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SEO News Bytes June 2005

By Shelley Murphy

I am sure by now most people have read about the recent Google update on about May 20, 2005.
This recent update named "Bourbon" stemming from the Webmaster Conference in New Orleans and if the streets had no name, I wonder what they would have called it, hence titled for the famous Bourbon Street.

Usually when Google does an update some good comes out of it in their ongoing quest to fight spam, alleviate black hat seo tactics and serve up better search results; however the Bourbon update was in place to fight off the "302 pagejacking" and if I may add a touch of irony to this, I believe this may have backfired since things still seem to be in flux, three weeks later, and Google themselves got pagejacked for "AdSense".

Scaper sites are under the microscope

Screen scraping is a technique where automated tools are used to download a web page and extract (scrape) some of the information on that page in order to place it on another web page.

Sample uses of screen scraping include:

  • Obtaining stock quotes from another site and displaying the data on your own site.
  • Grabbing a page from dmoz.org, and reformatting it on your own site to create your own web directory.
  • Creating a search engine and showing snippets in your SERPS (like Google does).

As I have mentioned in prior newsletters, do not reciprocal link with any unrelated website or such as ones to do with Viagra, casinos, or porn it's not a good link exchange partner if you have a "homebuilder" website.
On the note of reciprocal linking, as part of the Bourbon update I wanted to point out the difference between Fraternal Linking which Google is attempting to combat.

Fraternal Linking:

Linking between sites that may not be on the same topic, but are closely related in other ways, they share the same IP, they are hosted at the same company, they have the same Whois information. A lot of times people own multiple sites and use their other sites to boost the rankings of the "money site".

This algorithm update would come in 3.5 packages

The two first binaries are dedicated to clean up the SERP, getting rid of spam and other scrape type of websites while the 0.5 would be an adjustment for CJK languages (Chinese, Japanese, and Korean).

The 2.5 packages implemented to date have shown some volatility in the ranking for various keywords and multiple websites seem to finally see their sandbox lifted after a specific filter applied by Google to young websites and newer backlinks.

A discussion thread started on webmaster world, featuring the now famous GoogleGuy, would indicate that the Bourbon update would affect mostly websites running Adsense generating large revenues from fairly competitive keywords.
The truth is that a lot of websites used heavy SEO tactics (far too easy for search engines to recognize) and poor content quality to generate Adsense revenue which of course undermines Google's main goal of returning relevant search results.

As for each update it is likely that some quality sites will suffer from those changes too.
This update has been staggered into three and a half sections in order to avoid a massive amount of dislocation in established rankings as was seen in previous major updates. While changes stemming from the Bourbon Update have not actually manifested into a full reordering of Google's search engine results pages (SERPs), many individual webmasters have reported fairly significant losses or gains in ranking over the past few days according to numerous "Blogs".

As more information becomes available I will keep you up-to-date. For webmasters and SEO's, an examination of the new Google Information for Webmasters is a definite must. Google has recently changed its webmaster guidelines which are also considered to be a primer on "unethical SEO" practices in relation to Google placements. Google has recently updated its webmaster guidelines to include information on "supplemental listings", crawling frequencies.

Google has also posted information on its new Google Sitemaps submission experiment. Google Sitemaps is perhaps the most important new feature for SEO's offered by Google in a long time. Said to be an experiment in spidering, Google Sitemaps invites webmasters to feed site data directly to Google through an XML sitemap page.
Webmasters and SEO's can now tell Google exactly which sections of their sites to crawl in addition to the existing Robots inclusion protocol, and providing they are keeping their XML sitemap current, when and where to look for changes to their sites.
This experimental initiative will especially help webmasters working with database driven sites or large Ecommerce sites where documents are subject to frequent change and are often found behind long-string URLs. Google has been kind enough to provide detailed information on establishing an XML feed and setting priorities for Googlebot.

We have experimented with some of the free third party sitemap creator tools posted on Google sitemap with success.
If you are one of those webmasters who don't like to read lengthy instruction manuals for generating the sitemap XML feed, you may want to try one of these free sitemap generators.

Maximize Google Adsense Earnings.

While combing the internet I came across as I say a "cool tool" called the AdsenseLog from MetalGrass.
The software can automatically check for new Adsense statistics and alert you when there is new information available. In addition, AdSenseLog can show you many extensive statistics: Clickthrough, EPC and CPM data, Daily, weekly or monthly views.
Check it out and download their 30 day trial version, a great tool for webmasters to track and analyze their Adsense data, there are several unique features in this all-in-one utility.


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