Brad Keselowski Using Twitter During Daytona 500 Approved By NASCAR

Brad Keselowski made history on Monday when he began tweeting from inside his car during some downtime at the Daytona 500. It was thought that Keselowski would be reprimanded as he was tweeting on the race track even though the cars weren’t moving.

NASCAR was apparently cool with his tweeting during the race according to Yahoo! Sports. NASCAR said that he won’t be penalized in any way and even encouraged him by saying:

“We encourage our drivers to use social media to express themselves as long as they do so without risking their safety or that of others.”

Keselowski apparently gained a lot of new followers after his mini-Twitter campaign.

Around 130k new followers
@mlr285: @keselowski Im a new follower. Roughly how many new followers did you get? Love the tweets last night.” 1 day ago via Twitter for iPhone ·  Reply ·  Retweet ·  Favorite · powered by @socialditto

He also got a few people to use the service for the very first time.

#WelcomeToTwitter
@BrettTesdall
I’ve resisted this social media thing 4 a while, but broke down while watching the 500…
u got my 1st tweet 7 hours ago via Twitter for iPhone ·  Reply ·  Retweet ·  Favorite · powered by @socialditto

Whoa
@TheAmberHope: My parents finally understand twitter thanks to @keselowski tweeting from the track last night” 1 day ago via Twitter for iPhone ·  Reply ·  Retweet ·  Favorite · powered by @socialditto

With NASCAR’s approval, it should be pretty interesting to see more drivers taking to Twitter during downtime in races. Now we just have to wait for the first crash caused by tweeting while driving.


Expert Articles – WebProNews

Create Crawlable, Link-Friendly AJAX Websites Using pushState()

Posted by RobOusbey

Many people have an interest in building websites that take advantage of AJAX principles, while still being accessible to search engines. This is an important issue that I've written about before in a (now obsolete) post from 2010. The tactic I shared then has been superseded by new technologies, so it's time to write the update.

This topic is still relevant, because of a particular dilemma that SEOs still face:

  • websites that use AJAX to load content into the page can be much quicker and provide a better user experience
  • BUT: these websites can be difficult (or impossible) for Google to crawl, and using AJAX can damage the site's SEO.

The solution I had previously recommended ends up with the #! (hashbang) symbols littering URLs, and has generally been implemented quite poorly by many sites. When I presented on this topic at Distilled's SearchLove conferences in Boston last year, I specifically called out Twitter's implementation because it 'f/#!/ng sucks'. Since I made that slide, it's actually got worse.

Why talk about this now?

I was driven to blog about this now, because after some apparent internal disagreements at Twitter in early 2011 (c.f. this misguided post by one Twitter engineer, followed by this sensible response by another) they seem to working to reverse the decision and replace all those dreadful URLs for good. Even though Twitter shouldn't be held up as the paragon of great implementation, it's valuable for all of us to look at the method that many smart-thinking websites (Twitter included) are planning to use.
 
In general, I'm surprised that we don't see this approach being used more often. Creating fast, user-friendly websites that are also totally accessible by search engines is a good goal to have, right?

What is the technology?

So – drumroll please – what is the new technology that's going to make our AJAX lives easier? It's a happy little Javascript function that's part of 'HTML5 History API' called window.history.pushState()
 
pushState() basically does one thing: it changes the path of the URL that appears in the user's address bar. Until now, that's not been possible.
 
Before we go further, it's worth reiterating that this function doesn't really do anything else – no extra call is made to the server, and the new page is not requested. Plus – of course – this isn't available in every web browser, and only modern standards-loving browsers (with Javascript enabled) will be able to make use of it.
 
In fact, do you want a quick demo? Most SEOmoz visitors are using a modern browser, so this should work for you. Watch the page URL and try clicking ON THIS TEXT. Did you see the address change? The new page URL isn't a real location, but – so far as you're concerned – that's now the page you're looking at.
 
SEOmoz readers are smart people; I expect that you're realizing various ways that this can be valuable, but here's why this little function gets me excited:
  • you can have the speed benefits of using AJAX to load page content (since for many websites, only a fraction of the code delivered is actually content; most is just design & templating)
  • since the page URL can accurately reflect the 'real' location of the page, you have no problem with people copy/pasting the URL from the address bar and linking to / sharing it (linking to a page that uses #fragment for the page location won't pass link-juice to the right page/content)
  • with the #!s out of the way, you don't need to worry about special 'escaped URLs' for the search engines to visit
  • you can rest easy, knowing that you are contributing good quality URLs (as discussed in the post montioned earlier) to the web.

The Examples

I launched a pushState demo / example page to show how all this performs in practice.

window.history.pushState() example

Click the image above to visit the demo site in all its glory.

If you click between the cities in the top navigation, you'll be able to see that only the main content is being loaded in with each click; the page navigation.
(This can be confirmed by playing the Youtube video on the page; notice that it doesn't stop playing as you load in new content.)
 
If you want to see a bunch of examples of this 'in the wild', you can take a look at almost any blogspot.com-hosted-blog with one of their new 'dynamic views' in place, just add '/view/sidebar' to the end of the URL.
 
For example, this blog: http://n1vg.blogspot.com can be viewed with the theme applied: http://n1vg.blogspot.com/view/sidebar 
 
If you click posts in the left hand column on that second link, you'll see the content get loaded in with very impressive speed; the URL is then updated using pushState() – no page reload took place, but your browser still reflects the appropriate URL for each piece of content.

The Techie Bit

If you like the sound of all this, but you start to feel out of your depth when it comes to tech implementation, then feel free to share this with your developers or most tech-oriented friends. (References are linked at the end of this post.)
 
The important function we're utilizing takes three parameters:
window.history.pushState(data, title, url)
 
There's no value in worrying about the first two parameters; you can safely set these to null. In the brief example I gave at the top of this post, the function simply looked like this:
window.history.pushState('','','test/url/that-does-not-really-exist')
 
Our workflow for implementing this looks like the following:
  • Before doing anything else, make sure your site works without JS; Google will need to be able to follow your links and read content
  • You'll also have to create server-side processes to serve just the 'content' for particular pages, rather than the fully rendered HTML page. This will depend a great deal on your server, your back-end set up; you can ask in the comments below if you have questions about this bit.
  • Instruct Javascript to intercept the clicks on any relevant internal links (navigation elements, etc.) I'm a big jQuery fan, so I rely on the click() function for this
  • Your Javascript will look at the attributes of the link that was clicked on (probably the href) and use whatever JS/AJAX you want to load the appropriate content into the page
  • Finally, get all the SEO benefits by using the pushState() function update the URL to match the content's 'real' location
By having your internal links work 'as normal' and then adding this AJAX/HTML5 implementation on-top, you are taking advantage of the benefits of 'progressive enhancement': users with up-to-date browsers get the full, fast and spiffy experience, but the site is still accessible for less capable browsers and (critically in this case) for the search engines.
 
If you want some code to implement this, you can take a look at the head section of the demo that I shared above – that contains all of the Javascript necessary for doing this.
 
Basic code for getting this done looks like this:
 
// We're using jQuery functions to make our lives loads easier
$ ('nav a').click(function(e) {
      url = $ (this).attr("href");
 
      //This function would get content from the server and insert it into the id="content" element
      $ .getJSON("content.php", {contentid : url},function (data) {
            $ ("#content").html(data);
      });
 
      //This is where we update the address bar with the 'url' parameter
      window.history.pushState('object', 'New Title', url);
 
      //This stops the browser from actually following the link
      e.preventDefault();
}

Important Caveat

Although the code above works as a proof of concept, there are some additional things to do, in order to make this work as smoothly as my demo.
 
In particular, you'll probably want the 'back' button on the user's browser to work, which this code snippet won't allow. (The URL will change, but the content from those historical pages still needs to be loaded in.) To enable this, you'll need the popState() function; this detects a URL change, allowing you to fire whatever function you have for grabbing page content and loading it in.
 
Again, you can see this in action in the head of the demo page at http://html5.gingerhost.com.

Resources and Further Reading:

There are plenty of resources that cover the HTML5 History API pretty thoroughly, so I'll defer to them in letting you read about the details at your leisure. I'd suggest taking a look at the following

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Be Careful Using AdWords for Keyword Research

Posted by randfish

For the past decade, most of us in the field of search have relied on Google's AdWords data (either in the public tool, the API or the tools inside AdWords accounts). It's the best source we've got, but many marketers may not realize that sadly, the numbers and queries may not always match up to what's actually happening on Google's search engine. I'll illustrate with an example.

An SEOmoz blog post ranks in the top 2-3 results for many keywords around the phrase "blog traffic." Here's a screenshot of some of those rankings:

Google Search for "Improve Blog Traffic"

I went into our Google Analytics account and pulled the related keywords along with how much traffic they've sent in the past 30 days:

Moz Google Analytics Data

Then I went to Google's AdWords Tool and searched for "blog traffic" to compare the suggestions:

AdWords Search for "Blog Traffic"

Here I got confused, because many of the terms that we receive traffic for are NOT shown above in the list… Is Google hiding them? Do they not know about them?

To be sure, I typed them into Google's AdWords Tool manually, performing [exact match] searches only:

AdWords Tool Data

Holy cow… There they are. So, AdWords does have volume for these, and will display it, but only if you enter them exactly (or rather, "more exactly" – you can find them if you do sets of imprecise, but closer queries, too). I made the chart below to illustrate which terms were available from the broad reserach:

Comparison of Keywords Suggested vs. Those with Volume

As you can see, there's ~50% of the terms not shown in the suggestion list, which is fairly substantive and could lead to some serious missed targeting opportunities.

THE IMPORTANT LESSON: Running discovery-focused searches in AdWords may not show you all the valuable/high-volume keyword phrases connected to a word/phrase.

There are a few ways to address this challenge:

  1. If you have the budget, my top recommendation is to buy a few, very broad keywords in AdWords, send them to a relevant landing page on your site, but realize you probably will lose money on the campaign. The goal isn't conversions, but rather to learn by watching the keyword terms/phrases for which you get impressions. This is also great conversion-testing if you have the budget to invest, but even a week or two of data can be highly valuable for future keyword targeting.
  2. When searching in AdWords, start broad, and then enter narrower queries and note the new phrases that come up. Make sure to use exact match, and be diligent in testing variations. Google only lies through omission.
  3. The relative numbers of searches aren't perfect (as you can see above), but they are relatively decent. In fact, I'd say they've improved in what they show vs. the actuals you'll see compared to prior years. However, 
  4. Use your own analytics as a guide to find new terms/phrases you might be imperfectly targeting. And if you see keyword variations that have a unique or different intent, it might even pay to create a more targeted page for that query, and you often need less work to rank, since Google uses the "indented results" system to drop a second URL from the same domain directly underneath the first one on a given page.

Now I'd love to hear from you – what are your experiences around keyword research in AdWords? Are you seeing the same thing we are? You can share your thoughts in the comments and/or use the poll below (from a new service called Quipol that has some fun twists):

BTW – Given that 30%+ of our referrals from Google searches are keyword (not provided), I'd venture to guess that all of the numbers from our analytics are underreporting by about that same percent. Keep that in mind when comparing the data from AdWords vs. our analytics above.

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