The long tail, in the search engine optimization (SEO) world, refers to an internet marketing strategy that looks to rank for many niche keywords, rather than for a few common, competetive keywords (referred to as the big head). The marketer hopes that the sum of the traffic generated by hundreds, if not thousands of niche searches will add up to something significant. If properly implemented, this strategy can work well because of two factors:
The problem is that Adwords is Google’s golden goose. Google would much rather searchers hit “popular” search engine results pages (SERPs), because those are the ones that contain the expensive ads. Some of the changes that may have been implemented by Google to drive traffic towards the popular SERPS are:
I received the following message recently when diagosing a number of keywords in an Adwords adgroup:
All but one of the factors mentioned above is a setback for the long tail search engine marketer. These changes were presumably implemented to push searches to expensive Adwords clicks, but they also have the effect of making searching for niche keywords more difficult for the Google users. People don’t want to have their keywords messed around with. And when the driver is Google’s bottom line rather than the searcher’s experience, it can only lead to more and more dissatisfied searchers.
Starting in June Google rankings started going crazy. We used to call this an Update or “Google Dance.” It was the period when Google updated it’s algorithm and rolled it out to all of it’s Data Centers, so for a week or so it would appear that your site was bouncing back in forth in the rankings, when really you were just at the new position or old postion, depending on which data center you hit, and whether or not it was updated with the new algorithm yet. Google updates are more incremental nowadays, and every change seems to be implemented a little differently than the last. That, of course, is pure speculation, because what Google is actually doing at any given time is a closely held secret.
Back in March, Google rolled out a tweak to their algorithm and called it Vince. This update gave big brands a boost in the relevant searches. So if Company X was the biggest thing in blue widgets, but were lame at the search engine optimization (SEO) of their website, Google started giving them a pass, so they could rank highly in a seach for "blue widgets," and remain lame at SEO.
As I mentioned, back in June the (search engine resultes pages) SERPS starting going wild. This continued for most of the month, and well into July. Now, a month later there still appears to be some movement, but they may finally be settling down.
What are some possible factors that could have caused your site to rise or plunge in the rankings?
The sad part about all of this is, the results do not look any more relevant after this update. Google results have been getting more irrelevant over the past couple of years, and whatever they are doing to adjust their algorithm doesn’t seem to be geared toward fixing that problem. Personally, I have been using Yahoo and Bing more than ever recently, out of sheer necessity.
Matt Cutts, Google's Ambassador at large recently gave a talk about SEO (search engine optimization) for bloggers: http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/seo-for-bloggers/
Blogging can be a great way to keep your website content fresh, build credibility and authority for your business, and get targeted traffic coming in. These are great tips, straight from the horse's mouth, about getting your blog at the top of Google.
Use Wordpress. WordPress takes care of 80-90% of(the mechanics of)Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
My plugins (used by Matt Cutts)
How does Google crawl?
We crawl roughly in decreasing order of PageRank
The number and importance of links pointing to you.
How does Google rank pages?
You want to be relevant and reputable
SEO tips: keywords
Keywords in url paths: example.com/my-keywords
General Blogging Tips
rel=canonical . Built into wordpress.com. Download 2.8!
Before starting the information design of a business Web site it is important to consider the way a user is most likely to use it. The first instinct of a business owner or sales and marketing professional is to construct a compelling argument to convince the user to buy the product or service. This can be several paragraphs of prose.
The typical web user is going to see 5 or 6 paragraphs of block text and think "I'm not going to read all that." It's a big time commitment in web terms. So they will read the first paragraph and think "that's just what I'm looking for." They may scan the headings for other chunks of information they seek. Then they will look at navigation or at other areas that are visually set off from the main text.
Web users visit business websites for a reason. If they want to purchase something, they will usually be looking for a specific product. Subconsciously they will be taking in the clues that will tell them whether or not they trust the business behind the website. If the web user is looking for a service, they will be looking for a concise description of services offered, pricing, credentials and contact information.
The secret to creating a user-friendly information design is figuring out what the user wants to do, and making that as easy as possible. To do this you should chunk the information into "bite size" pieces and arrange them so that the user will naturally follow them to your goal, be that a contact form submission, phone call or "complete transaction" button. That's not to say you shouldn't have depth of information on your site, but in the design you want to create that obvious scanning path to the call to action, and make sure any critical information is included in that path.
A good number of documents are created during the web design process. There is certainly a lot for the competent web designer to document throughout the discovery, planning, design, integration and delivery stages of a complex web project. Not all of these documents are of interest to the client, and over the years I've learned only to present the minimum number of documents needed to ensure a successful project. The following are the standard deliverables I ask my clients to sign off on.
I use the creative brief as an overall project definition document. It includes all the requirements and specifications of the project, including scope, audience, objective, call to action, and technical specification for the website we will be creating.
The content outline defines every piece of content that will appear on the website. If it isn't on the content outline, it isn't going to appear on the website. The content outline is part of the information architecure, and as such should be organized in a hierarchy that represents the structure of the website rather than a hierarchy based on arbitrary categorization of content.
The site map represents the structure and navigation of the website and should closely coincide with the content outline. There should be a common numbering system in place. Pages are represented by boxes and links by arrows.
Wireframes are schematic versions of the pages on a website and should similate the final navigation, although the page layout at this point in the process is rough. Wireframes can be made into clickable web pages, allowing the client to preview the navigation of the site in action. Each wireframe should include all pieces of content that the final web page will display.
Mockups/Comps The graphic design mockup is a composite image of how the final web page will look. Color, layout, typography, and images are all worked out at this stage for each significantly different page type on the website. I should make clear that even though the composite (mockup or comp for short) looks like a web page, it is still only a single image. It is not a web page, and include no code at this point in the process.
During the integration/programming step of the web design process, the graphic design comps are converted into code (HTML, DHTML, CSS, scripting, database tables, etc). The site is built and tested on a domain or subdomain of a development server that has the same technical specs as the live server will have. When the site is fully functional on the development server, it is migrated to the live server. This is the final deliverable of the web design project.