"Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." - William Morris

Skip Intro: Flash Content now Search Enabled

Posted: July 6th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: SEO | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Google, Yahoo and Adobe have just announced that they have worked together to enable search results to crawl not only HTML, but also Flash files. Interesting news indeed. For years now web builders have had to build two sites in parallel if they use Flash – one for the users, and one for the search engines that preferred eating text in HTML form.

Now this raises a few interesting questions. First up, what will happen to the search results while Google and Yahoo work out how to rank and rate Flash content? No Flash designer has ever had to consider the SEO effects of their Flash coding so surely there must be some pretty badly constructed Flash content out there, at least in terms of what Google is used to seeing. Secondly, are we really excited to see lots of Flash enabled intros for boring, company sites showing up when we search? Probably not – that’s why ‘skip intro’ will soon be the most hated, yet competitive term on Google. Finally, now that Flash folk won’t have to create HTML versions of their sites for SEO purposes – will they still remember to do so for partially sighted visitors? Text to speech browsers are not highly optimized for reading Flash, and although in the UK this audience is supported by legislation this is not the case globally. Perhaps Adobe will also release their Flash ‘search reading’ software to other companies that make text to speech browsers to help them out there – unless Google just offers it as an API of course. Click here to Skip intro.

Stock Photography SEO

Posted: May 2nd, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: SEO | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Last night I ended up having an interesting conversation with a friend who has worked tagging photos for a stock photo agency. While we were talking I was struck by the similarities between tagging your photos effectively, and that of carrying out SEO activities on your website. Both have a huge impact on your income if carried out successfully, both are hugely competitive for popular search terms and both require a level of expertise and talent for choosing the right words and terms. The only real difference is that in web SEO, if your site is not winning the search term ranking war you can go around organic search and get paid search results, in photography I don’t think anyone does that yet (anyone feel like starting that business?).

One fundamental difference right now, is that websites tend to be text based, whereas a photo is pure image. So with photos effective keyword tagging is pretty much the only way someone will find your photo when they are searching for a particular need, unless they already have a relationship with you. Expressing the contents of a photo in keywords is now a key skill for all photographers, and they often pay people to do it for them. You have to look at the photo, describe what’s there, and not be emotional about it. You have to be aware of synonyms for key words, and you have to categorize how many of each object are in the photo – such as ‘2 women’. Saying ‘our holiday’ is not going to win you any stock photo business, it’s too personal and non-descriptive. Same with web SEO. A blog title like ‘I’m annoyed..’ may express how you feel, but won’t help your witty, helpful rant on why Microsoft Vista sucks be found by the people who need to read it.

Of course all the major search players are creating more and more advanced image searches as we speak. Google’s image search has a lot of interesting tech behind the scenes, such as face matching, but none of it is yet targeted towards stock photo needs. As this technology evolves we may see the end of the need for photographers to sit and manually tag their photos, but I suspect that’s a long way off. Computer based interpretation of spoken speech has taken a long time to get to the poor level it’s at, and image interpretation is possibly a harder task with less priority. So for now photographers need to be SEO experts in their own field, or they just need to become a world class famous photographer on commission who never needs to worry about stock again. Simple.

Anyone for Pizza(.com)?

Posted: March 30th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: SEO | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Sometimes the world of domain names makes me pause. At the moment you can bid on the prime, top level domain Pizza.com (no link, it doesn’t need any help) over at Great Domains. There’s four days left on the bidding and currently it stands at $2,505,000 – yep, a smidge over $2.5 million. Nice.

Where is this going to finish up? I reckon somewhere between $7-9million as it is the most amazing opportunity to own a the piece of internet real estate for a vertical that has regular repeat business in the millions each day. Hungry? Go to Pizza.com and order from your best local pizza place (or whichever local pizza place is paying the most to be there). Easy to remember. Does what it says on the can. The price will be driven up not only from entrepreneurs who can see the dollars (and pounds, and euros) just waiting to be earned, but also from the big pizza players wanting to expand their web footprint and save themselves some serious adword dollars. On that note, maybe Google should be trying to buy it themselves to ensure competitive adwords stay at top dollar for them, but I guess they can just cream the money from everyone else as they struggle to compete with the ‘go to’ direct navigation site for pizza. Now where did I put my wallet?

Addendum: Pizza.com finally sold for $2.6 million, so my estimate was a little high! To be honest I feel like that is still somewhat of a bargain given the amount of pizza that is consumed globally every day.

One Ma.tt to Rule Them All

Posted: March 5th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: SEO | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

You have to give credit to Matthew Mullenweg, not only is he the force majeur behind WordPress – the most sensible and elegant blog tool in the word – he also realised that he could buy Ma.tt as his domain before anyone else did… Clever chap.

As a bit of background, ‘tt’ is the top level domain (TLD) for Trinidad and Tobago, based on the sensible logic of using two letter country ISO codes for each country’s domains. This works sensibly around the world everywhere except the U of K, where for some reason we’re stuck with ‘co.uk’, ‘org.uk’ and other various third level domains only. Thanks British domain regulator – you sc.uk.

Anyhoo, in the meantime, you can buy your own .tt domain – but would you want to? There are actually very few words that end with ‘tt’ that aren’t mis-spellings, and ‘bu.tt’ is the only one anyone would really want. There’s also another catch. If you live outside of Trinidad and Tobago then owning such a domain will set you back $1,000 for the first two years, then $1,000 every five after that. A bit too rich for my blood.

Ps, Matt, I apologise for this post still being on Blogger… I promise I’ll move this blog over to WordPress as soon as I get a spare mo.

Squidoo – Crowd Sourced SEO Friendliness

Posted: November 16th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: SEO | Tags: , , | No Comments »

For some reason that escapes me now I started to spend a few hours playing around with Squidoo to create my own ‘lens’ on Smorkin’ Labbits, those cute little collectible rabbits that smoke. Squidoo was created by Seth Godin, amongst others, to enable experts (and fans) with minimal internet experience to create, manage and write their own spiel about the subjects they love. It’s sort of a crowd-sourced About.com, with the added fun of having to identify spam type posts.

The overall experience of creating my lens was straight-forward and powerful, although I found that one limitation of Squidoo is that it doesn’t like you uploading pictures to make lists – something that I really wanted to do to list out the colourful little toys. The solution: create a false Flickr account, upload my pictures there, then hand transfer every image URL since the ‘Plaxo’ image grabbing code seems not to be working right now. Ug. What’s interesting now is whether or not I make any money off this activity, as Squidoo borrows another crowd sourced site idea (ePinions’) to share any affiliate revenues they make with us, the creators. Somehow I think the percentage payback on a $5 plastic toy ain’t so great, but guess that’s why all the camera focussed lenses are already highly developed.