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September 19, 2010

SEMKonferansen in Oslo, 16th of September 2010

I went to the SEM conference (semkonferansen.no) in Oslo on the 15th to 16th of September this year. It was a nice little conference with just over 200 participants. I spoke on two topics that I will publish posts on this coming week. One was about web analytics and the other one was about SPAM in social media and how to cheat the system.

It felt like the participants were appreciating the sessions. I met up with @Al3x4nd3rR who works with analysis for Creuna in Oslo. He is a great guy, but I had only met him on Twitter previously. He’s a smart fellow and I suggest you Norwegian readers hook him up with some interesting projects the coming months. I know I would if I’d be over there.

Anyhow. I was contacted by Ola a couple of months back. He asked if I wanted to come speak at the conference. We sent some e-mails back and forth and I understood that it was one of those things I had to do. I am not very keen on conferences but this fall I had decided to pick a few that felt interesting and where I suspected the crowd would be active. So far I feel my picks have been just brilliant. First Dialogkonferansen and then SEM-konferansen. I hope that my talk at eMetrics next week will be as much fun.

I never give the same talk twice. That’s one of my key rules. Thus it takes a lot of time for me to prepare for the sessions I hold. I need to practice and also build the presentations. It takes at least 20 hours to setup a good presentation that will last for one hour. You need to find a way to convey your main idea whilst passing out at least one nerdy joke, one thought to reflect upon and also give one thing away that people really can use when they get home.

To add to that, I am just about to puke before any talk I hold. I have this thing with my nerves that just don’t add up. I can walk into a fight in the ring without any problems. But when I walk on stage I am as shaky as a hamster looking at the soaring hole of a vacuum cleaner pipe.

Anyhow. Loved the conference and if I decide to do more talks after eMetrics, this is one I’d like to return too. Good talks by Brian Eisenberg, Matt Bailey and Ian Carrington as well. Sadly I missed Erica Schmidt’s talk as she had her session at the same time as one of mine. You can read more about all the speakers here. Here are some images from my Oslo experience.

Speakers

Ian Carrington

Googlers hanging out

Me in my hotelroom

Oslo

Guess that’s it for now 🙂

February 7, 2010

12 Hours of Matt Cutts can Make you see stuff

Ok, I’ll have to break e-mail week for this… I like watching clips on YouTube. A couple of weeks ago I spent watching 12 hours of video from the Google Webmaster Help channel. Yes, that means all of it. (yes… I am sick…)

I truly feel like I am onto something here… hmm…. but before I draw any conclusions I probably must watch the videos one more time. NOT…

This post is solely written, because I take pride in making fun of people who think Google and Matt Cutts are up to no good, I decided to find my own three Google conspiracies/secrets to fuel the discussions for the coming week, perhaps they will give you the “secret insight” on how to rank on top of Google’s search results?? :S :

1. The Related Movies tell the story about Google’s future plans

First off, the related videos to his are no less than interesting if you believe in conspiracy theories about Google taking over the world.

I mean… Google owns YouTube… and this MUST mean that Google Webmaster Help is REALLY related to… who ever obaidkarki is… right??

2. According to Matt Cutts a Link is about an inch

Yeah… and the best estimate of how much a link is worth is quite obvious when you study Matt’s movement in the Webmaster Help Videos… ONE INCH for each link you get… Yeah… you heard me!! Cause when ever Matt talks about links he has this compulsory thing of doing this:

See for yourself at Google Webmaster Help Videos.

3. Did I catch a Tell on Matt Cutts?

Another thing I saw in Matt’s body movement was that of when he tells a lie. In the below video, watch how I have decoded Matt Cutts to give you the ability to spot him in a lie:

[Disclaimer: For those of you reading this, thinking I have gone insane. Well, might not be too far off the truth, but considering people are discussing these types of things out there made it impossible for me to resist… haha..]

Possibly related posts:
January 2, 2010

6 Thoughts on Google search challenges for 2010

There is a lot of talk about search engines and spam. Matt Cutts works his butt off trying to rid the SERPs of manipulation. On my end of the spectra, I am quite concerned. Not about the manipulation, but I am concerned of the measures being taken against it. Why do I say this? Well, basically the problem lies within links and the value that Google gives them.

Building links is not difficult

There are so much links out there nowadays that it is not difficult to build them. Social media has completely taken away the need to buy links as well. You buy content instead. Or websites, as a link building consultant said the other week. If you’re in the market for content you know you pay extremely little for about 100 articles, but you spend a fortune on 100 links. 100 domains aren’t expensive at all and thus you can build them back links without having to worry about their validity, their monthly status etc. It is much more simple and a lot better.

That’s quality links. Then you combine that with some track back spam to get the nofollow and domain name back links to your content and you start getting the volume as well. Skip the catalogs and the directories as it takes to much time and those generally don’t have enough content surrounding the links to make them worth anything. Perhaps a few good news aggregators where you can guarantee that the co-citation is good. Put your Rss in a nice mix in them. Can be achieved by using Twitter as well. No worry that there is no follow. The importance is that you get your links in with those other quality content links within your vertical.

Affiliate is not necessarily bad content

In the more mature verticals you surely see that the quality of the content has a high bearing on the popularity, the ranking and the maturity of the affiliate. I won’t out any examples here, but let’s just take it for what it is and then we can sort the examples via Skype if you don’t agree with me.

The problem is that a lot of good content still don’t get on top as Google continue to put so much value in the links. The big affiliates can afford to build content and quality to match their position. The people who started out building quality content and not links, they are stuck in the race for the top positions.

We still see obvious spammers get to the top of the SERP’s and we see a lot of quality content being penalized. All because Google value links to high and don’t take content into consideration. However, we see a lot less spammers than before. Often this comes with the cost of penalizing sinners that care about their content as well.

I’m fine with that, but some spammers seem to get a green card in the SERPs whilst others, that only try to compete on equal terms get the Cutt-Fist up their arse faster than a rabbit… The problem lies within the links. If Google would care less about the links and more about the content I think we’ll all be better off.

One way to care less about the links would be to pay more attention to the searcher. Not in the sense that personalized search does which I will cover below, but with respect to what the searcher is doing just as he or she searches for the specific query. I know there are some integrity aspects in this. But Google already stores the data. So why not use it. This is the only reason I would like to talk about REAL TIME web. If I search for one thing and then for another. Then I want my second search to be dependent upon my first search if in any way related.

Let’s say I search for “potatoes” and then I make my second search “chips”. Then I want Google to assume that I am searching for “potato + chips” and not “computer + chips” or “some dude called Chip”. Users are used to searching several times before making their decision. So instead of focusing on links, then focus on the search and the sequence of searches. You can also give it the very nice engineering name “Sequential Search” and launch it as something very nice on one of your conferences. 🙂

Cause what you’re doing now for quality is actually worsening your index.

1. Load time variable gives spammers the upper hand

When Google starts looking at load time as a variable they aren’t doing their job any better. C’mon Matt. Good, and unique content sometimes takes a while to load. You promote text content and code quality when you say you give load time extra value.

Think about it Googlers out there. Who does this actually give the upper hand? Well. Who’s got the leanest and cleanest code out there and the capability to really meet this requirement. Well, spammers. Naturally, the people willing to manipulate and work hard with their code, content and page structure, who do not really care about the user experience and who only want to rank high and then convert traffic. These are the people who will have the fastest content out there and thus load the fastest.

2. Brands as a mean to make SERPs cleaner

I never understood the brand infatuation. I think it sucks that the big institutional brands get an easier time in the search engines. New-comers in mature markets used to have the upper hand as they were fast movers and could adjust. What the brand prerequisite does is it cripples these fast movers.

3. Personalized search

F**K OFF… I don’t know who is interested in getting search results based on all their history since two years back. Two years back is not relevant for now. Not even last time I went to Google for an answer is important for the search I am doing right now. Only what I am searching for right now is important for what I am searching for right now. When I am searching for it I want the best possible match from the WHOLE world presented to me and not what I have previously visited and liked.

Perhaps my range is limited, and I know this. Then I want suggestions of what others like and I don’t want to go to Twitter to find it. I want it to be present in the Google SERP of the bat.

4. Rich Snippets

One good change in this direction was the rich snippets. But you really have to make this better as the website developer has to include it in their setup of the page. You can find a comment when there is a comment. You can find a rating when there is a rating. You don’t need us to point this out in our code. Help us out in this area and present it in the search results to the user. That is an extremely good way to improve the search results.

5. Real Time Search

Sorry, but I don’t get this. If I am searching in Google then I want static search results. If I search on Twitter, then I want Twitter now results. Don’t mix them together. It Sucks!! I don’t want those “real time” search results to clutter my view when I am looking for resources on the web.

Users don’t use Twitter cause it gives better results then Google. They use Twitter as they get replies from their friends that they already have some relationship to. If you present anonymous Tweets in the sense that the searcher don’t know the user who has produced the tweet, then YAAAAWN… irrelevant.

Social search is much better that way. But I really need it to be presented in a new way. The old SERP don’t have room for these features. Universal search is beautiful, but you had to work on that one for a while to make it fit. Don’t force social search. It is a good feature, but it won’t work if you push it in there. It will only work if you make it a process that can be adopted slowly by the users.

6. Opt Out

I know you people at Google like to force shit on the users. But PLEASE give us the opportunity to remove your filters. Please give us the opportunity to OPT OUT. Put the opt out possibilities in an open and extremely easy ajax form top right on the page. Make it easy. That’s all I’m asking. Put a little red text in the bottom of filtered search results if you have to. “This site has been penalized for link spam”. Since the new resubmission process came along you are very transparent towards the site owner what is wrong with the website. Please make this visible to all users so that we know who does their job and who doesn’t.

I guess that’s all for now.

//Jesper

Possibly related posts:
December 23, 2009

Google Local Business Centre for Google Maps

Found this video on YouTube, and I though I should share it as it is an important piece of the puzzle when taking control of your own brand online. As people are searching through many different means, this is perhaps the best way to make an instant impact on the search rankings.

Now you might ask why that is so? Well, with universal search in place, Google tries to return the best possible page for your query. In some cases, such as when you search for “cafe Stockholm”, you’ll receive something looking a bit like this:

image of local business locator from Google

It appears on top of the search engine and takes up A LOT of space. Now imagine if you were a legal firm, a store, a business consultancy? Wouldn’t you want to be the one taking the top place for words such as “legal firm stockholm” or “consultancy stockholm”. I bet you would and that is why it is important that you fill in your Google Local Business Centre data.

People searching for locations usually want to see a map so I believe Google will try and place these pages on top of more location searches during the next year.

//Jesper

Possibly related posts:
November 30, 2009

To Land a Jumbo Jet in a Gigantic bowl of Popcorn

I don’t think I’ve ever revealed my inner dream project to you? The thing is I have a dream of landing a jumbo jet without the wheels out into a gigantic bowl of popcorn. Don’t ask me why, it is just one of those things I feel like we should see in our life time. Now you might think I am talking crap, that I don’t have any sense of reality and that landing a jumbo jet in a bowl of popcorn is something so outrageous that one should never try it.

Sonia Rykiel pour H&M

Think again. On the 1st of December, in Paris, H&M and their collaboration with Sonia Rykiel are hitting the switches on a Fashion event so extraordinary that I have been itching for the day so long. Basically they will take over Grand Palais in Paris and create a fantasy world where they will host a gigantic Fashion event. I must say, I am not getting paid to say this. You might wonder why this has anything to do with Social Media and SEO. Well, consider the link bait power in this event.

You can link bait anyone from taxi divers to fashionistas. Architecture bloggers and news publishers, image galleries and long tail econometrics nerds. A fashion event of this caliber is the best possible way to build enough links including the anchortext “fashion” one can do. Imagine the POWER these large corporations would hold if they knew how to extract this link juice from their remarkable events. Imagine the force at which they could channel the search engine power to drive sales.

Jumbo Link Juice

Landing a plane in a jumbo jet seems quite dull when comparing it to the awesomeness of inbound power in an event like this. There are 101 million searches for shoes every month. There are 45 million searches for fashion. I wonder how much commercial value are behind those searches. Let’s assume that 10 percent of them are out to buy. That means 4.5 million customers. If link juice was directed at targeting these kinds of Fashion terms, I would say this sick of sick events is a well made investment.

It might be otherwise as well, but IMAGINE the force at which these large corporations with huge marketing budgets could completely dominate if they turned on their link juice goggles when producing an offline event as such.

//Jesper