Archive for July, 2009

Definitions for Twitter Terms

Saturday, July 4th, 2009

After starting my own Twitter account recently for our company (check us out: @gallagherdesign) and hearing other people ask what different things meant in regards to the “Twitter language” I decided I should write a post to help define that language. Also I’m going to be updating this post as new words get introduced into the Twitter community.

  • Twitter - is a free micro-blogging website, or in other words a free social networking site, that offers users the ability to post short messages (usually only 140 characters in length) on their personal page which then can be viewed by anyone.
  • Tweet - is the name given to the short updates you can post on your twitter account/page.
  • Hashtag - is a tag made of a keyword or term starting with the hash character and is used to indicate a category or topic for a tweet/post on twitter. To use the hashtag you type the hash character and then the keyword/term with no spaces.
    Example: #seosean
  • RT - means to repeat a tweet or message from someone else. The tweet/post usually contains the username of the person the message is from so as to give them credit for it.
    Example: RT @gallagherdesign Twitter language defined: http://www.seosean.com
  • OH - means you are posting something you overheard and is not your original thought.
  • @ - the @ symbol disgnates a tweet/post at the user’s username directly followed by the symbol.
    Example: @gallagherdesign I love your site!

Are URL Shorteners Bad For SEO?

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

Well the quick and dirty answer is yes and no! Actually the answer depends wholly on the type of URL shortener and the way it’s redirected to your website.

For example if you’re URL is redirected using 302 redirection then you’re not likely to be getting all the link juice that you could from any links pointing to your short URL. But on the other hand if it’s a 301 redirect you’re more likely to get all those dofollow links pointing to your short URL counted to the page URL it’s short for. For more info on how 301 redirect effects anchor text check out our post on How To Create A SEO Friendly Redirect.

So any URL shortner that does not do a 301 redirect to your website is not going to be likely that it will pass any link juice on to your full URL page. The other thing to watch out with on many of the URL shortener services out there is that they 301 redirect to something else that 302 redirects to your site. I’ve noticed a few services do this, such as the su.pr even though it’s in beta right now.

One way to check and make sure the URL shortener is actually doing a 301 redirect to your site is to read the headers sent to the browser and see what messages are being passed to them about the redirection. The easiest way to do this is with a tool I’ve found called Check Server Headers Tool. Make sure to look over how it’s redirecting on your own site too. Since some of us have our sites setup to 301 redirect from non www domain address to a one with it, if you use a non www when creating the shorter URL you can have too many 301 redirects to get to your page.

For example:
You have the URL http://www.seosean.com/blog/are-forum-links-any-good
and you want to shorten this URL.

Now I make a short URL http://seosean.com/akes
(I made this with a script I wrote to create and manage short URLs).

Now the short URL may redirect to a www version of my site and then redirect to the page. This can cause problems as Google seems to only follow so many redirects. And if there was an added step in there that made it redirect to some URL shortener service’s domain then to your web page that would be 3 redirections.

The other thing many people have a question on is, do I get credit for the anchor text from the short URL? Answer is yes you do - at least most of the time (that’s basically the water down version of what Matt Cutts said about that).

And on the other side of that I also usually get questions about whether the keywords in the short URL’s count towards the redirected to page? I image you would not get credit for this. Since you’re redirecting your telling the world that the old address is no longer valid and the new one is so I image all things with the old address are discarded and only the new one is counted. So you should only get credit for the keywords in the end URL (the one you redirected to).

Google SERPS With More Padding & Small Logo!

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

Over the past days or so Google users have been reporting seeing a different design for Google’s search result pages. Upon initially checking into this myself I didn’t see any difference. Then later today I started to get the different Google designed search pages too.

The design has a smaller logo for Google next to the search box at the top of the page. And there seems to be extra padding on the left hand side and right hand side for everything except the navigation links at the very top of the page.

I for one don’t like the new design, I actually liked the older one. My guess is the are changing it either as an A/B testing to see which preforms better or they found some users could not see the text on the very left or right hand side of the screen due to their browser and computer monitor (I’ve had this issue before with older monitors, were you can’t see about 5px of the very left and right hand sides of the screen).

Additionally I’ve noticed a few other changes to Google’s search. They recently rolled out with a search suggest that’s embedded in the search boxes at the top and bottom of your SERPs. I know they had this a while back but they took it away and now seem to have brought it back but with different font styling (font is bold for the text you didn’t type in to help you recognize it).

Google search suggest

Although all and all this does not seem to effect rankings directly in the search engine, at least so far from my observations. But I’m sure that the search suggest will have an effect on the types of keywords that are searched for. For example I was searching for an item the other day on Google and then click one of the search suggestions just because I was interested in it. Although I still went back and searched for the original thing I was looking for, this type of thing could deter users from one search and making another instead.