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In this issue:

FEATURE:
Building a Web Site Theme with Silos,
Part 4 A: Linking

BACK TO BASICS:
Merging Podcasting and 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, Part Four A: Linking
In the simplest terms, the Internet is a series of Web pages connected by hyperlinks. A Web site is a component part of the Internet, being both a member of the whole network and an individual group of pages unique unto itself. What search engines attempt to do is aggregate information on individual sites into content groups. Search engines award the Web sites with the most complete subject relevance with high keyword rankings. What factors are taken into consideration when the link structure of a Web site is evaluated? The answer has been well documented, but many important details seem to be lost on even the most thoroughly constructed Web sites. There are three main linking categories that affect high keywords rankings: inbound linking, outbound linking and internal site linking.


BACK TO BASICS: Merging Podcasting and Search Engine Optimization

You've heard about podcasting. It's the cousin of the blog, Google and Ask.com have both found ways to incorporate podcasts into their SERPs, and it's being touted at all the search industry conferences and on the search marketing blogs as the medium to pay attention to. But what does podcasting really entail and can you really make it search engine friendly?


Hot Topics
SEO Community, Meet Sphinn

Danny Sullivan caused quite a stir this month launching a social news and networking site specifically geared towards the search engine optimization community. Quite predictably, the first-of-its-kind SEM-focused social site was a success right out of the gate. It may only be two weeks young, but Sphinn has already welcomed its 1,000th member, been proven a catalyst for increased traffic, and found itself in the midst of industry controversy.

Welcome to the conversation, Sphinn!

The Sphinn Effect

Sphinn shares a lot of similarities with Digg.com, where stories are promoted to the front page via a user voting system. The more "sphinns" a story gets, the more popular it is deemed to be, and the faster it will make it to Sphinn's coveted front page. Naturally, search marketers were very interested as to what benefits would come along with having one of their articles or blog entries "sphunn" on Danny's new site.

Matt McGee was first to chime in about the so-called Sphinn Effect, noting that while Sphinn did not yet generate the same flood of traffic that comes from being Dugg, it did bring him a sizable increase in both site visitors and feed subscribers. Matt Webb, the author of an emerging SEO blog, witnessed the same effect, reporting a sizable jump in traffic, as well as increased attention on other social networks.

Is Sphinn Nothing More Than A Popularity Contest

But not everyone is a Sphinn supporter.

Andy Beard was among Sphinn's biggest critics. He went as far as to question the worth of Sphinn, contending that SEM has never been a neglected niche. Did we really need our own news site? If Sphinn were to become successful, Andy believed it would be for two reasons: Because it was associated with Danny Sullivan and because search marketers have a constant need for attention.

Within just a week of its launch people were already calling Sphinn a high school popularity contest where only the recognizable get noticed. Rand Fishkin strongly disagreed with that statement, arguing that Sphinn was more a "value" contest, if anything. Michael Gray offered up his own insights as to why stories don't get Sphunn, and the always blunt Rae Hoffman aka SugarRae issued a newsflash saying you're damn right it's a popularity contest. Marketing has always been a popularity contest. It's about getting your content noticed.

After giving it a test drive, usability expert Kim Krause-Berg was another one of Sphinn's early detractors. Kim noted she was disappointed that her usability niche was being ignored by the site. She got Danny's attention by blogging Search Engine Marketing is Bogus for Sites That Simply Don't Function, but after some light sparring between her and Danny, Kim seemed to be feeling better about Sphinn and has since become an active user. In response to Kim's concerns, Danny went ahead and added a Usability category to the site.

Sphinn is here to stay

Sphinn, the social news site for search marketers, has captured the attention of the SEM community and is here to stay. Learn to leverage it, but don't become too obsessed. Otherwise, we may all be unemployed in six months.


Shuffles

Mike Grehan was named chairperson and host of 2008's Search Engine Strategies London. Congratulations to Mike. The honor is well deserved.

In other shufflings, Yahoo veteran Steve Mitgang joined Veoh Networks as their new CEO, Gideon Yu was appointed the new CFO for Facebook, and Yahoo Local GM Paul Levine stepped down and will be passing his responsibilities over to Jennifer Dulski.

In mergers and acquisitions:

  • Google bought ImageAmerica.
  • Yahoo officially launched Panama in the UK, bought a 35% stake in the Indian online ad network Tyroo, and paired up with anti-spyware company CA to build a co-branded Yahoo toolbar.
  • Microsoft showed it was getting serious with search advertising, pairing up with AdECN, and creating its new Internet Services Research Center to focus on search and advertising technology.
  • Ask.com released an iPhone-compatible version of Bloglines.
  • AOL bought online behavioral targeting network Tacoda.
  • JupiterMedia acquired Mediabistro for $23 million.
  • Media Whiz acquired Jeremy Schoemaker's AuctionAds.
  • TechCrunch acquired InviteShare.
  • Social networking site Facebook bought Parakey.

In site redesigns, ClickZ, Search Engine Watch and Lee Odden's TopRank all released updated versions of their site this month.


Shindigs

SES Travel wrapped up in Seattle earlier this week. Coverage of the event has been scarce but you can read about speaker Rebecca Kelley's experiences over at the SEOmoz blog.

Here in the States, Ad:Tech Chicago starts today and will run through August 1; while on the opposite side of the globe, Bruce Clay's Australian SEO training is getting ready to take over Sydney 6-8 August. Australian search marketers should also make time for Melbourne's Search Engine Bootcamp on 9 August, where both Bruce and Bruce Clay Australasia's Jeremy Bolt will be speaking.

Also this month will be SEM Hot Seat taking place August 14 in Portland, Search Engine Strategies Aug. 20-23 in San Jose, and California SEOToolSet training in Simi Valley on August 28-30.


Attaboys

Ask.com and Microsoft both made great strides in the protecting the privacy of their users. Ask.com announced the soon-to-be-launched AskEraser which will allow users to erase their search history, while Microsoft announced that, like Google, it would start anonymizing search log data after 18 months.

Lots of great Google news this month - they reported Q2 revenues of $3.87 billion, reenergized their commitment to the environment with the new Solar Panel Project Page and there are even reports that blogs are now being indexed in 120 seconds!

Microsoft was named the second best global brand by Interbrand. Google wasn't too far behind taking the twentieth spot.

Online video is garnering some serious attention with news that nearly 75 percent of Internet users are now streaming video.


Word on the Wire

Hitwise suggests that Facebook is on its way to surpassing MySpace in the UK, that Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales is continuing his mission of building the next Google killer, and that Digg is about to be swallowed up by Microsoft.


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.