SEO and The User Experience

I'm not a Search Engine Optimization expert. I enjoy thinking about it,  and I have a pretty good idea about SEO best practices but I'm not a pro.

The real SEO pros who live and breathe the stuff all day, every day.

I'm talking about guys like Rand Fishkin at SEOMoz because he writes amazing posts like a recent one about How To Build A Perfectly Optimized Landing Page.

In that post, he walks through his thoughts on how a page should be built in order for it to have the best chance of ranking well in search results. I won't repeat it all here, but he provides well-researched data for some of the reasons he gives, and explains it all in easy-to-understand terms.

Near the end of the post, he asks the question "Why don't we always obey the rules (when it comes to optimizing landing pages)?"

The gist of his answer is that the reasons SEO pros don't always ignore these landing-page optimization rules is because they are focused on other strategies, such as link buidling, to achieve search engine dominance.

Although he lists both Content and User Experience as other priorities one should have when building a landing page, I don't think he ranks them highly enough. To me, it seems like having good content and ensuring that is easy for your users to navigate should take precedence over any other work.

Its fine to rank well in search engines, but that's not going to do anything for you if users aren't interested in what they find on your page, or if they have trouble doing anything with it.

As always, plan and create for users first, search engines second.


SEOMoz Enters the Social Media Monitoring Fray

With the launch of BlogScape, it looks like respected search engine optimization experts SEOMoz are entering the competitive world of social media monitoring ( was one of my "Blogs That You Should Be Reading But Probably Aren't).

While it isn't exactly a stand alone product, as the cost of paying for it would also include a whole bunch of other SEOMoz products and services, it still looks like an incredibly strong offering in terms of its ability to analyze traffic.

Where I think it lacks is in its reach - from the description, it appears to be only monitoring 10 million RSS feeds from what they term "the fast-moving web." Compare this to Technorati who, according to their last "State of the Blogosphere," tracks 133 million blogs.

The good news is that Blogscape assigns a "Blogrank" to the blogs it tracks. From the description, it sounds like this will act similarly to Technorati's Authority number, and will be an interesting way to evaluate the importance and relevance of a particular blog.

One of the main faces of SEOMoz, Rand Fishkin, chimes in on the comments section of the post saying that he "honestly think this is as good and in some ways better than GG Blogsearch, Technorati, etc. and the graphing is clearly way more advanced."

That's quite a bold statement. However, the tools he is comparing it to are free tools. Unless I'm mistaken, SEOMoz's Blogscape is only available to PRO members of their site, and membership ranges between $79-$229 a month.

I'd still be interested in checking it out. Maybe I'll ask for an SEOMoz PRO member ship for my birthday or something.