Google Two point Uh – oh

Recently Google released what is being called Google 2.0 or Universal Search. Through this release Google has added some of the other search engine results to the main web search results page. Things like Maps, Image, Video and Books search results are being displayed. While this might be a good thing for those times in which you are actually looking for a map and can’t seem to find the link to the Google Map search engine, however, when you are not looking for a map this feature just gets in the way.

The same thing can be said for the Image and Video results. What if I am just looking for a variety of information on a topic and I am not interested in where the topic is on a map or if some writer has written a book on the subject. Heaven forbid my search query be a popular topic for would be film makers who have posted some home movie on another of Google’s properties,

This morning I went to Google and typed in Vancouver Film School as I wanted to see what summer workshops they had available for teenagers. Suspecting that the Vancouver Film School used something other than as their web address, I knew that Google would be able to point me to the right address within the first few pages.

Under Google’s new Universal Search platform I have to say that I didn’t really like their new search results. First thing that I noticed was a big display for a Google map that pointed out 3 locations. Had I not known where the VFS was located this might have been helpful but seeing as I wasn’t requesting that information, I found it to be wasted space.

The next thing I noticed was that due to the amount of space required for the map layout there was only one website displayed above the fold. For those of you who do not know what above the fold means; this is the term used to describe what a web viewer sees prior to scrolling.

One website displayed above the fold in the organic search seems a little silly to me seeing as most eye tracking studies show that users generally only really view the top 3 results in search engines. With those 3 top results now going to other Google products, I have to wonder what the real point of this Universal Search is.

Remember the term I used earlier “above the fold”? Well with only 1 organic result displayed above the fold we have to take a look at what else is available above the fold. As I said earlier I was doing a search Vancouver Film School and have placed the link so you can take a look at the results.

In the organic results we now see the top links going to 5 references to Google maps and 1 link to the site which is also fortunate enough to carry site links. For those of you who do not know what site links are; site links are generated when a site ranks highly for a search term and that site generates significant traffic to a variety of the pages within the site. Site links are nice things to have but if your site doesn’t get a lot of targeted traffic, I wouldn’t bank on getting them any time soon.

Back to “above the fold” – Not a lot of choices as far as organic results go but luckily for me I knew what I was looking for and my query was answered without having to scroll. Being the curious sort I took a look around the whole page and noticed that while there was only 1 organic listing above the fold, there certainly was no shortage of sponsored listings. One sponsored ad at the top of the page and another five PPC ads on the right hand side of the page.

Now I can’t speak for anybody else but to me it certainly looks as though Google is now placing the emphasis on their own products such as Google Maps, Google Video and the Omni present Google Ads. No one can blame Google for wanting to make more money as they haven’t got all of it yet but, just don’t try to convince us that the reason behind Google 2.0 is to deliver us a better search experience.

Granted, if I was looking for maps and cheesy videos and I didn’t want to waste my time by concentrating on using specialized search tools then this would seem ideal. However, sometimes while doing searches I am looking for a wide variety of sites to see as many different opinions as I can and not just what Google thinks I should be looking for by force feeding me their sponsored ads.

About the Author
Les Romhanyi, Port Coquitlam, BC. Canada

Les Romhanyi is an SEO specialist with many years experience placing websites at the top of all major search engines. Big Juice Media is a Sports Betting Marketing company based in Canada.

We are not Spammers! You sure about that???

Well well well – what did I get in my inbox this morning? You guessed it, more emails from the same people I wrote about a few days ago. If you recall their email said that…

NOTE: We are not spammers and are against spamming of any kind.We are sending this mail with sole intention of link exchange for mutual benefit.If you are not intersted in Link Exchange then you can reply simply “NO”, We will never contact you again.

It seems that they do not live up to their claims regarding contact as I clearly sent them email say “NO”. Hell I even went a little further and included some other information in my request, might have been about “sex and travel” or it could have been something about “autonomous sexual relations”. Any way it really doesn’t matter as I clearly spelled out the word “NO” and clearly they do not understand the concept of NO.

These latest emails came with another invitation to be excluded from further contact.

NOTE: We are not spammers and are against spamming of any kind.We are sending this mail with sole intention of link exchange for mutual benefit.If you are not intersted in Link Exchange then you can reply simply “NO”, We will never contact you again and also if you have already added our link on your sites then please change our following link info(Title,Description) given as bellow.For this we give you a new link back from my other relevant and quality site.

Now it seems that I will have to go one step further and contact the company that hired this outsourced SEM service and let them know that while they may be saving some money by employing some India based SEM sweat shop, they are in fact hurting their reputation by using them. Does the money you save by outsourcing equal the potential loss of reputation? I highly doubt it.

We are not Spammers?

How often do you receive unsolicited email that starts off with the line “We are not spammers”? These types of email usually have something to do with a request for a link trade. The sad part is that they usually offer to do a 3 way link exchange where they offer to put your link on some useless domain that doesn’t offer a hope in being taken seriously as a directory, and request that you give them a link to their main site.

Here is an exact copy of the first part of the email;
NOTE: We are not spammers and are against spamming of any kind.We are sending this mail with sole intention of link exchange for mutual benefit.If you are not intersted in Link Exchange then you can reply simply “NO”, We will never contact you again.

I have once again requested that these dip shits stop sending me emails, I wonder what part of the word “NO” they don’t understand, perhaps the quotation marks are throwing them off?

Every once in a while I will have a little fun with these “outsourced” so called experts and respond with something like this;

“I would love to exchange links with you on this condition – you link to my site from your main site and I will link to your shitty site (site’s name left in on purpose) with some spammy, phoney, link directory site that I will develop specifically for you.”

Of course just to avoid any confusion I don’t use quotation marks. Perhaps what I will attempt next time is to translate the above mentioned response into a whole bunch of languages so that I can have a hope that these sweat shop “experts” might finally understand.

These websites that use outsourced SEO services, perhaps you need to take a look at what these companies are doing for your properties. Myself, when I get these spam emails from the same services over and over again I make note of the main website they are trying to build the link popularity for and I go out of my way to inform my counterparts for this industry to avoid that site like the plague.

Yahoo Directories Can Hurt Your Site!

About 1 year ago I contacted the fine people at Yahoo to find out why I could never get a client’s site indexed beyond the main index page. After checking to make sure that the site wasn’t in violation of any of their rules I sent an email to Yahoo to discuss my findings.

The only thing that I could discern was that the earliest information regarding this domain was still being listed in several of their directories. Normally this wouldn’t be a bad thing but seeing as the site changed ownership and focus back in 1996, the old directory listings are completely wrong.

Provided with this information it was fairly easy for someone at Yahoo to ascertain that this was the issue and I was told that they would address this issue soon. They even went so far as to extend to me an invitation to send in follow up questions to which I only received a standard form email, totally unacceptable! Well it has been a long time now and Yahoo doesn’t seem to want to address this issue.

After a few months of waiting I asked if it would be helpful if I were to resubmit my client’s site to the directories and paid for re-inclusion. Typically – I got the standard form response once again. With this kind of customer service is it any wonder that is losing market and search share?

My only hope now is that someone over a Yahoo might read this and become concerned enough about their product to try to improve it. While I can’t reveal the site here, as that would not be appropriate to this forum, I can assure those of you who might read this; the site is obviously an old site and probably one that predates Yahoo itself.

If the Yahoo directories are so flawed that it takes more than 11 years to update the information contained within, what good are they? If these old directories are having a negative effect on my client’s site and have been doing so for more than a decade, I can only suggest that if Yahoo refuses to fix this issue then I would strongly suggest caution to those webmasters who were thinking of including their sites within the Yahoo directories.

It would be cool if someone from Yahoo were to contact me through a private email in this forum and follow up on this issue.