New AdSense Feature, Yahoo! Video Search, Peter Norvig Talks Semantics & Spam

Jan 25th

New AdSense Beta Feature:
change to ads about feature allows you to switch the ads to a different topic. example here: http://www.consumeraffairs.com/health/hearing/

Video Killed the Search Star:
in your mind and in your car. search for Yahoo! videos wherever you are...

wonder what effect that will have on the porn industry?

here is a cool video of Jobs introducing the Mac (looted from ThreadWatch)

Paid By Google:
Ben Goodger, Lead Engineer Mozilla Firefox

Spam: an Issue of Semantics:
Peter Norvig discusses semantic web ontologies

Google AdSense Problems, Making Cheap Sites, Killing Comment Spam, Google Fiber Optics

Jan 17th

Google AdSense:
Some are questioning if & for how long it will make sense. Others are noticing some problems too.

For those Making MANY Sites:
Designing a Low Maintenance Website

Comment Spam:
Google to try to kill comment spam? ... of course even if they do people will still comment spam on the off chance that people do not impliment this.

Google Fiber Optic Network?
Google wants 'dark fiber'

Yahoo! Partners up with Verizon:
Yahoo, Verizon ink Web tie-in

Name a Book:
John Battelle is looking for a subtitle for his book.

Search Marketing UK Trade Organization...other stuff

Oct 22nd

SEMPO UK
no way Jose... Sick of the SEMPO antics, the brass of the UK SEO scene have made their own search marketing organization.
With the likes of Barry Lloyd, Ammon Johns, & Mike Grehan I am sure they will do well.

Spammer?
A White KnightTM is crowned

Yahoo!
buys Stata Labs who is the maker of Bloomba

GOOG
their stock is up a bit more on the day. Their market cap sits at 47.37B and Yahoo! is at 47.56B.

Yahoo! Link Renting: a Critical Look at Yahoo!

Yahoo! Renting Links
Yahoo! was recently renting / leasing / buying / otherwise acquiring some high PageRank keyword rich links from gasbuddy.com. Normally when large companies buy these types of ads they use tracking codes, but these ads were straight links which are analyzed by search engines. Was Yahoo! Buying PageRank? Was Yahoo! Trying to Manipulate Search Results
Only Yahoo! knows what their true intentions were with the links, but within 4 days of people mentioning the links in the SEW forums the links were dropped. If they were not buying the links to manipulate the search results then one would wonder why they were not using a tracking code.

The Yahoo! ad unit used keyword rich links. They pointed links at
http://autos.yahoo.com/ with "cars" as the anchor text
http://used-cars.autos.yahoo.com/used_cars.html with "used cars" as the anchor text
http://autos.yahoo.com/new_cars.html with "new cars" as the anchor text &
http://used-cars.autos.yahoo.com/kbb/ with "Kelley Blue Book" as the anchor text

What Did Yahoo!'s Ad Look Like
Their Gas Buddy ad unit looked like this:

Yahoo!'s Other Ads
Yahoo! Shopping is still renting other high PageRank links through the Internet.com network to boost their rankings for high margin consumer electronic items.


anchor text "cameras" pointing at
http://shopping.yahoo.com/b:Digital%20Cameras:20148412


anchor text "laptops" pointing at
http://shopping.yahoo.com/b:Laptops:20148417


anchor text "PDAs" pointing at
http://shopping.yahoo.com/b:PDAs:20148420

Yahoo!'s Problem with Link Renting
Yahoo! runs their own search engine which powers a ton of search worldwide. Not only are they renting links that manipulate Google's search results, but the links also manipulate the Yahoo! Search search results.

These links are essentially used to build keyword rich link popularity from powerful websites, which may fall under the following unacceptible practices:

  • Pages using methods to artificially inflate search engine ranking

  • Excessively cross-linking sites to inflate a site's apparent popularity

as set by the Yahoo! Search quality guidelines.

Recently someone at the SEW forums stated that Yahoo! told them the problem with their site is that they have too many links pointing at their site.

The Problem with Yahoo! Renting Links

Yahoo! manually edits their search results. If other people have too many links pointing at their sites it is a problem, but if Yahoo! does it then it is ok? why?

Yahoo! owns a valuable network. What they do with that network is up to them. When people search for information Yahoo! can throw whatever ads they want around the results, but the results themselves should not be internally tainted.

As an oracle of information an ethical question is raised when Yahoo! is paying people to edit their results and paying other people to manipulate those same results.

What Next?

If Yahoo! decided what they want to place in their search results how can I trust them? What happens when they personalize my search? Will that mean that I get biased crap promoting more Yahoo! stuff? Will I not be able to find the information I need?

There is a level of trust associated with search. If Yahoo! wants to manipulate Google search results that is fine. If they are going to do that then they should prevent those same pages from being indexed in their own search results.

Yahoo!'s pages rank in the top 5 of Yahoo! Search for "cars," "new cars," & "used cars." Interesting how those search terms match up with the links they were renting.

Yahoo! just shot themselves in the foot if they were hoping to catch Google in search anytime soon.

Another Link Renting Problem
If you look at the Internet.com commerce partner network
http://www.jupitermedia.com/partners/
you will notice that it is a random collection of websites. The only thing preventing these links from being considered a "link farm" is that:

  • they are expensive

  • they are attached to a huge powerful network
  • and Jupiter Media is making a ton of money from them.

    Also, how can a company claim it

    provides unbiased research, analysis and advice, backed by proprietary data, to help companies profit from the impact of the Internet and emerging technologies on their business. source

    and yet sell keyword rich ad space:

    • to random sites

    • throughout its own parent company network
    • which manipulates search results?

New MSN Search Technology Trial, New MSN Search Format

Wow, July is already here...

New Look MSN
MSN launched their new look MSN search engine results page. Now they clearly separate ads and organic listings.

How Other Search Engines Look
Google has always done this and Yahoo! started testing mid June and will release the new look soon. This leaves one to Ask Jeeves when they intend to dump the 10 ad blended serp technique.

While Asking Jeeves...
MicroSoft has not publicly stated any great interest, but

Ask Jeeves President Steve Berkowitz suggested he might be open to deal if it was in the interests of the company's shareholders, although he did not comment directly on any offers coming from Microsoft. - source

New MSN Search Features
In addition MSN has added a drop down box to allow people to search for specific things such as movies or news. Elsewhere MSN added its search technology preview to the MSN sandbox.

Paid Inclusion is Garbage

MSN also decided to filter out their paid inclusion search results. (time to edit my ebook again) "We really we want customers to feel the best about the results being served," MSN's Grothaus said.

Google"It's hard to be sure that the end result of the algorithm would be the same and that everyone is being treated fairly," Google's Silverstein said of allowing paid inclusion.

Ask Jeeves"We will continue to get better at crawling," said Jim Lanzone, vice president of product management at Ask Jeeves. "The value proposition of Site Submit has ceased to exist."

More Paid Inclusion is Garbage / Bad Press for Yahoo!
Recently a person I consulted in the past had some of their Yahoo! listings disappear overnight (and from my talking to many other SEOs this is becoming somewhat common). After paying for inclusion into Overture Site Match, my friend's site still does not show up for terms he has shown up for ever since the inception of Yahoo! Search.

He sent them a request question and they gave him a complete crap form letter response that suggested he visit WebmasterWorld to learn more about SEO.

There horrific customer service and near complete disapproval toward the program from SEOs and webmasters has Yahoo! considering dumping or changing the program. (or at least that is what credible sources say)

While I am Picking on Yahoo!
Does anyone know what this is?
RENAMEDBYADMWHILEHIDDENTOALLOWDUPLICATEACCELERATORS

Yahoo! Search Engine Optimization Tips

Apr 17th

Recently Mike Grehan interviewed Jon Glick, who is Yahoo!'s Senior Manager for Web Search. You can read all the good Yahoo! Search stuff (note to self: stuff is a generic word to use in anchor text) in it, or look at my synopsis below. Yahoo! Search
How was Yahoo! Search Made?

The goal in creating Yahoo! search technology was not, you know, let's take a piece here a piece there...AllTheWeb was very, very good at was rebuilding indexes and keeping very high levels of freshness...Alta Vista had a really good core technology called MLR (machine learn ranking).

The best of breed parts of those engines were included with some of the best parts of Inktomi to make the new Yahoo! Search.

Meta Keywords
How is Yahoo! Search using the meta keywords tag?

Each keyword is an individual token separated by commas...For best practice you just need to remember it's for matching - not ranking...‘laptop computers’ will count for ‘laptop computers’ and not ‘laptop’ or ‘computers’ separately.

Essentially this is a good place for synonyms & misspellings (I tend to have some of them in my copy anyway)...Each keyword phrase is unique and separated by commas, so you will not have set off a flag for laptops if you use a meta tag such as
<meta name="keywords" content="Yahoo! laptops, computer laptops, compaqt laptops, compak laptops">

but you will also want to get words such as "lap tops" and "compaqt lap tops" in your meta tags. Each version helps to get your file included in that specific subset of search results, but has no influence on rankings.

Meta Description
How does Yahoo! Search use the meta description tag>

Yes we do use meta keywords. So let me touch on meta tags real fast. We index the meta description tag. It counts similar to body text.

Page Title Tag
How should I write my page title tag?

The title tag? My biggest recommendation is write that for users! Because that's the one real piece of editorial in the search listing that you can absolutely control...We typically show, roughly 60 characters. That's the maximum we'd show. I'm not a professional copywriter, so I can't tell you "is short and punchy better than lots of information..."

Affiliate Marketing
Why does Yahoo! hate affiliate marketers?

Well let me just say first that, in that sense Spam has gotten a lot better over the years. You don't really much have people trying to appear for off topic terms as they tended to. You now have people who are trying to be very relevant. They're trying to offer a service, but the issue with affiliate Spam is that they're trying to offer the same service as three hundred other people.

They also touch on Site Match, search personalization, SPAM, linkage data and other hot search topics...also linked to this visual thesaurus tool at the end of their eMarketing News newsletter.

Google PageRank vs Yahoo! Webrank

This entry was inspired by a recent article from Danny Sullivan.

Lots O good Google PageRank info below. Still not much out on Yahoo Webrank though... What is Google PageRank?
Google PageRank is a mathematical approximation that a random web surfer would cross any given page prior to starting to surf over again. It is a measure of link popularity on a 1 - 10 logarithmic scale. One powerful link from a strong site is worth way more than many links from small sites.

How do I check PageRank?

How do I check my Competitors PageRank?

  • The same way you would check your own. OR

  • There are automated tools which process portions of the web to help you find link partners quicker. Here are two interesting tools:
    • SEO Guy has a tool which allows you to set PageRank levels and perform a search for any given term. It will return a list of top ranking websites which have a PageRank equal to or greater than the # you requested.

    • For deeper link analysis, OptiLink link analysis software - orders the backlinks of your competitors in order of PageRank so you can Quickly view his most important backlinks (in the eyes of Google).

More on PageRank
PageRank is only one aspect of website promotion. It does play a huge role in the current Google ranking system, but there are many other factors. Generally some sites could really do well by making sure their site is well integrated into their local community and then buying a link or two to suppliment their rankings.

The web does self organize into micro communities and PageRank does not take that into account as well as search engines such as Teoma do (see also: Teoma review).

Buying PageRank
It is probably worth it for many sites to buy 1 or 2 PR7 or so links. I have been able to locate them for under $100 a month and sometimes cheaper than $50...a few times even free. I have seen run of the site PR7 links around $200 per month.

There are many many reseller networks of people selling PageRank. You want to make sure you are as close to the source as possible when buying links. IE: you may want to buy off a website, a link broker, or link brokers friend, but you start to run into heavy inflation when you buy links off a link broker from a different link broker from a link broker...

The prices of the links are spread extremely wide. There are many important factors such as

  • How well the webmaster knows what their links are worth.

  • The PageRank of the page.
  • The number of links on the page.
  • How well that page fits the theme of your site.
  • The direct traffic that link will bring.
  • The length of the contract.
  • Sometimes you can get discounts for quantity buys.

On my other site I have listed more PageRank resources and more in depth Google PageRank coverage.

Yahoo! Webrank
As you can see there is a ton of info out there on PageRank. Since Yahoo! Webrank is new and expiremental there is no solid data out there on it.

They are currently testing Yahoo! Webrank in a beta test which is closed. In Danny Sullivan's article he pointed me to a backdoor link he found in Webmaster World which will allow you to download the toolbar that will show the Yahoo! Webrank. In addition Digital Point has a Yahoo! Webrank tool which sometimes provides sporadic or random results. Its inaccuracies may actually be due to the fact that Yahoo! Webrank is still in a beta test.

Yahoo! Toolbar Webrank Beta

Mar 19th
posted in

What is Yahoo! Webrank?
The new Yahoo! Companion Toolbar is providing a ranking system by the name of Yahoo! Webrank. As I read through the details as to how their new ranking system worked they had two words over and over again: anonymous & sophisticated. There was no real description as to whether it worked like Direct Hit or Alexa or how exactly it will influence the search results.

The Web Rank values are calculated using a sophisticated scoring algorithm provides a measure of the popularity of the Web page or Web site that you are visiting.

Yahoo! Companion helps Yahoo! find new content
This new tool has a feedback loop which can be used to alert Yahoo! of the existance of new content which is not yet in the Yahoo! Search index. Want to know more about Yahoo! Webrank? Yahoo! gives very little data on how Yahoo! Webrank will work, but you can visit the Yahoo! Companion Webrank FAQ page.

Install the Yahoo! Companion
With many webmasters already having the Google toolbar it remains to be seen what type of distribution Yahoo! will be able to obtain with it's new toolbar. Download the new Yahoo! Companion with Webrank features.

Yahoo! Link Building Strategies + Advanced Yahoo! Search Operators

Mar 14th
posted in

I finally made my new page on Yahoo! Search at Search-marketing.info. This blog format is so much better than that huge evil site. I could literally work on that site for 10 hours a day and it would take me months to make it as kick ass as I would like. This site is more of a post and forget it...less maintenance.

New Yahoo! Search operators

  • site: this allows one to find all documents within a particular domain and all it's subdomains.
    Example: site:yahoo.com

  • hostname: this allows one to find all documents from a particular host only.
    Example: hostname:autos.yahoo.com

  • link: this allows one to find documents that link to a particular url.
    Example: link:http://autos.yahoo.com/

  • url: this alllows one to find a specific document in our index.
    Example: url:http://edit.autos.yahoo.com/repair/tree/0.html

  • inurl: this allows one to find a specific keyword as part of indexed urls.
    Example: inurl:bulgarian

  • intitle: this allows one to find a specific keyword as part of

Try out the new Yahoo! Search

Bonus tips on using the new Yahoo! Search for your link building needs. You can do multiple advanced link things with Yahoo! Search. For example

link:http://www.search-marketing.info inurl:partners -inurl:search-marketing.info

Would show you sites that link to my other site with parnters in their url. In addition you filter page title instead of url by using intitle: or you can change the word partners to

  • link

  • links
  • resources

or just about anything else that would show you the links are out of a textual context. This is a quick way to evaluate how and where to get some of the easiest backlinks that your competitors are enjoying. A good example for the intitle: might be a word like reciprical...

Another trick on the same concept. Using Yahoo! Search advanced features you can filter the domain to be .edu. If you have an exceptionally well thought out resource you can use the .edu filter and see who is linking to some of your competitors and search for certain words on that page. These .edu links are heavily weighted in Google search results...

An example of this trick might be that I could find out education sites that link to a search engine that no longer exist and update them. If I still get too many results I can search to see those that also have the words "Search Engine Watch" on the page, or further qualify the page by looking for more words in the URL. I could possibly help convince the professor that I know enough about search to ask him to link to me. There is no substitute for tact, but most people will not know how you came to their site. I never automate link requests, but I believe in making them easy to find.

Yahoo! Content Acquision Program

Mar 4th
posted in

Recently Yahoo! announced its Content Acquisition Program. Search Engine Watch did a review of the changes.

Yahoo! is to increase the size of its search database through the use of more aggressive crawling, Site Match, and human editors looking to find ways to include portions of the hidden web.

Yahoo! recently rewrote much of the Inktomi core which will allow them to

  • better process 3 and 4 word querries

  • easily change the algorithm in the future
  • easily turn stemming on or off

AltaVista and AllTheWeb are now using the same indexes as Yahoo!, though they are still powered by their own algorithms.

When Yahoo! reviews a site for Site Match they store data that the page has been quality reviewed. These sites may receive a ranking boost for being reviewed. This move alone would make paid inclusion seem exceptionally biased. Yahoo! is offsetting this by randomly reviewing other sites in its index.

Many people are concerned as to how this website review boost will effect the purity of the index, but any bonus that may be given will not be too large or Yahoo! would earn a bad reputation and a bunch of negative press in a time period where they are trying to aggressively expand their distribution.

Yahoo! believes they can offset some of their additional charges by opperating more transparently with webmasters when issues related to search come up.

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