Q. What is more annoying than hearing Wagner’s Flight of the Valkyrie played in midi music style on a website over and over again?

A. Hearing it come from your friend’s pocket over and over again. Read more…

2003 was a watershed year in the search engine industry. Not only was it the year of mergers and acquisitions, it was also the year that the media, business and financial sectors really took notice. It was a very busy year for the SEO sector as well, perhaps marking the maturity of the optimization industry. With so much action and so many changes, one almost required a scorecard to keep up. By the end of 2003 the search world looked remarkably different than it did at the beginning. Some firms were big winners while others were huge losers. Here’s our list to kick off the new year. Read more…

Link building is about to become a lot more important, and a lot more difficult if the current reigning theory/analysis of Google’s new algorithm is correct. Earlier this week, the CEO of India based SEORANK, Atul Gupta, published a brilliant analysis of Google’s new algorithm. We are experimenting with some of his findings but, for the most part, we think Gupta’s analysis is very accurate. To make a long analysis short, the article basically states that Google is now using two unique algorithms to measure the relevancy of incoming links to a website. Gupta theorizes that Google is just now introducing an algorithm known as Hilltop which appears to be blended with the Florida algorithm. The new algo measures incoming links in a very different way than the older PageRank algorithm did.

Wednesday, January 7th, 2004


With Yahoo!’s pending switch from Google (free-listings) to Inktomi (paid-inclusion), website owners with high Google rankings will see the number of visits to their sites drop dramatically as Yahoo! drives about 30 – 35% of all search traffic. Inktomi is also the primary supplier of results for MSN, the third largest search tool. We are predicting that the bulk of search traffic will come from the Inktomi database, starting sometime around March or April. This likely spells the demise of free-inclusion as Inktomi’s popularity will increase and Google will need to plug a sudden and likely massive revenue hole. While Google has traditionally spurned paid-inclusion, Yahoo!’s adoption of Inktomi results and the pressures stemming from going public through the anticipated IPO might move Google’s management towards the paid-inclusion spectrum.

Wednesday, January 7th, 2004


Yahoo! CEO Terry Semel had a lot to celebrate this new year and he appears to be happy to talk about it. On Monday, at the Smith Barney Citigroup Entertainment, Media and Telecommunications Conference in Phoenix, Semel spoke of the new directions he anticipates Yahoo! taking in 2004. The biggest change for Yahoo! will be a switch in where search results are drawn from. Currently, Yahoo! receives results from Google. Sometime this year Yahoo! will (99% likely) begin drawing results from their in house search database, Inktomi. Semel also noted Yahoo!’s rapid growth over the past two years with the introduction of paid services such as Yahoo! shopping sites and music distribution. Yahoo! now boasts over 5Million paying users, up from zero two years ago. A large portion of these paying users come from the partnership between Yahoo! and SBC Communications to bundle Yahoo content into SBC’s DSL subscriptions. Yahoo! is currently the front runner in the search engine business war and has been brilliantly placed to take advantage of the emerging trends of contextual advertising and the rapid growth of e-commerce.

Wednesday, January 7th, 2004

Google coming back!

It looks as if Google is starting to show standards again. We have seen relative stability in the search engine return pages and a fairly massive decline in SPAM listings. We expect a full update by this time next week so stay tuned.

Yahoo seems to be ratcheting out Inktomi results along with their standard Google results. We believe Yahoo will be moving towards Inktomi in the near future.

Hi folks,

it is 12:15 on Friday the 19th. As of 15 minutes ago, the holiday season started for StepForth staff. Here is our holiday schedule in case folks want to get a hold of us:

StepForth will be closed for holidays during the week of Dec. 22 – Dec 29. We will be operating with a reduced staff from Dec. 29 to January 5th. We will be closed for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

From all of us at StepForth, have a happy and safe holiday season and thanks for an excellent 2003.

Please understand that this poem is tongue-in-cheek and that our staff is working harder than elves on a deadline. I needed to take some liberties with reality to make the poem work. It’s Christmas and my friends got together and bought me an artistic license. I thought I’d use it… :) Happy Yule y’all!

Read more…

It has been exactly one month since Google introduced its infamous Florida Update. As the Florida Update has brought about the largest and most comprehensive shake-up of Google’s listings ever, it has generated a great deal of interest around the world and genuine panic for the literally millions of webmasters who’s sites have been adversely affected by the change. Read more…