Category Archives: Google

Microsoft – Yahoo Search and Destroy

Does putting two losers together make a winner, or just one big loser?

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has declared that combining his company with Yahoo would make the internet marketplace more competitive by establishing a strong number two in search and search advertising.

Then again it, maybe it will just make a weak number two. Microsoft and Yahoo have both been leaders in their own fields but in search, they suck. Put them together and they will still suck, in a bigger way.

These days it’s search that matters and the customers are discerning about it. The key to success is not brand or scale but the quality of the algorithm, and Google’s is the best.

Maybe Microsoft and Yahoo together can invent a better search algorithm than Google, but it’s doubtful. They haven’t done it separately and anyway Google is now making so much money it is attracting the best programmers who are constantly refining the algorithm that Sergey Brin and Larry Page invented in 1995.

It was then called ‘BackRub’, named for the way the algorithm analysed the “back links” that point to a website. Now it’s called PageRank, after Larry Page, and although the algorithm has been refined and added to over the past ten years, at its heart the system still computes a recursive score for web pages based on the weighted sum of the other websites that link to them.

That was the insight of Brin and Page: that the number of links to a website that are generated by other human beings is a good way to measure relevance based on human concepts of importance.

The other advantage of Google was that it focused on search. That meant it has a beautifully simple website, with nothing but a good brand, a search field and – for the first few years at least – the number of web pages being indexed. That number passed a billion pages in April 2000, which made the Google search offering astounding and compelling.

In February 1994, a year before Brin and Page started creating their search algorithm, Yahoo’s founders, Jerry Yang and David Filo, working in a trailer at Stanford University California, started organising their own web surfing into links that they saved as bookmarks. As the list of links got longer, they put them into categories and then sub-categories.

It was a pretty useful bunch of links, so they created a web page to make them easier to use and available to others. It was called ‘Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web’. That soon became too long so they used an acronym: Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle – that is, Yahoo

Word spread fast around the internet and Yahoo had its first million hit day in the autumn of 1994, which translated to 100,000 unique users. In April 1995 Yang and Filo got $2 million from Sequoia Capital, which had seed-funded Apple Computers, Oracle and Cisco Systems, and they were away.

So Yahoo is a directory site that added search later, when the company bought the Inktomi search engine in 2002.

Inktomi was developed in 1995 by Eric Brewer, at the University of Berkeley, and put more emphasis on keyword density than external links. It was a sort of wholesale search, designed to power the search engines of other websites, including AOL. In 2003 Yahoo also bought Overture, another wholesale search business.

Microsoft, meanwhile, was sound asleep, lying on the soft bed of the cash it was making from its Windows operating system monopoly. It eventually used the Inktomi/Yahoo search engine in msn.com, but basically Microsoft was caught out by Google’s advance in the same way IBM was caught out by Paul Allen’s and Bill Gates’ PC revolution during the 1980s.

The only other major search engine that survived the shake-out that followed the tech wreck is Ask Jeeves, later renamed ask.com, developed by Garrett Greuner and David Warthen. They had the idea of users being able to search using plain English questions; it was pretty cool, but never really took off, although Ask is still one of the top four search engines.

So there are four major search engines, but it’s Google, daylight, and then the other three.

The reason Google dominates is that its algorithm is still the most efficient – it most quickly searches the most pages and sorts them better than the others. It’s true that its brand is powerful and the advertising model produces so much cash that the company is a juggernaut, but those things derive from the quality of the search engine.

Google now is the market. Search engine optimisation (SEO) means manipulating or subverting Google to get a better ranking, and Google spends a fortune trying to maintain the integrity of its results. For example, there’s a ‘sandbox’ that you sit in for a few months while Google’s web crawlers inspect your website to make sure it’s kosher.

Brin, Page, Yang and Filo have themselves proved that on the internet scale does not matter – they succeeded when their businesses were small.

One day someone will challenge Google, but it’s unlikely to be Steve Ballmer.

Google SEO Advice – The Do’s & Dont’s

You may or may not be aware, but Google has released a list of SEO do’s and dont’s that you should follow if you want any hope of being indexed and ranked in the search engines. Most SEO information is disputed, but when it comes from the BIG G’s mouth, you know it’s probably very true!

Ok, so maybe this isn’t breaking news – and although it’s been out for a while, Google has a small guide on what to do and what not to do when it comes to getting ranked in their glorious index. Again, while these are some common sense items, you’d be surprised at the amount of people that do not read it, and end up either suffering a drop in rankings, penalized, or banned from Google’s index all together.

I want to sum up the Do’s and Don’ts of Google’s guidelines to SEO best practices (not all of them, because some are extremely basic, so just the ones that you may have forgotten)

Do’s:

Have other sites link to yours (quality, relevant sites).
Submit a sitemap using your Google Webmaster Tools account.
Submit your site to quality, high authority directories in the appropriate category.
Make a site with text links and a clear hierarchy, and make sure every page is reachable by at least one static text link.
Create useful, unique, and clearly written content. Relevancy is key.
Make sure your TITLE tags and ALT tags are”descriptive and accurate” (see, even Google recommends this – told you I wasn’t BS’ing!)
Maintain clean HTML code.
Keep the outgoing links on a particular page under 100.
Make it easy for search bots to crawl your site without error.
Make use of the robots.txt file to limit crawling on pages that aren’t useful to visitors.
Make pages for users, not search engines. (It’s fine to optimize your page, but don’t do nasty spammy things just to get the search engine’s to look for it)

Dont’s:

Don’t have any broken links on your site.
Don’t use hidden text or hidden links (people, doing that is soooo 2002, and will get you heavily penalized)
Don’t cloak or use “sneaky” redirects.
Don’t load pages with keywords or keyphrases. This is spam, and Google knows it.
Don’t send automated queries to Google.
Don’t create duplicate content. (This will kill your rankings most of the time)
Don’t create pages that install bad things (trojan’s, viruses, malware, etc..) – kind of a no brainer anyway.

If you participate in an affiliate program, don’t provide duplicate, run of the mill content. Provide useful, relevant content for the user.

DON’T participate in linking schemes!!! Bloggers pay attention to that one. So many of those viral linking posts go around, and they are just not good for business.

That’s why you rarely see the bigger A-list blogs take part, because they know it’s bad for rankings. Resist the temptation to gain 30 extra links overnight (do you really think Google doesn’t know what’s up with that, c’mon….).

So, what you just read comes from the horses mouth itself, and I personally agree that you can’t go wrong by following the above advice. I take it for granted sometimes that people know all of this stuff, but I see it every single day that people will still try to keyword stuff, white text on white background, cloak, and all sorts of nasty things. Rarely, there are a few that get away with this and achieve good rankings, however, those rankings don’t last long at all.

Google is all knowing, and will catch you eventually. You can bet on that.

To read the entire paper from Google, check it out here.

SEO Winnipeg – SEO Manitoba – Search Engine Optimisation Company Canada

Looks like we have coursed a little stir within the SEO community in Canada,especially in the Winnipeg area where I new office is to open shortly, not before time may I add as Canadians spend more time online than any other country, have more connected households than anyone else and most are still in the dark ages when it comes to online marketing for there business.

Yes a new office in Winnipeg, another soon in BC and newly trained staff are ready to bring the world of search engine optimization and online marketing to the Canuck’s.

It’s going to be tough, these guys have heard it all before, they have either been ripped off by some website design company who profess to be SEO’s, been shafted by individuals who think >SEO Winnipeg is being listed on top of Google AdWords and the list goes on, we have heard some horrendous stories within the last 6 month’s in Winnipeg while setting up the new global office.

All is not lost, we have been inundated with requests from every Province, why, because we get the job done right, we get results and we get return on investment, not hard to work out really, that’s all that anyone could ask, after all is that not what they pay us for.

So if your in need of an SEO company in Canada or search engine optimization in Toronto, a SEO consultant in Vancouver, a trusted SEO company in Winnipeg, SEO services in Calgary, website optimization in Montreal or an seo expert in Quebec, please give us call, it’s free and you have nothing to lose.

We work with company’s large and small from $100k – $100 million turnover, be the best you can, make that call today. SEO Winnipeg 204 661 5295

Google SEO Experts, Who are they, Who's Who

Below is list of names of some of the perceived experts in seo and Internet marketing,

Aaron Wall, Bill Slawski, Jim Boykin, Jeremy Schoemaker, Jill Whalen, Bruce Clay Barry Schwartz, Danny Sullivan, Dave Naylor and others.

I am sure most people in the industry will have come across or heard of these people, what makes them who they are? I personally know a few of them myself and from what I have seen do great work, I would love to see some answers on this please,

but Im guessing here,

but could it be fees they charge for there work?
Newspaper articles?
results they achieve for clients?
or just be that they seem to be at every SEO marketing Internet show, they get out there and like to be seen?

Question, I know one so called SEO Expert, there retainer for consultancy is $300,000 per year to each client, they have other experienced seo’s in the company who work for a lot less.

They where making $2 million a year in the early 2000’s on affiliate websites.

They worked with both Yahoo & Google on PPC in the early days helping them improve the products we know today.

Google even paid an out of court settlement in 2004 to this person after a 2 year high court battle, along with a gagging order included not to divulge information about the company, it algorithms, its workings etc before the Big G’s floatation. I know that they are now free to speak if they wish, but will they?

Today they still work with some of the best known companies worldwide.

Who is this person?

Ideas are a plenty, do you know them?

Some people may be surprised to find out, they rarely ever post on forums, keep a reasonably low profile, don’t show up at shows and don’t write books.

All will be revealed in 2008

Let me have your thoughts

Off-Site SEO Tips

Off-Site SEO refers to search engine optimization techniques that are not performed on your own website or page, and are therefore termed “off-site.”

You see, these days, optimizing the content on your pages is not enough. For effective SEO you need help from other websites in the form of incoming links, commonly referred to as backlinks.

That’s basically what off-site SEO is all about – getting quality links relevant to your topic to assist the search engines in establishing what your web page focuses on. You can think of each backlink as a vote for your page. This is what Google’s PageRank measures, albeit in a complex way, taking many factors into consideration.

There are many ways to get backlinks; unfortunately, few of them are quick and easy. Here are some options:

Creating content that makes people link to it
Doing link exchanges
Getting directory listings
Writing and syndicating articles
Making forum postings
Posting comments to theme related blogs
Buying links
One link from a high quality site is worth tens from a poor site. And linking to bad sites can negatively effect your own website’s rankings.

One-way links into your website from another are of greater value than reciprocal links from carrying out link exchanges.

Links to your pages should use the relevant keywords in the anchor text. Use several variations on this text if you plan to create a high number of backlinks to a page. You’ll get better results and it looks more natural to the search engines, keeping you below the radar.

It’s generally best to avoid organized link exchanges or link farms. In the vast majority of cases they will harm, not help you. This is because the search engines see it as manipulation of the SERPS (Search Engine Results Page) and punish linked websites when they discover the network.

Although I’ve summarized link building in just a few sentences, don’t underestimate how important off-site SEO is. Good backlinks with targeted keyword anchor text carry so much weight these days that if it’s done well it’s entirely possible to rank a website highly for terms not even occurring on the page.

The advice on SEO in these 2 articles is all you need to start getting your pages ranking highly for traffic generating keywords. You just need to get on and do it, and be prepared to spend the time good off-site SEO requires. The more high rankings you get, the greater their influence on your overall rankings, and the easier it will become to tackle more difficult keyword phrases

Basic Onsite and Offsite SEO Tips

I keep on getting asked by newbies so here goes

Search Engine Optimization is broken down into two segments. Aspects of onsite changes to make your site more spider friendly and Offsite keyword text backlinking.

From an on site SEO perspective, consistency and placement of your keywords are important. Spider read a page top to bottom left to right. Therefore your major keywords should be consistent from your Meta tags all the way down to your footer page. Consistency in Syntax as well a prominence. Interlinking your site with keyword text links not only helps navigation of your site but it improves your keyword density.

There is much discussion in regard to the keyword density as to what is considered a non spam factor. Each page should have about 350-500 words per page with a keyword density of no more than 7-10%. Keyword density is also considered in your graphic alt text as well as hyperlinks.

Generally speaking, if your keyword looks stuffed, it is.

Basic On site SEO Factors:

Title Tag ( with Keyword)
Meta Description ( Consistent with Title Tag)
Meta Keywords ( Consistent with Title tag and Description)
H1 Tags ( with Keyword)
Graphic Alt Text ( with Keyword)
Keyword Hyperlinks
Keyword Density in body text
Keyword in Menu Links
Footer Page with Keyword Text Links

Off site linking is generally though of as the most effective way to raise in the search engine rankings. However if your on site SEO is not complete you are battling an up hill battle.

When planning your off site linking strategy you need to keep in mind that reciprocal links are considered devalued through the latest round of algorithm updates. Textual Keyword Rich links from various C-block IP address are the best links possible.

There are many ways to receive quality links.

Some of the top linking strategies to receive quality links come from the following venues:

Article Submissions
SEO Friendly directories
Blogs
Press Releases

Growing your links in a consistent manor is also relevant. Creating 1000’s of links in a short period of time could set up red flags. You will receive many links via RSS Feeds from the sources described above and be successful in your linking campaign.

Getting Search Engine rankings can take time depending on your keywords, but consistency and effort both on site and off site will bring you the desired results.

Wikia Search Launches With Google in Its Sights

Declaring that Internet search is currently broken, Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales is trying to fix it. And he wants your help.

After several months of development and acquisitions to assemble the infrastructure needed to build a viable search engine, Wikia Search service goes live today. Wikia Search is a product of Wikia Inc., a for-profit company wholly separate from the Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit organization that was founded in 2004 and oversees Wikipedia.

Following a brief period of private alpha testing, today’s unveiling is billed as a “public alpha release.” Wales has freely admitted that today’s launch is something of a test drive, and that the application will continue to see substantial modifications and updates.

With the community-driven, open-source search engine, Wales is hoping to transform Internet search, which he describes as currently dominated by a few large companies operating under a cloak of secrecy with virtually no accountability for how results are served up or pages are ranked.

“The philosophical background here is that I’m a very big advocate of openness and transparency,” Wales told InternetNews.com. The best parts of the Web are largely absent from the proprietary protocols of the major search engines, he said.

“My view here is that there’s an opportunity to change that.”

Starting from www.wikia.com, users can navigate to an unadorned search page that Wales compared to Google’s for its deceptive spareness — like Google, the Wikia Search launch page is just the tip of the iceberg.

Wales said that Wikia Search is both a social network and a search engine. On the site, users register, create profiles and are able to perform all the typical functions of a social networking site – messaging friends, uploading photos, etc.

The search engine serves up results as a series of links ranked in order of relevance, just as Google and Yahoo do (enter a query; receive a list of results), but the similarities end there.

Applying the collaborative editing approach that is the essence of a wiki, registered users can contribute to a mini-article that appears at the top of the results page, Wales said.

Users can click on the links and rank the relevance of the result to the search term on a scale of one to five; their evaluations are then fed back into the algorithm to improve the quality of information delivered.

Building a search engine from the ground up, with results delivered and refined the using the same approach that made Wikipedia the Web’s favorite general reference site, is not going to be an overnight process, Wales admitted. Just looking at the near future, “we’d be ecstatic if we grabbed 5 percent of the market,” Wales said.

The push toward community-driven search began in earnest in July, when Wikia announced the acquisition of Grub, the open source search project that harnesses the distributed processing power of individuals’ computers to crawl the Web.

The Grub Web crawler is just one of many technologies cobbled together to power Wikia Search, Wales said. On the back end, Apache efforts Lucene and Nutch shoulder the brunt of the search and indexing responsibilities. The front end, which handles the user interactions, such as the comments and rankings, is written in Java.

Wales said that Wikia Inc. is still exploring monetization methods for the search engine, but that, in a general sense, it would employ some form of an advertising model. No commercial partners have been announced.

Delivering search results through open source algorithms that evolve through community rankings begs the same question of user abuse that has dogged Wikipedia from time to time.

Search engine optimization is a microindustry in its own right these days. Asked about the concern that by turning the algorithms and rankings over to the community, Wikia Search could be a ripe target for gaming the search engine to artificially boost site rankings, Wales demurred.

“My view is that sunlight is the best disinfectant,” he said. “Talk with security experts and they will tell you that security through obscurity is a bad idea,” adding that the policing of Wikia Search will work in a very similar manner as it does on Wikipedia.

“We have a community that is in charge of the editorial content” that will be able to identify and block the bad apples who aren’t playing by the rules. Ultimately, SEO will be less of an issue for Wikia Search than it is currently with Google, Yahoo and the other major search engines, Wales said.

“I feel that this is going to be one of our strengths.”

Wales said he’s taking an organic approach to the development of the editorial community and that his own involvement will be extensive.

He wasn’t didn’t specifically answer whether there’ll be censorship or banning of rogue community members for trying to game the system?

“I have a general philosophy that’s served me very well: Avoid excessive a priori thinking – wait and see … we’ll see how it unfolds.”

Most Googled words in China

The names of three banks and the word “stocks” beat “sex” to become four of the most Googled words in China last year, according to a Google China list seen on Thursday.

China Merchants Bank, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and China Construction Bank ranked second, third and sixth, according to a list supplied by Google China on its website (www.google.cn).

“On the Chinese mainland, it was money and technology that took the honors last year,” the China Daily said, pointing out that “sex” was the most popular keyword for Google users in some other countries.

Fourth on the list was “stock,” not surprising with Shanghai shares having risen 97 percent last year. At number 1 was “QQ,” a Chinese instant message service and a brand of car.

China’s Central Bank, the Ministry of Finance and Banking Regulatory Commission ranked first, third and fifth in the “Most Popular Departments” list, the Web site said.

In another list named “qiu zhi,” or “seeking knowledge,” “what is a blue chip” and “how to invest in the stock market” were the most searched questions on Google in China, while “what is love” and “how to kiss” ranked top of the global list.

China keeps a tight rein on Internet content and has launched several campaigns to root out online pornography, perhaps one reason why “sex” did not score so well.

Google to take on Wikipedia

US Search engine giant Google is to launch its own version of online encyclopaedia Wikipedia in a bid to increase its stranglehold over online advertising revenue

Google is building its own version of communally-constructed online encyclopaedia Wikipedia, which consistently ranks among the most visited websites in the world.

The internet search powerhouse is inviting chosen people to test a free service dubbed “knol” to indicate a unit of knowledge, vice president of engineering Udi Manber said yesterday in a posting at Google’s website.

“Our goal is to encourage people who know a particular subject to write an authoritative article about it,” Mr Manber wrote. “There are millions of people who possess useful knowledge that they would love to share, and there are billions of people who can benefit from it.”

While Wikipedia lets visitors make changes to its online pages, trusting that people with accurate information will correct errors and misleading entries, Google is inviting folks to author their own articles.

Google's fastest rising overall search terms of 2007

Technology queries dominated the list of fastest rising overall search terms of 2007.
Unsurprisingly, Facebook topped the list in a year when the social-networking site gained critical mass and snowballing membership. It was followed by video-sharing site YouTube, and competing social networks Bebo and MySpace. Interestingly, a number of child-orientated websites also ranked high on the search list: Club Penguin, in which youngsters adopt a penguin cartoon character and interact with other members through the snowy virtual world, was number five on the list; and StarDoll, a website that allows you dress cleverly sketched pictures of celebrities in the latest fashions, made an appearance at number seven.

Wikipedia, Gumtree and eBay made up the remainder of this category, and arguably demonstrate that people perhaps do not know how to use search engines properly – most of these websites simply need a “.com” added to the end of their name in a web browser to take you straight through to the site, and yet people persist in circuitously accessing these pages via Google rather than by going straight there.