SEO Services For Serious ROI. Blog Posts For Serious SEOs.

SEO Mythbusters: It’s Google vs Bing. SEO Truth: It’s Apple vs eBay vs Fiverr vs Google vs Bing vs …

As I shared recently in my post disspelling the myth of 3 query types, Mahalo recently pivoted to sell its content in the form of iPhone/iPad apps. They’ve gone from SEO spammers to App Store quality producers. (more…)

Why Does This SEO-Promoting Email Spam Beat Gmail’s Filters?

I spend an inordinate amount of time deleting spam emails from my Gmail inbox.

Update: Someone said I shouldn’t try to get these guys penalized. Here’s my response:
They’re wasting my time daily and I should stand back quietly? It’s called protecting what’s yours. You don’t think house alarms are bad, even though they might embarass thieves or get them caught, do you? I’m protecting my time from thieves.

If my email is public and scraped, Gmail should still block the spam people send me. Since they’ve been horrible at stopping this for at least a year, and probably more like three years, I’m going to start posting these emails here and hopefully Google will improve its spam filters as a result. As I get more spam emails, I’m going to keep posting them here. And maybe these people will see their own emails scraped and rendered useless by their fellow spammers… (more…)

What’s A Soft 404 (404-Like Content)? + How To Fix Soft 404 Errors

Steve recently got a warning from Google that a number of pages were returning soft 404s, and the next week, his traffic dropped 10%.

The following week, another 30% was gone. What are these dramatically harsh “soft” 404 errors? How do you fix them?

What is a soft 404? (more…)

News: 1/3 Of AdWords Dollars Are Spent On AdSense!

“Google Network Revenues – Google’s partner sites generated revenues, through AdSense programs, of $2.43 billion, or 28% of total revenues, in the first quarter of 2011. This represents a 19% increase from first quarter 2010 network revenues of $2.04 billion. ”

Has Google Spat On Its 10 Things Philosophy?

1. “It’s best to do one thing really, really well. We do search.” (more…)

2 Quick Tips For Better Longtail Searching

I recently failed to find things when searching by name. I tried looking up a foreign song by its name, and a restaurant by its name, address and city (all in one query). Both those searches failed.

iPhone Appstore and Google Android Ranking Factors

Continuing the SphinnCon deadblogging, here are the notes I took on Barry Schwartz’s excellent and fascinating preso on mobile and on ranking factors in the Apple Appstore and Google Android app market. (Barry Schwartz’s RustyBrick developed the popular iPhone Siddur and offer iPhone Development, and mobile web dev.)

What apps does Apple like to promote and drive traffic to in its mobile store?

Ranking for Head Keywords by Optimizing for Local Search

This is a guest post by Brian Patterson, an SEO and Online Reputation Management expert at You can follow Brian on the Twitter at @brianspatterson.

Many businesses may be confused or worried with all of the changes that have been happening in Google’s local SERPs lately.  Google literally turned local search on its head about two months ago, and as the dust settles, many of the long-term effects are becoming clear.  One specific change which I’d like to cover here has many of our clients filled with pride, and has helped us close some new local SEO client deals. (more…)

Who Else Thinks AdSense Is Changing Forever?

What’s The Future of Adsense?

In the past month, I’ve noticed retargeting campaigns on a few quite random websites. Retargeting means targeting ads to people who already visited your site.

The remarkable implications for AdSense may forever change the AdSense publishing industry! (more…)

The One Query Google Instant Can’t Handle

Trying out Google instant, I saw a particular query on which Google blanked. Notice the size of the below screenshot. (more…)

New 100% Forum SERP On Google

While googling around to help my sister Dahlia because her Gateway PC broke down (again :( … I think she got that 1/1,000,000 that makes it through QC when it’s a lemon), I saw the following search result. It’s entirely made up of forums, which is the first time I’ve ever seen such a thing (at least, when not searching for forums or info about them).  Screenshot after the jump. (more…)

News! AdWords Freezes All Campaigns Until 2015

Because beating Yahoo and Bing into a necessary merger was just too easy, and because they’re sitting on [Dr Evil moment] MILLIONS (ok….. BILLIONS) of dollars, Google’s AdWords team decided to rest on their laurels and take a few years vacation. (more…)

The Insanely Short-Sighted Tale of How Yahoo Killed Its Biz-Dev

“One way to fight this sort of strategy [Google's strategy of playing in every market] is Yahoo!’s sell or outsource everything but the logo strategy.” (-Google As A Publisher)

Amongst other moves listed there are the closing/selling of the Yahoo Publisher Network, Yahoo’s answer to AdSense, and the outsourcing of Yahoo shopping to PriceGrabber. If you take that along with Yahoo’s failure to ever take the analytics company it acquired out of beta, you see a pattern emerging:

Protest Experiment: 1 Month Without Google Search

In response to Google’s efforts to block access to Latma’s We Con The World parody, which is another proof of Google’s political bias and unreliability, I am going to go a month without Google search. I look forward to seeing how this works, and will report back. If you want to make a widget to this effect, or do the same, please feel free, and do let me know. (more…)

Google Censors Parody of Flotilla

Caroline Glick and others produced a parody regarding the flotilla that’s been covered by most major news organizations worldwide. Google – which owns Youtube – decided to censor it from Youtube, which shows you the danger of having a single player controlling so much of the information highway.

Affiliate Links With Hashtags Need 301 Redirects

I’ve just been reading some of SEOmoz’s Pro member tips and seeing their suggestions to use affiliate URLs that use hashtags, also referred to as the pound sign, number sign or hash mark.* For example, . (more…)

Bing on Yahoo Will Save SEOs Millions!

And that means tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings (more…)

Froogle 2.0: Google Declares War On Amazon

booksAttribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License by One Good Bumblebee
From the Seattle Times today (read in print version) comes a story headlined: “Google Says It Will Challenge Amazon On Electronic Books.” Loyal readers of mine would have known this was coming 7 months ago. Here are a few choice excerpts from my old post: (more…)

Eric Schmidt Is A Dirty Hypocrite: Google Should Come Clean – Friday Photos

On TechCrunch, Borgle CEO Eric Schmidt told Charlie Rose that (more…)

If You Listened When Google Announced Submarine Crawling…

Then you’re way ahead of the curve and understand what Matt Cutts is talking about, late in this video, on getting crawled and indexed more rapidly and deeply. If not, it’s time to understand search like Matt Cutts and read up on submarine crawling. This also goes back to what I was writing about thinking like search engineers and what Google wants. These are not merely abstract ideas, despite appearances. Grasping these notions puts you a step higher on the ladder, closer to “SEO Director” and further from “SEO data entry monkey,” because you can solve problems rather than merely execute other people’s solutions. (more…)

How First Click Free Clobbers Copyright, Fists Clueless Fools

Google has officially announced first-click free, it’s new attempt to fist clueless fools for all they’re worth.

Huh? What? Read on to find out how Google is encouraging content producers to lose a little more control over their content in its ongoing efforts to fight copyright. (more…)

Google’s Conspiracy To Monopolize Online Shopping

What do Google’s search-within-search, the Google Affiliate Network, and Google Suggest have to do with each other? It’s all about Google’s transformation from being a bridge and toll-gate on the information superhighway to being bridge, toll-gate and destination! (more…)

SEO Research: Indexed … With No Links or Submission

I’ve just seen this in Google on an experiment an acquaintance of mine is running (she doesn’t blog on SEO, hence it being here; she also OKayed me writing this up). A recently registered domain, without having any links pointing to it, is now indexed. (more…)

Yahoo Site Explorer… Dying?;_ylt=AsF7s1pRZXQjk6M7mHIy99bal8kF?

Try and find

(Updated with new link as Yahoo changed its results and included other links I’d gained.)

Hint: It’s not (more…)

Google Crushes Session IDs In Battle To The Death

You often hear best practices saying that Google won’t index your pages if they force Googlebot to take a sessionId. Is that really true?

How does Googlebot treat session IDs?


Google @ World All Your Traffic Are Belong To Us 1 minute ago from twhirl

Just chatting with a friend at a enterprise level analytics job. Google’s new AdPlanner tool reports that all of their monthly traffic is equivalent to their monthly Google search referrals… “Google @ world all your traffic are belong to us” sent 1 minute ago from twhirl.

What Google Wants, Straight From The Horse’s Mouth

What does Google want in SEO” is a common question that many pretentious SEOs claim to know the answer to. I’m about to join their number. Google has moved beyond measuring SERP quality based on relevance and are now aiming to provide the best user experience possible.

Other titles I was considering for this post were:

Why Matt Cutts’ “Make Content For Users” Was Very Insightful

How Googlers Measure SERP Quality – Relevance Is No Longer King

Sorry Rand, But The Googlers Were Very Expressive, IMHO.

They are aiming not just for relevance, but overall positive user experience.

That’s what’s behind labelling of cracked sites in SERPs. That’s the reason for Universal search. That’s why AdWords integrates with GA, and GA with Feedburner. That’s why Quality Score counts loading times.
That’s probably what’s behind Knols (remember, Wiki + AdSense is good user experience ;).) For the inspiration to this post, lookie : what google wants/researching the territory.

Maps Guide Jen Suggested How to Demerge Listings; I’ve Just Been a Lazy Ass

Ok, I’ve actually been to SMX Advanced, where I spoke, celebrated my 21st birthday, during which I devoured delicious homemade cake (thanks mom!), been helping Jewelry fix their SEO issues, which meant auditing and now planning implementation, and handling other stuff too besides!

After regaling you all with the wonderfully exciting tale of what I’ve been up to for the past week and change, I feel I should also clarify that Google maps guide Jen has suggested a solution (more…)

How To Get Links From Google: Scrape & Trackback Spam

See here for how to get links from Google by spamming:

In Google’s defense, looking at the source code those links appear to be generated clientside – I couldn’t find the string ‘vox’ (as in in the page’s source code. So the links don’t count for SEO (yes, yes it’s anticlimactic, I know). Still funny that 3 spammers are getting links that human visitors can follow from an official Google blog. Hmm, maybe the Gmail team are part of a bad neighbourhood and they’re trying to hide it… ;)

Buying Sites? Use Trusts To Avoid Google Domain Demolitions

At the Domain Roundtable, Matt Cutts said that Google will cut down any sites that get sold back to zero ranking value. So after a site has built up SEO strength for a few years, the asset could be worthless on the search market because Google – which controls the overwhelming majority of North American and most Western search – makes the rules.

This is clearly unfair to webmasters. Not to mention that the Fortune 500 are again on a different playing field, because their purchases are just mergers and acquisitions, not “site purchases”… (more…)

How Legal Fictions Can Break Google’s Paradigms on Greyhat SEO

Legal fictions can be used by greyhat SEOs to overcome Google’s nearsighted paradigms on buying websites and buying links. While Google is trying to pass off its guidelines as law – and is succeeding in convincing some people of that fact* – the facts are otherwise, and my two-post series on the topic will show that the law can actually enable people to skirt Google’s techniques and expose its faults. (more…)

Value Links And Understand Search Like Matt Cutts With Submarine Crawling

Welcome Search Newz visitors! It seems that Search Newz’s syndicated version of my article, “If You Listened When Google Announced Submarine Crawling,” which follows up the one you’re seeing now, forgot to link to an important Matt Cutts video. So there’s the link to help you out. Anyways, on with the show – here’s what submarine crawling is all about, as interpreted from Matt Cutts’ explanations.

Matt Cutts’ post and this Webmaster Central post recently explained that “high quality” sites are being given special treatment – submarine crawling.

We all know that links from high quality sites are more valuable than those from average or mediocre sites. Now, Matt and Google have given us a new measurement for finding high quality sites – submarine crawling – and thus high quality link prospects.

Russian Submarine

Russian Submarine courtesy of Orpheus Grey.

So WHAT is Submarine Crawling? (more…)

Google Slaughters Wall & Inman, But Amazon Survives

Google killed former SEOmoz CTO Matt Inman’s widgetbait because some Guardian reporter didn’t like it and wrote his negative opinion up. Then Aaron Wall was unlucky enough to trust a jerk who asked Matt Cutts about Aaron’s affiliate program based linkbuilding.

The question is: Will Amazon get a beat-down too? For their (more…)

Google Unveils The Source of Search Results Pages in Its index

And it isn’t Google Analytics, as I mistakenly thought. So I need to apologize to Google (and to you, my readers) for the error/false accusation and getting people worried for nothing.
Even more humbling, both Matt Cutts and the official Google Webmaster Central blog have called yours truly’s site “high quality.” So let’s see … (more…)

Google Is Indexing Site-Search Results Pages

Google Analytics is broken (like PageRank is broken), and leaking my data into the index. All the site searches here on SEO ROI are resulting in site-SERPs pages getting into G’s index. How is this happening?

Final Update: This has been disproven as being the source of the site-search-results appearing in Google’s search results. I had good reason to believe that Google Analytics was the source of this (you can see below for my original thoughts on the matter), but there’s now a clarification. My apologies to Google and to my readers for the mistake.

A while back I saw a video about using Google Analytics to (more…)

The Independent Webmaster’s Manifesto

  • If knowledge is power;
  • If information is knowledge;
  • And if Google is organizing – and, more importantly, distributing – the world’s information;

Then isn’t Google the single most powerful organization in the world?


Google Maps Folds Google Earth Booking Engine, Reviews, Own Pics Directly Into SERPs + A Big List of Hotel Review Sites

Google Maps has been doing a lot of testing and playing with its search engine results pages (SERPs) lately. I’ve seen the EarthBooker hotel booking engine tightly integrated with many hotels. At the same time, when I performed a longtail search for a hotel to stay at during the SMX West conference, I found some reviews (or other stuff Google seems to find relevant) folded directly into the SERPs (you used to have to click more info to see the reviews). And there’s also pictures being folded in from Google’s (more…)

Why Google is Broken

Google is broken because PageRank no longer models what it did in Brin and Page’s foundational paper. (more…)

Using Google Trends For SEO: Domaining, Expanding, Seasonal Queries

Just as Google loves data, so should SEOs. I love country code domain names and domaining (NamePros is a great community to learn, if you’re interested). As I was conducting some keyword research to buy new .ca domains, it occurred to me that I could use Google Trends (notice the nofollow on that link ;) ) data to help me with my selection. There are also other uses for Trends data in SEO that are equally interesting. (more…)

5 Things MSN Must Do To Gain Search Share

Don't be evil, Google. Google's market cap is now $I really dislike Google. Bill Gates, on the other hand, is a very charitable guy and MSN hasn’t done any deals with the devil nor helped terrorists, like Google has (hat tips Sunshine and Atlas). So I’m squarely in Bill’s corner. Here are the 5 things MSN/Live Must do to win search share from Google and Yahoo. (more…)

Bring Your Pages This Way, to the Supplemental Index Egress

Exit From Novi Sad Fortress TunnelI’m often asked about the Google’s Supplemental Index (SI) and how to get pages out it. Consider this post directions to the exit, the light at the end of Google’s dark tunnel, the “this way to the egress,” if you will. (Ok, so I like my hype, but I promise it’ll be worth it.)

If you’re impatient, click here to get the solution to getting your page/pages out of the Supplemental Index and skip the background info. I think you’re better off with a full understanding of the SI, but I’ll leave it up to you.

As Aaron Wall puts it in his excellent SEO Book, search engines are frequently developing new ways to save computing power. When you do things on a large scale and have billions of websites and web pages to work with, as Google does, getting your computers to run more efficiently will save you money. Lots of it. The Supplemental Index is a way for Google to save money by being more efficient with its computing.

To understand how to get your pages out of the Supplemental Index, you need to understand why they’re there to begin with. In other words, you need to know how the SI works. So let me explain.

When somebody performs a search with Google, what happens behind the scenes is something like this.

  1. Google looks at the keywords.
  2. It compares them to the pages in its index (think of a library’s index card system).
  3. Google determines which pages are most relevant and ranks them.
  4. Finally, the results are displayed to the searcher.

It’s incredible, but Google really does do all that in fractions of a second.

(This is a simplified explanation of Google’s processes, based on what Dan Thies wrote at SEO Fast Start. If anyone has the precise page’s link, I’d appreciate a comment pointing it out, as I’ve lost it. Wouldn’t want that page to end up in the Supplemental Index, now would I?)

The second part of the process gets exponentially more expensive for Google every day, as more sites and pages go online. Their computers need to run through more and more content. Google hit upon the idea of using a Supplemental Index as a shortcut in this process. By putting pages of lesser importance in the SI, Google has fewer pages to assess and rank at step two. (Then, only if Google feels its main index has too few pages to allow it to do a good job, will Google resort to the Supplemental Index. It supplements their main index when this one is thin for a particular topic.)

Amazon's Supplemental Index Results

Amazon also had Supplemental Index issues at one point, as Tamar Weinberg pointed out in this picture. It’s nothing to feel bad about. (Note that Google no longer labels pages in the supplemental index as such.)

So how does Google determine if a web site or web page is of lesser importance? The behemoth of search considers how likely a web surfer is to arrive at that page if they randomly click links in a never ending browsing session. The more likely someone is to visit your page through links on other websites and on your own, the more important your page. This idea is the foundation of Google, better known as PageRank. See Danny Sullivan’s article on PageRank (which he seems very enthusiastic about ranking for the keyword “PageRank,” based upon his linking practices on Search Engine Land) for more info.

The solution to getting your web page (or web pages, as the case may be) out of the Supplemental Index is to get more links to them. These can be links from within your own website, but it’s usually better – particularly with newer, less established sites – to get links from other websites.

If your site is non-commercial, it generally shouldn’t be difficult to get other sites to link to your inner pages, increase your PageRank and help you out of the Supplemental Index. But if your site is commercial, people are generally less willing to link to your pages. For example, the average webmaster (who isn’t an affiliate) has no incentive to link to a product page.

(As an aside, it would make sense for Google to count affiliate links towards determining whether a page belongs in the SI or main index. This despite the fact that they might be considered paid, PageRank manipulating links – which Google despises – otherwise).

So what do you do if you’re a merchant? (I owe this upcoming generous tip to Lorisa, who runs a Montessori schools materials site, featuring CD-Roms, teacher tools and more.)

Ironically, you create more pages!

Just not on your own website.

The pages you’ll create will be what’s commonly referred to as “User Generated Content.” For example, the photo-sharing site Flickr lets people upload pictures that then get an individual page (the picture at the top of this post comes from this Flickr user, as a matter of fact). Flickr’s users generate its content. And they link back to their own sites, or other pages they like, from their Flickr profiles, photo pages and so on.

A particular type of user generated content site – which I detailed in my article The New Directory – is likely more useful for getting these links than other types of site. This is because the quality of the user generated content is controlled by member ratings and reviews. While I again encourage you to read the article and learn more, I’m happy to provide you with the easy solution: a list of sites accepting user-generated content where you can get links to your site’s pages.

  • Squidoo is a perfect example of The New Directory.Gooruze
  • Gooruze is similar, but focused on the internet marketing niche.
  • SEOmoz is like a second home to me. I’d be crazy not to point out their great user generated blog Youmoz.
  • Still in marketing, search marketing social media site Sphinn gives you a nice page – do see my profile and add me as a friend.
  • eBay gives users About Me pages.
  • Myspace is a classic and should need no explanation.
  • Ezine Articles, for what it’s worth, lets you have a profile page. I’m not sure Google care much about Ezine Articles, though, because contrary to the New Directory, their quality control is nil.
  • Dofollow blogs allow you to leave comments where the author’s name links to a page of his/her choosing. These links are counted by Google, as opposed to most blogs, which use nofollow (I’ll implement dofollow once I choose the right plugin). Courtney Tuttle has a good list of Dofollow blogs.
  • WordPress lets users create blogs of their own on their site. (I also recommend using the WordPress software if you want your own full-featured blog with plugins such as dofollow. This blog runs on it.)
  • PR offers free press release distribution. I’d link to PR Web too, but they don’t offer a free service, so no link love. (Told you being commercial was tough!)
  • Search for “your product” and “social networking” on Google. Try related searches like “your industry” + “social networking,” “your industry” + “social media,” “your industry” + “forum(s),” “your product” + “file-sharing,” “your product” + “article distribution.” The sites you find will let you create a profile and links.
  • At the end of the day, networking is still crucial, as I told Marketing Sherpa (PDF) (see tip #27). If you can get bloggers and journalists writing about you, that’s going to mean better links, traffic and copycat links from bloggers who repeat what they read in the daily paper.

Does Aggressive Ad Publishing Decrease PageRank?

I know that aggressive ad positioning, especially when your site is new, are a flag for spam with Google’s algorithms. I created a blog on fishing once that had ads in the topleft and in much of the sidebar, which led to me having to make it through a Captcha for each post. What’s interesting to me now is the question, does aggressive ad publishing decrease PageRank? (more…)

Blog Search Ranking Factors – Google’s BlogSearch Algorithm

Google’s blog search patent application came out in March 2007 (though it was filed two years earlier) and it, like Google’s near-legendary Anatomy of a Large-Scale Search Engine paper, explains how the search engine will rank documents. In other words, it gives an idea of what makes the first blog show up first, and what makes the second show up second. So understanding the patent is essential to ranking a blog in Google’s blog search.

Luckily for you, you don’t need to go through the drudgery of reading through the whole, long technical paper. Various SEOs (Bill Slawski) and other good folk (Alister Cameron) have analyzed the patent and published this analysis for the public benefit. What follows is my comprehensive summary that aggregates and simplifies the patent and its analysis. (more…)