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Make Twitter Search Work for You

Twitter offers a real time search of all users. It is a very powerful tool for marketing. It is a way to get information and a way to give information.

Online Reputation – Twitter search allows you to monitor good and bad things said about you. You should have a Twitter search rss feed set up for your company name and products as well as employee names. This gives you extra time to take advantage of that information. If it is bad information you can start tweeting a response. I would use a separate account to communicate with people that said bad things. Don’t point out bad things on your company account. If the information is a link to something bad you can start working on content to make sure the bad information does not show up first page in other search engines. It is important to know what the top ten results for your brands are and make sure it is all positive. Make sure it is hard for some negative blog post to pop out of nowhere and rank number 3 for your brand. If it is good information use your main account to re-tweet this person and follow them. It is always good to encourage your fans.

Promotion – The obvious way to promote your company and products is to make useful tweets to your followers and by sending tweets @ people. The other way is to take advantage of the real time twitter search. Make some tweets that are not toward your followers. Promote your service and use keywords that people might be searching for. If you are doing SEO and/or PPC you should have a wealth of information on what keywords are being searched for and convert. Don’t do this too often since it might alienate your followers. It is important to keep your followers. You can also use your analytics to find out what time of day is best for certain terms. Also you can work in your terms into your tweets to your followers. Twitter search works like Google in that the words do not have to be together. Lets say you want to show up for the search “buy blue widgets” all you have to do is make sure those 3 words are in your tweet anywhere and in any order and you will show up for that search.

[tags]twitter, twitter search, google, online reputation, reputation mangement[/tags]

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Gmail Search Operators

I follow @GoogleAtWork on twitter and they twittered This link that shows how to use search operators in Gmail. I was shocked. This has changed my world. This link to see them all. I’m going to talk about a few that I’m going to start using.

“from:elliot filename:pdf” shows all messages from Elliot that have a pdf attachment

“from:eliot has:attachment” shows all messages from Elliot that have any attachment

“from:eliot in:anywhere” Shows all messages from Elliot that are in any folder trash, spam, sent…

I really like the in: feature normally I have to switch to that mailbox then do a search this way I can do all my searches from my inbox. (in:trash, in:spam)

Is:unread This shows me all my unread email

after:2004/04/16 before:2004/04/18 Messages sent between April 16, 2004 and April 18, 2004.*

If you start using labels more and/or you use Gmail to check several email address like I do the label operator is invaluable.

[tags]google, gmail, gmail operators[/tags]

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Many people that work in the PPC world just outright avoid Yahoo Search Marketing because it is just harder to use and you have less control. This is very true. Yahoo is working on making it better in some ways like they are making a offline editor like Google Editor. What I wanted to do was to describe how to use Yahoo PPC so that it can make you money. Yahoo is number 2 when it comes to number of searchers and can make you some money. Yahoo will bring less traffic than Google but it will bring you sells. I have even seen in some cases where yahoo had a better cost per conversion (CPA). Yahoo has a few good thing that Google does not.

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I wish people would not read some old blog post or forum thread about URL’s and change all their page names. Do not ever change your page names. There is no reason whatsoever to do it. Even if you switch from asp to php or some other server side language you can keep your old url’s with a very easy tweak to your system regardless of what web server you use.

There is no benefit to switching to keyword rich url’s. As a matter of fact 100% of the time there will be a negative effect in the short run.

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Do you have a 404 strategy?

Do you have a 404 strategy? Do you know what a 404 is? First off lets describe what a 404 is just in case you don’t know. When somebody comes to your website using a URL that does not exist by default your server will just send the user a 404 error which shows your visitor a white page with huge letters that say “NOT FOUND”. Most the time the person just hits the back button and moves on. The answer to the other question should be obvious.

I’m not going to get into the technical side of how to create a 404 page there are lots of blog posts and articles already out there. I’m going to talk about your strategy. What is your goal? Do you want to entertain, solve the problem, or act like nothing happened?

Here is a list of strategies that people use and the pros and cons of each.

1. Redirect all 404 traffic to the front page. This only slightly better than doing nothing. This confuses some people. They clicked on a specific link and they end up at your front page that may have nothing to do with what they clicked on.
2. Create a template page of your website and put a page not found message on that. With this method at least now they know that something went wrong but still does not help the person. They still can’t find what they are looking for.
3. Create a custom 404 page with some logic that tries to guess what the person is looking for. I would also put a search box on this page as well. If part of the URL is correct like the folder you can have a specific 404 landing page with a list of things they might be looking for. Try to help the visitor find what they need.
4. Create some gimmick like a funny video, cartoon, or game. This can get you some attention and might get you some viral attention. Here are some examples.

Another benefit to using a custom 404 page is that you can put your analytics code on it. If you don’t have a custom 404 page it will not show up in Google Analytics. You need to modify the tracking code on your 404 page so don’t just use the normal footer. Here is a link to how to modify that code. It is very important to monitor your 404 errors. You can find where people have linked to you incorrectly. You can send them a message to fix it or 301 redirect it to the correct page.

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I was just over at www.searchengineland.com and 2 pages into reading article titles they tell me I got to pay to read more. On twitter I saw that www.jensense.com has a “Pro” section. www.seobook.com, www.seomoz.com, www.webmasterworld.com, www.shoemoney.com and I’m sure there are others all have premium sections. I miss the old days when everybody talked online and you did not have to pay them extra. These people are all now very rich because they gave great advice online. Now that they are all famous they want to make an extra buck. They get lots of business from giving away information in the past and now they just rest on that fame and charge for their information. They don’t have to prove that they are smart any more so they want to charge us for it.
Another thing that has happened is that the forums suck now that everybody has their own website. You used to be able to go to one or two forums and talk with everybody now you have to go visit 20 websites to talk to the same people. At least everybody is getting on twitter but you don’t get discussions like you did on the forums.

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Google is a tapeworm for your data

I saw the other day in my Adwords account that Google now offers the ability to connect your Google Base with your Google Adwords. I thought this sure is cool then I noticed that they require you to turn on Data Sharing in your Google Analytics. Every new thing they do seems to be some way for them to get your data. What are they doing with all this data?

I have put a lot of thought in what is in the future for Google. They are so big that there is serious talk of making them a monopoly. I foresee in the future that there will be a point when bandwidth will be unlimited or near unlimited. It may not be in the next 10 years but it could be in 20-30. I have read that scientists have successfully teleported data. At some point bandwidth won’t be an issue. This means that we become a completely wireless world. Cable companies, phone companies, cell phone companies will lose their monopoly.

Google is working toward managing all data that exists. When all data is on the Internet they will be entrenched as the company that knows how to find everything. In the future you will be able to set up an Adwords account and be able to advertise anywhere you want. They already have ads for TV. Not many people use it but when all TV is on the Internet Google will have worked out the bugs and have the advertiser base to handle it.

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Does web page size affect traffic?

I was watching a video of Marissa Mayer from Google. There is a lot of good stuff in there but I wanted to cover this one part.

Google does a lot of A/B testing. They asked users if more results per page would be better and they said yes. Google went and did some testing to see if this was true. They found out that traffic went down by 20%. It was not because people were finding what they wanted it was because of web page load time. Remember here we are talking Google who return results in 0.16 seconds. She said returning 30 results only doubled the time so worst case it was still less than one second load time. She did not say when this test was done so it could have been when there were more people on dial up. Even if it was Google still loads very fast on dial up even 5 years ago. She then talked about Google Maps and how when it launched it was 120k in size. They reduced the size by 30% and they got 30% more maps requests. People want content fast.

Just about every site I have had to do an SEO evaluation for is over 500k and I have seen several that were 1mb. People need to understand that websites are not a TV commercial or a magazine spread. On TV and magazines you get the information instantly. You do the same thing on a website and people will be just sitting there for a bit. If a site takes longer than a few seconds to load people will hit the back button.

I have seen websites with 100k just in text from javscript, css, and html. Then there are the images. This is where things get out of hand. I had one client that had put huge .bmp files on the front page. This is an extreme and I have only seen once. The point is scale down your images and remove some altogether. Only use css that you are going to use on that page. Don’t load the css code for every page on your site for every page load.

People also need to calm down on the javascript. Very few people know how to code javascript very well so most webpages just have a script they downloaded and they have no idea what it does. Also stay away from the rapid deployment asp.net stuff. A hello world page can be 100k or more. That stuff is designed for intranet web apps. It should never be used on an active public website.

If you really care about people spending time on your website make it fast. People want information and accomplish goals they don’t want a bunch of pretty pictures and fancy navigation. Your goal is not to impress your boss or friends it is to keep people on your website. The biggest mistake that people make is they show their website already loaded to a friend or boss and ask them what they think. That is an invalid test. First off the person is only looking at it like they do a TV commercial or magazine. That is not how they will look at it if they found the site by themselves. There is a big difference. Most people are in a big hurry very few people spend a ton of time on the Internet. Granted there is always an audience that does want all the bells and whistles and is willing to wait for the load time but they are in the minority.

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How to add unique titles in php for SEO

One of the thing I run into the most when evaluating a website for seo is the same title on every page. This can be fixed with a little bit of code. If all the pages are static you just go to each page. If the page is using a header file then you have to make some changes. If they have a lot of static pages with an include file for the header you are still going to have to go and change every page. If you have a lot of data in a database you can just make some changes in the header file. Here is the php code to fix the problem.

Website using header file on a bunch of static pages.

Include File:
<br /> <?php<br /> if($title){echo $title; }else{ echo "Generic Title";}<br /> ?><br />

Static Page
$title = "Unique Title";
include 'header.inc';
?>

Your still going to have to go to every page and put that on it. This allows you to keep a header file that you can change in one place. If your site is completely dynamic your going to need to add a title field to your database and populate it with Titles. Then use the same if statement on the title tag but echo the title from the db.

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Google has announced that you can tell them what URL is correct. This is very helpful for enforcing URL’s. The new feature is called

Google says they treat it as a “hint that we honor strongly” I still believe that you should enforce url’s yourself programaticly using 301 redirects. One of the reasons for having nice short URL’s that contain Keywords in them is to make it easier for people to link to you. It is also to make it easier to email your link and post links in chats or forums. You don’t want people using www.tinyurl.com for your links because you are now advertising tiny url and not your site.

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