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January 31, 2007

The Disarming of The Googlebomb

The new anti-Googlebomb algo change has been getting a lot of attention lately. I have to admit that when the news first came out I was a bit concerned about how this would be handled.

Please tell me, GoogleMaster, that my countless hours of linkbuilding have not been deemed worthless.

As most of you know Google is always quite tight-lipped when it comes to discussing algorithm changes, so I spent some time researching this issue and after a little push, er begging encouragment from my boss, I decided to write about what I think about all this hype.

As I stated, from an SEO perspective this news was quite earth shattering, just check out the industry blogs and forums and you'll see that everyone is talking about Googlebombs everywhere. I have however, decided to stay off from the Google conspiracy/paranoia bandwagon...for now anyway. We have yet to see any effects from this algo change for any of our or our clients' sites.

This is not to say that I completely agree with what Google is doing.

Here is a past statement regarding Google's stance on Googlebombing from a New York Times article in December 2003:
Craig Silverstein, Google's director for technology, says the company sees nothing wrong with the public using its search engine this way. No user is hurt, he said, because there is no clearly legitimate site for "miserable failure" being pushed aside.

Moreover, he said, Google's results were taking stock of the range of opinions that are expressed online. "We just reflect the opinion on the Web," he said, "for better or worse."
With the new algo in place Google is no longer going to "reflect the opinion of the web" (and those that use it). Although, we in the SEO industry are continually trying to manipulate the SERPs to our benefit, for Google to intentionally disable this type of popular opinion/commentary is a true detriment to the web and America's dwindling free speech rights. I understand Google's concerns over users thinking that the famous Googlebombs, such as George W. Bush's miserable failure, were of their own opinion, which is partly why they chose to impliment the change, according to Matt Cutt's , Google Engineer. However, by implimenting this change are they now not editing (or more presicely censoring) others' opinions instead?

There have been many theories on how Google is implimenting this new anti-Googlebomb algo. However Matt Cutts says on his blog, "I don’t think we’re going to get into discussing the internals of the Googlebomb algorithm other than to say that it’s due to improved link analysis".

"Improved link analysis"

This is not saying they are discounting huge numbers of backlinks. What I have taken from this is the possibility that if the target URL has tons of "off-page" optimization for a certain keyphrase, but very little or no "on-page" optimization for that same keyphrase, then it might be considered a Googlebomb. That is to say, backlinks which have anchor text not related to the content of the URL they are directing to, or the landing page, shall be completely ignored, or discounted, by the new algorithm changes.

Matt also explains the scope of the anti-Googlebomb algo on his blog:
Here’s a good way to think of the algorithm. If queries were sand, and Google’s daily queries was a big pile of sand, this algorithm would affect less than a couple hundred grains of sand. It really does have a very limited scope and doesn’t affect a large fraction of queries. The intent of the algorithm is to minimize the impact of "true" Googlebombs, which occur when someone is causing someone else's page to rank for stuff that they wouldn't want to rank for themselves.
Here's to hoping my grains of sand remain in Google's unaffected sand pile! ;)

While pouring over the many comments over at Matt Cutts blog, I found that user "jonydzine" pretty much took the words right out of my mouth:
That’s good to know… but I am a bit torn. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I think these kind of things are actually good. I mean people will always prank and find a way to prank, and most of these instances that I’ve seen of Googlebombing, I think people need to get a sense of humor, including some presidents (I will not name names, of course). I’m sure that in some sense of abuse, it is good that this thing not go unchecked. However, I hate to see one of the last forms of "free" speech become a bit more sterile. Isn’t it American to sign the declaration of independence in extremely large letters to add insult to the King? Didn’t we toss a boat full of tea back into a harbor a while back? Just seems that good ol’ hooliganism and shenanigans to get a point across or to chide people to let you know what they think is a very American tradition and despite what good it may do to sterilize the net of abuse, a part of me is sad… :)
And you know… some big fella once said "there is no such thing as BAD publicity…" of course, I don’t think he was a politician.
So there ya go, thanks Matt and Google, for making us all a bit less evil…"

January 22, 2007

Yahoo Updating Index and Algorithm | Outperforming Google?

I just read at the Yahoo! Search Blog that they are in the process of making some changes to their search results. Many people may see great changes in rankings.

I have been watching Yahoo a lot more closely lately and it seems to me that their algorithm is getting much better. Many people have complained that Yahoo has too much spam in their results. I personally think they are doing a MUCH better job at combating spam these days. Just take a look at the results for Viagra on Google and Yahoo.

On Google, the search results for Viagra contain 5/10 pages on page 1 that are .edu domains that have had Viagra spam pages "injected" into the site and link in to sites that sell Viagra online from iffy sources. Yahoo, on the other hand has MUCH more relevant sites in its first page results. All of the sites in Yahoo take you to medical and government sites that have factual information about the drug. All of these sites are trusted sites with non-spam results.

While lately it seems that everyone is bashing Yahoo as a company, I think that they are doing great things with their search algorithm. Hopefully people will start to realize this and they can get going in the right direction and increase their share of searches in the marketplace.

Tags: real estate investing, real estate blog

January 15, 2007

Microsoft Analytics Solution 'Gatineau' to Compete with Google Analytics

I recently stumbled across a post by Ian Thomas that confirms that Microsoft is working on its own analytics software - a modified version of the analytics software created by DeepMetrix (who was purchased by Microsoft last year).

We attended a presentation last year and first reported about adCenter's 3.0 beta upgrades. During this presentation, I asked about Microsoft developing an analytics solution for its advertisers. At that time, we were only told that the adLabs group was working on something but no more information was provided.

Now, we are sure that Microsoft is working on this and has codenamed this analytics project 'Gatineau' (note- this link will not allow you to login or register as it has not even reached Beta stages). Gatineau is the name of a city in Canada that at one time housed the headquarters for DeepMetrix.

Not much else has been released at this time, but expect that this should launch hopefully before the end of the year. I do expect the system to fully integrate your adCenter data for advanced tracking.

Now, on to the other product we asked Microsoft about - When are we going to see a publisher network come out of adCenter so that advertisers can get increased exposure, and publishers can get some money?!?

January 10, 2007

Apple iPhone, Apple TV & Xbox IPTV - Marketers Take Notice!

Most posts on our blog deal with web design or Internet marketing news, but I felt that with all the news announcements about new technology products this week, a few of them were worth mentioning. Why? Because, they have more to do with Internet marketing than first meets the eye.

The biggest news of the week is that Apple Inc. (yep, they dropped "Computer" from their name) announced a new cell phone that also doubles as an iPod. They are calling it the iPhone even though Cisco owns the trademark on that name (and as I expected the lawsuit has been filed). Now, I am sure that Apple was aware that this would happen because I have been reading for weeks that Cisco had the trademark. So, one wonders if Apple did this to stir up more hype around the product, settle the suit, and pick a new name - in the hopes that this would help sell more phones. Or maybe, they actually believe somehow that Cisco had no write to trademark the name in the first place for some reason.

Other big news is that Apple introduced its Apple TV. This allows you to view on your television any media that is on your computer. So now, any videos you download via their iTunes can be watched on your television instead of only your computer monitor. I personally don't think this product will last too many years because most the the new HD-TVs being sold have computer inputs. I myself already have my TV and computer linked so that I can view my computer media files on my TV, and I didn't have to pay $299, my TV had the input so I paid $10 for a simple cable. I think the only people that need this box are the ones with non-HD televisions but those are be gone by February of 2008 as their signals will be cut off.

In related news, Microsoft announced that you can now use your Xbox to watch television via your internet connection on the new IPTV enabled Xbox. The offering is expected to deliver world-class TV experiences such as digital video recording capabilities, with gaming, movie viewing, and even voice and video communications.

So What How Does This Affect Internet Marketing?

These new products are the future of the platform that media will be delivered to consumers. More and more consumers are gaining more ways to be exposed to digital marketing. The cable networks are being pushed out by new IPTV technology and this could changes the way we watch commercials. The benefits of a television, DVR, and the Internet are all merging into one. Newspapers are already feeling this crunch on their industry as consumers move to the Internet to read their news AS it happens, not the next day.

More people are looking for their cell phones to do more such as play music, text, surf the web and more. Phones are essentially becoming miniature laptops. I know I just bought a Samsung Blackjack and it has been a life saver for checking email and surfing the web. Using cell phones combined with GPS technology, local advertisers will be pushing out ads to cell phones in ways never previously imagined via text and other alerts.

We are seeing a massive media convergence that is being adopted by consumers and is surely the wave of the future. So, pay attention, learn all you can, and make sure that you are using every means possible to reach prospective customers.