Fun Forum Finds
(Or, as Ze Frank would say, something from the forums.)
Since Tamar is trying to act like me (being all cute and personable) over at Search Engine Roundtable, today’s my turn to act like Tamar and bring you some fun forum threads. It’s only fair, right?
DigitalPoint Forums: MSN Pre-populating their search box
There have been reports at both the DigitalPoint Forums and Search Engine Roundtable Forums that MSN UK has pre-populated the query "The Apprentice BBC" into its search box. I’m not sure if this is some sort of new ad deal or if Donald Trump is just officially taking over the world, but I don’t like it and MSN needs to stop tainting organic search.
I’m seriously bewildered why MSN is so keen on turning a genuine search bar into an advertisement? Organic and PPC are like a pair of 14-year-old brother and sisters; sure, they’re related, but they’re not supposed to be sharing a bed. The way MSN has positioned itself I have to actually go and delete the query they’ve entered and insert my own if I want to use their search bar. What kind of crazy user roadblock is that? Do they not realize how badly this is going to confuse inexperienced searchers? Oy!
Bad idea, MSN.
Search Engine Roundtable: Who Should Write The SEO Content?
This is an oldie, but goodie and a question that comes up in training pretty regularly. The question at hand is: Who should write the content to further your site’s ranking goals: your copywriters or your search engine optimization company?
You should. You’re the expert on your subject, not us.
Typically, when we work with clients to help them develop great content we look at their existing content and offer advice on how to tweak it to emphasis keywords and better establish their theme. On projects where Susan and I have been tasked with writing pages, we do our best to get a solid understanding of your site and its tone and services so that we’re able to produce appropriate content. However, it’s still up to you to make sure that it works for your site and is conveying the right message to users.
We’ll do our best to give you the best content we can, but it really is you who is responsible for that content. We would never presume to know your site or your industry better than you do.
Cre8asite: Can you outrank .gov sites?
An intelligent discussion broke out on the Cre8asite forums over whether it’s possible to outrank a .gov site. Of course it’s possible; it’s just not always very easy.
The thing to keep in mind is that having a .gov or .edu TLD doesn’t guarantee you rankings. A site doesn’t rank because of its domain. The reason .gov sites rank so well is because of the high number of quality, trusted sites linking to them. NASA.gov is ranking for the same reasons you are, they just have about 500,000 more inbound links than you do.
Bill Slawski offered some great advice in the thread, which was to avoid head-to-head competition with these sites for the more competitive keywords:
"…look for opportunities to rank for keywords that they missed. While that may mean targeting some less competitive keywords, if it brings you the audience that you are looking for, that should be fine.
That’s an important concept to keep in mind. If you’re going up against NASA in the search engines, your livelihood should NOT depend on outranking them for the term "space". This is one of those instances where the long tail keywords are really important. Get those first cornered first; then once you start getting rankings and traffic from those you can launch a more complex, competitive attack. Remember, kids, the battle for search engine rankings really isn’t a battle at all; it’s a war. :)