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

How The AdWords Auction Actually Works

Even if you’ve used AdWords for a while, and even if you’ve studied for, and/or taken the Advertising Professional exam, the ranking system AdWords uses to determine your ads’ position remains a bit of mystery. The team at Google found that to be the case often enough that they created a video to explain.

“When we go to conferences or read posts in forums, we find that advertisers sometimes know more about advanced features than about the basics of how AdWords works. So, we’ve decided to take some time to get back to basics and talk about how the AdWords auction actually works. To help you, we’ve brought along our Chief Economist, Hal Varian, to walk you through the auction and explain how your maximum cost-per-click (CPC) bid and Quality Score determine how much you actually pay for an ad click on Google’s search results pages.”

I’m not the only one who’s excited to learn about the basics of the system behind the ranking and placement of my PPC ads. Take a look at this two part tutorial by ROI Revolution.

“In this two part blog series, I will explain what Quality Score actually is, how the ad auction works, and how Quality Score determines your ads’ positioning and costs per click.”

“Towards the end of 2008 and even more in Q1 of this year, Google has been slowly revealing what is included in Quality Score. The video explains that Quality Score consists of clickthrough rate (CTR), relevancy, and landing page quality.” read this article…

“Some of this post may make you feel like you’re back in high school math class, but bear with me. These formulas really do reveal Quality Score’s crucial role in the AdWords system and how you can spend less to get more.” read this article…

The Bad, Good And Ugly Advice Given To Journalists On SEO

Well written and researched article about the challenges facing journalists in the online world.

“Journalists around the world will have rubbed up against the term SEO and been force-fed the importance of keywords and optimization, and how writing for the web is the Second Coming for this dying industry. The need to be read online and generate high levels of traffic and ad revenue are all important because that’s what will save journalism. Most of us understand the necessity of learning this new craft but feel bedazzled by words like content management system, Google algorithms, anchor text and outbound links. Journalists may be masters of communication but they will always glaze over when geek-speak is being uttered in their presence. Many will go online to get a clearer understanding of what SEO is and what it means to them, and therein, lies the problem.”

What's the Difference Between SEO and SEM?

To the unitiated the difference between Search Engine Optimisation [SEO] and Search Engine Marketing [SEM] must seem invisible or confusing. Not to mention the alphabet soup of other terms and acronymns such as PPC, CTR, etc. I’ll quote and link to a couple of fairly simple explanations.

“Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) are Two different things altogether. The two things go hand in hand but are often thought of as one thing. Search Engine Optimization is what is done to your site to ensure that the end users have a friendly easy to use web site with SEF Menus and SEF URLS that Google, Yahoo, MSN and crawl through and find your content. Search Engine Marketing is doing the advertising and marketing of your site. Ironical this is all done “offsite” whereas SEO is mostly done “onsite”.

“Many people misunderstand the goal of search engine optimization as distinct from search engine marketing. Applying SEM expectations to SEO can lead to significant frustration and disappointment.”

So What is this "Search Engine Marketing" Thing Anyway?

A definition of search engine marketing would be useful, the following from Wikipedia:

“Search engine marketing, or SEM, is a form of Internet marketing that seeks to promote websites by increasing their visibility in search engine result pages (SERPs). According to the Search Engine Marketing Professionals Organization, SEM methods include: search engine optimization (or SEO), paid placement, and paid inclusion.”

An Exercise in Search Optimisation for a Blog

I’ve always thought that an “out of the box”, CMS type blog such as WordPress would be hard to optimise for search. The default link and code structure is not at all search engine friendly and since I usually build my sites to be accessible to search bots couldn’t accept a CMS as a solution.

However I recently purchased “Professional Search Engine Optimization with PHP: A Developer’s Guide to SEO” by by Jaimie Sirovich and Cristian Darie, [Wrox, April 2007] and after reading Chapter 16, [WordPress: Creating a SE-Friendly Blog], decided to install and configure WordPress to as the framework behind

So not only does this site offer information about Search Engine Optimisation and Marketing but is itself an experiment in organic SEO, an exercise in Search Optimisation for a Blog.