Saturday, 27 January 2007

Pagerank Updated

Well, it appears Google has released the latest Pageranks today. This blog, which has only been up for a couple of months, now has a PR of 3 and my MoneyTies blog, which was begun even more recently, is PR2. Now, as I've said before, Pagerank in and of itself doesn't necessarily mean much in terms of your position in search results but it still kinda makes you feel validated! :-)

Friday, 26 January 2007

Down to Earth SEO: An Example of What's Worked for Me

There are so many theories about search engine optimization (SEO) floating around, most of which are proffered with nothing to support them. You can spend hours and hours reading countless blogs and forums and discovering how you need to get your title and description tags correct, use H1 tags, bold text, n keywords per page, so on and so forth. However, how often do you find anyone saying, "I made these specific changes to my pages and I'm now on the first page on Google for these keywords."

So, I thought I'd provide you with one real-life example of an SEO success.

My task, to get organic search traffic to the web site for particular product ranges. I decided to concentrate on bicycle shelters, with particular emphasis on the phrases "bicycle shelters" and "bike shelters."

Before I go any futher, here are the rankings for this site as at the time of writing, when searching from the U.K.

"bicycle shelters" - 3 (2nd web site but 3rd result)
"bike shelters" - 2
"cycle shelters" - 13 (9 on

The ranking are:

"bicycle shelters" - 4 (2 for U.K. only sites)
"bike shelters" - 7 (3 for U.K. only sites)
"cycle shelters" - 9 (8 for U.K. only sites - and one of the sites ranking higher is a sister site to that I also worked on!)

Note, these results are for a page that I created on a relatively new site that had a pagerank of zero at the time and even now has a pagerank of only 2. (This site had essentially been a duplicate of an older, sister site, that now has different content, so all pages were using 301 redirects from the sister site). In fact, even now, the page in question still has a zero page rank!

So, how did I go about improving the organic traffic for these phrases?

Well, the main problem with this site was that it was a pure ecommerce site with precious little text. So, I decided to create text-heavy pages for the product ranges in question, beginning with the Bicycle Storage page. These pages, which also needed to provide useful information to potential customers and not just be SEO gateway pages, simply outlined the different bicycle storage product ranges for sale, with more textual information than in the ecommerce pages. The page title was also unique to the page and both the title and body of the page were "liberally sprinkled" with keywords, using many different permutations of bike/bicycle/cycle and shelters/storage/racks and so on.

The page also contained a gallery of images of the products, each of which linked directly to that product range. The image alt attributes contained keywords, as did the title attribute of the hyperlinks for those images.

Also, the main page heading was in an H1 tag . . . I wonder if that made any difference!

Finally, I created a Google sitemap that referenced all of the new product pages.

Now, I'm aware that there are definitely improvements that could be made to this page to improve rankings even further and my brief wasn't to "get to #1" but to improve the amount of organic traffic the site was receiving. This goal has been realized as the amount of organic traffic resulting from these pages has increased exponentially (unfortunately, I am no longer privy to this site's stats to give precise figures).

So, to summarize, these are the changes I made:

  1. Created text-heavy pages with useful content for visitors
  2. Used keyphrase variations throughout the title and description tags
  3. Used keyphrase varations throughout the body of the page, including headings and subheadings
  4. Used key words in image alt attributes and hyperlink (<a>) title attributes
  5. Created a Google sitemap
Note, I did also use the keyphrases throughout the keywords meta tag, though I personally don't believe this has any effect whatsoever. Sometimes you have to do what people expect of you too!

So what didn't I do? I did not:
  1. Actively seek incoming links
  2. Stuff the pages with multiple keyword variations in a small font at the bottom of the page
  3. Add competitor's names as keywords to the page
  4. Put keywords in bold (b), strong, i or em tags, unless necessary for usability or page design reasons
  5. Put keywords in comments apart from normal usage for defining my page structure (useful from a developer's point of view!)
One further conclusion to draw from this tale, PageRank doesn't mean diddly-squat, at least, you don't need a high Pagerank to get good organic traffic to a web page.

Technorati Tags: ,

More on HTML Heading Structure

Earlier this month I wrote a post about the role of the H1 tag in SEO. This post contained an overview of the correct usage of the Hn tags.

For anyone interested in reading a superb exposition of the role of Hn tags in your overall document structure, Kevin Yank of has just written a must-read article on the subject entitled "The Hard Facts about Heading Structure." If you are an HTML coder concerned with accessibility issues and standards compliance, you need to read this article!

Wednesday, 24 January 2007

What Every AdWords Advertiser Should Know About AdSense

Just as every major city, whether it be L.A., New York, London, Paris or Rome, has a seedy side, so too, hidden in the depths of AdWords is a seedy underworld ... an underworld that every AdWords advertiser should know about. That underworld is contained within a program that complements AdWords, and is called, AdSense. Again, like L.A., London, etc., some parts of the AdSense world are upstanding and respectable places but AdSense also contains a world of sleaze and squalor . . .

Introducing the Real AdSense

Before I introduce you to the sleazy side of AdSense, just in case you don't know where and what AdSense even is, let's begin with a quick primer.

AdSense is the name of Google's ad publishing program whereby web site owners can display Google Ads on their web sites. These ads are displayed automatically by Google in response to the site's content. This is known as "contextual advertising." Thus, the publisher (the person on whose site the ads are being shown) has virtually no control over the particular ads being displayed.

The publisher earns money every time a visitor to the web site clicks on one of the ads. Thus, AdSense is a great way for web site owners to "monetize" (i.e. generate income from) their web sites.

The ads that are actually displayed as AdSense ads are those that AdWords advertisers have chosen to run on, what is known in the AdWords world as, "the Content Network."

Thus, advertisements on the AdWords Content Network = AdSense advertisements.

AdSense: A Closer Look

Now, here is where things start to get interesting. On the one hand, you have your AdWords advertisers who are trying to maximize profits by getting the lowest price per click and also the highest rate of conversions. On the other hand, because profligate AdSense publishers earn money every time an ad is clicked on, they don't care about anything except getting clicks - and the higher cost per click the better. What's more, as I've discussed in a previous post entitled "AdSense Publishers, Don't Forget Who Really Pays You", many AdSense publishers seem to have forgotten that it's regular advertisers who are ultimately paying them, not Google Inc.

So, if you're an AdWords advertiser utilizing the Content Network, it's pretty important that you understand what happens to those ads of yours when they appear on John "I'm Desperate for Income" Doe's web site. It's also important to remember that pretty much any site that conforms to a few rules can be accepted into the AdSense network - including free web sites, free blogs (especially Blogger), so on and so forth. Furthermore, those sites could be run from anywhere in the world, in fact, you will find many of them are from "Third World" countries where AdSense offers more hope of a decent income than any local job could ever offer.

Thus, there are a ton of pretty useless sites out there displaying AdSense ads. What's more, to make things even worse, many of those sites have been created for the sole purpose of displaying AdSense ads in order to generate income (and often with no original content except for free articles or, even worse, articles and news copied with blatant disregard for the author's copyright. For an example, see this article by a regular poster to the official AdSense help forum, entitled, "Getting paid for copying content!").

In fact, there are plenty of people out there selling pre-packaged web sites for generating AdSense income (such as the well-known Joel Comm), even though this happens in violation of the AdSense Program Policies.

So, to summarize so far.

  • Pretty much anyone anywhere in the world could, in theory, be displaying your ads on their web site, no matter how good or bad their web site may be.
  • The people displaying those ads are, in many, many cases, desperate for clicks on those ads because it's often their sole source of income.
  • A whole slew of web sites have been created for the sole purpose of getting clicks on your ads!
To make matters worse, many AdSense publishers really don't care if (or don't realize that) they're ripping you off because:
  1. They have been distanced from you, the AdWords advertiser, the one who really pays
  2. They are driven by their desire for cheap and easy passive income from AdSense clicks
How the Content Network/AdSense Really Works

As I've mentioned, lowlife AdSense publishers are driven by the need for clicks. Just like a crack addict will do anything to get that next fix, so the AdSense publisher will do anything to get those next clicks. They do this by employing a practice known only to the AdSense insiders (hence the official Google blog name: "Inside AdSense") -- "optimizing."

This means they will place the ads and use a color scheme for the ads in such a way that the user clicking on the ads is often hardly aware they are ads at all. Thus, in many instances, someone clicking on your ad may not even really be consciously aware it is an advertisement. In my opinion, this means that those clicks are far less likely to lead to a conversion for you, the advertiser.

However, here's where you do get some good news! Thanks to Google's Smart Pricing mechanism, Google will actually give advertisers a discount on Content Network clicks if Google determines those clicks are less likely to result in a conversion than clicks on the same ad on the search network. Thus, it is my opinion that, AdSense publishers may possibly be shooting themselves in the foot when they engage in extreme forms of "AdSense optimization."

More Bad News

Well, you knew it wasn't going to be all good news, didn't you!

This is where things really hit rock bottom. But before I begin, let me just remind you that Google does check for illegitimate and invalid clicks on AdSense ads: such as repeated clicks from the same I.P. address, clicks by AdSense publishers on their own web sites, etc. Google also prohibits AdSense publishers from using artifical means of generating web site traffic and from actively encouraging visitors to click on the ads. However, Google cannot possibly determine in each and every case if a click is really a legitimate click by a potential customer.

So, what if AdSense publishers could offer "mutual clicks" in a way that Google couldn't possibly determine - "you click on my ads and I'll click on yours" - which is exactly what happens.

If you'd like to observe this sordid practice yourself, join Orkut and become a member of a few of the AdSense communities. If you can bring yourself to look, you will see several people offering to click on your site's ads if you click on theirs. It happens all the time, and it's theft. It's theft from you, the advertiser.


Now, even though this post is painting a pretty black picture of the Content Network (aka AdSense), it must be remembered that not every web site that has AdSense on it is doing anything wrong at all, in fact there are plenty of moral and upright AdSense citizens. However, there are also literally hundreds of web sites run by people who truly are desperate for those clicks. So, before you go launching into AdWords Content Network advertising, bear in mind how AdSense often works in the real world . . . the underworld of AdSense.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Saturday, 20 January 2007

5 Things Blog Tag Meme

I was tagged by Richard Ball of Apogee Web Consulting a few days ago and, as a result, I have to write about 5 things that people probably don't know and then tag 5 additional bloggers. This has taken a few days as I've been sleep-deprived by our new baby, but I'm not complaining!

Here are my 5 facts:

  1. My wife and I met in the Christianity forum on Compuserve back in 1995. She was in California, I was in Felixstowe, U.K. We were one of the first "international" couples who met online to get married and certainly one of the first, if not the first, where one of them was a Brit. As a result we were featured in a few TV shows in the U.K., including the popular talk show "Esther," hosted by Esther Rantzen. At the time, that show was more popular in the U.K. than Oprah's.
  2. I am a serious collector of Elvis Presley recordings and have literally hundreds of albums, singles, CDs, videos and so on.
  3. When I was a child, up until the age of 7, I lived in a house with no inside toilet and no bathroom - we bathed in a tin bath in the kitchen and had what Americans would call an "outhouse"
  4. My favorite TV shows are The Waltons and Little House on the Prairie! (And I'm proud of it!)
  5. I can read Braille and another form of blind alphabet called "Moon," I also know some British Sign Language, two forms of shorthand and I can type at 80 words per minute!
I've decided to tag 5 fellow members of who I have connected with, using their MyBlogLog user name
  1. rugjeff
  2. Cygnus
  3. mhuggins
  4. wma
  5. aryst

Thursday, 18 January 2007

Dynamic Keyword Insertion and the Content Network

I was looking at my MoneyTies blog earlier today when I noticed the following AdSense ad in the right margin of the page

This ad immediatly caught my eye because it is clearly an ad using dynamic keyword insertion (DKI), or at least, it was intended to do so. However, because it was being displayed as an AdSense ad via the AdWords Content Network, the title line was still using the DKI format.

I'm not sure if this is a temporary bug or is something that's been happening for a while as I've never seen it before. So, for the timebeing, if you're using DKI I'd recommend that you ensure the Content Network is turned off for those ad groups (something I'd recommend anyway!)

As an aside, it's also interesting to note that an add for Yahoo Search Marketing appeared on a page whose contents were primarily about Google AdSense!

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Tuesday, 16 January 2007

comScore December U.S. Search Engine Rankings

comScore has just released it's December U.S. Search Engine Ranking figures. The main points of interest are:

  1. The total number of U.S. searches in December was 6.7 billion
  2. Google sites increased by 0.4% since November, up from 46.9% to 47.3%
  3. Yahoo sites increased by 0.3% since November, up from 28.2% to 28.5%
  4. Microsoft, Ask and Time Warner sites all went down, with the biggest drop being for Microsoft, which dropped 0.5%, from 11.0% to 10.5%.
Thus, it seems Microsoft's efforts to be a serious player in the search engine world are just not working.

Some other interesting stats:
  • In December, Americans carried out 1,195 Google searches per second! That's the equivalent of 1 search every 0.00084 seconds (approximately!) .
  • In December, Americans carried out 709 Yahoo searches per second, which is 1 search every 0.0014 seconds.
  • In December, Americans carried out a mere 266 Microsoft/MSN searches per second, or 1 search every 0.0038 seconds
  • In comparison, McDonald's serves approximately 544 customers worldwide per second, that's 1 customer every 0.00184 seconds.
At the time of writing, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated the U.S. population at 300,981,361. Thus, for December:
  • On average, each and every U.S. citizen did roughly 10.6 searches on Google
  • On average, each U.S. citizen seached on Google every 70 hours.
Technorati Tags: , , ,

DMOZ Is Back, So What?

Several bloggers have recently been posting about DMOZ's troubles and how it's now accepting submissions again. Personally, I couldn't care less about DMOZ. Does anyone actually use DMOZ for any purpose other than trying to get highly weighted backlinks to their own site?

It seems to me that if anyone wants to find anything online one of the last places they'd look is DMOZ ... unless you're trying to improve your SEO rankings, that is. In fact, does anyone use online directories of this nature at all any more? I used to use Yahoo's directory quite frequently but now I can't even find it (not that I've looked particularly hard). If Yahoo still has its directory, it certainly places less emphasis on it and, if so, it's because they know people primarily use the search box now, whether it be on Yahoo, Google, or elsewhere.

To use some alliteration, the day of the directory has departed and DMOZ is dead . . . and, as far as I can tell, no-one missed it. It's served its purpose, may it rest in peace.

Technorati Tags:

Monday, 15 January 2007

MoneyTies Formal Launch

Today, I formally launched my "MoneyTies" blog. This blog primarily covers the world of web site monetization and includes such topics as AdSense and other similar programs (Kontera, Bidvertiser, Text-Link Ads, etc.), blogging, affiliate marketing, and so on. Initially I covered these topics in this blog, however, I soon felt that the audience for these topics was quite different so the MoneyTies blog came into being.

Thus far, the most popular posts on MoneyTies have been (in no particular order):

1. AdSense Optimization: Tricks that Harm AdSense Publishers?
2. eCPM, the Evil Twins of AdWords and AdSense
3. AdSense: A Bifurcated System

So, if you're interested in web site monetization, pay a visit to MoneyTies! (And if you're wondering about the blog's color scheme, all of the colors were sampled from a scan of a U.S. dollar bill).

This Blog's RSS Feed

As from today, this blog's RSS feed is a full feed rather than a short feed. I decided to make the change after reading a few posts by prominent bloggers encouraging full RSS feeds.

Dynamic Keyword Insertion May Lead to Trademark Infringement

As another blogger pointed out last year, when using AdWords "dynamic keyword insertion" (DKI) functionality, trademarked terms may appear in your advertisements because they are not automatically blocked.

Assuming this is still the case—and I have no reason to believe otherwise—if you are using trademarked terms as keywords, which several court cases indicate is acceptable, as well as Google's own policy in the U.S. and you are using DKI, those keywords could well end up in the actual text of the ad. This both violates Google's policies and could result in a trademark violation lawsuit against you.

So, my advice, either

a) Don't use trademarks as keywords
b) If you do, don't use DKI in any ads in ad groups that have trademarked keywords.

Technorati Tags: ,

Thursday, 11 January 2007

Internet Marketing Predictions for 2007

Well, everyone else seems to be posting about their predictions for 2007, so here are my 9 Internet Marketing predictions for 2007!

1. Some AdSense publishers will start getting paid for removing AdSense from their sites because Google no longer wants to be associated with the cr@p MFA ("made for AdSense") sites that are now cluttering the Web.

2. In response to public demand, Google will make the following changes to their search algorithm:

  • The keywords meta tag will become the most heavily weighted element in determining a page's position in the search results
  • Pages with multiple variations of keyphrases at the bottom of the page will be ranked according to (a) how close the font size is to 0 (zero) pixels and, (b) how close the font color is to the background color.
  • Pages will be given extra bonus rankings for (a) discreet (wahoo!, I chose the correct spelling, and not "discrete!") use of keywords in img tag alt attributes. However, sites whose alt attributes actually describe the images will be penalized unless they also contain keywords unrelated to the image in question
  • Sites who have spent time and money sending out "we just came across your site and have added a link to it on our site, please link back to us too ... oh, and by the way, if you don't we'll remove your site's link" emails will be rewarded in direct proportion to the amount of spam number of emails sent. In addition, the extra weighting given to these sites will be multiplied by an additional factor that is inversely proportional to the relevancy of the third party's web site to the spammer's email marketer's site.
  • Pages containing the following HTML markup (or similar) will also be given bonus points to boost their ranking: <b style="font-weight: normal;">keyword, another keyword, etc.</b>
  • Web sites that fail to employ any of these techniques, thereby highlighting the webmaster's complete lack of knowledge of effective search engine optimization techniques, will be penalized and, if Google becomes aware of this occurring across multiple sites owned by the same person, could result in being dropped entirely from Google's index. Indeed, there are rumors circulating around the "blogosphere" that Yahoo, Ask and Microsoft's Live Search are considering following Google's lead. Indeed, in order to sneak ahead of Google, Microsoft is also considering giving an additional boost to pages that contain deliberate common misspellings of keywords. Sneaky MS!
3. Google will publish complete instructions, that actually work, detailing how AdWords advertisers can increase their Quality Score (QS), particularly that of the landing page.

4. Futhermore, in order to boost the flagging interest in AdSense, landing pages with AdSense ads on them will (a) have an automatic increase in the QS and (b) have a discounted minimum cost per click, referred to as "Google Cashback."

5. In order to get a step ahead of Google and win back even more advertisers from Google, Yahoo will create an alternative to Yahoo Search Marketing that is only to be used by affiliate marketers. I have even heard from a secret sauce source that this will be known as naff-words. In addition, former AdWords advertisers promoting Clickbank products, will be given a special discount.

6. All the major players in PPC advertising will start rewarding advertisers in direct proportion to the number of keywords/phrases in their campaigns. This will be enhanced by an additional factor whereby, those advertisers who have clearly used lateral thinking in order to add extremely tangentially related keywords will be given a quality score boost (or equivalent, depending on the system in question).

7. AdSense publishers will be encouraged to click on their own ads in order to boost Google's waning income from ad revenue.

8. Google will move the Googleplex to Eureka, Nevada, in order to boost the flagging local economy.

9. Towards the very end of 2007, Yahoo and Google will merge and become known as Yahoogle.

Some of these prediction are purely wild stabs in the dark, some are educated guesses, and some are based on insider information. If you are interested in finding out more, email me personally or leave a comment and I'll respond directly. Unfortunately, much of my information is too hush-hush as yet to disclose in this blog.

Monday, 8 January 2007

Can You Use Trademarks as Keywords? Another Court Says "Yes"

As I discuss more fully elsewhere, a Federal court in Pennsylvania has held that it is OK to use trademarked terms as both Adwords keywords and as keywords in your meta-tags. In the case J.G. Wentworth SSC Ltd v. Settlement Funding LLC, the court dismissed the case because it found "as a matter of law" that consumers would not be confused by such a use of trademarked terms, which is a necessary element of a successful trademark violation lawsuit. However, the court did find that such a use is a "use in commerce," which is another necessary element of a successful suit.

Generally, it seems to me that the weight of court opinions is moving more and more to the side of the advertiser rather than the trademark holder when the use of the trademarked term is as a keyword.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

H1 – What Role, If Any, Does the H1 Tag Play in Effective SEO?

I frequently read comments from supposed SEO experts regarding the importance of the H1 tag for search engine optimization. This has come from a variety of sources, from posts in various news groups to a formal report from an SEO company outlining its recommendations for various web sites.

However, my gut feeling about this has been that this tag is being over-emphasized, so I thought I’d ask around a bit and do some online research on the topic.

Again, I received some conflicting reports. For example, Jill Whalen of felt that using the H1 tag doesn’t have much effect, if any (at least, as far as Google is concerned). However, Richard Ball of Apogee Web Consulting felt that using H1 (and H2) tags probably does make a difference.

Richard also raised a couple of other interesting points. First, whether there should only ever be one H1 tag on a page. Second, Richard speculated that, perhaps, Google prefers W3C compliant web sites and, as such, the structure of a page should possibly be undertaken by the correct usage of the H1, H2, etc. ("Hx") tags.

So, before we look further into the role of H1 in SEO, let's look further into the correct way to use the Hx tags.

Correct Usage of Hx Tags

First, I can find no authoritative text that states affirmatively that there should only be one H1 tag on a page. In fact, W3C simply states that H1 is for the most important headings, going down to H6 for the least important. Furthermore, the examples given on the W3C web site clearly presuppose multiple H1 tags on the page.

Second, when using different Hx tags, you should not skip numbers. Indeed, one page on the W3C web site states:

"Although the order and occurrence of headings is not constrained by the HTML DTD, documents should not skip levels (for example, from H1 to H3), as converting such documents to other representations is often problematic."
Third, using these headings in a logical and consistent manner, without skipping headings is just good practice and helps to define the logical structure of a document. This is particularly helpful for accessibility purposes. In today's CSS-oriented world, headings, subheadings, sub-subheadings, etc. are often indicated only by the use of visual cues, created with styles but often using the same basic tag, just with different classes. For example "div.heading", "div.subheading" and so on. Such markup provides no help whatsoever for visually handicapped users. Thus, if for no other reason, Hx tags should be used in the manner for which they were created in order to make your pages more accessible.

Fourth, and this is just my own personal belief, in an ideal, logical world, yes, there should be only one H1 tag per page. Thus, the ideal structure should be along the lines of

page title (using H1)
page subheading (using h2)
page sub-subheading (using h3)
page subheading (using h2)
page subheading (using h2)
page sub-subheading (using h3)
page sub-subheading (using h3)
page sub-sub-heading (using h4)
page subheading (using h2)

and so on.

However, what if your page doesn't have a main title/heading but, on the other hand, simply has multiple side headings of equal rank? On the one hand, there's the principle of one H1 tag per page but battling against that is the rule that you mustn't skip numbers. What to do?

In the past, I would probably have skipped the H1 tag and just used multiple H2 tags. However, my gut feeling now is that it is probably better practice to use multiple H1 tags in such a scenario.

It's also important to note that CSS now gives you the ability to control completely the look of your Hx tags. I have a feeling that, in the past, the rather pre-built look of these tags actually caused people to avoid using them because they didn't like their default appearance. However, today that reason is no longer valid; so I would ask you to reconsider using these tags for your section headings rather than DIV or P tags with associated classes and styles.

So, enough on the usage of these tags. Does H1 really play an important role in search engine optimization?

H1 and SEO

Again, my conclusion is an absolutely affirmatively definite "possibly." The reasoning behind this earth-shattering conclusion is as follows.

I am personally of the opinion that Google at least, and possibly other major search engines, really do give higher rankings, all other things being equal, to web pages with good HTML markup. I'm also a bit of an HTML purist (at least in theory, anyway) and I think that HTML tags should be used for the purpose for which they were initially created. Remember, HTML is really about document markup and the way to markup hierarchical headings in pure HTML is by the use of the Hx tags. That being the case, it is logical for search engines to give greater weight to H1 tags. However, if it were that simple, our documents would use no tags other than H1 (which is certainly possible given the power of CSS), so I'm sure there are spam triggers that evalute whether H1 tags are being used in the correct manner or for the purpose of spamming search engines.

I've also read some affirmative statements online that Google's algorithm does weight the text within H1 tags more highly. However, none of the places I read that were particularly authoritative and, without the necessary insider knowledge, I'm still on the fence regarding that particular point.

The second reason for my conclusion is that, to quote an old Elvis L.P., "50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can't Be Wrong." Or, to put it another way, despite Jill Whalen's opinion, there seem to be so many SEO professionals, gurus, and guru-wannabees that promote the use of the H1 tag in particular for SEO purposes that, surely, they must have some reason for this . . . surely they must, mustn't they?!

I have to admit, I do question this logic though. I've seen so many cases of the blind leading the blind and a brainless "lemming-like" mentality, where people just believe anyone who sounds knowledgeable when it comes to the mysterious world of SEO, that it wouldn't surprise me in the least if Jill Whalen's actually correct!

In addition, I would offer a few words of caution.

First, don't overdo the use of H1, whether by putting too many H1 tags on a page or blatantly keyword stuffing your H1 tags. Doing so will almost certainly trigger some SEO spam thresholds.

Second, don't think that simply using H1 tags is going to be the miracle cure for all of your SEO woes. It may help, but if it does, it's probably the result of an improvement in your overall document structure and correct usage of HTML elements than the actual H1/Hx tags themselves.

Third, even if Google does give more weight to text inside H1 tags, the overall effect of that weight on your page rankings may still be minimal. There are certainly other factors that carry more weight than your H1 tags.

Finally, I would encourage you to experiment. Create some similar pages, some with headings in Hx tags and others using DIVs and classes/styles, then see which ones are ranking more highly after a few months.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Saturday, 6 January 2007

The Old Has Gone, The New Has Come

If you're a regular reader of this blog, you may have been wondering why things have been so quiet of late. Of course, with Christmas and New Year a recent memory, that would explain at least some of the time since my last post. However, as alluded to in this post's title, something new has come ...

On December 14th at 6:29 a.m. GMT, I became the father of my first (biological) son, Noah James Miller Feavearyear (I already have 3 adopted children). Noah was born just over 4 weeks early and was in the NICU of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital right when an infection alert occurred that has made the national news here in the U.K.

Despite the "subperbug" scare, Noah was able to come home a few days before Christmas so the Feavearyear household has been in a state of near-chaos ever since. However, now that our other kids are back at school, things are slowly returning to normal, so hopefully, my various online endeavors will also start getting back to normal, including posting regularly to this blog!