WTF, Gawker? You Redesigned All Your Sites?

This is the new Gizmodo? Really?
This is the new Gizmodo? Really?

    Gawker launched a site redesign today. And it’s not very good. At all. Also, the right-side navigation doesn’t ever seem to load completely. But wait! Doesn’t Gawker own several *really* popular websites? Why yes, yes they do. And as it turns out, they launched this new design across *ALL* of their websites: Gawker, Gizmodo, Deadspin, Lifehacker, Kotaku, Jezebel, IO9, Jalopnik. Yep. This new format is live on all 8 sites. That’s not good at all. I suspect they will be taking some heat on this one, especially in the short term. I mean, really. It looks like a frames-style site from 1998.

    One of the things that is bothering me on the SEO side of things are the URLs. All of the links to posts have a hash (#) in the URL, just after the domain. This is not good. Check it out:

    Gawker URL with # (New Site Design Feb-2011)
    Gawker URL with # (New Site Design Feb-2011)
    Deadspin URL with # (New Site Design Feb-2011)
    Deadspin URL with # (New Site Design Feb-2011)
    Lifehacker URL with # (New Site Design Feb-2011)
    Lifehacker URL with # (New Site Design Feb-2011)

    Probably the most glaring mistake they made is loading all of their content via AJAX and javascript. For example, if you disable javascript and try to load the Gizmodo homepage, this is what you see:

    Hey Gizmodo. Disable Javascript and this is what you see: Nothing.
    Hey Gizmodo. Disable Javascript and this is what you see: Nothing.

    On another interesting note, you should take a look at the cached version of each of these sites:

    That can’t be good! After trying to load the cached versions of these pages –  it seems that the request is just repeated over and over again for a while – and then I’m directed to a Google page that says:

    Our systems have detected unusual traffic from your computer network

    Also, if you’re not a fan of slow loading times, you’re not going to enjoy this site right now. Get used to this gif:

    To be fair, I’m sure that much like all new website launches and redesigns, this project was not 100% complete. There are probably still some glitches that need to be fixed. And maybe that’s what I’m seeing with the URLs. But seriously, my first take on this new design is that it’s terrible. Maybe it will prove to be awesome once they fix everything. And who knows, maybe these sites are the first to move away from the typical blog-style template that has become so popular in the past 5 years. Were they trying to make a statement? Or were they trying to make a better product for their massive fan base? So many questions…

    I’m very interested to see how this one plays out. BTW Gawker, I’m still a big fan. Cheers!

    SEO Vets Take All Comers (SMX Advanced 2010)

    On this panel:

    • Alex Bennert, In House SEO, Wall Street Journal
    • Greg Boser, President and CEO, 3 Dog Media
    • Bruce Clay, President, Bruce Clay, Inc.
    • Vanessa Fox, Contributing Editor, Search Engine Land
    • Todd Friesen, VP of Search, Position Technologies
    • Rae Hoffman, Owner, Sugarrae Internet Consulting
    • Stephan Spencer, VP of SEO Strategies, Covario

    I’m glad that Danny Sullivan is moderating this one. This is my favorite panel of the entire conference circuit.

    • “We have 300 or 400 years of experience on this panel.” – Danny Sullivan
    • “My name is Greg, and I’m as old as dirt. Almost as old as Bruce (Clay).” – Greg Boser
    • “I’m Bruce Clay, and you’ve all probably been to my site.” – Bruce Clay

    Talking points:

    • Is it open season on javascript links? Well, kinda, now that Google is looking for them and crawling JS to find paid links.
    • Supposedly, Mayday went after the longtail. It’s more of an algorithm change that goes after spam, specifically longtail pages that they refer to as “content farms”. This probably happens to sites that have a lot of links to the homepage, but not many links to deeper URLs in the site. They are not necessarily content farms, but they are not as authoritative or relevant as other sites.
    • Greg Boser: “External links are the key.”
    • Sugarrae noticed that where product pages dropped out of the rankings due to Mayday, category pages replaced them. And a lot of it has to do with how you link internally.
    • Danny: “Is Matt Cutts a damn liar?”
    • Stephan just gave the audience a way to determine if Matt Cutts is lying.
    • Todd: Who cares if Google is tracking your bounce rate. People are leaving.
    • Bruce: There is no PageRank evaporation from NoFollows.
    • Bruce is upset that CNN won’t link to his site. 🙁
    • Bruce says CNN publishes a million articles a month. There’s no way they can SEO the content once it’s been launched. The best way to do SEO is at the point of creation. You have to teach them SEO so they can embed it in their processes.
    • Now Vanessa is going on and on about crawl caps.
    • Greg: Ratio of total pages to traffic’d pages – that’s an important number. You can improve the performance of the pages that are showing up in Google by excluding the crawling of the crappy pages. And then start going after the poor performing pages one by one.
    • Is the site: on Google very reliable? It seems to be broken. One day it shows 380k. Then the next day it shows 50k. Then the next day it shows 110k. What’s the deal? The panelists say that most google operators are unreliable.

    Location Services: The New Local Search? (SMX Advanced 2010)

    Up First: Michael Martin, Owner, Mobile Martin

    • Gowalla
    • Foursquare
    • MyTown
    • Where
    • brightkite
    • geodelic
    • Google Latitude
    • Loopt
    • Whrrl
    • Layar: augmented reality information service (hold your phone up and get data)
    • Buzzd
    • Check.in
    • Nearly 50% of online search has a location intent, especially on mobile devices
    • Potentially a $20B market
    • SEO options: microformats (more and more of a factor for mobile rankings, part of google caffeine and making your sites faster is about mobile devices being a big part of search and internet surfing)
    • GetListed.org
    • 50% of location based ads resulted in action
    • AdMob, iAd, MillenialMedia: location based ads result in more actions than SMS
    • GeoToko: one-stop place to set up foursquare campaigns
    • Location service marketing is more about rewarding loyalty than advertising
    • Holiday Inn use location services to fill up rooms that are available late at night, using your phone as your hotel room key

    Up Next: Vince Blackham, Founder & CEO, Primary Affect

    • $12B – expected worth of location-based services by 2014
    • 20%-40% of searches on Google are location based (SMX London)
    • Why do it?
    • Low risk, high potential
    • Location is taken out of the game. The person is already in your store, holding your product, sharing on Twitter, etc…
    • You’re creating a loyalty program. Giving people a reason to come back. Great for word-of-mouth marketing.
    • Unique uses of LBS APIs are available
    • SnackSquare
    • @vinceblackham

    Up Next: Will Scott, President, Search Influence & Matt Siltala, Founder, Dream Systems Media

    • Presenting the first ever Foursquare marketing advertiser survey
    • Foursquare early adopters are primarily on the coasts and in Chicago
    • Majority of advertisers have been on FS for less than 6 months
    • More advertisers are tracking check-ins
    • Most advertisers have claimed their Google Local page
    • Majority have budgets less than $5k
    • Only 10% said they would pay for it
    • How did you first become aware of Foursquare: friend, employee or colleague, not by customer
    • How long had they been aware of Foursquare: vast majority- less than one year
    • How long have they been using FS to promote their business: less than 6 months
    • Many advertisers value FS customers more than other customers.
    • Half of advertisers don’t know if FS has helped their business. However, about 1/4 are sure that FS has helped their business.
    • Do you keep track of people when they check in via FS to your establishment? 3/4 yes, 1/4 no
    • Is tracking check-in manageable for your business? 3/4 say yes
    • They use other local online advertising as well: Google Places, Yahoo Local, Bing Local, MerchantCircle, ReachLocal, eLocalListing, Yodle, etc…
    • More people have heard of Yelp than CitySearch
    • If you had to pay for it, would you still use Foursquare? 9/10 say no
    • Pay Attention to: Link Citations, Images Searches, Tweeting, Facebook referrals & Likes, etc…

    Up Next: Dylan Swift, Director of Local Business Marketing, Yelp

    • Yelp: more than 11 million reviews
    • 32 million unique monthly visitors
    • 1.8 million unique visitors last 30 days; 1.4 million of those are on iPhone
    • 27% of all searches on Yelp come from iPhone app
    • Every 5 seconds a call is made to a local biz from iPhone app
    • 1 million people clicked “Get Directions” from the iPhone app in May
    • Yelp.com: heavy volume during week
    • Mobile Yelp heavy volume on weekend
    • Find sales and specials nearby: on list or on map
    • Designing for mobile: how do we highlight the essentials, that is most important, key attributes, reviews, stars, tips and quicklink to business
    • How to adapt contribution from users: Should we let users write reviews from a mobile device? No. You can write a draft. Yelp is concerned with the reviews that are written in txting shorthand vernacular (OMG, LMAO, etc…)
    • Using special features on iPhone: Yelp Monocle : hold up your phone to see what’s around you
    • Video from Steve Jobs talking about how people don’t search for where to eat. They go to Yelp.

    You & A Keynote with Matt Cutts (SMX Advanced 2010)

    Everything is better with Caffeine, right? Oh good. The metaphor joke series begins.

    • Google Caffeine is officially live: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-new-search-index-caffeine.html
    • Now your URLs are immediately processed by Google’s index
    • Caffeine is roughly the same size as the current index, but it gives Google the ability to go bigger and quickly!
    • Caffeine allows Google to process data on the order of 100 petabytes.
    • Fundamentally: As soon as a document gets published, it can be indexed.
    • Annotation: Attaching meta data to objects. For example, PageRank, FB Likes, and other meta data and just plain data. New signals.
    • Twitter introduced an Annotation API. A tweet has a lot of extra associated information. So does a document on the web. Google Caffeine will use all of that associated data when processing an object.
    • Faster indexing, bionic speed and the ability to attach meta data to objects!
    • Matt: Think about it like a car that running down the road and trying to change the engine while the car is running. It will take some time, and they are just now getting to look at a lot of the related data.
    • Mayday algo update. Ranking change. The big talk of May.
    • Matt says his team had nothing to do with the MayDay update.
    • With MayDay, Google raised the bar again. In order to get over that bar, you have to NOT be webspam.
    • But….in 2010, we look at the web as it is. We have to look at the challenges of the web as it is in 2010.
    • Maybe it’s not spam, but it’s not as good as great content.
    • Less webspam and more about the quality of the content.
    • It sounds like Cutts and his team have gone after content farm.
    • Danny is bating Matt into talking sh*t about Mahalo and/or DemandMedia.
    • What is the level of quality of these sites?
    • Danny just called out eHow on a content-free article. F’n hilarious. (Convert FLV to images)
    • Google will be looking at video sitemaps more. So get those live.
    • Crypto-404 or a soft-404. Where the page returns a 200, but Google thinks nothing is found.
    • Cached page link doesn’t get a lot of clickthrough. How can Google make it a better page and a better experience. Like where a snippet came from.
    • Danny calls him out on the DMOZ descriptions. “Just buy DMOZ and fix it.”
    • How about HTML5 and Caffeine? HTML5 is completely unrelated to Caffeine. You don’t automatically rank higher if you do W3C validating. However, Google is updating it’s parsing.
    • Matt: It doesn’t help your rankings if you buy ads in Google.
    • How to determine if you are getting traffic from real-time results? No plans in the works right now.
    • The guy who manages Google Webmaster Central is in the room. What’s his twitter account?
    • Speaking of paid links: It seems that Google has decreased the PR of some major sites that are selling links. However, the pages keep ranking high in the SERPs.
    • Matt: If we drop the PR of a site we’ve caught selling links, the people who are buying the links are not getting their value because those links don’t work anymore.
    • Matt: We have been taking strong action on paid links. In fact, we have a lot of cool new tools that let us do a lot of cool things when we find paid links. We make sure paid links don’t work.
    • There’s always news. Maybe Danny should start doing the Daily Searchcap again.
    • NoFollow: Is it completely out of our control to tell Google our most valuable pages?
    • Matt: The most important pages are the ones you link to from your homepage. It’s the pages that you submit in your sitemap. It’s the pages that you tell Google about.
    • Put a link to your most important pages at the top of your homepage.
    • Google has improved their ability to discover links in javascript, and that goes for paid links, too.
    • 3-pane thing on Google? It’s working out well for Matt Cutts. Glad to know he likes Google products.
    • Matt Cutts polls the audience on Browsers. 1) Firefox 2) Chrome 3) Explorer
    • Matt’s theory of Buzz: How many people got on Twitter just because and really had no idea what to do or how to use it? Danny created Matt Cutts twitter account as a joke and then gave it to him. With Buzz, Matt is finding out more about how he wants to use it. Much like it was with twitter in the beginning.
    • How does Matt react to accusations that Google is only promoting its own products in the SERPs? His response: Bing is worse. A lot of engines just want to show you the pretty stuff. Who’s that? A lot of engines? You mean the other 2! Brilliant. Comedy at its best.
    • Is Google favoring YouTube? Matt Cutts went to the YouTube guys to find out. The YouTube guys claim no, and they say they bend over backwards to not favor YouTube.
    • Now Matt is plugging the new preview pane in Bing where you can watch videos in the preview.
    • When will rich snippets be available for everyone because right now Yelp has an advantage? Matt says they are re-working how they use rich snippets. Time wise, look for it in the next few months. (I’m happy about that!!!!)
    • Rich snippets are great for users and clickthrough. I’m excited.
    • Bing is buying free drinks tonight, right?
    • Do we need separate flash sitemaps? No.
    • Google can determine sentiment analysis, but they don’t use that as a ranking signal.
    • Bounce rate and Google analytics are not used in general ranking alrorithm.
    • To the best of Matt’s knowledge, the Google guys don’t use bounce rate on their search rankings.
    • Sounds like Matt is wishy-washy on this question about bounce rate.
    • If paid links are bad, why are paid directories helpful? It’s the editorial discretion they provide.
    • Can you take Wikipedia out of the top 10 for 24 hours? Nevermind.
    • Put Wikipedia in the corner, so the rest of us can show up.

    Ultimate Social Media Tools Session (SMX Advanced 2010)

    Up first: Tony Adam, Sr. Online Marketing Manager, SEO, MySpace

    Social Media Tools:

    • HelpAReporterOut (HARO)
    • PitchEngine: social media releases
    • SocialMention: social media alerts and mentions
    • ScoutLabs: social media monitoring platform; brand sentiment, buzz, etc…
    • Twitter tools: Twitter widgets
    • FriendOrFollow.com: find out who follows you
    • UnTweeps: find twitter accounts that are stale or not being used and then unfollows them
    • TweetPro: automated following based on search keywords over the course of days, weeks, etc…
    • TwitterProfileOptimizer: gives you tips for your accounts
    • HootSuite: add multiple social networks and invite team members, add your RSS to post to your social networks
    • Seesmic Desktop: the best one
    • Klout: reach scores for your tweets and account, find influencers and connect with them
    • Tools for facebook: badges (like, profile, page, photo, etc…)
    • FBML for Facebook: custom landing pages on your facebook page
    • Wildfire: for promotions, coupons, contests, sweepstakes, giveaways – and you can get information on the leads generated with campaign monitoring
    • MySpace: friendadder.com
    • KnowEm.com: 350+ social networks
    • Customer User Insight Tools: RapLeaf for demographic data and social memberships
    • Flowtown: import business contacts
    • Social Media Analytics: BackType, SWIX (beta)
    • Monitizing social media: ad.ly (add twitter and myspace)
    • When all else fails…build your own tools.
    • other tools: OmniGraffle, Balsamiq
    • Outsourcing for tools: odesk, elance, craigslist

    Up Next: Brent Csutoras, SVP of Viral Marketing, 10e20

    • Forums
      – Big-Boards.com: databases all forums, really cool sort features, directory, forum stats (posts, users, members); it’s where you start to find the places where you wanna participate
      – Omgili ( oh my god i love it): it’s a search engine for forums, over 100k forums and boards in their system, lots of useful sorting features, show questions, advanced search; it will let you see how many people are conversing on a particular topic, so you can find active/current users; Show questions allows you to sort for questions; Advanced Search features a negative match
      – BoardTracker: claims to have over2 million active discussions you can search; the coolest thing is tool for alerts. You can set up alerts! Amazing. It costs money, but it’s worth it.
      – BoardReader: no alerts, nothing new, it allows search by language (great for international marketing)
    • Digg: these tools are a must if you want to be a poweruser on Digg
      – Digg Alerter v1.3: provides information about your submissions, alerts you when your submission hits page 1
      – Friendstatistics: it provides statistics about followers and deadbeats, gives you a look at people who are interested in your content, contact them, form friendships/partnerships, lets you find people who are involved in the process of promoting content; Deadbeats are friends of yours who don’t vote for anything you submit or anything at all
      – Di66.net: statistics in general, word stats based on time frames; top sources; popular topics. This tool helps you be valuable to other diggers. You can see words, sites and topics that get promoted most on Digg.

    Up Next: Rachel Pasqua, Director of Mobile Marketing, iCrossing

    • Mobile devices and social media will change everything, turn our worlds upside down
    • It’s not about the tools, it’s about connecting.
    • Our use of the web is increasingly social and increasingly mobile.
    • Mobile internet devices are becoming a primary means of connecting to the web and eachother (estimated be 150 million people in USA by 2015)
    • Over 50% of US companies ban access to majority of mobile sites – forcing users to go to their mobile devices to access the web for social purposes
    • Mobile websites matter. Make a mobile site. Make it easy to use, simple and refined.
    • Findability is essential. You can’t assume that people in social networks will know about your domain. Make sure those users will get to your mobile content. User-agent detection and redirection – best ways to make this happen. You can also do backend device detection. You can also do some frontend scripting.
    • Make use of mobile tools offered by social networks. SMS tools on Facebook. Enable people to like your FB page via SMS. Update your page via SMS.
    • Twitter also has a full range of tools. Twitter shortcodes. Look them up. Follow. Unfollow. On/Off, etc…
    • Take advantage of APIs that social networks offer. FacebookConnect. 4Sqaure API.
    • Enable social sharing for mobile. People with mobile are in an action-oriented frame of mind. Enable people to text, email, tweet, digg from their devices. Sharing functionality.
    • Stake your claim in local social spaces. Foursquare, Yelp, Loopt are the top sites out there for this.
    • Use mobile applications to manage your social efforts. Monitoring tools, Twitter and facebook tools, blogging tools, etc…
    • BTW, WordPress tool for ipad is awesome

    Other:

    • MySpace guy: The ROI is not there for Facebook pages. Twitter can drive a lot of revenue. They have never seen much of any ROI from Facebook pages. (That seems like a very bold claim. I think Shoemoney would prove him wrong.)
    • It’s tough to separate Twitter and Mobile because they are intrinsically connected.
    • How to fight spam on Digg? Click the button that says “Report as Spam”
    • Social media is very similar in the real world as it is online. You wouldn’t walk into a room and hand your business card to everyone in the room. Don’t do that online.

    QuitRank: Google Algorithm Predicts When Employees Will Quit

    Oh my goodness. According to this WSJ article (here), Google has developed an algorithm to determine which of its 20,000 employees are most likely to quit:

    The Internet search giant recently began crunching data from employee reviews and promotion and pay histories in a mathematical formula Google says can identify which of its 20,000 employees are most likely to quit.

    Apparently, Google’s newest algorithm is using data from employee reviews, promotion histories and pay scale histories in the mathematical analysis. But much like its PageRank search algorithm, don’t expect anyone at Google to disclose any details on this algorithm:

    Google officials are reluctant to share details of the formula, which is still being tested. The inputs include information from surveys and peer reviews, and Google says the algorithm already has identified employees who felt underused, a key complaint among those who contemplate leaving.

    I wonder what they are going to name this algorithm. I’m suggesting PeopleRank or QuitRank or FireThemBeforeTheyQuitRank.

    It’s not very surprising that Google is worried about people leaving. They have lost a lot of big names in the past few months (Tim Armstrong, David Rosenblatt, Santosh Jayaram). Google has grown so much over the past several years. 20,000 employees already? I’m thinking that Google is not as attractive as it once was.

    When attractive start-ups grow too big, the romantic appeal fades. And quickly. The ladder gets taller, and it can become tougher to get things done. And it can feel more like you’re part of a machine rather than a person who can affect the machine’s design and success. Furthermore, some former employees speak of little to no training and an impersonal HR department. Check out some of the reviews that were leaked here. [Note: After reading those reviews, I realized that no matter where you work, you will complain about it. It’s just human nature.]

    On one hand, I hope Google succeeds with this algorithm. They are treating people as data, and maybe humans are predictable. Maybe not. On the other hand, if this helps Google address employee concerns, more power to them. I guess. I’m conflicted on this one.

    Google has found a way into most of our internet lives in some way or another. I really hope they don’t lose any more of those brilliant minds. But I’m selfish. I want more/better products from Google in the future.