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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.


April 19, 2011

Panda Puts “Hit” on ciao.co.uk

In a follow up to the post I published yesterday on the Top 20 “Losers” from Google’s Panda UK Update, one of the worst hit companies was Ciao.co.uk, a Microsoft owned company that was leading an EU competition case against Google. Accusations from Microsoft state that Google is purposely using the Panda algorithm update to attack Ciao in an effort to reduce its rankings.

Ciao.co.uk was involved in initiating an EU investigation into Google in November 2010. Microsoft claims that Google has used its dominant position to limit rivals products. The Panda update was designed to lower the overall positioning of content-farms and other low-quality websites and is part of a larger effort to reduce the amount of webspam that has permeated the search results for years.

Google’s head of search evaluation, Scott Huffman, said the accusation was “almost absurd” to suggest that the results were rigged. Of course "almost absurd" is no quite the same as “completely absurd.” Google and Microsoft have a great deal of animosity towards each other and are no strangers to the enmity that has existed between the two corporations for years.

Looking at the list of site that have been negatively affected by the Panda appears to show that most site on the list have been legitimately penalized by Panda. Panda was specifically designed to attack product comparison sites, reviews sites and voucher code sites; and Ciao is no different.

After taking just a precursory look at the Ciao website, the site is found to publish duplicate reviews on multiple pages and sites. Ciao is continually regurgitating massive amounts of content. This is exactly what Panda was targeting site for. One of the reviews on the site that I checked was republished in its entirety on over 30 individual pages and on no less than 3 other websites.

Majestic SEO reports 23 200 000 backlinks coming from 63 000 unique domains, which is an average of 368 links from each domain. Even when looking at the single domain: http://www.ciao.co.uk/, there are 157 049 backlinks coming from 1027 unique domains.

That averages 153 (157 049/1027=153) links form each domain.

From the backlinks analyzed from Majestic, this was the data over 10 000 incoming backlinks grouped by IP block.

IP Block # of Links
92.122.217.* 109,721
94.245.123.* 45,810
65.55.17.* 45,588
69.175.60.* 32,634
66.216.1.* 28,385
207.218.202.* 21,540
212.227.159.* 13,800
178.79.137.* 11,100
95.154.211.* 10,428
69.163.188.* 10,266

One of the worst offenders was http://small-business-service.com/ which has over 10974 links pointing to ciao.co.uk from a single IP.

On the site, a visitor can see the huge proliferation of spammy, low-quality links that this site engages in. The total number of links to all pages on the ciao domain including sub domains and redirects was even more astonishing:

Pages Indexed: 19,174,884
# of Backlinks Links: 23,199,785
# of Unique Domains: 62,886

It would appear that the newest iteration of the Panda algorithm update form Google is doing a great job on catching the low-quality sites and dealing with them quite justly. The new algorithm certainly needs some tweaking as many quality sites took penalties as well.

As lesser quality sites are displaced, those sites that do offer a quality user experience, use legitimate linking strategies and can offer quality content will begin to see their potential rankings increase.

Beanstalk is currently in the process of testing organic vs. non-organic strategies in an attempt to challenge the effectiveness of Panda’s filtering capabilities. Watch for our 3 part blog series on this topic coming soon!

SEO news blog post by @ 10:16 pm


 

 

March 3, 2011

Bing Pulls Ahead of Yahoo

It looks as though Bing is finally starting to crawl up the search engine usage ladder. For the first time, Bing has outranked Yahoo in the global search engine market. StatCounter Global Stats finds that globally, Bing has attained a 4.37% share of the global market in February, ahead of Yahoo! at 3.93%. Both engines are far behind Google’s 89.94% of the global search engine market. In the United States, Yahoo! is still maintaining a marginal lead over Bing who has 9.03% of the market. Google still has the lion’s share of the market in the US at 76.63%.

StatsCounter bases their findings on aggregate data that is collected over a sampling of 15 billion across their network which carries approximately 3 million websites.

"It is significant that Bing overtook Yahoo! globally for the first time on a monthly basis but it remains a tough battle to claw back Google’s market share. Although Google dipped below the 90% mark in February worldwide for the first time since August 2009 it shows little sign of losing its global dominance any time soon." commented Aodhan Cullen, CEO, StatCounter.

Source: StatCounter Global Stats – Search Engine Market Share

In 2009, Microsoft announced that it would be powering the Yahoo search technology. So in essence they are effectively one company. If you add up the two totals as in a single corporate entity to compare against Google, the Bing-Yahoo conglomerate totals about 8.3% of the search engine market.

As an SEO, Google is the primary search engine that I use for statistics gathering and in our client ranking reports. The fact is that I rarely give more than a cursory glance at Bing or Yahoo on occasion. Having said that, I think that competition is healthy in every industry. One could speculate that the usage patterns have shifted due to the major upsets in the SERPs caused from major Google algorithm updates in January.

SEO news blog post by @ 7:06 pm


 

 

February 9, 2011

Bing Search Gains Ground on Google

If you’ve been reading the IT news you may have seen an article from Experian pushing out some statistics on Goole losing ground and effectiveness to Bing. Really, if you love statistics, head on over to Experian for the full scoop, they have a few clearly laid out images showing the data they have collected. What I’d like to do is discuss the interpretation of the data and some of the seemingly odd takes that people around the web have on the info at hand.

First, lets discuss what made the headlines, the 21 percent increase in Jan 2011. Google has been making all sorts of changes lately, instant search being one of them. On at least one browser I own, it’s now defaulting to Bing as the search engine because I do not want Google looking at everything I’m typing into the address bar on that browser and then trying to suggest something.

There are privacy and performance issues at play for my decision, and while I could hack at the browser to disable it and keep Google as the default, I personally didn’t have time for it, and I’m a nerd. This alone could account for a gain on Bing’s side of things. Lets also consider that Google has been shifting algorithms around and any savvy site owner/SEO would be wise to compare Bing results to the changing Google results. Again, Google is driving the trend, Bing’s been winning by default.

Finally, the end of January also saw the end of Yahoo Site Explorer. This meant that people wishing to gather info would either have to turn to another source, or run some searches of their own and manually pull all the data together. Google’s an ace at swatting automated attempts to grab data, so if I was pulling this data, I’d go over to Bing for it.

These are all factors "that I can see" and certainly in no way reflects all the factors at play, but clearly gives some better explanation for the 21 percent increase considering the unquestionable preference of core users with Google.

The next figure I want to talk about is the "Success Rate" statistics. Google has worked very hard to provide a results page that has the answer. Remember me saying I was a nerd? Well I play a nerd-approved video game called Minecraft, and last weekend I needed to know the decimal data value for an egg (I had to make a cake). By typing in a rough longtail search into Google I got the data value without even leaving the results page.

Bing tries to get the same result but it’s not nearly as consistent at getting the right answer at the top of the SERPs. What about when I ask Google to handle some metric to imperial conversions or do some math for me? Am I making Bing more successful? When the answer you need is on the results page and you don’t need to click anything, that’s a real "Success".

Experian seems to have really great statistics and I love pouring over the data they share, but take everything with a grain of salt. This is the same company that lists websites as the top search terms for 2 years running. Who the heck wants to know that? Pull all the site names out of the list, now it’s interesting.

SEO news blog post by @ 9:54 pm


 

 

August 27, 2010

Google Update & YaBing!

For those of you who have noticed significant fluctuations in your rankings – you’re not alone. Across the web people have reported significant changes in their rankings. We at Beanstalk were fortunate on this one in that we had ranking reports running for the past few days and got to watch the changes over the course off the report. A happy coincidence. :)

Unfortunately the algorithm shift isn’t particularly favorable to solid site optimization.  There was an odd connection is what we’re seeing.  Site that had link building that focused on high relevancy and high trustability lost ground and sites who’s links building was focused on volume in recent months have gained ground.  This indicated a shift to volume over quality.  For obvious reason we’re convinced that this shift won’t last.

This shift in quality isn’t just apparent in the sites we’re working on but as we analyze various sites across the web we’re noticing a larger degree of lower quality backlinked sites ranking.

Now – to be sure we’re always in favor of diversified link building strategies and that includes strategies that focus more on volume and other strategies that focus on trust  and relevancy but from everything we can see indicates that this update puts a disproportionate emphasis on volume.  I expect to see the rankings shift again – likely over the weekend.

I should note that this isn’t just something we’re noticing but that has been noticed by a wide array of SEO’s.  My advice?  Don’t react too quickly – corrections are coming and you don’t want to adjust the wrong way.

And in other news …

And also noticeable in the current ranking report we’re running for our clients is the merging of Yahoo! and Bing search results.  A couple days ago Yahoo! announced that their organic results in North America were being fed by Bing.  This is of course the first set of ranking reports though that have refected this.    This is (in my opinion) very exciting news and you can read more about it on Search Engine Journal here.

And stay tuned – I’ll be posting more as the Google update continues.

SEO news blog post by @ 3:13 am


 

 

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