Headline about my rant

So, @CP & @DB -- Does that 301 index.html pass anchor by itself? I don't think so.

I think 301ed URLS are counted the same as the URLS they are 301ed to so that if you link to index.html with "home" as the anchor text followed by a keyword rich embedded anchor, last time I looked I SWEAR the embedded anchor gets trumped by the "home" anchor because Google knows that index.html **IS** the homepage. This will test that by seeing if an stupid embedded link NOT to index after the link to the longtime 301ed page (established) actually passes anchor... WHOOPS. Accidentally linked to index.html INSTEAD of homepage, so 12-22 I changed the link AND the anchor

Man: Would you get rid of that template?

Rob: I would change it to something to where your grabbing like the first X number of characters from the caption, but doing something to it, like add the name to it. I can’t even remember how I do it on Gun Dog. I have a little bit of boilerplate. Like my free shipping $125 plus orders, I have that in every meta description. I think I grab the name and then I stick that in there, and then I put the first 100 words from the caption or something like that, when I’m way too lazy to write a custom meta description.

And then I’ve got a couple of notes in there. I’ve been swapping notes on about five different sites with Isvan, so he knows all this stuff about breadcrumbs, logo link, and not linking to index.html but linking to the full domain. He knows about that. When you get to doing that, drop me an email. If I don’t have a best practices for paying clients that I don’t publish on my website, I’ll make one up by then and share it with him.

Client: What are you doing with canonical?

Rob: Canonical is basically the one URL that points to a page. A lot of folks will have…I don’t know if you are doing this on any of your pages at all.

They’ll have like a…if you are tagging your PPC URL’s, like source=AdWords or however Google does it, sometimes Bing will actually crawl those pages even with the attributes on them, and they get listed in the search engines, so you start getting organic traffic to URLs with your PPC tracking, which makes your analytics think it’s PPC.

So what canonical does is it gives the search engine the option to say there’s one canonical…the URL to this page is and that’s it. And if I find this page any other way, I need to know that that’s not the name of the page; the name of the page is what the canonical is. So it’s a good way to make sure that if somebody steals your content and they don’t change the canonical, you’ll get credit for the links that they get to it. It’s real easy. Isvan can do it in two seconds.

Client: Do you have the canonical on every single page on your site or is it a landing page?

Rob: No, no. I have canonical on every single page of my site that’s hardwired into my head tags. Just by default it makes it. It’s whatever the ID is by html and stick my domain in front of that, that’s the canonical.

Client: The canonical tag is going to show up on the page that is the canonical.

Rob: Oh yeah, it’s supposed to. If I’m on an AdWords ad to that page I just said, it would be But sometimes people do…a lot of the furniture guys and bath guys do pagination to where they stick parameters in the URL that say “sort by popularity”, “sort by revenue”, “sort by price”, “sort by price high”, “sort by price low”. And they’ll have all these different URLs that, theoretically, a search engine could get every single one of those URLs and you’ve got 16 different URLs for the same page. So in your case, Yahoo Stores, as a rule, tend to not have these problems. But it doesn’t hurt to stick that one there.

Client: While we’re talking HTML, how important are H1, H2, H3 tags?

Rob: It’s just on-page, which is less than 20%, I think, of results. You want to have an H1 and have your headline in it, but it’s not going to change your…if you change it to an H2 or a strong, I don’t think it’s going to change your rankings a half a percent. But it’s just good on-page markup.

Client: Ours are already written that way.

Rob: I think you are. I use a headline and a subhead just from a conversion standpoint. I picked that up at Conversion Conference. I’m speaking at that in New York in October, I think. They gave me an hour, which is nuts. I’ve got to practice. Because I like conversion rate optimization stuff way more than SEO. You think I get into SEO, man, SEO is just traffic. Turning those people into customers, that’s where the money is. That’s just kinda where my obsession is these days. I just learned that if you have a headline, make the headline the name of the product, and the make the subhead, make it an H2 and make that be the marketing copy. So somebody can read Garmin Astro Dog GPS, and then underneath that, if they want to, they can read about how cool I think it is. So that decreases your bounce rate, which increases your conversion rate.

Rob: The thing about links is that they all work to a certain degree. Even bad links, scraper sites linking to you actually give you some decent anchor text sometimes. So you just need more links. And you don’t need skanky links, you need some good links. A lot of that can do yourself; the basic stuff you can do yourself. I can help you with that once we get this other stuff done. I can give you some leads on how to figure out what links you need. So that’s external. Internal is just the report I pulled out of your Webmaster Tools. Once you figure out what you want to do with your site hierarchy, that report will change. And then based on that, you basically want to link to the pages that are most important to you on the most number of pages on your own website.

You’ve got a 10,000 page website, you’ve got 100 links on every single page, that’s a million links that you control. Does that make sense? So fix the hierarchy. You don’t want 20,000 links pointing to recipe box unless you really want to rank for recipe box. You want Omega Juicer to get links…if that’s your priority page, you want that page to get links from your top 20 or top 50 or top 200 pages on your site.

Client: How should we fix our hierarchy? There’s an argument between the designer, the person involved in making it browsable, and the SEO guy who just, “I don’t care what it looks like. I just want my most important links on every page.”

Rob: Yeah, I don’t care what my $100 bill looks like, if it’s wrinkled up or dirty. I just want it to be $100 bill and not a $2 bill. That being said, there are brand considerations. We don’t want the website to look junky. We want the website to be easy for folks to navigate. Well, the reality is that most people are not going to those 563 pages on your website. You can prioritize your website based on pages that people go to from the homepage. Look at your stats in GA and say, “OK, what are my top 10 pages that folks go to from the homepage?” And that gives you a really good way to say, “OK, these are my top 10 links.” The information architecture folks say 7 is the magic number. You need 7, at most, master level categories. And everything can fit into those 7 buckets.

One way to do it is “shop by brand”. You can have “shop by brand” as a page and take all the “shop by brand” links and stick them on “shop by brand” and take them off 20,000 pages. And just have one link that says “shop by brand”. They click on that and they go to go to the “shop by brand” page. I don’t know how many links that is out of the 563 or whatever, but that’s a big chunk of them right there.

But don’t look at Gun Dog Supply for that because my site navigation hierarchy is not optimal. I’m making more money with the site, but it’s not…If somebody is looking for little crappy things that we don’t really care if we sell or not, they’re going to have a hard time finding it unless they use search. But that’s OK for me because they only want to give me $1 bills. If somebody wanted to buy a two-dog Garmin Astro GPS, that’s going to set them back $1,500. I’d rather make his life easier than the guy looking to buy a $2 whistle. But I can’t really help you make those decisions. You kinda have to figure that out yourself. But you can push everything down. One thing that I did on another side was in Yahoo Web Analytics there’s a way to upload categories so you can see what the revenue is for a category, not just the keywords from search.

So let’s just pretend that you went on Oprah and your brand was mentioned, and people went to your site and bought the brownie pans. They’re not going to show up in an SEO report as far as conversions because they’re searching for your brand name. So what this report does is it actually tabulates all of the products contained within this subcategory and category and assigns dollar values to those categories. And it’s a pain to do. But I’ve done that on Gun Dog and a couple of other sites. Its’ really important to see what categories and subcategories are generating revenue, not just as SEO entry pages, but actually in the site.

And it turns out that it actually matches up pretty well with SEO. But that might be worth you guys doing. Just put that on your list of stuff to ask me about after you figure out site hierarchy. That’s just a good way to make sure that you’re not missing out on anything.

I apologize if I’m throwing way too much stuff at you. Anytime you have any questions on any of this stuff down the road, you have license to email me.

I’ll swap emails with you until I’m blue in the face.

google that

"embedded link to the homepage"
google that

11:24 a.m. MONDAY, DEC 5 2011

changed 12-22 6:12pm PUBLISH