Elisabeth Osmeloski is the moderator.
Rand Fishkin was up first from SEOMoz. I missed the beginning since some of the speakers go thirsty and I ran to get them some liquids. His presentation is at www.seomoz.org/ses2005-site-ecg.swf - Detecting Link Popularity Manipulation Schemes is done through search for "Spam Islands". Link Vault, DigitalPoint, TrafficPower/1P and private party link schemes are out there. He said dont use these if you're not prepared for the risks. Back link over optimization penalization; over optimized anchor text, speed of link gain (new websites normally do not get links quickly, there are exceptions) , link sources (site wides, community based links, off topic links). Google's Sandbox; He defines the sandbox. The penalty or devaluation of a site by Google resulting in a vast discrepaency between ranking at Google vs. MSN, Yahoo, Teoma and Google'[s own "allin" searches. The phenomenon first observed in March 2004. Does not affect site universally. No One knows exactly what causes it. Can affect 301'd sites as well. Rumors vs. Experience in the sandbox; it does not only affect sites with only unnatural links, it affects all types of sites - also it does not only affect commercial or competitive keywords. Analyzing Web Page Text; the goal is to discover the most important terms (the focus) of the document. Search engines go through these steps; linearization, tokenization, filtration and stemming. The Term Weight Formula is TF*IDF, basically helps search engines find out what topic the page is about. Automatic Topic Classification; search engines classifying documents automatically via text analysis and constructed ontologies vs. learned categorization and text quality analysis (training algorithms to find higher quality results, measuring reading level, flow, grammar, spelling and so on to judge text quality). Click Through Rates & Visitor Analytics; click through rates in the SERPs, time spent on the pages, data from toolbars, and log file and visitor stat analysis. How Best to Optimize Web Sites & Pages Based on This Data? Natural link and content building is best, judge the links and link services with great scrutiny, and write your own text. What to Watch Out For? Visitors tracking or log analysis programs that search engines have access to, toolbars and data collected through them, tools that claim to measure keyword density or page topic, and low quality links.
Anne Kennedy from Beyond Ink was next up. What is your site's search ECG? Diagnostics & Forensics; index count, google cache, xenu link sleuth, seo-browser.com and server logs. The index count shows you a few things; look for the titles and tags showing in the SERPs with a site: command. You can tell if a page is having spidering issues with just the URL is listed. This will also show you dead links, 301 those pages (supplemental results sometimes). She then discusses supplemental results, anyone in the dynamic site business has seen some of these issues (Jake will talk more about this hopefully). Doorway pages built for search engines found with the site command. Signs of a healthy site; a good title, good snippet, cache, index count, back links and good 301s. Spam Penalty Symptoms; back links disappear, sudden drop in rankings, supplemental results appear, decreasing page count, "no information" for your domain. Avoid Risky Behavior; ffa links, doorway pages, multiple domains with different links to each, mirror sites and hidden text. ICU for Site Search Flatliners; clean up the wounded pages, excise those doorway pages, hidden text, comment tags and use Google sitemaps, yahoo site match, plead with the search engines to get back in and then be patient. She then brings up the form to contact Google, www.google.com/support/bin/request.py and type "Re-inclusion Request" in the subject line. Yahoo go to add.yahoo.com/fast/help/us/ysearch/cgi_urlstatus.
Jake Baille from TrueLocal is last up. He will give us specific things we can do. There are very few "hand bans" or penalties. What this means is that if your site drops X places you are most probably not banned. Why Ranking Changes Occur? A change (internal or external) in linking structure to/on your site, search engine algorithmic changes, link calculations, on page changes and so on. The canonical page problem; side effect of link architecture, first observed in October 2004, specific to Google and the cause is inconsistent link references to directory index page. He explains the issue with it with a diagram. Symptom: An important page drops completely for a term, being replaced by another page in a mediocre position. Solution: Consistently reference your pages. If inconsistent references are external,s et up a 301 redirect. 302 Hijacking; side effect of redirect handling, first observed it Jan. 2004, specific to Google, and cause improper decision making with respect to redirect handling. Source --> Destination. Google has an algorithm to make the decision on whether to show source or destination. That algorithm can be manipulated and redirect would be replaced: a "bait and switch." Symptom: A URL form another domain shows up with your title and description in a position you used to occupy. When you click on the link, it redirects you. Solution: contact Google. Duplicate Content Issues: This filter is totally intended. All three engines have these filters - Googles is the most sophisticated. Yahoo experiments often with this and now is pretty tight. Symptom: On a site command pages from your site have a little message after them talking about duplicate content or pages being the same. Solution: Change your pages enough so that they aren't all the same. Also consider 301 redirect form all duplicates to a main page. Slow Death; specific to Google, triggered by irregular link patterns: Google is smart enough to know that a million page site should have more than one incoming link. Slow death can be triggered by massive content copying. Be careful with affiliate feeds. Slow death is not the supplemental index, do not get them confused. Symptom: URL listed in a site query with no title or description. The URL only shows up. Solution: Get more links, or in the case of content copying, add content and get more links. Bugs: SE bugs do happen. Before reporting a bug, look at all your options to make sure its a bug. Report bugs to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
To be honest, I did not agree with everything said in these presentations. But I am just reporting on it without sharing any opinion or views. :)
Forum discussion at Search Engine Watch Forums.