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Google’s Tips On How To Write A Good Meta Description

The Google Webmaster Central Blog described what makes for a good meta description versus what makes for a bad meta description. Meta descriptions are a special tag that you place within the source code of your html page. They can be used by search engines for ranking purposes as well as for being displayed within the search result pages. The tag looks like this when you view the source code: <META NAME="Description" CONTENT="informative description here"> The Google blog post describes key attributes of what Google considers making a good meta description, factors its says may inc [...]

Google’s “Unavailable After” META Tag Now Live

Google's Dan Crow announced today that the unavailable_after META tag is now live and operational. Google To Add "Unavailable After" META Tag from about two weeks ago, explains in detail more about this tag and how it can be used. [...]

Google To Add “Unavailable After” META Tag

Getting Into Google by Jill Whalen reports Dan Crow, director of crawl systems at Google, saying that Google is releasing a new META tag named "unavailable_after." The "unavailable_after" tag will allow you to tell Google when Googlebot should no longer crawl that page. Jill explains that this tag comes in handy when you have a limited time offer promotional page, and on this page, the promotion will expire on a specific date. By using the "unavailable_after" tag, you can tell Google that they should not crawl this page, after the promotion expires. There are several practical scenarios fo [...]

George Washington Did What According To Wikipedia???

Many have joked about how Wikipedia seems to rank at the top of practically any Google search that you do. Often, that's a good thing, as Wikipedia has lots of great information. But a search on george washington today shows a downside. Someone edited the start of the Wikipedia entry about the first US president to be less than flattering. Google spidered the entry, and that material was used to form the description of Washington's Wikipedia page, as shown below. Look at the second listing: It's embarrassing for Google, but the fault really lies with Wikipedia, since this text stayed on W [...]

Newspapers Amok! New York Times Spamming Google? LA Times Hijacking

Back in March, Google warned that allowing your internal search results to be listed in Google might be considered spamming. Today, there's some buzz that one of the top listings for a search for sex on Google turns out to be an internal search results page from the New York Times. In looking at that, I also came across an example of the LA Times "hijacking" the listing of for a search on cars, thought the fault for that lies with Google. Let's start with the New York Times: John Andrews wrote yesterday that internal search pages from the domain were [...]

Google Checkout’s Title Goes Missing On Google

Something look odd in the search results above for google checkout? Yes, that's the official Google Checkout home page listed first, but it's most definitely NOT the right title for the Google Checkout page. That's got folks at Digg wondering if Google Checkout has been hijacked, sparked from Jon West's original post here. No. It's just Google being lame. Below, more about how ended up providing the current title for Google Checkout as listed on Google, as well as a look at the problems of dealing with titles for pages that a spider can't access. Most search engines, includ [...]

Top 12 Ways To Win Friends & Write Magnetic Headlines

As a consultant who specializes in social media, I've learned one of the most powerful tools in gaining readers is the title or headline of your stories. Crafting a title that grabs someone's eye, gets them to stop scanning and pay attention to your story rather than reading another one is a critical first step. Were you scanning your feed reader when you came across this article and saw something called a "Top 12" list? Did it make you pause, make you wonder if somebody made a typo? Isn't it supposed to be a "Top 10" list? People have been doing top 10 lists for tho [...]

Meta Robots Tag 101: Blocking Spiders, Cached Pages & More

Last week, I covered a new command for the meta robots tag -- one to prevent search engines from using Yahoo titles and descriptions. In doing that, a number of questions came up about the meta robots tag syntax itself. Google Webmaster Central has now posted "Using the robots meta tag," providing some clarity from Google. In addition, both Yahoo and Microsoft have also sent me information on using the tag. I'll run through what everyone says below, complete with charts for easy at-a-glance comparisons. The meta robots tag was an open standard created over a decade ago and designed initiall [...]

The “About 260″ Problem: Google Site: Command Glitch

Dave Naylor noted yesterday that Search Engine Watch appears to have largely disappeared from Google, at least when performing a site: command search. Today, Marketing Pilgrim notes a weirdly similar thing happening to another site and points to an interesting Webmaster World thread on what could be called the "About 260" problem that appears to have started early last month. (NOTE: Google is now commenting on it here). I'm calling it the About 260 problem because several sites have seen that figure come up in obvious site: errors that have happened. For example, consider this se [...]

Yahoo Provides NOYDIR Opt-Out Of Yahoo Directory Titles & Descriptions

Yahoo! Search Support for 'NOYDIR' Meta Tags and Weather Update from the Yahoo Search Blog covers how at long last, you can now tell Yahoo to not use Yahoo Directory information to make a title and/or description for your web page listings. It also cover how Yahoo's currently doing a reindexing change that might impact rankings. More on that below, plus tips about also blocking the Open Directory information from being used for your pages and some possible conflicts with multiple robots tags. Sometimes pages are listed in both Yahoo's crawler-based search results and within its human-compil [...]

Finding Search Engine Freshness & Crawl Dates

A reader emailed me today noticing that Google was showing a date next to his listing, which made me think this was a good time to revisit how, when and where search engines show crawl dates for pages. These dates are a useful way for site owners to understand how often they are being revisited or for anyone to "squeeze the loaf" of a search engine to see how fresh it is. Here's a search engine-by-search engine rundown on date display. I'll also cover how we've sadly lost crawl dates being embedded next to listings, over the years. But that's not all! Read now and you'll even [...]

Keyword Research Steps & Tool Update

Five Steps to Effective Keyword Research by Lisa Barone shares some of the basic steps to take when it comes to keyword research, which is the cornerstone of SEO. Complimentary to Lisa's article is an updated tool by SEO Book named New Keyword List Cleaner Tool. [...]

Title Tags, An SEO’s Most Trusted Friend

Title tags remain one of the easiest and most important on-page SEO factors you can use to gain traffic. Jill Whalen provides a helpful review of how to write your title tags with All About Title Tags at Search Engine Guide. She goes over her feelings on if company names belong in the title tag, the type of keywords you should include in them and more tips. [...]

Yahoo Fixes Lower Case Titles Bug In Search Results

A week ago, we thought that Lower Case Titles In Yahoo Coming From Anchor Text, and asked Yahoo about it. Tim Mayer of Yahoo has commented on original post at the Search Engine Roundtable saying that this has now been fixed. And, based on the examples in our post from last week, a search on searchbliss now brings up the title tag from that page and does not use internal anchor text (as we theorized) in the Yahoo search results. I have before and after screen captures over here. [...]

SEO Your Title Tags

Rand at SEOMoz has a Best Practices for Title Tags that goes over many of the simply fundamentals of a good title tag for both your users and search engines. Rand suggests that adding your brand name to the title tag is not a bad thing, but make sure it is just a piece of the title tag, users and search engines like to see relevant title information, based on the content of the page the link is pointing towards. Rand also suggests ensuring your title is 65 characters or less, make sure you have keywords in the title, be more specific when it makes sense, use dividers in the title, and more t [...]

Are Lower Case Titles In Yahoo Coming From Anchor Text

At the last WebmasterWorld PubCon, there was a site clinic where one of the issues that came up was Yahoo not using the title tag for a specific site. Instead, Yahoo got titles for these pages in a place no one could figure out, and the titles were all in lower case. Recently, this has appeared to become more widespread and the forums are starting to discuss it. As Ben Pfeiffer noted at Search Engine Roundtable, there is a large WebmasterWorld thread on Yahoo replacing title tags titles with titles Yahoo possibly creates from the links (anchor text) pointing to that site. Let's look at exa [...]

Study Says Get In Top 5 Not Top 10 & Search Engines May Need To Highlight Official Sites

On Friday, we reported briefly on a new eye tracking study from Microsoft on how users interact with search results. I spent some time doing a deep dive into the survey, which is full of interesting information. Among the findings is that search marketers may need to be more concerned about getting into the top five rather than the top ten, if they want to be seen. In addition, search engines might want to seriously experiment more with adding "official site" links at the top of their pages and possibly enlarge the size of listing descriptions or "snippets" to help searche [...]

Of Disappearing Sex Blogs & Google Updates

Last week, Barry Schwartz reported there seemed to be a Google update going, based on forum activity he was seeing. Google's Matt Cutts quickly followed up with a short refresher on the difference between algorithm updates, data refreshes and index updates. The purpose was to explain that any changes some people were seeing were likely small and seemingly restricted to individual sites as new data flowed in, rather than a massive algorithm change similar to the great Florida update of November and December 2003. All fine and good and reassuring until the great sex blog disappearance happened [...]

Yahoo Says No Directory Tag Coming January 2007

I reported this morning at Search Engine Roundtable that Tim Mayer from Yahoo posted in a WebmasterWorld thread saying support for a "No Yahoo Directory" tag will be coming this January. A No Yahoo Directory tag will enable webmasters to tell Yahoo not to use their Yahoo Directory title in the search results. Yahoo began supporting the No Open Directory (noodp) tag on October 25 and promised us that they would support the no Yahoo directory tag equivalent sometime in the near future. [...]

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