Open Q & A under Danny Sullivan, to the panel which includes Mike Grehan, Bruce Clay, Todd Freisen, and David Naylor.
Q: I have a huge site, template driven, city, state templates, why do some search engines not index the whole thing? Like MSN? A: They all say MSN has deep crawl issues.
Q: Please make comments about the last Yahoo! algorithmic changes? She has one whitehat Web site, which has disappeared from Yahoo! A: DaveN said Yahoo! has been looking throughout the social network to find footprints. You might have some past issues. So email them and ask them to fix it. Mike said that for his major clients, rarely anything ever changes. On the less frequent queries, Yahoo! has been doing all whacky things (tail keywords). DaveN clarifies that he has been noticing that Yahoo! still ranks you well for a specific keyword phrase but it takes you to a more top level page, and not to the most direct page. Yahoo! is working on it now.
Danny then goes into Yahoo! MyWeb 1.0/2.0 features.
Q: I work for a site that has about a million pages in Google but a week ago, the homepage dropped out of the index. He spoke with Google and they said that his site is not penalized, but it will come back shortly. They just updated the index and it will come back. A: Bruce said this does happen and it does come back pretty quickly. There was a flurry of this with 302 hi-jacks. Also if people have server issues. Danny gets the site example is cardirect.com and if you search in Google for cars direct, the jupiter media affiliate link comes up. Todd asks if he is 301 redirecting it, he is not. Its nice to see them all review this stuff online.
Q: The SEs talk about how it is evil to buy links. But yet you can buy links from Yahoo! Directory. There is a directory of directories listed by PageRank. What do you guys think of those types of links? A: Todd said picking up a link from directories will never be a problem. If you get 500,000 links overnight, that might be an issue. DaveN said you have to realize that the search engines lie to you. DaveN said look at how Yahoo! Travel buys links on search engine watch to rank well for travel. Mike said he used to buy text links in newsletters and now those are archived and they have links for $75 forever. He describes how to find these types of links, search for "gold newsletters." Bruce said the only ad he buys is the one on SEW for $5,000 per month. Danny said he doesn't get a commission. He gets about a 120 targeted visitors per day. He said how he once moved many of his links from one site to a different one, and the site he moved them FROM actually increased in rankings. Bruce said, buy for the traffic. Danny pulled up Google's Webmaster Quality Guidelines.
Q: The delay in powerful rankings, i.e. SandBox. In New York someone said something about a 301 redirect from an existing page with pop it out. He did it, and it worked. Does theme matter when doing a 301 redirect to give that site a way out of the SandBox? A: Mike said, if they link to a brand new site from one of the large brand sites, it doesn't have an issue. But without that link, it sits. Bruce said, he is not a believer of the sandbox theory. He said the links the sites get are unnatural, he feels this is what is going on. On the flip side, if someone comes up with the cure of cancer and gets a billion different links overnight from all different IP addresses, then that is natural. Bruce said, it looks unnatural. Todd said this worked for some, didn't work for all. Everyone has theories and no one really knows. IMO, Todd is dead right. Mike said the search engines know which sites are popular, and they know user behavior. Danny brought up hosingmaps.com, which didn't exist until april and shows how it ranks number one "housing maps". One reason they are not sandboxed is because it was Matt Cutts's old roommate (kidding) but its a popular site.
Q: Structuring a multi-language site, 14 languages, the problem is the .com, .co.uk and so on. How do I make sure they rank well in the respective local engines? A: Mike asks where are you hosting them? In each respective country, and that is a good thing. Bruce said get links from those sites ranking well in those engines and it will help.
Q: What tools do you use to check rankings, and make your job easier? A: There is a session today named "My SEM Toolbox", go to that.
Q: Extension of multiple languages...We have an European site with the Queen's English. Is there a duplicate content issue? They are hosted both on .coms and they are both hosted in the USA. A: The panel is unsure, depends. DaveN: But you are doing it for a legitimate use. If you want to be safe, change file names, and so on. Danny said move it to a server in the UK. But he said you should be fine.
Q: Site structure question, with local information, using subdomain. i.e. city.foo.com vs. food.com/city A: Mike said If you go to about.com you will see that they use subdomains well. Use that as a guideline. Bruce said subdomains was a great way, in the past, to boost PR. Now Bruce said it doesn't matter either way. It depends on the site. DaveN said subdomain names scare him, he used them in the past often, but never uses them again. He said don't use them because spammers used it a ton and if they blow up the spammers, there will be collateral damage.
Q: Yahoo! Instant Messenger as being a factor towards rankings? A: Yahoo! tries to use user data but you are probably confusing personalization. Danny said he is not sure if Yahoo! Messenger has MyWeb built into it. Danny explains that this stuff is now moving to your desktop. Mike adds that he was talking with one of the data guys at Yahoo! and he said that how would it be if you just types a query in and you got the answer right away. DaveN bought an ISP just to see user patterns. Google has larger access then DaveN. HitWise buys data from ISPs, its crazy stuff. SEOs screw around with their data, so they give us APIs and SiteExplorer. So they get as much data as possible from as many sources as possible. DaveN adds, if Google is reading my gmail account, he will have loads of gmail accounts where he has them talk to each other about all his wonderful sites ;). Mike said personalized search is changing the idea of having a #1 result.
Q: What are industry best practices for testing purposes? I don't want affect my rankings by testing. A: Bruce said Just noindex those test pages, just for your PPC. Todd adds you can add a referrer and serve up pages to test based on that. But if that page does well, you want to switch, then your worried if your rankings drop. Most of the time it won't, depending on how you do it.
Side note: Mike says duplicate content issue, do a search on a paper named "mirror mirror on the web" to learn about it.
Forum discussion SEW Forums.