SEO is a one-time fix?

Dave Pasternack of Did-it.com (an PPC firm) has stirred up a controversy in the SEO community by claiming that SEO is not rocket science, and that SEO is simply a one-time fix (see here and here). The message is that companies do not need to hire an external SEO firm in an ongoing basis. Of course, the SEO community, many of whom who make their living by engaged with clients in an ongoing basis, does not like this message, and many have been very vocal about it. For example, Aaron Wall of Seobook.com is starting a contest at Threadwatch.

Let’s look at the key arguments Dave presented:

Continue reading

Different Colors of SEO Hats

In the SEO world, we often hear terms such as white hat, black hat, and sometimes other colors of hat like gray (or grey, in some parts of the world). They refer to different levels of doing search engine optimization for a site. But, what constitute white-hat practices, and what constitutes black-hat practices? Chris Beasley of Websitepublisher.net has written a good article on exactly this topic. There are some other articles that divides SEO into more shades, but I like this one because I thought 3 is a good number (do you really wan to read through the 9 different shades of SEO?)

Continue reading

13 Directories Worth Submitting Your Site To

One issue for people doing SEO for their sites is which directories to submit to. We all know about DMOZ and Yahoo. Unfortunately, getting listed in DMOZ is difficult, as in many cases one cannot even submit a URL. Getting listed in Yahoo directory will require you to spend $299 upon submission to get reviewed, and $299 annually every year.

Continue reading

Salaries for SEO professionals

Rand has a posting on SEO salaries in SEOMoz Blog. In the post, he listed average salaries for various SEO positions for both in-house and agency.

His numbers appear to be on target, although the range he gave is quite large. And because it’s impossible to provide numbers for every metro area in the world, one will need to apply cost of living adjustments if he/she wants to see whether his/her own salary is within that range.

Continue reading

Summary: Firefox extensions for SEO

After reviewing the 5 Firefox extensions for SEO, we find that there are basically two different categories of extensions: 1) one that adds SEO-related information to search results, and 2) one that shows SEO metrics for the page you are currently on. Extensions built by SEO Book and SEO Quake fall under the first category, and extensions built by Rank Quest, SearchStatus, and SEOpen fall under the second category.

Because the two categories of extensions are very different (first category is for people doing serious SEO research, second one is for people who are interested in the site they are looking at), I decided I will recommend one extension from each category:

Category 1: Adding SEO-related information to search results

I think both tools are excellent, as evident from both getting a total score of 25. SEO Book’s information on query terms is countered by SEO Quake’s ability to show information on the page you are visiting. At the end, the difference was that I just did not like SEO Quake’s display under the sponsored search section in the search results pages. Therefore, I will go with SEO Book’s tool.

Category 2: Showing SEO metrics for the pages you are currently on

For this category, the winner is SearchStatus. The fact that it shows the information at the status bar at the bottom of Firefox rather than eating up real estate by showing a toolbar is the differentiating factor.

Summary

I recommend that people use the extension from SEO Book for serious SEO research, and the extension from SearchStatus for getting SEO information for a particular site.

SEOpen Firefox Extension

Today let’s take a look at the SEOpen Firefox extension. This extension can be downloaded from https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/570/. This extension adds a toolbar on Firefox, from where you can view SEO-related information from Google, Yahoo!, MSN, Alexa, and several other resources on the page you are at.

Below is a screenshot of what the extension looks like when clicking on “Other Tools”.

seopen

Below is the score for each category:

Ease of installation: 5
Ease of use: 3
Amount of time for the information to appear: 4
Usefulness of information presented: 3
Amount of real estate taken up: 3
Documentation: 3
Total: 21

Ease of installation: Installation was quick and problem free.

Ease of use: There was a problem with one of the links (page size, which returned a 404).

Amount of time for the information to appear: It takes two clicks to get to the desired information. Once the metrics are selected, though, information does appear quickly.

Usefulness of information presented: Good for getting info on the page you are on. A minus is that it shows backlinks info from Google, and it is known that the link: command in Google returns incorrect numbers.

Amount of real estate taken up: An additional toolbar appears on the browser.

Documentation: Adequate documentation is available at http://seopen.com/firefox-extension/index.php.

Wish List

Make sure all links are valid.

Take out information that is known to be highly inaccurate (such as backlinks from Google).

SearchStatus Firefox Extensions

Today let’s take a look at the SearchStatus Firefox extension. This extension can be downloaded from https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/321/. This extension adds toolbar information on the status bar at the bottom of Firefox by default. PR and Alexa are displayed directly. Additional SEO-related data can be viewed by right clicking on the q sign (logo).

Below is a screenshot of what the extension looks like when right-clicking on the logo:

searchstatus

Below is the score for each category:

Ease of installation: 5
Ease of use: 4
Amount of time for the information to appear: 4
Usefulness of information presented: 3
Amount of real estate taken up: 5
Documentation: 3
Total: 24

Ease of installation: Installation was quick and problem free.

Ease of use: Easy to use. PR and Alex ranking are shown directly. Additional information can be retrieved by right clicking on the SearchStatus logo. It does take a little bit of navigation to get to the information you want.

Amount of time for the information to appear: It takes several clicks to get to the desired information. Once the metrics are selected, though, information does appear quickly.

Usefulness of information presented: Good for getting info on the page you are on.

Amount of real estate taken up: Users can customize where the information from this extension shows up. The default is the status bar, which doesn’t occupy any additional real estate.

Documentation: Adequate documentation is available at http://www.quirk.biz/searchstatus/.

Wish List

Change the menu system so that fewer clicks are needed to get to the information needed.

RankQuest Firefox Extension

I have also tried the RankQuest Firefox extension. This extension can be downloaded from https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/1471/. This extension adds a toolbar to Firefox. The toolbar contains links to many SEO-related functionalities, including the information on query terms and specific sites.

Below is a screenshot of what the extension looks like:

rankquest

Below is the score for each category:

Ease of installation: 5
Ease of use: 2
Amount of time for the information to appear: 5
Usefulness of information presented: 4
Amount of real estate taken up: 3
Documentation: 3
Total: 22

Ease of installation: Installation was quick and problem free.

Ease of use: Clicking on the toolbar takes you to a new tab. After checking several sites / query terms, the number of tabs can become unmanageable.

Amount of time for the information to appear: Data loads quickly.

Usefulness of information presented: Good information on the specific sites / query terms requested. There are also links to general SEO help. I don’t believe this is a useful feature for any SEO serious enough to install a toolbar.

Amount of real estate taken up: An additional toolbar is shown.

Documentation: Adequate documentation is available at http://www.rankquest.com/toolbarhelp.html.

Wish List

Ability to provide the option within the tool to specify whether to open a new tab or use the current tab.