This super session is moderated by Brett Tabke. On the panel are some big names in search including; Mike Grehan, Daron Babin, Bruce Clay and Todd Friesen (now works for Range Online Media!!!!). He says many of the panelist did both the blackhat and whitehat stuff. This is an open forum, but before hand they will talk each for two minutes.
Mike Grehan, chief executive officer Smart Interactive Ltd. He said he just had a conversation with Yahoo!'s chief scientist (cant spell his name), he was talking about bandwidth usage on some search sites. He was explaining what the search engines know about the SEOs and end user galaxy. You would be amazed at what the search engines know about the end user. The future of search looks pretty interesting.
Bruce Clay, President Bruce Clay, LLC He is more concerned with the SEO side of things, a well rounded SEO project. He doesn't focus just on links, just on server, just on content - he does it all or nothing. His focus is on improving the quality of Web sites. Its not the job of an SEO to make a pig fly but rather making an eagle soar. We are working with things not under our control and doing what we can with them.
Daron Babin, CEO NewGen Broadcasting Daron is more practicle. He looks at user intent, and says half of his clients are morons. Education is a large part of SEO, but also reeducating yourself, search is constantly changing. Its a reactive business. It requires proactive thought to look at what end user intent and not what ones brand is. Daron is an "intent" guy. He said times he will deploy cloaking when his client won't let the design go.
Todd Friesen, Range Online Media He has two philosophies, (1) his past about brut force SEO, where he didn't want to put in effort in content, etc. "Push button marketing" where you link spam blogs, etc. Entirely game the current search environment. Burn domains, bogus whois. (2) Now his philosophy is shifting more to white-hat, even when he was in the affiliate business. He started actually building more content and more web sites. So now he is working with fortune 500s and he has to be more careful. Fortune 500s have lots of links. What he finds with them is that these fortune 500 sites are no search engine friendly and not easy to update. They work around on how to "fix" these content management systems. Current philosophy is working with the search engines on their client behalf. They will help you out.
Time for open forum part...
Q: LSI and the effect it will have in the future? A: Daron said he thinks its huge. He said the one thing the dark arts do is drive better search. Search engines plug the loopholes (spam). LSI has been something the coming of contextual relevance. He said it has force guys like Todd to put a white-hat on. Mike responds that LSI is a method for an engine to deal with words that have two or three meanings. It is very difficult to optimize around LSI. It is not a ranking method. (Perfect Mike! but I hope the audience got it) Bruce said his thought on LSI has been in his mind for a long long time. We need to figure out how we use other words on the page to help the search engine understand what you are talking about. Our job as an SEO is help people understand what the page is about. Todd says he has not seen LSI implemented today. Mike said; Susan Dumais lead scientist at MSN, she is a leader in this area for a long time now. Daron said Mike is right, LSI has been around for a while, LookSmart discussed it. Bruce adds that it also helps you rank for words related to that page and not just that phrase.
Q: What is the key differences between optimizing between Yahoo! and Google? A: Bruce answers that if you see different results on a search engine you can say that half is right and half is wrong. He then brings up Yahoo! Mindset to explain user intent on a search. He said Google leans to research engine (in his opinion) and Yahoo leans to shopping end. He said Google and Yahoo! handle links differently. Mike said Google outright prefers .gov sites. Google and Yahoo! results are pretty similar, they differ on more niche sites. Daron said he sees in the PPC (porn pill and casino) arena that you typically have several different approaches with Google then Yahoo!. Yahoo! is easier he said. He said its all about risk tolerance and intent. He said Text-Link-Ads.com is the last standing company in this area, because of the way they market.
Q: Reinclusion and the difference between Google and Yahoo! A: Todd said to get a second look from Yahoo! use paid inclusion, SiteMatch.
Q: The scrapes are becoming a big issue for him. Is there a way to stop these scrapers? And he gets links from these scraper sites and its bad. He is worried about stolen content and links from bad sites. A: Todd; You really can't do much to stop them, they will work around anything you do to try to stop them. He said do not publish full RSS feeds (I do but let the scrapers take it).
Q: How do you use RSS? A: Daron said he loves RSS, he said he just was on the RSS Panel where he podcasts his WebmasterRadio.FM. he recaps some of the SEOing of the RSS feeds, see that session. He said he doesn't see much future in RSS Search spamming. Mike said for original material, RSS is great to build links.
Q: Google has authority to rank information resources sites well. What is the best way to become an information resource? A: Mike said by a .gov. He said its difficult. Bruce said he uses information words "how to", "tips", "information", etc. "Buy Now", "Add to Cart" those shopping words go into graphics. He said the size of the page isnt really that important, but big is good. Mike adds that search engines us a taxonomy to figure out user intent (informational, transactional, and navigational search queries).
Q: The recent Google patent, talk about it? A: Mike said that Google is good at making smoke screens (since Matt Cutt's name is on it). TrustRank is is about seasoning, must look natural. Daron said its a bit "iffy" still. An other example is the "nofollow attribute" which is not well thought out. Mike quickly adds, yea, look at PageRank.
Q: Thoughts on domain name registration? A: Daron said he wouldnt be surprised. Bruce said he auto-renews one year at a time. He thinks Google looks at the time you register first. Google also looks at the whois information. If you have 100+ sites under the same registrar whois, and they are linked together, be careful.
Q: Brett asks what is your current thinking on linking? A: Mike said its the most important area right now. Todd agreed. Daron agreed and then goes into making affiliate programs search engine friendly and gives you linkage. Bruce adds the value of the link outside of search rankings (branding).