We announced a while ago that Yahoo BOSS V2, the new version of Yahoo’s do-it-yourself search back-end, was in the wild, but many of the features were tucked away in obscure corners or were still on the “pending” list of implementation. Now Yahoo has released a full breakdown of the updated features. They are:

  • Compatibility with SQL and YQL coding. SQL coding can be used via BOSS mashup to create advanced interfaces, commands, and more. You can also implement user-created YQL codes.
  • Improved BOSS news. The BOSS news interface has been upgraded, allowing searches for specific headlines, regional news, and language-specific news.
  • Improved documentation. The library of PHP, Perl, Python, Ruby, Java, and C# examples has been expanded.
  • Increased control on daily use limits. Developers can now specify a ceiling on spending, freezing the search engine’s use once the cap is hit.
  • Support for HTTPS. All BOSS features are now available from an HTTPS access address. This works in combination with theoAuth security features that already part of BOSS V2.

However, all this, according to the Yahoo announcement on the topic, is “only scratching the surface of what Y! Search BOSS can offer you.” Upcoming features will be varied, but the next item on the list seems to be improved blog search features. Yahoo Search BOSS V2 has been available since April. While V1 will continue to be available until July 20th, all users who haven’t migrated to the new version will lose access at that time.

[Sources include: The YSearch Blog]

 

Check out the SEO Tools guide at Search Engine Journal.

Details on Yahoo BOSS V2 Updates


css-border-image

Editor’s Note: Images are used throughout this article to illustrate the effects achieved with border-image. To see this in action. and view the code, go to the demonstration page.

A feature that is new in CSS3, but not so new to browsers, is the border-image property. Border-image provides a method to add decorative borders to any element. With the border-image properties you can create decorative borders for elements, beyond simple rounded corners, with images of very small file size or even with gradients.

The border-image property allows you to take a small image, slice it virtually into nine sections, and place /spread the portions of your small image across a much larger element.

You can take an image and stretch it across a button or a whole page.

CSS3 border-image fig1

We’ve used the image on the left as a border-image for the div on the right, maintaining the corners, while stretching the center of the border-image to cover the entire div on the right.
CSS3 border-image fig2
In this second example, instead of stretching the middle of the border-image, we’ve repeated, slightly distorting the image if necessary to ensure we don’t have a broken image in supporting browsers.To ensure that the image is not ‘broken’, the width should be a multiple of the slice’s width. While we’ve repeated the top, bottom and sides, we’ve maintained the four corners, creating a stamp-like effect.

Next, we’ll cover how to take a background-image, virtually cut it up, and either repeat or stretch the image to cover the borders and background of our element.

The border-image is a shorthand property used to declare:

  border-image-source:
  border-image-slice:
  border-image-width:
  border-image-outset:
  border-image-repeat:

The syntax for the shorthand is:

 border-image: <source>
<slice {1,4}> / <width {1,4}> <outset> <repeat{1,2}>;

At this time, Opera, Firefox, Chrome and Safari all support the vendor prefixed border-image shorthand property but don’t support any of the longhand properties that make up the shorthand. So, while we’ll cover the various properties that define border images, you should always use the shorthand instead of the shorthand properties described below.

border-image-source:

The border-image-source, is the URL, gradient or data URI of the image you want to use as your border image. In the above examples, while the longhand property is NOT supported, it is as if we we had used

.gradientBox {
  border-image-source: url(gradient.png);
}
.stamp {
  border-image-source: url(stamp.gif);
}

Just as you can include gradients, base 64, gifs, jpegs, pngs, and even SVG images as background images, you can include all these image types as border images.

border-image-slice:

The border-image-slice property defines from one to four lengths that set the distance from each edge of the image marking the area that will be used to cut, or slice, up our border image.

The border-image-slice property values represent inward offsets from the top, right, bottom, and left (TRouBLe) edges respectively of the image. In effect, with the four lines you define, the browser divides the one border image into nine regions: four corners, four edges and a middle. The four corners maintain their exact size. The other five values can be stretched or repeated or a combo of the two (round), depending on the values of the other border-image properties.

CSS3 border-image fig3

The black lines in the images above delineate how our four defined slice lines cut up our border-image.

In our examples, we’ve sliced the image 30px in from each side for our gradient, and 8 pixels in from each side for our stamp.

In the above examples, while the longhand property is NOT supported, it is as if we we had used

.gradientBox {
  border-image-slice: 30 30 30 30;
}
.stamp {
  border-image-slice: 8 8 8 8;
}

or, since the values are repeated, like the TRBL of border or padding, we can use a single value for all four sides

.gradientBox {
  border-image-slice: 30;
}
.stamp {
  border-image-slice: 8;
}

Note we’ve used no length units. If you are setting the slice values in length, and the value will be interpreted as pixels, omit the units. If you are using percentage values, include the percent. In our example, we could also have used the following:

.gradientBox {
  border-image-slice: 30%;
}
.stamp {
  border-image-slice: 26.7%;
}

For bitmap images, the omitted values are interpolated as pixel values. For vector images (SVG), the values are coordinates. For percentages use the percent sign (%).

border-image-width:

The border-image-width property sets the width of the element’s border. If the border-image-width property is declared, it takes precedence over the border-width, if one is declared. If omitted and the border-width is omitted, the value defaults to the border-width default which is ‘medium’, or generally 3px.

This shorthand is NOT supported in Opera (build 1024 is the most recent one checked). Additionally, the value of auto is not supported in any browser. As such, it is often recommended to include border-width as a separate property. Declaring as part of the shorthand is as if we had declared:

.gradientBox {
  border-image-width: 30px 30px 30px 30px;
}
.stamp {
  border-image-width: 8px 8px 8px 8px;
}

or, since all the value are the same,

.gradientBox {
  border-image-width: 30px;
}
.stamp {
  border-image-width: 8px;
}

So far we have:

.gradientBox {
  border-image: url(gradient.png) 30 / 30px;
}
.stamp {
  border-image: url(stamp.gif) 8 / 8px;
}

Since including border-image-width in the shorthand currently makes Opera fail, it is recommended to exclude this property, and instead opt for including the CSS2 border-width value.

.gradientBox {
  border-width: 30px;
}
.stamp {
  border-width: 8px;
}

Having the border-image-width be the same width as the border-image-slice will create the best looking border image with no distortion. But, they don’t need to have the same values. The slice will be stretched (or contracted) to the width of the border-image-width if the values are not the same.

Remember the box model! As you increase the border-image-width, your element will grow larger.

border-image-outset

The border-image-outset property specifies the amount by which the border-image area extends beyond the border box on all four sides. It is not supported in any browsers, and makes the entire declaration fail, so, for now, don’t include it. The default value is 0.

border-image-repeat

The border-image-repeat property allows you to delineate how non-corner images (the sides and middle) are repeated and/or scaled. The first value is the top and bottom, the second value is the left and right sides. If the second value is omitted, all four sides will have the same value.

The specifications currently define four possible values, but only three are well supported. stretch means that the image should not be tiled, but rather stretched to fill the area. repeat means the image is tiled ( or repeated) to fill the area. If the area allocated for the repeating image is not exactly divisible by the width of the image, the last tiled image may be cut off. With round the image is tiled (repeated) to fill the area, with the image being scaled down, possibly losing its aspect ratio, but ensuring that the image is never cropped. Note that Webkit doesn’t support the round value, replacing it with repeat instead (which is better than failing, I guess).

The space value is not currently supported, but when supported, the border-image will be repeated as many times as can fully fit in the area provided, with the tiles evenly spaced, showing white space between the tiles if the width provided is not an exact multiple of the image size.

In our above examples, we used stretch for the gradient and round for the stamp. You will always want to stretch gradients, as repeating them creates harsh lines as one tile ends and the next begins. And, while it may seem to make sense to use repeat for the stamp, we have no way of knowing if the image is evenly divisible by the width of our design. The round does distort the image ever so slightly, but that is better than having the image cut off.

If we had used the inverse, the effect would be odd. While the top and bottom can use round, repeat or stretch, the left and right sides definitely need the stretch value:

CSS3 border-image fig4

CSS3 border-image fig5

Border-image shorthand

As mentioned earlier, no browser supports the longhand properties defined above, but Opera, Firefox, Chrome and Safari understand the prefixed shorthand border-image property. Now that we understand the components of the shorthand property, let’s put it all together.

The correct syntax is

border-image: <source>
<slice {1,4}> / <width {1,4}>  / <outset> <repeat{1,2}>;

Since outset is not currently supported, we can omit it:

border-image: <source>
<slice {1,4}> / <width {1,4}> <repeat{1,2}>;

Like all border-images, we’ve cut our gradient image into nine slices defined by the border-image-slice property. Generally, the slices are the same width as the border-width. And, since we have a gradient, we want to stretch the image, not tile it, so we don’t get harsh color transitions. As such our code is:

.gradientBox {
    border-image: url(gradient.png) 34 34 34 34 / 34px 34px 34px 34px stretch stretch;
}

which, with repeated values, we can narrow down to:

.gradientBox {
    border-image: url(gradient.png) 34  / 34px  stretch;
}

Since Opera doesn’t understand border-image-width when included in the shorthand, we include the border-width separately and then expand our declarations to include the various vendor prefixes:

.gradientBox {
   border-width: 34px;
  -moz-border-image: url(gradient.png) 34 / 34px  stretch;
  -webkit-border-image: url(gradient.png) 34 / 34px  stretch;
  -o-border-image: url(gradient.png) 34   stretch;
   border-image: url(gradient.png) 34 / 34px   stretch;
}

Similarly, our stamp effect includes the stamp image as the border-image-source, has borders that are eight pixels wide, has a repeating border which can’t have a partial image showing lest we break the design. We still have the Opera issue of border-width, and all supporting browsers still use the vendor prefix. As such, our code looks like this:

.stamp {
    border-width: 8px;
   -webkit-border-image: url(stamp.gif) 8 / 8px round;
   -moz-border-image: url(stamp.gif) 8 / 8px round;
   -o-border-image: url(stamp.gif) 8  round;
    border-image: url(stamp.gif) 8 / 8px  round;
    }

Resources

At this point, you hopefully have a good understanding of how to create a border image. There are a few tools to help you along:

Images are used throughout this article to illustrate the effects achieved with border-image. To see this in action. and view the code, go to the demonstration page.

Posted by Aaron Wheeler

 We’ve all been in difficult interview situations – you get a hard question and go on and on and on without giving a solid answer. In our realm, though, there are some SEO best practices that are so well established that everyone should know and be able to describe them to other people. If you’re a business looking to hire an SEO (in-house, contractor, or otherwise), there’s no better way to gauge an SEO’s abilities than to ask them about basic SEO definitions and strategies. Similarly, SEOs looking for work should be prepared for a comprehensive interview that tests both their knowledge and their creative abilities. In this week’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand talks about some of the questions that might come up in interviews for SEO positions and how to answer them (as well as discussing why interviewees should ask these questions). Have a good question for interviewers? Let us know in the comments!

 

Video Transcription

Howdy, SEOmoz fans. Welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week we’re talking about SEO interview questions, how there are a lot of times in your professional life when you’re going to be either interviewing someone who might be working with you on an SEO team inside your company, who might be contracting for you, perhaps a consultant, you’re interview someone, you’re the CMO or the VP of marketing and you want to know who all these SEO people know their stuff. It can actually be kind of tough to know what questions to ask unless you’ve got some background experience. Likewise if you are someone who might be interviewing for an SEO position, if you’re someone who is a consultant and might be talking to some clients and you want to be prepared for the questions that they’re going to throw at you, this Whiteboard Friday is for you.

So in the SEO interview process, the questions that I would ask, these are very SEO specific ones. So in every interview, particularly when you’re bringing someone on to your team, you’re going to asking questions about cultural fit and background and their biography, like what have they done in their past. Are they going to be a good fit for your team? Are they going to be able to handle the responsibilities? Does their work/life balance work with sort of organization you’ve got? I’m not going to talk about that stuff. I am going to talk about the very specific knowledge kinds of things that you want to use with an SEO or that you want to be prepared for as an SEO when you’re going into these types of discussions.

So the first general section, the section that I start with is general knowledge. This is a great way to feel out whether someone is comfortable and capable. I would use the
se, honestly if we were doing this, I would be using these on phone screens or maybe even in the interview process, like right in the form field just to get a sense, like, "Does this person have a good sense of SEO? Do they know things like, what’s a rel=canonical? What does it do? How does it work? How do search engines treat the meta refresh? What’s an image title versus an alt attribute?" So you’ve got different properties of a particular graphic or an image, and you want to know that the SEO person understands. "Yeah, I know that image title describes the image, but it isn’t necessarily being used by search engines to the same degree that the alt attribute is. It doesn’t show up when you hover in Firefox. It’s not going to become the image label in Google image search, those kinds of things, versus the alt attribute that gets used as anchor text when the image links off to somewhere. So those kinds of things.

You might even have a question like, "How do you remove personalization from search results?" What you want to see is somebody goes, "Oh, yeah, yeah, it’s google.com/search?Q=whatever the search term is @pws=0." You find someone who can write off search strings and tell you, "How do I change the country language code?" "Well, you just add in @gl=uk. To get the UK or ‘us’ to get the US." You want to see that sort of knowledge that indicates that they’re really deep into the process of doing SEO. They live and breathe this stuff. They know it like the back of their hand. That’s what you want to see from an SEO, and this general knowledge section is a great way to get a sense of that.

Now next up, I like to get a little deeper and understand a person’s thought process and be able to explain your thought process to somebody else. That’s why we have a section on strategy and tactics. So this is asking questions that will elicit a response that indicates to you how well this person can really do the functions of SEO. A lot of this general knowledge stuff they should have a good background, but if they miss a few of these questions, it’s fine. They can always go learn them. They can go look them up. They’ll figure it out, it’s okay. But you really want to know things like, "Do they understand how to run a keyword research campaign? Do they understand how to run link building? Do they understand what’s involved in a content strategy? What does that mean? It doesn’t just mean a blog, does it?" It’s all sorts of different things.

So I like asking broad questions like, "How would you create a site to rank for give them a keyword or a set of keywords?" Like, "I am getting into the men’s fashion industry. Just imagine for me, brainstorm with me a site that’s going to perform really well in men’s fashion." And if you hear things like, "Well, I would like to build a site that naturally incents lots of creators, lots of designers of clothing, and lots of brands to put their stuff on our site. So it will be a big important site where lots of people will come to. They’ll put their stuff up and they’ll essentially promote it for us, but we have a lot of unique form fields and unique content that they have to fill out so that the content itself is unique and it doesn’t just look like the manufacturer’s suggested description across everything else, because we don’t want to have duplicate content problems." That’s shows some level of depth in terms of thinking. It gives you a sense of how they’ll tackle problems.

You can ask questions like, "What are some of your favorite scalable link building tactics?" And if they say something like, "Well, I really like contacting webmasters." No, like, "Nope, you’re clearly missing this word scalable and also probably favorite, because nobody really likes contacting webmasters." That’s the least fun part the SEO’s link building job. But if they say things like, "Well, I really like building up popular social accounts," or, "I like running a blog and building up content to attract a community," those are pretty good answers. If they say things like, "I really think that content syndication or image licensing or badges and embeddable widgets is a great link building strategy that’s scalable," those are great answers. You want to hear that kind of stuff.

"How would you get video content into Google?" More of a tactical question, but it gives you a sense of some of the knowledge and then how they do it. So if you hear a question like that and the person gives you a response and they say, "Well, Google has this video protocol." All right, they do, Google does have a video protocol. But what you really want to hear is, "Oh, it’s great! What I like to do is make content using YouTube or Wistia or Vimeo," or whatever it is, whatever their preferred video hosting service of choice is and let them tell you why that is, "and then embed it on our pages and we use the video XML sitemaps feed to send to Google so that appears as rich snippets in the search results." Perfect, this person clearly understands the tactical knowledge, and maybe they don’t even know how to craft it. I don’t know how to write a video XML sitemap. I couldn’t start writing you the protocols from scratch, but I can go find it online and copy what Google suggests it needs to be. I just need to have the knowledge of how to do that.

So that strategy and tactics section, also really important.

Last up. I do like to ask about some tools and metrics because this can give you a great sense of both an SEO’s depth as well as they way they think about a lot of problems. Because the field of SEO, granted, is some art, some science, and a lot of research and learning and trying new things, the tools and metrics, the statistics that we use, the correlation data kinds of things, the link data that comes out of Yahoo Site Explorer, or Bing Webmaster tools, or the Google link command, or Exalead, or Majestic SEO, or SEOmoz, you want to know that they’ve got a good grasp on, "Oh, here’s all the ways that I could potentially get that data and here’s why I like this one and I don’t like this one. I like the Bing or the MSN Ad Center or the keyword tool. I don’t like the Google keyword tool. I really don’t like some keyword tool here, but I think Keyword Spy’s great or SpyFu is awesome," or whatever it is. And you want to know, not just what those tools are, but how do they evaluate them.

That gives you a really good sense for how that person thinks about problems, how they’re going to attack things, whether they’re a critical thinker or whether they just take things on face value, which in the SEO world is not a great idea. Like even the things that I might be telling you on Whiteboard Fridays, you probably want to verify for yourself. So things like, "What data would you use to use to judge the value of a link?" And you want to hear things like, "Well, I’d try and gets some metrics around how important the domain is, how important that specific page is. I’d try and get some metrics about where is that link going to be placed, what sort anchor text will it use, how many other links are on that page, where do they point to, or they spammy or manipulative, or are they good and authentic?" Those kinds of things. "What tools do you use to measure competitors’ keywords and traffic?" And if they tell you, "Well, I really like this SpyFu or KeyCompete, or some of these other ones, Compete.com has a competitive intelligence tool. Hitwise has one, very enterprise level." Hey, yeah, those are good ways to measure keywords.

On the traffic question, if they say, "Well, I really like, Alexa." I’d be like, "You do? Why do you like Alexa? What do you find useful about it?" There are good answers, which is, "Well, for the top 1,000 or 5,000 sites on the Web, Alexa’s pretty good at saying what the relative
difference is between them." Which is relatively true, most of the time at least. But for those sites in the tail, sites in the midrange, Alexa’s terrible. You kind of want to hear, "Well, none of the data sources are particularly excellent, but I like to look at Google Trends for websites, or Compete.com, or I like to look at Quantcast. I like to compare across the set. But I really like to look at maybe how many people are subscribing to their blog through Google Reader. That’s a great signal." It’s let’s you know that person is thinking more deeply about these questions.

"How do you measure social activity on a site?" That’s more of a broad based question. Like, "Do you just track tweets? Do you have some sort of an analytics tracking? What do you set up for that? Are you using something simple like a shared count? Do you have a statistics dashboard? Would you be using a Twitter client to be measuring that?" Whatever they’ve got.

If you ask these questions or you can answer these questions, I think you’re going to do a lot to cement a good relationship between things. If you’re in SEO right now and you’re thinking to yourself, "Boy, I’m not sure I can answer all those questions that Rand had on the board," I mean, these aren’t the toughest things that’ll get tossed at you at an interview. They shouldn’t be definitely. So you might want to spend some time having good answers to these questions, thinking hard about these things, researching them. And likewise, if you’re an employer or a contractor and you’re trying to find SEO people to work for you, do consulting work, you definitely want to amass a good set of these. I would actually recommend trying to ask relatively consistently again and again with the same people because having that consistency between questions let’s you really grade people on the same level. If you change up your questions every time, it can get tough to remember how well a candidate might have done against another one.

All right, everyone. I hope you’ve enjoyed this addition of Whiteboard Friday. I hope you’re going to find some great jobs and some great SEOs, and I look forward to seeing you again next time. Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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Screen shot 2011-07-01 at 10.12.42 AM

I was looking at a few web developers’ websites recently, and was appalled at how tech-heavy most of them were.

Sure, it’s nice to show off that you understand the lingo, but prospects want to read your website without having to look in a dictionary.

Here’s the opening sentence on the homepage of a small web company I looked at;

Our team of developers will create XHTML and CSS that passes all validation and at the same time, meets your project requirements.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? Sure does; for the likes of you and I, that understand what is being said. The rule here is to use an active voice and keep the copy succinct and to the point.

I’m betting that the following sentence would work better for them than their current one;

We’ll exceed your website needs, and ensure everything ‘under the hood’ is taken care of as well.

Cast a critical eye over your own website right now; spot any acronyms or long tracts of text? Drop the mumbo jumbo and write your content with the reader in mind – not just other web developers.

note:Do You Want More?

Join our free business newsletter Tribune!

Google recently announced some promising advancements to its search features for Chrome users. In an effort to improve its user experience, the search engine says these advancements will shave significant seconds from search queries and save its users time in the long run.

Search By Image

Despite some of the naysaying, Search By Image is actually an interesting and innovative new feature. This application allows users to upload or drop photos into an image search field and Google will return as much information on the photo as it has indexed. Or, put simply, it lets you use an Image as your search term.

Whether it’s a weird animal, a photo you took on vacation or a piece of art you know nothing about, Google says Search By Image will help users find out more information on photos, quickly and easily. Facial recognition, however, is not currently part of Google’s plan.

What Search By Image Means For Your Content

Images are everywhere on the web. Users snatch them from blogs, websites and random image searches. They devour images from visual powerhouses like Tumblr, Flickr and FFFFOUND. The point is, images from your blog or website can end up anywhere on the Internet.

Since the main function of Search By Image is to return similar or identical images attached to URL’s with more information about them, applying a little brand consistency to the images or logos you use will make it more likely a user will find you or your company no matter where it is on the web.

In addition, consistently using your name, product, brand or other desired keyword as the alt text for your images will help Google return a result that is either a link back to your website or is related to you, your product or brand.Make sure the photos on your site are also named and tagged correctly.

Google explains images are currently matched using pixel analysis, but there is no doubt metadata is a consideration as well. You may not think it will amount to much, but being consistent and solidifying the taxonomy process for images related to your brand are simple steps that will act as breadcrumbs to drive traffic back to your website. So, if you haven’t already, use this as an excuse to put a process in place.

Instant Pages

Instant Pages, the next feature in Google’s growing line of instant gratification features, is expected to roll out slowly over the next few weeks. The application starts pre-loading the first page of a website in its search results once Google is confident the site is what the user is searching for, so that you don’t have to wait for it to load once you click through to the website. According to Google, Instant pages can save a user anywhere between five and seven seconds on each search.

Five to seven seconds might not sound like much, but it presents a significant amount of time savings over… well, time. You can never get those precious milliseconds back again. At least that’s the angle Google is taking. And of course, that all of these efforts will eventually amount to a better overall user experience.

What Instant Pages Means For Your Website

Instant Pages presents a number of opportunities for your own website design. From a simple and engaging homepage, to a user-centered design that compels visitors to explore more of your site, websites must attempt more than ever to cater to the needs of an impatient audience. Make sure your site’s functionality, navigation and content strategy support a simple and straightforward user experience.

On that note, make sure your homepage loads as fast as Google is ready to hand it over in a preloaded search result. Remember, that is a matter of a few seconds.

The evolution of the instant web (propelled further and further along by Google) continues to breed a user group with shorter and shorter attention spans. With each step toward an instant user experience, your visitors will be trained to know immediately whether or not they’re clicking and staying on your website. And once they’ve made it there, they don’t want to waste any precious seconds looking for simple information. There is no option but to indulge them.

Check out the SEO Tools guide at Search Engine Journal.

What Google’s Search By Image and Instant Pages Mean For Your Website


The dilemma for any SEO company; is how search engines change their algorithm (how they rank websites on the web).

As the internet is growing, more and more websites are starting up and diluting each market; which makes SEO a constant job that is never finished.

SEO Today

The tactic that worked last year does not work this year – and that is something that frustrates any SEO company.  However there are good points to be considered with the bad.

The Bad

Hard work is spent in getting articles submitted to article directories, manually submitting websites to directories and writing quality content to go on site.  Search engines change their way of ranking websites and all the hard work seems somewhat irrelevant.

The Good

With many markets, website owners look for ways to beat the system (getting quicker results).  So while some people spent time writing unique articles, others get an article modified and submitted automatically boosting their search position overnight in one go.  Hardly fair for those of us who play by the rules; but this is why search engines do adapt their ways of reading websites, to keep things fair.

There are many factors that contribute to the SEO arsenal so the trick for many SEO companies is to get the balance and apportion time & resource effectively.  The problem however is that without knowing exactly where the itch is, it is hard to scratch it.

SEO Tomorrow

There is a good possibility that the way that search engines continue to rank websites will change, but a few things will remain constant.

  • Backlinks – Websites that have more qualify links to them are considered more popular in their market, and as such will rank higher in their search fields.  It will always be the case that sites that have more links will rule.
  • Quality – Websites that have quality links from authoritative websites will be ranked higher due to the strength of the links.  Numbers do not count for everything (quality over quantity).

Although search engines do and will continue to change the way they rank websites, the two factors above will always remain constant, in that quality of links is core, and number of quality links is important.

The methods of exactly how to achieve the above will vary and it is the job of the SEO company to find the best ways to achieve them.

Search engines do look at the quality of backlinks, and also consider that if a website has ‘spammy’ links or links from irrelevant websites, then this can have a negative effect, so keeping an eye on what sites are sending links (via google toolmaster) is helpful in order to protect your link portfolio.

Closing Thoughts

SEO is always going to be hard work and is never going to be a finished job.  Every business will have competitors looking to pip them to first place.  Ensuring that your onsite SEO and offsite SEO are steadily being worked on will show the search engines that your site is worth taking note of.  By getting good quality links and lots of them (from relevant websites) should ensure that you are going in the right diretion.

Check out the SEO Tools guide at Search Engine Journal.

SEO – What Does The Future Hold?


Posted by caseyhen

Last night I got my first look at Google+, I spent just over 3 hours diving in a playing with all the features they have to offer. For those of you who already have access, please share you thoughts in the comments and those without access, enjoy this preview and share your thoughts on what this new social network could mean for SEO.

First Look

Below is the "Home" screen, which seems vaguely familiar to a different social network I use but seems to be somewhat more streamlined.  You can simply sort your friend groups, called Circles, by clicking on the "Streams" in the left sidebar. This give you a chance to only see things shared from your family or other Circles, for example I can select "Family" and see only their content. This looks like it makes it really easy to combined all your work and personal connects into one network.

Circles

The first thing I got right into was creating Circles, which are much like Facebook groups where you can categories people.  This is helpful for people like myself who don’t like to share my SEO related stories/posts with my friends/family members. The process of adding people to these Circles was relativity easy, granted I only had 8 people in my list, but this process seems very streamlined.

Hangouts

An interesting feature that myself, Rand, Space and Mike got to try last night was Google Hangouts. It’s a feature that allows you to chat and video chat with up to 10 friends.  We found the feature to work, thought it wasn’t as great as I thought it was going to be. The cool thing is that when you start a Hangout, it alerts other people in your Circles that you have started a Hangout so they can join. You can limit who sees that you have started a Hangout, this prevents you from starting a business Hangout and having your Mom show up.

Sparks

Next up was something that Google calls Sparks and describes Sparks is “an online sharing engine.” To me, Sparks seems to be a way to add a "live" SERP into your social network.  I added SEO and Cycling as my first two Sparks to see what happens.  Basically I got a list of webpages, press releases, and videos that relate to the term I entered and they seemed to update over the few hours I watched them.  The content listed in each Spark has a Share link, which allows you to easily share that content with your Circles.

Photos

As with any social network, having the ability to share photos with your friends is key! Google+ has a few different ways of displaying and sharing photos with your friends. Below is the first way to see the photos that your friends have shared, it is quite a user friendly way of seeing what images are included in each album your friend shared.

If you click on one of the options above, it opens a slideshow of all the images your Circles have uploaded.  It allows you to quickly flip through your friend’s images and add comments quickly, along with seeing all other comments. Like other networks you can tag your friends in photos that you upload.

Next is what it looks like when you share a picture within an album that you created. When you roll over the image it increases in size and displays the whole images, which is helpful for some images. I found the ability to upload photos very easy and the uploads happened very quickly.

Overall I found that the ability to share photos was not as streamlined as I would have liked it to be but I’ll leave the final judgement up to others.

Security

Below are some of the security options that you can set when sharing things with your circles.  It allows you to stop people from commenting on the thing you shared and you can stop them from resharing it with their circles.  Also when you first share something it allows you to pick what Circles you want to see the thing you shared. So if you don’t want your Mom to see the picture of Carlos from Agillian below, then you should make sure you share it only with your SEO friends.

My Takeaways

In closing, I have to say I was impressed with some thing but overall I think they have some work to do before this really catches on with the main stream public. Google+ seems to have a large learning curve which could deter many new users. I spent just over 3 hours on it and don’t feel like I really touched the surface of what it can do, nor do I fully understand what the purpose of some of their new features. Rand may have said it best with what he shared on Google+ last night:


How Does This Effect SEO

How do you think Google is going to integrate Google+ with your search results? We did some quick tests last night to see how sharing things on Google+ will effect the SERPs of the friends in your social Circles.  So far we couldn’t see any noticeable difference when your friends share something or +1 it within Google+. Now this doesn’t mean anything as Google often rolls out products early and works them into the SERPs later.

We will be doing more testing to see how this new release from Google will effect the way we do our jobs, so stay tuned.  Also if you have seen anything that I may have missed, please do share it in the comments below.

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Facebook has announced two new features for its Comments Box plugin, which lets third party websites embed Facebook comments: Chronological Sort, and Boost Comment.

Comments can now be sorted in three ways: besides the reverse chronological sort option, you can now also have the comments sorted chronologically or by their social ranking, which will take into account likes and comments from other users. To choose an option, click the arrow next to the number of comments in the box.

Furthermore, if a particular comment is especially relevant to you and you want to push it to the top, you can do so by clicking the “Boost Comment” option.

Facebook also announced that more than 300,000 sites have embedded the Comments Box – a solid number when you consider that the plugin was launched in March 2011.

More About: comments box, facebook, plugin, social media, social networking, sort, sorting

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+1 metrics in Google Webmaster Tools can show you how the +1 button affects the traffic coming to your pages:




Devs, if you participate in the hacker community and make significant contributions to open-source projects, startup Work for Pie has come up with a simple way to showcase your involvement.

The WFP team has developed a score similar in ways to a Klout score. But these scores take into account things like your contributions to Hacker News, StackOverflow, Github, Bitbucket and other dev-centric communities. And if you do a lot of open-source development, all the better for your own score.

On its website, WFP states it wants to “incentivize meaningful participation and contribution. Our scoring system does just that, and soon you’ll be able to see how you stack up against your friends and against the very best. It’s an indication of your participation and performance, but it’s also a challenge.”

Of course, the startup recognizes there are many ways to measure hacker greatness, and these types of community involvement are just one way. The scores are weighted to favor involvement in and contribution to open source projects. Right now, WFP is gathering data from Github and Bitbucket and may consider adding other sites, too.

SEE ALSO: HOW TO: Hire (or Be Hired as) a Team of Devs

Some dev-centric community sites have built-in scoring mechanisms of their own, and WFP uses these scores in developing their own. For example, the algorithm takes into account a user’s StackOverflow reputation and Hacker News karma, although the latter site gets less weight overall.

WFP scores range from 1 to 100. Currently, the highest score on the site is a 79.

In addition to calculating and displaying a developer’s score, a WFP profile can also show off his or her code projects, language and framework skills, general bio, work experience, and more.

WFP allows users to very simply enter usernames to grab publicly available data from the aforementioned developer sites. The profiles also link up nicely with existing social and personal accounts on Facebook and Google.

The more complete a WFP profile is, the more it looks and behaves as an interactive coder’s resume and showcase. Here’s an example from a top-scored WFP user:

The team will eventually allow users to customize profiles with their own colors, typefaces and background images with a WYSIWYG editor.

In an email to Mashable, WFP co-founder Cliff McKinney writes, “Our immediate plans are to get the latest version of our profiles rolled out within the next two weeks and then to consider adding additional code repositories to our algorithm.”

“Eventually, of course, we want to use what we’ve built to connect companies to awesome developers and vice versa, but we’re definitely focusing on making the portfolios awesome first.”

Here’s a sneak peek at the next iteration of WFP profiles, which will also include a breakdown of the score for code, community and Q&A involvement:

Work for Pie

Work for Pie

Work for Pie

Work for Pie was part of Memphis-based incubator Seed Hatchery earlier this spring.

Top image courtesy of iStockphoto user nullplus

More About: developers, development, github, hacker news, pie, score, stack overflow, stackoverflow, web developers, work for pie

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