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In this issue:

Building a Web Site Theme with Silos, Part Three

The Fundamentals of Search Engine Optimization

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

It's common to come across articles and search marketers in the blogosphere proclaiming what search engine optimization is and what exactly goes into a good SEO campaign; however, this month it was different. This time around we kept hearing about all the things search engine optimization is not.

FEATURE: Building a Web Site Theme with Silos, Part Three

The most critical aspect of siloing comes down to the implicit understanding the Web site's primary audience. Most Web sites are still often seen by owners and marketers as little more than a glorified brochure. Without a clear directory structure, visitors and search engines are easily lost as to the purpose and theme of the site. Continuing our evaluation of Heifer International, we find that this manner of thinking is in effect and may well be the cause of very narrow search engine rankings. Remember that although the specific recommendations that follow are for, the general principles of silo building apply universally.

BACK TO BASICS: The Fundamentals of Search Engine Optimization

Most search engine optimization professionals focus on writing about the very latest thing, the bleeding edge of optimization. They're looking for the thing that's going to put their client at number one. What's the problem with that? The trouble is that most sites aren't fighting for number one. The vast majority of Web sites are looking just to get in the game. They're not training to be a gold medalist; they're just trying to get into shape. The objective of the Back to Basic series is to look at the ways in which site owners can begin their quest for rankings.

Hot Topics

Search Engine Optimization is Not Google Optimization

In an email thread over at LED Digest, John Audette asked if Internet marketing had been reduced to solely optimizing for Google searches and the answer that quickly revealed itself was, "yes, it has".

Bruce Clay's Lisa Barone commented on John's thread in a follow-up post entitled Search Engine Optimization is Not Google Optimization, arguing that today's search marketers are committing two vital errors that are hindering their SEO campaigns: they're focusing on rankings instead of creating better sites, and they're only worried about ranking in Google.

Optimization should be about making your site the best it can be and making it easy for the search engines to find content. No one can control Google and your ability to run your business should not be based on the ability to do so.

Perhaps as proof that the industry is too reliant on Google, AltSearchEngines launched A Day Without Google, encouraging searchers to try out another engine for a day. Jennifer Laycock is trying her own experiment with a new Thirty Day Series for Search Engine Guide entitled Hide and Speak where she will market a new e-commerce site without the help of the search engines.

Search Engine Optimization is Not Acquiring Any Rankings

Matt Webb aka SEO Honolulu described what happens when sites collect rankings for unintended terms - in the best circumstances, nothing. As a site owner, you want your Web site to rank for the terms that are important to your customers, not for offbeat keywords that serve only to detract from the theme of your Web site. Lisa Barone highlighted this issue on the Bruce Clay blog in a post entitled Search Engine Optimization is Not About Useless Rankings.

Both Matt and Lisa agreed that while you can target whatever keyword phrases you're interested in, if the terms aren't relevant to your site they're not going to provide much benefit.

Optimization Should Include Ethics

Search engine optimization isn't about high Google rankings, nor about ranking for terms that won't convert. It's about usability and connection. It's about creating an expert site and then maintaining it.

A good search engine optimization campaign is rooted in ethics. When an LED Digest thread asked what to do when a client is insisting mid-project on unethical SEO, search marketers were quick to respond that you drop that client. If a client is pressuring you to delve into black hat techniques and you can't convince them against it, it's time for you and the client to part ways. It is never okay to risk your reputation to make a client happy. For webmasters, if your SEO company tells you something is spam, listen to them.


Yahoo was the apparent leader in industry shakeups this month. There was the triple play that saw Jerry Yang replacing Terry Semel as Yahoo's CEO, Terry Semel taking over a non-executive chairman position and Susan Decker being promoted to president. Then, David Karnstedt became head of Yahoo's U.S. sales, Wenda Millard resigned as Yahoo's chief sales officer in the U.S., Peggy White ended her role as the GM of Yahoo Finance, and Patrick Crane left Yahoo to join LinkedIn as their Vice President of Marketing.

In non Yahoo shufflings, John Audette resumed his role as moderator of LED Digest, Rick Skrenta stepped down as Topix's CEO and anointed Chris Tolles to take his place, and Google engineers Bret Taylor and Jim Norris resigned from their positions.

In mergers and acquisitions:

  • Google partnered with Network Solutions, acquired Zenter, and launched a public policy blog and a Google News blog.
  • Yahoo merged its Search & Display Ad Teams together.
  • AOL News was relaunched as a blog.
  • SEMPO launched a new advanced search advertising course.
  • Amazon launched a contextual ad system.
  • MySpace released MySpace TV, putting itself in direct competition with YouTube.

Aaron Wall surprised the industry announcing that the popular search community Threadwatch would be closing down as of Friday.


Reports are still coming in from last week's 2nd annual SES Latino Miami, which focused on search engine optimization and search marketing for the Latino & Hispanic market. The event was broken into two tracks, one focusing on Latino search marketing issues and another highlighting search marketing basics.

Complete session coverage can be found at Search Engine Roundtable and Search Engine Guide has issued a SES Latino 2007 in Miami Wrap Up, as well.

Looking ahead:

  • Affiliate Summit Miami is July 8-10.
  • SEOToolSet training takes place July 16-19.
  • WordCamp lands in San Francisco July 21-22. Bruce Clay's Lisa Barone will be attending, so if you see her, make sure to say hello.
  • SES Travel will take over Seattle July 26-27.
  • SES Training Boston enters Beantown August 8.
  • SES San Jose opens August 20-23.
  • And, of course, search engine marketers in South Africa and Australia will want to watch for their own SEOToolSet training classes. Class will be in session 9-11 July in South Africa and 6-8 August in Australia. Check out their respective pages for more information.


WebProNews reports that US online advertising spend will double in the next five years to $35 billion.

Google launched Google Earth Outreach, a program focused on helping nonprofit organisations promote their causes using Google Earth.

Congrats go to both Google and YouTube. Google was named the Top Mobile Web Destination, while Ellacoya Networks revealed that YouTube now accounts for 10 percent of all Web traffic.

In industry birthdays, John Battelle's FM turned two-years-old, while Donna Fontenot's popular search blog SEO Scoop turned three.

Word on the Wire

The common denominator for this month's high profile rumors was Yahoo. The Times reported that News Corporation was considering swapping MySpace for a 30 percent stake in Yahoo, there were rumors that Yahoo and eBay were ready to merge, and the Telegraph reported MySpace may be looking to place a bid on eBay to complete the circle.

If you were keeping your fingers crossed for a Microsoft and Canonical partnership, it doesn't look likely.

And after much speculation about whether or not it would happen, TechCrunch reports Google has acquired GrandCentral for $50 million.

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