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 DMOZ.org, 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 bbcamerica.com. 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 http://bbcamerica.com/tvschedule.jsp 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.

edgate.com

 

Actual Meta Title:

EdGate – Analyze, Assess, Adjust, Communicate

 

Query:

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.

SEO Prayer

All hail Google, who art in the cloud,
Blessed be thy name,
thy page rank come,
on my site as it is on Dmoz,
give us this day our daily link juice,
Forgive us our spam tactics,
as we forgive those who google bomb us,
lead us not into link buying temptation,
but deliver us from link farms.
For thine is the algorithm, and PR
for ever and ever.
Amen.

Rising SEO Personality Survives Car Accident

Zak Nicola, a rising SEO personality known for his “Nice Smile” was involved yesterday in a car accident that totalled his car, and left him temporariliy in the hospital. I am glad to say though that he is such a Social addict that he’s back on twitter while he’s recovering. 😉 Here’s some asian car humor to get you through!

Google Buddy – The future of search

Today’s post from Google’s blog by Marissa Mayer, VP of their search products and User Experience team about the future of search offers us some tidbits of information and a view into what Google thinks search should become in the future. 

Marissa begins by talking about some basic questions she had today that could have been answered by searches. Musing about how limited queries are based on just keywords, she jumps to the possibility of using photo, video and audio input to trigger searching. Google is looking for their search to have total immersion in your world to be able to provide the best results. In order for this to happen, Google is going to need eyes and ears on you at all times, because it would be a shame if have to “break out an awkward, slow device to do a search”.

Since location is relevant to a lot of searches, incorporating user location and context will be pivotal in increasing the relevance and ease of search in the future.

Several of the questions she had were specific to a particular area, such as “What Times does J.C. Penny open”, their answer is that Google needs to know where you are… Well naturally, how else are they supposed to supply local advertising to you!

You should note that Google is seriously contemplating the Google results page even further in it’s attempts to further integrate Universal search into the search concept. She muses,

What if results pages pulled the best media together and laid it out such that the most useful content was not only first but largest?

This isn’t just idle thoughts though… according to Marrisa,

 For the past year, our goal has been to take advantage of these new types of results and evolve the interface design and user experience in response. You’ll see the fruits of this experimentation in the coming months, but even these changes are just the beginning.

I had the good fortune to be one of the accounts selected to try out a “bucket test” on a new google account I was creating. Below is a screenshot of “Digg like” icons that appeared next to search results that allowed me to promote and banish different sites from the SERPS.

This type of addition will most likely be a further addition as google attempts to acheive intimate personalization. There are several other varients on this theme that harness user experience in a new way. However, Google has a much more detailed level of personalization in mind for the future.

maybe, search could analyze my social graph and realize that one of my friends works at LF, that I saw that friend this weekend, and that in that context “LF” refers to her place of employment.

Because this Google of the future would have eyes and ears on you at all times, of course it would know who you talked too and everything about that person, including details such as employment. To make their search more relevant of course!

[W]hat’s our straightforward definition of the ideal search engine? Your best friend with instant access to all the world’s facts and a photographic memory of everything you’ve seen and know.

Ok. So this is Google’s vision of search in the future…a Google buddy who is with you at all times. Where your Google buddy goes with you everywhere, Google Buddy knows who you talk to, Google Buddy knows what your associates do in their lives, and Google Buddy can answer any and every question that you might even possibly ask. I hate to come off as a paranoid person…but isn’t that just a little bit creepy? I mean, utilities are good, and search is an excellent tool, but the…intimacy needed to allow search that type of power is… frightening to say the least. I don’t know though…have I gone off the deep end and read too much into this?

Ronk Checker on the Fritz

The Ronk checker, which is usually a very reliable and useful tool is currently not able to pull any results from Google. I have tried from several computers and had other freinds of mine also make the attempt.

After some searching, it seems that Googles recent updates, including their addition of Google Suggest to the regular SERPs, may have disrupted their ability to get results. I was able to find on the Ronk checker page that Aaron says that “We should have a new version out today or tomorrow at the latest.”.

Green like Trees or Green Like Money?

Today a talented co worker with a nice smile pointed out a new website online where you could contribute 2 dollars, and they would plant a tree and give you a digital tree on their website. This idea was intended to be a charitable situation, but when it was Sphunn, it caused quite a few negative sphinns, and a lot of venom. ( Update: Unfortunately, It was removed from Sphinn, but I did manage to save a few of the quotes below from the discussion )

Is it ok to take greenback to become Green?

There are a couple of issues at play here, the first one being a morality question. Sassy internet blogger Sugarrae says that she has a problem with this:

Because this was a shady way to promote this, you got called out, now you’re being an asshat about things by trying to justify using a charitable act to earn money. Not cover your costs, but earn money.

In his defense, the creator of the site, Troy Dunn, Director of Web Development at Page1Solutions, rationalizes that

I don’t know how much time the rest of you have spent working for non-profits or raising money for the environement, but it’s not easy. So I came up with a way that benifts website owners and the planet. Not sure what the big deal with that is.

My personal take on it is that I don’t have a problem with people getting a benefit by running a green operation to plant trees. That would be like saying that people shouldn’t get any money back when they recycle…It’s not BAD that they received money for doing a good thing, it’s a good thing they did something positive, it’s just a bonus that they got paid too! What’s your opinion?

The other conflict should be obvious to anyone who has been paying attention to the search engines recently. The problem is that the tree’s he is selling on his site come with a hyperlink. Just think, if he had just left off the link part of the program, he might have avoided this problem all together. However, since it’s now part and parcel of his site, we need to ask what about Google’s stance on paying for links

There could be a counter argument that any SEO is going to know that only the first few links on the site are going to be worth anything, so in terms of actual seo benefit, it’s a bit questionable. I think that if he adds No-follows to the links, that he will skate past google’s paid link prohibition, and people can still feel good about planting a real tree and a digital tree.

Update: The Sphinn of this article discussion was *I say questionably* removed, I sent an email to Sphin to find out why,

Hi Jeremy,

The submission was removed as 5 members of Sphinn marked it as spam.
We do not see it as relevant to Sphinn and it also isn’t a news story
or topic of discussion.

Hmm,  “Break Dancing SEO’s” is relevant to sphinn, news story AND a topic of discussion though…

Here is my response to Sphinn:

I disagree with you and think you should reinstate my post: It is a topic of discussion as well as being news worthy:
1. Before you removed the other sphinn discussion there was a large number of SEO industry people involved in debating the post-
2. It’s a discussion of a site that may be considered selling “paid Links” – Absolutely this is a “Topic of Discussion” in the seo industry. Are you saying there is no debate about paid links?
3. The ethical question of utilizing a web charity to make a profit, and also contribute to the environment isn’t “newsworthy”?

Those WERE the Droids I was looking for…

Tk421 realizes his mistake…

Funny story. It was over 10 years ago now that I saw the original Sad Storm Trooper Photo here, made the addition of “Those WERE the droids I was looking for…” and posted it to Flickr and sent it to my office mate.

I was really surprised at how it became one of the early viral memes. The Flickr profile has half a million views, it even has it’s own meme generator now and I’ve even seen people on the street with it on a t-shirt.