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In this issue:

FEATURE:
SEO Contest Winner: OER Commons
90 Day Update

BACK TO BASICS:
Building a Web Site Theme with Silos, Part Five

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

FEATURE: SEO Contest Winner: OER Commons - 90 Day Update
Editor's note: We asked our SEO contest winner Keri Morgret to give us an update on the status of her charity campaign. She has graciously allowed us to publish her thoughts for this newsletter.

A big thanks to the Bruce Clay team for sponsoring my scholarship to SMX Advanced in June and to Bruce Clay’s Basic and Advanced SEOToolSet training. Both events were a great learning experience, and I've been able to use much of that information in my work with the OER Commons Web site -- a project of ISKME, a non-profit educational research institute.


BACK TO BASICS: Building a Web Site Theme with Silos, Part Five: Keyword Rich Content

Content is King.

At least that’s what they have been telling us all these years. The truth is that the importance of content has to be qualified. Content is King, but not all content is created equal. Your content needs to be written with specific qualities in mind to fulfill the standard that search engines are looking for today. It has to meet a number of guidelines before it is even considered worthwhile, and even then it might not be enough to satisfy your ROI in helping to improve your rankings.


Hot Topics

The paid links uproar that began during August's Search Engine Strategies San Jose convention refuses to die down. This month tensions regarding Google and its policy regarding paid links reached an all-time high. There was enough debate, controversy and fighting centered around the topic that Search Engine Roundtable has labeled the first two weeks of this month the October 2007 Paid Link Debate.

Google's Payola Debate

The month got off to a fiery start when Forbes.com published an article entitled Google Purges The Payola on the front page of its technology section. The article highlighted the continued battle between the search engines and site owners regarding paid links. The article took the stance that though Google once considered itself "the Web's library", today they had become "the Web's Watchdog". The Forbes article contended that despite Google's attempt to crack down on it, link buying and selling is here to stay.

Rand Fishkin and SEOmoz's Controversial Blog Post

Responding to Forbes' post, Rand Fishkin wrote that the "Google Payola" issue isn't going away anytime soon and used his post to show how many sites today are guilty of buying and selling links on the Web. To illustrate this point, Rand called out several sites he suspected were guilty of such activity by name.

Rand's post caused a firestorm, upsetting many people in the SEO community. Search marketers were angry that one of their own took the stance of outing others, thereby helping Google to identify, and possibly penalize, sites for link buying or selling. Many wondered if Rand's actions were unethical or simply a blogging blunder.

Popular SEO blogger Donna Fontenot commented on the SEOmoz blog that although Rand stated he didn't intend to "out" anyone, that's, in fact, exactly what he did. Skitzzo from SEORefugee joined the conversation calling Rand's actions unprofessional and irresponsible. Rand later edited his post to remove the site identifiers, but critics like Michael VanDeMar and additional Sphinn threads argued that the damage had already been done and continued to condemn Rand.

Google Penalizes Link Sellers

Just as the furor regarding Rand's post was dying down, Danny Sullivan reignited things announcing on October 7 that Google had officially stated that selling paid links can hurt your PageRank or rankings. This was a long suspected truth, but having it confirmed by Google caused the situation regarding paid links to reach fever pitch, both in the blogs and the forums.

Hearing the report, David Wallace argued that the Paid Links Industry Needs To Go Underground, Wiep Knol explained the difficulty Google will have identifying paid links in 6 Links That Look Like Paid Ones (But Really Aren't), while people like Jeremy Luebke brainstormed ways not to get penalized. Hearing all the uproar, Jim Kukral offered some sage search engine optimization advice, stating that if it feels wrong, Google probably thinks it is too and perhaps you shouldn't do it.

What to Do About Paid Links

Whether or not Google will ever be able to identify every link that is bought or sold on the Web is irrelevant. Everything we know about Google and paid links indicates that engaging in this kind of behavior can come back to hurt your site. If you're going to pay for links on other sites, make sure these links are clearly labeled as such for both the users and search engines, and are there to aid searchers, not to transfer PageRank or to influence rankings.


Shuffles

In shuffles this month, CBSNews.com General Manager Betsy Morgan signed on as the new CEO of The Huffington Post, Richard Jalichandra was appointed the new CEO of Technorati, and both Bryan Eisenberg and Alan Rimm-Kaufman joined Market Motive Faculty, an Internet marketing consultancy and training provider.

In leavings, Google Checkout product manager Benjamin Ling left Google for Facebook, Erik Selberg traded Microsoft for Amazon, co-founder Niklas Zennstrom resigned from Skype, Yahoo's Blake Chandlee left for Facebook, while Yahoo's Vice President of Business Operations Matthew Heist join SideStep as their Senior Vice President of Global Search.

In mergers and acquisitions:

  • Google bought Twitter-rival Jaiku.
  • Yahoo signed a global mobile deal with Telefonica.
  • Microsoft bought shopping search engine Jellyfish.
  • Ask.com partnered with Entertainment Tonight and The Insider to run product placements.
  • SEO Fusion was acquired by Epiphany Solutions Ltd.
  • MSNBC.com bought social news site Newsvine.
  • eBay purchased Afterbuy to expand services and support for ebay.de.
  • Greg Linden announced that Findory will be closing down on November 1.

In redesigns, Small Business Brief was relaunched as a news voting portal.


Shindigs

Whether you're interested in search engine optimization, analytics or social media, there is a wide array of great search events taking place in October and throughout the rest of the year.

The eMetrics Marketing Summit kicked off yesterday in Washington D.C. and will run through Oct. 17. If you're attending, we hope you had to chance to catch Bruce Clay, Inc.'s Mike Grehan's session entitled Who Moved the Goal Posts? earlier today.

The inaugural SMX Social Media show begins tomorrow, October 16, and runs through Wednesday. If you're in town, IM-NY will be hosting a Charity Event tonight. The party is open to everyone and proceeds will benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Socially-inclined UK search marketers should check out The Great Facebook Debate happening in London 17 October.

Later this month will be the 2007 PRSA International Conference taking place October 20-23 in Philadelphia, PA, Bruce Clay's California SEO Training on Oct. 23-25, the SES Training Expo in London on October 24th and SMX Stockholm 31 October-1 November.

Finishing out the year will be Ad:Tech New York happening November 5-8, Las Vegas' BlogWorld & New Media Expo on November 8-9, SMX Travel in Florida on Nov. 12-13, SMX London on 15-16 November, Melbourne WordCamp on 17 November, SES Chicago on Dec. 3-7, and WebmasterWorld Pubcon in Las Vegas on Dec. 4-7.


Attaboys

Facebook was named the fastest growing site in the United Kingdom, with Google taking top honors as the site most visited.

Microsoft announced a new startup fund called the Microsoft Startup Accelerator Programme, which is designed to encourage startups in the UK.

YouTube announced the creation of its Non-Profit Programme, "a non-partisan project aimed at creating a more integrated global community".

Google's stock broke the $600 mark, while online advertising in the UK has now reached $2.6 billion, up 3.1 percent from the first half of the year.

In industry birthdays and anniversaries, John Battelle commemorated his 4,000th blog post this month and Slashdot turned 10.


Word on the Wire

It was rumored this month that Yahoo would be purchasing a 10 percent stake of Alibaba's IPO, that they were still interested in Facebook, and that Facebook was getting ready to launch an MP3 store.


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.