Google Search Engine Marketing Blog by Aaron Wall
Wednesday, November 26, 2003
Did you like google before the new filter? try Scroogle to see what sites were dropped by the new filter :)
Google Update Florida
There have been many quesions asked about the most recent update. While I provided an article on the subject called Google Sells Christmas. I also posted a smaller artilce a few days ago on Search Engine Journal which the Google Answers guy is using for his answer. For those of you who do not feel like reading hundreds of pages of posts and analyzing thousands of web page here is another view of Google Update Florida from MakeMeTop.

A few trends I noticed during analysis today are that it is a good idea to be extremely defficient in at least one of the keywords of a keyword grouping. A good example of this would be how the Calgary flames site was listing near the top for "Calgary Web Hosting." By being deficient in some of the terms it allows you to have a higher density in other terms.

Many sites are still using spam and deceptive means to achieve top rankings. Google still does not have a good fix for the subdomain link networks owning certain search querries. For example, if you searched on Yahoo Australia for "domain registration" you would see there are multiple front page restults from a couple sites with subdomains. Scroll to the second page and you will see more.

Possible theories for the determining the selected filtration are AdWords bids, the Applied Semantics System (white paper), the Hilltop algorithm, any combination of the three, or none of the above.

On the whole it is now much harder to manipulate search results than it was in the past. It is of my recomendation that a person unoptimizes most of the stuff within their control and then look to see where that places you in the rankings. The whole goal is to get under the filter and then you can tweak in from there.

Many people have been calling me whith highly optimized, low content websites. If you do not have a decent number of words on your home page it is likely that is a problem, especially if most of the words are keywords!
Experimental Cross-Registrar Whois
Right now there is no true universal whois. Of course Harvard is trying to fix that, Experimental Cross-Registrar Whois
Monday, November 24, 2003
Two Views of the News
LookSmart today announced that it has launched the Internet's largest full text article search capability. Because it is in print does not mean its true. With so much clutter on the web the most important thing is finding relevant sources of information.

The distribution of knowledge is biased weather we intend it to be or not.

So I give you two views of the news. Please compare ChriSEO (Independent Individual) vs Search Engine Lowdown (Larger Corporate SEO View)
Hilltop: A Search Engine based on Expert Documents
Digging up old news. Just a reminder that change is here to stay!

One of many potential algorithm changes you will be seeing in the next year
Cartoon Research is good
need I say more CARTOON RESEARCH
A Study of Aboutness in Information Retrieval - Bruza, Huibers (ResearchIndex)
I am a charter member of Marketing Wonk and the ISearch discussion list. Andrew Goodman threw out the term "aboutness" a while back. Here is a research paper on it for those interested in some of the interesting ideas behind search. A Study of Aboutness in Information Retrieval - Bruza, Huibers (ResearchIndex)
Me Too, Me Too reports that AOl is mulling over the idea of providing a toolbar. This makes absolutely no sense since popup blockers are at the heart of toolbars and popups are at the heart of the AOL business model.AOL mulls toolbar service | CNET
MarketingWonk - good stuff
I was looking through the recent news over there when I realized unlike normal media, almost all the news was good. The web is growing and I am happy to have my hands, feet, and ankles in it.

Other than one mention of AOL and another of WhenU, everything is looking on the up and up for internet publishers.

MarketingWonk - Internet Marketing and Advertising News
Why Every Webmaster Should Have a Blog
I just wrote a handy dandy article on the benifit of having a weblog. Even if you only have a personal blog not attached to your site, it can still help improve all aspects of your online businesses. Why Every Webmaster Should Have a Blog
Search firms move toward full service
More and more search engine marketing firms are becoming full service firms. Yahoo is also looking to enter the market and extract the profits search engine marketers are making off of running efficient campaigns.
Search firms move toward full service
Saturday, November 22, 2003
Google Changes Algorithm - makes SEOs pull hair out of head
I have been following the change in the Google algorithm rather closely. Recently I wrote two articles about it
Death Before Birth - The Life Cycle of a Search Engine
Google Sells Christmas
and even coined a new definition
Go Words
It is uncertain how frequently Google will continue to change their algorithm. I will continue to update it here
Aaron Wall: Search Engine Marketing
Thursday, November 20, 2003
About the Google Update
Google controls around 3/4 of current web search, so when they change their technology - it is a big deal to the SEO world.

As many of you know google has recently performed an update. Many people have been complaining about results and many do not understand them.

The sites which seem to have been changed the most are sites which have had search engine optimization performed and sites that exist in competitive phrases. Some sites have completely changed, wheras others have been left unaffected.

Essentially most of the change is due to a new keyword pairing filter at Google. Google compares the users search to the search results. If the keyword set is rather prevelant in the results in high levels Google then activates this filter. This filter is subjective in nature and is not necisarily set at any specific level.

Unlike other filters, it only hurts a websites rankings for that specific term. Overall spam penalties do not get assesed with this filter, only the sites list poorly for the specific term.

On the home page of this site I have tripped the filter. This filter can be overriden by placing a - sign in between the search terms. The filter is presumably based upon an initial analyzation of search results. For example, if it appears most of the sites which match the query are well optimized for the phrase google may send the results through the filter and return new results.

If you search for "search marketing" I am nowhere to be found. If you search for "search marketing info" the inclusion of results with the word info in them changes the results so drastically that the "search marketing" keyword pairing filter is no longer enabled.

The problem with this filter is not that is hurts me, which it may. The problem with this filtering technology is that frequently it backfires. Those useing honest SEO tactics are generally relevant search results. Those using straight up spam are looking to profit any way possible.

Google's current largest problem is associated with spam. You see, spam does not win by quality, but by quanity. This current technique is filtering out many relevant results. Many brand new web pages and inner pages from larger sites are springing up in results.

Some new pages have little or no relevancy and Google has yet to face the real moster. Those who are making cloaking scripts can easily adjust their scripts to seperate the keywords they sprinkle about. After this is done by automated scripts Google will have a huge hole in its armor. This current filter in its current state can not possibly be a longterm solution!

I recommed creating focused inner pages, but I do not recommend changing you home page copy in response to this google algorithmic change.

If you were inclined to change pages here are my recommendations
1.) make longer page titles to include other terms and spread out the keywords a bit
2.) include the terms seperate from one another on your webpage. for example, if you are optimized for "search marketing" it is probably a good idea to have the terms "search" and "marketing" seperate from each other on the page at least as often as you have them appear together

It may be a good idea to learn to pick apart this new filter, as I am doing on a few pages and sites right now. As it stands though, I do not think this filtering technology is functional. The search results have already degraded a good bit, and cloakers have yet to adjust their scripts. Once they do, this technology leaves google too open.

The goal of this filter may be to try to get people to write copy for people and not search engines, but if the cost to google is to have a lower quality search they will have to retract it and try again. Some examples of current poor search results:
Email Marketing Consultants (courtesy Jill Whalen of
tourists attractions in New York (courtesy a poster at Webmaster World)
flight to florida from london (courtesy a poster at Webmaster World) - this shows the filter is only enabled for some phrases, the top result is pure spam, and has been re indexed on Nov 19

My clients which had their keywords seperated and existing singuarlly frequently benifited from this new filter. Those which generally had the words primarily exist in their pair did not do so well. It is not certain weather off the page factors play into this algorithm. Some people are arguing that link text optimization in reciprical links might also be a factor. One can only assume that off the page factors alone can not cause a site to trip though (otherwise your competitors can trip you up).

this is my speculation:
This filter may have preset optimization terms which are compared agains the user query. Much of the filtration of the specific pages occurs AFTER the user searches. The filter gives more leyway to higher PageRank sites.

This week in my newsletter I am going to discuss the troubles search engines face in modern times. subscribe today to get your Free copy!

Discussions around the search world exist at:

High Rankings Forum

over 130 pages @ Webmaster World


small post @ SearchGuild

few hundred posts @ SEO chat

couple pages @ Best Practice Forums

couple pages @ Cre8asite

& questions @ Google Groups
Wednesday, November 19, 2003
AOL Buys Singing Fish, Rolls Out More Search Changes
Currently search has been a three way battle between Yahoo, Google, and MSN. While there are a couple dominate players in search, there seems to be an increasing market for specific types of search.

SingingFish was the leading multimedia search engine who just recently got swallowed by a bigger fish. AOL states they do not intent to focus on core search products, but thinks that SingingFish makes a nice addition to their current offering.
AOL Buys Singingfish, Rolls Out More Search Changes
Tuesday, November 18, 2003
Overture cleans up its drug ad policy | CNET
Rush brought lots of hype to online drug distribution (though he got much of his from his maid.) Overture has now stopped smaller unauthorized pharmacies from placing ads. Perhaps now people will use the regular organic search results to find their drugs.

Overture cleans up its drug ad policy | CNET
Yahoo! News - MSN Newsbot to Take On Google News
How ironic is it that I am linking into Yahoo News for their report on how MSN is not challenging Google News. Yahoo! News - MSN Newsbot to Take On Google News
Search the Web More Efficiently: Tips, Techniques and Strategies
Many people search the web without knowing exactly how or what they are looking for. Here is an extensive overview of web search.
Search the Web More Efficiently: Tips, Techniques and Strategies
Monday, November 17, 2003
Broad Match Serves absolutely irrelevent ads
Google adding broad match has made more adsense ads relate to whole site content versus specific page content. In addition to this, some ads are just completely irrelevant.

In the short term this will work to raise Google revenues, but in the long run they are driving out smaller companies from advertising in their ads. Would you be happy to pay for the clicks on this page? Vegas city ad dominated time listings
Google Has Been Playing
For those of you who have not noticed, Google is up to major algorithm changes. The changes are said to be over in a few days, but the basic belief in what is going on right now is a deweighting of reciprical link weighting.

My site went from 17 to 7 to ? All we can do is sit and wait. On a possitive note the site I most recently worked on is listing in the top 10 on the two keyphrases I targeted.

Google: Current Algo Update-Dance -> High Rankings Search Engine Optimization Forum
Saturday, November 15, 2003 - and why it is worth it to stay with only the best
ExactSeek uses primarily meta data to organize its search results. Most major search engines abandoned this approach long ago due to spam. The feedback loop ExactSeek uses is the Alexa rating system. This bases popularity off Alexa search (powered by google) and Alexa rankings.

Google itself does have some flaws in it, organizing by meta data is horrible, and the Alexa user feedback is not a reliable measure of popularity. Frequently webmasters exchange reviews for each other. On top of this feel free to look at the Amazon reviews, which are littered with spam entries (Amazon owns Alexa). I would like to comment that Amazon did not filter out some of its negative press, but the level of spam on such a highly popular site makes me wonder why the system even exists. Web Search Engine and Directory
Monday, November 10, 2003
Internet Web Site Marketing and Promotion from LookSmart LookListings
Looksmart drops paid inclusion submission fee for holidays. They need to do something to encourage more advertisers to sign up and build their paid directories before it looses the bulk of its distribution at the begining of next year. Internet Web Site Marketing and Promotion from LookSmart LookListings
Saturday, November 08, 2003
Search Engine Marketing, Search Engine News, Blog Search
I have been rather busy writing my first eBook, working on clients sites, and rebuilding this site. I may not post all the good news and notes here everytime I come across them.

I am an author for the Search Engine Journal, so between my random few posts and all the good stuff everyone else is posting over there you should be able to keep up with the latest in the search engine trends.

Search Engine Journal
Google Deskbar
Google has recently offered a product which bypasses the web browser. Using the Google Deskbar you can view Google search results without changing the page in your browser. Once you find what you are looking for it can throw that page up on the main browser.

Download the Google Deskbar
Are eBay Affiliates Spamming Google with Your Words?
To call this anything but crap would be unjust. Apparently eBay is attempting to get some good ranking by having some of its top affiliates spam Google with its up to date listings. read on...Are eBay Affiliates Spamming Google with Your Words?
Sunday, November 02, 2003
Localized Search
Many search engines are adding new features to better associate areas in the web community with those areas in the real world. Localized search is an area which needs great improvements. Overture and Yahoo are both leading the pack in creating geotargeted ads.

Internet Marketing E-mail Tip of the Week

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