Microsoft Screening Adsense from Search Results?

I read a fascinating post over at Seeking Alpha's Blog detailing his research on, what appears to be, Microsoft screening websites utilizing Adsense and Google's Search Box on their sites. I included the full post below so you could read, but I also ran my own tests which I wanted to share as well.

As you read this blog, you can see Adsense on the right hand side as well as in between posts on the homepage so this site would 'qualify' for MSN screening if this were true. That being said, I did a search for 'Search Marketing Blog' in both Google and Yahoo and achieved top 20 rankings for both (click on the links to see the search results - #13 & #17 respectively from my data center).

I then proceded to search for the same term in MSN - nothing!! This is an extremely competitive keyword with over 18 million pages being returned in Google and 174 million in Yahoo. My blog should be SOMEWHERE within the top 100 in MSN!!! But it isn't! What gives?

Without further ado, please read the full article below and please post your thoughts on the matter!

I think I might have stumbled onto one reason why Google hit a wall with AdSense - the same reason why the proposed acquisition of Yahoo (YHOO) by Microsoft (MSFT) should be opposed.

SEO Guide For Newbies

So, you just got a job in the SEO industry?

Being a relative newbie to the SEO industry myself I absolutely wish I had these resources at my disposal from day one. That being said, first things first! I want to say congratulations on your new job venture. Trust me, SEO is an addiction! Once you start SEO, you just can’t stop.

Now if you are that green to the industry you are probably wondering “Where the hell do I start?” Trust me; we have all felt that way! But don’t worry - . Here is the low-down!

SEO News Sites

You have to read every day! If you do not like reading, then I recommend you walk over to your boss right now and say “I quit.” It is important to stay updated on what is going on in the industry, because it is always changing.

For the latest new in Search Engine Marketing:

For some great tips on Social Media:

If you refuse to read or can multi-task, then try some Podcasts and Videos:

Chat it up. No question is stupid. It is very important to get active in Forums:

Now you may be wondering, “How the hell am I going to keep track of this all?” Lucky for you, there are RSS Readers:

SEO Tools

Now that you are up to speed on what is going in the world of search, let’s arm you with some SEO Tools.

First off, download FireFox Internet browser and never open Internet Explorer again.

Then download these plugins:

Spider Test Tool - Great tool that simulates what a search engine spider picks up on your site.

Keyword Research Tool - Very simple and straightforward.

Keyword Trends - Google’s version and MSN’s version

Competitive Research - Compete, Quantcast, SEODigger, SEOmoz Page Strength

Back Link Checker - Check out what anchor text people are using to link to your site.

Keyword Density - Do you have the right amount of keywords on your site?

Duplicate Content - Don’t let Google Bot find duplicate content on your site.

301 checker - Make sure those redirects are true 301 redirects.

Google Data Centers - Check your rankings from various data centers. They could be different.

Quick Snapshot - Collects a large amount of information

Domain Research - Domain Bots, Whois Checker

Site Functionality - Find out what people are clicking on!

MSN Lab center tool kit - Way too much to mention, but useful.

PollDaddy - Need a poll on your website?

Site Maps - Great tool for making sitemaps.

Free Internet Marketing Tools - an online collection of many of the links posted above.

Hopefully this points you in the right directions. Good luck, and most importantly remember to have fun. If you stop having fun then change your career.

For all of you who are experts please add anything I may have missed in the comment below and I will update the list.

Top 25 SEO Extensions For Firefox

Post updated 7/19/2011 with a handful of additional SEO extensions for Firefox.

Dev Basu over at Search Engine People put together a list of his top 11 Firefox ad-ons for SEOs. I thought I might take it step further and add on a few of my own favorites. Like most SEO’s, I’m a huge fan of Firefox and all the versatility it offers as a browser. With thousands of extensions available to augment your browsing experience, I thought it’d be great to create a resource for the top 25 firefox extension’s for SEO’s that you should know about!

Top Firefox SEO Extensions:

  1. User Agent Switcher - Adds a menu and a toolbar button to switch the user agent of the browser.
  2. LiveHTTPHeaders - View HTTP Headers on the fly. Extremely helpful for debugging web applications.
  3. AutoCopy - Select text and it’s automaticaly copied to the clipboard, like Trillian or mIrc.
  4. FireFTP - Full-featured, free FTP client that runs as a Firefox extension.
  5. SplitLink - View the true url that you are being redirected to. Extremely handy for figuring out affiliate redirects
  6. Download Embedded - Download Embedded does exactly what it sounds like it does. It adds a right-click context menu entry to download all embedded files on a webpage. Its great for grabbing embedded flash animations, movies, music, etc., and a lot easier than digging through the page source or through Firefox’s Page Info.
  7. BetterSearch - Enhances Google, MSN Search, Yahoo Search, A9,, AllTheWeb, and by adding previews (thumbnails) and Amazon product images and info, a quick preview feature as well as “Open in New Window”, “Site Info” and “Wayback Machine” links to the search results
  8. SwitchProxy Tool - This tool makes it easy to store and switch between multiple proxy profiles.
  9. ViewSourceWith -View page source with external applications, you can also open images using GIMP or ACDSee or open PDF link using Acrobat Reader.
  10. Refspoof - A simple toolbar that allows to load a page with a different referer. Makes detecting cloaking pretty easy!
  11. HTML Validator -HTML Validator is a Mozilla extension that adds HTML validation inside Firefox and Mozilla. The number of errors of a HTML page is seen on the form of an icon in the status bar when browsing. The details of the errors are seen when looking the HTML source of the page.
  12. InForm Enter - InFormEnter adds a small, clickable icon next to every input field in a web form, from where you can select the item to be inserted - no typing required (and incredibly us
  13. AdSense Notifier - if you are an AdSense crack addict, this puts your AdSense stats right at the bottom of the page
  14. ColorZilla - allows you to pull colors off a page
  15. Firebug - edit, debug, and monitor CSS, HTML, and JavaScript live in any web page.
  16. Google Global - view regional search results from any country.
  17. Greasemonkey - allows you to add many Greasemonkey scripts (like these) to your Firefox install
  18. Inbound Link Quality Extension - extension by Bob Mutch estimating the authority of a page based on its number of .edu links, .gov links, and weather or not the page is listed in DMOZ or the Yahoo! Directory
  19. LiveHTTPHeaders - allows you to view server header response
  20. SEO Link Analysis Script - extend Yahoo! Site Explorer and Google Webmaster Central using this free script from Joost De Valk. It verifies the link is still on the page, adds PageRank scores, displays anchor text, and highlights if the link uses nofollow.
  21. SearchStatus - highlights nofollow links, shows PageRank, shows Alexa rank, and provides links to some backlink information
  22. Show IP - shows the IP address from which your Google search results are being delivered.
  23. User Agent Switcher - allows you to act like you are GoogleBot or another search engine spider. Make sure you clear your cookies and browser cache before using this.
  24. Web Developer - allows you to view a page with different browser configurations
  25. SEO for Firefox - SEO for Firefox pulls in many useful marketing data points to make it easy get a holistic view of the competitive landscape of a market directly in the search results.
  26. FlashBlock - takes a pessimistic approach to dealing with Macromedia Flash content on a webpage and blocks ALL Flash content from loading until you to click to download and then view the Flash content.
  27. MozBar - The MozBar provides easy access to some of the most powerful SEO tools and data from SEO Moz.
  28. Google Toolbar - the official Google toolbar that will give you access to Pagerank, Google bookmarks and more.
  29. RankChecker - free search engine ranking checking tool for Firefox from SEOBook

Remember, these tools are not a replacement of core knowledge, rather a supplement to those abilities. They will not provide a quick fix. Leave a comment with your favorite tools if I have missed any! I will add them to the list!

Cheap & Free Negative PPC Keywords

Following up on a recent post regarding negative keywords (200+ Negative keywords for B2B Campaigns) I stumbled upon an excellent post regarding building a negative keyword list for 'cheap' & 'free' pay per click keywords over at Jennifer Sleg's Blog.

Enjoy her post below:

There are always those people who are looking for things for free… even when you know that what they are looking for isn’t free (looking for a “Free iPod” or “Free XBox” anyone?). But when you are broad matching your PPC campaigns, you want to ensure you aren’t paying for ads when it is the freeloaders looking.

Here is a list of common freeloading keywords that you can add to your negative keyword list.

complimentary (and mispellings of the word)
“free download”
“free sample”

If you sell any kind of software or subscription service, you will also want to add these keywords to your negative keyword list too.


Now, if you are offering something for free, you need to take care that you aren’t actually losing traffic because if this, such as if you are offering a free consultation or free eBook!

Not sure if you are getting traffic from any of these freeloading keywords currently? If you are using dynamic keyword insertion in your URLs, you will be able to track the exact keywords people are using when they click your ad. So if you are selling iPods or XBoxes, you can see how many of those people were actually looking for free iPods or XBoxes, and not seriously looking to purchase one. People looking for freebies rarely convert, particularly when they are searching for these types of products.

Cheap can be a tricky one, because in some markets it can work well, but in others it is much harder to convert. If you are selling a service, for example, you don’t necessarily want to be known as “cheap”, especially if customers are paying a premium for your service… if you are good at what you do you can charge a premium for it that someone new or not as well known wouldn’t be able to do. If you are selling a product that you are pricing very competitively, this can be a good converting keyword for you. Remember people who are using the keyword “cheap” are usually shopping around for the best possible price and might hit 4 different advertisers looking for which one is the cheapest. So if you are the cheapest you have a much higher chance of converting… but if you aren’t, this is one you will want to either watch very carefully for conversions or add to your negative keyword list. Bottom line: “cheap” can be successful if whatever you are selling or offering is the cheapest, but people are looking for the cheapest above anything else you can offer and your conversion rate will reflect this.

Once you have selected which negative freebie keywords you need to add, simply cut and paste it into your PPC campaigns so that you will no longer be serving up broad match ads when they keywords searched for include those words.

The PPC Rap Song

LOL!! A buddy of mine (who gets to enjoy a shameless free link for spurring the idea for a blog post -- San Diego Construction Loans) forwarded me a link to this rap song. If you are involved in pay per click marketing you will 100% enjoy the following video! If nothing else, the SEO folks can enjoy the creativeness!

Is it just me or is their a slight resemblance to Biggie?

Blogger Statistics - Who Are They?

Bloggers are younger and better-educated, but earn less than the general US adult (18+) population.

They are also more likely to be single, male, and actively engaged in new media, according to a study by BIGresearch, MarketingCharts reports.

Of users that blog occasionally or regularly (26 percent of those polled):

  • 53.7 percent are male.
  • Nearly half (44.7 percent) are married.
  • One in 10 (10.4 percent) are students.
  • 28.4 percent hold a professional or managerial position.

Bloggers have a lower average income than most adults ($55,819 vs. $56,811) and are better educated (14.3 years of education vs. 14.2).

They also tend to be younger, with an average age of 37.6, compared with 44.8 for the US adult population:


Media Use

Use of new media and technology is more prominent among bloggers:


Yet bloggers also rely on traditional media, with magazines ranking as the highest trigger for an online search, cited by 51.6 percent, followed by reading articles and watching broadcast TV:


Ethnic minorities are highly represented among bloggers:

  • 12.2 percent of bloggers are African American/Black (compared with 11.4 percent of the general population)
  • 20 percent are Hispanic (vs. 14.8 percent).
  • 3.7 percent are Asian (vs. 2.0 percent).

White/Caucasians are 76.1 percent of all adults, but among those who blog regularly or occasionally, just 69.7 percent are white.

Political Affiliation

Of all registered voters, 24.6 percent say they regularly or occasionally blog. Of these:

  • 37.6 percent are Libertarians.
  • 26.9 percent are Democrats.
  • 25.7 percent are Independents.
  • 22.9 percent are Republicans.

"Bloggers are a diverse group and not who you would expect," said Gary Drenik, President of BIGresearch. "This diversity provides political bloggers with a forum to discuss issues or maybe be influenced by others, while candidates have an opportunity to reach interested voters."

About the survey: The Simultaneous Media Survey (SIMM 11), from which this data is culled, polled 15,727 participants. It is conducted bi-annually. A summary of the blogger-related findings are available via BIGresearch.

10 Landing Page Conversion Tips

Ten landing page tips to turn visitors into customers

Lets face it! You work hard to get clicks. What could be more important than turning those clicks into customers? Consider these a set of suggestions about how to help optimize your landing pages. That way, when people get to your site, they’ll be more likely to make a purchase.

Not only is the above-mentioned extremely important in converting those clicks to customers but these tips will also lead to an improved quality score for Google and Yahoo's quality score algorithm - ie. you can capture those clicks at a decreased cost.

1. Tell them why they should buy from you
Clarity of your value proposition is the most important factor in determining whether a customer buys from you or not. Ask yourself the question: “Why should I buy from this site?”And, be sure to SHOW them what it is they are purchasing or signing up for.

2. Keep ‘em with you
Protect your landing pages from the #1 threat to conversions: site flow disruption. After identifying a unique and compelling Value Proposition, you must ensure that you express it throughout your sales process in a clear, consistent and compelling way. Eliminate site flow disruption to help maximize conversions.

3. Don’t try to say too much
Don’t clutter your landing page with unnecessary details. Instead:
• Clearly state your key message using as few words as possible
• Use summary descriptions, sub-headings, bulleted lists and short paragraphs
• Adopt a standard one-column format for easy reading.

4. Make it simple
Improve the user experience with a site that is easy to navigate. A simple page layout that employs a clean visual and straightforward design is best. Here’s how:
• Design your site with a clear hierarchy with color and contrast for easily legible text
• Use meaningful and high-quality graphics (don’t clutter with too many)
• Use breadcrumbs to let visitors know where they are on your site
• Employ a clickable logo that takes the visitor to your homepage
• Use color to distinguish between visited and unvisited links.

Just as important, make sure you don’t:
• Employ horizontal scrolling
• Direct links to new browser windows
• Have flash-based content unless required.

5. Call them to action
Focus on one primary action per screen (don’t stuff too many products onto one screen). Make the call-to-action button clearly visible without having to scroll; don’t bury it under pages of information. Consider using tabs or a pop-up box to consolidate information.

6. Get specific
Provide product details and a large product image while displaying incentives—such as free shipping and warranty information—high on the page and close to the product. Don’t discourage visitors by requiring registration to your site.

7. Flaunt what you’ve got
What differentiates you from your competitors? Free shipping (both ways?), discounts, a 365-day warranty, price protection, privacy, customer service, etc.? If you’ve got it, flaunt it!

8. Search yourself
Make your site easy to navigate by helping potential customers find what they are looking for as quickly and easily as possible. A search feature box should be simple and visible with a type-in field, not a link. To help increase conversions, make sure your search results link to product pages.

9. Rally the believers
Credibility is a true testament: people don’t buy from websites, people buy from people. Thus, testimonials from devout customers—or even a letter from the CEO/Editor—persuades the unbelieving.

10. Let them make the choice
“Why should I buy this specific product?” Almost every e-tailer forgets about this, but it’s the question that’s key to Mr. or Ms. Customer’s mind. Prove to him or her why they should buy this over the competitive product by offering reviews, ratings and comparisons.

SEO Your Site in 60 Minutes

I found myself using Matt McGee’s post How to SEO Your Site in Less Than 60 Minutes as a quick reference from time to time for my SEO efforts - basically a checklist of sorts to ensure I had covered all my bases. It was a great write-up that was very useful to many people judging from the comments and social buzz it recieved. I took the liberty of adding a few additional notes of my own, however, if there is anything I missed or overlooked please add it in the comments below.


SEO Checklist
A: Homepage
B: Site
C: External

SEO Checklist

A1: Homepage -
1. Check for redirects and canonicalization issues
2. Choose or
3. Redirect|main).(html|htm|php|cfm|asp) to

Apache redirects and editing .htaccess files: to
Options +FollowSymlinks
RewriteEngine on
rewritecond %{http_host} ^ [nc]
rewriterule ^(.*)$$1 [r=301,nc] to
RewriteCond %{THE_REQUEST} ^[^/]*/index\.html [NC]
RewriteRule . / [R=301,L] to
RewriteCond %{THE_REQUEST} ^[^/]*/index\.php [NC]
RewriteRule . / [R=301,L]

A2: Homepage – Navigation

1. Check for image, drop downs, javascript, image maps vs text navigation. Text is the best option.

A3: Homepage – Content

1. How much text is present? The more the better.
2. Check for keyword density in homepage content
3. Check for use of H2 tags and bold fonts (light/appropriate use is good on keywords)
4. There should be a sitemap present
5. Do a select all (ctrl + A) to find potentially hidden text
6. Check to see how search engines will view your site with SEO Browser. Make sure everything is crawlable.

B1: Site – Meta Tags
1. Check Title tags. Are they using keywords and are formatted correctly?

Brand authority formatting:
Brand Name or Domain | Keyword, Keyword & Keyword

Non brand authority formatting
Keyword, Keyword & Keyword | Brand Name or Domain

2. Check Descriptions for keywords and composition. Make sure the description gets to the point and speaks to the purpose/content on its respective page in the first couple sentences.

3. Make sure the keyword tag contains around 5 – 10 keywords. No more or less is really necessary.

4. Make sure there are no duplicate meta tags anywhere, site wide.

B2: Site – URL Formatting
1. Check url formatting. Dynamic URLs are bad. URLs that are too long will be truncated in Google SERPs.
2. URLs should contain keywords separated by hyphens.
3. Hyphens are more preferable than underscores
4. Keywords in URLs should match the content contained within the page they are leading to.

B3: Analytics
1. Make sure you have some sort of analytics installed. It doesn’t have to be Google analytics but do remember that every page within the site should contain the analytic tracking code.

B4: Site – Links

1. Links should contain keywords
2. Links should contain titles utilizing keywords
3. Anchor text, link keywords, link title, and page being linked to should be relevant to one another.
4. Site linking structure should be cyclical. There should be no dangling pages.
5. Use Xenu Link Sleuth to check for broken links

B5: Site – nofollows (advanced)
1. nofollow TOS, Privacy Policy, or other pages that don’t contribute to your site’s ranking.
2. If you know how to link funnel correctly this should be done. I haven’t written anything on this yet but you can consult Slightly Shady SEO or Andy Beard

B6: Site – Robots.txt

1. Check for robots.txt file. Does one exist?
2. See what’s being blocked and what’s not.
3. Make sure it’s written correctly (consult Sebastian’s Pamphlets for best advice)

B7: Site – Duplicate Content

1. Make sure there is no duplicate content within your site
2. Make sure there is no duplicate content on other domains. You can use CopyScape to check for dupe content.

B8: Site – PDF files
1. Does this site contain PDF files? If so these can be optimized with new titles, keywords, and comments. Use Adobe Acrobat Professional to edit PDFs.

B9: Site – Images
1. Images can have ALT tags. Make sure to utilize these appropriately with keywords. When implemented, your site may gain traffic from image search engines like Google Image Search.

C1: External – Indexation

1. Perform a search on Google, Yahoo and MSN. Compare what’s being indexed and what isn’t.
*Install FireFox Extension Search Status by Craig Raw
You’ll be able to easily perform this operative plus many other functions with the Search Status plugin.

C2: External – Backlinks

1. Perform a backlink count with the Search Status plugin.
2. You may also want to install Joost de Valk’s backlink checker plugin for FireFox to check the anchor text of your Backlinks within Yahoo Site Explorer or Google’s Webmaster tools.

So that’s about all I can think of for the time being. If I forgot anything please submit your additions to this checklist in the comments below.

Introducing Google's Social Graph API

Build critical mass on your website

Leave it to our friends at Google to continue to continue to lead the way with innovative thinking. This time around, it involves social media and having lost bids for a percentage of Facebook and with Yahoo owning Google's entry into social media is long overdue. Behold the Google 'Social Graph API'!

With so many websites to join, users must decide where to invest significant time in adding their same connections over and over. For developers, this means it is difficult to build successful web applications that hinge upon a critical mass of users for content and interaction. With the Social Graph API, developers can now utilize public connections their users have already created in other web services. It makes information about public connections between people easily available and useful.

Thomas Claburn at Information Week writes:

"If Google's vision proves appealing and social data loses its linkage to a specific social site, Facebook and MySpace may find their ability to retain users substantially diminished. Without the added value of social graph exclusivity, Facebook and MySpace become merely providers of Web hosting for the HTML averse. It's doubtful Facebook could sustain a valuation of $15 billion were it pitched as 'Geocities, but with widgets.' "

Only public data

The API returns web addresses of public pages and publicly declared connections between them. The API cannot access non-public information, such as private profile pages or websites accessible to a limited group of friends.

The Social Graph

Based on open standards

Google currently index the public Web for XHTML Friends Network (XFN), Friend of a Friend (FOAF) markup and other publicly declared connections. By supporting open Web standards for describing connections between people, web sites can add to the social infrastructure of the web.

Building Your Business With Social Media

So much discussion in the SEO community today centers around social media because of its potential to drive traffic, increase awareness, and build links. The challenge of this new medium, though, is to marry social media tactics with real business goals.

Today's infographic over at Search Engine Land explores some ways that a business can leverage specific social sites to achieve departmental goals:

Building A Company With Social Media

Graphic by Elliance, an eMarketing firm specializing in results-driven search engine marketing, web site design, and outbound eMarketing campaigns.

In this algorithmic age every search marketer charged with boosting rankings on the organic SERPs knows, with fearful certainty, that building inbound links is essential. Utilizing social media communities to do so is a front-and-center tactic for many.

Sure, we're all aware of mainstream players like Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon,, Reddit, Propeller, etc...

However, there are hundreds of social communities other than the biggies. These niche' player-communities can be terrific venues to engage readers of similar likes, make friends, drive focused micro-busts of traffic, and build links. Some communities are junk. This post offers niche' social site examples and provides links to lists which index and profile dozens of useful ones. First, lets tackle the primary topic of discussion when 'social networking' arises.

Dofollow and Nofollow
We have all heard the arguments both for and against. Most blogs (and many communities) these days attempt to discourage spam by removing "link-juice" passed on links dropped in discussion threads. That's called "Nofollow." (Wikipedia is a classic example of Nofollow.) Nofollow links deliver traffic but there's no SEO benefit (from Google anyway). If you view the source code of this page, you'll see that some of the social site links are Nofollow and therefore do not pass energy.

Every search marketing professional knows that garnering good quality, relevant, and "natural" inbound links to your site or blog is critical to drive your SEO ranking efforts. Honest participation in niche' social communities, relevant to your product & services, is the tactic that many savvy SEMs reach for to build their site's inbound link-profile. In addition to the community site links themselves, posts that turn hot can result in feed subscriptions, increased readership, and links from other relevant and valuable sites.

Fark is a social news site in which moderators approve user link-submissions and post them to the homepage. The links are Nofollow but can drive noticeable traffic.

Slashdot is a community where techno-heads hang out and geek-jam. However, users submit stories about entertainment, politics, and other fun stuff. If editors approve a submission and it's promoted the homepage, measurable traffic can result. Also, links in the body of each post are Dofollow and pass juice.

Metafilter is a moderated community, both by site administers and users, in which participants share interesting web content. Links are Dofollow.

Mixx is widely regarded as an up-and-comer in the social news world. A potentially mainstream Digg replacement site, many SEM folks had early-adopter Mixx profiles for fun and future marketing bang. Oh yes, they forget to turn off Dofollow so the links pass juice.

Hugg is a smaller community engaged in dialog surrounding environmental issues. There's social exchanges about technology, politics, and science as well. Links are Dofollow.

Sk*rt is a Dofollow PR 5 fashion, food, and technology community, primarily comprised of females.

Stirr'dup is a smaller NoFollow social news site which categorizes news as technology, entertainment, news and politics.

Linkinn is a PR5 site specializing in offbeat video and pictures. Links are DoFollow and pass juice.

Below are a couple of additional social news and bookmarking resources that will hopefully aid you in your social campaigns.

Previous Social Bookmarking Posts:

Lists of Useful Social Media Sites

50 Websites Every SEO Should Know

My freelance website, PPC For Hire, recently received some love on Search Engine Journal for the Free SEO tools available on the site (you can read the full article here: 5 Free Search Engine Optimization Tools).

In honor of that mention, I have not only decided to blog about it, but pass along an even more comprehensive list that should be well known to anyone working in seo / web design for 2008.

I certainly hope you find them as useful as I do!

1. - Great blog, great seo tools
2. – Up-to-date search news
3. – social bookmarking for internet marketing
4. – a friendly alternative to Digg
5. – One of the best social bookmarking sites
6. - Webmasters forum
7. – Another great webmasters forum
8. - Promote your blog
9. – A must have for blog communities
10. – A great way to communicate with your audience
11. - A great link analysis tool
12. - See how trends in Google look
13. - Great for providing traffic
14. - Learn about sitemaps
15. - Still in beta but good SE tool
16. - Great keyword performance tool
17. - Another source of good seo tools
18. – Backlink analysis breakdown
19. - Quality directories
20. – Expert seo advise
21. - A wiki alternative
22. – Some great free Ajax scripts
23. - Free royalty free images
24. – CSS community
25. - Gotta give credit to the idea for the blog post!
26. - Pulls data for both social media data and SEO.
27. - Simple analytics vendor discovery tool.
28. - Checks server headers
29. - Need links? Try this link search tool
30. - Keyword research tool
31. - Bad neighborhood link checker
32. - Check broken links
33. - Check your supplemental pages
34. - Explore the connections between related websites
35. - Nice collection of tools
36. - Domain name search tool
37. - Free analytics tool
38. - Yahoo Site Explorer
39. - Keyword research tool
40. - Social bookmarking service
41. - Social community bookmarking submitter (currently 71 social networks)
42. - XML sitemap generator
43. - Google webmaster tools
44. - Estimate traffic during keyword research
45. - Verify your site is mobile compatible
46. - Analyze keyword density
47. - Keyword research tool
48. - Determine strength of your webpage
49. - Collection of free internet marketing tools
50. - Had to put my own site, right?

Flash Sites and Search Engine Optimization

As an Internet marketer that provides both services to an agency as well as consulting services, the question (or challenge) of Flash and optimization often arises. Most business owners love the flash elements and the interactive abilities it provides but never consider the implications the design will have on SEO.

To be honest, I often find it difficult to explain - why is it not SEO friendly? Why can't a search engine read flash coding? I have an awesome site why am I not ranking?

I found a definitive article - finally! - on telling the ins and outs of why NOT to use Flash, and if you have already, how to turn it into search engine spider food!

Here is an excerpt:

The search engines have made some pretty impressive strides when it comes to indexing Flash elements, the problem is they’re still not perfect. While they can pick out links and text, they can’t yet put it into context. It’s a bit like having a conversation with your 3-year-old nephew, or trying to engage Susan. They hear the words; they just don’t know how to process them. But search engine optimization issues aside, designing your site entirely in Flash isn’t even good from a user perspective.

Think about the sites you visit and how you interact with them. Do you enjoy landing on sites solely constructed in Flash? Sites that often make you sit through a 2 minutes video before entering, sites with “clever” navigation that only a 3-year-old can use, sites with lots of things floating around? I don’t. It takes away from the content, and that’s the last thing you want to do. I’m definitely the type that unless I’m really invested in your content, I’m not going to waste my time trying to click on the funny button at the precise angle needed just to get to a new screen. I’m going to go somewhere else.

When it comes to Flash, it’s best to think of it as a complement and not a replacement to a good HTML site. Incorporate Flash elements, but save your need to dazzle people with bullshit for your offline relationships.

If you are going to use Flash on your site, realize that you’ll also have to create HTML elements for everything you’re representing in Flash. Typically, we recommend designing your navigation, home page and important site pages in HTML. These are the mainstays that must be easily accessible both from a user and a search engine optimization standpoint. I should point out the obvious and say, yes, I realize that the Bruce Clay site uses Flash navigation. However, if you’ll notice, we also include text links at the bottom for each of our silos. And even though we have a Flash site map that I think is pretty sweet, we’ve also included a basic HTML version that is easily spiderable. Being somewhat well-versed in search engine optimization, we’ve decided to cover things from every angle. :)

If you are going to create a Flash version of your Web site, make sure that the content you’re rendering in Flash also appears within a noscript tag, otherwise the search engines won’t be able to spider it. Doing this gives both the search engines and your users access to content and will either show the Flash version or the non-Flash version based on whose visiting. If you would like to have Flash, and add content that is visible to the user, you can do that too. Generally, the population of noscript sections of the site have been done by reading the XML that also populates the content into the Flash. This is the preferred way as it guarantees that what is rendered in the noscript tags is the same as what is being rendered in Flash.

While you’re playing with your nonscript tags, don’t forget to include keyword-rich Meta and Title tags. And we shouldn’t even have to say this, but please don’t try and show the engines content that isn’t actually presented in the Flash files. This is bad and a great way to get yourself into a bunch of trouble.

The most important thing to remember when designing your site is that your visitors are there because they want to learn about you. Often too much Flash turns people off and will send them elsewhere.

Moral of the story: Flash elements, not a Flash site. Got it?