Wednesday, August 16, 2006


Ebookers are apparently weighed down by a large spam penality in Google. They don't even rank for their brand name. They've been there for a week. Further evidence that big spenders simply can't buy their way back into organic resulsts. Cendant, ebooker's owners, spend a fortune++ at Google.

There is discussion as to what got ebookers caught. Lots of people have found and pointed the finger at the bought links. True. I think that was a yellow card.

The red card, however, are the hidden links on the supporting sub-domains. Check out the source code of and you'll see what I mean.

A screen capture says it all.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Personalised Search Loops

Can personalised search cause feedback loops? Or, put in another way, should Google mark down Google for being Google?

Google has pages in the SERPS. It has its own help and support pages, for example, and these are the most likely to be returned in any SERPs. One of Google's webmaster pages currently does well for [search engine optimisation] in Google Directory and Google Answers pages are also returned whereas the likes of Google Finance are robots.txt excluded from the index.

I use Google a lot. An awful lot. I use Google personalised search. It makes sense that the personalised search knows that I use Google a lot ... and, um, does it then bias my results in favour of including Google pages? If I click on these Google pages in Google's own SERPs then I could again show Personalised Search that I like Google's pages.

Is this personalised search? Or is this just personalised search rewarding itself?

If Google was to apply a penalty to itself, to expect a bias towards Google and therefore weigh its own domain down then that's an advance towards other search engines with similar content pages. Yahoo's travel directory has great search engine status for tourist attractions, for example.

So should Google weigh down the other search engines then? Or has Google just found an excuse to apply a "personalised penalty" to its rivals in this case?

Friday, August 11, 2006

Blog Wars

Is this blog active? I think so. I don't post very often - but I do post.

According to Kevin Burton an active blog has one post a day. Anything else and the blog isn't active. His claim comes in his attempt to debunk Technorati's claims that there are 50million blogs on the net.

I agree with Kevin, there's a lot of hype about blogs right now and a lot of numbers that don't make sense. There are a lot of holes in people's maths. I just happen to think that his own maths are wrong. His pessimistic numbers have a post of once per week - which this blog does not do. When I travel I don't think any of my blogs fail to have one post per week.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Goggle Mini Links 2

Google have upgraded their "mini link" to be less mini.

This comes days after Matt Cutts (video link) downplayed the importance of keywords in URLs. I think these expanded mini links - which show off the URLs - put in a strong reason to have search engine friendly URLs. If the green link text have keywords then users are more likely to click.

Speaking of which. I think these mini links will have an impact on PPC. In the Danny Sullivan example above the PPC links for his books now have much stronger competition from the organic results. Click through ratios could drop. This will impact on the QS+CTR metric.

In other news, I've recently found Newsvine and am mightily impressed.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

MSN sneaks into Yahoo Messenger

Ah-ah! You can see that I'm struggling to find time for the blog. I shall not give in, though. Being busy is always a good thing in this industry.

I took this screen grab *ages* ago so I'm sure it's old news now. However, I still think it's valid. This is the power of Microsoft. The software powerhouse does have the ability to grab users from out under the noses of its rivals. Here we can see Yahoo Instant Messenger being used to tempt people to the MSN Live Messenger. I must say; although Yahoo Instant Messenger is better and we use it at work - I use MSN Live Messenger at home. I found it first ergo more of my friends are on it. The latest MSN LIve lets me chat to Yahoo contacts too and so once I've transfered everyone across I may never start up YIM again.

Instant Messengers are a front on search war. Each has their own search box. A few even let you search as a conversation and share the results. This is a search technology for 2008. Mutual searches, group searches, together searches - where two or more people on different machines all share the same search experience. Instant Messengers are a likely route to that technology.