I've decided to bring in the New Year with a pretty challenging task over in the jWAG offices. I'm riffling through our collection of webmaster and SEO magazines, re-watching hours and hours of training videos and pouring over our own mountain of what is now 8 years of analytical data.
What's my goal? I'm compiling a massive list of SEO techniques and directions.
Honestly, with our recent realization of the incorrect usage of rel=nofollow that we mentioned in yesterday's Daily Gold Nugget, I realized I needed to compile a book of verified SEO notes. Sort of like an SEO training and consulting book to rule them all!
For a long time now my philosophy has been "think for yourself, question authority." Basically that means you should not blindly trust anything that someone tells you if there is at all the possibility of mis-information. And in the world of SEO there is a lot of mis-information.
I need to keep my sources pure and verifiable, so here's my criterion for making it into the SEO book:
1. Notes and quotes from keynote speeches from Google employees.
2. Notes and quotes from Google conferences.
3. Notes and quotes from Google's exhaustive YouTube channel.
4. SEO techniques stated by others that we were able to verify after cross referencing our own data.
5. Jewelry website SEO techniques that we discovered on our own using our data.
Everything added to the book includes a citation and a URL so we can provide verified source material in the future.
As an example, let's talk about the HTML bold tag. If you want to bold a word, you have the choice of using the <b> or the <strong> tags. Every since <strong> was introduced years ago, SEOs have argued over which version of the bold tag is more valuable. Actually, I was simply more interested to know if there was a verified source that they were worth anything at all. You might think "just Google SEO bold tag." But that doesn't actually work because you won't find any official Google documentation about it. In this particular case, I was able to find an official Google video recorded back in 2006 where it was announced that the <b> and <strong> carry the exact same weight in Google ranking.
Whew! I'm moving the <b> and <strong> debate from the "alleged" column to the "verified" column and including it in the book with the URL for cross referencing if anyone ever starts that debate again.
According to another public Google video, once they add an SEO signal to their system they don't take it out. They apparently don't like to waste any previous engineering resources and it takes quite a bit of time to add the smallest bits of search engine ranking code.
In other words, even the recorded help videos from 2004 are still valid.
Although, Google does change their mind every once in a while, and they let us know too. Last week, during their 2010 year in review video, they announced that they have changed their mind and are now using Facebook and Twitter in their rankings, which I'll have to explain in future Nuggets.
I've been accused of being a "Google lover," and at the moment I'm pretty content that I really am. But until a better mouse trap comes along they are the #1 source for all traffic to the jewelry websites that I monitor. At this point, they are still the source for well above 75% of all traffic to our network here. I have finite engineering resources of my own, so I simply have to ignore Yahoo! and Bing for right now.
On December 28, 2010 our Daily Gold Nugget listed several of the SEO source materials we are all using in the office. Although I'm still viewing them as authority sources, they all stated that the rel=nofollow SEO technique was valid to use for internal linking on your own website, and they've been claiming that since early 2008. Ouch.
As far as I'm concerned, it's back to the drawing board for all SEO techniques. Everything is getting a fresh re-examination and I'll only include it if I can find a verified source from Google or from my own data set.
So far, the results have been quite surprising. Google says they have more than 200 different signals that determine SERP ranking. So far, I have more than 400 tidbits that were mentioned in the official Google videos and an additional 282 notes that were inferred references. That's a lot!
Starting today, our Daily Gold Nugget series is going to take a different tone. For the next few weeks, we're going to experiment with, and request your feedback to, much shorter Nuggets focusing on SEO. Naturally with 682 notes already we could provide Nuggets for all of 2011 right now, but we'll see how this goes.
Registered members of jWAG have partial access to the Daily Gold Nuggets online. If you'd like to have the Gold Nuggets emailed to you in full every day, it's $15 per month. You can sign up on http://jwag.biz.
TFYQA and have a great day!
PS: I'll be honored if you are questioning my authority.