Called a “weather update” by the Yahoo search team, a round of search engine ranking tweaks have been added today according to this blog post. I am looking forward to seeing how this new set of updates pans out. There does not appear to be a concensus at WebmasterWorld regarding this update; some have noticed changes and some have not. As a result, keeping in line with Yahoo!’s lingo; StepForth’s doppler radar does not forecast a huge storm (aka, it doesn’t appear to be a huge shakeup 😉

In addition to this update Yahoo! announced that it is now formally supporting the NOODP tag:

<meta name=”ROBOTS” content=”NOODP”> or
<meta name=”Slurp” content=”NOODP”>

Google implemented the NOODP tag around July 14th of this year. For those of you unfamiliar with this tag it is designed to tell the search engines NOT to use the description that you have in your Open Directory Project (ODP) listing. This tag was an extremely welcome addition for webmasters because search engines were using the often out of date and poorly written descriptions from the ODP as the default for associated organic results. Finally, with the implementation of this weather update Yahoo has enabled site owners to prevent the use of their ODP description.

Tuesday, October 24th, 2006

Google Releases Adwords Optimizer

The Google Adwords team released a new beta tool that will allow Adwords users to test and track the success of their PPC landing pages. Called Adwords Website Optimizer this new tool is not widely open to the public quite yet but you can apply to become a beta tester.

As with most Google applications I find this program to be very straight forward and clever. The concept allows for users to create a single landing page, implement Adwords Optimizer code, then configure different variations of the page from within the Optimizer (changing the title, picture, content… anything). Each variation will be served up to Google viewers who click on the advertiser’s PPC listing and then the actions that the viewer takes will be tracked to calculate the effectiveness of the landing page in comparison to the other versions. Reports are provided along with some very straight forward statistics to make it simple for the average Adwords user to use the system successfully. Read more…

It was Christmas yesterday for the SEO community as Incisive Media announced that an arrangement with Danny Sullivan was announced to continue arranging the Search Engine Strategies Conferences through 2007. At this time there is no indication that Danny is going to continue his role as Chief Editor of Search Engine Watch. In fact according to his personal blog it appears that he is going to continue writing his informative search engine articles privately.

Congratulations Danny! We are happy to see you back with SES, it would not have been remotely the same without you I am sure.

I just have a second for a quick tip but this is a good one for those of you new to link building. If you have ever done a backlink search on a competitor to find out where they have their links from you often find that a large majority of the links are from their own site. It can be a real pain separating the wheat from the chaffe so here is a little trick on Yahoo (the best place to do link building).

Conduct the following search in Yahoo replacing “” with your competitor’s address:

The result is a listing of all the sites your competitor has gotten links from minus your competitor’s own pages. This is a handy little tool. Now if you want to do this faster you can always pick up OptiLink – a program that we use religiously when we are conducting link building campaigns. Visit our recommended SEO tools section of the SEO Blog for this one and much more.

On November 1st, 2006 in Victoria, BC, Canada, StepForth is providing a 2 hour workshop to budding entrepreneurs on the basics of search engine optimization. The workshop is run by the Entrepreneurial Learning Foundation (ELF), a not-for-profit foundation devoted to supporting young entrepreneurs. Read more…

The Google Code Blog just posted that Google web gadgets can now be posted for free on websites. Gadgets available are many such as calendars, games, jokes, etc. Here is a listing of the gadgets you can add to your own webpage.

Oh no, I hope this doesn’t take us back to the old days of gadget/eyecandy overuse (remember the animated gif nightmare?). has released a great new search option for webmasters which allows you to see just how many links point to other websites from within your own. To use it simply search using the following syntax without the quotes and replacing “” with your domain (do not use ‘www.’):

“” Read more…

Brilliant! Sometimes I think the folks at Google are too smart for their own good. Okay, perhaps I am a little too excited about this but I just love to see a good idea. Yesterday Google announced “Google Teacher Academy”:

“The Google Teacher Academy is a pilot program designed to help K-12 educators get the most from innovative technologies. The Academy is a one-day experience at Google’s Mountain View Headquarters where participants get hands-on experience with Google products and other technologies, receive instructional resources to share with colleagues, and share innovative instructional strategies with other local educators. Upon completion, Academy participants will become Google Certified Teachers and will be asked to lead at least three related professional development activities for local educators.” (source, Google Teacher Academy) Read more…

It is widely known that the Indian economy is booming and as a testament to this fact a new search engine providing entirely Indian based content has recently launched: .

The design of Guruji is very nostalgic of Google’s early days; clean, simple, no advertising, and quite attractive. Created to capitalize on the growing need for local search, this 30 million page index is bound to grow considerably over the next year. Currently in English, Guruji will offer search in the following languages within the next 6 months: Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Bengali.

If you are interested in getting some exposure in Guruji then your site had better have some Indian content. From my own tests I have to say that their filter to ensure Indian-only content is quite good.

Tuesday, October 10th, 2006

Yahoo!'s Site Explorer Gets Tweaked

Last week Yahoo! posted that they had launched a few updates to their Site Explorer tool in response to user feedback.

Here is a list of the updates:

  • Authentication filenames have been reduced to 27 characters in response to users who stated they were far too long.
  • Authentication files are now in HTML format for those who had problems uploading text files. The older text file format is still compatible so no need to change if you already have it setup. They also reminded users that they should not remove the keyfile from their sites because if they do their site will be unauthenticated.

Site Explorer is a great tool for anyone who wants an idea on how well their site is indexed in Yahoo and to find out how many backlinks they have. Here is an article that describes how to use the Yahoo Site Explorer tool.