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In nearly every technical trade from auto mechanics to refrigerator repair, a series of four letter words are used to express frustration or to project one’s vexation on an inanimate object. Frequently these words, regardless of the shop in which they’re said, bear a striking similarity to each other. For many search engine marketers, one of the strongest four letter words is spam. On the Internet, the word spam is most often associated with unsolicited junk email but search engine marketers use the word to describe techniques that violate search engine guidelines or are in some way or another based on offering search engines spiders one set of data while presenting another on the site. Over the past three weeks, threads about search engine spam at various SEM forums transited from discussion to debate, at many points descending into downright nastiness and incivility. Read more…

Two months ago, Google released a 63-point patent document outlining how it examines historical data associated with websites and documents in its index. Since that time, we have witnessed changes in the algorithm which have become known as the Bourbon Update. StepForth has written a short whitepaper which studies that document and gives a short overview of the patent and how its contents may affect the Google organic search engine. It is important to note, this document does not cover subsequent announcements from Google such as Google Sitemaps. The following are a few paragraphs from the whitepaper, “Historic Data and Google Ranking: An analysis of the March 30th, 2005 PatentRead more…

Google is trying a little experiment. They already have the largest public database of documents found on the web but there is always more to see than meets their spiders’ eyes. Google Sitemaps is a good way to start finding it.

Google appears to be inviting webmasters and SEOs to create detailed sitemaps in XML format to invite, direct and re-invite Google’s spiders as the sitemap evolves with the site. Webmasters can set priorities and protocols to tell the spider what should be examined and how it should be seen. Google provides a highly detailed explanation of XML instructions, but only to those who’ve signed up for a Google account. More on that stuff later.

Get a jump on your weekend and start learning about creating and submitting sitemaps to Google today. In the long run, a lost techno-weekend following a pleasant long-weekend might not be so bad after all, given fun of playing with spiders.

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Wednesday, May 18th, 2005

SEM Growing More Complex

Working out a marketing plan for new and evolving websites is a bit more complicated than it used to be. There are a few new things to be considered before embarking on a search marketing campaign than in previous years. Search marketing has become more important and is thus becoming more professional. With growing acceptance of online communication tools, and a number of alterations to the faces of search engines themselves, the marketing arena has been upgraded from a three-ring circus venue to a Super Bowl sized stadium. Read more…

Is MSN better than Google? How does Ask Jeeves stack up against Yahoo? Which of the Big4 search firms produces the most relevant results? Those questions are difficult to answer as what is relevant to one searcher might not be particularly relevant to another. Search engines are the tools we use to thread the eye of the needles found in the universal haystack we know as the Net. Read more…

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Wednesday, April 27th, 2005

Optilink Update

A couple of weeks ago, Leslie Rohde from WindRose Software was minding his own business when a user of their signature tool, Optilink, emailed him to ask about the 404-page generated when querying Google. Read more…

“What’s the use of a good algorithm if you can’t change it?” Dr. Who (The Fortune Program)

Search engine optimization firms tend to have unique relationships with their clients. Like our colligate cousins in the web design field, our clients often see our services as one-time events. Once the initial SEO campaign is completed and websites have achieved Top10 placements, some clients are content to go about their business assuming their placements are going to stay in place. In many cases, they do. A website that has been optimized by a good SEO can prove difficult to dislodge, even when these placements are targeted by other SEOs. Read more…

Over the past week, SEOs and SEMs have noted some significant changes in the search engine results delivered by Google. Google appears to be actively cleaning its listings by targeting sites using suspicious link-building techniques. A couple of well-known search engine marketing sites have vanished from Google results under keyword phrases they dominated just last week. Read more…

Thoughts on Google’s patent…
Information retrieval based on historical data

Google’s newest patent application is lengthy. It is interesting in some places and enigmatic in others. Less colourful than most end user license agreements, the patent covers an enormous range of ranking analysis techniques Google wants to ensure are kept under their control. Some of the ideas and concepts covered in the document are almost certainly worked into the current algorithm running Google. Some are being worked in as this article is being written. Some may never see the blue-light of electrons but are pretty good ideas so it might have been considered wise to patent them. Google’s not saying which is which. While not exactly War and Peace, it’s a pretty complex document that gives readers a glimpse inside the minds of Google engineers. Read more…

Die-hard baseball fans have spent the past few days watching heavy hitters like Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire testify in front of a US Congressional sub-committee about the use of steroids in baseball. That the world of professional athletes is deeply enmeshed with performance enhancing drugs use is not really a shock for most people. Compounding their need to perform as well or better than their competitors, there are tremendous commercial and financial pressures placed on athletes in our culture. Read more…