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.

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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.

Google Theming, Gigablast Custom Topic Search, Death of SEO?

My Way or the Highway...
Dave Hawley (who is on my ignore list) recently created a thread to prove that signature links do not count. Given limited sets of data and a desired goal one can, after all, prove just about anything.

DaveN cites the thread stating that he thinks all links will help some, but that he is seeing more theming at play in Google today.

Questionable:
When you know people manipulate information systems and you need to research you should become a Skeptical Business Searcher

New Library:
Internet Archive's Text Archive project will challenge the recently launched Google library.

Search a Bunch of Sites:
GigaBlast allows you to create a custom topic search engine which searches up to two hundred of your favorite domains.

Taking Bets:
Sebastian reviews 2004, and bets that SEO firms will drop like flies in 2005. I have grown to know a good number of SEOs over the past year or so (and chat with many daily). Many come from bright business backgrounds, but it also seems to me that many of us also had exceptionally low points in our lives and looked to the web for something to do when other things did not make sense (I am definentally part of that second group).

I would not bet against the resiliency of internet marketers, especially with how fast and cheaply the web provides feedback. No matter how much search advances people will still make money off SEO services. Some SEOs will always be able to manipulate most any search results, while others will move on to other business roles.

I think niche SEO services (knowing everything about an industry or link building or directory registration or keyword research), more sophisticated SEO services (those who can instantly rank anything or know how to get around any technical problem), and more personalized SEO services (working exceptionally closely with just a few clients) will spread.

General broad SEO services for some random set fee to tons of clients will be a business model that provides less and less value as time passes and search advances.

More clients means more data, but understanding social networks and finding the key things that various web based businesses need to do to succeed longterm is not something that can scale out to work well with thousands and thousands of clients. Most base level salary workers can not do the deep analytical stuff and there is only so much that you can automate or mass produce before it loses value.

Some of the best SEOs work for a limited number of clients and share profit with companies that they help make successful. In the long run it is much more valuable to forge a few strong relationships than to spread too thin. From my experiences usually those who demand the cheapest rates also are the most likely to be bad customers in many many many other areas.

If customer SEO fees and service structure are not customly designed around what their sites need then they are:

  • paying for a package they may or may not need; &

  • probably are not getting the individual attention their business needs to succeed longterm.

Even selling things like directory registration or consulting I have fees listed on my website, but in my mind the numbers are arbitrary guidelines to qualify prospects...really nothing more. In my opinion no legit service price can be given for full quality SEO services without first extensively chatting and feeling each other out.

SEO in and of itself will not go away anytime soon, though many of the people doing it may create interesting new business models and ideas or have job positions that go by some other official name.

Then again I could be wrong ;-)

Do you think SEO is going away anytime soon? How will it evolve? Will customers learn to pay in jars of peanut butter?

Content SEO:
When I moved my other site the DNS propigated through amazingly fast (before I even had the site up - oops). My site was not up when Google crawled it and it still ranked at #6 for search engine marketing. Also here is the cache copy of the page. For competitive terms the actual page copy does not usually matter that much IMHO.

Quality Hosting, Broken Links & Free Directory Submission

Moving:
So I moved hosts on my other site to Pair yesterday (lots of savvy webmasters have recommended them to me). While I was still uploading the site the DNS already propagated through to the new location. I had to learn how to play with some .htaccess fast ;)

Broken Links:
After I moved I checked my site using Xenu and found a ton of broken links I need to update. Some stuff doesn't make any sense, like the Virtual Library's contact us and registration pages no longer exist.

While on the Topic of Directories:
Free Christmas gifts...

I have been doing tons of directory submissions recently, and thus know many directory owners. The following directories are giving away listings to the first 3 people who leave a comment below. After you comment find your relevant categories and give me your info via email me at seobook [At} gmail dot com using "free directory submission" as the subject and I will submit your sites for you.*

  • SevenSeek - John Scott's directory. He also has been thinking about eventually create a portal and search engine on that site.

  • Web Atlas - Nandini Maheshwari's fairly new directory. I have been helping her build up some good link popularity, and Web Atlas provides mutliple deep links with each listing.
  • Uncover the Net - Shawn Walter's somewhat new directory. I believe his directory has more pages in Google's cache than any other directory. He also recently create an affiliate program.
  • Rubber Stamped - Peter Da Vanzo's brand spanking new directory. Peter is a bit of a link hound, so look for him to build some good link popularity on the quick.

* Please no lead generation, affiliate, pharmacy, porn, insurance, debt, or gambling type websites. If your website is making you thousands of dollars per day please do not submit via this offer. :)

Digital Point's Cooperative Ad Network

Digital Point's Cooperative Ad Network:
Digital Point's Cooperative Ad Newtork is a powerful link exchange program. I believe sites participating in the network are assigned an ad weighting based upon traffic, PageRank, and number of pages number of pages indexed in Google. On your pages you place the code and random static text links pointing at other network sites magically appear. On other participating sites links to your site will randomly appear based upon your weighting. Many of the sites are community driven forums with thousands of pages so there is a ton of link popularity being parsed around.

Search Google for eBay and you will see Shawn ranking in the top 10. When asked about his eBay page Shawn stated:

Started monkeying with it about 5 weeks ago... Broke the top 10 a week after I started.

Coop Ad Network Rating as Currency:
The Coop Ad Network rating is actually becoming a currency...

Where there is Value...
When other people sign up under your account you gain added network credits. Some people are sending out affiliate link embedded emails recommending the coop ad network.

I haven't seen weight for sale on ebay, but I did get an email "reviewing" the ad network with someone's affiliate link in it. mattmdesign

Shawn replied to the thread saying that those who are spamming will be removed from the program.

Me Too:
The ad network has grown so popular that other cooperative networks such as
http://www.yourcan.com/ have sprung up
.

The general take is, so long as it is trustworthy, the more the merrier. From a forum participant:

I just signed up as #47
It's a complete rip, but I couldn't care less...
Another network= More links

Is it a Link Farm?
More forum quotes:

I haven't used the co-op. there's no reason any sites will be penalized by participating it the network. what it does is to AUTOMATE a legitmate ad process.

Not possible because links are randomly picked. A link farm is a group of fixed links where linking partners have the same set of links.

Those are example quotes from supporters of the network. I think it is somewhat of a link farm in that there is absolutely no focus on relevancy. There still are some big holes in that ad program if it is to be sustainable.

No doubt that short term it has been amazingly successful for some, but at this point the network is something that is "above radar," and if search engines want to do something about it I am sure they can.

I think the community driven link partnership idea is a golden ticket though (it is essentially the AdSense of link building), and the first person who creates that type of network which is focused on relevancy will do exceptionally well. I do not think it is easy to be relevant without indexing and understanding the pages though, and that obviously much more expensive than the current network setups.

Another Link Building Program:
The community link building idea will continue to grow more popular over time. LinkItForward is another similar version of the community link idea. I have not tried out their network so I am uncertain as to how high of a quality the participating sites are, but with it you at least get to select who you are willing to link out to.

Questions Going Forward:
How do you build critical mass while focusing on relevancy? Is it possible? Any thoughts? If you were to start a community linking program what would you think would be important? Can you make a scalable community linking program that does not leave footprints?

Search Engine Marketing Awards, Google AdSense Click Fraud, Keyword Difficulty Checker, SEO Legends Shirts

Search Engine Marketing Awards:
I nominate ;)
plans are in the making
as are plans for the alternative awards

Click 3 Times:
AdSense publisher is frustrated by the concept of targeted leads

Keyword Difficulty Checker:
I think the best way to tell is to look at the search results and do extensive link analysis. Some may like to try out this free tool though.

New Shirt
So I got my super comfy new shirt in today from the SEO legends collection.

I am getting a bit out of hand with my search related shirt collection...I now have the Google space shirt, MSN, SEW, SEL, IHY (unoffical bootleg version from a defunct thread that was later pulled), BlowSearch, LinkAdage, and Patrick Gavin might be making me one too. My shirt collection is only lacking Yahoo! Search, Ask Jeeves / Teoma, and SEMPO-Tahoe (hopefully the SEMPO Tahoe shirt could be added to the SEO Legends collection soon).

Its disappointing that I don't have any search related pants, but I can't really see me trying to wear a pair of these.

Google Beats Geico in Court, Google Spam Filters, MSN Desktop, Google Library

Google vs Geico:
Huge news for many marketers, Google won.

U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema ruled that there was not enough evidence of trademark violation to bar Google from displaying rival insurers when computer users search the word "GEICO."

Search Engine Filiters:
Three was a good thread on SEW forums about search engine filters. A couple people defaced the original thread with useless garbage, but ThreadWatch's coverage is a great read.

Search Engine Strategies:
I was going to attend, but decided not to at the last minute...anyhow, if you want coverage RustyBrick is posting about many of the sessions here...he may not be blogging the event though ;)

Funny:
GoogleGuy reviews a non-profit site: (really funny)

I'd recommend that he remove all links to these aggressive sites, and then send an email to us requesting reinclusion.

(found on ThreadWatch)

Google Suggest:
DaveN has opened up his scraper for public use.

MSN Desktop Search:
launched, & integrated into the MSN toolbar.

Search Stats:
ClickZ writes about a recent ComScore search survey

Of those consumers who converted on a trademark keyword, 91 percent did so after starting with a different term type. A full 80 percent started with a generic search term. Trademark searches, meanwhile, accounted for 20 percent of all online searches.

As for conversions, an estimated 92 percent of all computing and consumer electronics purchases occur offline. Meanwhile, 7 percent of conversions occur in the form of latent conversions. Only 1 percent of conversions occur in the same session online.

Google Library:
Google to digitize lots and lots of books...

Late to the Party:
Ask Jeeves desktop search

Brits Behind the Curve on Spam?
Nearly a quarter of all online UK consumers (23%) have purchased some form of goods or services from a spam email, according to new research. I wonder if thats why many of the UK SEOs are so good at what they do ;)

Google Redirects Google UK, Google Gets Sued for Google Scholar

Google UK:
Google.com was 302 redirecting to Google.co.uk for some people in the UK. You can override the cookie by using the no cookie redirect link: http://www.google.com/ncr (found on DaveN's SEO Spam Blog)

May the Smartest Search Win:
Google Sued Over Scholar... Have you sued Google for something or another yet? If not, why? ;)

For the Egotist in the Room:
PubSub link rank...kinda like Alexa + PageRank for blogs...it measures blog citation and the lower your number the better. My PubSub is brutally high, please link to me to help make the world a better place <-- desperate plea for help :)

NickW:
has a baby (actually it was his wife who had the baby) congrats Nick :)

Directory Owners Friend:
I will be doing lots of site submissions to lots of directories pretty soon. If you have a decent directory which:

  • gets indexed by major search engines

  • and has enough link popularity to get well indexed;
  • has some quality standards;
  • and provides static links...

make sure you are listed in my Directory Archives site...if you are not please submit :)

Also if you want to offer submission deals for lots of submissions I am all for that and would probably be more inclined to submit...

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