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#1 Adrian

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Posted 16 August 2004 - 04:17 AM

By way of Eric Meyer's Silly Expert Opinions blog entry, I found a review of one of the San Jose SES sessions.

The craptastic adventures of SES San Jose 2004 is mostly about one session, Advanced Design Issues: CSS, Javascript, and Frames.

The blog (and I don't know who's it is) then goes on to slate a lot of what was said in the session, from a pro Web Standards designers point of view, it would seem the session raised some cause for concern.

This is only one review of the session, and it would be nice if there is anyone else out there who also attended it to confirm whether the review in the blog is accurate.

If it is an accurate assessment of the what was said, then personally, I have to agree with it, and I'm disappointed that the well known names running the session were giving that kind of advice.

This seems to be part of the reason for the big deal being made about the reputation of the SEM industry. It doesn't seem particularly odd that the industry has a bad external view if some of the big names are giving advice along the lines of backward design principles.

I worry that this is a case of people focussing too much on SEO, and not enough on the other aspects of web design. It seems that they are willing to sacrifice a lot of the plus points of things like Web Standards to gain some SE Rank, though it may end up offering a lower ROI as a site may then require more work to maintain for example.

There are some things I would argue with Meyer a bit. He does display his lack of knowledge of SEO when he proudly mentions that he comes up Number 1 in Google for his name, but one of the panelists doesn't. Not really a good test at all as I would suggest there are a good few more people with the name Matt Bailey than there are Eric Meyer.

Molly Holzschlag has also blogged about it, and if you look at the comments of the Compooter blog, you'll see Danny Sulivan has responded with a view to checking out the comments on the session and seeing if its accurate and how similar sessions in the future can be improved.

Anyone else at that session with some thoughts on it?

#2 bragadocchio

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Posted 16 August 2004 - 05:53 AM

Thanks for pointing this out, Adrian.

It's good to be able to air these types of things out, and address them, and build upon them. The SEM/SEO industry has been getting a lot of bad press. It really is time to start learning how to respond to that type of press, and to build something better.

Danny Sullivan's response is a good start.

The article was about SES, and the class, but it was also an attack upon SEO and SEM. I suspect that the attendee who wrote that blog post expected something completely different from what was presented.

It does raise some questions. How are people chosen to become speakers for SES? Does their material go under some type of review? What exactly is the purpose behind the SES conferences?

I understand that the SES shows have been attracting more and more people. Having looked at the lists of topics covered in classes, most of them are things that we already discuss in a lot of detail here in the forum. I'm not sure that there's much that would draw me to one of thoses shows based upon presentations, and the list of topics to be covered. The one reason why I would attend one is to meet other attendees, and get a chance to place faces to forum user names.

While that's a good reason, I'd want to see some classes that present something new. At the costs of the classes, I'd want to walk out of one thinking it was worth every penny. The last class I took on the paid speaking circuit was the User Interface Enginneering group - and it was worth every penny. Not for the people I met, but rather for the ideas I was able to take from it and appy to my everyday work, in a positive way - to build better sites.

I'm sure that not everyone walks out of a seminar with the same sense of excitement. Having heard Compooter's gripes, I think I might have left that one pretty upset.

As with Adrian, I'd love to hear comments about the session, or about SES shows in general. Is the quality of the material worth the cost? Do they need some improvement and freshening?

If you have suggestions about them that you don't want to air here, by all means contact Danny Sullivan. Help make those better, so that we don't see reviews like the one this thread points out.

I'd like to attend an SES, but I'm not goint to until I see a list of topics that make me excited about what is going to be presented. Of course, I could want until next April's IMC conference. If the list of speakers is as strong for that next year, as it was this year, I'd be happy to attend. Though I'd be a little upset that I'd have to choose between three sessions, because so many of them look interesting.

Maybe it's time to get some designers and some usability folks to join in with the SEO folks teaching at the SES shows?

#3 bwelford

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Posted 16 August 2004 - 06:30 AM

I could wait until next April's IMC conference.

Just as a point of information, you'll have to wait until May 2, 2005 for the next Internet Marketing Conference (IMC) in Montreal. :)

#4 Adrian

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Posted 16 August 2004 - 07:14 AM

The article was about SES, and the class, but it was also an attack upon SEO and SEM.


Yes, that's the general impression I got from that, and the blog posts by Eric and Molly as well. There is a severe distrust of SEM as a whole there because they see it as using smoke and mirrors to get traffic. Being quite evangelical about good standards coding, it's little surprise that they feel a site should earn its ranking by having good content thats worth being listed top, instead of trying to manipulate the results to make something average appear higher.

#5 bwelford

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Posted 16 August 2004 - 07:28 AM

This whole SEM/SEO reputation thingy has almost become an industry in itself. There's talk of ethics and standards. It's taken much more time and ink than it deserves. Every profession has problems, even lawyers. That prompted my blog entry this morning, No sex please, we're SEO's.

#6 bragadocchio

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Posted 16 August 2004 - 07:32 AM

May is even better, Barry. :)

Thank you.

#7 projectphp

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Posted 16 August 2004 - 07:46 AM

To be fair, SEO and design have very different goals. This fact is made extremely well by both sides, in the quotes lifted from SES and this quote:

After all, I’m more of an SEO expert than at least two of these SEO “experts": Googling for “Eric Meyer” gets you my home page as the #1 result, but searching for one name returns his site at #3, just behind an Assistant Professor of Engineering Management at University of Missouri-Rolla and a blog written by a fan of Howard Dean.

Oh, you rank well for your name... bravo!!!

This is the wrap on all this: people create designs that in turn create SEO problems, whose solutions create design problems whose solution....

I tend to believe the quotes are out of context, or at least lacking the context required to judge them. Thsi one especially:

Don’t validate your code under any circumstances because hierarchically correct and valid markup is of no use to a search engine.

I would bet a pretty penny it went more like: "You don't need to validate your code, because unless you have major errors, search engines don't place any importance upon code validation".

While I support fully standards, in all endeavours, SEO and designers have far more in common than not, and seeking out these similarities is what we need, not highlighting, without of context, the differences.

#8 dannysullivan

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Posted 16 August 2004 - 12:43 PM

It does raise some questions. How are people chosen to become speakers for SES? Does their material go under some type of review? What exactly is the purpose behind the SES conferences?


This page explains a lot about how the speakers are selected for the shows I chair: http://www.jupiterev...4/sessions.html

The short answer is I get a billion people asking to speak. I also have people who in various ways have come to my attention. I mixed it all into a big pot, look at what's pitched, review feedback of those who have spoken before and try to come up with good panels. Every session at our New York show rated 4 or above on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being perfect. That's to me a pretty good record.

Of course, with SEO (and frankly, web design in general), you can have differing opinions. That's why, as the page I mentioned above says, I tend to have panels so there's a variety of opinions.

I'd encourage everyone to be sure and read the blog comments that have since been posted. The author explains he's put his own spin on what was said. One of the speakers flat out counters some of the things she was cited as saying or suggesting.

It's hard to get anything perfect, so feedback is always appreciated. That's the only way to improve things. But with over 1,000 attendees, it's a fact we're not going to please every single person. I'll still aim for that, however.

While that's a good reason, I'd want to see some classes that present something new. At the costs of the classes, I'd want to walk out of one thinking it was worth every penny.


Well, that's what I want anyone who comes to think, too. It's harder with people who are really advanced. But I have also had even advanced SEMs/SEOs say they find sessions useful.

You asked for the opinions of others. After every show, there seems to be threads and articles that appear. I'll leave it to others to post or direct you to them -- I think there's been plenty in the past here, as well.

Maybe it's time to get some designers and some usability folks to join in with the SEO folks teaching at the SES shows?


The show is about search engine marketing. It is designed to help you do your search engine marketing better. However, it has had to take on areas that go beyond this. For example, we've long had sessions on improving conversion. That's not necessarily an SEM skill -- but it can be closely tied to it. A number of people have suggested sessions on usability in the past. I'm still considering it. But at what point does it turn into a web marketing/web design conference? I'm not knocking that -- but the more you get away from a search-centric focus, the more you lose the focus overall that's made this particular show successful with many people.

#9 Ransak

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Posted 16 August 2004 - 02:51 PM

There are some things I would argue with Meyer a bit. He does display his lack of knowledge of SEO when he proudly mentions that he comes up Number 1 in Google for his name, but one of the panelists doesn't. Not really a good test at all as I would suggest there are a good few more people with the name Matt Bailey than there are Eric Meyer.


I think Eric Meyer was being sarcastic.

Frank V.

#10 Adrian

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Posted 16 August 2004 - 04:46 PM

I don't know Frank, perhaps, but he's already demonstrated his lack of understanding of SEO by asking about the Header Tag thing, and it is a fairly typical retort.

And thanks for commenting Danny, even as the standards advocate that I am, I got the impression it was a bit overly biased, and yes, as you say some of it was not direct quotes at all, more just what he picked up on.

As another side note, the validation point isn’t a direct quote by any means – it is basically a paraphrase of all the code samples given throughout the course of the 1Ĺ hour session.


Quite an important addition after Meyer's comments I think.

The main thing I picked up on, was the severity of the attack on the session. It seems to be 6 of one and half a dozen of the other, 2 groups with some, but seemingly little, knowledge of the other, making some wild comments hat would inflame the other.

This seems to be brought about by the generalistic distrust of SEO. It would be much better if the 2 groups were talking to each other, rather than at each other.
In both cases, they have to see that the other has its place. I've talked before about how I feel some people focus too much on one aspect of creating a web site. If more SEO'ers saw the benefit of things like web standards, and more standards evangelisers saw the benefit of SEO ideas, I'm sure we wouldn't get into these kinds of situations.

That's why I think the 'holistic' approach we try and promote here is so good.

#11 bragadocchio

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Posted 16 August 2004 - 05:15 PM

To be fair, SEO and design have very different goals.


It bothers me to see comments from people in the design field whom I respect write such bad things about an industry as a whole.

I'm not quite so sure that there is that big a difference between what a designer does and what an SEO does. Both are attempting to help fulfill the business objectives of the site owner, and site stakeholders. One focuses mostly upon verbal and visual communication, and the other upon the outer framework of the design - how it interacts with the world around it, including search engines.

I guess this forum tends to look at SEO and SEM from a little broader perspective than many others in the field. But, it's difficult to segment a site into tasks that different people perform upon it, often at seemingly cross purposes to each other. Understanding different approaches can really be beneficial.

I don't understand some of the vitriol that I see some designers aim at all people who practice SEO. There are indeed some folks selling snake oil out there under the label of SEO. But there are a lot of honest, helpful folks in the industry, too.

If more SEO'ers saw the benefit of things like web standards, and more standards evangelisers saw the benefit of SEO ideas, I'm sure we wouldn't get into these kinds of situations.


It's great when someone like Mark Pilgrim writes a site on 30 days to better accessibility and demonstrates how improved accessibility can help a site show up better for the words it uses in a search engine. More efforts like that are needed. Web standards are a frequent topic around here, and they can be helpful. I see designers sometimes build pages that don't work well with search engines, and I'm convinced that those folks would be helping their clients if they understood more SEO. A well-crafted, intelligently made site will incorporate some level of findability into it.

Danny,

Thank you for explaining how speakers are chosen, and about the feedback mechanisms you have in place at the seminars.

I'm not knocking that -- but the more you get away from a search-centric focus, the more you lose the focus overall that's made this particular show successful with many people.


One of the interesting things about the UIE presentation that I saw was that one part of the presentation was on what they called "trigger words" or words that people searching for the site will expect to see on pages. The concept is very similar to keywords, but applied to human visitors instead of search engines.

Another was that a quarter of the day long show was dedicated to brandbuilding. I think that some cross pollination of ideas can be very beneficial. I understand that the brandbuilding presentation they gave was something they also presented at last years IMC, which I refered to earlier.

There might be some more overlap to some disciplines than we all suspect. It also wouldn't hurt us, as Adrian suggestions, to find some more common ground.

#12 peter_d

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Posted 16 August 2004 - 05:31 PM

Both web design and SEM fall (mostly) within a marketing framework.

However, just as there are divisions between direct marketers (buy now!) and brand marketers (feel & impression), so too will there be division between designers and SEMs. There is a point where both design and SEM work well, and that is the sweet spot a good designer and a good SEM will find. BTW: Designers don't immediately occupy the moral high ground simply because they're designers - I've seen many web projects compromised by the Flash kids' fixation with impressing their friends :lol:

Maybe it's time to get some designers and some usability folks to join in with the SEO folks teaching at the SES shows?


There are points of cross-over, but I suspect it would be like having road builders at a car manufacturers conference. The markedly different agendas would ultimately result in a loss of focus. For example, I've seen well designed web sites fail to do any business whatsoever (too slick) and "unusuable" sites make plenty of money (deliberately don't give the user what they want, but make the shopping cart really easy to get to)

All comes back to the marketing objectives. You can't be all things to all people.

#13 cre8pc

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Posted 16 August 2004 - 09:02 PM

I go for the team approach, but I've been in enough work situations to know that the idea of teamwork is often more lip-service than reality.

Stakeholders (web site or app owners) know what they want to build, often by concept only.

Web designers create the interface to make it real. They know what they like, and they like to be creative.

Programmers construct the back end, the force that makes the project active and alive. They know what they like and they like to make things work in ways that seem logical to them. They often must comply with what designers laid out for them.

The SEO knows robots and what it takes to make pages findable by people and indexable by technology. With some luck, they work with designers and programmers who understand the importance of this.

The copywriter explains it all - from anyone searching for a page to the people figuring out what a page is about once they find it.

Marketing was out selling the thing while it was still in white board stage.

And for years, this is all that existed.

Some companies stopped to consider what their web site or web app users and visitors wanted. Like, some people refuse to register when asked to do so before they're permitted to browse. What a surprise to the web designer and programmers who adhered to this specification, only to learn some of their target market consider it an invasion of their privacy. (Who in their right mind would require a phone number just for the right to browse a web site? Use-case scenerios and understanding target market are important here.)

A user centered trained person on the team could have told them that, before roll out.

I see, via my SEO partners, companies who are worried that SEO isn't enough. They know the design is part of the problem. They know they forgot to consider user habits. Its just occured to them that they never thought of a persona, or a few of these, to help their designers and programmers design for visitor needs.

The designer who knows that people use the Internet for bargain hunting, with muliple windows open for price comparisons, is the designer who builds a site that will sell because the pages will resize gracefully and the usability person made sure prices and call to action prompts were included.

It always comes down to who will use it, whether you spend money on ranking high to find pages, or you design to make it easy for someone to use. When the focus is less on the company mission and more on the user or customer's goals, the better it is for long-term success.

People drop sites online with no real plan for sustaining them. We did it here with the forums. We put it up, with no real plan. When our members began to offer feedback on how they use it, we complied and still try to. It's an ongoing process any web site must consider if they take pride in what they present. We also have staff who make it crawlable. Our goals are make it findable and make it user friendly once they get here.

I don't reject the stance that an SEO conference wants to stick to that topic, same as I wouldn't reject UPA from refusing to add an SEO workshop, but I do see the value of opening the doors by either industry.

I see the value of teamwork that is more than just lip service.

#14 sanity

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Posted 16 August 2004 - 10:26 PM

But, it's difficult to segment a site into tasks that different people perform upon it, often at seemingly cross purposes to each other. Understanding different approaches can really be beneficial.

Agreed. Too often design and SEO are broken down into separate tasks to be performed one after the other. From experience combing the two makes far more sense. We design with users in mind (or we should!) so why canít we design with search engines in mind too. Itís not hard, in fact Iíd argue itís easier, it just needs far more teamwork. As Kim said:

I see the value of teamwork that is more than just lip service.

Spot on! 8)

#15 peter_d

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Posted 16 August 2004 - 11:26 PM

While the notion of teamwork means different things to different people, teams work well only when they have clear direction and a common agenda. Otherwise, teamwork often creates a mess on a scale that individuals can only dream of.

What I think Danny is saying is that with inclusion comes loss of focus. Trying to be all things to all people and give everyone a voice does not necessarily provide additional benefit, and may very well confuse because SEM is a complex area and time is limited. In any case, strict adherence to web standards simply isn't an important consideration in SEM. I don't think I've yet had a site that has validated, neither have many developers who preach adherence to W3C standards. That is not to say web standards are unimportant (I've read Jeffrey for years), but other factors may take precedence depending on the project.

In business, what is most important IMHO, is having workers who understand the higher level objectives and can work to accomplish them using their particular area of expertise, be it narrow or wide.

#16 Adrian

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Posted 17 August 2004 - 02:57 AM

I can see why it's good to keep the focus of the event overall, nothing wrong with that, to introduce a whole other range of subjects would either require it to get that much bigger and more difficult to manage, or to filter out some of what's already there.

However, we seem to have a case here where the panel has perhaps misjudged some of its audience. It appears they talked about design purely from an SEO viewpoint, some of which goes against a lot of good coding standards/semantics advice, and made the mistake of finding some of their audience were from that design/standards crowd.

In a sense, its good that there were 'designers' there, people who aren't exactly SEO people, but clearly want to learn something about that aspect of things. Effectively telling them that what they have spent much time trying to encourage people to do is irrelevant and no good for search engines.

Not to say that, at times, these same designers don't do the exact same from their own point of view....

Both web design and SEM fall (mostly) within a marketing framework.


Exactly, everyone is meant to be working towards the same goal, building and managing effective sites that attain their goals. And as mentioned there as well, it seems to me, that the sites with the best chance of sucess are the ones where the good designer and good SEM find a 'sweet spot' :D

BTW: Designers don't immediately occupy the moral high ground simply because they're designers - I've seen many web projects compromised by the Flash kids' fixation with impressing their friends


I'm going to steal that and use that elsewhere Peter ;) I think its an excellent point. The designers concerned here have tarnished all SEO/M with the same brush, even though there are some quite vast differences. I doubt its unusual for all designers, or even just all web standards advocates to be lumped together and described as arty f***y, FLASH intro lovers or moaners about validation.

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Posted 17 August 2004 - 08:31 AM

Looks like the SEM industry is getting slammed from all sides. Designers (this case), marketers (seth godin), search companies (give us standards ), and the list goes on.

Maybe a new topic, but is the industry's reputation improving or declining?

#18 MattB

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Posted 17 August 2004 - 08:59 AM

Well, I just had to say something, being a part of that panel.

What was published as an opinion has certainly taken a life of its own. So much so, that issues being talked about or quotes attributed do not even reflect the true nature of the actual discussion, IMO.

The regulars here have certainly seen thru what was written, as you have kept this in a very realistic and grounded discussion. From my part, the session was designed to help the attendees better understand the implications of using certain design techniques and elements and how they impact the search engines and usability.

Shari spent most of her time talking about menu's, flyout menus, DHTML menu's and how they can be improved. We all touched on CSS and how our experiences have shown that it affects search engines, user experience and alternative browsers. In my time, I talked about optimizing frames in order to fix the orphaned pages in the search results. I also discussed how forms are designed - basically, how conversion rates can also be tied to the usability of contact or purchase forms. Specifically, by showing users the format you want them to use (date, currency) and also making forms usable for international users. I specifically said that these were my opinions gathered from working in an agency. Dan went into detail about the benefits and potential of CSS.

Now, there were questions from the audience about using CSS, no frames and other "tricks" to increase rankings All of these were met with warnings about the potential for penalty from the search engines. Yet, these are the things that seem to have been taken out of context.

Working in an agency with artists and programmers has made me a much better SEO, and rarely is there disagreement between SEO and design. In fact, SEO and design have been able to compliment each other more than any other part of the sitebuilding/marketing process. Just as was echoed here, everything works together for a better user experience - no one part is more important than the other.

This was my philosophy in presenting the session. I wanted to give all of the issues we have faced as a design/programming/SEO (marketing) company and let the audience draw their own conclusions on how they would proceed. As what works for me, may not work in their situation. I was very clear when I presented a statement that it was all an opinion based on my company's experience.

I hope this helps to clear things up as to what was presented in the seminar.

BTW - I had to create a new registration as I completely lost my user/pass. Can I merge my old stuff as the former SEO Guy into my new profile?

#19 cre8pc

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Posted 17 August 2004 - 10:09 AM

Peter wrote:

What I think Danny is saying is that with inclusion comes loss of focus.


I was thinking about this morning while trying to wake up :) , and came to the same conclusion. The only way I decided it would make sense to toss in other ingredients into the SEO/SEM conference salad would be with workshops like SEO and The Value of Adding User Centered Design or something like that.

The idea I had was finding relationships and promoting the business value or value to the customer.

But, loss of focus. That would concern me if I was Danny. Perhaps now isn't the time for branching out.

Matt wrote:

Well, I just had to say something, being a part of that panel.


Bravo to you for doing so too! :wave: There are always many sides to a story.

As for the tech question, I don't think we can combine but I'm sure Dave (ILoveJackDaniels) or Stock (Grumpus), our Tech Admins, can help you, one way or another. Will follow up on it for you :)

On teamwork, I don't remember liking the idea at first, but my work in companies (in web design) usually required being on a team, so I came to love the challenge and even seek it out. When people disagree, or share different viewpoints, or skillsets, I always learn from that. And learning stuff always trips my happy-happy, joy-joy trigger :flasingsmile:

#20 sharit

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Posted 18 August 2004 - 12:02 AM

Hi everyone-

Shari Thurow here, one of the SES speakers that was slammed by that group of designers.

Boy do I have my opinions of that awful blog. But I'll get to the point. I was misquoted ALOT. Anyone who knows me or has read my book knows that I would never tell anyone to put half of their site content in an h1 tag and the other half in an h2 tag. Let me see...here's my presentation. Bullet number 2:

"Remember that the content of a true <h1> and <h2> tag is a headline."

Nowhere in my presentation did I recommend using the font tag instead of CSS. What I did point out was that since end users might not have an uncommon font installed on their computers, it might be better to use graphic images for some items rather than CSS. I think I might run out of space if I write out everything that was misquoted in that session.

Matt did a very eloquent job at explaining our position on the topic. Kudos to Matt, and thank you.

If any of you have specific questions about my section of the presentation, please feel free to contact me directly. I am more than happy to communicate what I really said. I'm sure Matt and Dan feel the same way.

#21 sharit

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Posted 18 August 2004 - 12:13 AM

Okay. I can't resist.

Since my undergrad degree is in Genetics and Developmental Biology and I've worked in labs for about 11 years, I would like to extend my personal offer to help Eric Meyer on cellular biology.

http://meyerweb.com/...ons#comment-665

How's that for a Silly Expert Opinion? Or a quote taken out of context?

:D

Sorry, couldn't resist.

#22 Voltar

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Posted 18 August 2004 - 12:24 AM

I am surprized that more people that were in attendance have not found this or Compooter's comments. I was indeed in attendance and have a couple of items to share and one question to pose.

There were more than a few of us (not in a single group, but in the audience at large for this session) that were baffled by some of the comments and examples posed by the panelists, I will give you one in a moment that caught us off gaurd.

This was very session specific and not SES wide (for he most part).

This is not designers/developers vs SEO/SEMers... as I see it there is now more to learn from eachother than ever.

The one question I have to pose...

This site was given as an example of an advanced css technique (the drop shadow on logo at the top, and the other masthead text) and was suposed to demonstrate the power of css... http://www.netstrom.com/ Keep in mind that this was not more than 30 seconds after a panelist had mentioned that keyword stuffing and dulicate content were both "no-no's". This technique is not very advanced and in my opinion spammy.

Please look at the source. I would like to know if this is classified as duplicate content or keyword stuffing? Or am I off my rocker too?

<DIV CLASS="text3s">360& Virtual Tours &<BR>Web Site Strategies</DIV><DIV CLASS="text3">360& Virtual Tours &<BR>Web Site Strategies</DIV>

<DIV CLASS="text1s">Recognized by iPIX Corporation<BR>as a Worldwide Leader in<BR>Virtual Tour Photography</DIV><DIV CLASS="text1">Recognized by iPIX Corporation<BR>as a Worldwide Leader in<BR>Virtual Tour Photography</DIV>


#23 DianeV

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Posted 18 August 2004 - 02:24 AM

Hello, Voltar, and welcome to the cre8siteforums.

I think we need some definitions here; as with much web terminology, terms have been coined out of the blue, often without clear definitions.

Duplicate content generally means a copy of another page, perhaps with a few changes of words, as in "my page about X ranks well; think I'll copy it and change all the references about X to Y". As you can imagine, this kind of thing can make a site read poorly, not to mention boringly. Or, let's say we have more than one exact copy of a page on a site; whether done intentionally or by accidently uploading the same page into two different areas, that's still duplicate content. However, the fact that most pages of a website are about, say, "web design" does not mean they are duplicate content; we're talking really duplicate, as in "copy".

In the example you provided, yes, there is a repetition of a line; however, while we can make an educated guess as to why the example logo was done that way, I think the issue really is in degree. If you've ever seen real keyword stuffing, you would have seen something along these lines:

<sometag title="keyword1 keyword2 keyword3 keyword 4keyword1 keyword2 keyword3 keyword4 keyword1 keyword2 keyword3 keyword 4keyword1 keyword2 keyword3 keyword4">some words here</sometag>

or

<img src="image.gif" alt="Find the best Sacramento real estate, Sacramento real estate, Sacramento Real Estate, Sacramento Real estate, Sacramento real estate, more real estate, even more real estate">

or

<h1>Find the best Los Angeles real estate, Sacramento real estate, New York Real Estate, Wherever Real estate, Toronto real estate, Boston real estate, real estate, real estate, real estate</h1>

That is, the idea is not that one can never utilize the same words or phrases on a page, but cramming them into various areas is referred to as "stuffing".

Personally, I think that (the examples I gave) is the easy way out in optimizing websites. It takes a lot more thought and work to optimize a page while writing compelling text or ad copy that says what you have to say.

And you are right; it is not SEO/SEM versus designers/developers. We've actually made a conscious effort, here at cre8asite, not to focus solely on SEO or design or marketing or usability, etc., as it's clear that it takes more than one specialty to create great sites and marketing campaigns.

Someone here coined a term for this: "holistic web design" ... but it sounds too much like health food to me. <grin>

Does that help?

#24 bragadocchio

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Posted 18 August 2004 - 06:15 AM

Hi Voltar,

Welcome to the forum. :wave:

The example you've given us looks like a way of creating a drop shadow by overlapping two sets of text.

It works, and it's effective. It's not the only way to do that in CSS. This might be a little more elegant:

http://www.w3.org/TR...xt-shadow-props

But it also is something that might not work in as many browsers as the example they cited with the overlapping text.

It's not easy to tell intent from such a a small sample, but Diane does a nice job of describing the types of things you'll see when someone tries to stuff a page full of keywords.

I think that the intent behind the double lines of text was probably for visual impact.

I also agree with Diane that it is the bigger picture we try to focus upon here. If "Holistic web design" isn't quite the right term, maybe "craftsmanship" is. The ability to envision as much of what you are creating as possible, including the framework within which it exists in the world, and make something that communicates well, fulfills the objectives of the stakeholders behind it, provides a good user experience to visitors, and is findable on the web.

Hi Shari,

I agree with you in spirit, and I'm glad that you stopped by. I know it's not easy, but I think we want to try to reach out and build something positive out of this if we can.

It may not be easy, and it sounds like there was some confusion amongst these audience members of yours. The blog post did paint your presentation in a bad light. And, the author does note that he put some spin on his presentation. Is there any way that we can make something positive of this though? I hope that we can. And I think that we can.

#25 Adrian

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Posted 18 August 2004 - 07:15 AM

Thanks for stopping by and giving your thoughts Matt and Shari, its certainly helped give the other side of the story that I was expecting would be a bit different.

Although I'm sure it's been a bit stressful for you both to be critisised like that, I think it's been good to discuss the general issues it's brought up.

Overall, as long as people read and take in both sides, I think it could be good for SEO as whole and trying to dismiss some of the ideas that apparently float around about all SEO being about tricks. I didn't quite expect it to flare up quite like it did when I first saw the blog post! Been some excellent information posted by yourselves, Danny and a few others such as Ammon on the blog as well.

I'd certainly recommend people go and read all the comments in there, despite how long they have gotten.

#26 bwelford

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Posted 18 August 2004 - 07:47 AM

I agree with you, Adrian, on the excellence of the comment stream that has been generated on the original thread that started all this foofaraw. My reason for posting was to encourage everyone to go see Ammon's contribution - Comment 24. It's a miniature jewel on what SEO is really all about when it's done well.

#27 Black_Knight

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Posted 18 August 2004 - 11:47 AM

Thanks, Barry, but it was little more than stating the obvious really. :)

#28 projectphp

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Posted 18 August 2004 - 06:32 PM

This will probably annoy some, but man, this comment deserves to be quoted verbatim. An absolute gem. 100/10.

I’ll admit that I definitely added an aspect of spin to the points listed above.

Judging from the 23 comments already as I type, and mentions of your post elsewhere, it looks like your gambit has worked just as intended too. :lol:

However, despite the saying being that all press is good press, I don’t believe that publishing your lack of understanding of SEM/SEO has done much but allowed others who don’t understand it to have a quick rant and underline their lack of understanding.

The basis of all SEO is really simple: we design for one more broad type of user-agent than most of the designers ever think of – even the so-called progressive ones. SEOs design for the spiders to get as much out of the site as the human users can.

That is the essence of all SEO in a nutshell.

My job, of the last ten years, is to fix the oversight and inconsiderations of the average designer employed by all levels of companies, from the mom-and-pop business to the large multi-national corporations.

We add appropriate ALT attributes to image tags where the designer got so carried away with how the site should look that he forgot to allow for those who cannot see (be they impaired or robotic).

We ensure that TITLE tags are actually used to title the page, rather than the site, ensuring that each page has an accurate TITLE which will help browsers (human or robotic) to understand exactly what the page is about just from a listing of that title.

We use TITLE attributes in links, so that where narrow but stylish menus have limited the length of link text, further descriptive information of exactly where each link will lead is provided.

We ensure that good, accurate and descriptive link text is used, rather than the appallingly unusefull “click here” that so many designers have foolishly used in the past. Take a look at the link there, and laugh at the sites ranking high for “click here” rather than giving the modern search engine semantic analysis anything worthwhile to use.

I spend time fixing the many sites that are JavaScript reliant for functionality, as all SEOs must, because search engines do not interpret JavaScript (and even though Googlebot can do so to some extent, it still cannot do so reliably or well).

I spend time fixing the run-away use of CSS from designers who have forgotten that CSS is optional, and that one of the advantages of CSS is so that users can specify their own settings and override that of the designer.

In short, I ensure that pages and sites are funtional by a greater range of user types than just designers. That it doesn’t rely on anything that can be disabled, and has failsafes built in so that it will still be useable for user-agents without Frames, JavaScript, Flash, CSS, etc.

SEO is all about usability and accessibility. It always has been. It is incredibly obvious that it always has been.


I can't believe how accurate this is, or how eloquent. To take on designers on their turf, and point out there own deficiencies... man, nice one Ammon!!!

#29 sharit

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Posted 18 August 2004 - 06:45 PM

Hi everyone-

Shari here.

Thank you for your kind words and support. I agree that we can make something positive come out of this situation. I disagree in the manner in which it came about. Rest assured, if I want to debate an SEM topic, I certainly will not treat a person with the disrespect I felt I (and my colleagues) received. There are less nasty ways to open up a discussion about a specific topic.

Since you asked, I can give you a little "insider" perspective on that specific topic (using CSS to drop shadow). Before the actual session, I was happy to hear that Dan Stone and I somewhat disagree on the CSS vs. graphic images issue. I think it makes for a more interesting session if the speakers don't agree 100% on every topic. Good to hear different perspectives.

Also, I communicate with my colleagues BEFORE the conference to make sure we do not present the same information. I know Anne Kennedy and Matt Bailey are good about this, too. Our goal is to give a useful presentation.

That being said, I don't think that the CSS drop-shadow is meant to be treated as search engine spam. As Tim Mayer and Matt Cutts and Daniel Dulitz and (fill in search engine rep's name here) have all said, the technique itself is not spam. It's how the technique is used. If it is used to deceive the engines into delivering inappropriate, redundant, or poor content, then there is search engine spam.

The example Dan showed in his presentation was not used to deceive. And he selected a common font for his logo. So I believe he showed a good example. But I prefer to use a graphic image in this situation because we tend to use uncommon fonts for logos.

I'll use the font called Engraver's Gothic as an example. If a client site had a logo created in Engraver's Gothic, I would not format the logo text in CSS because I know that Engraver's Gothic is not commonly installed on PCs. So instead of CSS with a drop shadow, I'd use Photoshop and export to a web file. (Probably a JPEG since logos tend to have more than 256 colors.)

Two different perspectives on the same topic. Dan's example is more search-engine friendly in that the spiders will not have any problems using that text for relevancy. My graphic image example is less search-engine friendly because not all search engines use alternative text to determine relevancy. And, when it is used, alt-text not weighted heavily.

But if my target audience prefers the graphic image over the CSS-formatted text? I design for my target audience, first and foremost. If they want the graphic image, they got it. There are other ways I can place keywords on my pages.

I hope this alleviates any confusion about the presentation..

#30 bragadocchio

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Posted 18 August 2004 - 07:54 PM

Thanks, Shari

I noticed this from Eric Meyer's site, and it looks like maybe there are some positives coming out of the discussion over this mess. Take a look at:

SES San Jose Corrections

Some comments worth looking at over at The Web Standards Org blog, too:

SEO Redux

Here's a thought from there that we stand behind here, and would probably do all we can to help further:

Here's an idea: perhaps we standards folks and the SEO crowd should do a bit of knowledge sharing? In the comments, Danny Sullivan said he's already asked Eric Meyer to do just that, with an eye towards a possible speaking slot at an upcoming SES no less. That's a great start. But I think we can do more. I think there's gold to be found at the intersection of SEO and standards, or at least some good web development.



#31 kensplace

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Posted 18 August 2004 - 08:24 PM

I like it when people can sensibly argue over topics, its when you get the men in suits involved, that people stop that from happening, and knowledge stops spreading. Keep it open, keep it coming, keep doing what you think is best - if you make a mistake, so what, you and others can learn from it.

Its when it gets "hushed up" that you should start to worry - thats when the problems start - and the fees get higher.

#32 bragadocchio

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Posted 18 August 2004 - 08:34 PM

Agreed. Sunshine is often the best remedy for most problems. Bring them out in the light. Talk about them. Listen to each other.

That's the way to build something positive. It's good to see that starting to happen here.

#33 Hieroweb

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Posted 19 August 2004 - 08:04 PM

I'm sure that we have all worked with extremely talented designers. Having said that it can be very difficult to reprogram a designers way of thinking. I have found that the really good designers are very set in their ways. So the chore is to set the ground rules from the beginning and let all parties know up front what is going to be presented and how. Then a good open discussion on opinions should help clear the air and make the relationship stronger.

I know in my case, when I have worked with designers and have not been as forth coming on what a project entailed it usually came back to bite me. Then I was spending my time trying to mend fences and get us all back on the same page.

#34 bragadocchio

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Posted 19 August 2004 - 09:22 PM

Hi Hieroweb,

It's good to see you here. Welcome to Cre8asite.

Teamwork can allow you to accomplish much more than you could as individuals working at cross purposes. I came across this article on teamwork today, and I think it's a pretty good one:

Help for Team Efforts

I especially like the "finding the fixes" section at the end. Communciation is such an important part of things. As is understanding how each other will contribute to a project, and how to make it easier for each other to do their part.

#35 Hieroweb

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Posted 19 August 2004 - 09:38 PM

Thanks for the warm welcome :)

Great article too, I especially like the following Vince Lombardi quote: "Individual commitment to a group effort ó that is what makes a team work."

#36 bwelford

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Posted 20 August 2004 - 08:53 AM

In that article, Bill, I particular liked this:

Stage Matrix is a feedback tool that allows team members to provide a personal assessment of the team's progress, as well as a tool to communicate normal stages of team development. The longer a team is expected to work together (the bigger the initiative), the more important the stage matrix. 

Posted Image

Attempting to align an existing team will certainly require different tactics from those used to form a new team. However, the previous steps are equally important in both situations; the amount of time and effort will vary.



#37 atomicmonk

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Posted 23 August 2004 - 12:48 PM

Not really a good test at all as I would suggest there are a good few more people with the name Matt Bailey than there are Eric Meyer.


Just for fun... let's have a smackdown. :shock: It's like Google fightclub. Eric Meyer vs. Matt Bailey. Get your bets in!

The Results
And the undisputed champion is...

1. Eric Meyer (52,300)
2. Matt Bailey (3,510)


The Details
This queries Google via its API and receives the estimated total results for each word or phrase. The smackdown adds quotes to your word or phrase when searching. So if you add quotation marks here, Google will ignore the quotes altogether.[/b]

#38 mugshot

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Posted 23 August 2004 - 02:38 PM

Why does it seem that people treating online marketing campaigns different from traditional marketing strategies?

There is really little if not no difference in my opinion. The reasons behind marketing is to create visibility period!

Online marketing = design+seo+usability+strategies
Traditional marketing = design+placement(a form of seo)+strategies

So does it seem that the difference is usability? Ads placed on billboards don't require you to touch them and be transported to the store (not a bad idea :)) but websites requires itself to be usable so customers will click and buy.

my 2 cents.

#39 Grumpus

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Posted 23 August 2004 - 02:44 PM

Usability is of vital importance in real-world marketing too. Walk into a gorcery store and even though you've never been there before, you can pretty well guess that the meat and dairy is going to be at the back of the store. Produce will be near where you came in, and so on. That's not an accident, it's a combination of design strategy and usability.

But I do agree with you in principle, Mugshot. They really aren't all that different, it's just a different medium. Radio and TV commercials aren't the same, but the underlying principles that define a successful campaign are very much the same.

Welcome to the forums, btw! :wave:

G.

#40 atomicmonk

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Posted 23 August 2004 - 03:11 PM

Perhaps "the difference" comes down to the whole concept of multiple points of entry? I guarantee you if they could figure out a way to make billboards that transported you to the nearest appropriate car dealer, bank or mikky d's just because you happened to glance at it... they'd jump on it. The web is different in that aspect. It has the capability to take you straight there if you are interested.

I think there's a huge difference between usability and familiarity too. Let's face it, meat and dairy tend to be in the back to get you to walk by all the other stuff they are hoping to sell you. If the vegetarians ever become a force to reckon with, we'll :? probably have to start travelling to the back of the store to get to the produce.



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