Thursday, February 21, 2008

Google "Location": Search Engine Optimization (SEO)


Web 2.0 (2002-2008): This post is a work-in-progress on how to fight for "location, location, location" on Google, Yahoo, and other search engines (Updated Sun 2/24/08 11:15 PM PT).

(1) Wikipedia has a good introduction to Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which describes legal "white-hat" and illegal "black-hat" methods (such as "link farms", "keyword stuffing", "term SPAM", and "link SPAM").

(2) For actual SEO methods, Carsten's Search Engine Optimization (CEO) Resources is an excellent set of basic resources and links to other high-quality SEO websites written by Carsten Cumbrowski, author for the Search Engine Journal.

(3) SEO Book's Blog by Aaron Wall

Read Aaron's General Theory on SEO and the Web for the 18 comments (2 are quoted below). Aaron also has useful free SEO tools. "[His] book has been used as course text for MBA classes..." SEOBook.com is #2,336 on Alexa (as of 2/24/08).

"Most for sale SEO tools are a waste of time and money because they push how useful they are even after the algorithms have evolved beyond their use. They cause people to focus on arbitrary goal sets instead of thinking about logical holistic marketing methods and social interaction."

"Success takes time. If you can afford it, sometimes buying an old site is a good way to start - especially if you are trying to compete in Google in a saturated market."

"Before the Christmas shopping season each of the last few year it seems Google rolled out a new algorithm that wacked many sites which SEO'ed their way to the top (IMHO via link trading and low quality linkage data). Most of the algorithm changes are related to looking at linkage quality, communities, and ways to trust sites. The most recent update seems to have (at least temorarily) dialed up the weighting on TrustRank or a similar technology, which has had the net effect of highly ranking many old/trusted/authoritative sites that may lack some query specific authority."

(4) Carsten Cumbrowksi's Website & Internet Marketing Resources

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My Favorite SEO pages are:
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(A) 101 Link Building Tips to Market Your Website by SEO Book

(B) Google's PageRank Explained by Phil Craven (better than Wikipedia article on PageRank)

(C) Spam Mass & Trust Rank, by SEO Book, summarizes 10 take-home ideas from the two 2004 & 2006 papers below.

Spam Mass & Trust Rank are two "link SPAM" detection methods that Google might be using beyond the basic PageRank algorithm.

(1) "Link Spam Detection Based on Mass Estimation" (2006) by Zoltan Gyongyi (Stanford CS), Hector Garcia-Molina (Stanford CS), Pavel Berkhin (formerly of Yahoo Research), and Jan Pedersen (Yahoo Research)

"...most hosts have very small PageRank: slightly more than 66.7 out of the 73.3 million (91.1%) have a scaled PageRank less than 2, that is, less than the double of the minimal PageRank score. At the other end of the spectrum, only about 64,000 hosts have PageRank scores that are at least 100-times larger than the minimal."

Of the 892 hosts (883,328 sites) analyzed, 25.7-36.8% were SPAM hosts.

(2) "Combating Web Spam with TrustRank" (2004 PDF) by Zoltan Gyongyi (Stanford CS), Hector Garcia-Molina (Stanford CS), and Jan Pedersen (Yahoo Research)

"...more than 18% of web sites are spam."

Based on these papers, distinguishing yourself from SPAM could become progressively more important in the next few years.

(D) Web Directories...are They Relevant to SEO? by SEO Book

Only dmoz.org and dir.yahoo.com (maybe lii.org) are quality directories.

"After DMOZ solved the general directory problem and Google solved the search problem no general directories were able to get many citations. That sorta shows the importance of market timing."

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WARNING for web newbies: Be WARY of fly-by-nights and offers to get you to the "top of Google searches, guaranteed for $99".
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(1) If two people or companies are fighting for the #1 place in search on "my industry keywords", only one will win. There's NO way to guarantee that you are #1.

(2) There's a lot of free advice to get you started. Read that stuff before you pay for expert advice.

(3) DON'T use cheapo techniques which will be detected in the next few years. "Black-hat" SEO techniques could be a lot like doping scandals at the Olympics. They can get your site BANNED from Google.

(4) Many companies pay $1,000s/day for Google Ads and actively fight for Google rankings. Some locations are cheap, and some are expensive. However, the playing-field is MORE level than ever for the small entrepreneur. You have a great chance at a good location (even if you can't afford a store on Rodeo Drive or 5th Avenue) because many of the big companies are still trying to figure out Web 1.0 (much less Web 2.0 & Web 3.0).

(5) This is a changing game. Google, Yahoo, and other search engines can change their formulas at any time.

- Mitchell Tsai (Harvard '86) - CEO, Spiritual Business Companions : FriendFeed, LinkedIn, Facebook

1 comment:

Margaret said...

I completely agree with the difficulty in finding contact info on website. It can be very frustrating. It would be nice if most websites used your listed recommendations. Margaret :)