Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Google Watchdog is back in the saddle with a juicy tidbit of Google info

After almost two weeks of working 18-20 hour days, I'm back in the Watchdog's saddle. I had a large booth at a business expo important to my company, and unfortunately, the GWD took a back seat to that for a while. The good news is I'm back with a vengeance, and I have a juicy tidbit to share (okay, it's only slightly juicy, but what's a blogger gonna do?)

There have been several issues of note to report on since my last post (10 ten days ago!).

First, there was another backlink update in the webmaster tools. This isn't a huge surprise; it's almost certain to be a 2 or 3 times per month deal from now on. Webmasters who have long complained about the horrid nature of the backlinks section in the webmaster tools can rejoice. While not completely up to date, the Google Gods are getting better at keeping the backlinks section updated and (at least partially) fresh. Webmasters who complain about Google not listening to their complaints should look at this as a refreshing reminder that Google DOES listen and sometimes even implements the changes we want.

{Semi-Juicy Tidbit}: Second, there has been some sort of algo shift since the beginning of the month regarding paid links. This is only a guess, but it's based on keyword performance on several websites that have used paid links to gain SERP rankings. The SERP values for the keywords that have used paid links are being pushed down the rankings quite dramatically. In one case, the ranking position dropped from #1 to #29. I've also seen some SERP increases for keywords based on paid links that are pretty well disguised (included in an entire paragraph of text with lots of juicy, related content surrounding the anchor text). I'm supposing that Google is testing their new paid link algorithm changes, but who knows, maybe this is a complete roll-out of the new algo updates. Or, I could be completely off base and the SERP changes have been caused by something entirely unrelated.

Third, regarding the brouhaha over my post about DMOZ. I received several nasty emails from ODP Editors about my post. On the flip-side, I also received a couple nice emails from ODP Editors who agree with me that the system is not working as well as it could and gave me some encouragement. There were several editors who posted comments on the story, and I appreciate the feedback. I'm still steaming mad, but I'm retracting my threat of applying to be an editor under a false identity. Instead, I'll wait a couple of weeks, and re-apply for a separate category, noting that I had been rejected before and linking to this blog. I'll keep everyone posted about how that goes. I did get personal confirmation of why my application was rejected, and while I still think that DMOZ was wrong to reject me, I at least understand the limitations placed on me, and should have a successful application this time around. If anyone has any suggestions about becoming an editor, feel free to leave a comment, or email me at fastweb73 {{at}} gmail {{dot}} com.

Here are a list of posts to look forward to over the next week:

1. My take on Google as a monopoly
2. I'll finally post about the whole paid link thing, with some thoughts on why Google has screwed the pooch on this issue.
3. My weekly "Search Relevance Test" pitting the three major search engines against one another will finally become a regular part of my blog routine. The results from my first search engine relevance test were surprising, but hardly scientific. I'll be changing the ranking formula quite a bit and the scores will probably be a bit more balanced. (for those not wanting to read the entire post, Yahoo kicked Google and MSN's fannies in the test).
4. I'm going to have a semi-regular feature written by a guest blogger that will deal with some of the issues surrounding Google's patents and how they effect webmasters, SEOers, and regular users. I hope to have the first post on this issue on the upcoming week. (Note: unless you have a rare specialty, I'm not going to offer just anyone the chance to guest post. If you do have rare information to share or a specialized topic to write about that is related to Google, you can email me at the address given above).
5. My "Google Week In Review" feature - this will be a post every Sunday night or Monday morning listing the top 5 Google-related stories of the week.