Sell Your Soul for Bling: Be a Magpie

I was in my twitter stream today, and was very surprised when I saw a twit that caught my eye.

The site is a twitter advertising network that uses twitterers to spread their marketing. The idea is that the application analyzes your twitter stream for relevance, then spread out amongst your tweets, it injects the occasional ad tweet.

Human Bill Boards

Imagine you’re talking to your freind about what you had for lunch today, and all of a sudden he blurts out” Subway EAT FRESH!”.

You can see why this is jarring…it takes away the purity of your opinion because it’s not even a real endoresement…it’s just verbal advertising diarrhea . So, according to their faq, it says that there are two criteria that are used to mete out the advertisements and the reward people receive for selling out, the first is “hotness of the tweet topic” and second the number of followers you have…

GREAT! Lets ENCOURAGE people to create BOTS to follow people and vomit up advertising at us…Congratulations…You’ve just created a whole new method to SPAM on Twitter! HOORAY!


Save your soul, DON’T BE a MAGPIE!

Which Halloween Creature is the best/worst?

[polldaddy poll=1062358]

What’s halloween without a discussion of the nightmare creatures that we sick and twisted humans have come up with over the years. Take the poll and rate which category of monster is the most evil/scary. Notice of course that I didn’t put specific monsters, that’s a whole different topic! 😛

Here’s some helpful photos for each of the contestants




Vampires Mark
Vampire's Mark


Google Chat on DMOZ

During the Google Webmaster Chat The Googlers addressed the concern about DMOZ “Are Google ready to junk Dmoz yet? The categories are so poorly maintained, that they are out of date and irrelevant.”

Adam Lasnik:

We are always looking at how do we value sites. How authorative are they? we weigh things different things often by comparisions, so DMOZ is a part of our analysis. When if we feel how things are weighted will improve quality we will change it.

John Mueller:

It seems like the SEO hobby is to beat up DMOZ. In some countries where it’s harder to type(China, Tibet, ETC) having directories is realy handy. It does often show DMOZ around the world, as opposed to just the US. American SEOs should bear this in mind when judging the value of DMOZ

Another person asked

“Recently, you removed this suggestion: “Submit your site to relevant directories such as the Open Directory Project and Yahoo!” from your guidelines. Is there any chance that you will be discounting these kinds of links for ranking value in future?” Marjy, Boca Raton FL This question has been retracted by the author 1 Response

And Matt Cutts says that:

There’s always the chance that we’ll discount directory links in the future. What we were seeing was quite a few novice people would see the “directory” recommendation and go out and just try to submit to a ton of directories, even if some of the directories were lower-quality or even fly-by-night directories that weren’t great for users. Right now we haven’t changed how we’re weighting directory links–we’ve only removed the directory suggestion from the webmaster guidelines.
Matt Cutts, Bay Area, CA

Trix-n-Treats-Google Webmaster Chat

Myths and Sites:

Keyword stuffed
meta tags
submit and submit

Waste if time

Top 10 myths
Duplicate content: doesn’t punish- but does ignore it
make easy to find prefer version-
help crawl efficiently
be reasonable when re-using content from other sites:

MEta tag – verification
if reachable not a problem- Account/site name/domain name

over submit to directories

using google tools helps – WRONG!

No optimal density
write naturally for users
to many mentions distracts users
don’t hide what you mean

XMLS site map –
doesn’t hurt your rankings
xml sitemaps are useful
keep up to date-

Page Rank:
not everything but still important- keep in mind but not only focus
“over 200 factors”
only a few times a year

no real need

Once ranked don’t touch- myth!
other sites change to catch up
give users fresh content

less than 5% are valid
may work for browsers, but not a ranking issue

disallow will remove yoru site page
more links the better
only goal is getting it first- users
let old urls return 404 so new structure is discovered- use 301
using index and follow – not important
hosting on shared ip will drop rankings- not the case

Debunk myths you hear
google it

John Muellers
How Do I tell Google to indicate preferred content?
when on the same domain –
put preferred url in the site map
your internal linking is consistent –

John Mueller
“Deleted old posts and old categories and tags and still find several not found urls- Will this fix itself?”
We don’t update webmaster tools in real time, they will find over time the correct location. If you removed a page it’s ok to return the 404, it is not going to hurt you. If you can do 301, no limit on 301s on a domain. It should pick up and correct that over the time.

“301 will redirect page rank / link juice to the new page?”
Yes, it does transfer to new pages over time.

Google 3 verse:

Wiz: To make sure page does not get indexed, add no index meta to the page, need to allow google to index the page in order to understand it shouldn’t be indexed.

Jonathan Simon:
Covering new tool-
Crawl error sources-

Get a “Fat Belly”: Aaron Wall’s SEO Webinar

Tuesday was the day for SEO Strategies for the 21st Century with Aaron Wall, the owner of the SEO book website and I must say it was a pretty good webinar. He covered quite a bit of ground across the board in terms of strategic items to look at as a webmaster. Here are the key take away items that I thought had the most value for site owners.

The Role of Keyword Suggestion
The most important answer to one of the questions that Aaron fielded in the webinar was about the continuing integration of keyword suggest into the search engines and how people use search. You can see in Google Chrome, IE8, and Yahoo integrating a keyword suggestion tool into the browsing experience and it is very important to understand the way that this will change search, and should impact our methods of optimization.

Keyword Suggestions are going to lead to fewer natural Queries, as full sentences and fewer misspelled queries as well.

Get a “Fat Belly”

Here is Aaron Wall’s advice on how to handle the impact of the keyword suggest systems that are becoming more and more integrated into the search experience:

Get a “Fat Belly”.

Let me explain what this means… as the suggest tool gives users suggestions on their terms as they write, one word terms and long tail keywords are going to lose ground to the “Fat Belly” terms i.e. terms that that are in between the long tail, and one word that fit a large number of queries. The key is remembering that it’s a cyclical situation, because the suggested terms that appear, and will continue to be used more and more by users, are ordered by popularity. This means that your keyword research definately needs to include some study of the Google and Yahoo suggested terms that describe your particular industry. By focusing on the “Fat Belly” terms, you will get better placement in those serps that searches are getting prompted to use by Google Suggest. So go get “Fat Bellied“!!

Google Still Uses DMOZ data in the SERPS

With all of the recent turmoil surrounding Google’s recent removal of it’s recommendation of submitting your site to, I thought that it was particuarly intersting that DMOZ is still being used in the Google Serp results.


Here are some examples of How Google is still using DMOZ data:


When no meta description is given for a page:


Title: BBC America – Home Page

No Meta description or keywords


DMOZ Entry:

BBC America – The best and the latest of British television in the United States. 60% of the programming on this new US cable channel is original to the American market. The rest are the British cult classics everyone loves


Query: bbc america


Returned Serp Title and Description:

The best and the latest of British television in the United States. 60% of the programming on this new US cable channel is original to the American market.


Alternate Query: birthplace of american tv


Returned Serp Title and Description:

Birthplace of American TV. If the new falls shows are giving you déjà vu, do not fear… Watch marathons of of your favorite BBCA hits!


In this example, see screenshots here, we can see that since the BBC America site has not added a Meta Description for the page, Google is using what it feels is relevant information to fill in the gap. In the first query, it is returning the description from the DMOZ entry for In the alternate query for [birthplace of american tv], that phrase exists on the page, which is why it is pulling the description directly from the page itself.

I might presume that BBC has opted not to provide a description because they reguarly update the content and want Google to dynamically grab information from their homepage to provide a description, either that or their web-master/ SEO guru is asleep at the switch (Additional Proof of SEO issues…on the Tv schedule page the description reads “sudhakar is great”…hmm thats some mighty fine optimization! )


Title and Description are replaced by the Title and Description of the DMOZ entry.


DMOZ entry

The Copernicus Education Gateway – Online directory of websites offering educational resources.


Actual Meta Title:

EdGate – Analyze, Assess, Adjust, Communicate



Copernucus education Gateway


Returned Serp Title and description:

Online directory of websites offering educational resources.


Alternate Query:

EdGate Offers a suite of Web-based learning


Returned Serp Title:

EdGate offers a suite of Web-based learning solutions that are secure, flexible, practical, user-friendly, and aligned to teaching standards.


In this example, see screenshots here,  we can see that the query that utilized verbiage from the DMOZ entry prompted Google to return the entry as the Title and Description rather than the actual Meta Title for the page. This happens for any variable of the terms in the DMOZ entry. But when the query is altered to something else, it pulls the actual title and description from the site.


Google Ignores NOODP TAG


Below is the most troubling example, it is a case where Google is ignoring the NOODP tag  and displaying DMOZ information for some specific search engine queries in spite of the fact that this site has implemented a specific meta tag to block use of DMOZ information.


DMOZ Entry:

 Pat Haddad – RE/MAX Preferred – Full service agent assistant buyers and sellers. Includes MLS search, profile with biography, virtual tours, and related tools and links.


Query: Pat Haddad


Returned Serp Title and Description:

Carmel, Noblesville and Indianapolis real estate services provided by Team Haddad. Easy property searches and useful buyer & seller information for the


Alternate Query: noblesville real estate


Carmel, Noblesville and Indianapolis real estate services provided by Team Haddad. Noblesville Real Estate and Homes For Sale on the MLS.


This site has the NOODP meta tag on it, and yet Google still is pulling data from DMOZ. This also underlines why this issue is important…this agent has changed offices and is no longer with RE/MAX preferred! Google is now replacing her relevant Meta Title with an improper title, DESPITE her request for Google not to use DMOZ! Be aware of your DMOZ entry!

SEO as a Vertical Search Term

2001 vs 2008 Google Result for SEO

For Google’s 10th Anniversary they released access to their oldest index. This allows you to search like it’s 2001. By doing a search for the verticle term “SEO” we can see many, many differences in usability, depth and intent in the Google platform.

The differences are facinating! First and foremost is the evolution of SEO as a concept…it didn’t even exist in 2001! Now a good portion of business hinges on the forces of search engine optimization. There are 280,000,000 results in 2008 for the term SEO, and in 2001 there were 148,000…the kicker is that the number one site for the term SEO was for “Sponsors for Educational Opportunity“!

It’s incredible to look at the old SERP result page and compare it side by side with the SERP for the same term in Google 2008. Looking at them you can see the expansion of Google’s capabilities. You can access Image search, Maps, News, Shopping, Gmail, News, Blogs and groups as options for more refined types of searches. This obviously represents a gigantic expansion of the capability of Google to understand and sort information into relevant verticle entities. It’s also an indicator of the explosion of content available through the search engine.

As for the serps themselves, though Google still utilizes the Title and description as the main result, but we can see a difference in usability. Cached pages and similar pages are accessible for each result. There are also indented results, of additional pages from the same site that match that query which gives individual sites a wider opportunity to dominate the SERP by providing multiple pages of relevant content.

We can see the evolution of search, and just by looking at the development of an entirely new field of work that has been created through this sytem we can see a profound impact on our society.  The way that people look for local businesses, find information, find and enjoy video,  has all been changed forever. I think that It makes it even more important for us to look to the the future of search as envisioned by Google. I’m quite sure that in 10 years when we look back at our search engine results we’ll be surprised and startled by the dramatic changes in the way that we live our lives.