Last week at SXSW Google engineer Matt Cutts announced that Google is working on an "over-optimisation" penalty. If your site is "overly seo'd" then expect to see your rankings start to fall in the coming months.
As far as I'm concerned, this isn't really news. It's an obvious progression for Google and it's something I've warned clients about for years now: you can't afford to focus on getting users onto your site at the expense of providing relevant content to them once they arrive.
Nevertheless, this latest step by Google is easy to understand. You just need to understand what business Google is really in.
Hint: It's not the search engine business.
While this isn't strictly a Joomla tip, it's certainly something that has helped me more easily track the volume of traffic that comes from specific posts I make on forums and social media sites.
One of the reasons I find this necessary is that I'm very active on multiple forums and often reference my own blog posts when helping others. While it's easy enough to see that a certain amount of traffic is coming from one of these forums, it can be a little tougher to get an idea of which specific discussions are generating interest.
So I use a very simple trick and append my URLs with an identifier. For example, in a recent post on the K2 community forums, in a discussion about tagging, I used my own blog as an example. The URL I gave them was http://thinksync.com.au/blog?utm_source=SBF&utm_medium=forum&utm_campaign=tagging.
I generated this URL by using the Google URL Builder.
Now in Google Analytics, I can look in my campaign view and see 'tagging' appended to any traffic that arrives at my site from that post.
This is great intelligence, helping me to determine which topics are popular and worth spending time on for future posts.
Validating a website has become standard practice among designers over the last few years. As a site nears completion, the designer tests the site against the W3C Validator service to ensure that the code meets the standards, allowing them to proudly display a badge declaring their competency.
I have no real problem with this, except insofar as it provides no value (except to the designer's ego!) to show this badge.
The real problem lies with the claim that validation is inherently valuable as an SEO tactic. Sites like Google, Amazon and a plethora of other high-ranking sites stand as proof positive that validation alone will not ensure your site ranks highly.
So why is validation touted as an SEO technique?
There's a common misconception that many (if not most) online marketers or site owners fall into when attempting to drive business to their website.
Traffic volume is essentially meaningless.
Some so-called AdWords 'Gurus' are the worst of the lot when it comes to overestimating the value of traffic. (don't get me wrong, there are real AdWords gurus)
It isn't helped by the fact that AdWords itself focuses on a CPC (cost per click) payment method. Many internet marketers are concerned predominantly about either the CPC or the CPM (cost per thousand impressions of each ad) of their campaigns.
Both of these methods are about determining value, but taken alone they fail to give an accurate picture about the true value of your traffic.
Let's look at how your campaign could be getting more bang for its buck.
A recent poll on Mashable purported to show that users prefer real books to e-books.
Looking at the poll, it's pretty clear: people overwhelmingly prefer real books to e-books.
However, if you take more than quick glance, it reveals its lack of depth. The question had three choices: prefer books, prefer e-books or happy with both.
On the face of it, those seem like valid questions - so what's missing?