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Climbing the Beanstalk
April 14, 2005

Welcome to the April 14, 2005 edition of "Climbing The Beanstalk", the bi-weekly newsletter on search engines and search engine positioning from Beanstalk. For a time where very little happened in the way of actual updates or algorithm changes there is a lot to report and so let's just get right to it shall we ...

Jack's House

Just a quick reminder to all our readers that in an effort to keep you and our website visitors informed on the current events in the search engine world Beanstalk has launched an SEO blog. The blog is updated daily with any important and/or interesting events going.

If you haven't visited it yet simply go to /blog/. On the top right is a button that will easily allow you to add the blog to your Favorites (or "Bookmarks" for those of use using the Firefox browser) so you can keep informed (and sometimes even entertained) about SEO and recent developments in the business of search.

The Giants :

The Top Three ...

Google News - Contrary to the predictions of virtually every SEO, Google still has not updated it's backlinks or PageRank. Every indication is that it should happen shortly however that indication has been there for weeks. There has been a significant backlash among many SEOs against Google for this delay. We all must remember that PageRank is not something that Google owes us. The goal of Google is to provide relevant results in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) for their users, not to keep SEOs happy. If the visitors keep coming then they're doing their job successfully.

Because there is little in the way to report on Google I think today is a good time to discuss a little bit about what PageRank is and what it does for your website.

A full definition on PageRank can be found on Google's own website at http://www.google.com/technology/. Basically it is a complex ranking system based on the links to your site. While not posted it is generally understood that it takes into account the following (and probably a bit more):

  • The number of links to your site
  • The number of links from the same site
  • (10 links from the same site are worth less than 10 links from different sites)
  • The PageRank of the links to your site
  • The relevancy of the links to your site
  • The newness of the links to your site
  • (i.e. the longer the link is there the more valuable it becomes)

A very important point to note about PageRank that many people seem to forget is that it is only one part of a very complex algorithm. PageRank is not the end-all-be-all of SEO though it is one important aspect (i.e. it can't be ignored but it shouldn't be over-glorified either). I have seen PageRank 4 sites beat out PageRank 6 and 7 sites if that is any indicator.

The Google toolbar PageRank update occurs about once every 3 months (plus some this time). There is rumor (and a good one) that Google itself updates it's internal PageRank about monthly. This does seem to tie in to the frequency of their backlink updates.

In short, don't put all your weight on PageRank. It's important but it's not the end-all-be-all. if you're not ranking highly work on your onsite SEO and building links. Don't become preoccupied with PageRank. If you get quality links you'll rank well even without PageRank and let's also remember, PageRank is only relevant to Google; there are other major engines out there.

And speaking of which ...

Yahoo! - April 1st Yahoo! had a major update (no it's not a delayed April Fool's Day joke). Well SEO'd sites were rewarded whereas spam tactics seem to have lost ground (thank you Yahoo!). The rule on Yahoo!: write good content and add new content periodically, give them clean code (you might have to use some CSS for this one) and build some links from sites that already rank for related phrases on their engine and you'll do well. Onsite SEO is obviously important here too but that's a given.

Yahoo! has also recently announced that they are giving away free websites to small businesses that serve local communities. In addition to this, anyone who subscribes to this service will get a listing in Yahoo! Local. You can read more about this on the Beanstalk blog.

MSN News - MSN announced the launch of MSN Spaces. Apart from a tremendous number of other free features they are offering free blogs. I have to admit that I was hopeful when I visited the site when it was first launched only to discover that their blogging services were designed essentially for people to post personal information (Traveling? Great way to keep people updates on your whereabouts). Unfortunately it's just not built for business use.

You can view more about this service on their website at http://spaces.msn.com/.

Useful Tools

We highly recommend checking our these great SEO tools. If you're a do-it-yourselfer they will save you countless hours and headaches:

  1. Non-sandboxed Results - An interesting tool with debatable reliability. If you have a new website and are competing for competitive phrases you'll likely face the wrath of the Google sandbox which will essentially keep you out of the top positions for a number of months (estimates range from 6 to 12 months). You can visit this site, enter the search phrase you're targeting and view the results as they would be if the sandbox effect did not exist.

  2. PR Prowler - Great tool for finding high PageRank links fast.

  3. ClickTracks - probably the best stats package we've seen.

Resources Of Interest

We're always surfing and always on the lookout for useful information on top of the testing and analyzing we do on our own. Below you will find links to some of the more useful information we have found recently including forum posts and articles.

Playing with Kids' Search Engines - Article by Chris Sherman (on SearchEngineWatch)
Looking for the best ways of discovering kid-friendly content on the web? Check out our just-updated listings and reviews of Kid Search Engines ...

Google's New Link Filter - Article by Wayne Hurlbert (on WebProNews)

Note: link removed as the page no longer exists.

Instead of automatically assuming the more incoming links the better, other factors may have come into play. The constant evolution of search engine algorithms, they say, may have morphed past the value of incoming links ...

The Web We Weave, Linking for Google - by Jim Hedger (on ISEDB.com)

Note: link removed as the page no longer exists.

Over the past week, SEOs and SEMs have noted some significant changes in the search engine results delivered by Google. Google appears to be actively cleaning its listings by targeting sites using suspicious link-building techniques. A couple of well-known search engine marketing sites have vanished from Google results under keyword phrases they dominated just last week.

Thank You

Thank you very much for subscribing to "Climbing The Beanstalk", the bi-weekly search engine positioning newsletter. If you have any questions about the areas covered or if there are any areas of search engine positioning that you would like to see covered in future articles/newsletter please don't hesitate to contact us. We want to write what you want to know.

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