Happy New Year

As we head into the new year it’s difficult to determine what might be a most appropriate topic to cover. What search engine events stand to define 2007 enough to warrant being covered here. This was a question I’d asked over the last couple days: days with little going on at the Big Three. Well fortunately in doing my usual preparations for my segment on Webmaster Radio and while doing my daily rounds of some of the top SEO resources I landed on a few interesting tid-bits which fit the bill nicely.

And so let’s begin …

Google get a new patent:

Google was awarded a new patent titled, “Methods and apparatus for estimating similarity“. This patent basically outlines a new method for determining duplicate content. The downside is that if there are enough similar traits on a site (according to Bruce Clay this could go so far as to cover breadcrumb navigation, templates and dynamic sites) then your pages may trigger the similarity engine and be penalized. There’s some interesting coverage on the WPN website here.

Google gets spanked:

Mathew Ingram wrote and article in Canada’s national newspaper “The Globe And Mail” criticizing Google’s stepping away from their initial “Don’t Be Evil” philosophy. While I’ve definitely criticized Google on a number of occasions, many of which were legitimate while others were just ranting, some of the recent attacks on Google are simply absurd. The biggest one noted in the article and which was voiced also by Search Engine Watch’s Greg Jarboe in an article where he refers to Google’s cross-promotions as “shameless self promotion” referring to Google’s using of one their services to promote another. An example given was Google’s placement of a link to the blog search service from their news pages. All I have to say about that is,

“OK, now we’re just getting stupid.”

Microsoft promotes MSN on their site, Yahoo! promotes a wide array of services, heck – on the Beanstalk site (dedicated to promoting our SEO services) we link to our blog and articles on every page. As a company adds new services, offerings, or just info it’s in their corporate best interest to cross promote those services when applicable. I often use their news search and I often use their blog search. When you do a search on either you’ll find a link to set a Google Alert for the query. THIS MAKES SENSE! Cross promoting products is a fine and corporately responsible thing to do. They have shareholders to which they have legal obligations. One of the points brought forward by Greg was that traffic to their blog search service doubled over two weeks when the link was added to the news section. I don’t hear the shareholders complaining and the services were obviously compatible or none of the traffic would have moved over. And that’s all the ranting I’ll do in Google’s defence today. 🙂

Google does China:

And here’s where I take a chance to criticize Google but I have to say (as Jim brought up in the show) some of the criticism is misdirected. Google has partnered with China Mobile to bring Google search to the cell phone. As North Americans we have to face the reality that we’re behind Asia and the UK regarding our use of cell phones and this is no small thing as, in other parts of the world, there are MANY people use their phones for surfing, paying bills, etc.

What I don’t like is that if one does a search for “tiananmen square” in China they will only find smiling tourists. At the same time, while the propaganda machine rolls across China we have to ask ourselves if it’s better to have some influence or should we boycott doing business there. Any change is sure to come through communication and discussion. I don’t like what I see but what better choice is there?

It’s Time To See What’s In The PPC Sausage:

There’s a very good article by Kevin Newcomb on the SEW website on PPC engines and click fraud. It’s about a 5 minute read and well worth it for anyone who’s investing in PPC or manages it for others. You can read the article here.

And that’s it for today. We’ll have more coming soon as we’re analyzing a couple slight shifts over at Google and Yahoo! in their ranking algorithms. So stay tuned. 🙂

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