Search Engine Optimization :: Lyndsay Walker :: Toronto, Ontario

Twitter Now Has Local Trending Options

When Twitter started, an unofficial trending tagging system started up. Known as “hash-tagging”, Twitter users could tag their tweets by using the hash symbol (#, also known as number sign or pound symbol). This was useful for following events like conferences (eg. #ces09) or for silly use, like a follow up thought (eg. #awesome). Sometime last year, trending (with or without hashtags) became an official feature of Twitter’s home page. Users could see the top ten words/hashtags/phrases being chatted about worldwide. Popular topics that came up over the past year include the Iranian election, the death of Michael Jackson and even new fads like #FollowFriday (suggestions of Twitter users to follow) and #MusicMonday (music suggestions).

URL Planning for SEO

Ann Smart of Search Engine Journal posted a great article today about how to make sure your URLs are SEO friendly.

Given that all pieces of your URL contribute to your organic ranking, this is something that shouldn’t be overlooked. Most people realize that the domain name is important (www.domainname.tld). Less people realize that the top level domain (www.domainname.tld) has an impact on your geo rankings. Other people realize that directory and page names are important (www.domainname.tld/directory/pagename.html) but don’t take the time to properly plan this.

Helping Haiti With Your Cell Phone

The massive earthquake that struck Haiti yesterday reminds me a lot of the tsunami that hit the Indian Ocean in 2004. I remember searching online to find a way to contribute to the relief fund. I ended up donating through the Red Cross and thinking that was pretty fantastic.

Five years later, in the midst of devastation in one of the poorest countries in the west, the options for donating have certainly improved. Today, tweets started flooding in encouraging people to send an SMS message (text message) with the word “Haiti” to short code 90999. This will automatically make a $10 donation to the American Red Cross. I can only assume the $10 is placed on your cell phone bill.

Social Stealth – Cancer Awareness

Yesterday as I was perusing Facebook, I noticed people (mostly female) were posting a colour as their status. I wasn’t sure what this was about, so I asked on Twitter.

Apparently, a meme started somewhere online encouraging women to update their Facebook statuses with the colour of the bra they are currently wearing. The point? Cancer awareness.

What’s most interesting is that no one knows for sure where on the web this originated from. But someone started it and it spread like wildfire.

And that’s why you can never under estimate the power of social media.

VISA: The Only Card Accepted at the 2010 Olympic Games

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada is hosting the 2010 Olympic Games in February.

One of their biggest sponsors (called Global Sponsors) is VISA. As a result of their sponsorship, VISA is the only payment card accepted at the 2010 Olympic Games.

You heard me. That means no MasterCard, no American Express and NO DEBIT CARDS (Interac).

I suppose I could almost understand not accepting any other credit card, but debit cards too?

Wait, I take that back, I don’t understand this at all.

New Google Feature – Skip Intro

Happy Black Friday!

This morning, I found something in the Google results pages that I’d never seen before. It’s a “Skip Intro” option.

Google's "Skip Intro" Feature

This is great news if you’re like 99% of web searchers out there who can’t be bothered to sit through a flash movie before getting to a site. Now, you can bypass the intro movie/song and go straight to the information.

It looks like Googlebot is looking for a link with the anchor text being something like “Skip Intro” and feeding that into the results.

Ways To Get Value From Conferences

John and I recently attended WebmasterWorld’s PubCon conference in Las Vegas, where I was also a speaker.

Conferences are often expensive – not only does it cost money to travel to the conference (hotel, flights, meals, conference registration, etc.) but there’s the even bigger cost of being out of the office. In a case like PubCon, a four-day conference with seven days of networking events, it’s very easy to let a week slip by without getting a lot of work done.

With this in mind, it’s important find ways to gain value, making up for the expenses and lost time of attending the conference.

Google Social Search

If you’re like me and do most of your industry specific research online, you probably have a set of blogs and web sites that you trust and rely on more than any others. For a long time, I wished that I could do a Google search within just those trusted sites because I knew that all the results would be reliable.

That ability is now available with Google’s Social Search feature. Right now it’s only available by activating it in Google Labs and of course you must be signed into your Google account for it to work.

Google Social Search in Google Labs