Pixel Position . Conversational SEO

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Conversational SEO: Listen. Respond. Engage.

What’s on my mind? Branding.

“What’s on my mind?” Branding.

Well, branding is not the only thing on my mind. I think a lot about optimization, how SEO is not only about techniques to improve traffic from search engines but also about the people who read the content – the study of usability and conversion. (But that’s for another discussion…)

I think a lot about the importance of listening and engaging people (online & offline). Conversation and how people are treated is a big deal, to me. I think about the ways Social Media and SEO fit hand-in-glove, if planned right. (Such is a subject for another discussion…)

What about right now?

“Branding” is on my mind!

Facebook recently changed their status prompt to:

“What’s on your mind?”

Facebook: What's on your mind?

I wonder how my friends would perceive my thoughts if I put “branding” or “personal branding” or “rebranding” in my status update.

(Note to self: Update Facebook status once this post is published.)

So, I’m using Facebook’s status prompt question to share what’s been on my mind for a while…

I’m Re-Branding!

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“What are you doing?” Boycott

This is an unofficial boycott of status updates of “What are you doing?” (The word “Boycott” does flow well with the “Universal No” symbol.) Boycott - What are you doing?

I am not, however, updating Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn with answers to the question, What are you doing right now?

A better title for this post could be…

Why I am on Social Media

My Social Media participation began in 2007 to the need to stay current with rapid changes in Internet Marketing vocabulary and how Social Media ties into SEO. People in this industry were many of the first to gravitate to Social Media. So I started the long learning curve.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn was a given. It’s a professional networking site. Connections made through LinkedIn have opened possibilities and resulted in work relationships numerous times already. LinkedIn is pretty incredible from a business approach.

Facebook

Facebook was a learning ground. To date, I’ve only uploaded a couple photos and realize I’m missing out on much this platform has to offer for networking socially. I started connecting with people in the search marketing industry, joining groups and conferences, etc. Now, people from high school, cycling and other aspects of life are on Facebook. (I’m also connected with people I don’t personally know and no longer accept such invites.)

Twitter

Twitter became a text messaging and networking steroid for connecting with industry peeps and staying staying current with latest news. It’s often my RSS and email replacement. Twitter gets credit for building relationships and serving as my “go to” resource for news, resources and help for technical questions.

My “friends” connections grow daily along with my quest and thirst for information about search and social media marketing. The majority of people I follow are business contacts or are people “in the industry.”

Twitter is also a customer service portal for posting questions to businesses. It’s the one social network I couldn’t do without. But I’m now using it in moderation.

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Hyphens vs. Underscores – Who Wins “Best Keyword Separator?”

Hyphens or Underscores? Who wins as best keyword separator in page names? 

  • Are hyphens better for separating keywords in your URI (Uniform Resource Indicator)?
  • If so, why not separate words with an underscore?

NOTE: Many use the term URL (Universal Resource Locator), which has been deprecated. Old habits die hard. URI is the term for the portion of a Web page’s name after the domain.

Who wins as “Best Keyword Separator” is a contest SEOs and Webmasters want to know in order to optimize websites for search engines and for users. Understanding search algorithms is an ongoing game, for sure. Knowing what’s best for people (your audience) should be thrown into the ring to determine the winner.

Hyphens vs. Underscores in URI

The issue of hyphens or underscores in file names has been discussed and debated for years.

Does the hyphen, aka a “dash,” make any difference to the search engines?

More importantly…

Does a hyphen or an underscore make a difference to readers?

Vanessa Fox Answers Hyphens or Underscores Question

Vanessa Fox answered the following question by Leslie Youngstrom (@LeslieY on Twitter) for WebMasterRadio.fm Office Hours show on March 5, 2009:

@vanessafox Would love to hear a definitive answer on whether to use hyphens or underscores in filenames for best SEO. Research available?

The following is a truncated summary (not verbatim transcript) of Vanessa Fox’s gracious and sage answer:

If all else being equal, does Google not give extra weight for ranking for hyphens vs. urls.

What is in url does influence extra weight into the site. What is in your URL does influence the anchor text for linking. Also, a lot of people will click on links expecting to see content based on the keywords in the URL.

If someone is linking to you, when keywords are separated by hyphens, they are seen as distinct.

Underscores may be seen in a similar way. Google has said they are looking into it – that they will start looking at underscores the same as hyphens. But I doesn’t know for sure if they have implemented this.

The reason, originally, that underscores weren’t the same as hyphens is that Google was built by programmers. They thought of underscores as joining words.

Having keywords and hyphens in URLs is important from a user experience perspective. You want the highest click-through rates. If you have keywords in your URLs, you give people an indication of what they are going to see as they click through. Hyphens do a good job of separating words. Underscores are often not seen, and users wonder if it’s a space or an underscore, because links get underlined. Readers may not get the URL right. So from a usability perspective, use hyphens.

It’s the same amount of extra work to take two or three or four of the main keywords and put them in the URL. It doesn’t take extra work to put in the hyphens.

Studies have found people are more likely to click on a short URL. Go ahead and use hyphens.

Visit Vanessa Fox’s site for Office Hours podcasts. Once latest podcasts are posted, you’ll be able to listen to her answer.

Did you catch how Leslie phrased her question – “definitive answer” and “research available?”

Vanessa’s answer gave good reasoning for best practices. She provided insight about usability and what’s best for users.  We all wish Google, Yahoo! and Live Search would answer DEFINITIVELY! Part of the answer may be subjective, however. I decided to see if there are any definite results or research.

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Twitter Engages Professional Cycling Fans

Twitter is officially mainstream during the Amgen Tour of California (ATOC). Twitter is engaging race fans as professional cyclists traverse California for 9 days. Racers, team directors and fans are “in conversation” on Twitter using hashtags #atoc and #toc. (Hashtags are keywords included to identify common stream of conversation on Twitter.)

How to get Live Twitter Race Coverage

Get live race coverage on Twitter Search at http://search.twitter.com/search?q=atoc.

You don’t have to sign up for a Twitter to enjoy live commentary and race coverage about the Tour of California. Learn what the fans are seeing and thinking, what some of the racers and team directors are sharing.

Cycling fans are turning to Twitter to read these 140-character micro-blogging updates, aka “tweets.”

ATOC Twitter Best Race News

@rustyventure is thanking the Twitterverse for their coverage, as shown above. He concludes:

“best race news was #atoc.”

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Universal Search Optimization Chart – Rules of the Game

ProspectMX hit one out of the search ballpark with the release of the Universal Search Optimization Chart.

This is not just another chart. It contains rules and tips for how to play a winning game of SEO and Internet Marketing in 2009.Universal Search Optimization Chart - ProspectMX

ProspectMX rolled out one of the best one-page overviews of the keys to understanding the latest game changer – Universal Search.

Google’s Universal Search model is rocking the SEO world as search engine optimizers adjust to the rules of the new game.

Tired of hearing the word, “game changer?”

If you’re into SEO, get used to it. The game changes, constantly. 2009 marks big changes to how Google algorithms (their internal rules) determine which Web pages and sites are popular and relevant.

ProspectMX’s chart is a cartoonish Clif Notes version of a Universal Search Optimization rulebook.

“It’s not just about content anymore.”

Learn how to play the Internet Marketing game by adding additional players to your SEO content team. Semantic keyword-rich text that is relevant to searchers and readers now requires a “team” that includes multiple forms of media and Web content:

  • Video
  • News & Press Releases
  • Images
  • Local Reviews
  • Product Data Feeds
  • Accessible Content

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Hello, Yo! Yo! SEO

Goodbye, Pixel Position.
Hello, Yo! Yo! SEO.

Pixel Position is no longer active (and has been neglected).

Dana Lookadoo is rebranding and launching Yo! Yo! SEO to focus on Search Engine Optimization and Engagement.

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