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In this issue:

FEATURE:
Building a Web Site Theme with Silos

BACK TO BASICS:
Custom 404 Pages Aid Search Engine Optimization

THE USUAL: Coverage of this month's
hot topics, shuffles, shindigs, attaboys and word on the wire.

FEATURE: Building a Web Site Theme with Silos



Search engines award keyword rankings to the site that proves that it is least "imperfect" for the relevancy of a subject or theme. It is the nature of a search engine to try and dissect a site into distinct subjects that add up into an overall theme thereby representing a clear straightforward subject relevancy. More often than not a Web site is a disjointed array of unrelated information with no central theme and thereby suffers in search engines for sought after keyword rankings. Siloing a Web site will serve to clarify your Web site's subject relevance and will lay the ground work for high keyword rankings.



BACK TO BASICS: Custom 404 Pages Aid Search Engine Optimization

Your job as a search marketer is to make your site easily navigable for both users and the search engines. Your navigation should be clearly and uniformly laid out, your internal linking structure should make sense to a user, and a site map should offer links to the most important pages on your Web site. Part of this responsibility includes acknowledging that mistakes happen and offering users a roadmap for when errors arise. Despite your best efforts, users will click on broken links, they'll mistype a URL, guess wrong at what they think a URL should be or try to access a bookmarked page that has since moved. Users do all sorts of things to get themselves confused; sometimes it's not even their fault. And when they do, they'll meet your 404 page.



Hot Topics

SEO Refresher Course

Search engine optimization is difficult. Site owners must do their best to align all the pieces of the optimization puzzle properly to produce the most positive, long-lasting effect. The trick is that often getting one element in your campaign to run smoothly shifts the other pieces out of whack. This month was a lesson in focusing on all the small pieces of your optimization project that combined can yield powerful results.

Lesson 1: It's Okay To Get Technical

Geek speak was everywhere this month, showing site owners that terms like ".htaccess" "IIS" and "301 redirect" don't just belong inside the IT room. The Bruce Clay Blog helped readers learn how to properly implement a 301 redirect to inform the search engines when pages have moved and hold on to established rankings. Coding Horror spoke about the importance of creating user friendly 404 pages, and the Bruce Clay blog agreed, giving users tips for designing effective error pages.

Lesson 2: You Can't Just Set it and Forget It

The days of only having to do keyword research once, ignoring A/B testing, and putting PPC campaigns on auto-pilot are behind us. The search marketing and optimization fields are considerably more competitive today than they were just three years ago. Staying competitive means constant monitoring. There's no more setting and forgetting your paid search campaign. You have to keep track of the anchor text being used both on your site and in internal link as well as links pointing towards you, and you have be mindful of giving your customers what they want. Doing so keeps you one step ahead of your competition.

Lesson 3: Take Responsibility For Your Site and Actions

This was a big one this month. If you missed it the first time around: You are the one responsible for how the search engines handle your site. If you don't want the engines indexing your content, learn how to use your robots.txt file. Even though a woman in Colorado is currently trying, you can't sue a spider for your inability to direct it.

Remember that ranking in Google or any of the other search engines is a privilege, not a right. The court upheld this in last week's Google/KinderStart ruling where a judge not only found that poor rankings do not equal defamation, but that if you file frivolous lawsuits you may be required to pay the defendant's legal fees.

You're also responsible for using SEO-friendly blog URLs, writing your own content, and playing nice in the blogosphere.

Lesson 4: Don't Panic

The time you're spending worrying about what your competitors are up to and if they're filing spam complaints about your site? Stop. The sticks and stones being thrown at you by your competitors aren't hurting you. There's very little another site can do to harm your rankings. So stop worrying about them and concentrate on improving your organic search engine optimization campaign.

Lesson 5: Search Engine Optimization Works

The greatest lesson taught this month is something we've been saying for years: search engine optimization works. Neil Patel showed even the biggest cynics that adhering to the basic rules of SEO can yield substantial results for your site. You may even be able to outrank that .gov site looming above of you if you approach it correctly.


Shuffles

Yahoo appointed Reggie Davis to Vice President of Marketplace Quality, Colin Kinsell was promoted to President of Western U.S. operations for Avenue A | Razorfish, Mark Pilgrim joined Google, Satya Nadella became the head of Microsoft's Search and Ad Platform Group, and Heather Harde became TechCrunch's new CEO.

Saying goodbye were Alex Barnett who left Microsoft, and Michael Moritz who stepped down from Google's Board of Directors.

In mergers and acquisitions:

  • UK local search vendor Yell.com began running PPC ads
  • Lycos Europe will brand as Jubii in the United States
  • AOL signed a content syndication deal with UKTV
  • Microsoft acquired devBiz Business Solutions
  • Yahoo launched the Yahoo Mobile Publisher Services to help publishers monetize their mobile efforts
  • NBC and News Corporation launched an Internet video distribution network
  • CBS struck a content deal with YouTube for March Madness
  • Google partnered with LG, and bought Adscape Media and Trendalyzer
  • iCrossing bought analytics firm Sharp Analytics

Shindigs

March was a busy month for SEOs with SES Munich, Search Marketing World, Search Engine Room, SEOToolSet training, and the newly-formed SEO Class and Seodays training programs all hitting late in the month, and there won't be any letting up in April.

This month, SEOs are gearing up for two major shows: Search Engine Strategies New York and Ad:Tech San Francisco.

SES will land in New York City on April 10 for four jam-packed days of sessions, exhibiting and networking. Bruce will be speaking during Thursday's Organic Listings Forum and you catch several members of the Bruce Clay, Inc. staff in the booth to answer your questions and give demos of the SEOToolSet. We'll also be sending Lisa out once again to attend and report on the various sessions taking place.

Two weeks later, Ad:Tech hits San Francisco April 23-27. Bruce will be moderating the SEO: Advanced Q&A session, and you'll once again have an opportunity to catch Bruce Clay employees in the booth and get the full conference scoop in Lisa's session recaps. You're not going to want to miss it.

Looking ahead to the summer, South African SEOs should mark their calendars for the SEOToolset training taking place July 9-11, while Australian SEOs will want to make note of the SEOToolset training in Sydney August 6-8. More information can be found on the South Africa training and Australia training pages.

Programming Note: Because so many SEOs will be traveling in April, the SEO Newsletter will take a short mid-month hiatus. Look for a jam-packed newsletter at the end of April and keep your eye on the Bruce Clay Blog for all your search news and conference updates.


Attaboys

The Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization (SEMPO) named its officers for 2007.

Yahoo was the bearer of good news this month, offering unlimited email storage in honor of Yahoo Mail's 10-year-old anniversary. There was also speculation that Panama may be available in the UK as early as the end of April.

Google and Microsoft joined the OpenAjax Alliance, an organization dedicated to the successful adoption of open and interoperable Ajax-based Web technologies.

Hitwise showed that Google's dominance on the search market continues to grow, while a Piper Jaffray survey predicts the search market will reach $44.5 billion in 2011.

Google signed deals with the Rwandan Ministry of Infrastructure and the Kenya Education Network to give students and Rwandan officials free access to Google Apps.


Word on the Wire

Eyes are looking towards Redmond with rumors that Microsoft may be gearing up to purchase DoubleClick and is in danger of getting dumped by Comcast for Google.

Was JotSpot the missing link needed for Google to link services like Gmail, Google Docs, Google Calendar, Blogger, etc. into a single interface?

A curious error message sparked debate in the Google Blogoscoped forums that an offline Google word processor may be in the works.

There's also talk that Google is in Boston looking for office space near top technology universities like Harvard and MIT.



If you have any questions or comments on any of the articles above or if you would like to suggest topics for future search engine optimization articles, please contact us at Bruce Clay, Inc