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Google not a "Grinch"
November 14, 2006
Once again Google's
annual algorithm and index changes last October stirred
webmasters and site owners into a frenzy. And, once again, the
hype resulting from previous Google updates created much ado
about nothing for reputable site owners and webmasters.
According to Matt
Cutts' blog on October 11th, 2006, "I believe that
infrastructure was turned on at all data centers by last Friday
(Oct. 6, 2006), which is pretty close. Most of the other quality
improvements due to this infrastructure will be pretty
subtle/stable, but it’s nice that site results estimates are
more accurate now." Matt Cutts is a
software engineer who works at Google and is considered a
valuable source of Google updates and info.
So theories among web
developers and SEOs that Google would be 'the Grinch who stole
Christmas' were premature. In defense of these theorists -
Google has, in the past, launched some pretty hefty
updates in the 4th quarter that left some developers scrambling
to catch up. In my humble opinion Google is striving to give
searchers the most relevant results so the onus is on me as a
designer, developer and SEO firm to work with my clients to
ensure we are keeping it real.
A couple of notable
changes that Google implemented in early October were their
Page Rank export and
Landing Page Quality and these are discussed below.
my last issue of SmallBizNews I correctly reported, "Even
as I write this article Google is applying new PageRank
measurements to millions of web sites." And on October 1st
Matt Cutts blogged, "Roughly every 3-4 months we take a
snapshot of PageRank values and export them so that the new
values are visible in the Google Toolbar. I believe that
another set of PageRanks started going out on Friday. New
PageRanks are visible at many data centers, but not at every
data center. Why not at every data center? Because some data
centers are using a slightly older infrastructure for a few
query types that are off the beaten path a bit (info:,
link:, toolbar PageRank queries, etc.). "
Matt Cutts is a software engineer who
works at Google and is considered a valuable source of
Google updates and info.
So, in the interest of Organic
Search Engine Optimization and SE Marketing relevance I am
reprinting the article as follows:
can't stress this enough - Don't run - Respond. This is not the first
algorithm adjustment in the history of Google nor will it be
Google is currently updating the way they will measure
PageRank and they way it will be displayed on Google's
toolbar. As with Jagger and Big Daddy each subsequent update
that Google performs causes quite a stir among the 'SEO's,
website owners and webmasters in general as they clamor to
get their websites at the top of the Google Rankings.
PageRank is basically a numeric score between 1 through 10
(10 being the highest) as to Google's “value” of your site
in comparison to other websites on the Internet.
PageRank is essentially based on two determining criteria
The number of inbound links you have pointing to any
webpage on your website (PageRank can vary from page to
The "value" of the links pointing to your website.
manner in which Google determines the "value" of your
inbound links is a topic of great debate. And, while
that debate goes on it is a bit challenging to discern the
facts on how the value is calculated. Based on the my
professional experience and the best information available
from the forums I belong to and Google itself - I can say
that the Relevance AND Reputation of the page and/or site
linking to you is used in the determination of the page's
Remember, "Link Farms" and arbitrary "link swapping" can
actually have a negative impact on your PageRank.
In summary, those of us that have been around for a while
understand that PageRank fluctuates for essentially two
1. Google updated their algorithm
2. Links from external relevant/reputable sites
I've shared with you repeatedly that quality content is
king and this applies to your PageRank as well. If the
information on your site is deemed worthwhile - more
reputable sites that desire to link to relevant
content will desire to link to the content on your website.
And that's a measurable response!
If you are interested in more information on Google PageRank
you can see what Google has to say on the topic here:
If you wish to see how many sites/pages are pointing to your
site according to Google you can go to
www.Google.com and type
“link:http://www.yourdomain.com” (don’t forget the http://)
It is also important to note that Google may not show the
actual number of pages pointing to your site (and the debate
continues) but you can also type the same string into Yahoo!
and MSN to learn how many inbound links they are reporting.
Back to the Future: Organic Search Engine
This may seem like
'old news' but over the summer of 2006 Google announced they
would be retooling the way their paid AdWords campaigns would
view targeted Landing Pages.
In July, Andrew C.
wrote, "In the next few days, we will be making two changes
to how AdWords evaluates landing page quality. First, we'll
begin incorporating landing page quality into the Quality Score
for your contextually-targeted ads, using the same evaluation
process as we do for ads showing on Google.com and the search
network. Advertisers who may be providing a poor experience on
their site will notice that their traffic across the content
network decreases as a result of this change. Second, we're
improving our algorithm for evaluating landing page quality and
incorporating landing page content retrieved by the AdWords
system." Andrew C. is Google's product
marketing manager for Ads Quality initiatives. You can read the
article in its entirety here:
Certified Organic SEO
As I said
earlier, "In my humble opinion
Google is striving to give searchers the most relevant
results so the onus is on me as a designer, developer and
SEO firm to work with my clients to ensure we are keeping it
real." and I firmly believe in this statement and
Each and every
one of us have clicked both paid ads and 'generic' search
results only to land on a page that has little or nothing to
do with what we are searching for - how frustrating!
quality has long been an issue with MFA (Made for AdSense)
sites, which generally buy keywords in AdWords for the
minimum bid, then link from that paid ad to a landing page
full of links from AdSense or other contextual ad programs
which pay them a higher cost per click than they paid to
drive traffic to the page. How slick is that?
other companies that have spent no money in building quality
websites with relevant landing pages offering relevant goods
and services have simply bought their way into the web. Now
they will be forced to clean up their acts and develop pages
for their goods and services that are relevant and
reputable. This change is not going to have a detrimental
effect on the majority of honest advertisers as they already
link to quality landing pages to deliver what we, as
searchers, are looking for.
It only makes
sense that Google's means of delivering the most relevant
possible results in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs)
apply evenly - across a level playing field for both general
and paid results.
unpopular as my opinion may be - I support this initiative.
In fact, I look
forward to the day when 'Super' sites displayed near the top
in SERPs for local searches that actually have no
relevance or knowledge and/or listings of the
goods and services in that locale get dumped. Search
Engine Results should be based on relevance and merit
in ethical web design, ethical web development and ethical
SEO - period.
Here are Google's
own guidelines for quality landing pages:
The answer is clear - Ethical Organic Search Engine Optimization
and Web Design
Google's suggestions for Quality Landing Pages fall under three
1. Provide relevant and substantial content
2. Treat a user's personal information responsibly
3. Develop an easily navigable site
Seems like good guidelines to me :) If you desire ethical
web design & development and approved Organic Search Engine
Using Only Approved White Hat Tactics
Effective copy writing is the first step to
promoting your web site in your internet marketing
We have recognized an increasing trend in search engine
behavior that will one day change the way web pages are
written and developed. Pages that used to rely heavily on
keywords and metatags to lure traffic will soon become a
thing of the past.
Trust me on this one as I go on the record to say that soon,
the search engines will look at and
review the written copy of the page to determine the page
relevance and value to the search query.
When this happens - Effective SEO will become what we have
been encouraging since day one. Always write for your
clients first - Content is Crucial and Content is King.
The Kelsey research group published these statistics and
of households use the Internet as an information source when
Approximately 45% of local searches had a buying intent.
percentage of respondents who used yellow page directories
decreased from 75% to 62%. (If you have a yellow page ad, it
is time to consider buying a smaller ad and shifting your
marketing dollars to the Internet.)
local business owners you need to take action now. You need
to keep your existing customers, and gain new customers, so
you need to be found where they are searching. Local Search
Marketing is where your future clients and customers will
So where do you start?
Well, go back to the first paragraph of this article and
you'll notice that Local Searches are now over two years
old. It is still free to modify your listings with:
These complimentary features of local search and a little
initiative on your part and you'll be well on your way.
Write for Your Prospective
BusinessLaw.gov has been incorporated into Business.gov.
Before launching your business, be sure to check on specific
laws and regulations in your area.
A wealth of FREE information, regulations and forms for
Small Business Owners every where.
Small Business and Self-Employed One-Stop Resource.
"I am being prompted to update my browser to IE7 -
Have they worked out the bugs yet?" Matt -
Western New York
Not yet. I would
recommend that you wait before completing the update as
their are known issues that have not yet been patched/fixed.
I made the
updates on my machines to address any quality issues that
could arise such as display and CSS for our clients'
I am happy to
report that we are pleased with the work we have done - and
there were no viewability or CSS issues for our clients'
websites. But, I am very unhappy to report that we have had
several issues with IE7 and in retrospect I wish I would
have trusted my design skills and waited before making the
One very annoying
issue is that by default IE7 automatically deploys their
ClearType update and it really messes with Windows System
fonts and Outlook fonts. A real pain since their toggle for
turning ClearType On or Off doesn't restore the fonts in the
System or Outlook. They're working on it:
reports and possible solutions can be found here:
All the best,
offer two great FREE Whitepapers for you to download and
employ as brainstorming tools. You can get your FREE Web
Site Planner and Getting Started Guide from
DavidWilliams.Biz on our
Free Whitepapers Page
And I would be
remiss if I didn't at least extend you an offer to serve as
both your Web Developer
Firm. If I've already put this much thought
into it - imagine how hard I would work for you if I was
Thanks Again for
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