

Channels are a great tool for tracking the clicks and impressions on your AdSense ad units, as well as figuring out which ad placements, sizes, and even colours generate the most revenue. For the new AdSense user looking at their control panel for the first time channels can look like some kind of Voodoo, however it’s worth taking the time to understand and implement the three main channel types.

In this three part video series Google AdSense optimization specialists explain core concepts and demonstrate best practices when using channels to analyse your AdSense revenue.

1. URL Channels

In the first episode, Matthew Carpenter-Arevalo from Google HQ talks about URL channels which can help you track revenue on a specific URL or domain.

2. Custom Channels

In this episode you will learn about the three pieces of information that are the most important to you: ad size, ad location, and page content, and how to analyse this information to figure out what ad formats and placements work best for your website.

3. Targetable Channels

Learn about the two ways in which advertisers can target your website: contextual and placement targeting. You’ll also learn how to make your channels targetable by advertisers and label them with information such as size, location, and audience so the advertiser can easily find your channels and make an informed decision when choosing to target your site.

More AdSense Videos

If you’d like to watch more videos from the Google AdSense team, visit the official AdSense channel at YouTube

Hyphens Vs Underscores in URLs

You may have heard that it’s usually better to use a hyphen (-) than an underscore ( _ ) in your URLs for SEO purposes. This is true, Matt Cutts from Google talks about the subject here, but why?

The short answer is because the people who build the search engine indexes are programmers, the long answer is probably too complex for most humans to understand.

However you can try it for yourself by opening a simple text editor such as notepad and pasting the following strings into it.

double-click-this-word-string
double_click_this_word_string

When double-clicking the string with hyphens you can see that only one word at a time is highlighted. However if you double-click the string with underscores you’ll see that the entire string of words is highlighted. It’s treated as a single word.

As Matt writes in the post mentioned above. “if you have a url like word1_word2, Google will only return that page if the user searches for word1_word2 (which almost never happens). If you have a url like word1-word2, that page can be returned for the searches word1, word2, and even ‘word1 word2’.”

So if you want the file name component of your URL to be indexed as multiple keywords use a hyphen to separate the words, (eg. mydomain.com/word1-word2.html).

It is important to mention at this point that I’m NOT suggesting that you change your domain name to include hyphens, (word1-word2.com), this has very limited value in the SEO context and has a lot of drawbacks in other contexts. More about this coming in another post.

Google Local Business Listings

A very fast and simple way for a local business to enhance their organic listing on a Google search results page is to add their business details to Google local search using the form at http://www.google.com/local/add/lookup

The process takes about five minutes to complete for a basic listing and the result is worth every minute. The image below shows how your listing will appear in the “Local business results” at the top of the main results page.

Google local business results example

This example above is a screenshot of the results for http://www.google.com/search?q=home+inspector+adelaide and I’m happy to say that three of my customers are on the first page when a search is conducted for “home inspector adelaide”. If you need your local business to appear on the first page of Google when a potential customer searches for your product or service see http://www.sthwind.com/services/search-optimisation.php for more information. (End of plug.)

Once you’ve registered and verified your listing you will have a free account with Google local business. From the account home page you can edit and add listings to include product photos and create online coupons.

Finally here’s a useful and free tool that you might be interested in, a web dashboard where you can see what’s happening with your website traffic, http://www.google.com/lbc. It’s a light version of Google Analytics. A good article about the dashboard is at http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/06/01/google-local-lures-small-businesses-with-their-own-web-dashboard/

Hot Dates with the Googlebot

The GooglebotThe Google Webmaster Central blog is where the people at Google try to explain their systems to us in simple terms that we can all understand. Worth reading are a couple of posts about exactly how the Googlebot crawls websites written as ‘dates’ between the bot and a website.

The first post (date) is about how the Googlebot identifies itself, what kind of files it accepts for reading and a little tip about how not to use the robots.txt file. First date with the Googlebot: Headers and compression

In the second post the site and the bot exchange a series of letters discussing the best ways to deal with different types of redirects plus a good tip about flagging unmodified content. Date with Googlebot, Part II: HTTP status codes and If-Modified-Since