15 Methods for Paid Link Detection

Many major SEO firms make it a standard practice to recommend the purchasing of links to their clients. The search engines actively discourage this practice, and do their level best to detect those paid links. Here are 15 things they can use as signals that a link is possibly a paid link: Links Labelled as Advertisements: The search engines can scan for nearby text, such as "Advertisement", "Sponsors", "Our Partners", etc. Site Wides: Site wide linking is unnatural, and should be a rare part of your ... Read More >

Adam Lasnik Explains How NoFollow Works

As I wrote about recently, one of the things we need to realize about the web is that content lives forever. An example of this is an old thread at Jill Whalen's HighRankings Forum (a great forum by the way), which talks about the NoFollow attribute. Note that the posting is dated in January of 2007. In it, Matt Cutts is quoted as saying: For example, imagine if you had a site with articles in both printer-friendly and web-friendly format. If you wanted to sculpt where Googlebot was going to prevent ... Read More >

Overview of Google’s Announcements this past Wednesday

May 16th was a fascinating day. I had the pleasure of sitting in on a major press announcement by Google in Mountain View, at an event that Google called "Searchology". In this announcement, Google announced four significant enhancements to search as we know it: Universal Search: This is the biggee. Now when you use Google's web search interface, you will get results from their web index, and from book search, local search, GoogleMaps, image search, news search, and blog search. Some of the highlights ... Read More >

301 redirects Resolve in Two Weeks in Google

A thread over in the Google Webmaster Groups talks about the Google Sandbox, and about 301 redirects. In this thread, Adam Lasnik jumps in and sets some expectations on the handling of 301 redirects, and also does some myth breaking. Here is what Adam has to say: 1) There's no universal/intentional sandbox. But, as Matt has noted and MRG has quoted (hey, that kinda rhymes), there are algorithms which have a sandbox-like effect on some sites. 2) 301s pass PR and related signals appropriately. Usually ... Read More >

Yahoo Not Showing Site Titles as Search Result Titles

Over at Webmasterworld, they are discussing a situation where Yahoo is not always using the a web page's title tag as the title it shows in it's search results. Barry Schwartz also provides some good data on this situation at Search Engine Land. It's quite easy to spot. Once you do a search, if you see a result that is all in lower case, it's likely that you have found an example. Here is the page that Yahoo shows when you search on "Custom Search Engines" As you can see the 2nd and 3rd results ... Read More >

Domain Age and Rankings

Barry Schwartz picked up on a thread over at WebMasterWorld. The thread was started by Brett Tabke, and discusses the affect of domain age on search engine rankings. In it Brett suggests that it's a top 5 or top 10 factor in rankings. That's lofty territory! However, I can confirm from my own experience that domain age is a major factor. I know of sites that seem to be absolutely squatting in the number 1 position on major search term results when the links and content they have just don't seem to ... Read More >

GoogleBot Crawling CSS Files

Barry Schwartz spotted a thread in the Cre8site Forums discussing a report by Ekstreme.com that Googlebot requested a CSS file. This is a very interesting, but not surprising development. It's been known for some time that you can use CSS to hide text. It was also clearly stated by search engine representatives at SES in Chicago that it's a no-no to block crawling of your CSS or Javascript include files. The real question now becomes how pervasive this is going to become. Is Google going to start ... Read More >

Commentary on Danny Sullivan Interview with Jimmy Wales

Danny Sullivan posted an interview of Jimmy Wales, in which they discuss Wikia's plan to launch a new search engine. Danny asks a lot of great questions, and provides some good analysis. Danny points out in detail how hard it will be for them to succeed in holding off spammers if they begin to get popular. One point of the discussion that I want to expand upon is the issue of the investment required to succeed at this. Danny touches on this as well, but I believe it deserves some ... Read More >

Google Data Updates and Algorithm Updates

Matt Cutts takes a fresh cut at trying to explain Google algorithm updates and data refreshes. In a nutshell: Algorithm updates affect the methodology that Google ranks sites. These are very infrequent. Data refreshes involve changes in the data set which the algorithm processes. One example of a data refresh is an index update. The index is updated daily. What this means is that search results are constantly changing and evolving. The results you see for given search terms are changing on a ... Read More >

Weighing in on Link Buying (again!)

The debate continues to rage on about link buying. Rand posted yesterday that he disagrees with Danny and Google, and Jim Boykin adds his comments early this morning. Clearly there is a lot of confusion over this. So here we go again ... in this post, I will try to put forth what I believe the Google position is. Note that I am not a Google representative, so this is simply my interpretation of what I have heard. Google wants to value a link for it's editorial value. This is the essential point in ... Read More >