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February 19, 2008

SES London 08: Organic Listings Forum

By Li Evans

Mike Grehan opens this panel by introducing the panel for the organic listings forum. 

  • David Naylor of Bronco
  • Ralph Tegtmeier (Fantomaster)
  • Edward Cowell (Teddy) of Neutralize
  • Steve Johnston of Google Consultant

Dsc_3147 Q:  Client wants to stay on .com, but want to know about other country domains
Teddy:  Reason you want to space your site over different domains is because of each search engines local filters.  It makes it easier and maximizes your footprint.  Hosting doesn't matter much anymore, because of Google's WMC. 

David:  Google just recently had a bug with the .com sites dropping in .co.uk index, but rising in .com.

Steve:  Links also help to "say" what/where you are.  Links to help reinforce where you are from.

Q:  What is important to sites, is it link or something else?
Teddy:  It's definitely changed.  Site level optimization is now just fundamental.

Steve:  Shift from onsite to offsite optimization, offsite becomes more important in highly competitve niches.

Dave:  2 years ago people were bashing around links.  His blog is an SEO Blog, took 1 backlink about "buy Viagra", and he ranked for buy viagra for years, only recently did he stop ranking for it.

Ralph:  There's links and there's links.  Whitehat is that you don't want links that don't look spammy, but that being said, this "don't buy links" attitude from Google is troubling.  You only find out the hard way about links.  Build your own closed circuit link network.  Keep it organic looking.

Mike:  Is it quality?
Dave:  Industry more.  Sometimes you need a little external help to keep it on the right track.  Once you have the authoritative status you can pretty much rank for anything.

Steve:  Its very much about quality and reputation management.  If you can't build sites that people want to link to its impossible to rank.

Q:  How big of an issue is subdomain or domain with keywords in it?
Teddy:  Was quite a big spam tactic a few years ago.  Google's changed their policy to show a lot less
from one site.  Now he errs away from using subdomains now.

Ralph:  Over optimized, keywrods in url really looks spammy, keeps it low key.  But more blackhat short term effect, this can be effective use of subdomains.  But from a long term perspective you shouldn't do this.

Dave:  When gogle introduce sandbox, subdomains weren't getting caught for 60 days.  However that's different names.  Subdomains should be legitimately used for geotargeting.
Steve:  Google considers it a different web structure, but doesn't inherit all the properties of main domain

Q:  What does Google do to detect link buyers?
Ralph:  There's a lot of "hand jobs" being done right now.  Essentially it's under cover intelligence.  The better link buying networks won't spill it all out to you because of this.  Some networks have their inventory online, this is also how Google finds them.

Steve:  Google is also guaranteeing they will look at all reports of paid links.  They invite web owners to participate.  Yahoo site explorer helps to find links. 

Teddy:  Depends what you are doing, and how you are doing.  Is it for advertising benefit or

Mike:  What do you feel about Nofollow?
Steve:  Google's clear, no follow paid advertising link.
Teddy:  Creating a massive load of confusions, and its back firing in a big way.
Ralph:  There's legality issues, Germany you are responsible for the links. 

Mike:  What About Using it within your own domain?
Dave:  Google doesn't even use nofollow, they link to people spending millions in Adwords.  Everyone is so paranoid cuz of Google's Market Share.  There should be a different way of handling it.  "Pay Me or I'll link to you".  Links have become like paranoia.  They first used this for trust, but now they have changed the game. 

Ralph:  Google has hijacked the nofollow and its meaning.

Q:  Is there a legal difference with nofollow?  Google makes its living off of selling links, but makes it hard for others to sell links.  Could it be considered anti-competitive?

Ralph:  Its being used as a political statement, we always nofollow links to Google.  Nofollow unfortunately  isn't going away.

Steve:  The quality and quantity of a link is what their algo is all about.  They are a victim of their success, big target for spam.

Mike:  How do the people with no site "vote", they vote with peer review.

Dave:  I do think there is going to be legal repercussions with this nofollow.  Especially with Google kicking people out of the index for selling or buying links.

Q:  Is it fair to say in some industries whitehat seo is out the window?

Ralph:  Yes, absolutely.  Porn, Diet, Pharma.  Forget about it.

Teddy:  I agree, Google wants relevancy, but spam is just overwhelming.

Dave:  Tim Maier of Yahoo put it perfectly, white hat in these industries is like bringing a knife to a gun fight.

Q:  What do you do if someone is maliciously lining to you?

Dave:  Do it back to them, there's not much you can't do.  If you report it, you run the risk being banned by Google, because they won't believe you.

Q:  Has the value of fresh content diminished at all?
Steve:  Fresh content generates content.  As long as your site is acquiring fresh links, that will help.

Ralph:  If you don't put up fresh content regularly, your site runs the risk of dropping in rank.

Teddy:  I think it deals with the industry.  Changing all the time has no value for some sites.  Blogs and news sites are different.  Speed is really important.

Li's Notes:
This was a really great session.  A lot of great discussion and even Adam Lasnik was in the room.  He mentioned that the request for a page on NoFollow like I requested is an excellent idea and they are going to get to work on it. 

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» SES London Day One Recap from Search Engine Land: News About Search Engines & Search Marketing
SES London kicked off today and now that it is after 7pm in London, day one is over. Below is a collection of live blogging and sessions I found from the conference. If more day one coverage comes out after this post, I will add it to day two coverage.... [Read More]

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