Is SEO BS (cont’d)? The Digg Factor, subdomains and metatags

First off, many thanks to Guillaume Bouchard of NVI for his participation in the comments at Friday’s “More Reasons to call BS on the SEO/SEM industry” post. I don’t want to monopolize his time but, alas, every answer he gives raises new questions for me. I’d be interested in his take on why making the Digg homepage has proved so much more valuable for his projects than it did for Scott Karp at Publishing 2.0.

As for Guillaume’s comment that my articles don’t have the same impact because they’re on a blogspot subdomain, I’d like to see some actual sources on that theory because I’m having a bit of a hard time with it. If he’s saying that one extremely successful Canpages blog post can cause traffic to the entire directory site to explode and that this would not be the case with a blogspot address, I’d like to know in layman’s language exactly why this would be so.

Frankly, one of the things that bugs me about the whole SEO world is that its denizens often don’t address well-known conflicting opinions. For example, last year, I posted on SEO hero, Marshall Simmonds, and his advice. He counsels, among other things, the use of metatags for every page, but when I looked into it further, I found that there’s a large constituency of opinion that’s been arguing for several years that metatags are obsolete, so what gives? And where is the person or article that says, “Look I know a lot of people will tell you that metatags are obsolete, but I think you should absolutely still be using them because of A, B and C.”

8 thoughts on “Is SEO BS (cont’d)? The Digg Factor, subdomains and metatags

  1. This is a perfect example of the type of comment I’m going to delete from now on.

    It adds nothing to the discussion content-wise and its tone is a major turn-off.

    Give some concrete examples of why you think SEOs are today’s snake oil sales force or keep your peace.

  2. Hey Ann.

    A few things, as I’ll try to answer your questions 1 by 1 🙂

    1. Regarding Scott Karp article, there is a few things to consider. First off, you have to promote your story. I mean, I’m sure you do promote your blog somewhere or to people here and there, so it’s the same thing with a Digg story. Sometimes, if you submit a story and let it fly itself, it will hit the homepage, but since only 0,7% or any article or Digg hits the homepage, you have to be that 1 out of 125 best article, which doesn’t happen to any journalist every day (as journalists don’t have awesome Front page news to write about every single day!). So, if you have some friends (your normal friends on the web that are a bit web-savvy, i.e. let’s say, for you Ann, all your other journalists / bloggers you exchange with), you can ask them to read your content, comment it and also give it a vote if they liked it. Doing that steadily during those 24 hours will increase your chances of getting your story to get promoted to the homepage and is encouraged by Kevin Rose himself, Digg’s owner. They didn’t invent the “Shout” feature, even if it’s a bit annoying and can be a double-edge sword, for no reason!

    Secondly, the whole purpose of creating great content and getting some attention on Digg.com or other social sites like Reddit.com / Propeller.com / Newsvine.com / StumbleUpon / main bloggers of big corporations of big e-corporations isn’t, for us, to impact short term direct sales, not even for branding, even if it doesn’t hurt to be seen by 50-100k tech-savvy people when you do hit the homepage. It’s to get attention, which then gets us links, which then shows to Google, who send 50-75% of new traffic to all sites in North America, that we are popular and that we deserve more attention 😉

    To conclude on Scott Karp, the main reason why we do all of this is to get alot of attention/links from the Search Engines, as they are index Digg much faster than any other website on the planet (unless someone can prove me wrong, Digg has over 300 000 000 links pointing to it, which is higher than any other site I’ve ever looked at, including Wikipedia English subdomain). I would be curious to see how wikipedia would score even much higher in SERPs if they had focused all their energy on 1 domain!

    Also, if your content is logically / interestingly / easily portable on other social sites and normal sites and blogs, your Digg post will get linked by many people and will start to rank in Google / other search engines. Also, your own website rankings will increase, especially if your article was written to be Search Engines friendly, and it will start ranking much higher for terms in your industry. This has been proven many times from hundreds of sources, and this EVEN if the subject isn’t linked with the website or blog.

    If Scott Karp was promoting his own article a bit (if you compare directly to offline media: tell me which, which journalist who just found great content about something that happened on the street or online, which journalist wouldn’t go out and tell a major press and get some credit for it?)

    Basically, we promote content on social sites to get attention from the Search Engines and from people, but down the road, what will pay off in terms of revenue model is really how you will rank globally for your industry terms after Google saw hundreds or thousands of new links getting pointed to you every week.

    2. Regarding your blog

    First off, your content is spread between https://www.blogger.com/url-that-will-never-get-indexed and-rank-properly-on-google and annbrocklehurstjournalism.blogspot.com subdomain, which are in fact 2 separate domains. This is, in terms of usability, very weird, especially since both designs DO NOT match at all with one another. Also, from an SEO standpoint, why don’t you want to focus on only 1 URL that is yours and build some equity for you? Everyone linking to you is in fact helping blogger.com and blogspot.com get more attention and you are not helping your brand, which is in fact your blog, which is in fact you, to get recognition and credibility / equity (as I value links, so the more links your website has). A domain and proper hosting will cost you less than 300$ a year and would greatly help you.

    Also, I have to be honest, such a Small box to post comments do not entice me to write a big one, and I’m not speaking about the rather not appealing way the comments section is layed out, which isn’t really sexy at all. There are free blog platforms like WordPress, that you can download and get going, which will be so much more flexible / user-oriented, and which you can customize the way you want!

    As far as Meta tags are concerned, here is how most of the SES / SMX speakers agree upon:

    Titles (which are not Meta tags but understood as Meta tags) are one of the top5 things to care about when you optimize your content for the Search Engines. Make sure you have unique and enticing to click Titles on each page of your site. As an example, WordPress offers a plugin that allow you to create a Title Tag for each article that is different than the Title of the article, to make the best of both worlds. You will never find that on a closed platform like blogger/blogspot!

    Meta Descriptions are useful on keypages to entice people with interesting, thoughtful call to actions to click on your results in Google. You should optimize only the main pages of your site, and leave all the dynamic content with an empty field, so Google and other engines will place the content for you.

    Meta keywords are obsolete. Don’t bother.

    Those 3 statements are share by a vast majority of people, you can read more about it here:

    To conclude, I would say it is just not a good idea to write content on the web and not even try to do it in a compliant way for the Search Engines, which bring 75% of the new traffic every day on the Web. You just have to understand the core principles, and it just makes sense after that.

  3. Thanks for your long thoughtful response but I think we’re going in circles a bit here.

    This strikes me as the kind of conversation that would actually be way more productive and satisfying face to face than in the comments section — no matter how pretty the comments section, which is another thing we’d have to talk about because, well, I think it’s not only pretty but reader friendly as well…

    Vive la difference!

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