Q and A: What impact does a video clip have on search engine indexing?

QuestionHi Kalena

I have several questions if you have the time to answer them.

1. What impact does a video clip have on search engine indexing (if any)?

2. Some websites I look at don’t seem to be using good navigation structures or use anywhere near the minimum recommended amount of text on their home page at all — yet they came up on page one when a google search is done – why? For example: Visiooptic.com has very little body text yet they come up high on a google search for *eyeglasses in Brookline, MA*.

3. I would think that web designers would automatically incorporate meta tags and key words and know about the importance of on-page criteria – yet it seems they don’t. Isn’t this bad business practice?

For example: one of my websites was done by a very experienced web designer, yet I wasn’t informed about many of these things; and I am seeing that my site isn’t very well optimized. I’m so surprised by this!

Thank you

Hi Toni

I’ll answer each of your questions in turn:

1) Depending on the way your clip is uploaded, LOTS. As you probably know, Google purchased YouTube a few years ago. So that should give you an idea of how important video is to the web and to search in particular. You can optimize your YouTube videos for search engine rankings now – there are lots of tutorials about this and we are looking to add a whole lesson on this to our SEO201 course in the near future. In the meantime, have a look at this post on how to optimize your video content.

2) Optimized body text is just one factor of the 100+ ranking influence factors in the Google PageRank algorithm. It’s an important one, but not the only one. So the reason you see other pages ranking well despite little or no text is that they score highly in other areas such as inbound links (quality of other sites linking to them), title and meta tags, inbound traffic, internal cross-linking etc. The sample site you mention is ranking ok because (amongst other things) it has a toolbar PageRank score of 4 and quite a few inbound links. If it had more optimized text on the page, it would probably rank even higher.

3) Surprising isn’t it? Despite SEO playing such a vital role in how a web site performs online, it’s scary how many web design companies either don’t know anything about SEO or don’t think it’s their job to optimize a web site. It’s not that they are unprofessional, it’s just that SEO is quite a specific science and many designers don’t have the knowledge to optimize a site well, or believe it is someone else’s job because it can be time-consuming. Some web designers offer SEO as an add-on service to web design, which I guess is fair enough as it could be outside the scope of the agreed design project. But I can’t tell you the number of web sites I’ve had to optimize for clients who have paid tens of thousands of dollars for a web site that is basically a glossy online brochure that would never be found in Google in a million years.


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Zen and the Art of Web Site Analytics

smiling-buddhaSite analytics have always freaked me out a little.

I mean, the sheer amount of data you are presented with about your web site can be overwhelming if you don’t know what to look for. Or even if you DO know what to look for.

That’s why I’m a big fan of Avinash Kaushik, the Analytics Evangelist for Google and author of the Occam’s Razor blog.

I have been avidly reading Avinash’s book Web Analytics: 2.0 for a couple of weeks now and I’m so impressed by Avinash’s writing style and the knack he has of simplifying concepts.

Take for example his definition of a Single Page Visit:

“I came. I puked. I left”

Exactly. If a visitor to your site doesn’t like or find what they’re looking for the first page they look at, it’s  highly likely they’ll simply take off. So you’d better look carefully at those pages with high bounce rates and work out what the heck is turning people away.

Avinash knows that webmasters and marketers often need to present a SWOT analysis or at least a summary of key site analytics to a range of stakeholders. He explains explicitly how to pull the crucial data out of your site analytics and present it in such a way that even the most non-tech of people can make sense of it.

I was reading his feature article in the latest Search Marketing Standard magazine yesterday and something in particular he said really stood out for me:

“Less is more. Focus on the critical few metrics rather than the insignificant many”

Often, we are so obsessed with understanding ALL the data presented by our analytics program that we forget to take a step back and think about WHY we are studying analytics in the first place. Avinash reminds us that we need to use our time wisely and look at just the few critical metrics that impact our business.

These will be different for everyone, depending on the goals of their web sites. For example, for my business, the key metrics are probably bounce rate, keywords, referrers and exit pages. As long as I review these four metrics regularly, I can be confident that I’m measuring the most important data that is influencing my online business. For a lead-generation based site, the critical metrics might be conversions, entry pages, page views and referrers.

So don’t be afraid of your analytics. Think about the main goals you’ve set for your web site, dive in to your analytics and pull out a few metrics that will help you understand why visitors are meeting/missing those goals. Then you can tweak the site based on what you’ve learned.

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WANTED: Your Top WordPress SEO Tips

Greetings all

After spending the last few weeks providing SEO coaching to small businesses here in New Zealand, I realized that many of them are relying more and more on WordPress-based web sites for their business.

Now I don’t have a problem with this at all – I’m a huge fan of WordPress and so are search engines. It’s really easy to use the blogging platform to build a decent looking, search engine friendly web site. But where people are coming unstuck is in how to optimize their WordPress site when they were previously used to dealing with raw HTML code.

I have started a little checklist for WordPress users, just to remind them of the key SEO tweaks they can make to their blog pages and posts to ensure they are as visible in search engines as possible. I hope to publish the checklist here and also make it available to Search Engine College students as a downloadable PDF.

Here’s where you guys come in. I know many of you use WP on a daily basis and are also busy optimizing your sites for Google and other search engines. I would LOVE for you to share your best tip on how to optimize WP sites so I can add it to the checklist.

Unless you wish to remain anonymous, all tips used will be acknowledged via name and link in the finished document.

Got your tip ready? Please add it in the comments on this post. Thanks so much!

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Dumbass of the Week: Facebook Users

DuhOh boy, you’re going to love this one.

It all began last week when Read Write Web, (a very popular blog based here in New Zealand), published a post about Facebook’s new partnership with AOL called FB Wants to Be Your One True Login.

Apparently the post started ranking in the top Google SERPs for *facebook login*. Nothing wrong with that so far, it makes perfect sense given the post title and TrustRank the site has built up in Google.

BUT, all these strange and inappropriately angry comments with excessive use of exclamation marks began appearing on the RWW post.

Comments like this:

“When can we log in?”

“I don’t like the new facebook. Why fix something that isn’t broken. this really sucks..”

“I just want to log in to Facebook – what with the red color and all?”

“Quit this crap and let me sign in!

“All I wanted to do was LOG IN TO MY FACE BOOK ACCOUNT! I don’t like this new way! “If it an’t broke why fix it?”

“Can we log into face book? This is crazy I want to get all my info off and be done with this.”

“How do you get in?”

“I just want to get into my Facebook page.”

“This is such a mess I can’t do a thing on my facebook . The changes you have made are ridiculous,I can’t even login!!!!!I am very upset!!!”

“I was just learning,why would you mess it up?”

“All I want to do is log in, this sucks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

“The new facebook sucks> NOW LET ME IN.”

RWW staff were confused at first, but then it dawned on them. Instead of bookmarking Facebook.com or entering www.facebook.com in their browser address bar like anyone with half a brain, all these commenters were apparently typing *facebook login* into Google whenever they wanted to login to Facebook and then clicking randomly on one of the results. The RWW post just happened to be the one they clicked on.

Having arrived at the Read Write Web post about Facebook, they somehow thought it WAS the *new* Facebook, despite the completely different color, design and the very clear Read Write Web heading at the top of the page. Not only did they think they were AT Facebook, but these commenters, in their hundreds, somehow managed to ignore the post itself, work out how to comment ON the post and leave their inappropriate rants about how much the hated the *new* Facebook. Except for one commenter, who claimed he liked the new design.

As the hours wore on and the page rose even higher in the Google results for *facebook login*, the comments became even more inappropriately angry and amusing:


“I am going to delete my account (IF I CAN EVER LOG IN) as this SUCKS BIG TIME ! If this does not get back to NORMAL you are going to lose a lot of folks who hate this and as you can see from all the comments they think it sucks too !!! facebook was great for connecting with old friends …now, NOT SO MUCH. SO HOW DO I LOG IN?”

“Bring me back old facebook this is sheet”


“Who’s idea was this?? Hope he’s not too big to fire cause he just LOST a bunch of faithful users. Chances are it’ll never be the same as it was before….cya”

“I’m going back to my f*ckin space u ass holes have to f*ck up a good this !!!!! dumn asses

To add to the hilarity, a Facebook user called Laraine (bless her heart), found a new way for Facebook users to solve their *problem*:

“For those of you that want to get in face book now just go to Bing..put in face book and search (or it will pop up) hit on face book login and it takes you  to your password page…i did it…. if this ever gets back to normal I will use the address bar from now on…..”

Read Write Web added a big bold paragraph to the original post stating *This site is not Facebook* and wrote a new post addressing the issue called We’re Still Not Facebook, but they continued to be bombarded with flames. It’s a little something I like to call The Walmart Effect.

There are two morals to this story:

1) There should be some type of study done on the correlation between IQ and the use of exclamation marks.

2) You need to design your web site and your software for the lowest common denominator.

I’m reminded of Damian Conway’s fantastic presentation at Webstock Web 2.Overwhelming – 22 Ways to Frustrate Your Visitors where he amusingly drilled into us that the majority of our web site users are NOT geeks, they’re NOT tech savvy and as this example shows, Dumb User Errors (DUE) are terrifyingly commonplace.

Make your stuff embarrassingly easy to use, because Dumb Happens.

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Google Home Page Turns Minimalist

Visited Google.com lately? If so, you might have spotted something a little different about Big G’s home page.

Remember back in September when I blogged about Google increasing the size of the search box? Well it turns out that Google have been experimenting quite a bit with the layout and design of their home page, playing around with different versions of it, visible only to a handful of guinea pigs in their control group and users of a few select data-centers.

A major feature of the home page testing (and one that exists in the final launched version) is a fade-in effect where the content on the page “fades in” over a few seconds. I had noticed the fade-effect a couple of times during October and wondered if it was a glitch. TechCrunch noticed too and blogged about it quickly.

With the testing period over, Google officially launched their new home page across all datacenters and most regional Googles this month. When the page first loads, it shows only the Google logo, buttons and the search box. The remaining links appear only once the user moves the mouse over the page.

Google’s VP of Search Products Marissa Mayer says this design provides a focus on site usability:

“For the vast majority of people who come to the Google homepage, they are coming in order to search, and this clean, minimalist approach gives them just what they are looking for first and foremost. For those users who are interested in using a different application like Gmail, Google Image Search or our advertising programs, the additional links on the homepage only reveal themselves when the user moves the mouse.”

Google hopes that the minimalist page will soon become second nature to users and encourage them to use the home page features more efficiently.

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