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Climbing the Beanstalk
July 15, 2005

Welcome to the July 15, 2005 edition of "Climbing The Beanstalk", the bi-weekly newsletter on search engines and search engine positioning from Beanstalk. Until yesterday the news on the search engines was interesting enough but not exciting (remember, we're SEO geeks when we're talking about what's exciting and what's not :). Starting yesterday evening was the latest Google backlink and PageRank update which has yielded a new landscape for those who are following PageRank.

Jack's House

During this PageRank update we at Beanstalk are monitoring very closely the changes as they unravel and will continue to do so through the rest of the update and through the ranking changes that will surely follow in the next week. To stay updated on these events we invite you to visit our blog daily. We post search engine news there on a daily (if not more) basis and if we've found any new angles to this update, others that follow, or just general search engine news that may affect your site you'll find it there.

You can visit the Beanstalk blog at /blog/. In the top right you'll find easy-to-use links to add the page to your favorites or even make it your homepage.

The Giants :

The Top Three ...

Google News - As of yesterday evening the news from Google was huge. Quarterly Google updates their visible PageRank and last night the update began (though it probably won't be completed to near the end of the weekend). This update shows major differences in the way PageRank is being calculated. Here are some of the major changes/additions apparent in this update:

  1. The bar has been raised on PageRank. What this means is that what once would have gotten you a PageRank of 5 may now on yield a 4. Periodically Google does this in an effort to counter large scale recip link building and link renting.
  2. Relevancy is a factor. Until now the relevancy of the incoming links was not counted strongly in the PageRank calculation. It appears that this has changes and that links from relevant sites are being weighed more favorably than links from unrelated sites.
  3. Run-of-site links and multiple links from the same domain appear to have reduced value. Probably in an effort to reduce the value of paid-for links Google has further reduced the value of multiple links from a single domain.
  4. History is a factor. It was only a matter of time before they brought their aging delay technology into the world of link value. We've known it was possible based on their patent application however they have finally applied it to the PageRank calculations. Links that have been around for longer periods of time and given more weight than new links.

The PageRank of the sites linking to you still seems to be a major factor in the value calculations of the links. this makes sense as it seems Google is looking to revamp the calculations themselves to make them more accurate rather han dropping the value of PageRank itself, a technology they have spend countless dollars tweaking and promoting.

In other news from Google, they have finally launched the beta version of their toolbar for Firefox users which you can read about in our blog.

Yahoo! - While not much happened on Yahoo! in regards to major updates in the past 2 weeks (they don't have the same type of dramatic updates that Google does but have opted for more frequent updates with less changes applied during each of them) there is an interesting note.

July 4, 2005 marked the 5th anniversary of the day Yahoo! replaced providing Inktomi results for their search with Google's. this relationship lasted until February 18, 2004 when they began producing their own results. Yahoo! purchased the Inktomi engine in December of 2002 for $235 million.

MSN News - MSN has taken the same approach as Yahoo! in regard to how they update their algorithm (periodic updates rather than large-scale updates) however there have been some notable tweaks.

MSN seems to be focusing more on site content lately, giving it weight over links and even titles. To be sure, titles and incoming links are strong factors however they are losing ground to good old content.

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. Total Optimizer Pro - We mention this one often but it's worth noting again as the folks at Total Optimizer pro have put it on sale at $197, down from $347 for the rest of the month. this is by far the most useful tool in our SEO arsenal and highly recommended for all but those in the lowest competition sectors.
  2. Firefox - Mentioned numerous times in our blog, the browser Firefox is probably the single greatest SEO tool dollar-for-dollar (it's free so that makes it an easy victory). While Firefox itself is not spectacular from an SEO standpoint the fact that it is open-source does. Thousands of free Extensions have been developed for it including some great SEO tools that will help the SEO, the webmaster, and even the standard surfer. As a bonus this browser is more secure and user-friendly than Internet Explorer.
  3. Data Center Quick Check - we've noted this one also in the past but due to the current Google update it's a good time to mention it again. This free resource from McDar Inc. allows you to check your backlinks, PageRank and search engine positions across numbers Google datacenters at once.

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.

Google PageRank Update Analysis
The most recent article publish by Beanstalk helps to explain the changes in the pageRank calculations. It also gives a brief (read: user friendly) description of what PageRank is and how it's used by Google. There is followup information on the Beanstalk blog at /blog/2005/07/history-pagerank.html though you will want to continue to monitor our blog for future posts on this topic and further analysis reveals additional detail.

Independant Search Engine And Directory Network
This newly launched resource from Jayde Online gives a complete list of independant directories and search engines. A great place to find directories to submit to and they also offer an interesting advertising opportunity that is very reasonably priced (we had signed up for this advertising months ago through ExactSeek and are seeing very good traffic from a cost-per-click perspective.

Google Update Discussion
A discussion on the current Google update underway at WebMasterWorld. You'll have to join to ask questions or post comments. it's free to join.

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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