Google has been showing really bizarre results today. Just when I start to think Google is coming back to some sense of normal I see a client report or conduct a random search that shows that Google has not gotten back to normal. Before the recent Florida Update, I could be reasonably sure that if a site was in the Top10 at Lycos or Alta Vista, it was almost certainly Top10 at Google. Today, that is not the case, or at least not all of the time.

Ross noticed something interesting a few minutes ago. Google does not seem to be measuring back-links in any noticable way. Ross re-worked an optimization effort for one of his clients’ sites last week on the assumption that really strong SEO would beat sites with high link-densities and suddenly, the site is in the #2 spot on Google after being dropped during the Florida Update. We are attempting the same practice on another couple of sites (with client permission of course) in the hopes that our assumption is correct. With Google spidering and re-spidering like mad these days, we hope to see results withing three or four days.

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Tuesday, November 25th, 2003

Thoughts on Longhorn

Today’s Globe and Mail (Canada’s National newspaper) has an amazing disection of Microsoft’s emerging OS, Longhorn. This article should be required reading for any SEO or anyone interested in SEO. Read more…

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Tuesday, November 25th, 2003

Goading us into Google-Bashing

Ross just received a call from another SEO asking why we haven’t publically bashed Google for their most recent ranking weirdness. In reality, I think we’ve taken it to Google several times in the past year and rightly so. Google has a tremendous impact on the world of search and the availability of information to the general public. On a business persective, companies can be made and broken based on their Google ranking. This is important and we can’t forget that every business has an impact on real people’s lives. I think Google has a responsibility to live up to but I have no idea exactly how they should live up to it. More warning perhaps.

I think I will start taking pot-shots in print at Google’s expense and here’s the first. Google’s rankings were thrown totally out of whack last week with the oddest update we’ve ever seen. SPAM and totally unrelated sites ending up with the top rankings under specific keyword phrases. Sites that had been placing in the Top10 for months or even years suddenly gone from the listings… ARG. This update has been named the Florida update and, in a strange way, that figures. We’ve suspected the math in Florida to be sort of whacky for a couple of years now… :)

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Tuesday, November 25th, 2003

Jumpin'… Thanks Garrett

Garrett French has pasted StepForth all over the front of WebProNews and his newsletter today. Amazing… We’re getting a lot of attention and a lot of visits to the site. We just wanted to say thank you Garrett, you are the entire Top10, IMHO Read more…

Last week it was reported that Microsoft and Google had met to discuss a possible buy-out. This week, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates stated that the discussions never happened. Four weeks ago, it was reported that Google was going to issue an IPO in February 2004 through a “Dutch Auction” format. The next day, Google Communication Director David Krane, was all over the phones demanding retractions of the story. Obviously someone is telling stories somewhere along the line… Read more…

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Wednesday, November 19th, 2003

Google's Listings Gone Buggy

Something big is happening at Google but we’re not sure what it is. What we do know is that since a major update of Google’s database started on Friday night, the search returns have been extremely buggy with long-term Top10 pages dropping from existence, recorded back links decreasing or disappearing for many sites, and more than the usual amount of spam appearing in the Top10. We have also noted the disapperence of one their major servers (www-sj.google.com).

Google has been delivering questionable returns for several months now with spam and duplicate listings often making it into the Top10. The last time their listings have been this upset was in October 2002 when Google tried introducing Blog entries and news releases into its general listings. Within two weeks, the listings had been restored to a shakey state of “normal” but that marked the beginning of strange and often spammy entries into the Top10. This month’s update is being referred to in the SEO community as the “Florida Update” and has a lot of SEO practicioners scratching their heads. Our current advise is to wait it out for at least two weeks and see what Google does next.

Happy Monday morning folks… DON’T PANIC!

Have y’all taken a look at Google today? Yes, what you are seeing is real. Google is showing totally different listings on the search engine returns pages today. Actually, this weirdness started sometime on Friday night or Saturday morning. Most of our clients have not been affected and the only one we have seen effected has had his rankings rise dramatically. Our site has been affected though, rather badly at that. From the #6 spot under the phrase “Search Engine Placement”, the happy-go-lucky StepForth site has dropped past the fifth page of returns.

I think this is a temporary thing. We last saw such a massive shake-up six months ago and the listings went back to normal after a few days. This sort of shake-up generally indicates that Google is re-ordering their entire database of spidered sites.

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Wednesday, November 12th, 2003

Google's New Deskbar

Google has recently released Google Deskbar, a search tool that allows you to search all of Google’s various databases (Google, Google News, Froogle, Google Groups, etc…), without opening your browser. When installed, Google Deskbar operates in the lower tray and automatically opens an Internet Explorer window to display results. Google has introduced this tool in response to rumours that Microsoft will be bulking search directly into its new operating system Longhorn.

Overture and NBC have signed a deal in which NBC will display paid-results from Overture in returns from the search feature on the TV network’s website. NBC joins other large media outlets such as the New York Post and CNN in introducing sponsored advertisements to search results in a bid to cash in on the growing contextual advertising market. Whenever a site user performs a search from NBC, the results returned will include advertisements that have bid on specific keyword phrases in an auction-like format. Under the two year deal, the top 3 bidded sites at Overture will appear as Sponsored Links above the traditional listings.

Major retraction and apologies folks… I just got off the phone with Google’s Communications Director, David Krane. It seems that the rumours of Google’s pending IPO have been greatly exaggerated by hundreds of writers, including myself, who are following Google. The story, which first broke in the Wall Street Journal Digest last Friday, has developed long legs and has been reported in most major business journals around the world. After reading literally dozens of articles and analysis, we decided to run with it too. Sometimes running with what appears to be the real story can be like running with scissors, a rather dangerous thing to do. It would seem I stumbled.

Here’s the story as we see it today. Google has NOT made a formal announcement regarding the issuance of an IPO. I made a foolish mistake in reporting this based on articles from several sources, all of which named “unnamed sources” as their informants. Google has been in talks with several investment banks, several of which are jockeying for position on floating the IPO. This was reported in Tuesday’s Oakland Tribune and Seattle Post-Intelligencer, to name a few. When issued, it will likely be in the $15-25Billion range, as reported here and in most other publications.

I believe the analysis in my article to be, for the most part accurate, assuming Google does issue their long-expected IPO. Several people I’ve spoken with today still believe that a formal announcement is imminent however; Google’s communications department has refused comment on the issue.