Archive for August, 2006

Learn how to predict SEO trends

After spending a few years doing nothing but Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for My design clients, I came to accept the fact that there were no concrete rules or theories to follow on a regular basis. Each client’s needs are different, each of their products are different and this requires that their SEO be different, or better stated… individuallized.

Now that I think about it, I’ve gone from specializing in “customized SEO” to “customized WP installs”. LOL I don’t have the time to design and maintain entire web sites for clients anymore, so have settled into building customized commercial WordPress blogs. I enjoy it, and appreciate the fact that WP makes it a priority to include, or make possible through plugins, a search engine optimization friendly blogging/CMS platform. I’m building my own Content Management System out of all WP based scripting, and I’m very excited about offering a similar package to my clients once I’ve got it perfected. 🙂

I’ve always said that being an effective SEO specialist requires you to devote a large portion of your time tracking, researching, and predicting search engine trends. In my mind, SEO specialists are the “Power Brokers” of the Internet. Instead of Wallstreet, they celebrate in the SEO forums and various search engine blogs. Considering the fact that some commercial businesses can benefit greatly from winning a strong search engine ranking, the payoffs between power brokers and SEO specialists aren’t all that different.

I was reading some of my favorite WebMaster Feeds and came across a really good article on Xbiz. The author agrees that successful SEO is all about being able to predict trends. Below, I’ve highlighted some of the tools you can use to do so! Some of you may be surprised exactly how much tedious, monotonous work there is involved with conquoring the search engines. This is why I tell clients that any SEO specialist that gaurantees specific top ranking results, beware!

The Yahoo! Buzz Log

The Yahoo Buzz Log is a continuously updated blog of what’s making headlines on Yahoo. It includes the most searched-for topics of the day, the biggest movers, and it even breaks down trends based on topics, including celebrities, movies, music, sports, television and video games.

Clicking on the top movie buzz link shows that “The Da Vinci Code” is the No. 1 most-searched result under movies and entertainment. The Yahoo Buzz tool also can be used to regionally target topics within certain countries by specific topic. It even offers RSS feeds to instantly deliver this information to webmasters.

Google Zeitgeist

While this tool is only updated monthly, it does provide a plethora of information including the top searched keywords based on online rumors, performers, sports, news headlines and much more. Furthermore, the country breakdowns include a much wider scope of countries and topics than Yahoo’s Buzz Log, though the freshness of the data is much less since it is only updated monthly.

Recently, Google announced a beta version of its new trends analysis tool, Google Trends. This search tool shows a lot of promise as it is able to break down keywords by city, country and even by language showing from where people are searching. Additionally, this tool offers the ability to benchmark keywords over time to determine if a keyword is becoming more or less popular. This tool shows an incredible amount of information when performing comparative searches on related topics and even correlates news media spikes directly on a histogram to illustrate why a spike occurred.

Google Keyword Tool

Google provides an excellent keyword suggestion tool that allows you to get various keyword suggestions and even includes search volume and historical data.

Source: SEO: beyond the basics


SEO and web development

I posted some great, informative articles that I found during my morning coffee eMail chores this morning. If you run your own commercial based WP blog, you may find them helpful so I wanted to share! 🙂

CG-PowerPack – PHP Scripts and WordPress Plugins

I just found this, and was impressed because it all came in one package. I will be testing this on a 2.0.4 blog this afternoon, I’ll report back through comments as to how it worked for me. I see most aspects of this package as having a definite marketing advantage, especially to those of us looking to increase their ad sales on commercial sites due to referrer and trafficing information being displayed to potential advertisers.

  • * CG-Amazon
    Live amazon data feeds, product links, wishlist links, keyword lookups, all product types/catalogs, article inlined and sidebars, keyword lookups, admin interface, caching system.
  • * CG-Inline
    Powerful macro system for embedding auto-generated items within your posts/articles. In combination with CG-Amazon, allows for quick insertion of Amazon links/images within a post. Flexible image inlines, for floating/embedded thumbnails or image links. Powerful permalink creation.
  • * CG-Feedread
    RSS/Atom aggregation script, for pulling from other site feeds. Ability to CSS/style sort of like WordPress so it ‘looks like your site’. UTF-8 international feed support. Multi-feed-intermix support. Feed-Refeeding support.
  • * CG-Referrer
    Stats tracking. Referrer list, bot tracking, intra-site tracking, unique user IP tracking. The most comprehensive referral-search/query string breakdown and search/query tracking. Shared Blacklist with CG-AntiSpam for referrer-spam filtering.
  • * CG-AntiSpam
    NEW FOR 1.5: Awesome Comment/Trackback spam fighting toolset, using the shared Blacklist with CG-Referrer, which supplements the built-in WP 1.5 spam combatting tools. Uses a number of new approaches to detecting spam, plus ability to show (and flush) accumulated spam held in the comments database.
  • * CG-WhatTunes
    Tying music player/watcher http POST updates to CG-Amazon, to show the current music you are listening to, the current album cover, and link to Amazon for purchase. Proven with iTunes, WinAmp, and other blogger tools.
  • * CG-Samecat
    Simple script for listing posts within a given category or categories (such as: posts in same category as the one currently being read…).
  • * CG-Related
    User-assisted process for building a table of related posts, and function to list them (sidebar, under post, etc.). Create connections between your posts!
  • * CG-PageName
    NEW FOR 1.5: Allows the [nextpage] tag to have textual page names for article blogs, shown on each page, ability to show text table-of-contents links in sidebar.
  • * CG-PostOrder
    NEW FOR 1.5: Allows fixed post-order on homepage (and others). ‘Sticky’ posts, but with yet another level of order control – have as many ‘Sticky levels’ as needed, or just explicitly number-order the sticky posts. Currently requires minor hack to wp-includes/classes.php to allow proper hooks into the post-retrieval process. (WP 1.5 version STILL IN DEVELOPMENT…)
  • … and associated helper files and functions.

    Some of the above are lacking in documentation – still working on it!

    Also note that many of the scripts are NOT dependent upon WordPress in any way, and can be tweaked to work with any PHP-based website!


    This forum plugin really helped me tie together the site I’m building using WP as a CMS. The only problem I have with it is that I had to disable permalinks to get the navigation to work correctly. I’m hoping they find a work around for that shortly. Other that the permalink problem, it works great!

    Check out XDforums here

    WP online counter

    I’ve been anxiously awaiting the update to this plugin! When I first used it, you had to go create the table in your database manually! Now, the plug in takes care of that for us, and it even has a widget capability! When you’re selling advertisement space on your blog, it’s handy to have your stats visable like this.

    Learn more about the WP online counter here.

    Contact form plugin

    These easy to add contact forms should be included on every blog as far as I’m concerned. If you’re running a buisness, why not make it easy for your prospects to get a hold of you? Check out the Contact form pulgin here, this one’s got a current WP version available!

    Do follow

    Since most of my clients use blogging to bring targeted traffic to their sites, allowing your commenter’s external links to be followed by search engine spiders is important. This plug in gets rid of the “no follow” command for external links that is built into WP. If you’re using your blog to market your business, this plug in is a MUST HAVE.

    Spell Checker plug in

    I’ve tested this in a WP 2.0.4 and it works great! The Ajax spell checker is just what I was looking for, and although I haven’t tested it on my older blogs yet, it says it will work on versions 1.5+ also!

    Note: you have to have your rich text editor turned off… I can’t stand that thing anyway! 😉

    Yet another WP blog

    I’ve been expanding my network of sites recently, and am getting more familiar with installing the newest version of WP. I gotta say this latest update has finally impressed me to the point of LIKING version 2.0. In order to use the spam tool included with this install, Akismet Spam, I needed a WP API, so here I am, another WP blog is born!

    I’m currently working on a new toplist with blog feeder. What this means is that I will pull SE traffic with the content added to the blog, which will then feed traffic into the toplist. (I’m not linking to the toplist and feeder blog in an effort to keep this particular WP blog non adult in nature. If you’re interested to see what I’m working on, comment here and I’ll send you a mail ;)) In setting up this new feeder blog, I went surfing the plug ins for the latest WP version. I’m listing them below as a reference, storage place for myself and my design clients. 🙂

    Search and Replace WordPress Plugin (1.1)
    If you’re like me, and want to replace words such as “boys” and “toy” on your site to keep the men in black off my back… this lil tool makes the replace function nice and easy! This plugin is for WordPress 1.5 or better (including 2.0).

    Filosofo Home-Page Control

  • put pages on the same Permalink level (or higher) as the blog’s directory and set which page you want to be the “home” page.
  • Tested successfully on WordPress blogs of version 1.5 and newer, including 2.0.

  • WordPress Plugin to Make your Blog Temporarily Unavailable for Maintenance

    This is a great feature that I enjoy using on the message board I co-own, and will enjoy having available to me in my blogs too!

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