Friday, June 30, 2006

GBuy to Google Checkout

It has finally launched, the long pondered about financial payment service from Google. There has been quite a bit of speculation as to just who this will affect the most, Paypal, EBay, Amazon, Yahoo Shopping, MSN Shopping, etc.

From the quick look I took of it it seems to be an online credit card storage payment system. The first thing that happens when you sign in to an account is a big page asking for your credit card info. This then adds it to your Google account information. There are a few stores listed that you can buy from, but it does not seem to be a general tool for any kind of globally accepted payments, just stores with Google Checkout.

More to come as it develops.

Which Description on SERPs

MSN has added a way to begin to manage the way your description displays on the SERPs. They have added a new tag readable by their MSNbot to disallow ODP descriptions and use only descriptions pulled from the actual page.

meta name="ROBOTS" content="NOODP"
meta name="msnbot" content="NOODP"

Currently, it is not able to function in a robots.txt file which would allow for a global change. It will be interesting to see how this will be adopted by the other engines that pull information from ODP.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Ever since Microsoft and IE updated the way flash and other similar apps are embeded things have been a pain on both the server and client side. That was the major starting point, breaking any and all interactive flash pieces on the web. Secondly, Macromedia (Adobe now) decided it would be a good time to release Flash version 8. It has a lot of cool new features, but results in the downside of most people still having version 7 and things not working properly.

There is a decent work around. There is for most programming issues I expect. You can read about it here:

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Google Sitemaps Updated

Inside Google Sitemaps post by Vanessa Fox let us in on some of the nice updates in the latest version of Google Sitemaps. If you can't tell I am a big proponent of this service and use it to great effect.

Currently I have just over 230 sitemaps set up for web sites that I manage. I am slowly adding them to the older sites, but they usually get added when I do edits or updates, resulting in a bit of slow retro additions. I just wanted to say thanks again to Vanessa and the Sitemaps team for manually adding my sitemaps when I got capped at the 200 limit, and thank you for the cap increase so I can do it myself!

Some of the new features include: (Click here for the original post)

Increased crawl errors
Expanded query stats
Increased number of common words
Increased limit of sites and Sitemaps that can be added to an account
(my favorite as it refers to me!)
In response to requests, we’ve raised the number of sites and Sitemaps that site owners can add to a Google Sitemaps account from 200 to 500 — a direct result of a request from a Google Group member.
robots.txt analysis tool addition
We want to know what you think
(feedback smilies to rank useful aspects of Google Sitemaps)

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Special Characters in SEO

I am trying to derive the best method of using (or not using) special characters in code such as {TITLE} or {META} tags, as well as the relevancy in link text.

{title}Orthodontists Christopher Cosse & amp; Jeff Silmon serving Bossier City & amp; Shreveport, LA (Louisiana){/title}

{a href=""}Website by Sesame & #8482; {/a}

Question #1 is: Which is more beneficial? "&" "& amp;" or "and"

Question #2 is: Does this affect anything in a positive or negitive way? Character limits for the title tag as an example? Just purely asthetics?

Saturday, June 17, 2006

RSS feed enhancement

I was doing a little research on enhancing the look and feel of our corporate rss news feed, Sesame News , and found a nice article on how to utilize the XSL and CSS mix to format the XML look and feel. I have done this before but it was nice to get a sample to review. IE7 Beta has an automatic feed reader built into it that will format and sort an RSS feed. I sue that at work every day and it has been very handy, but most people do not have IE7 yet or a browser that will style format XML.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Duplicate Content

There is a nice post about duplicate content that describes the levels, severity, and how not's for keeping a clean site. It has been getting a good bit of publicity via the SEW website. I won't bother to review it furter and just send you to the original.

Google webmaster help center updates

Vanessa Fox over at Google Sitemaps posted on the Sitemaps blog that they have updated the webmaster help center in regards to robots.txt files and HTTP status codes.

Using a robots.txt file
We've added a new section of help topics in the How Google crawls my site section. These topics include information on:

How to create a robots.txt file
Descriptions of each user-agent that Google uses
How to use pattern matching
How often we recrawl your robots.txt file (around once a day)

Understanding HTTP status codes
This section explains HTTP status codes that your server might return when we request a page of your site. We display HTTP status codes in several places in Google Sitemaps (such as on the robots.txt analysis page and on the crawl errors page) and some site owners have asked us to provide more information about what these mean.

Proper use of HTTP status codes can make or seriously penalize a website. Lots of 404 or File Not Found errors are a sure sign of a poorly maintained website. The use of 301 Redirect codes should be properly used to forward multiple domain names to a single main site. Having multiple copies of websites can hurt your rankings on SERPs. (A search engine will see as a separate web site from and see duplicate content unless properly forwarded to one place.)

Incorrect uses of th robots.txt file can be disasterous if improperly configured. You can accidentally block your whole web site from being indexed! Take time to review the proper format and usages of the robots.txt file. It can be extremely useful in blocking results you dont want others to end up finding on the web, such as scripting or internal documentation. (Always be careful of information you put out on the web. Even if you block it via a robots.txt file you still run the risk of having it seen by someone somewhere.)

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

SEO en español

With the inception of our new Spanish websites the challenge of international linguistic SEO falls on my desk. Currently I am doing research on how patients would find an orthodontist in Spanish and what searches on which search engines would they be looking to.

So far we seem to be doing the right thing, although it looks like even more optimization is needed. For example searching for "ortodoncista northridge" on Google Español brings up one of ourSpanishh sites ranked #1 For Dr. Berrios.

How to find some good keywords en español:
Pop in some generic keywords (a lot of noun words don't translate easily) and do a translation at:

Then see which ones are performing at:

I assume this procedure will work for most Latinin based languages, but once we hit some Cyrillic, Arabian, or Asian text things will become much more challenging, very quickly.

Spanish (en Español) Search Engines:

Ideally you have split websites for each tranlation which allows you to update the keyword text and formatting. Doing a little bit of background research on the correct linguistics (especially if you are not fluent) is a huge help in planning the SEO on the page. It becomes tougher when you have to mix and match on a single page, or want a generic homepage to contain some translation keywords.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Google Spreadsheets?

Google Spreadsheets isn't the most creative name they have come up with compared to say Froogle or Blogger. I am looking forward to giving it a try. If you are able to share a spreadsheet between multiple parties it could be even more advantageous. Now if they can come out with something like Access and Word we will be all set. Having an online database application would be really nice. Even if the Spreadsheet file can be stored and accessed remotely by say a web application, you could have a reliable data source. Just save your spreadsheet as xml and you would be able to do all kinds of neat things with it. Of course that is all assuming you can have some way to point to it... Hello Google! Gimmie read/write permissions to your server plz tnx!

It is still in the sign-up phase which you can plug your own email in to get in line for.

I also checked out the AdWords Editor, seems to download the AdWords account files ok, and displays all the data. That's about it though. I did find it a little difficult to use when managing several individual accounts, not campaigns, because you have to switch and reopen each separate file. The best part I experienced was that you can fairly easily manage the keywords. I think a lot of the data would have been a lot more useful if it was split up into a tabbular display arrangement instead of so squished together you couldnt see the data, even spread across 2 19" monitors. You are also not able to create new accounts via the stand alone, and cannot edit the geolocation to anything more specific than the country level. Still needs a bit of work, but it's getting there. They have the right idea at least :)

Feel free to try the open download if you have an AdWords account:

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Domain Managment

Note: Closed freeways make for 2 hour commutes to work. Have people shoot each other in a big field or something next time like a proper duel.

I have spent most of my day organizing and sorting through our over 1000 domains, and the rest working on doing SEO updates on a couple orthodontic sites. 2 new web sites launched today. Dr. Frank Andolino and Dr. Joel Gluck.

I signed up for the Google AJAX Search API yesterday and am looking forward to playing with that and seeing if there is any applicable usage I can take advantage of currently.

SEO Tip of the Day: Google AdWords Bot - This spider was recently launched and designed to check out Google AdWords' ads and their respective landing pages. The more compatible and valuable the landing page, it will now affect the ranking of the Ad.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Graduate Web Sites

No rest for the weary. Welcome to Sunday at work.

I have a couple orthodontic graduate resume web sites to create today and many new Sesame members to process and get set up. Couple orthodontist sites need to have their search engine optimizationtweaked as well. Lots of projects to do.

Reading the Google Sitemap Group board I found a nice style sheet for sitemaps pages as well as an application that tracks and posts the pages automatically. This program looks very applicable to our corporate site management as well as the directories, but for the standard client site launches we do, I can still use the simpler one. Have a look at the output for the xml stylesheet here.

SEO Tip of the Day: RSS feeds and Blogs can be added to web pages. They are a great SEO boost because of the frequent updates, as long as you do not use javascript to display them. Use PHP, ASP or some other server side scripting instead to display the feed.

Music of the Moment: 99.9 KISW - The Rock of Seattle - Streaming Online

Friday, June 02, 2006

Search Engine Watch - Seattle Post

Glad to see that SEW finally put up a post outlining the speakers and their presentations. Now I don't have to. Not as much detail as I would have put in, but time is short. You can read all about it here:

Fridays are great for getting things done, don't you think?

Tip of the day: If you are an orthodontist/dentist in Beverly Hills with an AdWords account, expect to pay about $10 a click for "Invisalign"!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Googleblogs Does Sitemaps

I happened to take a look at the Google Sitemaps blog ( and saw Vanessa Fox wrote up a little bit about the presentation at the Search Engine Watch Live event in Seattle I attended. She actually pointed out meeting me, which was very neat. (I'm the Google Group member) Anyhow, here is a snapshot from Danny Sullivan's blog entry with them speaking: