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Beanstalk's Internet Marketing Blog

At Beanstalk Search Engine Optimization we know that knowledge is power. That's the reason we started this Internet marketing blog back in 2005. We know that the better informed our visitors are, the better the decisions they will make for their websites and their online businesses. We hope you enjoy your stay and find the news, tips and ideas contained within this blog useful.


November 23, 2007

Search Marketshare Numbers For October 2007

ComScore released it’s numbers for October and, oh my goodness, Google is up. In a rare turn of events the folks at Google appear to have won over some users, increasing their marketshare by 1.5%. The number now break down as follows:

  • Google showed a 1.5% gain from 57% markshare in September to 58.5%
  • Yahoo! realized a 0.8% loss going from 23.7% to 22.9%
  • Microsoft took losses (surprise surprise) going from 10.3% to 9.7%
  • Ask (YEAH !!!) held steady at 4.7%
  • The Time Warner Network lost 0.1% marketshare ending at 4.2%

Now, that said – it’s not as bad as it looks for the non-Google site. Let’s look at the number of searches conducted on each engine in the month of October which, overall, were up by 11.8%:

  • Google was up 14.8% with 6.151 billion searches in October over 5.356 billion searches in September
  • Yahoo! realized an 8% gain in total searches ending with 2.405 billion searches (up from 2.227 billion in September)
  • Microsoft showed gains in search number though more modest with a 5.6% increase in October going from 969 million searches to 1.023 billion
  • Like Google, Ask’s gains were in the double digits (and since I have a soft spot in my heart for Ask I’m happy to see this) jumping from 444 million searches in September to 491 million with a 10.7% gain in October
  • And the Time Warner Network gained 9.4% in search numbers going from 405 million to 443 million

You can read more on the ComScore site at http://www.comscore.com/press/release.asp?press=1908.

SEO news blog post by @ 12:04 am

Categories:Uncategorized

 

 

November 22, 2007

Hold Onto Your Hats …

A lot of SEO is pure, predicable mathematics. We’re dealing with highly complex mathematical formulas and thus, a lot of it can be predicted with solid accuracy. Even still, there are some parts where it’s mainly guesswork; where we have to “shoot from the gut” where (as Steven Colbert would put it) truthiness plays a bigger role in decision making than fact – especially when facts are not available. The prediction of algorithmic and/or toolbar PageRank pixels are such events. The fine folks at Google don’t call me up personally to let me know when updates will happen (I know, you’re disappointed but it’s true).

That said, here’s some truthiness for you – there’s an update coming and it’s coming this weekend. What kind of an update I don’t know. I’d bet algorithmic but I wouldn’t bet a lot. I’d put a lot more money down of there being an update of some kind however.

This post was inspired by a phone call I had recently with a client who asked when I thought the next update was coming. I said probably tomorrow afternoon or evening. I realized shortly after saying it that I said it quickly and with little hesitation and so I decided to make it public so you can all mock me if I’m wrong. :) I’m not sure why I’m so sure the update is coming then. I’ve made predictions of updates in the past and I’m generally pretty accurate though it has more to do with a feeling than a knowing. Perhaps there’s a pattern I’ve yet to pick up consciously. Or maybe it’s that phone call from Matt I got earlier. ;)

SEO news blog post by @ 5:55 pm

Categories:Uncategorized

 

 

November 20, 2007

Is Duplicate Content Sp@m?

I’ve got to go with a big “Y – E – S” on this one but apparently the engines don’t all agree. When I reported the first in the list below I expected that it might take a bit but the duplication was so obvious (and from a MUCH newer site) that they couldn’t help but take it down. As of today, none of the engines have penalized the site and I’ve received no response from the site owner (surprise surprise).

So that got me thinking, I wonder who else I taking our content? And thus was born a short list of sites that have stolen our content (short only because I’m only counting some limited homepage content – our articles and blog posts are likely the most stolen). Note, links are to the Archives.org pages just to make sure you can see what we see. :)

Now that’s just from some phrases on the homepage and without listing proxies. Eventually I’m going to have to just set aside a couple weeks of one of my guy’s time to ransack the net and find all the offenders. Thanks thieves, it’s only going to cost us lost productivity and a couple thousand dollars in employee time.

SEO news blog post by @ 6:55 pm

Categories:Uncategorized

 

 

Now THAT’s Personalization

For anyone who’s read my blog posts for a while or who saw me speak in San Jose earlier this year you’ll know that I’m particularly interested in personalization and specifically, Google’s patents on the subject. It’s because of this that the launch of 23andme yesterday was particularly interesting though I have to say, I haven’t seen anything in any of the patents on how this ties together.

For those that haven’t heard yet, 23andme is a DNA testing facility of sorts. For $999 they’ll send you a saliva kit which you mail back and a few weeks later you can logon to their site and see how your DNA looks as far as a few conditions and diseases go (heart attacks, strokes, etc.). Now the real curiosity to me is that this company is funded by Google. Why?

Well one reason could be that one of the founders is Anne Wojcicki, who has a background in health-care investing and is married to Google Inc co-founder Sergey Brin. Good reason HOWEVER Sergey can’t just hand over millions of gBucks whenever he likes so there has to be a benefit for Google.

There is the chance that the folks over at Google simply believe that this is an interesting project and lucrative in it’s own right and thought to diversify their funding sources. Of course! Advertising is sooooo yesterday. Time to move on. ;)

Or there is some data that the gPeople are hoping to get? Is this the first step in a larger project to get our DNA. What personalization options will Google have if they know you’re going to die at 45? You’ll know you’re in trouble when funeral home ads start popping up when you’re partner is surfing the web.

It’s definitely WAY too early to come to any conclusive idea as to what the folks at Google are really hoping to accomplish but it’ll be interesting to watch them and how they use the data they collect.

The issue I find more immediately concerning is the privacy issues. While the 23andme website claims high levels of security (and I have no doubt they’re telling the truth there) the government can step in and demand the files. I’m not saying they’re going to do it, but they could. And to me, that’s a bit frightening [ i don’t know what my DNA says about me but I don’t know if I want my government and, worse yet, my insurance companies to know.

Some other sources of info on this launch:

 

 

SEO news blog post by @ 4:14 am

Categories:Uncategorized

 

 

November 16, 2007

But Our Butts Were Still Red !!!

Well the dust hasn’t even settled yet on the three PageRank updates we were graced with in October and Google’s launched another volley and a vast number of sites lost some (or more) of those little green pixels.

In our preliminary analysis there appears to be a bit more to it than the gaining or losing of some visual PageRank (mainly losing it appears at this point). In a chat I was having with Jim Hedger earlier when we were comparing notes both of us agreed that we’ve seen some shifting in the rankings over the past few days and both of us expect to see more in the near future (and by that I mean within the next couple days).

From Jim’s observations a lot of the sites affected have had some association with SEO/SEM firms though may not be involved directly in the industry or sell links. I haven’t seen that myself as some non-SEO related sites got the hard smack (again?) but an observation worth noting while we seek common trends in what’s going on.

Now, lets be clear – what appears in the green bar is not a particularly relevant reflection of the value of a site or it’s ability to rank highly (used to be – not anymore). That said, with all these major changes going on one can only assume that this is indicative of other changes in the way sites will be ranked. Or Google’s just messing around with us for fun or because the rumors are true and they’re going to dump the whole thing altogether and they want us to be thankful for it by the time it happens. :)

To be sure we’ll be watching this carefully over the weekend and over the upcoming days and weeks (and months, and years …) and we’ll keep you posted as we have more time for analysis. Some useful reading and placed to keep watching are:

  • here of course :)
  • Andy Beard- Andy has been following this closely since October and is reporting on it well. He brings up some great points in today’s post titled ZERORANK. One of my favorite points is one I’ve griped about before, that there’s no way to request reinclusion to Google without “admitting” that you did something wrong to begin with. Well what if you were actually penalized incorrectly?
  • DigitalPoint Forums – A discussion on the subject.

So a thought for Google to close out the blog for the weekend – next time, please wait until our butts have healed from the first spanking before launching into the next round. :)

SEO news blog post by @ 5:08 pm

Categories:Uncategorized

 

 

Whiteboard Friday

Rand Fishkin over at SEOmoz (OMG, that’s two post in a row about the guy) had his whiteboard Friday today (as he does every Friday). Whiteboard Friday is an “event” during which Rand uses a whiteboard to illustrate complex SEO theories, technologies, etc. in layman’s terms. He does a damn good job at it too.

This weeks whiteboard was about how the engines can “sniff out” the origin of a story through links and rank the first source of a story even if a stronger source posts about it later and even if other sources have better anchor text. It’s a great post that right now discusses only the news and blog searches but which Rand asks, “could this be expanded to include regular search?”

Now, in my opinion I don’t believe that this type of analysis and ranking really works in the regular search arena. If I write a 500 word summary of a new Google patent and I’m the first to cover it and, after reading my post, Bill Slawski over at SEO By The Sea writes up on the patent (like he wouldn’t have found it already) and writes a 10,000 word summary of it’s ins-and-outs and an analysis of it’s application in the real world and links to the Beanstalk blog post as the first source he found out about the patent on (thanks for the imaginary link Bill ;) which of our two pages should rank when people look up information on that patent? Heck, I love traffic but even I’d have to say that if Google wants to provide good results they’re going to display Bill’s 10,000 word analysis above my 500 word summary in every search regardless of where it first appeared.

Of course, Rand is covering the technology in simple terms to illustrate an idea and of course the algorithms are more complex than simply a link mapping system to determine first source with the source ranking regardless of content. Just wanted to make sure that was understood before you watched the video however. :)

So without further ado, here’s Rand Fishkin explaining how engines recognize first source for blogs and news:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EW4FcmODg7g]

SEO news blog post by @ 1:10 pm

Categories:Uncategorized

 

 

November 14, 2007

Well Done Rand & Co.

Every now and then one sees a result in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) that you know isn’t going to change. If I enter windows I’m going to get the Microsoft site. If I search again in a year, it’ll be the same. In the realm of SEO these exist as well, or at least I thought they did.

For those of you who are SEO’s or are learning SEO you’ve likely heard of Matt Cutts (and if not, you will now and it was worth the trip to this blog if for no other reason). Matt Cutts is easily the most public of Google employees who publishes tip s and information on Google (and other ramblings) on his blog at http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/.

With the massive number of links (literally in the many hundreds of thousands) to his site he basically owns the phrase “seo blog”. I monitor the phrase as it’s one of our secondary terms and have basically known that until Matt quit Google, grew to be 100 years old, died, and about 100 more years passed and noone bothered to renew the domain – only then would someone else rank for the phrase. And yet I was wrong.

I happened to be searching for SEO information (it happens) and so I looked up blogs to see if there were any new ones I hadn’t been watching. That’s when I noticed it, Matt was now in second place. I was shocked but not by who it was. if youw ere to tell me that Matt would lose his #! ranking and made me guess who I would have been right – but I was still very surprised to see him drop at all.

So who toppled the king? None other than Rand Fishkin and the SEOmoz team at http://www.seomoz.org/blog.

Congratulations Rand !!! That’s definitely a job well done.

On the plus side for Matt and Google, at least we know you’re not cheating. :)

SEO news blog post by @ 4:48 pm

Categories:Uncategorized

 

 

Well Done Rand & Co.

Every now and then one sees a result in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) that you know isn’t going to change. If I enter windows I’m going to get the Microsoft site. If I search again in a year, it’ll be the same. In the realm of SEO these exist as well, or at least I thought they did.

For those of you who are SEO’s or are learning SEO you’ve likely heard of Matt Cutts (and if not, you will now and it was worth the trip to this blog if for no other reason). Matt Cutts is easily the most public of Google employees who publishes tip s and information on Google (and other ramblings) on his blog at http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/.

With the massive number of links (literally in the many hundreds of thousands) to his site he basically owns the phrase “seo blog”. I monitor the phrase as it’s one of our secondary terms and have basically known that until Matt quit Google, grew to be 100 years old, died, and about 100 more years passed and noone bothered to renew the domain – only then would someone else rank for the phrase. And yet I was wrong.

I happened to be searching for SEO information (it happens) and so I looked up blogs to see if there were any new ones I hadn’t been watching. That’s when I noticed it, Matt was now in second place. I was shocked but not by who it was. if youw ere to tell me that Matt would lose his #! ranking and made me guess who I would have been right – but I was still very surprised to see him drop at all.

So who toppled the king? None other than Rand Fishkin and the SEOmoz team at http://www.seomoz.org/blog.

Congratulations Rand !!! That’s definitely a job well done.

On the plus side for Matt and Google, at least we know you’re not cheating. :)

SEO news blog post by @ 4:48 pm

Categories:Uncategorized

 

 

November 8, 2007

SEO: A Job Or An Addiction?

I was chatting with one of my clients today and he was noting how their site has been holding steady for a while in the top five and how he’s now nervous about updates. Funny, you look forward to them when you’re not in the top 20 and you fear them when you enter the top 5. :)

I realized that my client was not the exception to the rule. I get IMs, calls and emails every day from clients who monitor their sites for the slightest fluctuations. And then I recalled that when I launch my browser in the morning it launches with 4 tabs, 2 with different Google datacenters, one with Yahoo! and one with MSN – all launched with our primary phrase in the search box. OK, maybe, just maybe, I/we have a problem. :)

I decides to let me fingers do the walking and clicked my way over to helpguide.org’s list of signs and symptoms of addiction. Here’s what they had to say about it (their references are to drugs but we can all make the comparison):

  • Inability to relax or have fun without being high … um … in the rankings.
    Do you relax when there’s an update going on and you’re not sure how your site is faring.
  • Angry outbursts, mood swings, irritability, manic behavior, or overall attitude change.
    How did you behave the last time your site dropped in the rankings, even temporarily?
  • Talking incoherently or making inappropriate remarks.
    Normally towards a monitor.
  • Deterioration of physical appearance and grooming.
    No comments needed on this one.
  • Wearing sunglasses and/or long sleeve shirts frequently or at inappropriate times.
    Too pale from dark offices to not wear sunglasses and long sleeves outside – even in the harsh moonlight.
  • No longer spending time with friends who don’t optimize sites and/or associating with known users.
    Social life? That’s what we do on Facebook when we’re having downtime right?
  • Engaging in secretive or suspicious behaviors, such as making frequent trips to the back room, basement, or Starbucks where Internet connectivity use would be undisturbed.
    Excuse me, I just have to check on something quickly (… 2 hours later …)
  • Talking about optimization all the time and pressuring others to do it too.
    It’s a great way to make money from home! And you can signup for the affiliate programs in my downline !!!
  • Expressing feelings of exhaustion, depression, and hopelessness.
    This doesn’t apply if your site is in the top 10.
  • Checking your rankings first thing in the morning.
    If you need to check your rankings more than you need a coffee in the morning – you have a problem.

So it was this that made me really realize it … I have a problem and chances are, if you’re on this blog, you do too. Because most of us don’t have a life outside our computers and SEO conventions (go ahead, admit it) I’ve created a Facebook group for us. Of course we’ll all probably chat about SEO and … ummm …. OK maybe I’m making the problem worse but if you’re not afraid then you can visit Beanstalk’s Facebook Page to join us on the dark side. ;)

SEO news blog post by @ 7:02 pm

Categories:Uncategorized

 

 

November 1, 2007

Links Links and … well … Links

Today we’re going to discuss three things. Links, links and … well … links. Where to begin where to begin? I know, let’s start with links:

Links
Today Jim Hedger and I hosted our weekly radio show on Webmaster Radio. We covered a variety of topics from Google surpassing $700/share in trading to the battle over advertising and Google’s upcoming issues with Facebook (i.e. Facebook stands to provide a TON of relevant search and advertising opportunities and they’re going to provide them to Microsoft).

After a brief discussion on those topics we had on patent guru Bill Slawski for the remained of the show to discuss … you guessed it … links. Bill definitely knows more than your average bear about search engines and links and was happy to share his wisdom bringing up important points to consider such as the move AWAY from global search results to results tailored more to the individual user’s likes and dislikes as defined the the user, their search behavior and the behavior of similar users. If you’re interested in this subject (and if rankings are important to you – you should be) you can read more about it in an article I wrote on Personalization as well as on Bill’s blog where he lists the important patents related to personalization. To get a full feel for it you’ve just going to have to visit Webmaster Radio and download the podcast. :)

Links
And so let’s move on to topic #2. Links. The link counts are getting messed up at Google again (not that they’ve ever been particularly reliable. As Jim Hedger points out, whenever we see these sorts of fluctuations going on it usually means there’s something bigger about to happen.

I was already predicting an algorithm update later this week or over the weekend. Could this just be the tremors before the Earthquake. And please dear God let Google haven’t learned a valuable lesson from the Florida update of 2003. ;) (and for those of you who were SEO’s at the time (white hat at least) you’ll shudder at the mere though)

Links
And lastly we’re look at links. Well, we won’t so much look at links as we will a rap about them. I’ve gotta say, this is a first for me. :)

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qC3UNewnA5g]

SEO news blog post by @ 2:55 pm

Categories:Uncategorized

 

 

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