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#1 ergobob

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Posted 28 July 2005 - 06:15 PM

Hello Everyone,

In another post I talked about bringing news topics into a primary landing page using PHP. The idea is to add timely and fresh content to the page in the hopes of increasing SERPS.

I did a test page with this idea implemented at http://www.usernomic...cessories5.html .

Note that the news articles come from two of our blogs that we host.

What do you think of this from an SEO viewpoint?

Thanks,

Bob

#2 gemini

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Posted 28 July 2005 - 06:35 PM

I think it is good.

Landing page should be optimized and rank - this is where the targeted traffic comes through. Relative headlines that are freshly updated assure that search engines visit this page often, it means page gets updated with new relevant information constantly - it should have very high chances to rank well.

Get it indexed and see how it goes. I think you should try on already optimized and ranking page - see if anything improves.

There was a site on sale at DP forum - a directory with blank categories, but the owner had relative headlines under each category - that made his pages live, frequently updated and visited by SEs. In addition to all of that those pages got PR2 and the site is like 6 months old and has nothing in it at all. I have landing page that updated every day and its updated daily in Google's cache, so I say yes it should help.

#3 ergobob

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Posted 28 July 2005 - 07:42 PM

Thanks gemini,

I should have mentioned that this will be going on PR=5 and 6 pages that rank in the top 10 for most keywords.

My objective is to be sure I stay there over time.

Bob

#4 gemini

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Posted 28 July 2005 - 07:55 PM

Well, every case is more or less unique, so without trying you won't know for sure - there is no sure thing with natural rankings :)lol

#5 Ron Carnell

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Posted 28 July 2005 - 09:12 PM

The unspoken assumption here seems to be that search engines like constantly changing content. Lots of people, in lots of forums and blogs, seem to be making that assumption these days.

Does anyone have any evidence, though? :P

#6 ergobob

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Posted 28 July 2005 - 09:28 PM

Actually, my blog has been up for 6 months. It is optimized for three keywords including "user interface design." It is linked to my main pages.

My main page for User Interface Design has gone from 20 to 9 for that phrase. I am not sure that it was the blog that did it though but it seems that way.

My only concern about bring the news titles plus 10 words over to a main page is that those words duplicate what is on the blog. But they are in a different context. My concern is getting penalized for duplication. But it's not a whole page or anything so I don't think there will be a problem.

Bob

#7 gemini

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Posted 28 July 2005 - 10:18 PM

Does anyone have any evidence, though?


I never document my tweakings, but what kind of evidence do you need? Would constantly caching page by Google prove anything? If it gives you some ideas just watch a few blogs for a couple of days - you'll see them being cached by google every day. I run a real estate directory which have over dozen new submission every day - the main page has updates, latest comments and submissions and it is cached every day.

Here is a good example of Barry Schwartz' seroundtable blog
http://64.233.161.10...ble.com/ &hl=en

Barry posts every day and the last post was on 26th - well this is not the news that even though google posts cached on xx - its one day older. Check it out tomorrow and see if its cached with new data.

#8 Ron Carnell

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Posted 28 July 2005 - 11:24 PM

I have to wonder, though, gemini, whether there's a true cause and effect. A page gets updated frequently. A page gets cached frequently. Are those necessarily related?

I have pages that haven't been changed in over a year, and yet those, too, get spidered every day. Why? Perhaps because there are a lot of links leading to those pages? On the other hand, I have forum pages that change every two minutes, but which get crawled maybe only twice a week. Not incidentally, those forum pages have fewer inbound links.

Still, let's assume for a minute that you're right, that frequent updating leads to frequent spidering. I honestly haven't seen that demonstrated anywhere, but let's just say it's true.

What does frequent spidering get you? Is there any reason to believe it makes the page more relevant for a search query?

#9 randfish

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Posted 29 July 2005 - 12:45 AM

Ron - I have a site, avatarfinancial.com - it always ranks better at Google (by 1 to 3 positions depending on kws) when it's been updated and they've spidered it. We have a little "tips" section like a blog on the home page that gets updated every day (except when we forget), and it's like a clock you can set your watch to - if we forget, we drop down, if we remember, we're back up...

So, I'd say it's a direct cause and effect - Google gives at least a small boost to a page that's been updated with content.

#10 gemini

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Posted 29 July 2005 - 08:16 AM

what does frequent spidering get you? Is there any reason to believe it makes the page more relevant for a search query?


I see your point and I can not confrirm that frequent spidering makes pages more relevant. You said

assumption here seems to be that search engines like constantly changing content

so I related frequently changing content to daily caching which means - daily updates in the serps (I assume if site goes up in serps se liked it - down - not that much). We can not limit it to only one frequently updated content criteria, but it is definitely valuable one and has quite a weight. Which one of two "IBLs" or "updated relevant content frequency" gives more weight I don't know, but I'm using both and I see good results.

Returning back to your last questions "what does frequent spidering get you?"
It gives me assurance that whatever I put on my page today - it will be in the serps tomorrow. If I put up a highly demanding news today which has limited exposure from other source - I have very good chances to rank at the top for that news specific keywords.

"Is there any reason to believe it makes the page more relevant for a search query?"
No, frequently updates don't make content relevant to search queries - search results should reflect the relevancy of content to the query. frequent updates is a great possibility to test out your content relevancy to the search query though, because you don't need to wait long.

I think Google raises two flags - content update frequency and content importance where both combined may be very powerful. And content importance of course depends on IBLs. Well, that's just my $0.02

#11 gemini

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Posted 29 July 2005 - 08:42 AM

My only concern about bring the news titles plus 10 words over to a main page is that those words duplicate what is on the blog. But they are in a different context. My concern is getting penalized for duplication. But it's not a whole page or anything so I don't think there will be a problem.


I wouldn't think this may rais duplicate content issue - you provide unique content and as alternative/supportive resources - related news headlines, which makes a lot of sense. Aren't RSS made for this purposes? Google and Yahoo use this technique all the time - there is nothing wrong or shady in it. It just shows again you're staing on the topic and would like your visitors to have access to the latest relevant informational updates.

#12 Ron Carnell

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Posted 29 July 2005 - 10:39 AM

Rand, this classic thread by Ammon currently comes up in a Google SERP number eight for these keywords. According to your theory, we should be able to ****** to number five or six in the next few days simply by replying to the thread, thereby making it fresher.

Care to give it a try? :)

That might not be great test, though, since it's a two-page thread. We could get someone to edit the first page, I suppose, but this thread by Grumpus is a one-page thread that will be easier to "freshen" with a reply.

It comes in number three on Google for these keywords. A reply to that thread should bring it up to number one, right?

If we are to draw definitive conclusions from SE tests, of course, the tests must be reproducible. That's the standard set by the scientific method. So take a look at my results, reply to the threads I've listed, and let's see what happens in the next few days? I'm certainly willing to be surprised. :)

#13 Black_Knight

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Posted 29 July 2005 - 05:45 PM

The unspoken assumption here seems to be that search engines like constantly changing content.

I think people do sometimes jump to that assumption, but there is a logical error in it. The more true assumption is that fresher content is superior in SEO terms. That is not because the search engines themselves like the changing content, but rather, is because people link to content, and content that changes can continue to gain fresh citations. Search engines like the citations, not the changing content per se.

I still see plenty of links to the 'front' pages of blogs, rather than the 'permalink' that should be used. Over time, that blog can gain hundreds of citations for content that came and went, but the links remained.

There is an additional benefit to 'fresh' content of course, and that is because any search engine that relies extensively on link popularity in its algorithms would find that the oldest information would always come top. So the engine has to create a counter-effect based on the 'age' of a document, enabling newer, fresher pages, many of which may make the older documents obsolete, to be able to rise above a page that has collected links over a span of a decade.

That's why some of the latest patents about the age of links are so important. How does one determine whether an older document is a classic, or has been outdated? By looking at whether it continues to be a citation in recent times. That way you can have an algorithm that appears to understand obsolesence.

#14 randfish

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Posted 29 July 2005 - 05:53 PM

Ron - That particular test could be quite flawed. Remember, we have no idea why it's ranking at #2/3 right now, or if it's ranking there despite being significantly "less relevant" to Google than the first result.

Although I've given an example of it working, I could just as easily find those places where it does not work. I like Ammon's philosophy of thinking about how it can successfully influence SERPs positions through links, and other known boosts.

I'm willing to try out the theory and see if it works on those pages, too, but I'm not sure we could really prove something to a scientific mind.

#15 AbleReach

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Posted 29 July 2005 - 06:50 PM

Do frequent updates encourage frequent spidering?
Or is that strictly (more or less, lol) a function of having incoming links?

Elizabeth

#16 Michael_Martinez

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Posted 29 July 2005 - 07:24 PM

I used to think that frequent updates encouraged frequent spidering, but I suspect now that it had more to do with the growth of inbound links. We first noticed the increase in spidering activity on news sites (back when news articles were still being served up in the primary results) and on major etailers like Amazon. But there was healthy link growth associated with those content updates. So, the link growth probably fueled the perceived phenomenon of frequent update ==> frequent crawl.

The forums and blogs that get crawled frequently add content almost continuously, and of course each new generated page will include new links back to the source pages.

So, as the engines add to their knowledge of backlinks for a (usually content-managed) site that keeps adding content, they schedule more and more crawls for those sites just because they have so many spiders out doing the crawling and gathering new links.

There should be a way to test that hypothesis. I suppose if we could create a blog that is only link-started (i.e., given a handful of links to ensure an initial crawl) and then people stop linking to it, the crawl frequency could be gauged on the basis of how often the blog updates with new content pages.

But how do you get people not to link to it?

#17 Ron Carnell

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Posted 29 July 2005 - 07:52 PM

Ammon, I completely agree with your first hypothesis and at least partially agree with the second.

Good content garners good citations, and more good content will garner more good citations. Frequent updates create more content; it's just measured over time instead of the more usual pages, and links don't care about the scale, at least by and large.

I'm a little more skeptical of a "counter-balance" based on freshness of content, though certainly one based on freshness of inbound links both makes sense and has, as you noted, been documented. If we accept the latter, of course, we return full circle to "good content garners good citations," with just a little different take on what a "good" citation might be.

I would also raise the possibility that in a post-Florida world, there is at least some evidence that Google is learning to recognize tiers within the results based on industry. I don't think that evidence is conclusive, in my mind I'm not even sure it's compelling, but it certainly can't be ignored. In some such industries (and finance might well be one, Rand), it's at least feasible that fresh content IS considered more relevant than stale content. If true, however, I suspect we'd find no more than a very small handful of industries where freshness -- by itself -- makes a difference.

Of course my whole point, as Ammon understood at once, was that we should question what is quickly becoming "common wisdom." I see people all the time who want to put a counter or a date on their pages just so the search engines will "like them better." Too many of us, I think, forget that the goal of a search engine is to find relevant pages, and everything we do or try to do has to be examined in that light. Certainly, new content can add relevance to a page, but new content can just as easily decrease relevance, and merely being "new" isn't enough (or shouldn't be enough) to rise through the SERPs. The relationship between cause and effect becomes murkier every day, making it ever more imperative we continue to question WHY we do what we do.

And, Rand, LOL, I agree my proposed test was flawed. It became even more so, however, when your fresh content in the Grumpus thread exactly cited the keywords I so carefully didn't explicitly list too close to my link to the thread. Your comment arguably increased the relevance for that keyword phrase, so even if it rises in the SERPs (as I'm sure it will), it certainly won't demonstrate the rise was due to freshness. It doesn't really matter, of course. The test was not only flawed, but was bogus in the sense that we all know merely updating a thread, by itself, isn't going to increase relevance, any more than adding a counter or a date to a page will make the search engines "like it" more.

#18 AbleReach

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Posted 30 July 2005 - 02:28 AM

OK, let's see if more & better info is slipping into my heat wave melted mind.

Fresh content is not a defining factor - fresh or continuing interest makes more difference.
Recent citations help - they show continuing user interest.
Relevant citations help - citations within a logical content cluster.
Citations from important sites help.
You are what you eat, and in this case you are also what eats you. ;-)

In the case of RSS, would any SEO effect go both ways, depending on how well both the syndicated and syndicator have done the above & other homework? Assuming that the syndicated article has a link to the syndicator?

Elizabeth

#19 ergobob

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Posted 30 July 2005 - 07:46 AM

Hi Elizabeth,

Keep in mind that the syndicator may be your own site. For example, my blog is on blogger.com but is hosted on my server with my URL. Similarly, my RSS feed is also on my site with my URL.

Each article links back to my blog as a permalink (permenant link on a separate page). So when the RSS Feed is picked up by an individual, it liks to my blog.

I am thinking that there is a difference depending on who hosts the RSS Feed (URL) vs. where the feed is generated.

Bob

#20 bwelford

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Posted 30 July 2005 - 07:57 AM

You're right, ergobob. I do it as you do it and so there is lots of interlinking between the blog (created with Blogger) and the website. I do fairly 'meaty' blog entries but also have an extensive newsletter collection on the website. Both collections rank well with Google but more than half of the traffic comes via blog entries.

#21 travis

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Posted 30 July 2005 - 08:36 AM

Google does like fresh content on some of our sites. We gave an editor to one of our top clients to edit their news, and they experience a similar effect to what Randfish described. It bumps them up 3 places a week later.

However, some customers rank well without ever updating their site.

Its in Google's best interest to bring the latest news to people who search for some items, for example, news.

When you search for Iraq or North Korea news, you dont want a page that is 4 years old.

When you search for a lawyer or an accountant, its more than reasonable to get a site which is 4 years old.

#22 ergobob

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Posted 30 July 2005 - 12:48 PM

Hello Barry,

Another one I am struggling with is the RSS Feed to the blog.

Blogger.com gives you an RSS Feed that I also have hosted on my site. This is good because the RSS Feed URL is my URL. However, I also have a FeedBurner RSS Feed which is hosted by FeedBurner with a FeedBurner URL. The page is nice and it has a lot of versatility but it is their URL being redirected to my blog.

My question is how important it is from an SEO viewpoint to have the RSS Feed on my site with my URL?

I am thinking of all the RSS Readers out there that people are using and having everything linking through the FeedBurner URL. But I am not sure how important that is.

Any thoughts on that?

Bob

#23 randfish

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Posted 01 August 2005 - 01:34 PM

Travis - are you saying that unsavvy accountants and lawyers who don't update their websites for years at a time are better at their job?

Maybe they are, since they're not spending time worrying about the web...

#24 bwelford

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Posted 01 August 2005 - 02:17 PM

ergobob, I really don't have a good answer to your question. Clearly direct links to your own domain are best. However if Feedburner is creating traffic to your site, even if it doesn't do anything for SEO, then that's worth something.

#25 ergobob

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Posted 05 August 2005 - 07:56 AM

Hello Again,

A new twist.

My rss feed is with FeedBurner.com and the URL is:
http://feeds.feedbur...nInteractionhci

(Don't ask about the strange file name - it's what they gave me.)

I wanted to get the feed on my site with my URL for SEO reasons. They have an alias service which makes the URL:

http://feeds.usernom...nInteractionhci

Does something like this give the linking credit to me or does it stay with FeedBurner?

Thanks,

Bob

#26 Michael_Martinez

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Posted 05 August 2005 - 08:59 AM

There is no immediate obvious benefit for SEO purposes of hosting the RSS feed on your site, UNLESS you have other sites offer the feed. That is, you need to get that "Subscribe to this blog" link on other sites.

#27 ergobob

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Posted 05 August 2005 - 11:02 AM

Thanks Michael,

So the benefit to the alias above - "feeds.usernomics.com" - only has the benefit of showing a usernomics URL rather than a "feeds.feedburner.com" URL?

I am only interested in driving visitors to the blog but also get the credit for the linking in the directories and feed readers. But, in any event, you feel that it is a moot point with regard to SEO.

But what about all the directories that show each article with a feedburner URL? Doesn't feedburner benefit from those links? Should I just foregt them for SEO purposes?

Bob

#28 Michael_Martinez

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Posted 05 August 2005 - 12:34 PM

Feedburner will benefit to some degree, but the search engines tend to be wary about CGI-based links. They understand that a lot of ad-servers, directories, and forwarding pages use CGI for redirection. Redirection in itself is not necessarily a bad thing. It's just not very helpful, and is usually more of a hindrance.

Visibility can be achieved in many ways. They don't all include building up your inbound linkage. But if you want to build up your visibility solely through inbound linkage, then all your inbound links have to point to your site and not to anyone else's.

That's the bottom line.

#29 Grumpus

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Posted 09 August 2005 - 05:50 AM

The real question here is: If I'm creating fresh content for the sake of creating fresh content rather than to add to the value of the site, then if I didn't have that fresh content for the sake of being fresh would I need the spider to come by more often and keep my site fresh? :shock:

Really, though, the biggest benefit of that feed comes in the nice syrupy batch of SEO Soup that you are creating. If you're going to grab those feeds, you also need to archive them somewhere on your site so that they are always there.

Why?

Well, there are things that take a month or so to actually kick in after the spiders get there - a lot of the math doesn't get done during the "fresh" pick-up, it's only a rather quick "estimate" of the page's new value. In the early days of Freshbot and Everflux, those estimates tended to strongly favor you. Nowadays, those value estimates are far more conservative and so having "freshness" isn't the end-all-be-all it was a few years ago.

But, having that fresh content does have the benefits listed above such as encouraging new links and so on. It's biggest asset, though, is the SEO soup I mentioned. Once the engines have realized that the "fresh" content moves to the "archive" then those archives remain realtively static (if you do them right) and those archive pages can gain the longterm benefits of being on the web - linkpop grows, all the complex math can be applied, and so on.

In the end, you've now got a bunch of pages with a bunch of content that is relevant to your site (again, assuming you're doing it right) and that content contains a varying mix of the keywords that are relevant to you - probably the same set of keywords, but they are stirred up and appear in different contexts and different orders from page to page. That Keyword Soup can do wonders for getting you traffic - it's SEO without actually having to do all the keyword analysis and so on. Basically, if your sources are doing their job, then the keywords are already in context and relevant and popular and competitive and you've just stirred them up a bit for your own use.

Finally, you've got to make sure that that archive leads people back into the heart of your site. If not, then they'll just come in, see the stuff, then go on their way. You've got to get those pages to inspire the person to look more deeply at your stuff.

If you can do all that, then adding a feed is a good idea. If not, go back to my first question in this post.


G.

#30 ergobob

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Posted 09 August 2005 - 02:16 PM

Thanks Grumpus and Michael,

I think I have the site and the blog set up with good SEO. And the blog archives are perminent. Everything points back to the main site.

Then I am bringing over news headlines from the blog to the site using PHP to further benefit the main site. I also have the headlines linked to the perminent page in the blog. So when a Feed Reader or Individual picks up the RSS Feed, all the headlines point to the blog rather than the original source. Once on the site, the links then go to the original source. The idea is to benefit from all those headline links that do get published in various places.

The RSS Feed is just a way of getting people to the blog and to get more links in RSS Feed directories and Feed Readers. So the RSS Feed in itself is not a big thing for SEO.

But since I am setting up the RSS Feed, I thought I might as well get all the SEO benefit out of it that I could. So I started wondering about the three ways I could set up the feed:

feeds.usernomics.com
feeds.feedburner.com
usernomics/feeds.com

Right now I have the first set up but that does go back to feedburner.

Bob

#31 AbleReach

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Posted 11 August 2005 - 12:46 PM

But since I am setting up the RSS Feed, I thought I might as well get all the SEO benefit out of it that I could.  So I started wondering about the three ways I could set up the feed:  
 
feeds.usernomics.com  
feeds.feedburner.com  
usernomics/feeds.com

SEO? On the other hand, Google tries to serve people, eh?

Common sense says "What words apply the most directly to people, to you?"
Usernomics?
Feedburner?

Methinks this is a branding issue on whose coattails SEO may or may not be a helpful hitchhiker. Straight from the hip, which do you want PEOPLE to remember? Even if the URL is not normally visible, what do YOU want uppermost in your mind when tinkering with your feed?

Elizabeth

#32 obiztek

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Posted 12 August 2005 - 12:04 AM

Fresh content is liked by the Google



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