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It looks as if Google has stabilized, for now at least. After four months of intense updating and incensed advertisers, the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) finally appear worthy of Google’s reputation. Last week StepForth predicted a major change at Google which happened over the weekend, resulting in the best results we’ve seen in months. Read more…

Yahoo unleashed the biggest surprise of the year today with the formal introduction of their own search engine. While the vast majority of search engine analysts were expecting Yahoo to simply adopt results from the powerful Inktomi database, Yahoo has been quietly and apparently quite effectively developing their own spider, database and ranking algorithms. Last month, Yahoo CEO Terry Semel announced that Yahoo would be moving away from results licensed from Google’s database by the end of this quarter. Read more…

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Saturday, February 14th, 2004

Google changes happening.

What looks to be the first google-dance since November appears to be winding up. Check out which links on your sites are being recoginzed and rewarded. If we’re lucky, Google might be settling out in the near future. It is becoming more predicable but logic says there is at least one more bump on the road to stable SERPs.

Change Happens

Chances are, the results you see in Google this week are not going to be what you see there next week. We are predicting another massive change to listings over the next week, based on our analysis of how Google is looking at incoming links and its recent behaviour patterns. If you are about to stop reading because this sounds complicated, hold on a minute. Read more…

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Thursday, February 12th, 2004

AdSense Nonsense

In today’s feature article, we alluded to a scandal brewing around Google and, like most things Google, this is a big one. Google is having problems surrounding its AdSense program. AdSense is one of the most interesting distribution methods and those problems may brew over into a fraud investigation by the Federal Trade Commission! There is a lot of information to share about this story, more than we have room for in this section. Here’s the information directly from the (US) National Anti-Spam Registry website: Read more…

As the Swinburne University’s astronomy department recently found out, having your site appear as a top search result is not necessarily a good thing! In fact, if you are not prepared to be number one, it can bring your server to a crashing halt when swamped by unexpected requests! Read more…

OK, you’ve heard this enough but just for the record. it is February 5th and Google is still broken. That said, things just keep getting worse for Google with AOL posting a log-in page where it used to display the AOL search function. This is another loss of distribution power for Google. Not sure what is happening in Mountain View these days but some folk must be feeling somewhat uncomfortable.

“Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” George Santayana (1863 – 1952)

The search engine war between Google and MSN is generating some nasty tactics reminiscent of the Microsoft vs. Netscape battle of the mid ’90’s. Those who remember that battle will recall the almost surgical methods used by Microsoft to all but destroy Netscape. Read more…

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Wednesday, February 4th, 2004

Google Legal Battle Threatens SERPs

Google is being sued by American Blind and Wallpaper Factory Inc. for trademark infringement. The case, which was originally thought to only involve AdWords bids on terms associated with American Blind and Wallpaper Factory Inc., has now grown to cover the traditional (free) results produced by Google. According to EWeek, David Rammelt of Kelley Drye & Warren LLP, the Chicago based firm representing American Blind and Wallpaper Factory Inc. said, “Our concerns are not just limited to the paid, sponsored links. We are seeing competitors listed when our trademarks are being typed verbatim.” Terms that concern Rammelt include, “American Blinds” and “American Blind”. Oddly enough, the litigant appears in the Top10 under the keyword phrase “American Blind”, just below sites dedicated to visually impaired Americans and Helen Keller.

Chances are, Google will win this suit, at least as it relates to the traditional (free) listings. The case does open a dangerous can-of-worms however as search terms and target keyword phrases may need to be rethought to avoid any trademark infringement in the future. An interesting feature of this case may be the public airing of Google’s ranking algorithms as Rammelt and his team dissects Google’s ranking methods in open court. The SEO community will likely watch this one very closely.

The success of the litigant would make search engines as we know them, sort of useless. Imagine a search tool being able to guarantee corporate rivals creating similar products could not appear under related keyword phrases if one of the corporations owned trademark rights to those keywords and phrases. A note to greedy lawyers, Just do it.

Google seems to be undergoing another major update again. Resembling the famous Florida update of November, this update looks as comprehensive and possibly as destabilizing for many small businesses.

There is a great deal of discussion in the general SEO forums right now but nothing pointing to a cause or solution. StepForth does not have an analytical opinion to share just yet but we are working on understanding the what, where, who, how and why’s of the situation.