“Miserable Failure” search no longer points to Bush’s official site

The top search result for “miserable failure” on Google no longer points to George Bush’s official website at whitehouse.gov. The previous result came about as many webmasters purposely linked to the whitehouse.gov site with the anchor text of “miserable failure”. The Google search engine, which places a lot of importance in the anchor text, went on and placed Bush’s site as the top search result for that query, even though neither “miserable” nor “failure” appear anywhere in Bush’s site itself.

By the way, this change happened as Google updated its algorithm, not as a result of some type of manual adjustment.

This has been the example I would use when I want to emphasize the importance of anchor text. Now I’ll have to find another example…

SEO is a one-time fix?

Dave Pasternack of Did-it.com (an PPC firm) has stirred up a controversy in the SEO community by claiming that SEO is not rocket science, and that SEO is simply a one-time fix (see here and here). The message is that companies do not need to hire an external SEO firm in an ongoing basis. Of course, the SEO community, many of whom who make their living by engaged with clients in an ongoing basis, does not like this message, and many have been very vocal about it. For example, Aaron Wall of Seobook.com is starting a contest at Threadwatch.

Let’s look at the key arguments Dave presented:

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Bears vs Colts, Super Bowl 41

The matchup for Super Bowl XLI is set, it’s Colts vs Bears. Right now, the Colts are favored by 7. However, I am picking the Bears to win.

The marquee matchup for this game is the Colts offense vs the Bears defense, Manning & Co. vs Urlacher & Co. The Colts offense, though one of the best in the league, can be slowed against good defenses, as evidenced in some of the late-season games as well as the Baltimore game. I look for the Colts to be able to pass on the Bears some, but unable to get the run game going.

On the other side of the ball, Chicago’s offense, especially its quarterback, Rex Grossman, has been much-maligned. The defense of the Colts, on the other hand, has not had a good regular season (though they have picked it up in the playoffs). The conventional wisdom says that the Bears will use the run predominantly during this game. I do expect, though, that the Bears will come out passing in the first series, because they know the Colts will be set up to stop the run initially. If the Bears have success with the passing game early, they will gain control of the game and be able to keep Manning & Co. on the sidelines.

One area the Bears have the advantage is the return game, where Devin Hester has returned 5 kicks for TD during the season. I look for at least one big play from Hester during this game.

One thing I haven’t heard mentioned is the University of Florida factor. The school has won the last NCAA basketball championship and the football championship, and that leads me to believe that Rex Grossman, who is a Florida graduate, will win this Super Bowl.

Bears 30, Colts 21.

Wikipedia now placing rel=”nofollow” on links to external sites

Wikipedia is now plpacing rel=”nofollow” on links to external sites. It’s interesting to see that the impetus for this change is from a recently announced SEO contest, where the top winner who can optimize for the phrase “globalwarming awareness2007″ wins a car.

I like this move. In fact, I thought this move is long overdue. But, it’s better late than never. Even though not all spiders observe the rel=”nofollow” directive, the important ones do, and that should be enough to limit spam in Wikipedia.

It’s now OK to run Adsense with other contextual ad programs

Jennifer Slegg reported in Jensense.com that she has confirmed with the Google Adsense team that it’s now okay to run Adsense on the same page with other contextual ad programs, provided that they do not resemble or mimic Adsense ads. She also wrote that Adsnese policy will eventually be updated to reflect this change.

Relaxing this restriction shows that Google is confident that Adsense is superior to the other contextual ad programs out there. It remains to be seen that other contextual ad programs, most notably YPN, will relax their own restrictions.

Different Colors of SEO Hats

In the SEO world, we often hear terms such as white hat, black hat, and sometimes other colors of hat like gray (or grey, in some parts of the world). They refer to different levels of doing search engine optimization for a site. But, what constitute white-hat practices, and what constitutes black-hat practices? Chris Beasley of Websitepublisher.net has written a good article on exactly this topic. There are some other articles that divides SEO into more shades, but I like this one because I thought 3 is a good number (do you really wan to read through the 9 different shades of SEO?)

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Google updated its Adsense Program Policies

Google updated its Adsense Program policies yesterday (you can find the updated policy here). As usual, Jennifer Slegg at Jensense has a good summary on the changes.

To me, the interesting things to note are:

1. The policy itself is now readable. :)

2. Formalizing the ban on placing images next to Adsense ads to entice clicks. Google announced this ban last month, but I am still seeing a lot of Adsense publishers using this technique.

3. Copyrighted material. Google is now specifically banning sites that steal other people’s content from displaying Adsense. If you find your own content stolen and posted on a page that has Adsense ads (trust me, that can be a very unpleasant feeling), you can notify Google per directions found here, and Google will act on it.