Sculpting your PageRank for Maxiumum SEO Impact

December 20th, 2007

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Originally published in Search Engine Land

If you are a large online retailer, you’re looking at thousands upon thousands of pages that have the opportunity to get crawled and indexed in the SERPs (search engine results pages). You’re also looking at near infinite choices for how you interlink all those pages. Out of all those permutations, there is one configuration that is the most optimal from an SEO perspective. That’s because it maximizes the flow of link juice (e.g., PageRank if you’re speaking purely in Google terms) to your most important pages and minimizes (or cuts off completely) the flow of link juice to your least important pages. The most important pages are the ones that have the most potential to rank highly for the targeted keyword themes, to compel the searcher to click, and to drive that visitor toward a “conversion event” such as completing a purchase of one or more high-margin products.

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Adventures in Searchandising Part 2

December 19th, 2007

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Originally published in ClickZ

In part one of adventures in searchandising, PJ Fusco, lead strategist for Netconcepts, discussed how traditional merchandising methods are not optimal for online retail stores for a variety of reasons. PJ Fusco described “how merchandising strategies for brick-and-mortar retail stores don’t necessarily translate well for search engine referrals when incorporated into virtual, online retailer environments.”

As the middle of this three-part article, adventures in searchandising part two, PJ describes the effect of guided navigation and extreme pagination on the search engines. She writes,

It takes longer to crawl a searchandise-bloated site, so crawl efficiency is dampened. Over time, spiders take smaller bites of the site each time they visit, so indexed pages become stale. Fusty pages get fewer click-throughs, reduced traffic inhibits link building and page popularity, and so the downward spiral of search engine invisibility begins — all because the site provides a great user experience.

What can an e-commerce site do to add context and meaning to navigational searchandising and avoid the affects of extreme pagination while delivering a superior user experience? We’ll talk about some options next time.

With detailed examples and PJ’s expertise, this article focuses on the challenges many eCommerce sites face while they try to “searchandise.” For how to navigate through this fascinating aspect of online retail merchandising, read more about PJ’s recommended solutions in Part Three.

Anatomy & Optimization of a Local Business Profile

December 12th, 2007

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Originally published in Search Engine Land

Many local companies depend upon their information’s presence in various directories in order to advertise themselves, and the basic instrument of these marketing efforts is the Business Profile. The majority of businesses out there pay little attention to these beyond wanting their name, address, and phone numbers to be correct. However, there are far more components of business profiles beyond the bare basics, and this article will outline many of them and how they should be handled for best effect. Optimizing business listings and profiles can make all the difference in enabling potential customers to find you and in selecting you from your pack of competitors.

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Adventures in Searchandising Part 1

December 5th, 2007

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Originally published in ClickZ

As Part One of a three part series featured on ClickZ, PJ Fusco, Lead Strategist for Netconcepts discusses the concept of “searchandising.” Many merchants understand what it means to “merchandize” or make “products in retail outlets available to consumers, primarily by stocking shelves and displays,” according to Wikipedia. PJ goes on to explain why brick-and-mortar merchandising tactics don’t work on the web.

…merchandising strategies for brick-and-mortar retail stores don’t necessarily translate well for search engine referrals when incorporated into virtual, online retailer environments. Add a layer or 57 of behavior targeting and personalization tactics to online merchandising and you’ve got “searchandising,” which works exceedingly well for internal site search functionality and usability, but not so much for Google, Yahoo, and MSN Live Search.

For more about searchandising, read the complete article at ClickZ by PJ Fusco.

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Forget Black Friday!

November 19th, 2007

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Originally published in Search Engine Land

“Black Friday,” the day after Thanksgiving, is the biggest shopping day of the year for U.S. brick-and-mortar retailers. But, for each Monday after Black Friday, consumer searches spike up on the internet and online retail websites enjoy their highest traffic and associated sales of the year. Search engine use is directly impacting businesses during this period, and companies which haven’t optimized their internet presence stand to lose out on some of the sales they could be getting if consumers could find them. This is true for online businesses as well as for brick-and-mortar stores.

While savvy companies planned for this season all the way back in the summer, and already have their internet storefronts in order, it’s not too late to do a few more things to insure a business can squeeze out more from gift shoppers on the “Cyber Mondays” following Black Friday.

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SEO Report Card: Back40books.com

November 7th, 2007

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Originally published in Practical eCommerce

In this SEO report card Jeff Muendel, Analyst for Netconcepts, reviews a site called “Back40books.com.” Jeff writes, “According to the siteâ??s â??About Usâ?? page, Back 40 Books is run by back-to-nature people and the books they sell on their site are predominantly focused on issues related to that lifestyle. It also sounds as if the website was put together by these same outdoor people with little help from web professionals. This is to be commended, but everyone needs a little help sometimes.”

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Ecommerce Facebook Applications

November 5th, 2007

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Originally published in Practical eCommerce

Facebook.com â?? a company that less than a year ago looked like fools for not accepting Yahooâ??s bid to purchase it â?? has become the powerhouse of social media websites. Itâ??s been said that much of the success is due simply to Facebook being the latest in a string of recently-hip online socialization sites, with MySpace being the last destination to peek out and then slow as the â??true hipstersâ?? move on, drawing the semi-hip behind them. A large part of that rise, however, has been Facebookâ??s open source policy with regard to the creation of Facebook applications. The result has been twofold: A huge demand for fun and informative applications and the corresponding, explosive proliferation of applications created for the site.

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Tooling around on PTS

October 1st, 2007

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Originally published in Multichannel Merchant

Shopping for industrial tools online can be a major production â?? especially if a site is not up to snuff. Production Tool Supply sells such complex items as precision measuring instruments, carbide inserts, hand and power tools, workholding devices, safety supplies, fasteners, machinery, and accessories. We decided to see if the Warren, MI-based mailer markets with precision online. Critiquers Amy Africa, president of Helena, VT-based Web consultancy Eight by Eight, and Stephan Spencer, founder/president of Madison, WI-based SEO agency Netconcepts, gave a thorough review of the PTS site, with Africa examining the site’s content and functionality, and Spencer testing its search capability. Does Production Tool Supply’s site hit the nail on the head, or does it get a hammering from our experts? Read on to see.

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SEO Report Card: Link Building Could Improve Strong Site

October 1st, 2007

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Originally published in Practical eCommerce

Candlesandsuch.com is a website run quite frugally by its two main proprietors. For a site that hasnâ??t had a lot of professional help with regard to search engine optimization, it possesses some positive SEO attributes. Thatâ??s not to say there arenâ??t issues, but some of the main facets of good SEO are observed and incorporated.

In this SEO report card originally featured on Practical eCommerce, Netconcepts’ Search Analyst Jeff Muendel takes an in-depth look at how inbound links and sculpting PageRank can help improve the overall site.

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Outsourcing and Delegating

September 12th, 2007

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Originally published in Marketing Profs

Stephan Spencer writes, “The more effectively you delegate, the faster you will excel in your career. Even if you don’t have any direct reports in your job functionâ??perhaps you are in an entry-level marketing assistant positionâ??you can still delegate by having one or more virtual assistants, or “VAs.” In this article, Stephan talks about how savvy resource management can affect your bottom line.

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