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About Steven Bradley

Steven Bradley is a web designer and search engine optimization specialist. Known to many in the webmaster/seo community by the username vangogh, he is the author of TheVanBlog, which focuses on how to build and optimize websites and market them online.
SEO Standards Might Not Be Such A Bad Idea

I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of seo standards since my last post on the subject. Initially I was set completely against standards, thinking them both impossible to enact and basically unnecessary. I’m still not sure if a standards body is feasible, but I am beginning to rethink my stance somewhat or at least I’ve begun to see cases where standards could prove useful.

Social Networking Leading To Less Critical Thinking

Roderick Ioerger wrote an interesting post for Marketing Pilgrim a few days ago, where he asked is social media an impediment to problem solving? The basic argument is the idea that the convenience of having others readily available to answer your questions inhibits finding the solution yourself and thus leads to less critical thinking. It’s a valid argument, but I don’t agree with the conclusion.

From the post:

Treat Readers Like High Schoolers to Gain Subscribers

At least when it comes to their reading comprehension.

It makes a lot of sense if you think about it. Less people will complete a doctorate as will complete a four year undergraduate degree. Less people will compete a four year degree as will graduate high school. Less education usually means less reading and less reading leads to a lower level of reading comprehension. If the words and sentences you use are too complex a number of people who might otherwise appreciate what you have to say may have trouble following how you’re saying it.

Twas The Night Before Google

‘Twas the night before Google, when all through the web,
Not a spider was crawling, not even MSN;
The websites were hosted on servers with care,
In hopes that one Googlebot soon would be there;

My pages were organized all usable and light,
While visions of traffic danced in my sights;
Reading client requests, and wearing my cap,
It’s time to settle down to build that image map,

Do You Talk with Customers or at Them?

Do you talk with your customers or do you talk at them?

Design Your Posts to Guarantee They Get Read

Of all the edges I know of, embracing amazing design is the easiest, the fastest and the one with the most assured return on investment.

How Yahoo Search Assistant Changes SEO

On Tuesday Yahoo became the last of the four major search engines to offer blended search. Last, but definitely not least as Yahoo’s Search Assist may just be the killer app to get some switching back from Google. Search Assist also has the potential for changing a few things when it comes to optimizing for Yahoo as people begin to unknowingly build more advanced queries.

Google Video: Privacy & Personalized Search

Early last month the Google Blog released a video regarding privacy. On Monday they released a second video this time specifically discussing privacy as it pertains to personalized search.

Once again support engineer Maile Ohye offers some clear explanations

MyBlogLog – Still Relevant?

Late last week MyBlogLog updated their sign in process to require you to use your Yahoo ID when logging into the system. What surprised me most about the change was how it seemingly went unnoticed or unreported in the SEO community. I’m curious if you still use MyBlogLog and how relevant you think it is as a social site?

The $14,500 Dessert
That’s the question a resort in Sri Lanka is asking, in offering the world’s most expensive dessert.

Can You Trust Wikipedia?

Trust – reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence.

How confident are you that a particular Wikipedia page has reliable information? How sure are you in the ability of all the people who may have edited that page? Thanks to Luca de Alfaro and colleagues at the University of California, Santa Cruz you may soon be able to know which parts of a given Wikipedia page you can and can’t trust.

Google Analytics & Compete Toolbar Not Playing Nice
I was having a problem with Google Analytics a week or so ago and yesterday Michael Gray was having the same problem. I thought more people might end up sharing our issue with Analytics and figured posting the solution was in order.

Google – Soft on Privacy?
There’s been quite a lot of news this week about Google and privacy so I thought I’d break out some of the links from tomorrow’s This Week In SEO post and devote tonight to a post about Google and privacy. I’ll toss in some of my own thoughts as a bonus.

Do You Really Need Traffic from Search?
Jennifer Laycock is starting an interesting experiment where she’s out to prove a business can survive without Google. Actually she’s out to prove that a business can survive without any search traffic at all. In time the search engines will be allowed back in, but the idea is to show that search traffic while useful is not necessary to build a business and drive both traffic and sales.

A Peek Inside Google’s Algo
Ever wish you could have a peek inside Google’s algorithm? Even just a little peek? Saul Hansell of the New York Times gave us all that peek in his article Sunday, Google Keeps Tweaking Its Search Engine. The entire article is worth a read or three, but here are some quotes I pulled along with a running commentary.

The Google Kool Aid
Tamar linked to an interesting WebmasterWorld thread, Todays Webmaster & Their Relationship with Google, this week. The original poster makes some good points about how we’ve fallen under Google’s spell, spend too much of our energy focused on Google, think that Google’s guidelines are what define ethical seo, and give Google access to more data than we should.

Google Privacy Concerns
On Friday I mentioned that privacy advocates are becoming even more concerned with how much information Google knows and will know about us. Two recent events are causing the uproar. First is Google’s proposed acquisition of DoubleClick, which would come with a large amounts of user data the ad company has collected over the years. Second is the slightly more recent expansion of search history to web history within Google’s personalized search. Both will give Google more information about our surfing and searching habits than any company has ever had.

The Most Important SEO Skill
Lee Odden posted an interesting poll today asking the question what type of SEO skill is most important. I think the best answer to the question really is the ability to gain expertise in a variety of the skills Lee listed. Lee himself says the best answer to the question should probably start with “It depends on the situation.” Still I voted for one and thought I’d share some thoughts on why I voted the way I did here.

First here’s the list Lee created:

SEO – Working for Clients or Yourself?

Early last week Brian Provost of Scoreboard Media Group posted The First Question You Should Ask Your SEO Consultant. That question according to Brian is “If you can rank a site in lucrative markets, why would you do it for clients instead of for yourself?” It’s an interesting question and one deserving discussion.

Google’s Themes for Your Homepage
Say good bye to the plain old search box on a white background. If you want to say good bye that is. Google added custom themes to your personal home page today. You’re still welcome to keep the old standard, but I’ve already got a new theme.

From the Associated Press

Sprucing up its famously plain Web site, Google Inc. is offering a new option that plants its Internet search box in panoramic settings that change with the time of day and the outside weather.

How Might Google Be Ranking Your Blog?
Bill Slawski found a new patent on ranking blog documents that should be of interest to anyone with a blog. As you would expect Bill has given his usual overview of the patent, explaining things and making simple for the rest of us.

Are Blog Posts Ever Finished?
Today I came across an interesting post by Joshua Porter of bokardo.com. The post, 9 Lessons for Would-be Bloggers, as you might expect from the title are some lessons Joshua has learned in his years of blogging. Darren Rowse has a follow up piece, Lessons from the Heart for Would-be Bloggers, at ProBlogger. While I’m not planning on talking in depth about each point there’s a theme running through a few of the points I would like to discuss.

First the 9 points

More Link Data From Google Webmaster Tools

Have you been using the link data Google now provides through Webmaster Tools? Do you wish Google provided even more information? I know I do. Well Google hasn’t made any changes to the tool, but thanks to Joost de Valk you can now pull a little more data from all those links Google is reporting.

JetBlue Customer Bill Of Rights

If you were trying to fly in or out of the North East U.S. a few weeks ago you’ll no doubt remember the problem JetBlue was having in keeping flights in the air and on schedule.

The problems started with an ice storm that naturally led to flights being grounded, but once air travel resumed JetBlue found itself lagging in getting their operation running again. We all know things happen and in this case JetBlue dropped the ball. However their response to the situation is more telling about the company than the temporary problems they faced.