Amusement, discovery, Musings

What does Patagonia think they’re doing with their SEO!??

What does Patagonia think they’re doing!??

This was just brought to my attention by one of my clients looking for SEO. They were curious whether they should implement a technique they saw on a competitors site. When I followed the link they sent me, I tried not to laugh.

It appears that Patagonia has gotten some bad advice. If you visit their homepage and scroll to the bottom, you’ll see what they are calling a “Search Index Page Description”. However, this looks remarkably like one of those cheap attempts at SEO manipulation you saw back in the early web days when sites would list tons of key words and links at the bottom of the index page in a font color the same as their background color. This would make the jumbled mess of words invisible. Now search engines can look for that- so it seems that Patagonia has tried failed to go about it in a more clever way.
Look here:

It’s interesting to see a reputable company and essentially a company with enough money to hire good, knowledgeable web/SEO people stoop to such a low level and implement such a low brow, brute force SEO tactic.

It’s possible that this could help them get a quick ranking spike. However, in the long run, this will only hurt them. Especially if their site is flagged for manual review. This would no doubt be seen as an active attempt at SEO manipulation. Their lame excuse of providing the customer with an index page description or whatever wouldn’t hold any water.

On top of that, even without manual review, with that amount of link and keyword density, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Googlebot/algorithms haven’t already discounted that section of their page. You can definitely tell they are trying the way they’ve placed and phrased the anchor text of all these links. Then they attempted to make it look less like mumbled garbage by tying the links together with regular words in order to form a loose paragraph. The result however, is only somewhat intelligible.

My favorite part is their lame (but the most creative of the whole deal) way of including misspellings in this hunk of garbage. At the very end of the “description” appears:

If the whiskey bottle gets passed around the campfire too many times, folks might try and spell Patagonia like patigonia, pategonia, padagonia and pantagonia.

I mean, its possible that the one liner about whiskey would be more than acceptable and even outright clever ON ITS OWN, as a way to get misspellings on the page- however, any merit it had is completely canceled out by the rest of this catastrophe.

I think the Patagonia web team were ones passing around the whiskey bottle on this time.

And of course, on top of all the technical stuff- not only is ineffective and possibly detrimental, but it looks ugly.

You have a very messy, unprofessional, garbled mess sitting at the bottom of your home page that causes unnecessary scrolling for the user. Total Fail.

However, in order for this to be an Epic Fail, they need to get caught or penalized by google. If only I could get a hold of their analytics reports…

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Announcements, Probably Only Important to Me

iCarousel, AJAX and iFrames….

If you’re hear looking for the iCarousel files, just skip to the bottom

Today I had the day off work. So I went to implementing some things to my site that needed to be done. A new (for that matter, the first) Current Works and projects section. I thought of the idea of doing it as browsing an iPhone in multiple pages. This came to me after I visited Uniqueblogdesigns.com when they were featured in a Smashing Mag article on communicating design. I saw the carousel they used and thought it was nifty. So I wanted one. The iPhone was my spin on it. I figured out they were using jCarousel (i think).
So I went about downloading and installing it on my page to find that the jQuery, Prototype and Mootools libraries DO NOT play nicely together. Either mootools effects work or the carousel did or nothing at all… After tons of fiddling, even with an launching the jCarousel in an iFrame so the libraries were not on the same page, I had no luck. I then discovered iCarousel- the Mootools built carousel. Necessary for AJAX library harmony… shortly after, however, I discovered it a) iCarousel was no longer supported anymore. b) the source files were no longer on the web, or so it seemed as the developers legacy page no longer existed.

So I got at some digging…

I found that Ajaxdaddy.com had a working demo of the module (really interested because EVERY OTHER Ajax tutorial SITE only had images that linked back to the now dead developers site). So props to Ajaxdaddy for actually having a workin demo of their own. However, it wasn’t that easy. The site linked to the dev site for download. So instead, I used DeepVacuum to grab all the files and libraries from that demo. The second hurdle was the that this particular demo only showed you how to make vertical carousels… with no documentation on the script itself, I was stuck momentarily.

Back to Google.

I went back to Google and search iCarousel then viewed the cached pages of the once was iCarousel website. From there I copied the link location to the horizontal demo page, plugged that into Google, went to the cached page and ripped source code. After about 30 more minutes of fiddling with libraries, includes and various versions of Mootools I had a working horizontal carousel, that did not conflict with script.aculo.us or prototype!

So check it out- my iPhone carousel

I modeled it after the real interface, even including a realtime javascript clock at the top of the phone so it displays the real time just like an iPhone in the top center. The background I made in photoshop and the thumbs I manually added a drop shadow too. I think it came out pretty well. One thing I had to abandon for now though, was opening the pages inside the iFrame (aka inside the phone). For some reason when I did that, once you open the page, you cannot get back to the main interface, refreshing the page doesn’t fix it either- it was strange. I didn’t feel like working in another iFrame within an iFrame- so I cut my loses and used a simple JS pop up script.

But really, it took me all day but it was worth it. What do you think?

Also, incase you stumbled upon this article looking for iCarousel, you don’t have to bend over backwards for the source files, I have re-uploaded them, complete with working horizontal module code, for your convenience- here.


[UPDATE Aug 6th]
The other day while writing this, I sent an email to Zendhi Nagao, the developer of iCarousel, saying his page was down and just a day later (yesterday) he relaunched it and sent me the link “http://zendold.lojcomm.com.br is back.” Thanks Zendhi! You should check out his mooCanvas experiments, the fractals one is pretty cool.

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