Thursday, January 03, 2008

Will The Real Search Engine Blog Please Stand Up?

Earlier today I read the The 2007 Paid Links War, In Review post on Search Engine Land and clicked through to the links within the article. After reading, clicking, and reading some more, I realized I had spent a solid 20 minutes on the post and had visited 12 different sites. Wow.

I came away with two things as a result:

1. I appreciate the time and effort it took Vanessa Fox to write the article, it's a huge amount of work and I think sites like SEL, Search Engine Guide, SER and SEJ provide a tremendous information service to the SEO community and/or anyone wanting to learn about the world of search marketing. And...

2. I have to wonder how does a small business person - or anyone outside of the SEO circle find the nuggets of information being shared by search engine representatives on individual, private commercial blogs?

Why isn't information like this (see below) being added to the official search engine blogs? How would anyone in the small business community know to look on this blog, scroll through the mounds of comments to find a significant statement like this one made by Google Engineer Matt Cutts on paid links:

I think quoting me as saying "ALL links inside of any sponsored post should carry the no-follow tag period, regardless of whether they are required, not required or even link to the advertiser paying for the post" is different than our conversation. I believe that I said that adding nofollow to all links in paid posts would certainly be safe.
Bold mine. I wonder why this wasn't blogged about on an official search engine vehicle with links to the originating story/comments? The host blog would still get some attention, the search engine would make their point clear and official and the rest of us only have to visit one place. Win, win win.

Come on guys, you want us to follow your webmaster rules then make it official by posting them in one place, on your company blogs. Let's get rid of the FUD, the crude, and the mud associated with near-miss comments by people trying to share.

I'm not suggesting the information you're dropping around isn't helpful - it is - but it's damn hard to follow when it's left all over the blogesphere.


Corey said...


i agree i agree i agree. it will never happen because it's all politics.

Tanner Christensen said...

While I think you have some great advice for the search engines, Debra, I think that you're overlooking the information that is already available through places like Google's webmaster central (FAQ and forums).

Sure, it's not the most detailed information - and I agree that it's often hard to find a lot of information - but it is something.

Great post nonetheless.

Dave said...

I couldn't agree more Debra. I also have a good time keeping up with everything. A site with all this info consolidated would put to rest a lot of FUD and be a real benefit.

semscholar said...

I agree Debra, it's one thing for those in the industry to sniff this out and determine what's best for our clients but the average business person wouldn't have a clue.

Yes, it is in webmaster central, but well hidden. Even a search for paid links brings up a page titled "Why should I report paid links to Google?" Well i don't want to report a page I want to find out what your policy is!

JennyGray said...

You're so right about the problem of scattered info. I've found that most of the work involved in in-house SEO (for an SME) is in searching for, reading and filtering information.

It can be really difficult to know which pieces of advice are credible, what to follow and what to ignore. Consolidation and 'officialisation' would make this process a so much easier.

Thanks for bringing this up.

BWelford said...

You've highlighted a great problem since algorithms evolve and the search engines have no motivation to provide a bible to help webmasters. I think it's really tough for anyone to stay current on everything. At least the social media chatter about current concerns so you have say an 80% chance of catching the key points. That's probably the best you can do. A small website owner is probably best advised to take a small contract with a reputable 'expert' and at least they won't create any major search engine barriers or problems.

Debra Mastaler said...

Tanner/David(semscholar) You're right, there is a lot of info in the WMCentral - but the comment I read that prompted this post is an important variation to what's published.

I understand the nature of blogging and that ours is a small community but - we represent a teeny tiny fraction of the people on the Net. Business owners would benefit from knowing what's being said by Google employees if it potentially can affect their sites. So why not publish stuff like that on WMC?

I also dislike the "no, that's not quite what I said" type comments. Of course people will intrepret and remember comments differently - we're human. So to avoid issues and misunderstanding - info on search policy should come from an official source IMO.

Jenny/Barry/Dave - agree with you all and appreciate your comments. Corey - lol..... politics are everywhere eh?