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Old 12-01-2004   #1
Dave Hawley
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SEO Thoughts on Google

At present, SEO firms would mostly be optimizing pages for Google. Stands to reason with Google being so popular. However what are the thoughts of those in the business if the 3 major SE (Google, Yahoo and MSN) were to take an even cut of all searches. That is, 33.33..% each. To me, this could present a BIG problem for SEO firms as they would no longer be able to optimize mainly for Google.

Any thoughts?
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Old 12-01-2004   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Hawley
what are the thoughts of those in the business if the 3 major SE (Google, Yahoo and MSN) were to take an even cut of all searches. That is, 33.33..% each.
My clients would be happier sooner since it is a lot easier to rank on MSN & Yahoo! (at least actually) with just on page optimization even in highly competitive areas.
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Old 12-01-2004   #3
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To me, this could present a BIG problem for SEO firms
And perhaps a bigger problem for search engines.

We've been here before. This is the circle coming around completely. Back in 95-00 we had multiple crawlers all with some importance. People wanted to be in Infoseek or Excite or AltaVista or Lycos or Inktomi, for example. And since each search engine was sensitive to different factors, some people would create different pages for each term they wanted to be found for and for each particular search engine.

Why a problem? So you fire up your favorite doorway page generating tool, give it 25 terms you want to rank for, and it does a page per term per engine:

25x5=125 pages

Now we've got 125 pages which invariably, though a set is created for each particular search engine, still get set out for all of them to index. Result? More crud in the index.

The Google obsession many marketers have had over the past two or three years has had one benefit -- we've not had too much of this game being played during the period. It's been all Google, Google, Google and Links, Links, Links. But I fear the days of doorways per page per engine are heading back (and despite the fact that for many, it was never that effective a tactic anyway).
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Old 12-01-2004   #4
Sebastien Billard
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A properly designed page should rank approximatively the same in all major SEs. Though some minor differences of ranking may occur.
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Old 12-01-2004   #5
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vraiment?

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Originally Posted by Sebastien Billard
A properly designed page should rank approximatively the same in all major SEs. Though some minor differences of ranking may occur.
must be nice over there...
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Old 12-01-2004   #6
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I, personally, would welcome such a development. I don't think it is good for the SEO/M industry or businesses overall to have only one single dominant search engine. Take the Florida disaster, for instance. How many businesses got screwed because one engine made a bad move?

If Marketshare is evenly split, if one engine goes screwy accross the board business may still come via the other engines. I think search engines have (for the msot part) gotten wise to doorway pages and that tactic will not be as effective as it once was, therefore eliminating a lot of the crud Danny speaks of. SEOs will have to learn how to optimize sites to rank well on 2 of the three engines in order to be "successful", which should be a problem for any SEO worth their salt anyway. (IMO)
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Old 12-01-2004   #7
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There are some SEO firms, mine included, that perform optimization and search engine marketing strategy that make an impact not only for the sake of Google but Yahoo, MSN, Ask/Teoma, Looksmart/Wisenut, etc.

I don't think most firms just optimize for Google... I know we don't. So whether Google has 90% share or 33% won't make a difference to us because we provide a complete strategy that looks at the "big picture" instead of a portion of it. I think many others do the same.
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Old 12-01-2004   #8
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A lot of SEO work is pretty basic across the engines - certainly in mid-competitive search-terms, if you hammer away at a particular keyphrase, then you can reasonably enjoy comparable rankings across many SE's - over the longer term, at least.

Personally, I enjoy the results from Google, but if MSN put up an engine with radically different listings, then I'll enjoy testing choice on there.
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Old 12-01-2004   #9
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I too looong for the day when SE traffic is more evenly spread. I have never liked the fact that we are more reliant on one SE so much more than any other. This is not a case of us putting all our eggs in one basket, but more the fact that Google has slipped their basket under our eggs.

I guess if each of the biggies has 'simliar' algos there is no big change, but if there does become a vast difference in algos the job of the SEO must become harder.

Quote:
But I fear the days of doorways per page per engine are heading back (and despite the fact that for many, it was never that effective a tactic anyway).
I see where you are coming from, but in this day and age SE's are a lot smarter than 9-10 years ago and this would seem to make life harder?
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Old 12-01-2004   #10
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The more the merrier... More "major" SE's, more work, more charges to clients.

If all of the 4 majors were totally independant and had equal traffic, it would only make sense for SEM firms to make these necessary adjustments in pricing -- the work wiould force it.

Plus, the linking "nightmare" might subside just a bit.
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Old 12-02-2004   #11
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I think there is a big difference between optimizing for Google and benchmarking for Google. In Denmark, where I live, Google has very dominant position (partly because 3 out of 5 major portals also use them) so we do monitor how well we do in the Google index very closely but we certainly do not only optimize for Google. That would, in my mind, be very short termed. Things can (and do) change very fast and I'd like to stay to steps ahead of it - not 2 steps behind.

Personally, I would very much like to see 3 or 4 engines have an equal share of the search market. I do not like the kind of power it gives Google to be so dominant in some regions. I am not even sure it's good for Google in the long run.

Optimizing for multiple engines can be done in many ways. For most of your keyword enventory you should be able to rank decent across engines but for some keywords, and some vertical markets, you may need to target each engine more aggressivly. If you don't want to go into doorways and cloaking this can be done by focusing different parts of your site to different engines
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Old 12-03-2004   #12
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Bother

Bother - I've just read my way all through this post and was just about to say.....and then found that Mikkel beat me to it!

Danny's point about 'crud' earlier is valid. But I also think that 'professional' SEOs should be advising their clients to spread the risk - ie to work to perform for the four or five major engines - not just Google.

But I don't believe gateway pages are the route. Our approach is to watch how different areas of the main site perform in the different engines - then we exploit the strengths. So if pages are doing well with Ask - we work harder to do well with Ask, and we generally work with clients to develop wider richer content on the site that presents more opportunities to focus parts of the site on different engines.

And like Mikkel, I sleep better at nights knowing that our industry is not dependent on the decisions of a few people in Mountain View!
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Old 12-04-2004   #13
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IMO while there are minor differences in the Ranking algos of the major search engines, optimization which takes into account good on page optimization plus off page optimization should rank well in the three major search engines.

It may be that to rank for very competitive terms in Google you will have to add anchor text links, but these will also help you in the others and not hurt your rankings elsewhere.
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Old 12-04-2004   #14
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One thing is right: Google was the first real SE...And still!
Remember Yahoo! just a year ago...it shared Google results.

Now we talk about 3 engines...but thing again!
One is the father, two are a new boys with a new machines... trying to get independence.

I believe that SEO must be focus on the "father" and it will help a lot to get listed in the boy’s new machines...at least for now.
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Old 12-04-2004   #15
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One thing is right: Google was the first real SE...And still!
I couldn't disagree more!

Google is a great search engine but in no way even close to being the first - and possibly not even the best. It very much depends on what you need, where you are located and what, what language you search in and a lot more.

Anyone remember Excite, AltaVista, Inktomi etc?
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Old 12-04-2004   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikkel deMib Svendsen
I couldn't disagree more!
.........................
Anyone remember Excite, AltaVista, Inktomi etc?
Your comment is right...the old SEM people -as us- used those at the past.
I am not saying that Google is the first one...or that could be.
In fact, I am not a Google fan!

So, what I am trying to saying is that 99% of the people who do SEO are because they want to get listed in this particular SE.

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Old 12-06-2004   #17
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Think longer term...

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So, what I am trying to saying is that 99% of the people who do SEO are because they want to get listed in this particular SE.
Carlos you're probably right about people targeting Google - but I think the point being made by people in this thread is that this is unwise.

Why? Because it doesn't recognise that this 'industry' changes very rapidly in an instant.

Google launched and look what happened to Altavista?

Professionals and agencies have to protect their employers and clients by keeping an eye on what might happen in the future.

Yahoo and MSN's algorithms (preview or inktomi) may be largely similar in operation to Google - but they are not the same. And it would be easy to focus on positions in Google and not realise that suddenly more activity was going on through MSN and Yahoo combined. Not true today - but after Christmas? Who knows?
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Old 12-06-2004   #18
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The main difference with Google and past SE's is that Google is the first truely deep crawl the web for free. This, IMO, is a stroke of genius on Google's behalf. By doing this they have slipped their basket under all our eggs. This, combined with the fact that Google is the most popular SE ever, makes it 'must have' for most Webmasters.

I think MSN (when launched) will be a good competitor to Google and I really hope that between MSN and Google, Yahoo finally takes a longer term look and stops trying to make all its $$ today.

If all/most my site traffic comes about evenly from MSN, Google and Yahoo I'm a happy chappy. However, having said this, I still happy with Google being my main traffic bringer, but would be happier if I wasn't so reliant on them.
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Old 12-06-2004   #19
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The main difference with Google and past SE's is that Google is the first truely deep crawl the web for free.
Nope. Plenty predate Google on this. Infoseek, Excite, Lycos -- all had "deep crawls" in their time back in 1995 completely for free.

AltaVista probably deserves credit for upping the stakes from the 2 million range to 20 million at the end of 1995. It continues to duke it out with Inktomi for the crown of deep crawling for some time, with Northern Light occasionally popping up.

When Google showed up 98/99, paid inclusion still hadn't appeared, and Google's index was tiny. No one thought, "wow, Google does a deep crawl, we love it." People, webmasters included, loved Google because the ranking algorithm it used was better than its competitors.
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Old 12-06-2004   #20
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I think that having multiple, large SEs would be a good thing for search. Content and relevancy would become even more important since certain techniques or tricks for increasing rankings would not work across each of the different SEs.

In the end, increased competition would force the SEs to constantly improve the relevancy of their listings to keep consumers satisfied.
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