SEO Recommendations for web-strategist.com (From CEO of Portent Interactive)

Last week I had a great conversation with Brian Keith and his CEO Ian Lurie, I recently reviewed his book Conversational Marketing.

Ian’s provided me some SEO suggestions for my blog, (it’s just part of the offerings that his firm offers) and given me permission to share with the world. Some of these I’ll look into, but being limited on time, I won’t spend too much effort on all of them.

I’ve been pretty public in stating that SEO and SEM are my weakest areas (Corporate Web programs and Social Media being my strongest)

In any case, do you see any other suggestions that would make sense? Do you agree with what Ian’s suggested. If you’re a SEO expert, it would be great to hear your input too:


Hi Jeremiah,

Here are some SEO ideas that might make a difference for you. I’m
focusing more on issues that are keeping search spiders from crawling everything than on specific keyword optimization. These tweaks should ‘open up’ your site and give you more leverage across the board:

1. First, you’ve got a redirect set up that sends folks from www.web-
strategist.com to www.web-strategist.com/blog. And, it looks like a
client-side redirect. That’s definitely hurting you – our test
crawler had a lot of trouble with it. Try one of a few things:

– Repoint so that the blog is at www.web-strategist.com, rather than
the subfolder. This would hurt you in the short run as search engines
reshuffle, but for the long term it’s a great solution.

– Change to a server-side 302 redirect instead of a client-side
redirect. Search bots prefer that.

– Put some kind of intro page at the root address. I don’t like that
idea at all.

2. A more generic contingency design issue: Your 404 error page
currently reads ‘sorry, no posts matched your criteria’. Try a little
more explanatory text, and maybe a link or some advice as to how they can find what they were looking for.

3. Shorten your URLs. Right now your entire article title goes into
the file name. Search engines don’t mind dynamic URLs any more, but
huge URLs do seem to pose problems. My theory is that, since search
engines are wild about hierarchy, they likely attribute longer URLs
to content that’s farther down in each site’s structure, and accord
that content less importance. Try to keep your filenames to 20
characters or so.

4. Right now you aren’t using totally correct semantic markup. In a
perfect world, the XHTML markup in each page should describe the
information’s place in your page structure, not how it looks. So the
article title should be an < H1 > element, subheadings should be < H2 > and sub-subheadings should be < H3 >. Right now your article titles are
H3, and your subheadings are just in a STRONG element, so they’re
regular paragraph text, bolded. Again, search engines are nuts about
hierarchy. This change will help them better determine what’s really
important on your site.

Hope this helps. Once these are set we can chat about keyword
optimization.

Thanks,

Ian

President
Portent Interactive
An Internet Marketing Agency
http://www.portentinteractive.com

Author, Conversation Marketing
http://www.conversationmarketing.com/internet-marketing-book


So, what do you think? Do these recommendations look reasonable? Thanks Ian for your time.

  • Cameron Olthuis

    Make sure you use a 301 redirect and not a 302.

    Your urls are fine.

  • http://www.thatgirlfrommarketing.com Natasha Robinson

    Agree with Cameron about the 301 vs. the 302 redirects. I would say that you’ll probably get the most out of the keyword optimization portion of your conversions with PI as this will be something that you can put into action as you create your posts going forward, as well as the re-optimization of your previous posts.

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  • http://www.netconcepts.com Hershel Reese

    Greetings,

    I agree with Cameron’s comments above. Your site’s indexation appears to be solid:

    http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rls=GGIC,GGIC:2006-50,GGIC:en&q=site%3awww%2eweb%2dstrategist%2ecom

    I would suggest that the number of directory levels is more important to be mindful of than number of characters.

    and 301′s pass importance score.

    I don’t recall if you are on WordPress since your redesign, but the Ultimate Tag Warrior Supplemented with the SEO Title Tag plug in, make for powerful long tail SEO opportunity.

  • http://allforyou.wordpress.com Brian Keith

    Thanks Jeremiah. I have gotten a lot out of our talks on blogs and podcasts, so I am glad we can reciprocate.

  • http://www.marketersstudio.com David Berkowitz

    Jeremiah, these are great recommendations. Overall, you have two huge assets going for you: regularly updated content and a big fan club of people who link to you. Those, coupled with some inherent benefits of blogging, gives you a huge running head start as far as optimization goes.

    For kicks, I checked out your site in http://www.socialmeter.com and compared it to your old jeremiahthewebprophet URL, just to gauge the inbound links coming your way. All in all, it points to a lot of great activity with major spikes in the search engines, Technorati, and Bloglines for your current site. You may want to kindly remind your del.icio.us fans to update their bookmarks, as most of those link to the old site. That’s not as much an SEO issue, but it’s an interesting checkup on your site’s health.

  • Allen

    I disagree with this one:
    - Repoint so that the blog is at http://www.web-strategist.com, rather than the subfolder. This would hurt you in the short run as search engines
    reshuffle, but for the long term it’s a great solution.

    I like the idea of you keeping the blog under /blog. Why you might ask. Because one day you might want to sell services or create other pages outside of the default blog. Moving to the root limits you there to some extent.

  • http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/ jeremiah_owyang

    Hershel, thanks, yes this is wordpress.

  • http://www.marketingpilgrim.com Andy Beal

    “Change to a server-side 302 redirect instead of a client-side redirect. Search bots prefer that”

    Good Lord! Don’t do that! Use a 301 (permanent) redirect.

    In fact, maybe even turn the homepage into something with full content and don’t redirect at all.

    Other stuff…

    Long URLs are perfectly fine for blogs. If you shorten your URLs you may find you lose traffic as you’ll cut out important keywords. Use short URLs for any “pages” and do modify the post slug, before posting anything that has a lot of stop words (and, or, the) or you’d like to get a focused page name.

  • http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/ jeremiah_owyang

    Thanks for all these responses, I’m going to compare and contrast the different recommendations and do some additional research and analysis.

    This will be a fun part of my SEM SEO education.

  • http://www.conversationmarketing.com ian

    You’re totally right on the 301 redirect. My bad. Writing with kids on hand…

    However, I have to argue the points on the /blog and the URL length. Longer URLs can be problematic. And putting a whole site in a subfolder is definitely an issue.

    If you decide to add something besides a blog to your site in the future, you can do so then.

    I’m certainly not suggesting that Web-strategist.com is exactly crippled in the SERPs, by the way. Just suggesting some improvements.

  • http://www.emergence-media.com Daniel Riveong

    Hey Jerimiah,

    Ian is pretty much on the mark, though I’m gonna try to put his recommendations in context of priorities and possible consequences.

    1. Redirect for http://www.web-strategist.com to /blog.

    - Moving to root
    That’s being very aggressive, I’m not sure if your website needs it. It will result in a short-term loses in rankings/traffic, but should recover over time.

    -Putting content on the homepage
    I dont see why this is a bad idea, if you want to expand your website beyond being a blog, this method allows for it.

    2. 404 Error Page.
    I’d focus on fixing this first – this is a no brainer issue. Definitely do something creative with that, maybe place a search box, a link to popular postings, or a “Best Postings Round Up”. Heck, do all the above.

    3. Shorten your URLs.
    Ian’s advice is sound and very cautious on the 20 character limit, but there are other factors at play:
    a) Any change you do to the URL will probably result in some short term lost in traffic/rankings and its an even more the reason to do a good 404 Page, if you dont use 301 redirects.
    b) I think this advice is best for new websites, but may not be needed for established websites.

    Personally, I’d remove the day from the URL, resulting in this URL structure: YYYY/MM/Post-Title

    Also, you should consider creating a specific URL for some postings. Specifically, if the blog posting title is too lengthy for a URL or not very descriptive of what the article is about.

    4. Semantic Markup.

    My company stresses the same as Ian. Of all the above, I think for your website this is low effort, low impact. It should be fairly easily to make those CSS and template changes for a WordPress blog.

    And that’s all for now….

  • http://www.emomsathome.com/blog Wendy Piersall :: eMom

    Fantastic conversation going on here, Jeremiah. SEO is not my strong suit, either. I have long wondered about #1 – I have a static page up on my main domain as well, so I’m reading everyone’s comments with great interest.

    Would love to get an update from you when you make changes – what you end up actually doing and the results you achieve as well.

    Thanks for a *very* helpful post (and thanks to Ian, too!!). :)

  • http://www.daviddalka.com/createvalue David Dalka

    I agree with Mr. Berkowitz and Mr. Beal about the 301!!!

    On a side note, I just soft launched a new theme and wouldvalue feedback on wordpress plugins that would make the blog more interactive. I also added some RSS buttons of choice, so I’d be pleased to hear if those work for you and lastly, if you have a relevant blog, I’m doing blogroll swaps presently my Google PR5 is five, but I’ve been on Digg twice in the past 30 days so that will likely go up from here.
    http://www.daviddalka.com/createvalue/

  • http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/ jeremiah_owyang

    Thanks all, I love how this is getting sorted out, this is certainly on my todo list and I’ll provide an update later.

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  • http://www.netconcepts.com/ Hershel Reese

    Greetings,

    I agree with Cameron's comments above. Your site's indexation appears to be solid:

    http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient

    I would suggest that the number of directory levels is more important to be mindful of than number of characters.

    and 301's pass importance score.

    I don't recall if you are on WordPress since your redesign, but the Ultimate Tag Warrior Supplemented with the SEO Title Tag plug in, make for powerful long tail SEO opportunity.

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    yeah nice advice, i tottaly agree with hes advices. hes right with number 1 is important, 2 ,3 and even 4 is an essential for youre overall site makeover, the serps would love you as what lan said they are crazy about hierarchy, it will help them determine what is most/ least important part of your site.

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    Great advice! These can also be applied by people to their websites as these are common problems among newbies with SEO. Thanks for sharing these to everyone.

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    Hope this helps. Once these are set we can chat about keyword

    optimization.

    Thanks,

    Ian

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