Friday, March 30, 2007

SEO information overload anyone?

You know that sensation where your brain feels filled to the brim with information that you haven't even processed all the way yet? And possibly just one more piece will make make your head explode like one of those little confetti popper party favors?

I'm there.

I think this weekend will be for going over the information I've already taken in, the basics of SEO such as link baiting, linking, building content, etc. The easy parts (or at least, easier to understand). Then maybe I can get into the more technical aspects, like getting a basic understanding of search engine spiders and crawlers and how search engines actually work.

For someone raised on a computer, there was a WHOLE lot I didn't know. But hey, now I know that I DON'T know and knowing is half the battle (GI Joe reference anyone?).

At least I've come up with a simple way to explain my new role as an SEO-er for in layman's terms: "the goal of my job is to make our websites pop up near the top of the page in Google's search body." (Can't say organic search - most people have no idea what that means.) There. Even someone who is basically computer illiterate could understand that, right?

The problem I'm fielding right now (besides the possibility of a minor brain embolism due to info overload) is figuring out just WHERE to start with optimizing our websites. Do I start with getting us quality backlinks? Do I start with article/content building? Do I go back over the current pages and make sure they're search engine friendly? Sure, I know on-page optimization with keywords may not count as much for ranking anymore - but just in case, I'd rather not overlook that factor. I think this weekend it's time to come up with a game plan. I need to be a bit more organized than I'm used to.

For anyone else out there trying to learn basic SEO and move on up through the ranks from novice to expert, here are some of the top SEOs of the community - their websites and blogs have been invaluable to me. In no particular order, they are:

Eric Ward (the LinkMoses)
Search Engine Land
Aaron Wall and (the glossary has definitely been a handy reference)
Rand Fishkin and
Andy Hagan
Scoreboard Media Group
Michael Gray

That's about it for now - there's definitely more on my list, but I'll add them at a later date. If anyone has any suggestions at all on what an SEO beginner should be reading up on, feel free to let me know.

One thing I've learned - SEO blogs are an INVALUABLE teaching tool.

Thanks to all you SEO bloggers out there.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

SEO terminology

As previously mentioned, I am very new to the SEO / web development world. Sure, in high school I had my own little website (back when frames were the "in" thing) but it's been a while since I got to play directly with html and reformatting of websites and what not - and there's a whole lot to remember. I mean one little word or tag or punctuation mark messed up can just blow the whole page. Does that make anyone else nervous? Luckily, I'm a bit OCD when it comes to reading and rereading anything I write, be it scripting, articles, blogs, etc.

The thing I'm working on now is getting the terminology down. I find that I actually knew a lot more about SEOing than I originally thought - I just didn't realize it or use the correct terminology.

For example - when I came across the word link bait, I just kept thinking about fishing (it's finally Spring and it's about time I got my license and spent some lazy afternoons AWAY from my computer). NOW, of course, I realize, that link bait is just a word referring to anything cool on a site that draws people in - such as extremely useful info, special/discount promotions, videos, etc - just content that gets people talking and more importantly, linking!

Something else I wondered about - WHY do people have so many urls for one site - ex:,,, etc.

What I never realized was those sites CAN be to totally different and non related pages - but most sites will get all those domain names for themselves and just redirect traffic to the main page. If your site is, well then, you might want to pick up and and whenever someone types in those urls, it is redirected to your MAIN site,

Once again, I know about that sort of thing - I just never knew there was a TERM for it - canonical url - and canonicalization is just the process of of picking the best url when there are different choices. I still haven't quite grasped all the ins and outs of it, but Google's Matt Cutts laid it out better than I can in his post.

So for now, it's all about reading and learning anything I can on web development and SEO in general. Anything I find interesting and useful will get posted right on here, because actually, when I learn a new concept, it helps for me to write it on out. Hopefully other people will find what I share useful, if not, well, it sure is helping me!

FYI, SEOBook has a great Search Engine Marketing Glossary. It's definitely been a lifesaver.

As a side note - Web Xtreme is just an AWESOME place to work. This Thursday Rory, Steve and Dave are treating all their employees to food and drink at the Brickyard here in Lancaster, PA. And Rory just got done running around the halls getting everyone hyped up for their weekly podcast. He is totally the Flavor-Flav of the business/real estate world.

Monday, March 26, 2007

The Experiment Begins...

What happens when you take a fairly intelligent, computer-literate girl (or I guess to be PC, young woman) and make her the SEO in training for your entire company? This blog!

I went from being an account manager/sometimes writer for (the brainchild of Web Xtreme, Inc) to being the resident SEO buff - okay, so I'm not a buff yet, but that's the whole goal behind this change. The owners of came to me on 3/19/07 and asked me to become the new SEO-er for our company - I didn't even have to think about it - it was a chance to use a few more of those skills I paid over a hundred grand for by going to college (totally worth it by the way!).

It's nice to know that Rory, Steve and Dave have confidence in my writing skills as well as my ability to learn a totally new subject. So now I'm officially the SEO for Web Xtreme, Inc and all of their websites.

Except I had VERY little knowledge of what exactly it MEANS to do SEO, the ins and outs, heck, even what it stands for and all that it encompasses! So step one has been researching SEO and getting intimate with what exactly SEO is about. Step 2 has been getting familiar with all the famous SEO-ers out there (whose blogs are a godsend!) and step 3 is simply gobbling up any and all information on SEO in an attempt to make myself an expert.

Is it going to take time? Yup. Hard work? Oh heck yes. Am I confident that I can do it? Ya darn straight I am - as I said, I'm a fairly intelligent girl and a quick learner. If all those self-taught experts can do it, well then, so can I!

The blog is to help me keep track of what I'm doing on a day to day basis, sharing my successes and failures, what works and what doesn't, pretty much from a layman's point of view (I don't know all the fancy vocabulary yet, but I'm learning!).

The ironic thing about this whole situation is that I've been whining about how much I miss school and learning (I'm a nerd) and just getting to read, read, read on new subjects. And *poof* this opportunity is dropped in my lap. So now I get to learn new things, and not only do I NOT have to pay to learn, I'm actually getting paid to do it (thanks guys!).

More to come on the basics I've learned, what I'm working on, where I'm going, etc. If ever I post any bonehead comments and you SEO experts out there see it - PLEASE feel free to comment - I am SO open to suggestions, tips, help, etc it's ridiculous!