islamicyearwaxeddonetimedeclared and SEO

The results are in from my SMUG survey in Blogging 304, in which I asked readers to search for two terms and see where SMUG shows up in the rankings to test whether Google treats hyphenated domain names as “spam” domains, as a previous commenter had alleged

Of the five comments so far, it seems that on a search for blue shirt nation this blog typically shows up #4 in the rankings (#8 was the lowest) and for best buy blue shirt nation it’s typically #3.

So the fact that this blog has a URL of instead of doesn’t seem to be causing problems with my posts showing up in Google.

In fact, I think it’s likely the opposite, as this blog shows up at the top in searches for social media university, and even is on the first page for university social media. It appears to me I even do fairly well on global social media and social media global.

Again, some of this might be that Google knows I’m doing the searching and is serving my blog preferentially in the results, so if you’d want to search for some of the italicized terms above and let me know in the comments below how SMUG shows up, I’d appreciate knowing.

This led me to test a post on my son’s new blog (where he’s excited that he’s #1 in Google when you search for his name.) I’ve done an optimized post on his blog to see how long and whether that moves to #1 in the John Aase search. We’ll see what happens, and I’ll update later with the reslts.

Meanwhile, I got thinking some more about how failure to hyphenate, either in a domain name or in post, could make it more difficult for the Google robots to determine what a site or a post is about.

This post, for example, could mean at least one of two things, depending on how the bots parsed the URL.

islamicyearwaxeddonetimedeclared could mean that a major national news magazine had reached the judgment that Muslim ascendancy had ended: Islamic year waxed done, Time declared. Or, in a nonsensical nod to one of the Cartoon Network shows we try to not let John watch (see graphic above), it could be “I slam icy ear wax,” Edd one time declared.

The application for you is that you should hyphenate your URLs and make it easier for Google to understand what your post is about. In this case, particularly with the tags, it might get the picture that this post is about SEO.

This is another good reason to choose WordPress or as your blogging platform, because the default URL for your post comes from its title and because you can edit your URL before posting.

Secrets of Increasing Traffic to Your Corporate Website

I’m at the last session of Media Relations 2008 in San Francisco, attending a presentation by Brian Kaminski of iProspect, Lee Odden of TopRank Online Marketing and Dr. David Hulme, Vision Media.

Note: Lee did an excellent review of Mike Moran’s keynote from today. He also says he’s going to put his presentation on Slideshare, so I will link to it when it’s up.

Brian says:

Continue reading “Secrets of Increasing Traffic to Your Corporate Website”

PR in Today’s New Marketing Milieu

I’m in the afternoon sessions at Media Relations 2008, for a presentation by Dr. Georg Kolb (formerly of Text 100) and Frank Shaw from Waggener Edstrom Worldwide.

Update: Here is Georg’s presentation from

Georg sees three major trends contributing to creation of what he calls “New Publics.”

  • Individualism – on the societal level, we today don’t believe as much in institutions as our ancestors did. Instead of the stability of family and extended families, he says, “we’re a mess.” Living all over the place. Patchwork families. Today we build trust by talking to people like ourselves. Instead of just taking the word of our personal physician as our grandparents would, we may also get second and third opinions, and also opinions of other patients.
  • P2P Networks – Peer-to-peer networks exist now through technology to make it practical for us to find and connect with people like us.
  • Niche Markets – A super-fragmented marketplace of groups of peer networks.

Georg talked about how much discussion is happening outside the mainstream media dialogue. For example, you may have an employee group organized within Facebook. This is a sphere of influence you need to learn to navigate. Georg says four basic principles should help:

Continue reading “PR in Today’s New Marketing Milieu”

Facebook Page as White Pages Listing

Note: This is the required reading for Facebook 221, part of the Facebook major track for Social Media University, Global (SMUG). More information about SMUG and the homework assignments for this course are at the bottom of this post.


I have written previously about Facebook Pages being like a free multi-media Yellow Pages listing.

I got my dead-tree phone directory analogy wrong.

In reality, with some relatively recent changes in how Facebook manages its URLs for Pages and people, and the fact that profiles and pages can now be found by Google searchers who aren’t Facebook members, a Facebook page can be a great White Pages listing.

Before Facebook launched its Pages program for organizations, I had recommended that organizations and businesses and other organizations should develop Facebook Groups. One of the key reasons was because anyone can form a group with any name, and if they mention your business name in their group description, people will find that group when they search for your business in Facebook. By creating a group and getting lots of members, your “official” group would come up highest in the Facebook search results.

But now, with Pages having been established as the way for organizations to have “official” Facebook presence, they are great tools for searching both inside Facebook and in the wider Web via Google. They’re much better than groups.

Here’s why:

  1. Facebook groups cannot be found through Google.
  2. Because of the URL structure, a Facebook page shows up high in the Google rankings when people search for your organization or business name.

A Facebook group has a nondescript URL, as is demonstrated by this group I formed in the pre-Pages days for Aase Wedding Photography and Video, a moonlighting business my brother and I have been exploring. Here’s the URL from that group:


Even if Facebook groups were available to be found by Google, their URLs aren’t optimized for search.

In Facebook Pages, on the other hand, the URLs have been search optimized. Here’s the URL for the Facebook Page I developed for our fledgling wedding photo and video business (click the graphic to view at full size):


But more importantly, look closely at the Google results (and the URLs in green) when you search for Aase wedding video


Note that my Facebook page shows up first in the Google results. It doesn’t show up high if you are searching for wedding video or wedding photography. Those categories are a lot more crowded (7.4 and 7.6 million), so it’s much harder to make the first page of Google, and I don’t have many inbound links to that page.

So that’s why I say a Facebook Page can be a great online equivalent of a White Pages listing. Your business or organization’s name is in the URL, which is major cue for Google. And maybe over time a Facebook page could become an effective Yellow Pages listing, if it attracts inbound links and if its content is optimized for relevant keywords.

Homework Assignments:

  1. Go to Facebook and search for Mayo Clinic. Note how many groups you find, but also that the official Mayo Clinic Page shows up at the top of the search results.
  2. Try the same Mayo Clinic search in Google. Note that the Facebook page doesn’t show up anywhere in the first several pages of results. For organizations that already have lots of web presence, a Facebook page will not immediately come up high in the Google rankings. But then again, people will be able to find contact information for those organizations through conventional Google results.
  3. Search in Facebook for your business or organization. You’ll see how many groups have been formed that mention your organization. If an official Page doesn’t come up first, you may want to consider developing a page. And if someone not affiliated with your organization has created a Page for you, you can seek to have it removed. This will be covered in more detail in Facebook 310.

To enroll in Social Media University, Global (SMUG), join this group in Facebook. Read more about SMUG and our Curriculum.

Frost & Sullivan SEO Vital Viewpoints

Panelists for this session were:

It’s important to buy PPC to supplement your natural search. If you have a natural ranking, advertise there too. People are more likely to click the natural result, and you can double your natural clicks just by being there in the paid rankings, too.

H-P suggests writing for the web first instead of adapting print materials.

Val says you need to integrate end-to-end, and make sure your landing page matches the keyword you are buying in PPC. This is a science with a little bit of art. Testing is critical. Creative, keywords and landing page all need to relate.

Protect your real estate. Buy competitor names and buy your own name too. Put defensive money into the game.

Val’s don’ts:

  • Don’t think about search as a standalone strategy. It’s part of your mix. Have a single design team with cohesive campaigns.
  • Remember that there are other search engines besides Google and Yahoo. Some search engines are targeted to particular subject areas. Buy keywords in French in the Canadian market.
  • Test, test, test. Don’t set it and forget it. You need to check on this every day.

Yahoo Site Explorer and Google Webmaster Tools were recommended.