Google Page Rank Update - July 2008

Friday, 25 July 2008

As expected at the end of April, the latest page rank update is currently running. The good thing about this update is that Google totally avoided the surprise effect. They kind of followed the "expected" timing of 3 months between two updates, and even Matt Cutts has posted an announcement on his blog. Is Google trying to be more transparent?

As per usual, a PageRank update brings its load of happiness and/or sadness. If your PageRank score has increased, it is always a good thing! Congratulations. If your PageRank has dropped, it is not the end of the world! If your traffic has not dropped, that is the most important thing at the end of the day.

At the moment the PageRank does not seems to be fully settled. SEO Tools such a SEO Quake or SEO For Firefox are going crazy as they change their figures every 5 mins so it might be wise to wait a couple of days to find out your final PageRank score.

It seems that SEO Sydney Blog will drop from PR4 to PR3 as few new links have been added since April 08. However, our search engine rankings have not changed and the traffic is has grown month by month.

Regarding the next PageRank prediction: End of October 2008

SEM/ SEO Jobs in Sydney - July 2008

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

To bring a bit of diversity to our SEO job board, we have compiled a selection of interesting jobs in the search engine marketing and search engine optimisation industry in Sydney, Australia. If you are a all-rounder SEO/SEM professional, you might be interested in one of these.

Note: In the last couple of weeks there has been quite a lot of job offers from Google, who has been elected the best company to work for:

- Google Adwords - Account Strategist - Sydney: 4 years account management experience, proven track of success in the online industry. For more information click here.

- Account Manager/Director at 24/7 Real Media (Outrider) - Sydney: SEM Account Management experience required, good inter personal skills and strong understanding of Internet Technology> Click here for more information.

- SEO Account Manager - Sydney Fresh Ad(today), Managing B2B A-list clients, digital marketing company, Solid HTML, ASP/PHP coding experience. $80,000 to $100,000 salary package. More information here

- Online Marketing All-Rounder - Sydney: In-House role to manage all online activities (SEM/SEO of a well know direct marketing brand. Salary: $65,000 + Super. See the job offer here

- Search Marketing Analyst - Sydney: Entry-Level position, Managing SEM campaigns, 1 year experience. Salary $45,000 to $65,000. See the position advertised here

Is SEO more popular than PPC ?

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Recently, I came across an interesting post from Hit Search Limited, a US British search engine marketing agency, which compared the trends in search volume for the keywords 'seo' against 'ppc in different markets (US, UK, Australia, and Canada) using Google Trends.

According to the graph below, which displays the comparison of search volume for each keyword over the last 12 months in Australia, the volume of search for the keyword SEO overtook the search volume for the keyword PPC in April 2008. On the other hand, the volume of search for the phrase 'PPC' has decreased for a couple of months.

seo vs ppc - search volume in Australia

While this trend obviously reflects a growing interest for search engine optimisation, it might be a little ambitious to assume that SEO is taking over PPC in Australia for the following reasons.

The recent report Australia Online,published by eMarketer in July 2008, shows that the expenditures in search engine advertising have increased by 29% in the fourth quarter of 2007 compared to 2006. Google Trends measures the popularity of one keyword, but does not always matches with the actual state of the market

Another factor that could explain the difference between the reality in the market and the trends displayed by Google Trends, is the fact that Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising can be named differently. PPC can also be referred as Search Engine Advertising, Search engine marketing or even CPC (Cost Per Click) Advertising. In the current graph the search volume of all these phrases are not displayed.
If you add the search volume for all the different ways of naming PPC, and displays it as a graph, the volume of search might still be way over the volume of search for the keyword SEO.
While not reflecting the accurate popularity of the CPC advertising channel, this graph clearly shows that the keyword PPC is not searched as much as it used to be and therefore this reflect a shift in the way of naming this type of advertising.

As correctly mentioned by the author of the post on Hit Search, it would be interesting to see if the Australian market will reflect this trends in the next couple of months. Clear signs in the Australian market would give a more legitimate answer to the question: Is SEO mainstream in Australia?

Another interesting aspect brought by this comparison is the fact that Google Trends actually measures the popularity of one keyword over time. While this information is useful, it still has to be analysed with care as many factors are not reflected with this tool.

The Future of Media Summit - Conference July 2008

Friday, 11 July 2008

The third annual Future of Media Summit, will take place on the 15th July in Luna Park, Sydney. Simultaneously linked with the US (by video), the conference aims at bringing some insights on the future trends in the media industry.

The future of media summit will cover different media related topics including:

- The future of Journalism
- The future of TV and Video
- Global Media Strategies
- The future of privacy

While not 100% related to SEO, the Future of Media should be a great event to learn more about the next steps in the media industry.

On top of that, The summit features a large panel of well recognised experts including:

- Robert Scoble (famous blogger)
- Wendy Hogan (Vice President of CNET Networks Australia)
- Willie Pang (Head of Yahoo Search Marketing Australia & New Zealand)
- Belinda Rowe (CEO, Zenith Optimedia Australia and New Zealand)

and many more

Registration costs $450.00 Australian dollars (3X more than in the US), but it should a wise investment if your are in the media industry.

To register visit the Future Exploration Network website

ICANN New Top Level Domain (TLD) Extensions Approval: Impact on SEO

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

At the end of June, the board of ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) has approved a proposal to implement new names for the internet domain addressing system. The final version of the proposal is set to be decided in the second quarter of 2009.

What are the changes introduced by the new ICANN proposal?

Currently if you want to register a Top Level Domain (TLD), you can choose between a set of 21 domain extensions ( .com, .org, .net, .info and more). Under the new ICANN proposal, you will be able to self-create your own extension to meet your business needs.

According to the CEO of ICANN, Dr Paul Twomey, it is expected that applicants could choose geographic extensions such as .sydney or . australia, industry related extensions such as .travel or .hotel and even brand extensions such as .brandname.
The new domain extensions will also support foreign languages, which will offer more opportunities for development in Asia and Russia.

ICANN's new proposal also bring some real issues

While the proposal offers great opportunities to develop the internet real estate landscape, the ICANN proposal will introduce many issues:

- Trademarks will not be automatically reserved. In theory, it means that anyone could claim the .yahoo or .google extension. The attribution of a new domain will have to go through an objection based process, but it does not protect any brands!

- The cost of acquisition is high between $50,000 and $100,000. Even if the cost is prohibitive for "cybersquatter" the cost of acquisition is high and requires brands to invest more to protect their brand. This is especially unfair for small businesses, which might not have the sufficient funds to compete against big corporations.

- Introducing new extensions is highly likely to confuse the average internet user. As mentioned in Webmaster World Forum internet users are used to 3 letters (.com) , 4 letters (.info) and 5 letters ( extensions, and offering an unlimited number of the extensions could lead to real confusion.

The new ICANN proposal will also have an impact on SEO as URLs is an important factor used to determine rankings in search engines.

The Impact of ICANN's new proposal on SEO

- The ICANN new internet addressing system improves the opportunities for 'keyword rich' URLs. As mentioned in the last SEOmoz Search Engine Factors, keyword rich URLs have an impact on your rankings. For example if you choose the TLD, this might help to improve your ranking in the Google Local SERPs.

- Aaron Wall has also mentioned that the impact of new domains extensions on Search Engine Rankings is highly dependent on how Google will treat these new extensions. In other, there is no proof on the real impact. Aaron Wall pointed out the numerous issues with spam associated with .info domains which has resulted in more stringent filters for these domains.

As a result, the real impact on SEO is still if you think of buying your own extension for SEO purposes, you better think about it considering the investment!

SEO Role Australia-Wide - July

Sunday, 6 July 2008

As our readership is expanding beyond Sydney, we have decided to include the latest SEO Role ads from all over Australia. After browsing the different Job websites, we have compiled a list of SEO Roles that might help you in your job search:

SEO Copywriter in Brisbane
Flight Center is looking for a SEO copywriter to write content that drive natural search traffic. This is a junior role open to recent graduate in PR/Journalism and Marketing. Read more

In House SEO Specialist in Melbourne
In House SEO Specialist role that also includes working on various internet marketing activities (SEM etc..). The Salary package is up to $100,000.
Read more

PERL Developer for SEO in Adelaide

A leading SEO agency is looking for a PERL, HTML, CSS Developer with a mix of technical and business skills
Read more

Subdomains for SEO: Pros and Cons

Friday, 4 July 2008

If you are looking at building a large content-driven website, integrating a blog to your current domain or expanding the focus of your website with additional content, there are 3 options available to structure your site and format your URLs:

- Folder Structure:

- Sub domain Structure:

- Separate domain or Top Level Domain (TLD):

Not long ago, Google handled sub domains as different domains. The use of sub domains presented some real advantages for SEO as it allowed to rank in the search engine result pages with not only your main domain, but with the sub domains (if relevant of course).
To avoid search results spam (having a list of sub-domains in SERPs), Google no longer treats sub domains as separate domains, Google has made some changes to its algorithm to create some association between the sub domain and the top level domain.

At this stage the changes did not have a dramatic impact and it is still quite common to see sub domains rankings with Top Level Domains (but it might change)

Even if sub-domains are not what they used to be, they still makes sense and can be useful if they are used properly.

How to use Sub-domains

As Matt Cutts pointed out in his blog, sub-domains should be use if the additional content you want to publish is different from the content of your current top domain.

Vanessa Fox also mentioned that sub-domains should be use if it makes sense for business purposes. Let's say you are well know brand and want to promote different activities or content, it is quite logical to use a sub-domain if you want to capitalise on your brand or associate your products to the brand. A good example of this is Google that uses different sub-domains for each of its products.

Google is not the only one, there are many other websites that successfully use sub-domains as part of their search strategy. In Australia for example, Real has used a sub-domain to expand their real estate classified to renovations tips. Ninemsn is also running the same strategy.

Using Sub-Domains for SEO: The Pros

If your aim is to promote different content, sub-domains present some advantages for SEO:

- Using sub-domains, you content will be seen as a 'different' entity in search engine and will be able to rank on its own.

- Sub-domains are very effective if you want to run a specific link building strategy. For example, many directories do not allow link to sub-folders, but do allow links to sub-domains. Using sub-domains, it will be easier to conduct a proper link building strategy.

- On a more practical note a small advantage of sub-domains is that you can split your traffic to different servers and therefore avoid any issue if you traffic gets to intense (very small advantage though)

- A sub-domain can also have advantages to increase the link popularity of your top level domain. As sub-domain is seen as a separate entity with its own links and is own Page Rank, relevant back links from your sub-domain will have an impact (maybe small) on the link popularity of your main domain.

- Sub-Domains can be pretty effective if you want to create more keyword friendly URLs or if. Being able to choose your domain can help pushing relevant keywords in your URL. For example uses the sub-domain:

Using Sub-Domains for SEO: The Cons

Sub-domains have also some disadvantages so if you choose to use them, you should be aware of the following:

- Sub-domains are separate entities with their own Page Rank, so starting a new sub-domain is really similar to start a new website. You will start from scratch ,which means that you will need to build links and credibility.

- A sub domain might make sense from a SEO point of view (if the user does not need to type the URL) , but they are not the most user-friendly URLs as they are long and are likely to be misspelled.

- If you are planning on marketing your URL offline, sub domains might create a real confusion for the user: Should I use or

- Finally, the constant changes in the Google algorithm can always have an impact on your website. Google has already tweaked its algorithm to reduce the impact of sub domains. If Google decide to treat sub domains as sub directories all the advantages listed above (and all your efforts) might not be valid.

To conclude, sub domains should really be used for real content or business reasons. If you are a large content website and want to expand to another area, sub-domains make sense. If your brand is well know and you want to associate your product/content to it, sub domains are great.
However, if you want to add a blog to your website with similar content and small time to promote it, it will make more sense to use a sub directory.