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SEO

Is search on the web broken? Issues around SEO for SME and brand managers.

In our last blog post on search we touched off the basis for search algorithms and a recent high profile case study that highlighted flaws in the system. Over the past couple of years commentators have been pointing to flaws in the way that search works- but we’ve been seeing a lot more of this recently.

Now even the top people at Google and industry leaders like the guys at SEO Moz are openly acknowledging the problems with how search works. People have figured out exactly how to game Google – and now it can be difficult to even find the website of a company when specifically looking for it.  A search for any business in most major cities, and increasing numbers of companies in different industries and professions will more than likely return 3rd party directory listings, the sites that have put some work into SEO, and an increasing number of fraudulent sites (depending on what you are looking for it could be mostly ripoff sites). Even Matt Cutts is writing about how Google needs to cut down on webspam.

So – the consensus is that there is something very wrong with search – so what does this mean for business owners and marketing managers? At Pixel Lab clients of ours are getting calls every week from SEO agencies promising to get our clients to the top fo Google rankings (although they are generally there anyway), offering to sell them links or through some other dark arts. Nowadays we advise anyone to go down this road at their own risk – its clear that Google has to sort this out – right now they seem to be doing it manually and who knows how they will automate it in the future. The best approach companies can take is to produce content or initiatives of value that people will be interested in and link to naturally. This can be a lot more fun – and less risky – than black hat seo tactics.

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Monday, January 31st, 2011 Latest, online marketing, SEO, Uncategorized 1 Comment

Search sheriff to start enforcing ‘play nice’ rules online

The SEO world – the one in which companies take it seriously and are making serious money from being on the first page of Google for relevant searches – is in some respects like the wild west. As anyone will tell you who has looked beneath the hood of a sample of websites within an industry – especially the ones doing moderately well in competitive markets, anything goes- as far as you can push it – and questionable and unsavory tactics are often employed systematically.

All sorts of stuff goes on. People figure out the rules and bend them as far as possible  - because there is a lot of money to be made if you sell products/ services and can game the system. The technology behind search is pretty developed and its clear that a lot of changes are happening constantly to the algorithm.  However its also clear that despite the massive computing power and resources put into search, the algorithms haven’t progressed beyond a principle that is in some respects flawed – the value and power of links. Page Rank was developed by Sergey Brin and Larry Page to enable machines to determine the value of a websites content – essentially a subjective, human judgement. This concept underpins all search results and means that the value of a site in relation to a particular search term will be calculated by the number of links coming in from sites, and words within these links (anchor text), the value (or Page Rank) of these sites,   and other factors such as whether its a .gov/ .edu site, whether he domain is in a search-term relevant subject area etc. › Continue reading

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Wednesday, December 8th, 2010 Comment, Latest, media, online marketing, SEO No Comments