Google’s AJAX-powered Search Results Break Keyword Tracking


Our beloved web analytics tool Clicky blogged about a pretty crucial SEO & analytics issue today: Google is rolling people over to a new AJAX-powered search, that pushes query strings AFTER a hash mark. So:’s+my+referrer becomes:’s+my+referrer

The problem with this is that browsers don’t send anything after the hash mark (this thing: #) in their referrer string, since they’re used for named anchors. Since analytic tools use the referrer string to parse search keywords, this breaks that functionality for anyone on the “new” Google. Nightmare. It’s as if they’re effectively “commenting out” the rest of the query string from the referrer string–dark pool, that. Learn more about the ramifications here after the jump.

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Posted in: Rants, Tech News

A Simple mod_rewrite Tutorial: SEO-Friendly, Attractive URLs

As an intern here at Synapse Studios, I used to be naive about some things. [*Some* things? *Used* to be?—Ed] I’d visit websites, look at their URLs and wonder about the time and planning they must have taken in creating so many directories. Take this news article from Yahoo for example:

Does really have the directory structure reflected by this URL? Of course not. That would create an astronomical amount of directories in a website with thousands of index.html files. (And wouldn’t make any sense to begin with; that’s what query strings and dynamic pages are for.) But there’s a way to create legible, sensical URLs that mirror a directory structure but really include variables to a dynamic page. It’s called a rewrite engine. Through the use of a rewrite engine, we can create URLs that make sense to people AND that are attractive to search engines. Take a look at how, after the jump.

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Posted in: How To

When dynamic keyword insertion goes wrong: Are *you* craving puppies?

Craving PuppiesI mentioned dynamic keyword insertion in my blog post earlier this week. Basically, it allows you to target a whole swath of keywords on Google AdWords with the same ad and simply have the keyword inserted directly into the ad. This works well for some things, like, say, shoes, or inkjet cartridges where you just need to replace a brand name or model number in an otherwise good ad.

It takes on a whole new level of creepiness, however, when a Honda ad asks me “Are you craving puppies?” No, Google. No, Honda. I’m not. I’m not even sure what that means. Am I craving puppy blood? The tender flesh of puppies? I mean, seriously, what the hell? Honda’s ad campaign for their CR-V suggests “whatever you’re craving, the Crave Reader can guess.” (It’s actually a stylized version of the cool 20Q game you’ve probably seen in stores.)

Now I’m sure that they applied a dictionary set to their keyword campaign but some of those words just aren’t going to pair well when you ask me if I’m craving them. “Are you craving small children?” “Are you craving prison?” What a strange campaign. The moral of the story? Sometimes, you should check your dictionary lists. If you’re at all concerned with appearing creepy. But maybe I am in the mood for a puppy ringtone after all.

Posted in: Rants

How to use dynamic keyword insertion in Google AdWords campaigns

As you may or may not know, when creating a Google Ad for insertion in their AdWords or AdSense network, (the ads that appear beneath search results or alongside 3rd party content, respectively) you can embed the relevant keyword that triggered your ad into the ad copy itself. This is pretty useful for creating a single ad template and applying it across multiple keywords while still maintaining relevance.

For example: If you were creating an ad for selling shoes, you might use shoes, nike, adidas, reebok as your keywords. The ad copy might read:
Buy cheap shoes!
But it’d be much more compelling if it parroted back my search term to me:
Buy cheap Nike shoes!

Learn how to make this happen in your campaigns, after the jump. Or learn about our AdWords Campaign Management services right now.

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Posted in: Development

Effectively boost your organic search results & make money: Blogging for SEO LOLs and $$$s

We suggest to every client we have, no matter their business or their market, to blog often about what they know. (When they don’t know much, we tell them to fake it.) <nearly-self-evident statement> Blogs are a powerful way to boost your search engine results and to drive further organic traffic to your site. </nearly-self-evident statement> I bring you through all the tasty details after the jump.

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Posted in: Development