PubCon Here I Come

I’ll be attending my first PubCon, starting today! Being trapped in-house doing SEO work, I always look forward to these conferences because they are my only chance to speak SEO with others. I find it valuable to speak to the wide range of people, from Google engineers to out-of-country black-hat search-spammers. Knowing what each is doing can help you build a strategy that will ensure the long-term success of your search placements because many of the algorithms are built in an effort to weed out spam, even at the cost of well-intentioned sites.

MSN Duplicate Content Oversensitivity Being Exploited

MSN Search, being the newest of the big engines, is still trying to get a handle on search spam and had been slowly chipping away at it, but the problems are now getting worse since the switch to MSN Live.

In particular, MSN’s duplicate content algorithm penalties are too sensitive and too severe, causing a simple hack to be an effective way to remove a competitor’s site from the rankings. Let’s hope MSN fixes this right away and even takes notes as to who threw up content hoping to exploit it once it became known.

Credit to ThreadWatch for the find.

Google Acquires Jotspot

Google snaps up another Web 2.0 company. This time it is Jotspot. Jotspot is a wiki platform allowing for groups to colloborate, including via spreadsheets, calendars, email and more. In my opinion, wikis have a promising future. Wikipidedia has already proven the model, but once wikis become popular in smaller niches we’ll really see what their potential is. Though I don’t know the terms of the deal, this was a smart purchase by Google (can’t say the same about YouTube).

If you look at Google’s purchases, most of them would be deemed software purchases rather than content purchases, which is good. They are products that help people find things or enable them in some way. When Google starts purchasing content sites, I’ll be worried. Who wants their content finder to also be the content producer? Its like the many AOL users who don’t realize their is a whole “Web” to discover outside of the AOL blinders.

Of the major search engines, Yahoo seems to be most inclined to buy content sites. Google base was a project where Google came close to being a “publisher.” The project has changed over time and I must say I was unimpressed with it. Spending 5 minutes in base, you’ll easily see why most people choose to go to the existing leaders in job listings, real estate, autos, hotels, recipes, etc.

George Dubya Uses “The Google”

It is no surprise that George Bush uses Google, but what is funny in this Maria Bartiromo interview is how George refers to Google. He calls it “The Google.”

Bush Google
Click on the image to view the video on another site.

He mentions using Google to look at satellite images of “The Ranch.” I wouldn’t be surprised if Intelligence uses web maps as well. I remember when I was in the financial industry, brokerage companies were complaining that their employees were using Yahoo Finance instead of their own in-house tools. It serves as a reminder that users will often choose usability over the quality or quantity of data.

Danny Sullivan Announces His Plans

After a couple months of pondering, search industry leader Danny Sullivan announced his future plans. Judging from his post, Incisive media is paying Danny to help them transition SES to a new chair. Danny will chair SES New York in April ’07, co-chair SES San Jose in August and will be a speaker at SES Chicago in Dec. ’07. For Search Engine Watch, Danny’s last day will be November 30th.

By working together, Incisive will do a better job of keeping the SES business going and Danny bought himself some time to develop a new publication and events. According to his post, Danny will be creating a new search blog and will host events on his own.

As one of many people who begged Danny to continue doing what he is doing, but for himself, I’m glad to see Danny finally announce his plans this morning.