Can You Please Them All? (Google, Yahoo!, MSN & Ask.com)

Aug 8, 2006 • 12:48 pm | comments (1) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Search Engine Strategies 2006 San Jose
 

Detlev Johnson is moderating this new session. Can you rank well in all the search engines? Or do you need to pick and choose. This session will be a SEO session on that topic.

Aaron Wall from SEO Book is up first to do the macro comparison. He explains that most algorithms are always evolving, so things may change tomorrow. He then explains that a good algorithm is an algorithm that ranks MY site well. There is no such thing as a perfect algorithm, the results show some keys as to how the algorithm are made up, in pieces. Many webmasters see their rankings go down, and they immediately think that they have been penalized, it can just mean an algorithm update occurred. Sometimes some of the infrastructure and algorithms have side affects; i.e. Google Sandbox and Big Daddy update, sometimes things go wrong at Google. Also there are new publishing formats like the wikipedia and blogs that create new algorithmic holes.

Yahoo has been focused on being pretty literal, meaning if you search for "dog fight cats" it would look for that phrase specifically. They have changed last week to be more like Google. He still sees link exchanges and some blog spam doing well in Yahoo. Yahoo may be slightly more commercial bias then others.

MSN is new to the game, relative. Link graph was heavily spammed by the time they got in; they like new sites, bursty links. They focus a lot more on on-page factors, and the algorithm is very literal.

Google has been very focused on search, they bias towards information information resources. They are good at determining true link quality. Place more weight on domain level trust (old trusted domains do well). Google has aggressive duplicate content filters. Looks much more at linguistic patterns than the other engines and filters out some hyper focused pages.

Ask focuses on topical communities, limited market share, and not studied as closely as the other engines due to their limited distribution.

He then shows off spam in the various engines.

Dave Davies is next up to get into more SEO tips. Assumptions made here are that this is a new site in moderate competition. The site architecture and URL should have key content towards the top of the page, the code to content ratio should be smartly done, table structures (go CSS), also if you can't go with table structures that he will illustrate in a second, and search engine friendly URLs are important. He then shows the table structure slide illustrating how you can try to nudge your content towards the top even with tables. He says MSN is easiest, then Yahoo and then Google. Factors; age, content, keyword density, how the page fares in the results (he said clicks on those listings matter), and your backlinks. He explains that when you try to adjust things to rank well in other engines, you need to be concerned over all the factors. He said he rather be on page three of Google then page one on MSN (hmmm, bold statement). It is important to look at your stats to determine this, such as referrer analysis, keyword analysis including current rankings, path analysis, "most desired action" analysis. Content adjustment; ease of minor keyword density adjustments, frequency of the spidering (frequency of content changing), authority of the content, internal pages getting indexed quickly. He ran over time and decided to end his presentation early.

Michael Murray from Fathom was next up. You can please them all at once to a degree. But get real, it is not easy to pull that off. MSN is easy, Yahoo is real fickle - it sometimes slow to come around, Google is easy but takes a long time - you need to give them a dozen roses, a box of chocolates and a nice big diamond ring. He shows how he ranked a page well for "Ground Testers" in Google (#5), MSN (#4) and Yahoo (#4) relatively quickly. Be careful with the broad versus specific words (speak to different search engine users), testing (start with tough keywords and phrases) and beware of greed (same page, multiple rankings). Tools; Google 300 (inhouse tool they use), WordTracker KEI, Web analytics, Sales data, Charting performance and influence of root words. Titles should emphasis keywords, they get ranking first, don't necessarily ID section of the site and keyword repetition but without overkill. He shows some examples... Meta data; keyword location, corporate name, butchered grammar, attribute, length, keyword repetition blended. Shows an example... Content; page freeze at any point (CVS), track cache dates (select, diverse pages), breaking up isn't hard to do (if you can't win on an engine), home page is your best bet.

Rahul Lahiri from Ask.com is on the QA but no presentation.

Content here is written in real time, please excuse any typos and other grammar issues.

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Comments:

Mike Marshall

08/08/2006 06:42 pm

This is a very interesting topic. We have found that focusing on the competitive landscape specific to the keyphrase (rather than to generalized SE behavior) is of great value when trying to achieve good rankings in all of Google, Yahoo, and MSN. (cf. The following <a href="http://www.fortuneinteractive.com/laptop.php" target="_blank">SEMLogic report</a>)

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