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Yahoo Site Authentication Process: Welcome Yahoo Sitemaps
Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A while back we reported that Google, Microsoft and Yahoo were joining forces to provide consistent sitemap protocol. Following the path of Google Webmaster's Tools with their Google Sitemaps, Yahoo has finally done the same. "Yahoo Sitemaps" has been created. Yahoo announced yesterday that upgrades have been made to their Site Explorer Authentication Process.
What this means is that similar to Google Sitemaps (now Webmaster Tools) you can authenticate your site in Yahoo using Meta tags and can view various diagnostic stats through the Yahoo Site Explorer tool. Some of the key features announced include:

Site Authentication using META tags: For those who are unable to upload an authentication file to their site, such as a blog, you will now be able to authenticate your site in Site Explorer by including an authentication key as part of a META tag on the home page of your site.

Detailed Authentication Errors: Yahoo now provides detailed errors on authentication failures, making it much easier to diagnose possible problems. I was waiting for these diagnostic tools as they can be beneficial in determining if there are issues with certain sections of youy site.

Delete URLs: In conjunction with the robots.txt file, for your authenticated sites, you can now delete any URLs from the index. Simply locate the URL in Site Explorer and click on the ‘Delete URL’ button. The URL and all its subpaths will be deleted shortly thereafter. Yahoo states that the goal here is in providing greater responsiveness. They also state that you should continue to use the robots.txt protocol to ensure that the Yahoo Slurp crawler does not crawl pages you want to keep out of the Yahoo index.

Site Explorer Badge: You can Get a Site Explorer badge for your Website and retrieve the count of live links from the whole web. Yahoo goes on to state, "watch as your site becomes more popular, and show off your link wealth to your visitors. " Not sure about this, we'll have to look into this feature a bit more.
Overall this is great as using the Yahoo Site Authentication process you can help guide the Yahoo Spiders to the content that you want indexed in Yahoo. For more on the upgrade to Yahoo's Site Authentication Process visit the Yahoo Search blog. If you haven't used Yahoo Site Explorer be sure to check it out, it's great for checking your site's external link inventory.

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posted by Jody @ Wednesday, January 31, 2007  
Bill Gates on Windows Vista
Monday, January 29, 2007
Well here we go, Windows Vista is here. In case you missed it, here is Bill Gates on the Daily Show discussing the release of Windows Vista. The interview is quite entertaining. It's been over 5 years since the latest release, will Vista wow us? Let's see what Mr. Gates has to say about it.

Looking for more on Windows Vista? Over at Usetube, Cory Bates shares his thoughts on Vista.

The folks over at the joyoftech.com have presented their insight into Vista as well.

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posted by Jody @ Monday, January 29, 2007  
Online Lead Generation in 2007
Last week I posted the Top 100 Marketing Buzzwords of 2007. At number two on the list was the phrase "lead-gen". Ahh, lead generation, the B2B sites' reason for being. B2B organizations understand the importance of an online presence as a means for generating leads. As B2B marketers struggle to improve their lead generation process and manage to identify the numerous metrics for measuring leads via their websites, the growth of lead generation continues to be one of the "hottest sectors" in online marketing.

For those wanting to improve their ratio of leads to close or for those who want to drive visitors to the registration process, selection of a lead generation provider is critical. Matt Wise, President and CEO of Q Interactive recently posted an excellent piece entitled "5 Questions to Ask Your Online Lead Generation Provider".

In the article, Wise states, that "... As major brands continue to enter the market in 2007, it’s vital to be able to distinguish between top providers who will deliver a quality program — and lower quality players who will waste time and marketing dollars..." Wise also mentions a key issue in that old leads are bad leads and that one should try to obtain real time information and data delivery.

The full article can be found here.

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posted by Jody @ Monday, January 29, 2007  
Changing Servers, Switching an IP and SEO

A common question that I am often asked by clients is “… we are changing servers, how will this impact our SEO efforts?” This is a great question because anytime you make a major infrastructure change to your website, you run the risk of affecting your existing rankings. The initial response that I usually provide is to plan, prepare, and backup. Plan, plan plan.

While this topic has been discussed time and time again, here are a couple of key points to remember when making changes to your website infrastructure.

1. Consider the type of infrastructure change you want to make – are you just replacing the servers or are you actually switching server platforms? Why are you making the change? Is it imperative that you make this change? Sometimes the status quo may serve (no pun intended) you better.

2. Take your time and plan the migration – consider the impact of what you are proposing. What effect will this have with the search engines and your site visitors? Planning is key to helping prevent a negative impact from happening on your site. When you are finished planning review your plan again. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

3. Redundancy is a must – be sure to backup your old site. This is done so that you can revert back to the original if need be. As well you want to ensure that everything is fine with the new servers before you remove your old site. If you have a static website, just copy the entire file structure over to the new webhost and you should be ok. For blogs or e-commerce sites there may be a little more involved.

4. Change your DNS to point to the new servers - with a new IP address, you’ll want to be sure that 64.x.x.x translates to www.yoursite.com. Time-To-Live (TTL) is an important factor for a site’s DNS. It is important because if someone loads your website in their browser just before you update your DNS settings, and your TTL is one day, then that person’s browser will try to use your old IP address for that day. You’ll want to set it to a shorter time. Normally most TTLs are a day or a few hours or less.

5. Wait for the DNS change to propagate - a function of TTL and whether you’re switching to name servers that are already present in DNS. Propagation commonly takes 72 hours to update servers world-wide.

Once the new site is up and working properly, you can shut down your old site. If you have prepared and planned properly, you should have minimal disruption in your site. Matt Cutts from Google has a great post over on his blog about switching IP’s. Another great resource for information regarding changing servers and minimizing potential organic rankings can be found here. Other resources include:

Search Engine Guide: Changing Servers

Server Issues That Could Impact Search Engine Rankings

Moving a website / Changing between web-hosting service providers

Inside Google Sitemaps: More about changing domain names

Moving Content from an Old Domain to a New Domain

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posted by Jody @ Monday, January 29, 2007  
Is Google Page Rank Accurate or Does it Even Matter?
Sunday, January 28, 2007
As you have probably already noticed there has been a Google Page Rank update. Starting a few weeks ago and as recent as January 25th, there have been reports of Page Rank updates. I've noticed a number of my clients sites experiencing PR changes, but what I've found interesting pertains to some blogs that I have been keeping an eye on. A couple of these blogs are only a month or two old and have received a PR of 4 and even 5. These particular blogs have a limited external link inventory so to have a PR 4 or 5 just doesn't seem right. (Of course there are other factors involved...) but it just doesn't seem accurate for these blogs to have this high of a PR.

I am starting to jump on the bandwagon with those who state that tracking Google PR is truly just for fun and is not necessarily an accurate indication of anything. It seems a number of sites are still experiencing Page Rank fluctuations as being reported over at Webmaster World. I'm not sure what all the uproar is about. Should we be concerned with Google Page Rank?

Apparently with Google's Page Rank Technology "there is no human involvement or manipulation of results, which is why users have come to trust Google as a source of objective information untainted by paid placement. " If that's the case, why then are there pages that have low page rank being found in top organic position(s) for competitive keywords? Why do we continue to see spammy pages in top organic position(s) in Google? Relevancy is the goal, but right now Google and relevant results are not one in the same. Sites/blogs with "inflated" Google Page Rank scores are not necessarily "better" than others with lower Page Rank. It really comes down to what the user is looking for and if they received the results they sought. They don't care about the Page Rank of your pages so why should you?
posted by Jody @ Sunday, January 28, 2007  
Google Sets - A Useful Keyword Generation Tool?
Friday, January 26, 2007
Looking for some keywords for your search marketing campaign? If you are simply looking to find some related keywords, you might want to try Google Sets (http://labs.google.com/sets). With Google Sets you can enter a few "items" (ie. keywords) to see a larger related group or "set" that the items are a part of.

You can request a small set (15 items or fewer) or a large set. Depending on your query, you may receive relevant results or you may not. The couple of queries that I tried seemed to provide fairly decent results. However I did receive a few results that were way out in left-field. For example, I added the items "lawyer" and "attorney" and clicked on large set with these results being returned. For the most part the results returned for this query were relevant. I then added the word "legal" and received some weird results such as "California" and "trade mark agent". Note: Clicking on the phrase takes you to the Google SERP for that phrase.

While I wouldn't base my entire Keyword Analysis on the results from Google Sets, it can be an additional way for identifying related keywords for your campaign that may have been overlooked. Or you can use Google Sets as a quick method for viewing the competitiveness of related keywords. (Simply create your set and click on a specific phrase/result that is returned to see the number of competing web pages indexed in Google as displayed near the top right of the Google SERP.)

Other than that the current benefit for Google Sets is fairly limited.
posted by Jody @ Friday, January 26, 2007  
ASK.com Coolest SERPs Out There - At Least When it Comes to the NFL
Thursday, January 25, 2007
For the past couple of years, ASK.com has been relegated to the number five position (although recently number four surpassing AOL) when it comes to search engine market share. That's too bad because personally I think that ASK is a pretty good little search engine and deserve more. For one thing, their results are more relevant than you would think. I would rank them up there with Google in terms of relevancy.

The one area where I think ASK is ahead of the game is with their Search Engine Results Page (SERP). As search grows, and the major engines look to reinvent themselves, you are going to see a lot of changes in the SERPs. The main reason for this is because of personalization. ASK understands this more than the other engines do. ASK sincerely wants to provide the user with the best search experience. For the most part they do a good job. They definitely provide the most exciting Search Engine Results Page.

Here's a little test that I tried. I performed a query for "nfl playoffs" in Google, Yahoo, Windows Live and ASK. By far the best SERP returned was from ASK. The other three engines returned similar SERPs to one-another with a discrepancy throughout the results. Here's why ASK was better:
  1. Aesthetics - At the top of the page was a Super Bowl XLI logo and writeup on Super Bowl XLI. I would equate this real estate to where the Google onebox results are. This was pretty cool... and how relevant is that being that the Super Bowl is next week in Miami. What was unique and very impressive was that there was a dropdown menu where you could select your favorite team. I clicked the New Orleans Saints and was taken to an ASK SERP for the New Orleans Saints. That was pretty cool.

  2. Relevancy - I didn't have to search past the first organic result to find what I was looking for (nfl.com)

  3. Personalized Search Experience - ASK always seems to be a step ahead with this one. I was presented with some options for narrowing my search. This included options for NFL Playoff Schedule, NFL Playoff Brackets and NFL Playoff Tree.

  4. Options for Expanding My Search - further to the personalization I was presented with further potential search queries such as:
    Super Bowl
    National Football League
    Won Super Bowl
    Super Bowl Statistics
    Who Won Super Bowl
Windows Live presented a Top Sponsored ad for Ebay and interestingly enough, orgganic results from Yahoo Sports ahead of their own MSN Fox Sports results. (Their top organic listing was for NFL Cheerleader Playoffs by the way).

Yahoo presented some news stories, a bunch of sponsored ads (that I ignored) and a top organic listing from superbowl.com listing the playoff schedule.

Google had the most boring SERP returned with some news listings and the top organic result being nfl.com It was interesting to note that their was only one side sponsored ad (everyone must be saving their money for a 30 second spot on the Super Bowl) and that the number ten listing was for a "ticket broker" (ticket scalper?) site. How's that for relevancy?

For the little guy, ASK seem to be the best at listening to what their users want to see. They are way ahead in changing the landscape of the traditional SERP that we are all accustomed to seeing. Seriously much longer will users want to see a plain white page with blue links? ASK puts the pizzazz in the SERP.
posted by Jody @ Thursday, January 25, 2007  
Manoj Jasra Interview with SEMPO President Dana Todd
With the recent announcement of the SEMPO Institute, Manoj Jasra has completed a timely interview with SEMPO President Dana Todd. It's a great interview. Manoj has provided a podcast of the interview over on his blog Web Analytics World.

The interview topics include:

- The Institutes' Target Market
- The Grading Scale of Courses
- Benefits of the courses
- The Advanced curriculum offered in March

While the actual SEMPO site is not yet live, questions that you may have regarding the institute may be addressed by this interview from Manoj. For those interested in learning about search marketing, the SEMPO Institute is the place for you. In 2006, marketers spent over $10 billion dollars on search marketing products and services, proving that search marketing is here to stay.

This concludes the plug for my co-worker/friend Manoj Jasra. :)
posted by Jody @ Thursday, January 25, 2007  
Top 100 Marketing Buzzwords of 2007
Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Do you ever get sick of hearing new buzzwords and the propaganda that goes along with them? While some terms are of interest, quite often “buzzwords” become over used and well frankly over used. Depending on the industry you are in, the number of buzz words that you hear in a day can vary from a couple to many. I happen to work in the marketing industry, specifically the online (search engine) marketing industry. Do you know how many buzzwords I hear and read about everyday? Am I the only one tired of hearing about the “blogosphere”, “Panama” or about “thinking outside of the box”? (Actually I like that one). Remember that a buzzword is a trendy word or phrase that is used more to impress than explain.

What got me started on this little tirade was a post I read on marketingtoday.com. The post was about “Buzzwords Gone Bad”. In the piece, there is reference to a survey that determined the most annoying terms and phrases heard in the workplace. In the survey, executives were asked, “What is the most annoying or overused phrase or buzzword in the workplace today?” The responses from the execs were interesting and included phrases such as:
· “Solution”
· “Synergy”
· “Paradigm”
· “Take it offline”
· “Redeployed people”
· “On the runway”
· “Win-win”
· “Value-added”
· “Get on the same page”
· “Customer centric”
· “Generation X”
· “Accountability management”
· “Core competency”

There are some interesting phrases that executives are apparently “sick of hearing”. While I do agree with some of the phrases, others I’m ok with. I began thinking about all of the buzzwords that I hear on a regular basis and as a result, I have come up with the Top 100 Marketing Buzz Phrases of 2007. Some are of interest and others should just fade away into obscurity like a bad Tom Cruise movie.

  1. ROI
  2. lead-gen
  3. relationship marketing
  4. customer centric
  5. consumer initiated marketing
  6. KPI
  7. behavioural targeting
  8. social networking
  9. reputation management
  10. consumer generated media
  11. user generated content
  12. link baiting
  13. key performance indicators
  14. branding
  15. brand identity
  16. conversion identification
  17. online marketing budgets
  18. lifetime value
  19. SEM budgets
  20. metrics
  21. low-hanging fruit
  22. engagement metrics
  23. demand creation
  24. relevancy scoring
  25. Web 2.0
  26. solution
  27. top of mind awareness
  28. mobile search
  29. feed management
  30. relationship building
  31. longtail
  32. customer controlled marketing
  33. customer centricity
  34. core competency
  35. semantic mapping
  36. widget marketing
  37. paradigm shifts
  38. unique online competitive advantage
  39. trend analysis
  40. social bookmarking
  41. quality score
  42. alignment
  43. bounce rates
  44. BHAG
  45. paradigm
  46. thinking outside the box
  47. accountability management
  48. online kpi
  49. viral marketing
  50. win-win
  51. integrated marketing
  52. lifelong value
  53. blog marketing
  54. content syndication
  55. page stickiness
  56. guerilla marketing
  57. online marketing
  58. LinkedIn
  59. out-sourcing
  60. online video marketing
  61. online video promotion
  62. direct marketing
  63. debriefing
  64. link building
  65. value proposition
  66. B2B SEM
  67. B2B SEO
  68. redeployed people
  69. false negatives
  70. value-added
  71. email marketing
  72. SEM
  73. braindump
  74. consumer oriented marketing
  75. targeting
  76. blog optimization
  77. widgets
  78. multi-level marketing
  79. web analytics
  80. scalable
  81. search engine marketing
  82. SEO
  83. marketing metrics
  84. conjoint analysis
  85. conversion paths
  86. Market segmentation
  87. look and feel
  88. synergy
  89. search engine optimization
  90. enterprise marketing
  91. ad hoc
  92. take it offline
  93. at the end of the day
  94. search marketing
  95. B2B marketing
  96. calls to action
  97. incremental
  98. get on the same page
  99. generation X
  100. on the runway

There you have it. If you are involved in marketing and in business, you can expect to hear a lot of these phrases in 2007. Personally I hope that some of them just go away as they have been overused for quite some time now. Others such as “widget marketing”, “consumer initiated marketing” and “relationship management” you can expect to hear more of. Don’t agree with the list? to share your thoughts.

posted by Jody @ Wednesday, January 24, 2007  
Google Set to Announce Fourth Quarter 2006 Financials
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Google Inc. (GOOG) announced the other day that they will be releasing their fourth quarter 2006 financial report on January 31st. The conference will take place at 1:30 p.m. Pacific Time (4:30 p.m. Eastern Time).

The live webcast of Google's earnings conference call can be accessed at http://investor.google.com/webcast.

It will be interesting to see how industry analysts react as many have been positive about Google's price recently. Stifel even added Google to its select list earlier this month. Stifel has a price target of $554 on the stock.

More on Google

Analyst Predictions
Major Shareholders
Officers and Directors
SEC Filings
Original IPO Letter
Financial Statements
Company Information
Google Blog
posted by Jody @ Tuesday, January 23, 2007  
Top 7 Search Happenings January 2007
Monday, January 22, 2007
Last month Yahoo topped our list of Top 7 Search Happenings of the Month for December. Can they do it again this month? Here are the top search stories of the month for January 2007. Of course there is still a week left in the month, but should there be some blockbusting news in the final week, we'll just update our list. :)

January has been a fairly eventful month, here are the biggest stories of the month in the world of search.

#7. Yahoo acquires blog community site, MyBloglog
#6. Google updates ring in 2007
#5. Google Blacklist Contains Confidential Information - User Data is leaked
#4. Microsoft looks to compete with Google Analytics by launching free analytics dubbed "Gatineau"
#3. The Open Directory Project arises back from the dead as DMOZ begins accepting directory submissions again
#2. Yahoo Index Update - SERP titles are affected, spam sites are targeted and site owners begin to panic.
#1. Wikipedia targets SEO spammers and implements no follow on outbound links

Yahoo narrowly missed the top spot for a second consecutive month. Yahoo has been quite active to start 2007. Could they be positioning themselves for a merger perhaps?
posted by Jody @ Monday, January 22, 2007  
Google Alerts - An Easy Form of Competitive Intelligence
We all know and understand the importance of gaining competitive intelligence. Depending on your industry, any number of competitors can "spring up" out of the blue and challenge for online property and top of mind awareness. The question becomes how do we have time to keep on top of all of these competitors? Well one simple method is to make use of Google Alerts.

Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your choice of query or topic. With Google Alerts you can monitor a developing news story and
keep current on a competitor or industry leader. Here's how they work:
  1. You specify a search term
  2. You select the type of alert that you would like. There are five types of alerts as described by Google

    "A News alert is an email aggregate of the latest news articles that contain the search terms of your choice and appear in the top ten results of your Google News search.
    A Web alert is an email aggregate of the latest web pages that contain the search terms of your choice and appear in the top twenty results of your Google Web search.
    A Blogs alert is an email aggregate of the latest blog posts that contain the search terms of your choice and appear in the top ten results of your Google Blog search.
    A Groups alert is an email aggregate of new posts that contain the search terms of your choice and appear in the top fifty results of your Google Groups search.
    A Comprehensive alert is an aggregate of the latest results from multiple sources into a single email to provide maximum coverage on the topic of your choice. "
  3. You determine the frequency of the alert (once-a-day, as-it-happens, or once-a week)
  4. You provide your email account where the alerts will be sent to
  5. You select the "Create Alert" button
  6. You will receive a confirmation email. Simply click the link and way you go

For B2B marketers Google alerts can be handy when researching competitors or key factors within the industry. The trick with Google Alerts is to specify a query that will return relevant results. For example, when you are looking to create an alert for a competitor, instead of typing their name in you might want to type in their URL (or both). Ex. www.competitorname.com. If for some reason you notice that you are not getting relevant alerts, simply refine your query, check to ensure proper spelling is in place and reduce the number of words in the query.

You can add, delete or modify your Google Alerts at any time. To manage your alerts you'll need to create a Google account. Once set up, there are a number of great features that you can use with Google Alerts including subscribing to alerts in multiple languages.

There are a few restrictions with Google Alerts. You can create a maximum of 1000 alerts (why you'd want more I don't know). To use a new address with your alerts you have to delete the existing ones and set them up again with the new email address.

For more on Google Alerts click here.

posted by Jody @ Monday, January 22, 2007  
Yahoo Update - SEO & Spam SERP Titles Being Targeted?
Sunday, January 21, 2007
Over the past few months I have stated that Yahoo is due for a major update. It has been a while since they have had one. On Friday, Yahoo announced that they are currently performing a search update. Well ok so another update from Yahoo... big deal right? Well have you noticed any changes in your listings? There is something different with this update. There are many site owners reporting that they are seeing changes in the titles that are being displayed in the Yahoo SERPs. I tried a number of queries in Yahoo and have seen it as well. What has many up in arms is that Yahoo has yet to comment on this title issue.

Issues regarding the titles include the fact that they are now reflecting their frequent backlinks anchor text as opposed to the titles in their HTML and some titles are are lower-case, making the Websites listings less compelling and attractive in the SERPs. Search Engine Land discussed the fact that the titles may be being pulled from anchor text. More on that here.

It appears that Yahoo is trying it's best to filter spam sites and "over-optimized" sites that have a distinct SEO stamp on them. We're seeing some really short titles. While relevancy may still be an issue, I have noticed improvements in the number of spammy sites that were showing up in the results. It appears that Yahoo is focusing on sites that they deem over-optimized or sites that have a definite SEO stamp on them. If this is the case, then how are they going to determine placement for a site that is possibly the most relevant and is well optimized site? If they are trying to filter out SEO optimized sites, then we are going to see a lot of changes in the Yahoo SERPs. I am now wondering if this is the calm before the storm? Could this be the start of a major update in Yahoo? Judging by the results and titles being displayed in the Yahoo SERPs this very well could be the start to something big. It's starting to get a little breezy. You may want to prepare for a storm.
posted by Jody @ Sunday, January 21, 2007  
Widget Marketing: Can Widgets Benefit B2B Sites?
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Widget Marketing

There has been a lot of “buzz” about widgets and widget marketing recently as creative online marketers have discovered the use of widgets. Widgets are simply pieces of embeddable code that can be found on one site, and embedded in another that can be used to promote your own site or blog. Widgets have become popular with users of online communities as a result the business of marketing via widgets is a great way for site owners (including B2B sites) to promote their content and business.

Widget marketing is starting to catch on in the online marketing world. Today there was a great post by Nick Wilson over at Search Engine Land on link baiting for 2007. According to Nick, a major component of link baiting in 2007 will be “widget baiting”. Widget marketing has been discussed in a number of blogs over recent months. In fact, back in November, Top Rank Blog had posted a great interview with Lawrence Coburn on Marketing with Widgets. Coburn is one of the pioneers in widget marketing

How Can Widgets Help B2B Sites?

Simply put, widgets are all about providing your users with the tools to promote your B2B business or any business/online property for that matter. For B2B marketers, widgets offer the potential to be a means of acquiring new customers at a minimal cost, promotion of your site’s presence out to the rest of the Web, and can provide a traffic source to help build your external link inventory. Abhilash Patel recently discussed how "widget bait" is an incredible form of link building.

Widgets are a great way for promoting your site and your content. For B2B sites, which are looking to create streaming media channels (combining audio, video, photos, text, and RSS feeds etc) and broadcast them live across their site’s pages or blog, widgets can help accomplish this. Sites like splashcast specialize in just that.

As I result we have compiled a list of our favorite widgets and widget related sites:

Top 10 Favorite Widget Sites for B2B Search Marketing

  1. My Blog Log
  2. Mashable.com
  3. Widgetoko
  4. Snipperoo
  5. Reuters Widget
  6. Widgipedia
  7. Spring Widgets
  8. Word Press Widgets
  9. Poll Daddy
  10. Business Week Widget

My Blog Log is currently my personal favorite as it is very user friendly and is home to a number of interesting and diverse blogs

Honorable Mentions

  1. Sphere.com
  2. I Like.com
  3. Google Gadget Tryouts
  4. Rollyo
  5. Widgify

Looking for more information on Widgets? Check out the following resources:



While widget baiting can be time consuming, the results can be tremendous. Can widgets benefit B2B sites? Most definitely providing that you have a strategy for widget marketing, widgets can help B2B site owners promote their sites, their solutions and their brand.

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posted by Jody @ Thursday, January 18, 2007  
Google Page Rank Cap?
Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Is there a Google Page Rank Cap?

If you have followed any professional sports league such as the National Hockey League over the past few years, you have no doubt heard of the phrase “salary cap”. While a salary cap is not associated with professional sports leagues exclusively the term has dominated sports leagues during recent years. Even Wikipedia defines a salary cap as it relates to sports as a limit on the amount of money a team can spend on player salaries, either as a per-player limit or a total limit for the team's roster (or both). The fact is that a salary cap is a cap or a restriction.

This got me thinking about search engines and whether they have “results caps” or “ranking caps” with regards to their organic listings in the SERPs. More specifically this got me wondering about Google and if they implement a page rank cap. Know I know everyone is moaning and groaning…here we go with that Page Rank thing again. Many believe that page rank is dead and that we spend too much time worrying about it. Even Matt Cutts suggests not focusing on Page Rank too much. The thing is that I am curious as to if Google does indeed use a Page Rank Cap.

With the recent release of page rank predictor tools, which I question how they can be even remotely accurate, my theory of a Page Rank Cap can be somewhat supported. Here’s why…

I used a couple of these page rank predictor tools to see what the future Page Rank of SEO-Space will be. The tools basically work like this - the tools query Google's various data centers to check for any changes in PageRank value for a given URL. For the most part usually all data centers will output the same, but if queried during an update, there are those who have stated that you may get a glimpse of any upcoming changes in your chosen URL's PageRank value. So having run a couple of these tools on SEO-Space, it appears that I am destined for a PR of 4. Hmmm ok that is fine, the blog is fairly new to the online universe, it is blogger based and I have a limited inventory of external links. PR of 4 I can live with that, but what was of interest is that a blog of my co-workers that has been around a lot longer, has a higher number of quality backlinks and great content is expected to have a PR of 3. What is more interesting is that another co-worker recently started a blog and using the page rank prediction tool her blog is expected to inherit a PR of 5. While her blog is informative it is very new and lacks the external link inventory of warranting a PR of 5. So while I don’t trust the accuracy of these page rank prediction tools in the slightest, they do make me wonder if Google does use some sort of Page Rank Cap. You see all three of these blogs mentioned focus on different topics and all three have potentially different page ranks.

This is not the first time that I have wondered about a Page Rank Cap. In my experience I have seen what I perceive to be page ranks caps. It appears that with certain industries, Google tends to cap Page Rank for sites in those industries. I’m not referring to .org’s, .edu’s or .gov’s… just the regular .com’s or the like. For example it appears that dental related sites appear to be capped at PR 4 with the odd 5 or higher site (of course there are exceptions to all rules). I’ve seen sites in niche markets capped at 6 or 7. Again the issue of a Page Rank Cap is just for my own curiosity as NHL Shuts Down 2004/05 SeasonI am by no means suggesting that Page Rank should be considered a main focal point of a meaningful SEO/SEM campaign.

Personally, I think that Google deploys a definite Page Rank Cap. While others may dispute this claim, it is something to think about. Hmm and speaking of caps, I wonder if Google employees have a salary cap? Caps are not always a good thing as any hockey fan will tell you with the entire 2004/05 NHL season being cancelled. A Page Rank Cap on the other hand wouldn’t be that big of a deal as many are no longer focusing on Page Rank.

Do you think Google use a Page Rank Cap? Take the Google Page Rank Cap Poll now.

posted by Jody @ Wednesday, January 17, 2007  
Timing is a weird thing...
You know just yesterday I was discussing the fact that I wanted to create my own cartoon character or mascot for SEO-Space (I have a few ideas in the works...). I was asking a friend of mine (who has a web design background) as to what the best way it is to add a comic strip to my blog and then Lee Odden posts a story over on Top Rang Blog about a service that you can use to automatically populate your blog or web site with cartoon images via RSS or JavaScript.

I just thought that the timing was weird. Hmm maybe there is something to this telepathy thing. Lee goes on to ask "Are there any ongoing SEO/SEM related cartoons being published out there? If any deserved to be humorized, it’s search marketing." I was wondering the same thing.

Timing sure can be a weird thing sometimes....
posted by Jody @ Wednesday, January 17, 2007  
Google is the King of Search.... yawn again
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Well here we go again, ComScore released the latest search engine rankings report and to no one's surprise Google is still the King of Search. What was interesting is the fact that Yahoo's percentage actually went up. With all of the recent shuffling at Yahoo and rumors of Microsoft being ready to purchase the search giant, the "destined to always be second in search" Yahoo actually went up 0.3%.

Yahoo shares dropped 0.04 today after news of the announcement.
posted by Jody @ Tuesday, January 16, 2007  
Wikiseek - The Better Way to Search Wikipedia
In the past couple of years, Wikipedia the self proclaimed "...biggest multilingual free-content encyclopedia on the Internet..." has really become popular and a trusted source of information and data for everyone from young students to savvy web surfers. Even the major search engines such as Google and Yahoo! like Wikipedia judging by the number of results in their search index.
WikiseekSo with over two million articles (and growing), how does one sift through all of that data in Wikipedia? The answer is through a new tool known as Wikiseek. Wikiseek is a new search engine that indexes only Wikepedia and the linked sites referenced therein. Wikipedis is powered by Searchme. According to Wikiseek, this makes it an "authoritative source of information less subject to spam and SEO schemes." Well I'm not sure about that, but it does make it potentially more relevant. Wikiseek claims "Wikiseek utilizes Searchme's category refinement technology, providing suggested search refinements based on user tagging and categorization within Wikipedia, making results more relevant than conventional search engines". Well I'm not sure how accurate that is, I tried a few queries and was not that satisfied with the results that I received. Try a search for "wikiseek" with no results being returned. That just means that wikiseek currently is not listed in Wikipedia. A search for Google in Wikiseek returned 6,304 results with the top listing being Wikipedia's listing for Google Answers. A search for Yahoo returned 10,800 results and a search for Windows Live returned 6,165 results. So according to Wikiseek, based on listings in Wikipedia, the Top 3 Search Engines in order are:
  1. Yahoo
  2. Google
  3. Windows Live (missing 2nd spot by only 139 listings)
For those interested, there is a Wikiseek Search Toolbar Plugin. If you use IE7, Firefox 1.5+, or Mozilla/Netscape 6+, you can add Wikiseek Search to your Toolbar. One of the cool features of Wikiseek is that they present you with an option of refining your search at the top of the page once you have performed a query.
It will be interesting to see how popular Wikiseek will become.... or maybe it will just fade into oblivion?
posted by Jody @ Tuesday, January 16, 2007  
The Online KPI in 2007
Monday, January 15, 2007
Over the past year I have written a few articles on the importance of key performance indicators for organizations who are seeking a strong web presence. This is a topic that really cannot be emphasized enough. The importance of measuring your current success can determine the level of future success that you have. Many fail to realize that as you reach your goals and experience success, the KPIs that you measure can and often will change. So where does that leave "the online KPI" in 2007?

I recently posted an article on Online Key Performance Indicators in 2007. The column describes the importance of online key performance indicators and illustrates what’s in store for online key performance indicators in 2007. The article revists the purpose of KPIs and how organizations need to clearly identify metrics that measure their online success.

"Part of a successful online marketing campaign in 2007 means tracking and measuring the proper key performance indicators for your websites. You may want to re-evaluate the metrics that you are currently measuring. Are they reflective of where you want to be in 2007 and beyond?"

For the full article click here.
posted by Jody @ Monday, January 15, 2007  
Search Engine News Updates - Week of Jan. 8-15th 2007
Well as it seems to always be, the past week was a busy one for the search engines. As a result I wanted to post a few of the more important happenings in search over the past few days.

We'll start off with the fact that DMOZ is accepting applications again. Is DMOZ coming back from the dead? Only time will tell. Here's a list of some other search engine related news stories.
  • Search Engine Roundtable reports that The Open Directory Project is accepting submissions once again
  • MSN is testing a new analytics tool code named "Gatineau". Mediapost.com states that "...the technology is based on that of the Gatineau, Canada-based DeepMetrix Corporation, which Microsoft acquired last year. In the coming months, Microsoft expects to launch an invitation-only beta to test the tool..."
  • Google's "infrastructure updates" as we reported last week
  • Microsoft released an eye tracking study on the length of "snippets" used in organic results
  • Yahoo launched a mobile search service known as oneSearch

An iteresting week to the start of an interesting year for Search.

posted by Jody @ Monday, January 15, 2007  
Google Updates to Ring in 2007
Thursday, January 11, 2007
Nothing like bringing in the new year with a few infrastructure updates from Google. As many of you may have experienced, Google is in the process of performing a few updates. We had noticed something was up a few weeks back as we began to see some fluctuations in pages indexed for various sites. Combined with the fact that Google (GOOG) is expected to announce their quarterly earning report in late January we were anticipating a Page Rank update to coincide as well. It looks like the page rank update is now taking place.

Matt Cutts has posted a note about the current Google status updates on his blog as well. In his post Matt states:

"The quarterly-ish PageRank export is underway. As always, don’t expect traffic or rankings to dramatically change, because these PageRank values are already incorporated into our scoring. The same quarterly-ish data push that updates PageRank in the toolbar also updates the data for related:, link: and info: (remember that operator?). You can read more about PageRank from this previous post if you swing that way. Also remember that the link: operator only shows a subsample of the links to a page that we know of. I’ve mentioned before that some data centers (I believe 64.233.183.xx and 72.14.203.xx) continue to show PageRank values from a slightly older infrastructure. Not a big deal, but I wanted to mention it for the hard-core data center watchers so that they don’t get confused..."

Matt goes on to discuss supplemental results and that "supplemental results aren’t something to be afraid of..." Nice job by Matt to clarify some of the mystique with supplemental results.

Google continues to keep active as evidenced as they approach the $500/share price again after taking a hit in recent weeks. Althought Matt denies any other major updates are happening, I would bet against it as I have a feeling a major update for Google may take place in the spring. For now though you will want to monitor your search engine stats to see how these updates may be affecting your sites.
posted by Jody @ Thursday, January 11, 2007  
Search Volume Tools to Predict Organic Search Volumes
Monday, January 08, 2007
How Can We Predict Accurate Organic Search Volumes?
One of my greatest frustrations in the search engine marketing world is the amount of time we spend researching keyword search volumes. I have yet to come across an accurate tool for predicting organic search volumes of key phrases. The search volume numbers that most tools or equations provide are just estimates. How can we really be sure that this is what people are searching for? What gets me is that as a search user, my top search queries will almost always be different than others. Don't even get me started on semantic mapping, that is another topic for another time.

Search Volume, Search Volume, Search Volume Where Art Thou?

A colleague of mine, Manoj Jasra, and I have had countless discussions on building an accurate search volume tool. The end goal is simple... we just want to accurately be able to forecast and predict organic search volumes. There is a lot to predicting search volumes and website traffic, as there are many variables that come into play. Check out one of Manoj's recent posts on his blog over at Web Analytics World for some of these variables for predicting website traffic.

Let's look at an example. How do we know if the phrase "soda vending machine" is more popular than "pop machine"? Sure there are tools that provide us with estimates. Looking at the results in Google we see that "pop machine" is much more competitive than "soda vending machine". Does that mean it has a higher search volume? Well no, not necessarily. According to Google Trends, only "pop machine" generated enough search volume to display any trending information. So that tells me that the phrase "pop machine" has a higher search volume right? Wait just a minute though.... According to the Overture Search Suggestion Tool, there were 2,268 searches done for "soda vending machine" in November 2006. Using the same tool revealed that "pop machine" was searched for 1,748 times during the same period. So then "soda vending machine" has a higher search volume.

While this may be a simple example, you get the picture. Can you see my frustration with trying to determine accurate search volume counts? Estimated search volume really is only an estimation. I think that it's time for some accurate search volume counts to be produced. The question is, who or what will provide this data?
posted by Jody @ Monday, January 08, 2007  
Stifel Places Google on Select List
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
Google stock surged a bit this morning, up almost $14 per share as Reuters has reported that Stifel Nicolaus said Google Inc. (GOOG) has replaced Ebay (EBAY) on its select list. The report goes on to say " In a research note, the brokerage said it expects the Internet search company to generate $5.5 billion of net profit in 2008 or about $300 million more than the equivalent taxed net profit of Amazon.com Inc."

Google is close to signing various deals such as:
  • Search marketing company MIVA Inc. said in a regulatory filing Wednesday it agreed to exclusively use Google Inc.'s WebSearch and AdSense services for approved Web sites and applications.
  • Google and Earthlink are near finalizing a deal for Google to build a San Francisco-wide wireless Internet network
It is anticipated that Google will release their quarterly earnings data on January 30, 2007. Stifel has a price target of $554 on the stock.

posted by Jody @ Wednesday, January 03, 2007  
Google Granted New Duplicate Content Patent
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
Search Engine Land is reporting on a couple of new patents that have been granted to Google. What is interesting is that one of the patents deals with estimating similarity between web pages and documents which may help to filter duplicate content. The patent was originally filed just over five years ago on December 31, 2001.

The main features of the patent deals with the duplicate content process that includes:
  • ideas to reduce the amount of redundant or nearly redundant documents/pages crawled and returned in response to a user's search query
  • helping search engine spider programs become more efficient by avoiding crawling the sites determined to be substantial duplicate
  • similarity profiles for pages based upon lists of hyperlink in those pages
  • search results that exceed a similarity threshold
  • time comparisons of duplicate and near duplicate pages

Google has other patents dealing with duplicate content as well. Detecting duplicate and near-duplicate files and Detecting query-specific duplicate documents also discuss methods to identify and sort duplicate and near duplicate document/pages.

Duplicate content still an issue? Of course it is. The engines, especially Google and ASK are focused on providing relevant results and although Vanessa Fox of Google mentions that your site may not be penalized for duplicate content per se, it is most definitely still an issue.

posted by Jody @ Tuesday, January 02, 2007  
Welcome 2007
Monday, January 01, 2007
Well 2007 is here. I'm excited about the new year (even though I've been battling a stomach flu for the past couple of days.) 2006 was a great year and I expect 2007 to be even better. It will be interesting to see what new technologies and strategies come forth in the world of search engine marketing. We have a lot of great things happening at Enquiro and I am excited to be working with our clients and help them deal with the challenges they face. We will continue to develop new organic strategies for our clients as Enquiro Organic will continue to become the leader in B2B SEO strategies.

All the best in 2007 from SEO-Space.
posted by Jody @ Monday, January 01, 2007  
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Name: Jody
Home: Kelowna, BC, Canada
About Me: SEO guy by day, family man 24/7.
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