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About Jim Hedger

Jim Hedger works with Metamend Search Engine Marketing as a SEO Consultant, lead copywriter and head blog writer. Jim has been involved in the SEO field since the days of the dinosaurs and felt he had lost a personal friend when Disney went "ol' Yeller" on Infoseek. Over the course of his career, Jim has gotten drunk with Jeeves the Butler, tossed sticks to that sock-puppet dog from Pets.com and come out of a staring contest with Googlebot confidently declaring a tie. When not traveling between conferences, Jim lives with a perpetually annoyed cat named Hypertext in the Pacific techno-outport of Victoria British Columbia.
Technology to Drive Changes in Search Engine Marketing

It has been a month since I thought about the search sector. I have been on a much needed stress-break for the past month and my position at StepForth has changed radically.

Thoughts on Google’s IPO

For the past nine months the financial and Internet world has been watching Google in anticipation of what could be the largest Initial Public Offering of stock in history. If you are reading this column and have not been living on Mars for the past year, you know that Google is about to go public, and soon. The stock options are being offered to investors using an unorthodox method known as a Dutch Auction. The site taking registrations and bids is scheduled to close tomorrow at 5:00PM, Eastern Daylight Time.

5 Difficult Technologies or Techniques for SEOs

Last week our CEO Ross Dunn wrote about the Ten Worst SEO Tactics. Today, I will cover the most difficult technologies and techniques to work with. While each of these technologies, techniques and designs have a useful purpose for web-designers, webmasters and general office staff tasked with keeping the site up to date, they each also present problems for search engine spiders and/or SEO practitioners. While reading, please keep in mind that the search engines are aware of these issues and may be in the process of creating work-around solutions. Similarly, the creators of many of the technologies mentioned here are also aware of these issues and in some cases are working to present webmasters and site designers with solutions. Topping the list is FLASH.

Google Update – IPO, SERPS, Open & Outsourcing, GMAIL

Over the past seven years, it is fairly safe to say that the use of search engines has revolutionized our methods of finding and valuing information. Almost any activity involving research from personal travel planning to corporate business planning has been made far easier through the use of search engines. When one search tool or firm dominates as Google has for the past three years, it will get a lot more attention from the public and the media. Case in point, Google. Synonymous with search, Google has changed the world. For the most part, Google has made it a better place to live. That in itself justifies the intense scrutiny constantly focused at virtually every move made in the Googleplex. The fact they are changing rapidly further justifies the public and media interest and the hoopla.

SEO Technique Update – Google/Yahoo

Every few months it is a good idea to review SEO techniques in light of changes in the ranking algorithms used by the major search engines. As of today, there are only two major organic search tools we worry about, Google, and Yahoo. Both of these search tools look at different elements of your website when considering where to rank the site in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). While considered one of the “Big Three”, MSN continues to receive results from the Yahoo/Inktomi database with LookSmart listings being displayed from time to time. MSN is likely to release its own algorithmic search engine in the coming months. What works for Yahoo tends to work with MSN. Please note, these basic rules for rankings may change at any given moment. That’s one of the things that make this job so much fun…

The Difference between Paid and Organic Listings

As a business sector, the world of search is changing. Last week I wrote a piece about how Google has less decision making power than users might think as the company finds itself in a business environment that is being molded by factors outside their corporate control. The bottom line in any enterprise, regardless of the social mission associated with that enterprise is survival. In the business world, survival necessitates making money. Saying one needs to make money is a lot easier than actually making that money. Being a leader in any field does not necessarily equate to turning a profit as evidenced by the dead or dying brands Lycos, Alta Vista and Infoseek. Each of these search tools provided their users with good, relevant information but none of them could survive on their own. Each has been gobbled up by a bigger player and eventually killed or put on the “death-watch” list.

Toronto Search Engine Strategies Report: Back To Basics

The Search Engine Strategies Conference is one of the largest and most comprehensive search engine focused conventions of the year. Held quarterly in different cities around the world, this spring’s conference is being held at the Metro Toronto Convention Center in the middle of the country’s largest and most diverse city. I was fortunate enough to be invited to participate as a speaker at one of the site clinic sessions.

Search Engine Optimization and Dynamic Technologies

A Content Management System is generally defined as software that allows anyone to contribute information to a website via a graphical user interface (GUI). They are usually based on a pre-written template that acts as a platform for each page in the site as those pages are created. From simple CMS systems built on PHP-Nuke to extremely complicated proprietary systems, the use of CMS in commercial websites can present significant challenges to search engine spiders and obviously to search engine optimizers.

Search Engine Marketing Campaign Planning

The search engine marketing environment is undergoing enormous changes as the industry and the Internet mature.

Seach Engine Marketing Campaign Planning

The search engine marketing environment is undergoing enormous changes as the industry and the Internet mature.

Search Engine Trends and SEO
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The past year has been one of major transition in the search engine industry. Changes to the landscape have been enormous with mergers, acquisitions, and the easing of several formerly big-players out of the sector or, in the case of AltaVista, Lycos and LookSmart, into the minor leagues. We’ve seen new technologies and revenue models being tested by search firms, along with fresh promises of personalized ad-delivery through contextual placement. While there is no end in sight for changes in this evolving medium, this is a good time to examine the impact of such upheaval on the state of website marketing and search engine placement.

How to Optimize Your Website for Both Google & Inktomi

The search engine environment continues to evolve rapidly, easily outpacing the ability of consumers and SEO practitioners to quickly adapt to the new landscape.

Google’s Shake up – A View From the Beginning

It has been exactly one month since Google introduced its infamous Florida Update. As the Florida Update has brought about the largest and most comprehensive shake-up of Google’s listings ever, it has generated a great deal of interest around the world and genuine panic for the literally millions of webmasters who’s sites have been adversely affected by the change. The following article is a compilation of our writings about the Florida Update since November 17th, the first Monday after the shift.

Preparing for a Competitive Holiday Season

Christmas is a time of joy, family and a fridge full of turkey soup and sandwiches to fill your happy belly for weeks to come. It is a short but stressful break at the start of a long and (at least in most parts of Canada), normally bleak winter. It is also the time of the year that accounts for over 40% of most retail business sales and can either make or break a business depending on the retail success of the season. I don’t want to be the one to break the news to most of you but someone has to do it; the holiday season is coming and this year it’s coming sooner than you think.

How do You Optimize a Web Site that Uses Frames and Server-Side-Includes?

Dear Jim,
“When creating things like a text menu with all the main links at the bottom of each page, does it create a problem for the spiders if you use server side includes? Can the spider find the links in that include page? I have a lot of stuff like the menu that are on every page and would like to put it into an SSI page to simplify maintenance.”

Search Engines vs. Database-Driven Websites – Optimizing PHP

Dear Jim

I have a question regarding a e commerce site using PHP extensions vs. html. That is, I have seen at this SEO site that there might be an issue with search engines being able to crawl this kind of a site, since these are javascript sites I think there might be reason to worry, is it true? What should I do?

Emergency Marketing Response: The SARS Outbreak and Toronto Based Clients

The panic was real. Even before the World Health Organization issued its now rescinded advisory against unnecessary travel to Toronto, the media had hyped fears of SARS into plague-like proportions leading to significant declines in tourism and travel to Toronto. Conventions were cancelled, hotel rooms left vacant and empty seats at Jays games told the story of millions of dollars suddenly withdrawn from the downtown economy. Businesses based on providing services to tourists or other businesses experienced an immediate loss of revenue and are expecting to continue losing money until public perceptions change and visitors return to the city.

Inspecting Your Web Site for Spam

Spam is an overused word. Describing everything from processed luncheon foodstuffs to the flood of advertising Email we all receive each day, the simple, four-letter word is as widely used as many other deceptively descriptive four-letter words are. Suffice it to say that SPAM is not counted amongst the most honorable words in the English language. The IT world has forced the English language to evolve very quickly as old words are applied against new technologies and ideas and thus, the word “Spam” has become synonymous with words such as “junk” and “waste”. In the search engine optimization field, the word Spam is used to describe illegal techniques used to try to fool search engine spiders. This section will outline a few of the more frequent Spam techniques used by webmasters or unscrupulous SEO practitioners. Check your websites for any incidents of Spam and do your best to get rid of them as they could seriously damage your search engine rankings.