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December 2007 Marketing Archives

Friday, December 07, 2007

Matt Cutts is Geppetto, We Are the Puppets

For the last few weeks there has been a ton of coverage on Google going after page rank of sites who are perceived to have bought links in order to rank hire for their keywords. Google reportedly dropped the visible page rank of sites who purchased and sold links and scared the bajesus out of the SEO world The thing is, while a sites page rank may have dropped almost no one was reporting a dip in traffic or rankings. Everyone speculated but no one actually knew what was going on.

I had my own theory that the very high school clique-like network that is the SEO society online was getting a slap on the wrist for basically being the "A-clique" and closed off to everyone else. If you think about it, its a very big link farm. SEORT links to SEL, SEL links to SEJ, SEJ links to SEOmoz, and so on. Maybe it was wishful thinking by me but that was my theory.

Now I have a better theory. Matt Cutts is a PR wizard. I'm not talking about Google's Page Rank, I'm referring to old school PR, public relations. Like any puppet master would , Cutts pulled his strings and we all danced. We danced and we blogged about it, then we blogged it some more. We talked about it so much that the WebMasterWorld forums were blazing with the topic and every SEO or web master had heard about Google swinging its axe at the paid linkers. There was a lot of speculation on how could Google determine a paid link from a non-paid link. And I finally figured it out.

They can't.

Sure Google can probably hash out people who use certain link buying services or javascript created links but there isn't one common factor for paid links that can be applied to everyone. Google has no way of knowing if the links I use in my posts are sponsored or not. This whole move was a scare tactic. Google knew that if they nailed the high profile sites with a visible penalty that they would freak out and spread the word like wild fire. This message would reach everyone who had the thought about buying or selling a link and scare enough away from the practice to make it effective. Why else would they hit people's page rank and not actually drop them in any search results?

Your secret is out Matt! Your scare tactics may have worked for a little while but come on out and own up to it, remember what happens when little boys don't tell the truth.

Matt Cutts is Geppetto, We Are the Puppets By Matt O'Hern at 12:16 PM
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Here Comes Another Bubble (Video)

This video needs no description, its pure excellence.

Here Comes Another Bubble (Video) By Matt O'Hern at 11:18 AM
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Thursday, December 06, 2007

Google Poisoning Giving SEO a Bad Name

Red Tape, the technology blog at, has an interesting article discussing a new term to me called "Google Poisoning". Google Poisoning is when a group of sites organize a sophisticated attack to take over top spots in search results. The poisoners then use their top positions to redirect users to a maze of redirected sites in order to infect vulnerable computers with spyware and whatever else they care to install. You can see an example from the most recent Google poisoning attack in the picture provided by Sunbelt Software, the Security firm who first discovered the attack..

Sunbelt Software found that a simple search for something like "funny dog picture" on Google directed searchers to Web sites hosted on Chinese domains. People who visited those sites were asked to install "Spy-Shredder" a rogue anti-spyware program.

Alex Eckelberry, the CEO of Sunbelt Software, says he was amazed at the scale and sophistication of the attack by people he calls "SEO Gods". In the most recent attack, Eckelberry says the criminals coordinated a large scale attack that put 40,000 to 50,000 of these malicious pages online at the same time and caused users "bad infections" if they visited those pages.

Google promptly took these pages out of their index when they were notified of the problem but Eckelberry state these criminals can "take any site and get it on the first page of the Google results." If that is the case, I'm not sure why these attackers are wasting their time with spyware, rather than getting some sites ranked for "viagra", "web-hosting", "insurance settlement" or any other of the high payout affiliate terms.

I dug through the Sunbelt blog's posts on the topic, which are here, here, here and here. But to summarize the attackers used a maze of sophisticated 302 redirects, fancy javascript, and operating system vulnerabilities to trick Google and its users.

When it gets down to it, 40k-50k is a relatively small number of sites but I hope Google is proactive in preventing this in the future before it gets out of hand and if any of you criminals are reading this, care to share your 'SEO God' tactics?

Last week alone, criminals posted 40,000 to 50,000 of these malicious pages in a single, coordinated attack, said Alex Eckelberry, CEO of Sunbelt.

Google Poisoning Giving SEO a Bad Name By Matt O'Hern at 11:11 PM
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Dallas Cowboys beat the New England Patriots

Yes, the New England Patriots are still undefeated on the field, but off the field, more specifically on the internet, the Dallas Cowboys are king. According to the Hitwise blog, the Cowboys, Washington Redskins, Pittsburgh Steelers and the Chicago Bears all beat the New England Patriots in the cyber-world. I think the most interesting part of the post is even further proof that football is king in the US. As if the 22hrs of football coverage on ESPN wasn't a enough, Hitwise says:

* Last week, share of US Internet visits to Football websites is up 12% year on year and up 29% over the past two years.

You can read the Full Story here.

Dallas Cowboys beat the New England Patriots By Matt O'Hern at 09:35 PM
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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Don't Use Our Search, Use Theirs!

As I was thumbing through my latest issue of Popular Photography magazine I noticed one of the write in questions was search related. This is the first time I've seen a magazine or site recommend not using their internal search but rather going to Google and using the site: command.

While I agree with premise because the search is pretty poor, why wouldn't they integrate Google's SiteSearch or one of the other engine's site search box? I never really understand magazine's lack of acceptance for the web. In my opinion, magazines have some of the best content but also some of the worst websites around. What is the disconnect? Do they not have the resources or knowledge to put their quality content online? Even though the website is full of bugs they add their content to the website after the current issue has been on sale for a few weeks. Whether it is intentional or not, I don't know but more magazines should follow their lead.

Maybe it is lack of technical know how or resources but I believe there is a big opportunity for magazines and knowledge internet consultants here.

Don't Use Our Search, Use Theirs! By Matt O'Hern at 11:53 AM
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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Google and Yahoo Users Search for the Same Things

Yesterday Yahoo annouced its top searches for 2007 lists and today Google announced their fastest growing search list. This list is basically compiled of searches that didn't exist last year and have gained the most momentum in 2007. To no surprise the list is celebrity and technology focused but what surprised me is the amount of navigational searches people are running. YouTube, TMZ, MySpace, and Facebook are wall websites and if you add the .com to it you'll go to the first result. Are we getting lazier as people? or are we just becoming more dependent upon search engines? I think keyboards should have a .com button but maybe that's just me. Who uses that windows button anyway?

1. iphone
2. webkinz
3. tmz
4. transformers
5. youtube
6. club penguin
7. myspace
8. heroes
9. facebook
10. anna nicole smith

Via TechCrunch

Google and Yahoo Users Search for the Same Things By Matt O'Hern at 03:21 PM
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Open Source Development Promotes Big Business

In the age of open source collaboration, mash-ups and free information, big business seems to be consistently one step behind. The annoucement posted on Google Operating System that GMAIL just added color labels, a popular feature from LifeHackers' Better Gmail Greasemonkey script got me thinking about the relationship of big businesses and open source developers. It appears that smart business, such as Google, monitor the developments people build onto their applications and eventually copy them and add them to their own application as was the case with Gmail's color labels.

So my questions to those who care to answer are:
How closely should big businesses follow open source developments?
In this day in age, is it necessary for big businesses to do so?

Open Source Development Promotes Big Business By Matt O'Hern at 03:09 PM
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Monday, December 03, 2007

Happy Birthday Labitat

Two years ago this past Saturday, Labitat was put into motion by our fearless leader and after two years we've definitely come a long way. We've had our ups and downs but with lots of hard work, a few e-fights, and some damn loyal clients we have been able to make it to where we are today. While its not yet world domination, the future is so bright I got to wear shades.

Labi-Shoutouts to: Shannon D., Ross T., John G., Pete F., Joe A., Steven M., Jen R., Alex H., Tony, James, Rick, Joy, and everyone else who has supported and helped us along the way.

And thanks to J for bringing this all together...

Happy Birthday Labitat By Matt O'Hern at 04:34 PM
Comments (1)

Top 10 Searches According to Yahoo. Search Patterns Are Changing

The Yahoo Search blog just published its annual list of top search queries for the year. For 2007 they put a different spin on their top 10 list by breaking the list up into categories and putting out several lists not just from the Yahoo! search engine but from some of their other properties such as Yahoo!Kids and

There is too much data here for me to go over in one post but overall it raises some interesting questions. Are users search patterns changing? I truly believe that we are constantly evolving our search patterns, whether it be by becoming more reliant on our search queries or using specific sites for niche related searches. Whatever the answer, the one thing that is certain is that we users are putting more and more pressure on the search engines to put out quality and up to date results. It doesn't matter if its the Top 10 News Searches or the Top 10 troubled stars, users want their information fast and accurate no matter what the topic is.

It appears to me that overall we as searchers are growing in advance search needs and will no longer be limited to one search engine to meet our specific needs. As a search marketer this is very exciting because it brings up worlds of new growth potential but also proves that we all have a lot of learning to keep doing.

Read the full story here and see the Top 10 lists here.

Top 10 Searches According to Yahoo. Search Patterns Are Changing By Matt O'Hern at 04:13 PM
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My first Visit to the Google-plex

Recently, I was fortunate enough to make my first visit to the Google-plex with a client. Yes, I know I'm probably the last search marketer to go but better late than never right? And How Many of you have been to the San Francisco office too?

I decided I might as well post my thoughts about my visit so that the one or two others who haven't made it there can read up. Now, I'm sure every has heard the stories about the 17 Google Cafeterias, the endless supply of snacks and fun, the epic game room and the mid-day beach volleyball games so I won't go down that road.

Visiting Google is impressive if not intimidating. While I don't know the stats, I'd guess one out of 20 Googlers is one of those Google Millionaires or at least a Google-Big-Bank-Accounter, thats pretty wild to think about when you are standing in line with a few hundred Googlers waiting for your fresh pasta to be sauced. Even with all that money and prestige, all of the Google people I've ever met have been pretty humble and very friendly and its pretty easy to see why everyone wants to work there, or so it seems.

While Google definitely portrays the fun atmosphere that helps it stand out to the young minds of America, it also portrays a very 1984 feel. Everywhere your turn, Big Brother is watching! For example, within the first 30 seconds of stepping on the Google sidewalk, I was slapped on the wrist for taking pictures of the buildings without wearing a badge. I really don't have any explanation for that, it was just the vibe we got.

Overall, the experience was very positive, the people were very nice and Google was every bit as impressive as people say they are. It is definitely one to go visit if you have the opportunity. With all that said, I still prefer to be a Labitatr over a Googler anyday!

My first Visit to the Google-plex By Matt O'Hern at 03:41 PM
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December 2007 Week 2 »

  • Week 1 (10 entries) December 1-8
  • Week 2 (10 entries) December 9-15
  • Week 3 (10 entries) December 16-22
  • Week 4 (8 entries) December 23-29
  • Week 5 (0 entries) December 30-31

Happy Birthday Labitat
hola k hay de bueno ok bye...
by karencruz
Matt Cutts is Geppetto, We Are the Puppets
Oh goodness you can only take humour so far, but i...
by Paul Betts
Matt Cutts is Geppetto, We Are the Puppets
Oh goodness you can only take humour so far, but i...
by Paul Betts
Dallas Cowboys beat the New England Patriots
Hello guys! I found some usefull resources. One f...
by advexpr
Matt Cutts is Geppetto, We Are the Puppets
Matt is a joke. Don't pay attention to his d...
by Jeff

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