Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization, a subset of marketing and a necessary tool in your arsenal if you are going to build websites for competitive industries. Many people think of SEOs as bad seeds, but the fact is if you don't build your website with proper search engine optimization, your internet marketing plan will be missing a big piece of the puzzle. Either do proper SEO yourself or hire someone who will do a good honesxt job of SEO for your website.

SEO Extension for Firefox (#)

A super useful tool from Aaron Wall over at This Firefox extension adds a layer of SEO details to your Google search results, allowing you to get a quick picture of the SEO relevant details of the competition for a given search phrase.

This is a brilliant tool, that makes some previously tedious work a simple afterthought.

An SEO Case Study (#)

Over at, Phil Thompson has written up an excellent case study dealing with onsite and onpage factors of Search Engine Optimization.

He provides some background information and goes into detail about how typical things like titles and category names weren't optimised and how the CMS being used was not outputting search engine friendly urls.

He also had to deal with a few other issues which resulted in adding some user (and SE) friendly content, as well as some cross sell style links that would also benefit both the user and the search engine.

Nice work Phil, and great to see a thorough example of onsite cleanup documented like this!

Google Search Engine Ranking Factors (#) gets together 37 of the biggest brains in SEO to evaluate and comment on search engine ranking factors. It's quite well put together and makes for a great overview of where the overall consensus lies on many factors and facets of optimizing a website for maximum search engine performance.

Link Building Fundamentals: A Primer (#)

Adam Audette provides an excellent post on building links, which he concludes with:

...what’s the most efficient method of building powerful backlinks?

The answer is simple, but the way is hard: you must build exceptional resources and provide information that’s unique and valuable. Only then will you succeed long-term in link building, and therefore, internet marketing.

The more things change, the more they stay the same: content will always be king.

Sandbox Vs. Trustrank, Florida to Jagger (#)

From Florida to Jagger, PageRank to TrustRank, this article provides a very non-technical explanation of recent goings on with Google updates - this could even be passed on to somewhat knowledgable clients.

Time will tell if this is accurate or not, but it's the best layman-ish writeup I've seen to date.

Beginner's Guide to SEO (#)

An great guide to SEO that includes most aspects that need to be dealt with when making sure your site ranks high in the search engines. Would be suitable for passing on to knowledgable clients as a reference.

A reading list on PageRank and search algorithms (#)

A small reading list on PageRank and search algorithms including PageRank, reputation systems, spam detection and duplicate content.

How to Remedy Duplicate Content and Magical % Thinking (#)

If you've ever had to build a number of websites from the same database, you've had to think about duplicate content. This article from Todd Malicoat - another of his long writeups with a load of extra reading - provides some excellent explanation into the problems faced when you have one set of content and many sites to build.

Clients don't always want to pay for more copywriting; so this article will either serve to help you convince them that it is necessary, or if that doesn't happen, help you deal with the card you're dealt.

Graywolf's SEO Blog (#)

While there are a few personal posts here and there, this SEO themed blog by Michael Gray provides some great fresh ideas for promoting sites and dives into some other aspects of search engine optimization that are worth keeping an eye on.

Danny Sullivan, Setting SEO Straight (#)

I sure do get tired of people badmouthing the SEO industry and have thought about ranting on this site about it in the past. I didn't because, although we do some work in the field, we just don't swing a big enough bat.

In comes Danny Sullivan, with perhaps the biggest bat in the industry, to set the record straight with this excellent post over at Search Engine Land. I'm not sure that it will convert people who blindly drop everyone in the same bucket when there are bad seeds around, but it's nice to read nonetheless.

Bot Obedience: Herding Googlebot (#)

Less hands on then Cat Herding, bot herding, or managing how search engine robots can access a website, can be very important on sites where duplicate content or privacy can be an issue.

This brief overview from Matt Cutts is a good start, but be sure to follow the links he provides to get to know more about how to limit SE bot access to a website.

What Is PageRank? A Guide For Searchers & Webmasters (#)

None other then Danny Sullivan provides this thoughtful writeup on Google's PageRank.

A Guide For Searchers & Webmasters should be a good start for people just getting into the game, and a great place to get some authoritative quotes when you need them in a client presentation.

The post goes fairly in-depth, but as the first commenter states If only this were required reading before anyone could register to post on an SEO forum...

How to Handle a Google Penalty (#)

Rand Fishkin brings to light How to Handle or perhaps How to diagnose a Google penalty with this excellent post that also hilights a recent shakeup in some of the SERPS in Google.

The flowchart for filtering your way thru diagnosing a Google penalty is top class and the example at the end a nice application of the chart.

Google's New Search Engine Rankings Place Heavy Emphasis on Branding (#)

I hesitate to post these types of links because of their ephemeral nature, but the historical aspect of this post makes it worthwhile. Aaron Wall provides an update on Google's latest ranking methods after giving a brief rundown on things since the Florida update. Worth the read; the User Browsing Graph and his anecdotal evidence was a surprise to me.

Matt Cutts » Text links and PageRank (#)

Matt Cutts chimes in with some thoughts on buying text links, how Google handles it, and how you may want to handle it if you want to feature text links on your site or approach someone to buy space on their site.

Alexa Toolbar and the Problem of Experiment Design (#)

Peter Norvig, the Director of Research at Google, puts up this short but useful piece to illustrate the fallacy that is the Alexa ranking system.

It's worth keeping this around as a reference for the next time some shady character tries to convince one of my long-term clients that their competitors site performs better because of its Alexa ranking.

Check out the Resource categories for older content

The latest from my personal website,

SiteUptime Web Site Monitoring Service

Sitepoint's web devlopment books have helped me out on many occasions both for finding a quick solution to a problem but also to level out my knowlegde in weaker areas (JavaScript, I'm looking at you!). I am recommending the following titles from my bookshelf:

The Principles Of Successful Freelancing

I started freelancing by diving in head first and getting on with it. Many years and a lot of experience later I was still able to take away some gems from this book, and there are plenty I wish I had thought of beforehand. If you are new to freelancing and have a lot of questions (or maybe don't know what questions to ask!) do yourself a favor and at least check out the sample chapters.

The Art & Science Of JavaScript

The author line-up for this book says it all. 7 excellent developers show you how to get your JavaScript coding up to speed with 7 chapters of great theory, code and examples. Metaprogramming with JavaScript (chapter 5 from Dan Webb) really helped me iron out some things I was missing about JavaScript. That said each chapter really helped me to develop my JavaScript skills beyond simple Ajax calls and html insertion with libs like JQuery.

The PHP Anthology: 101 Essential Tips, Tricks & Hacks

Like the other books listed here, this provides a great reference for the PHP developer looking to have the right answers from the right people at their fingertips. I tend to pull this off the shelf when I need to delve into new territory and usually find a workable solution to keep development moving. This only needs to happen once and you recoup the price of the book in time saved from having to develop the solution or find the right pattern for getting the job done..