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Climbing the Beanstalk
May 25, 2005

Welcome to the May 25, 2005 edition of "Climbing The Beanstalk", the bi-weekly newsletter on search engines and search engine positioning from Beanstalk. Since the last newsletter there have been a number of notable events, including purchases by some of the major engines and updates by others. So without further ado ... let's get to it.

Jack's House

In order to keep yourself updated daily on the events that affect those seeking high rankings on the major engines you'll want to visit Beanstalk's SEO blog. Updated almost daily (Monday to Friday) the blog contains the biggest events of the day, tips on methods to ease your efforts, and sometimes just some interesting/entertaining tid-bits we find in our travels of press releases and SEO resources.

The Giants :

The Top Three ...

Google News - Aside from some blips and shuffles, Google has been fairly quiet in regards to their rankings however that's not to say they haven't been up to a few things.

First and formost is the announcement of record revenues for the first quarter of 2005 over the 4th quarter of 2004 (a 93% increase at that). Coming primarily from AdWords this increase reflects higher costs-per-click for site owners alongside rumors that sites that are members of the AdSense program tend to rank higher thus increasing the exposure of the AdWords ads on 3rd party sites.

To be clear, these are simply rumors and unsubstantiated ones at that with only limited evidence (and and understanding that Google is in business to make money). That said, if you visit the Beanstalk blog you'll notice the recent addition of AdSense ads. ;)

ALSO - there may or may not (how's that for clarity) be a backlink update coming on Google. Many website owners reported increases in their backlinks yesterday and today only to notice them revert back shortly thereafter. Whether thisis an actual backlink update, a quirk in the system, or perhaps just Google redefining which backlinks they show is still left to be seen.

Yahoo! - Yahoo! recently launched their new "Video Search". This is a great innovation in search and is the best of it's kind that we've found. Are you looking for video shorts or trailers to your favorite movie? Then this is a great place to start. You can test the yahoo! video search at http://video.search.yahoo.com/.

In other news ... Yahoo! has been tweaking their algorithm with some minor updates as of late. it appears that link popularity has become, if anything, slightly LESS important than onsite optimization and overall site relevancy. The key then, to top placements on Yahoo!, is to build a site engineered towards a single set of related keywords with an overall focus on building the homepage and/or specific key internal pages for the most important phrases.

Basically this means you should be designing your websites properly.

MSN News - The biggest recent news out of Redmond is the upcoming launch of Virtual Earth - Microsoft's answer to Google Maps. Rather than being drawn from satellite images, Microsoft has coersed sleughs of pilots into flying over major cities taking photos. the images they will provide are detailed images of cities which can be viewed at 45 degrees just to make it more interesting (which is their only real benefit as I can't see how this genuinely benefits someone looking for a specific address.

You can read more about the new MSN feature on the Beanstalk blog at /blog/2005/05/virtual-earth-belongs-to-microsoft.html.

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 has just released a new version that's head-and-shoulders above the old version (and for anyone who has been a subscriber to our newsletter you know how highly we though of that one. The new version not only tears apart your competitors inbound links letting you know everything from their PageRanks to the anchor text used but now also analyzes all of the on-site factors, letting you know the densities of everything from their titles and metas to their content and image alt tags.
    An absolute must-have for anyone competing for moderate to high competition phrases.

  2. ClickTracks is the top tier of log analysis software. This product gets another notable mention here as the number of questions we're getting here at Beanstalk regarding PPC ROI tracking and website analysis has risen dramatically over the past few weeks.
    This software allows you to get a complete understanding of how your visotirs are getting to your site and what they're doing one thaty get there. It will also enable you to determine which phrases on specific engines are resulting in sales and conversions. This feature alone can dramatically increase your ROI on the PPC engines and pay for the software.
    For more information on ClickTracks you can read the review on our site at /resources/recommended/clicktracks.htm.

  3. Advanced Web Ranking was just re-brought to my attention after I first tested it may moons ago in a galaxy far far away. While I currently use WebPosition Gold to check client's rankings this little software program has impressed me with both it's reports and it's pricing. Starting at just $59 it's far less expensive than WebPosition Gold. It doesn't give the same feedback as far as SEOing your site but for anyone in the know - software just can't keep up with the trends and individual nature of your site and so I don't recommend automated SEO systems regardless.
    I was also impressed by the fact that it's "friendly" to the search engines and their resources. For anyone who's used WebPosition recently you've probably found that Google shuts off your access for a while (requiring you to enter a password for all of your manual searches). After running Advanced Web Ranking I had no troubles with Google whatsoever.
    I'll be testing it a bit more over the next few days and will post my final recommendations in our blog.

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.

In this newsletter we will be focusing on some of the better and/or interesting of the online SEO tools.

Datacenter Quick Check - add this one to your Favorites (or Bookmarks for those of us using Firefox). This tool allows you to check your PageRank and backlinks accross multiple Google datacenters. Especially useful during algorithm and backlink updates.

Who Powers Whom - A great and esily understood chart displaying which search engines get their natural and paid results from which providers. Provided by Doug Heil on the iHelpYou forums website.

Search Google Without Filters (Link removed - no longer available) - provides Google results with some of the filters removed (though which ones aren't exactly clear). It appears to give an idea as to what your rankings would be is the sandbox effect on Google did not exist. Don't take these results as gospel but taken with a grain of salt they can provide some interesting insight into Google.

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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