Archived posts from the 'Fun' Category

My Top 10 Predictions for 2012

  1. SEO refuses to die. In other words, SEOs who grasped HTML5 might survive. Flash on the other hand, died earlier.
  2. Google delays the launch of their mind-reading-search-implant (beta) after Altavista threatens to give away their babelfish earpiece for free.
  3. Yahoo launches a huge comment link spam attack in order to boost the ranking of its few remaining Web facilities at Bing.
  4. Earth becomes flat, at least on-line, after the presidential elections.
  5. Counting is overrated.

While working hard on tomorrow’s hangover, I remembered that posting drunk ain’t good for unknown reasons.

If you’ve nothing better to do, feel free to complete this post in the comments. Don’t. I hate experienced optimists.



Share/bookmark this: del.icio.usGooglema.gnoliaMixxNetscaperedditSphinnSquidooStumbleUponYahoo MyWeb
Subscribe to      Entries Entries      Comments Comments      All Comments All Comments
 

Get IE9 today! Free download - start surfing fast and safe, instantly!

Days before Microsoft is going to release their new-ish Internet Explorer 9 (IE9), you can get your free copy of a state-of-the-art Web browser here:

GET IE9

The Internet says thanks to James Groome from London, UK, for an amazingly short IE9 download URI: GetIE9.com. Of course, you can still download the best and fastest Web browser out there from its original, longish, download URI.

Go get your new Web browser today, to start surfing safe and fast, instantly. Never worry about Web browser updates any more, because your new Web browser updates itself when neccessary.

This page is best viewed with Chrome or Safari. You may have spotted that getie9.com not really leads to something like Internet Explorer 9. #GeekHumor



Share/bookmark this: del.icio.usGooglema.gnoliaMixxNetscaperedditSphinnSquidooStumbleUponYahoo MyWeb
Subscribe to      Entries Entries      Comments Comments      All Comments All Comments
 

sway(”Google Webmaster Happiness Index”, $numStars, $rant);

Rumors about GWHI are floating around for a while, but not even insiders were able to figure out the formula. As a matter of fact, not a single webmaster outside the Googleplex has ever seen it. I assume Barry’s guess is quite accurate: GWHI-meter

Anyway, I don’t care what it is, or how it works, as long as I can automate it. At first I ran a few tests by retweeting Google related rants, and finally I developed sway(string destination, decimal numStars, string rant). For a while now I’m brain-dumping my rants to Google with a cron job. I had to kill the process a few times until I figured out that $numStars = -5 invokes a multiply by -1 error, but since Google has fixed this bug it runs smoothly, nine to five.

Yesterday I learned that Google launched a manual variant of my method for you mere mortals. I’m excited to share it: HotPot. Nope, it’s not a typo. Hot pot, as in bong. Officially addictive (source).

HotPot’s RTFM

Login with your most disposable Google account, then load http://google.com/hotpot/onboard with your Web browser (API coming soon, so I was told, hence feel free to poll https://google.com/hotpot/rest/sway for an HTTP response code != 503).

The landing page’s search box explains itself: “Enter a category near a familiar neighborhood and city to start rating places you know. Ex. [restaurants Mountain View, CA]”. HotPot search boxOf course localization is in place and working fine (you can change your current address in your Google Profile at any time by providing Checkout with another credit card).

As a webmaster eager to submit GWHI ratings, you’re not interested in over-priced food near the Googleplex, so you overwrite the default category: HotPot search for a search engine in Mountain View, CA

HotPot rating box for a search engine called Google in Mountain View, CAPress the Search button.

On the result page you’ll spot a box featuring Google, with a nice picture of the Googleplex in Mountain View. To convince you that indeed you’ve found the right place to drop your rants, “Google” is written in bold letters all over the building.

To its left, Google HotPot provides tips like

Get smarter SERPs.

Reading your mind we’ve figured out that a particular SERP ranking has pissed you off. You know, rankings can turn out good and bad, even yours. With you rating our rankings, we learn a bit more about your tastes, so you’ll get better SERPs the next time you search.

Next you click on any gray star at the bottom, and magically the promotional image turns into a text area.

HotPot review of a search engine called Google in Mountain View, CA Now tell the almighty Google why your pathetic site deserves better rankings than the popular brands with deep pockets you’re competiting with on the Interwebs.

Don’t make the mistake to mention that you’re cheaper. Google will conclude that goes for your information architecture, crawlability, usability, image resolution and content quality, too. Better mimick an elitist specialist of all professions or so, and sell your stuff as swiss army knife.

Then press the Publish button, and revisit your SERP, again and again.

You’ll be quite astonished.

Google’s webmaster relations team will be quite happy.

I mean, can you think of a better way to turn yourself in with a selfish spam report as an ajax’ed Web form that even comes with stars?

Google’s HotPot is pretty cool, don’t you agree?


Sebastian

spying at:

1600 Amphitheatre Parkway

Mountain View,
CA
94043

USA



Share/bookmark this: del.icio.usGooglema.gnoliaMixxNetscaperedditSphinnSquidooStumbleUponYahoo MyWeb
Subscribe to      Entries Entries      Comments Comments      All Comments All Comments
 

The “just create compelling and useful content” lie

The compelling content lieI’m so sick of the universal answer to all SEO questions. Each and every search engine rep keeps telling me that “creating a great and useful site with compelling content will gain me all the rankings I deserve”. What a pile of bullshit. Nothing ranks without strong links. I deserve more, and certainly involving less work.

Honestly, why the heck should I invest any amount of time and even money to make others happy? It’s totally absurd to put up a great site with compelling content that’s easy to navigate and all that, just to please an ungrateful crowd of anonymous users! What a crappy concept. I don’t buy it.

I create websites for the sole purpose of making money, and lots of green. It’s all about ME! Here I said it. Now pull out the plastic. ;-)

And there’s another statement that really annoys me: “make sites for users, not for search engines”. Again, with self-serving commandments like this one search engine quality guidelines do insult my intelligence. Why should I make even a single Web page for search engines? Google, Yahoo Microsoft and Ask staff might all be wealthy folks, but from my experience they don’t purchase much porn on-line.

I create and publish Web contents to laugh all the way to the bank at the end of the day. For no other reason. I swear. To finally end the ridiculous discussion of utterly useless and totally misleading search engine guidelines, I’ll guide you step by step through a few elements of a successful website, explaining why and for whom I perform whatever, why it’s totally selfish, and what it’s worth.

In some cases that’ll be quite a bit geeky, so just skip the technical stuff if you’re a plain Internet marketer. Also, I don’t do everything by the book on Web development, so please read the invisible fine print carefully .

robots.txt

This gatekeeper prevents my sites from useless bot traffic. That goes for behaving bots at least. Others might meet a script that handles them with care. I’d rather serve human users bigger ads than wasting bandwidth for useless bots requesting shitloads of content.

.htaccess

I’m a big fan of the “one URI = one piece of content” principle. I consider gazillions of URI variations serving similar contents avoidable crap. That’s because I can’t remember complex URIs stuffed with tracking parameters and other superfluous clutter. Like the average bookmarking surfer, I prefer short and meaningful URIs. With a few simple .htaccess directives I make sure that everybody gets the requested piece of content advertising under the canonical URI.

ErrorDocuments

Error handling is important. Before I throw a 404-Not-found error to a human visitor, I analyze the request’s context (e.g. REQUEST_URI, HTTP_REFERER). If possible, I redirect the user to the page s/he should have requested then, or at least to a page with related links banner ads. Bouncing punters don’t make me any money.

HTTP headers

There’s more than HTTP response codes doable with creative headers. For example cost savings. In some cases a single line of text in an HTTP header tells the user agent more than a bunch of markup.

Sensible page titles and summaries

There’s nothing better to instantly catch the user’s interest than a prominent page title, followed by a short and nicely formatted summary that the average reader can skim in few seconds. Fast loading and eye-catching graphics can do wonders, too. Just in case someone’s scraping bookmarking my stuff, I duplicate my titles into usually invisible TITLE elements, and provide seducing calls for action in descriptive META elements. Keeping the visitor interested for more than a few seconds results in monetary opportunities.

Unique content

Writing unique, compelling, and maybe even witty product descriptions increases my sales. Those are even more attractive when I add neat stuff that’s not available from the vendor’s data feed (I don’t mean free shipping, that’s plain silly). A good (linkworthy) product page comes with practical use cases and/or otherwise well presented, not too longish outlined, USPs. Producers as well as distributors do suck at this task.

User generated content

Besides faked testimonials and the usual stuff, asking vistors questions like “Just in case you buy product X here, what will you actually do with it? How will you use it? Whom will you give it to?” leads to unique text snippets creating needs. Of course all user generated content gets moderated.

Ajax’ed “Buy now” widgets

Most probably a punter who has clicked the “add to shopping cart” link on a page nicely gathering quite a few products will not buy another one of them, if the mouse click invokes a POST request of the shopping cart script requiring a full round trip to the server. Out of sight, out of mind.

Sitemaps

Both static as well as dynamically themed sitemap pages funnel a fair amount of vistors to appropriate landing pages. Dumping major parts of a site’s structure in XML format attracts traffic, too. There’s no such thing as bad traffic, just weak upselling procedures.

Ok, that’s enough examples to bring my point home. Probably I’ve bored you to death anyway. You see, whatever I do as a site owner, I do it only for myself (inevitably accepting collateral damage like satisfied punters and compliance to search engine quality guidelines). Recap: I don’t need no stinkin’ advice restrictions from search engines.

Seriously, since you’re still awake and following my long-winded gobbledygook, here’s a goodie:

The Number One SEO Secret

Think like a search engine engineer. Why? Because search engines are as selfish as you are, or at least as you should be.

In order to make money from advertising, search engines need boatloads of traffic every second, 24/7/365. Since there are only so many searchers populating this planet, search engines rely on recurring traffic. Sounds like a pretty good reason to provide relevant search results, doesn’t it?

That’s why search engines develop high sophisticated algorithms that try to emulate human surfers, supposed to extract the most useful content from the Web’s vast litter boxes. Their engineers tweak those algos on a daily basis, factoring in judgements of more and more signals as communities, services, opportunities, behavior, and techniques used on the Web evolve.

They try really hard to provide their users with the cream of the crop. However, SE engineers are just humans like you and me, therefore their awesome algos –as well as the underlying concepts– can fail. So don’t analyze too many SERPs to figure out how a SE engineer might tick, just be pragmatic and imagine you’ve got enough SE shares to temporarily throw away your Internet marketer hat.

Anytime when you have to make a desicion on content, design, navigation or whatever, switch to search engine engineer mode and ask yourself questions like “does this enhance the visitor’s surfing experience?”, “would I as a user appreciate this?” or simply “would I buy this?”. (Of course, instead of emulating an imaginary SE engineer, you also could switch to plain user mode. The downside of the latter brain emulation is, unfortunately, that especially geeks tend to trust the former more easily.)

Bear in mind that even if search engines don’t cover particular (optimization) techniques today, they might do so tomorrow. The same goes for newish forms of content presentation etc. Eventually search engines will find a way to work with any signal. Most of our neat little tricks bypassing today’s spam filters will stop working some day.

After completing this sanity check, heal your schizophrenia and evaluate whether it will make you money or not. Eventually, that’s the goal.

By the way, the above said doean’t mean that only so-called ‘purely white hat’ traffic optimization techniques work with search engines. Actually, SEO = hex’53454F’, and that’s a pretty dark gray. :-)

Related thoughts: Optimize for user experience, but keep the engines in mind. Misleading some folks just like this pamphlet.



Share/bookmark this: del.icio.usGooglema.gnoliaMixxNetscaperedditSphinnSquidooStumbleUponYahoo MyWeb
Subscribe to      Entries Entries      Comments Comments      All Comments All Comments
 

Opting out: mailto://me is history

Finally quitting emailToday I’ve removed all instances of the thunderbird icon from my computers, and from my memory as well. I’m finally done with email. I’ve forwarded1) all my email accounts to paid-links@google.com, and here’s why:

Sebastian’s Pamphlets

Dear Sebastian,

I visited your web site earlier today and it seems you are also a seo company like us. As an SEO company we are in this field since 1998 in India(CHD). We have developed and maintained high quality websites.

We understand link building better than other because of our 11 year experience in linking industry and we follows the right manual link building approach in seeking, obtaining and attracting topic specific trusted inbound links. We have different themes related sites, directories and blogs and i would like to make a request to enter a mutual understanding by EXCHANGING LINKS with your website in order to get targeted visitors, higher ranking and link popularity.

We look forward to linking our site with yours, as exchanging links would Benefit both of us.

You\’ve received this email simply because you have been found while searching for related sites in Google, MSN and Yahoo If you do not wish to receive future emails, simply reply with this email and let us know.

Waiting for your positive and quick response.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS NOT A SPAM OR AUTOMATED EMAIL, IT\’S ONLY A REQUEST FOR A LINK EXCHANGE. YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS HAS NOT BEEN ADDED TO ANY LISTS, AND YOU WILL NOT BE CONTACTED AGAIN.

Regards:
Lara

Lara
Megrisoft
lara@megrisoft.info

 

Direct message from Spamdiggalot

Hi, Sebastian.

You have a new direct message:

Spamdiggalot: hi!I think you should like my article “12 addons to get the most out of safer-sex”, here: digg.com/x010101 please RT!

Reply on the web at http://twitter.com/direct_messages/create/Spamdiggalot

Send me a direct message from your phone: D SPAMDIGGALOT

our company proposal

Dear Sebastian Pamphlets,

My name is Vincentas and I am member of board in multi-location hosting company - Host1Plus (http:// www . host1plus . com). Our servers are in U.S., U.K., the Netherlands, Germany, Lithuania and Singapore.

I just visited your website which I found interested and it provides excellent complementary content.
We would like to offer you free hosting for your site in Host1Plus hosting service the only thing we would ask you is to place our visitors counter to your website here is the link http:// www . count1plus . com or it could be any other feature.

So let me know if you are interested for my offer and I hope that offer is interested to you. Hope to hear you soon.

Kind Regards,
Vincentas Grinius

Host1Plus.com Team
part of Digital Energy Technologies Ltd.
26 York Street
London

W1U 6PZ
United Kingdom
T: +44 (0) 808 101 2277
E: info@host1plus.com
W: http:// www . host1plus . com

Vincentas Grinius
Host1Plus.com
vincentas@host1plus.com

Link Exchange

Hi,

I think if I receive something like this I would pay more attention to that.
\”Dear Webmaster I am so happy to find your website and I like it so much! So I want to be a link partner of your site.

If you are interested to make us your link partner , please inform us and we will be glad to make our link partner within 24 hours.

Our Link Details :

Title: Social Network Development UK

URL: http:// www . dassnagar . co . uk/

Description: Web Development Company UK: Premier Interactive Agency, specializing in custom website design, Social network development, Sports betting portal development, Travel portal design, Flash gaming portal design and development.

Link\’s HTML Code:

<a href=\”http:// www . dassnagar . co . uk/\” target=\”new\”>Social Network Development UK
</a> Web Development Company UK: Premier Interactive Agency, specializing in custom website design, Social network development, Sports betting portal development, Travel portal design, Flash gaming portal design and development.

Please accept my apology if already partner or not interested.

Reasons to exchange link with us.

1. Our site is regularly crawled by google, so there are better chances googlebot visiting your website regularly.
2. We ask you to link back to only those pages where your url is present, indirectly you are increasing your own link value.
3. By linking to our articles and technology blog you can provide useful content to your visitors.

This is an advertisement and a promotional mail strictly on the guidelines of CAN-SPAM act of 2003 . We have clearly mentioned the source mail-id of this mail, also clearly mentioned the subject lines and they are in no way misleading in any form. We have found your mail address through our own efforts on the web search and not through any illegal way. If you find this mail unsolicited, please reply with \”Unsubscribe\” in the subject line and we will take care that you do not receive any further promotional mail.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Kind regards,
Tom
Webmaster

John
dassnagar . co . uk
rdcouk@gmail.com

 

Trust me, quitting email is a time-saver. And yes, I’ve an idea how to waste the additional spare time: Tomorrow I’ll have paid me a beer for a link to myself. And I can think of way more link monkey business that doesn’t involve email.

 I'm such a devil!

1) Actually, “forwarding” comes with a slighly shady downside:
If you continue to send me your (unsolicited) emails, you’ll find all your awkward secrets on literally tons of automatically generated Web pages –nicely plastered with very targeted ads and usually x-rated or otherwise NSFW banners–, hosted on throw-away domains.
I’m such a devil.

 

 



Share/bookmark this: del.icio.usGooglema.gnoliaMixxNetscaperedditSphinnSquidooStumbleUponYahoo MyWeb
Subscribe to      Entries Entries      Comments Comments      All Comments All Comments
 

Avoiding the well known #4 SERP-hero-penalty …

Seb the red claw… I just have to link to North South Media’s neat collection of Search Action Figures.

Paul pretty much dislikes folks who don’t link to him, so Danny Sullivan and Rand Fishkin are well advised to drop a link every now and then, and David Naylor better gives him an interview slot asap. ;)

Google’s numbered “penalties”, esp. #6

As for numeric penalties in general … repeat("Sigh", ) … enjoy this brains trust moderated by Marty Weintraub (unauthorized):

Marty: Folks, please welcome Aaron Wall, who recently got his #6 penalty removed!

Audience: clap(26) sphinn(26)

The Gypsy: Sorry Marty but come on… this is complete BS and there is NO freakin #6 filter just like the magical minus 90…900 bla bla bla. These anomalies NEVER have any real consensus on a large enough data set to even be considered a viable theory.

A Red Crab: As long as Bill can’t find a plus|minus-n-raise|penalty patent, or at least a white paper or so leaked out from Google, or for all I care a study that provides proof instead of weird assumptions based on claims of webmasters jumping on todays popular WMW band wagon that aren’t plausible nor verifiable, such beasts don’t exist. There are unexplained effects that might look like a pattern, but in most cases it makes no sense to gather a few examples coming with similarities because we’ll never reach the critical mass of anomalies to discuss a theory worth more than a thumbs-down click.

Marty: Maybe Aaron is joking. Maybe he thinks he has invented the next light bulb.

Gamermk: Aaron is grasping at straws on this one.

Barry Welford: I would like this topic to be seen by many.

Audience: clap(29) sphinn(29)

The Gypsy: It is just some people that have DECIDED on an end result and trying to make various hypothesis fit the situation (you know, like tobacco lobby scientists)… this is simply bad form IMO.

Danny Sullivan: Well, I’ve personally seen this weirdness. Pages that I absolutely thought “what on earth is that doing at six” rather than at the top of the page. Not four, not seven — six. It was freaking weird for several different searches. Nothing competitive, either.

I don’t know that sixth was actually some magic number. Personally, I’ve felt like there’s some glitch or problem with Google’s ranking that has prevented the most authorative page in some instances from being at the top. But something was going on.

Remember, there’s no sandbox, either. We got that for months and months, until eventually it was acknowledge that there were a range of filters that might produce a “sandbox like” effect.

The biggest problem I find with these types of theories is they often start with a specific example, sometimes that can be replicated, then they become a catch-all. Not ranking. Oh, it’s the sandbox. Well no — not if you were an established site, it wasn’t. The sandbox was typicaly something that hit brand new sites. But it became a common excuse for anything, producing confusion.

Jim Boykin: I’ll jump in and say I truely believe in the 6 filter. I’ve seen it. I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it happen to a few sites.

Audience: clap(31) sphinn(31)

A Red Crab: Such terms tend to become a life of their own, IOW an excuse for nearly every way a Webmaster can fuck up rankings. Of course Google’s query engine has thresholds (yellow cards or whatever they call them) that don’t allow some sites to rank above a particular position, but that’s a symtom that doesn’t allow back-references to a particular cause, or causes. It’s speculation as long as we don’t know more.

IncrediBill: I definitely believe it’s some sort of filter or algo tweak but it’s certainly not a penalty which is why I scoff at calling it such. One morning you wake up and Matt has turned all the dials to the left and suddenly some criteria bumps you UP or DOWN. Sites have been going up and down in Google SERPs for years, nothing new or shocking about that and this too will have some obvious cause and effect that could probably be identified if people weren’t using the shotgun approach at changing their site

G1smd: By the time anyone works anything out with Google, they will already be in the process of moving the goalposts to another country.

Slightly Shady SEO: The #6 filter is a fallacy.

Old School: It certainly occured but only affected certain sites.

Danny Sullivan: Perhaps it would have been better called a -5 penalty. Consider. Say Google for some reason sees a domain but decides good, but not sure if I trust it. Assign a -5 to it, and that might knock some things off the first page of results, right?

Look — it could all be coincidence, and it certainly might not necessarily be a penalty. But it was weird to see pages that for the life of me, I couldn’t understand why they wouldn’t be at 1, showing up at 6.

Slightly Shady SEO: That seems like a completely bizarre penalty. Not Google’s style. When they’ve penalized anything in the past, it hasn’t been a “well, I guess you can stay on the frontpage” penalty. It’s been a smackdown to prove a point.

Matt Cutts: Hmm. I’m not aware of anything that would exhibit that sort of behavior.

Audience: Ugh … oohhhh … you weren’t aware of the sandbox, either!

Danny Sullivan: Remember, there’s no sandbox, either. We got that for months and months, until eventually it was acknowledge that there were a range of filters that might produce a “sandbox like” effect.

Audience: Bah, humbug! We so want to believe in our lame excuses …

Tedster: I’m not happy with the current level of analysis, however, and definitely looking for more ideas.

Audience: clap(40) sphinn(40)


Of course the panel above is fictional, respectively assembled from snippets which in some cases change the message when you read them in their context. So please follow the links.

I wouldn’t go that far to say there’s no such thing as a fair amount of Web pages that deserve a #1 spot on Google’s SERPs, but rank #6 for unknown reasons (perhaps link monkey business, staleness, PageRank flow in disarray, anchor text repetitions, …). There’s something worth investigating.

However, I think that labelling a discussion of glitches or maybe filters that don’t behave based on a way too tiny dataset “#6 penalty” leads to the lame excuse for literally anything phenomenon.

Folks who don’t follow the various threads closely enough to spot the highly speculative character of the beast, will take it as fact and switch to winter sleep mode instead of enhancing their stuff like Aaron did. I can’t wait for the first “How to escape the Google -5 penalty” SEO tutorial telling the great unwashed that a “+5″ revisit-after meta tag will heal it.



Share/bookmark this: del.icio.usGooglema.gnoliaMixxNetscaperedditSphinnSquidooStumbleUponYahoo MyWeb
Subscribe to      Entries Entries      Comments Comments      All Comments All Comments
 

Do search engines index references to password protected smut?

how prudish are search enginesRecently Matt Cutts said that Google doesn’t index password protected content. I wasn’t sure whether or not that goes for all search engines. I thought that they might index at least references to protected URLs, like they all do with other uncrawlable content that has strong inbound links.

Well, SEO tests are dull and boring, so I thought I could have some fun with this one.

I’ve joked that I should use someone’s favorite smut collection to test it. Unfortunately, nobody was willing to trade porn passwords for link love or so. I’m not a hacker, hence I’ve created my own tiny collection of password protected SEO porn (this link is not exactly considered safe at work) as test case.

I was quite astonished that according to this post about SEO porn next to nobody in the SEOsphere optimizes adult sites (of course that’s not true). From the comments I figured that some folks at least surf for SEO porn evaluate the optimization techniques applied by adult Webmasters.

Ok, lets extend that. Out yourself as SEO porn savvy Internet marketer. Leave your email addy in the comments (dont forget to tell me why I should believe that you’re over 18), and I’ll email you the super secret password for my SEO porn members area (!SAW). Trust me, it’s worth it, and perfectly legit due to the strictly scientific character of this experiment. If you’re somewhat shy, use a funny pseudonym.

I’d very much appreciate a little help with linkage too. Feel free to link to http://sebastians-pamphlets.com/porn/ with an adequate anchor text of your choice, and of course without condom.

Get the finest SEO porn available on this planet!

I’ve got the password, now let me in!



Share/bookmark this: del.icio.usGooglema.gnoliaMixxNetscaperedditSphinnSquidooStumbleUponYahoo MyWeb
Subscribe to      Entries Entries      Comments Comments      All Comments All Comments
 

Vote Now: Rubber Chicken Award 2007 for the dullest and most tedious search blog post

Rubber Chicken Award - Top 10 FinalistsI’m truly excited. Two of my pamphlets made it in The Rubber Chicken Award’s Top 10! That’s 50% success (2/4 nominated pamphlets), so please help me to make that 100%: vote for #3 and #4!

Just in case you, dear reader, are not a hardcore SEM addict who reads search blogs even during the holiday season, let me explain why a Rubber Chicken Award Top 10 nomination is a honor.

The Rubber Chicken Award honors the year’s most serious SEO research. Extra brownie points are given to the dullest draft and the most tedious wording.

Rumors are swirling that Google’s search quality spam task force has developed the complex RCAFHITSI©™ algopatent pending® which compiles and ranks search blog posts presented to Mike Blumenthals’s Rubber Chicken Award Jury:

Here is the cream of the crop of the search world, the 2007 Top 10 search blog posts nominated in the Rubber Chicken Award for the dullest and most boring/serious SEO/SEM article:

  1. Want traffic? Rank for High Traffic Keywords…
  2. We Add Words to AdWords… Google Subtracts them
  3. Why eBay and Wikipedia rule Google’s SERPs
  4. SEOs home alone - Google’s nightmare
  5. 13 Things to Do When Your Loved One is Away at Conferences
  6. SEO High School Confidential - Premiere Edition!
  7. The Sphinn Awards - Part I & -Part II.
  8. Top 21 Signs You Need a Break From SEO (2007 version)
  9. 10 Signs That You May Be a Blog Addict
  10. The SEO’s Guide to Beginners
  11. The Internet Marketer’s Nightmare
  12. Mission Accomplished—Top Ranking in Google
  13. Google Interiors - the day my house became searchable

I’ve selfishly marked the two posts you want to vote for. Because all nominations are truly awesome, just vote for everything but make sure to check “5” for #3 and #4:
VOTE NOW

Thank You, Dear Reader!

Update: I can’t post another voting whore call to action today, but of course I’d very much appreciate your vote in the Best SEO Blog of 2007 category at SEJ’s 2007 Search Blog Awards.



Share/bookmark this: del.icio.usGooglema.gnoliaMixxNetscaperedditSphinnSquidooStumbleUponYahoo MyWeb
Subscribe to      Entries Entries      Comments Comments      All Comments All Comments
 

Nominate a red crab in the 2007 Search Blog Awards!

Nominate the red SEO crabToday Loren asked for selfish nominations, thus everybody posts a call for action.
So did I:

• Best search related pamphlets
I hereby selfishly submit my blog.

To no avail:

Sebastian, we’re not going to have a category for Best Pamphlets, but good try :)

There’s no such thing as a Best Crabby Search Pamphlets category just because my blog would be the sole candidate? Ok, I understand that. Really. I didn’t even swear. Yet.

So here’s my call for action. Nominate your favorite blog (that’s mine of course!) in any of the following categories that match:

  • Best SEO Blog
    You’d expect more marketing stuff from an SEO blog.
  • Best SEM Blog
    You’d expect even more marketing stuff, as well as PPC and whatnot. I suck on both.
  • Best SEO Plugin for Wordpress
    I never wrote a WordPress plugin. Actually, this year I hate WordPress because they messed up the database structure in version 2.3 without providing any documentation or at least a reasonable migration procedure. Also their coding standards suck ass and make me puke whenever I see WordPress code.
  • Best Search Agency Resource Blog
    My employers don’t blog.
  • Best Link Building Blog
    Link building pamphlets are rare nowadays.
  • Best Social Media Marketing or Optimization Blog
    I don’t game social media.
  • Best Local Search Blog
    I’m happy when I find my shoes before I leave the house, hence I can’t give any advice on local search.
  • Best Video Search Blog
    I watch x-rated videos only. Probably posting geeky clips doesn’t qualify me.
  • Best Mobile Search Blog
    When I’m on the road I usually search until I give up and ask a cabby for an escort. Cheating this way makes sure I’m not always too late, but doesn’t qualify me for mobile search consultancy.
  • Best Google Blog Not Owned by Google
    I’m not in Google news.
  • Best Search Engine Corporate Blog (owned by the search engines)
    Although I’ve developed a tiny search engine years ago, I fear that smutty results don’t count.
  • Best Contextual Advertising Blog
    My organic traffic is cheaper, and probably as reliable as PPC campaigns.
  • Best Affiliate Marketing Blog
    I sold two Seobook subscriptions recently, does that count?
  • Best Search Engine Community/Forum
    I visit Sphinn and the Google Webmaster forum and never will launch a new forum again.
  • Best New Search Engine of 2007
    See above.
  • Best Search Engine Research Blog
    I revealed that Microsoft plans to relaunch Live Search as porn affiliate program, why eBay and Wikipedia rule Google’s SERPs, and more SEO research like that.
  • Best Search Linkbait of 2007
    When I try it, folks bury it.
  • Breakout Blog of 2007
    I’m blogging since 2005 but moved my blog away from blogspot this year.
  • Best Search Conference Coverage of 2007
    I don’t even attend conferences.
  • Best Search Conference Coverage in Photos
    See above.
  • Best Search Marketing Facebook Group
    Facebook killed my account for spamming or so.
  • Most Giving Search Blogger
    I can’t give away a fraction of Bill Slawski’s great insights.
  • Best Independent Search Blog (not owned by media company or marketing agency)
    What does that mean? Ok, I’m in.
  • Best Search Blog Post of 2007
    I wrote a dull book on redirects, and more.

Oh well. Instead of nominating my stuff better convince Search Engine Journal that they really need a Crabby Pamphlets Category. Or try Category #16 at Performancing.

Update December/28/2007: YAY! Thank you all! Now you can vote for my pamphlets in the “Best SEO Blog of 2007″ category at the SEJ Search Blog Award 2007 contest. Here are the candidates:

It truly is an honor just to be nominated together with these great SEO bloggers.



Share/bookmark this: del.icio.usGooglema.gnoliaMixxNetscaperedditSphinnSquidooStumbleUponYahoo MyWeb
Subscribe to      Entries Entries      Comments Comments      All Comments All Comments
 

Q&A: An undocumented robots.txt crawler directive from Google

What's the fuss about noindex in Google's robots.txt?Blogging should be fun every now and then. Today I don’t tell you anything new about Google’s secret experiments with the robots exclusion protocol. I ask you instead, because I’m sure you know your stuff. Unfortunately, the Q&A on undocumented robots.txt syntax from Google’s labs utilizes JavaScript, so perhaps it looks somewhat weird in your feed reader.

Q: Please look at this robots.txt file and figure out why it’s worth a Q&A with you, my dear reader:


User-Agent: *
Disallow: /
Noindex: /

Ok, click here to show the first hint.

I know, this one was a breeze, so here comes your challenge.
Q: Which crawler directive used in the robots.txt above was introduced 1996 in the Robots Exclusion Protocol (REP), but was not defined in its very first version from 1994?

Ok, click here to show the second hint.

Congrats, you are smart. I’m sure you don’t need to lookup the next answers.
Q: Which major search engine has a team permanently working on REP extensions and releases those quite frequently, and who is the engineer in charge?

Ok, click here to show the third hint.

Exactly. Now we’ve gathered all the pieces of this robots.txt puzzle.
Q: Could you please summarize your cognitions and conclusions?

Ok, click here to show the fourth hint.

Thank you, dear reader! Now lets see what we can dig out. If the appearance of a “Noindex:” directive in robots.txt is an experiment, it would make sense that Ms. Googlebot understands and obeys it. Unfortunetely, I sold all the source code I’ve stolen from Google and didn’t keep a copy for myself, so I need to speculate a little.

Last time I looked, Google’s cool robots.txt validator emulated crawler behavior, that means that the crawlers understood syntax the validator didn’t handle correctly. Maybe this was changed in the meantime, perhaps the validator pulls its code from the “real thing” now, or at least the “Noindex:” experiment may have found its way into the validator’s portfolio. So I thought that testing the newish robots.txt statement “Noindex:” in the Webmaster Console is worth a try. And yes, it told me that Googlebot understands this command, and interprets it as “Disallow:”.
Blocked by line 27: Noindex: /noindex/

Since validation is no proof of crawler behavior, I’ve set up a page “blocked” with a “Noindex:” directive in robots.txt and linked it in my sidebar. The noindex statement was in place long enough before I’ve uploaded and linked the spider trap, so that the engines shouldn’t use a cached robots.txt when they follow my links. My test is public, feel free to check out my robots.txt as well as the crawler log.

While I’m waiting for the expected growth of my noindex crawler log, I’m speculating. Why the heck would Google use a new robots.txt directive which behaves like the good old Disallow: statement? Makes no sense to me.

Lets not forget that this mysterious noindex statement was discovered in the robots.txt of Google’s ad server, not in the better known and closely watched robots.txt of google.com. Google is not the only search engine trying to better understand client sided code. None of the major engines should be interested in crawling ads for ranking purposes. The MSN/LiveSearch referrer spam fiasco demonstrates that search engine bots can fetch and render Google ads outputted in iFrames on pagead2.googlesyndication.com.

Since nobody supports Google’s X-Robots-Tag (sending “noindex” and other REP directives in the HTTP header) until today, maybe the engines have a silent deal that content marked with “Noindex:” in robots.txt shouldn’t be indexed. Microsoft’s bogus spam bot which doesn’t bother with robots.txt because it somewhat hapless tries to emulate a human surfer is not considered a crawler, it’s existence just proves that “software shop” is not a valid label for M$.

This theory has a few weak points, but it could point to something. If noindex in robots.txt really prevents from indexing of contents crawled by accident, or non-HTML contents that can’t supply robots meta tags, that would be a very useful addition to the robots exclusion protocol. Of course we’d then need Noarchive:, Nofollow: and Nopreview: too, probably more but I’m not really in a greedy mood today.

Back to my crawler trap. Refreshing the log reveals that 30 minutes after spreading links pointing to it, Googlebot has fetched the page. That seems to prove that the Noindex: statement doesn’t prevent from crawling, regardless the false (?) information handed out by Google’s robots.txt validator.

(Or didn’t I give Ms. Googlebot enough time to refetch my robots.txt? Dunno. The robots.txt copy in my Google Webmaster Console still doesn’t show the Noindex: statement, but I doubt that’s the version Googlebot uses because according to the last-downloaded timestamp in GWC the robots.txt has been changed at the time of the download. Never mind. If I was way too impatient, I still can test whether a newly discovered noindex directive in robots.txt actually deindexes stuff or not.)

On with the show. The next interesting question is: Will the crawler trap page make it in Google’s search index? Without the possibly non-effective noindex directive a few hundred links should be able to accomplish that. Alas, a quoted search query delivers zilch so far.

Of course I’ve asked Google for more information, but didn’t receive a conclusive answer so far. While waiting for an official statement, I take a break from live blogging this quick research in favor of terrorizing a few folks with respectless blog comments. Stay tuned. Be right back.


Well, meanwhile I had dinner, the kids fell asleep –hopefully until tomorrow morning–, but nothing else happened. A very nice and friendly Googler tries to find out what the noindex in robots.txt fuss is all about, thanks and I can’t wait! However, I suspect the info is either forgotten or deeply buried in some well secured top secret code libraries, hence I’ll push the red button soon.


Thanks to Google’s great Webmaster Central team, especially Susan, I learned that I was flogging a dead horse. Here is Google’s take on Noindex in robots.txt:

As stated in my previous note, I wasn’t aware that we recognized any directives other than Allow/Disallow/Sitemap, so I did some asking around.

Unfortunately, I don’t have an answer that I can currently give you. […] I can’t contribute any clarifications right now.

Thank you Susan!

Update: John Müller from Google has just confirmed that their crawler understands the Noindex: syntax, but it’s not yet set in stone.



Share/bookmark this: del.icio.usGooglema.gnoliaMixxNetscaperedditSphinnSquidooStumbleUponYahoo MyWeb
Subscribe to      Entries Entries      Comments Comments      All Comments All Comments
 

  1 | 2 | 3  Next Page »