Jon Kleinberg, Title Attribute Test, Making Friends

Home Page of the Day:
Jon Kleinberg - he worked on lots of the underlying theory that created the hubs and authority ranking system which eventually led to Teoma.

He has all kinds of cool PDFs on his site such as Maximizing the Spread of Influence through a Social Network - cool stuff. If I were better at math and network theory stuff his home page would be a virtual candy store.

Interesting & Awaiting Results:
fathom is conducting a link title attribute test

Undersold ad space
Anna Kournikova on advertising...er, advertising on Anna Kournikova

Illigitimate ad space:
Bush Administration Invents 'News' and Pays Journalist

Hosed Ad Space:
Kraft WHITE American Cheese - AdWords ad targeting problems :(

Really, I am not a Slimeball Ads:
Ken Lay starts advertising on AdWords. Interesting what the other AdWords ads say about him too.

Meta "ingnore this part of the page" tag:
I can't really see it coming anytime soon, but some want to push the idea.

MSN Beta to ramp up testing:
MSN Beta to ramp up testing

Developing a Directory?
The Don'ts of Directory Development offers tips to help you get your directory off the ground.

ESearch Online E Search Online ApexSearch Apex Search (look out):
another SEO firm out of Vegas that is allegedly cold calling people.

I did not find any legitimate backlinks into the apexesearch site. The only one I found in Google was from a forum solicitation by a guy by the name of Sincity

Sincity would like to offer you...

In that forum post it states:

real results refferences provided in business since 1996 no cusomer complaints EVER!!!!

and yet its registration details state

Registered through: GoDaddy.com (http://www.godaddy.com)
Domain Name: APEXESEARCH.COM
Created on: 20-Apr-04

Domain Name: E-SEARCHONLINE.COM
Created on: 22-Dec-04

I did not see any meaningful company information on their company information page either http://www.apexesearch.com/info.htm. Some people are wondering if this firm has anything to do with Traffic Power. If any SEO calls you up out of the blue trying to tell you that you MUST buy something TODAY then odds are they are NOT worth buying from. Cold calls = crap. Traffic

How Not to Make Friends:
Promote your services in others forums while trashing their business model in your own forum.

How can a person wanting to set up an automated link network say that people should not be able to buy links by PageRank?

How Not to Make Friends...Part 2:
For a while the name of the SEO firm that wanted RustyBrick to link to them was posted in this rant thread.

One time some guy with a big mouth emailed me about how great his firm was and felt that for that reason he felt he deserved a link from my site. I also had a hunch that when another well known firm told me to add them to my SEO forums page that they were spamming me. Not too long ago I got an email from an express link building firm which used "stuff" as the the email title. I wonder how many people use these same shoddy techniques to "promote" (or otherwise destroy the brand of) their clients sites?

It's Brutal to be...

Dan Thies Offers SEO Coaching Program, MicroSoft Anti-Spyware & Anti Free Culture

SEO Coaching:
Dan Thies offers up a coaching course for SEOs and designers. Dan has one of the sharpest minds in the SEO field. If I were not so busy I would want to sign up. His stuff is probably one of the few mentoring type programs that is worth more than it costs.

Trailing Slashes:
Don't forget the trailing slashes...
site/blah and site/blah/ are not always the same.

While Looting...
From Search Engine Roundtable (the above two items were posted on his blog)... I also saw that they had found a cool free conversion tips ebook from Conversion Chronicals.

MicroSoft Anti-Spyware:
beta release (found from ThreadWatch, where Jason Duke says it appears to be good stuff.)

MSN Search Launching its own Paid Search Arm:
apparently they are hiring

Andy Beal:
Writer of Search Engine Lowdown launches the blog formerly known as Andy Beal uncut.

Keyword Prices:
Jumped 24% in the 4TH quarter, according to Fathom Online.

Bill Gates on PR:
Free Culture advocates = Communists. You don't get called the evil empire for no reason at all.

Interesting view point with MicroSoft's recent complaints about Google's lack of support for the open software community. More of the "Big Bill" interview here.

Digital Home Strategy:
Yahoo! partners with MicroSoft

The Cookie Monster:
Revived Spyware Bill Could Crunch Cookies (and make marketing a wee bit harder)

Want a Job?
unemployment numbers jumped sharply, luckily Google is hiring.

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Google AdWords Affiliate Ad Policy Change

Google sent out an email stating that they will now only display 1 advertisement per URL per keyword. Additionally people no longer need to signify their ads are affiliate ads since there is only one ad per URL.

They multiply CTR * max bid to determine the effective ad rank, and the top ad rank for any URL will be the ad that is displayed.

Lots of dynamic keyword insertion noise (such as eBay affiliates) have been ruining the relevancy of their ads so this one step they are taking to try to keep them relevant.

This change will have no effect of white label affiliate sites since they are on their own separate URLs. Some people will probably also find ways to bounce their affiliate ads to get around this change.

The email they sent out is in the extended entry. Google AdWords™ Announcement:
Affiliate Policy Change Google

Hello from the Google AdWords Team:

In January 2005, Google will incorporate a new affiliate advertising policy that is designed to provide a better user and advertiser experience.

What is changing:

With this new affiliate policy, we'll only display one ad per search query for affiliates and parent companies sharing the same URL. This way, users will have a more diverse sampling of advertisements to choose from. As always, your ad will be displayed based on its Ad Rank for given searches, which is determined by a combination of your ad's maximum cost-per-click (price) and clickthrough rate (performance).

For instance, if a user searches for books on Google.com or anywhere on the Google search and content networks, Google will take an inventory of ads running for the keyword books. If we find that two or more ads compete under the same URL, we'll display the ad with the highest Ad Rank.

How this will affect you:

If you're an affiliate, this means that you no longer need to identify yourself as an affiliate in your ad text. However, your current ad text will continue to display your affiliate status until you change it.

Affiliates or advertisers using unique URLs in their ads will not be affected by this change. Please note that your Display URL must match the URL of your landing page, and you may not simply frame another site.

What you should do:

We recommend that you continue to monitor your ads' performance and optimize your ads as needed to ensure they're bringing you the best results. Please visit our Optimization Tips page for more information.

By improving our ad relevancy, we believe that users will have a better search experience, which will help you reach more potential clients in the future. We'll continue to make improvements to AdWords over time to further improve the user experience and help increase the performance of your ads.

We look forward to continue providing you with the most effective advertising available.

Sincerely,
The Google AdWords Team

Disclaimer: As a business Google must make decisions regarding the advertising we accept. As stated in our Terms and Conditions, we reserve the right to exercise editorial discretion when reviewing AdWords ads created within the program. This only concerns our advertising and in no way affects the search results we deliver. Google offers broad access to content across the web without censoring results.

Contact us: If you have any questions, please contact your Google representative or email us at https://adwords.google.com/support/bin/request.py.

Email preferences: You have received this mandatory email service announcement to update you about important new AdWords features.

-------------

>Google offers broad access to content across the web without censoring results.

Does anyone buy that Google is not forced to censor some stuff? I don't...

Why Make a Person Wait?

Sometimes when people apply to DMOZ they spend a half hour filling out the application and then hit submit. In return they get stuff like:

There has been a failure in processing your form. We will work on it, we hope to have it up soon.
We are sorry for the inconvenience.

Why make a person wait until AFTER they filled out all their info to tell them they are SOL?

You probably know when it is broken, why not just state that up front?

Leaving a broken form up which wastes time does not make the directory any more open...it actually probably closes off a bunch of potential editors. Wasting people's time only builds negative sentiment.

Acquiring a Voice...

This is a bit of an off topic / personal type post. I guess many of them are that way now, but you have been warned ;)

My Brother...
was recently conned (by me) into creating a blog. I think everyone should have one. If for nothing else then at least for tracking your own thought process over time.

Creating Another Unoriginal Crap Site:
He originally wanted to create a site selling random junk he sold a bit of out of a catalog when he was a teenager.

Do What You are Interested In:
I wanted him to create a blog about something he knew about or was interested in to help introduce him to the web. My brother has HIV and since that is a somewhat important topic I figured that maybe he could do a blog about HIV.

I bought him a domain name and spent about $20 submitting his site to a few directories and off he went.

Being Personal:
I have actually been rather impressed with how frequently he has posted. Usually he just posts news as he finds it (which seems a bit dull to me), but occassionally he also posts exceptionally personal stuff - which is what makes a site real.

I do not think he has done much to promote his site, but randomly it ranks #3 on MSN Canada for HIV.

MSN Search Memory Lane:
It always feels good to see someone ranking well in MSN...it is a megacorp that is helping to spread your site and / or message. It reminds me of creating content by the keyword to submit to Zeal back when LookSmart was a primary feed to MSN. Back then it took less than a week to register a domain, host it, create, submit, and approve the content necissary to rank on the first page of MSN for almost any single word search query.

As an SEO Blogger You KNOW there are too many SEO Blogs When...
Your brother recently created a blog about search engines (as my brother did).

I could look at it and say "well he needs to do a bunch of learning" as many may look at this blog and say to me. I remember when I first made my other site about search engines and people emailed me nasty hate mail (I still get some, but for other reasons).

Who knows, he may be at the same spot I was a year and a half ago and may be far better off than I am in a year or two. I am interested to see what his level of commitment will be and what else he wants to learn and what other projects he will jump into.

The Secret Sauce:
The hidden secret of SEO for people new to the craft is that keyword density only really matters up until people are actually interested in reading your site.

You only need to figure out how to reach a few people in any industry. If Danny Sullivan likes your site then many in the search industry will too, by default.

It doesn't take much for a person to do well if they are honest, willing to work hard, interested in what they are doing, and learn quickly.

I look at my brother's posts and see that they are perhaps a bit rough (as are many of mine), but I also look and see that it looks like he is trying to find his voice and is trying to figure out how to sound like a person, which is something most sites do not do. Best of luck bro...

Google on 60 Minutes, Patrick Gavin Interview, & Interesting Links

60 Minutes:
Google on 60 Minutes

Search Google Ads:
Widget Ads - you can search Google for ads only.

What is Google Smoking?
Bongs in the search results - I randomly searched for Chong at Google. On my good old handy dandy FireFox some Google searches are showing images.

Why would a company so textually driven want to place those images prominently above search results? They are probably going to be easy to spam, increase page load time, and IMHO detract from Google a huge amount. I suppose they know a bit more than me about that sort of stuff, but so far I do not like it.

Search Marketing Association:
North American brother of the EU and UK to launch

Renting Links:
I met Patrick Gavin of Text Link Ads in Las Vegas and have been working a bit with him. I recently interviewed Patrick about link buying, how he got into the web, and where he would start if he started on the web today.

Blog Happenings:
Six Apart is the company that created the blogging software that runs this site. They are going to purchase LiveJournal, which will drastically expand their userbase, though most LiveJournal customers are not paying customers. A ton of consolidation in this space will likely occur throughout the year between some of the platforms, tracking, and search sites. (found on ThreadWatch)

The Future of Journalism:
Dan Gillmore starts his blog.

Free Answer Engine:
GuruNet becomes Answers.com and drops subscription fee.

PPC Keyword Research Software:
TheDowser is a new (to me at least) keyword research tool which combines some of the features from the Overture search term suggestion tool and the Google Keyword Sandbox tool (as well as having some other features). I did not use it a ton, but downloaded the trial and played with it a bit. If you run a bunch of PPC campaigns it only needs to help you save a little time or find a few new keywords to pay for itself.

Interesting:

Google PageRank Update, Please Help...

I was in and out around the end of the year and just finally got back home in a somewhat stable state today. It looks as though Google has finally updated toolbar PageRank again, and I have been reading bits about the horrible tsunami.

To try my best to help out, for the month of January I am going to send all my SEO Book sales income to help out with relief from the storm. I think Paypal eats about $2 out of each order, but other than that the remainder will go to help out Sarvodaya.

If you want to help out you can donate directly to any of the tsunami relief funds.

Looking Forward

Bummer Deal for WebAtlas:
I have been visiting friends (in fact I am at a friends house typing this right now), but I have checked my email and recently my friend Nandini's directory was not listed in Google. I believe it had a 302 redirect error (pointing the root URL at the www. version) which was fixed, but it may take a while for the site to be reindexed. Business.com had a similar issue not too long ago if memory serves. The SEO Fundamentalists Speak Out:
The fact that Nandini's about 2 month old SEO forums just showed me over 10,000 pages listed in Google and get most of its inbound link popularity from WebAtlas (while linking back to WebAtlas from most of its pages) would indicate to me that this issue is probably a technical glitch, but some SEOs use these sorts of situations as marketing goldmines to promote their own holier than thouTM SEO beliefs.

Ihelpyou forums moderators showed their truely nasty selves when they wrote digraceful threads on multiple SEO forums.

I've read that IHU thread. It's nothing short of a vicious, malicious, personal attack by a bunch of low life cowards who delight in other peoples misfortune.

With one or two notable exceptions, the thread is populated by the scum of the web community - a poor bunch of outcasts that can find no better place for their whining self justification for poor skillsets than the deranged chuch of heil. Nick W

Lets not forget that this is the same IHY group that was falling all over themselves stating that Nandini and WebAtlas were great just two months ago. Doug even requested a link to his forums.

Of course Doug would not like to be reminded of these types of things, and some of his moderators such as Srikanth state:

none of the members at ihelpyouforums are trying to abuse her. Or, are not against her. We wish her success only.

You do not support a persons work by throwing arbitrary tags on it.

Legitimate Directories:
Doug Heil posted a short list of legitimate directories apparently based upon who frequently posts at his forums. The now good directories include WowDirectory, which Doug Heil also accused of being a spammer in the past.

The Changing Face of Marketing:
Peter D from SearchEngineBlog recently released a directory too. Some of the Ihelpyou moderators (such as Quadrille) state that they do not know of Peter or his reputation. Essentially what it comes down to is that they believe anything that is new is assumed bad until proven otherwise.

Ihelpyou even states that DMOZ and Yahoo! fill the directory role and that new directories do not matter.

What will be great is when Google decides to finally value directory links at "zero', while keeping the well-established directories the way they are.

In this line of thinking he forgets the concepts of innovation and change. Peter D states

But doesn't that stifle new approaches?

You could say the same for all sites - keep the new sites in a box, but allow old sites to stay where they are. The downside is the index looks stale.

Useful Feedback:
Compare the absolute nastiness of Ihelpyou to the useful information found in this thread on Threadwatch.

There are those who think everything that is new is bad. Some people are entirely controlled by fear. On the other side of the coin there are also innovators who have the ability to look forward and see value without needing the likes of Google to tell them specificially what is good and what is bad. If your marketing and your business are 100% reactionary then you are selling yourself short.

Don't forget that Google recommends submitting to relevant directories in their webmaster guidelines and fails to mention Doug Heil anywhere. The truth is that Doug is great marketing for Google because his existance makes all SEOs seem a little less mentally stable.

When people are in doubt or controlled by fear less people are likely to use risky or manipulative promotion techniques. IMHO directory registration is perhaps about as non risky as SEO can be, but so long as people like Doug blur the line and make all SEO services look like a bad investment AdWords becomes more appealing and more profitable.

Happy New Years to everyone, and I wish all of those at Ihelpyou Doug Heil's success.

2004 Search Year in Review, Selling Out, Linking Schemes & Semantics

The Passing Years:
Battelle reviews his predictions for 2004 and posts his predictions for 2005. Peter D reviews search in 2004. Search engines release their top searches of 2004.

Kottke posts his favorite links of 2004. Good posts like Radiohead in there - can't believe I got to see them this yr :)

Doodles:
Guy trashes Google's Doodle and gets called out on their blog. Wondering if there is something I can say to Google to get them to link to me from their blog?

Quality feedback (both positive and negative) is a good link building strategy for many. Too bad Google did not serve up a link :(

Selling Out:
iProspect nets 32 million dollars
InfoSearch Media goes public in a reverse merger
SEO Book.com acquired by <-- joking ;)

Linking Schemes:
Google slowed the spread of selling PageRank when they penalized SearchKing, but now there are a bunch of easy (and sometimes cheap) ways to build linkage data which manipulate search results:

  • blog comment spam (free - other than bandwidth costs and potential reputation costs)

  • legitimate blog comments (free)
  • blogrolls (free)
  • trackbacks (free)
  • wiki spamming (free - other than bandwidth costs and potential reputation costs)
  • forum spamming (free - other than bandwidth costs and potential reputation costs)
  • guestbook spamming (free - other than bandwidth costs and potential reputation costs)
  • leaving testimonials (free - other than potential reputation costs)
  • tell someone just how awful they are (free - other than potential reputation costs)
  • writing press releases (free - other than the time it takes to write. to distribute on some of the release sites there might be a small fee)
  • renting links from websites (cheap - sometimes you can get links from sites for well under their market value. some bloggers and the like may sell links for $5 to $10 a month)
  • renting links from brokers or a third party link renting site (usually a bit more expensive than some of the other options, but you are paying for convenience, and they may get you on some sites that you could not have afforded if you had to pay that site directly)
  • registering in directories (usually free or cheap one off payments)
  • participating in community linking programs (free or cheap)
  • support non profits and the like for links (free or cheap - It doesn't cost me anything to give away my ebook or for a software vendor to give away software. some charities may also provide long lasting or perminant links for a one off fee.)
  • general reciprocal links (free - other than time)
  • using RSS to get a ton of links (free)
  • creating your own link network (cheap - only need to pay hosting and design costs - though if you create link scheme networks you will want to have a good number of them that are not cross connected so if your network gets penalized you still have other income sources.)
  • buying out old sites and fixing them up (cheap - I have been offered top level category sites in DMOZ which were one of the top three or four sites in their category as ordered by PageRank in the Google Directory for a one off $2,000 fee.)
  • buying out old community sites and entering them into community linking programs (cheap)
  • renting links on a site and entering those link slots into a community linking program (cheap - pay for links from one site and get links from a wide variety of sites.)
  • actually posting things people would want to link to (free)
  • lots of other stuff I probably forgot to post...

Google slowed the spread of selling PageRank when they penalized SearchKing, but there are a bunch of easy (and often cheap) ways to build linkage data.

What constitutes a linking scheme? What makes one link valid and another one not? Automated, deceptive, and "for the user" are easy words to use, but then there are also legitimate and cheap techniques that have exceptional power over relevancy. At the end of the day it is just a game of semantics.

Many people say PPI directories are rubbish - but that's what Yahoo is and unfortunately people pay to list there.

We can say 'well Yahoo isn't an intentional manipulation of PageRank' (or in a special class) - well what makes them special?

The fact that they played the game of the web early and now a leader is the answer :source

Christmas Cards & Gifts:
Thanks to those who sent me cards and stuff - I appreciate it. I still have not went to the post office with any of the cards and stuff I bought, so the ones I send out - if I ever send them out - will be new years cards ;)

I actually do not feel as Screwdgelike as I normally do, I just have been scatterbrained and a bit busy.

Thanks to

  • those who gave me good ideas;

  • those who taught me;
  • those who inspired me;
  • those who helped me;
  • those who invited me to hang out;
  • those who brought me to the best curry in the world;
  • those who recommended me;
  • those who gave me feedback;
  • those who told me when I was all hosed up;
  • those who bought my ebook;
  • those who worked with me; &
  • those who are reading this post.

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