Friday, February 25, 2005

no more resumes needed

SEM | ANTICS is happy to announce our new VP of Worldwide Marketing, so please stop sending us resumes. All we really wanted was someone who could say "hello" with such global flair. After that, we're certain our product speaks for itself.

Thanks to the Yahoo Search Blog, as found at Yahoo! Video Search.

robots.vexed

People are always experimenting with ways to further decrease the traffic to their sites. If you don't have time to wait for Google to ban you, you can always just ban yourself.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

googlebot, reverse psychology, and you

Last week we started watching a thread at WMW called "Inclusion in the Google Index," in which several members (who currently exclude googlebot from their sites via robots.txt) claimed to have received emails from Google encouraging them to open up their sites to Google.

The thread quickly turns into yet another "Google sucks" thread, with some criticisms that seem quite legitimate, and others that cross the line into whiny. At one point, a poster tries to gather support by asking,
Who's in for a "Google Free Site" with its own little logo, webring and a page explaining why more and more webmasters are blocking the google bot….this should/will hit prime time news in no time.

Maybe we should start a yahoo group on this topic. Lets teach them PHD's to stop messing with the web's heart & soul....us webmasters.
This is, of course, admirable, but it reminded us of the scene in Animal House in which Bluto (after the memorable reference to the Germans bombing Pearl Harbor) tried to drum up support against Dean Wormer, Greg Marmalard, et al.:
"And it ain't over now. 'Cause when the goin' gets tough...
[thinks hard]
the tough get goin'! Who's with me? Let's go!"
... then ran, alone, out of the room, assuming all the others were right behind him.

But given the recent Allegra update, at nine pages and counting, the WMW thread misses obvious question. If your site is a poor performer at Google - heavily penalized, sandboxed, or outright banned - could it be a smart idea to refuse entry to Googlebot, thus, apparently, piquing its interest? If you ban the bot for a few months, clean up your site, and then let the bot back in, could that be one way to clean your site's slate and have Google give it a fresh look? Idle speculation, of course, but worth checking out.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

seo ethics: a respectful whistle

We keep a pretty close eye on the forums at Search Engine Watch and most of the other reputable SEO sites. We're not really in the business of rehashing the same tired debates (the forums do a pretty good job of that themselves) for you, but we do like to tell you when things take an interesting turn.

At SEW, like with most of them, it's never the wrong time to explain ethical SEO. Just when one thread dries up, someone new joins and asks exactly what "white hat" means. This would be fine if any two people would actually agree on a definition.

So the current ethics thread has the typical amount of chest thumping, self-congratulation, and condescension, along with a kernel of helpfulness tossed in here and there. But somewhere into the discussion, things get a little strange, with the assertion that typically, ethical SEOs won't tell you that they're ethical, because pitching yourself as an ethical SEO is generally a tactic of unethical SEOs. Thus we can be reasonably certain that anyone claiming ethics is, naturally, unethical.

Not a particularly disturbing issue in an industry where the presence of framed content is still considered valid SEO discussion, but it reminds us of a passage from Joseph Heller:
There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one's safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn't, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn't have to; but if he didn't want to he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle.
SEM | ANTICS is moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of SEO Ethics, but we fear that saying so might make us appear to be unmoved.

Back soon; more missions to fly...

Monday, February 21, 2005

since 1990?

That's right. 1990. That's how long we've been keeping an eye on search engine optimization.

Well, maybe not that long. Actually, the reference is a tribute to a link reciprocation request we just received, from a man who has, shall we say, a lot of experience in SEO.

Shortly after requesting a link to his Resources page (which, btw, returns a 404), here's what he had to say about his experience in the biz (with my emphasis added):
I don't have a link farm, no pop-ups, no adult content. I do have 15 years experience doing Search Engine Optimization. We might be able to refer clients to you and we might attract business for each other.
So a year before Tim Berners-Lee announced the WWW as a "project," our link reciprocator was hard at work, optimizing - who knows - college ftp servers for Archie searches?

That, friends, is an Internet pioneer.