Archive for June, 2012

Title: Duane Forrester: More Details on Bing Phoenix Update

Search Engine News, Search Engine Optimization

Article Source: Link Exchange Service Network

Duane Forrester continues the SEO media tour supporting Bing’s Phoenix update, this time stopping by Stone Temple Consulting to give a detailed explanation of what the new Bing Webmaster Tools can do for users. Forrester’s doing a great job of not just promoting the update but actually explaining in detail how Bing Webmaster Tools opens up a new world of capability for webmasters. Or, as Stone Temple describes it, the Phoenix update was built by SEOs for SEOs.

The full interview transcript at Stone Temple is a long read so I’m not going to try to summarize it here; if you’re a student or teacher in the school of SEO, I recommend you visit the site, make some tea, and step up your Bing Webmaster Tools vocab. Forrester discusses the data range tools, the new Link Explorer that lets users dive through the internet to find links associated with any domain, some more explanation of the “Fetch as Bingbot” web crawler simulator, and more.

One key note worth mentioning is how available Forrester has been making himself to feedback from users. In the Stone Temple discussion, he encourages users of Bing Webmaster Tools to reach out to him directly on Twitter at his personal account, @duaneforrester, to offer up some feedback, make some suggestions, or to ask him some specific questions. Or, I’m sure he also enjoys hearing how awesome you think the Phoenix update is.

The Bing Team originally promised to go into more detail on their official blog about the Phoenix update, and they have been doing that so far, but Forrester’s been beating them to the punch lately when it comes to covering all the new tools. Forrester made a stop last week at SEOmoz to discuss the new Webmaster Tools and offered up a half-hour tutorial on what you can do with the new features.

Bing Program Management VP Derrick Connell announced the Phoenix Update at SMX earlier this month. So far, most of the response appears to have been very approving of the update.

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Title: How to Write Winning Web Content: 10 New Rules

Search Engine News, Search Engine Optimization

Article Source: Link Exchange Service Network

With its latest Penguin algorithm updates, Google has once again redefined the Internet. And the verdict is in: keyword-stuffed, SEO writing is dead.

This is great news for real writers. We can forget about writing for search engines, and write for human beings.

Even better, writers with a good understanding of the web have never been more in demand. If content was “King” pre-Penguin, it is now the undisputed dictator.

The new rules for writing web content are actually no different from those that have been best practiced all along: good content should communicate, entertain, inform and persuade. Good web writing is pithy, opinionated and brimming with personality.

Writing for the web remains different from that of any other medium. People rarely read web pages all the way through. Instead, they scan a web page, picking out individual words and sentences. Writers therefore need to be cunning and deliberate in the way we craft our web content.

Here then are the Top 10 New Rules for Writing Web Content in 2012:

1. Keep It Short & Snappy

“Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts.”- William Strunk Jr., Elements of Style

As an unwritten rule, web sentences shouldn’t contain more than twenty words, and a paragraph should not contain more than six sentences.

But don’t be afraid to inject some pace into your writing by varying the length of sentences.

The goal is to convey as much as possible with as few words as possible while still observing the rules of readability and a conversational tone.

2. Write in Plain English

“Plain English is clear, straightforward expression, using only as many words as are necessary. It is language that avoids obscurity, inflated vocabulary and convoluted sentence construction.” – Professor Robert Eagleson

Plain English (or plain language) is all about clarity, brevity, and the avoidance of technical language. This is especially important for the web, so pledge to adhere to these two simple rules:

* Avoid jargon, slang, acronyms or abbreviations.
* Use familiar words wherever you can. (Don’t say ‘commence’ when you can say ‘start’.)

3. Eliminate the Passive Voice

Deconstruct any good sentence, and you’ll find a strong, active verb. Similarly, at the root of most confusing, awkward or wordy sentences lies a passive voice.

Sentences in the active voice are more concise than sentences in the passive. Strong verbs help the reader know who is acting and what is being acted upon. For example:

Her homework was chewed by the puppy. (Passive and dull-sounding.)

The puppy chewed her homework. (Active, clear and concise.)

If you’re guilty of passive-voice usage, here’s a free tool for you: To Be Verbs Analyzer.

You simply copy and paste your text into the box, which instantly generates a list of every time you’ve used the passive voice.

4. Front-Load Your Content

Front-loading means putting the conclusion first – followed by what, how, where, when and why. (If that sounds familiar, it’s because this “pyramid” method is standard practice for journalists.)

The first line of your article should contain the conclusion for the article, and the first line of each paragraph should contain
the conclusion for that paragraph.

This allows your readers to:

* scan through the opening sentence
* instantly understand what the paragraph is about
* decide if they want to read the rest of the paragraph or not

5. Group Ideas Together

Each paragraph should have just one idea, made up of just a few
sentences. This makes it easier for readers to:

* scan
* easily locate the information
* move onto the next paragraph without missing anything pivotal

6. Make Effective Use of Sub-Headings

A main heading tells readers what the page is about. The opening paragraph gives a brief conclusion of the page (because you’ve front-loaded the content). But within the page (or article or blog), break up your paragraphs with sub headings.

Descriptive sub-headings show your readers what each section is about. Sub-heads should be short and logical and help readers find the information they’re after.

There’s no rule for how frequently to use sub-headings, but a good rule of thumb is to aim for one sub-head every two to four paragraphs.

7. Utilize Lists

If you can, use lists and not long sentences or paragraphs to make your points.

Lists are:

* easier to scan
* less intimidating and more friendly to the reader
* usually shorter and clearer

8. Be “Bold”

Another way to help readers find information easily is to bold important words.

Just as bold text stands out so do italics, underscore and link text. But don’t use these emphasizing methods for more than a few words or a short phrase because it will slow your readers down.

9. How to “Instruct”

When describing an action or task, instruct clearly: Click This Link, Find Out More, etc.

Instructions should also follow a natural sequence of order that is both obvious and consistent.

Try also to instruct in the affirmative rather than negative, i.e. “Please wait for your page to load” instead of “DO NOT PRESS BACK!”

10. Write As You’d Speak

Liberate your writing from sounding stiff, formal and pompous. One of the easiest ways to do this is to write as you’d speak.

You generally should use contractions unless specifically asked not to, as they’re far more natural. For example, would you say: “I will not be able to go to the cinema tonight” or “Sorry, can’t make the film tonight.”

Similarly, usage of the impersonal pronoun “one” gives web content an unnecessary degree of formality. Unless you’re a royal correspondent, avoid “one” and use “you” instead.

And one final bonus rule:

11. Inject Your Own Personality

Amusing, emotional, controversial, scornful, passionate – whatever your thoughts on a subject, try to convey them. This will engage your readers and lend your writing authority.

Tell stories. Be opinionated. Tug at heart-strings. Good writing is fearless. Do whatever is necessary to hook your reader.

And don’t be afraid to break some of the rules of grammar – the kind of outdated rules that suck the very life out of writing, like “never use contractions” and “never start a sentence with ‘and.’”


Marianne Gonne is a freelance writer and marketing-savvy wordsmith with over 20 years of editorial and writing experience at the highest level. She helps web writers improve their skills and make more money writing online. http://savvywebwriter.com

Post from: SiteProNews: Webmaster News & Resources

How to Write Winning Web Content: 10 New Rules

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Title: Matt Cutts Addresses Duplicate Content Issue In New Video

Search Engine News, Search Engine Optimization

Article Source: Link Exchange Service Network

This week, Google posted a new Webmaster Help video featuring Matt Cutts talking about a potential duplicate content issue. This time, he even broke out the whiteboard to illustrate his points.

Specifically, Cutts addressed the user-submitted question:

Many sites have a press release section, or a news section that re-posts relevant articles. Since it’s all duplicate content, would they be better off removing these sections even with plenty of other unique content?

“The answer is probably yes, but let me give you a little bit of color about the reasoning for that,” Cutts says in the video. “So a lot of the times at Google, we’re thinking about a continuum of content, and the quality of that content, and what defines the value add for a user. So let’s draw a little bit of an axis here and think a little bit about what’s the difference between high quality guys versus low quality guys? Take somebody like The New York Times. Right? They write their own original content. They think very hard about how to produce high quality stuff. They don’t just reprint press releases. You can’t just automatically get into The New York Times. It’s relatively hard. Right?”

“At the other end of this spectrum is the sort of thing that you’re talking about, where you might have a regular site, but then one part of that site, one entire section of that site, is entirely defined by maybe just doing a news search, maybe just searching for keywords in press releases,” he continues. “Whatever it is, it sounds like it’s pretty auto-generated. Maybe it’s taking RSS feeds and just slapping that up on the site. So what’s the difference between these?”

“Well, The New York Times is exercising discretion,” Cutts explains. “It’s at exercising curation in terms of what it selects even when it partners with other people, and whenever it puts other content up on its site. And most of its content tends to be original. Most the time it’s thinking about, OK, how do we have the high quality stuff, as opposed to this notion– even if you’ve got high quality stuff on the rest of your site, what is the value add of having automatically generated, say, RSS feeds or press releases, where all you do is you say, OK. I’m going to do a keyword search for Red Widgets and see everything that matches. And I’m just going to put that up on the page.”

“So on one hand, you’ve got content that’s yours, original content–there’s a lot a curation. On the other hand, you’ve got something that’s automated, something that’s more towards the press release side of things, and it’s not even your content. So if that’s the case, if you’re just looking for content to be indexed, I wouldn’t go about doing it that way.”

For many in the SEO realm, there aren’t any new revelations here, but duplicate content is an issue that continues to be a problem many worry about, even after so many years. It’s still part of Google’s quality guidelines, and as you probably know, the Penguin update is designed to algorithmically enforce those, so that on its own is a good reason to exercise caution in this area.

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