Linking to Good Stuff

Apr 5th

Ideally links mean more than link popularity. I am not necissarily a moralist or fan of the ethical SEO tag, but I understand some of the fundamental points of marketing. It is good business to be associated with other good businesses.

Have I bought links? Yup. Have I sold links? Yup.

Generally most links do not fall under the buy, sell, or trade category though. Usually they are earned.

When most of your links are greed driven, you are nothing more than a commodity who is working against technology and the forces of nature. When you start linking to things that are good then good things start to link to you.

This morning I wrote a quick article called Keeping Customers, where I attempted to explain that the best way to have customers come back is by sending them away to other good resources.

The web is just a sea of information and the traffic I get is never my traffic to keep.

What I did not realize is that recently Ammon Johns wrote a great little analogy piece called The Real Meaning of Links which describes what I was trying to say a bit better than what I wrote.

(found from Search Engine Roundtable)

Google + Yahoo! Ban Casino Ads

Apr 5th

Internet giants Google and Yahoo! will stop carrying adverts for online casinos, blaming a "lack of clarity" in US regulations.

US prosecutors last month warned companies that running ads for offshore online casinos was equivalent to "aiding and abetting". It is illegal to run an online gambling site from within the US.

Google and Yahoo made the announcement seperately on Friday. Yahoo said the ban would apply to US websites only while Google self-denial hits all its sites worldwide. The change is likely to come in at the end of this month, according to the New York Times. - The Register

Those who were spending $10 - $30 per click advertising for words such as "casino" or "online casino" will now be spending that money elsewhere.

Anyone want to bet as to wheter they see more casino sponsored text links drive up the cost of text ads on many sites?

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.

  • Over 100 training modules, covering topics like: keyword research, link building, site architecture, website monetization, pay per click ads, tracking results, and more.
  • An exclusive interactive community forum
  • Members only videos and tools
  • Additional bonuses - like data spreadsheets, and money saving tips
We love our customers, but more importantly

Our customers love us!

Search Engine Spam Meta Tag

Apr 1st

The major search engines have came together to addopt a new proprietary meta tag. This new tag will help to properly mix results and reduce the load SPAM is placing on the search engine engineers.

Syntext for the new SPAM tag:
<meta content="SPAM">

SMAM Benefits:
Those sites signing to comply with the new SPAM rating will get a golden pass good for infinite domicile within the major search indexes. A small fee and smallish algorithmic fee will also be associated with the program.

Public Outcry over new Spam Tag
Members of the ACLU and the NAACP are already protesting this new standard out in the street. They were quoted as saying "it's not a white and black problem."

Spam Tag Passes on Ebay
Cloakers missed the boat as they could not produce a script that returned their actual email address. Apparently these golden SPAM passes have been selling on eBay for as much as $31,853.

How the Search Engines & Portals feel they will benefit from the new tag:

  • AOL - We figure those sites compying with the SPAM tag will be of exceptionally poor quality and design. If they get a boost in the rankings then our stupid popups will feel more apropriate to those still suffering er surfing with AOL.

  • AllTheWeb - We are excited as this will give us a chance to capture "All The Web," though Yahoo! will likely throw away 1/3 of it.
  • AltaVista - We were about to die anyway. This should give us that added boost which ends the misery.
  • Ask Jeeves - Ask someone else. I am sick of these stupid questions.
  • Booble - We are launching a countersuit on Google. We feel they are trying to enter a submissive search market we are clearly dominating.
  • Dipsie - (editor note: Even if they index all the SPAM in the world they will have a hard time getting 10,000,000,000 documents in their index.) We intend to also execute forms and javascript on these SPAM pages. That's the ticket to 10,000,000,000 resources.

  • Eukster - friends don't spam friends unless they are spammers, in which case they live in Nigeria or South Africa and address everyone as "My Friend." (editor note: Turkish people try to sell you rugs using this same "my friend" tag.)
  • Google - SPAM is EVIL. However spammers who admit what they are doing become a bit less evil. Perhaps maybe from a George Bush to a Darth Vader.
  • Kanoodle - We are excite to be the first to integrate the SPAM into our email distribution network.
  • Lycos - We don't do search. We don't even know who provides our search product. Have you seen our exciting new SOCIAL NETWORK!!!!
  • MSN - Our lack of compliance with this new tag should help us get our feet wet in search and kill the rest of the search market in the first year.
  • Netscape - AOL owns us. We were dead a long time ago.
  • Overture - Participation in the SPAM standard program will across our distribution network will cost 15 cents per click. I mean, we have to make something off it.
  • Teoma - Since we keep kicking the shit out of our index its hard for us to find out who the topical hubs and authorities are. We are excited to embrace this new community.
  • Yahoo! - I can't believe how much of that crap we edited. We are glad to note that we did get the other search engines to agree that affiliate sites could not participate in the program.

Google Mail (Google Email)

Apr 1st

Portal Off the Starboar Brow!
Google Mail.Google has done the expected. Many think they are going the way of portal, and well today they have introduced Gmail. Google Mail is a free 1 Gig email account which is supported by contextual advertising.

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. - April 1, 2004 UTC - Amidst rampant media speculation, Google Inc. today announced it is testing a preview release of Gmail – a free search-based webmail service with a storage capacity of up to eight billion bits of information, the equivalent of 500,000 pages of email. Per user.

The inspiration for Gmail came from a Google user complaining about the poor quality of existing email services, recalled Larry Page, Google co-founder and president, Products. "She kvetched about spending all her time filing messages or trying to find them," Page said. "And when she's not doing that, she has to delete email like crazy to stay under the obligatory four megabyte limit. So she asked, 'Can't you people fix this?'"

The idea that there could be a better way to handle email caught the attention of a Google engineer who thought it might be a good "20 percent time" project. (Google requires engineers to spend a day a week on projects that interest them, unrelated to their day jobs). Millions of M&Ms later, Gmail was born.

"If a Google user has a problem with email, well, so do we," said Google co-founder and president of technology, Sergey Brin. "And while developing Gmail was a bit more complicated than we anticipated, we're pleased to be able to offer it to the user who asked for it."

Some of the benefits of the new Google mail

  • Search: Built on Google search technology, Gmail enables people to quickly search every email they've ever sent or received. Using keywords or advanced search features, Gmail users can find what they need, when they need it.

  • Storage: Google believes people should be able to hold onto their mail forever. That's why Gmail comes with 1,000 megabytes (1 gigabyte) of free storage – more than 100 times what most other free webmail services offer.
  • Speed: Gmail makes using email faster and more efficient by eliminating the need to file messages into folders, and by automatically organizing individual emails into meaningful "conversations" that show messages in the context of all the replies sent in response to them. And it turns annoying spam e-mail messages into the equivalent of canned meat.

Official Google Mail Press Release I stole all this post from!

Sign up for Google Mail!
It's still in beta testing, but you can give them your current email to sign up for more information on Google Mail here http://gmail.google.com

Irony: Andrew Orlowski, Google, & The Register

Mar 31st

Andrew Orlowski is probably the most ill informed and biased Google commentator walking on 4 or less limbs. Am I the only one who notices the irony of the new layout of The Register?
Andrew's articles make Google sound exceptionally evil. Yet if you look to the right of his Google API article you will see the largest ad set offered by Google. The Register is an AdSense ad provider which is using 160 of their 790 pixel wide page to serve Google ads right at the top of the page.

I could ignore those ads, because they are not the ads that disturb me. Recently there has been some controversy about whether it was ok to place multiple AdSense ads on a single page. The Register decided that it was ok.

They are using ad additional ad block of 4 AdSense ads in the center of their articles. These ads are eating up an additional 336 pixels of screen space. I will be the first to tell you I LOVE ADSENSE!!!! There is a balance though, and any newspaper knows that they make money through distribution. If I provided a bunch of ads at the top and center of every page of my site I would not expect you to read my articles, let alone read my articles about how bad the company is that set up the ad network which is all over my website.

When you search Google for an expensive word such as casino you see 8 ads. In this Orlowski article I saw 9. I could describe how awful the reading would be, but you can view for yourself.

ps: Google also linked into this casino article (by providing free news feeds to their searchers) along with search results. Unbiased comprehensive news, including the biased crap that Mr. Orlowski prints.

Checking The Competition of a Phrase & Link Tools

Mar 31st

How Competitive Are Your Keywords?

You can not gauge competitiveness of a term based upon the total number of search results for that term. The best way to tell is to evaluate search results. Pages which have had professional optimization done (page copy & linking campaign) are easy to spot after you know your industry well enough.

Three quick ways to tell how fierce the competition is for any word are by checking the associated ads (price, quantity, and search quantity), using advanced operators, and by viewing the linkage data for the top ranking websites.

Checking Ads

Using Advanced Search Operators
A simple mention on a page is not enough data for a page to be competing.

Page Title
A mention of a phrase in the title is a good indication that the page may be competion.
Google Search: allintitle:"seo book"

Inbound Link Text
The words being in the anchor text in the inbound links is an even better indication of competion.
Google Search: allinanchor:"seo book"

Inbound Link Check
Recently I noticed a simple tool at IBL Check.com, which oddly enough checks the number of inbound links to the top few websites. Once you click the link to check who is linking to each site it pops open a little window showing the URL of each of the links.

McDar Keyword + Link Tool
Another link tool which can tell competition by keyword exists at http://www.mcdar.net/KeywordTool/keywordtool.asp. The McDar keyword + link tool checks the the top 10 Google search results for the number of pages in each site, the number of site backlinks, and the position of that site on the allinanchor Google search for the same keyword.

Link Tools to Build a Linking Campaign
A quicker way to build a link campaign is to evaluate link data on a more mathematical or higher level. A couple inexpensive link tools I think are neato are Linktree (free) & Optilink ($149.)

Google New Look Search Results

Mar 29th

After months of testing (and me thinking I was part of another test) Google has unveiled its new look search. The new Google is a less cluttered, more crisp looking search result page. In addition the Google home page has lost its tabs and now just has small words above the search box. The Google Directory no longer is listed on the home page and the Google Directory category listings are no longer appearing in the search results. Google appears to be distancing itself from the Open Directory Project.

Froogle has been added to the home page as well as the SERP pages. To list your products in Froogle for free be sure to fill out your Froogle Feed. Froogle also has a "recent items found" list underneath it's search box.

Google Groups are also showing the new AdWords format.

View the new look Google SERP.

People have been discussing the new look Google at WMW.

One major change which will go highly unnoticed by most people is that there is no longer an interest bar to show relative click through rates between different ads participating in the Google AdWords program.

The single biggest difference with the new Google search is that the ads tend to blend seamlessly into the content. Google is perhaps doing this to fight the potential text ad burnout that we may face in the near future if all text ads look extremely similar.

MSN Search to Launch in July

Mar 22nd
posted in
msn

Quietly at 8:08 pm Friday (Pacific time) MSN announced the launch date for its upcomming search product.

MSN Search Sooner than Expected!

SEATTLE, March 19 (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp. said on Friday that a new engine for its MSN Search service will start up in July, another step in its plan to challenge Google Inc.'s pole position as the Web's top search destination.

Advertising on the Upcoming MSN Search

Instead of including paid listings within search results, which critics say results in misleading search results, MSN said it will display paid listings separately at the top and to the right of search results generated by its search engine.

Redetzki said MSN will list three paid listings at the top of every search result, of which at least two will be advertisements sold directly by MSN.

(source Yahoo! News thanks to RustyBrick)

You can see how MSN will be displaying search results at MSN Search Beta. People have been discussing the new MSN search at WMW.

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.

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