Threadwatch Weekly Round Up - 25th - 31st Oct 2004

Happy Halloween! And it certainly has been a week full of tricks and treats, full of skullduggery in the forums, black hatted wizards intent on total SERPS domination and more than a few darstardly intrigues and devious plots...


On with the show: Here's the weeks best of the best seo forum and blog discussions with news and mayhem threads largely filtered out. Follow the title link above for the full list.

Auto Generating Content - A Contentious Issue at Best

Thread Title: Beta Testers wanted for Text Content Development Tool Thread Url: Thread Description:

There are few tools floating around the web that will generate seemingly natural language text for you. Often such tools are found on academic sites in the context of language research, and others are passed around under the table by SEO's of a darker nature.

Typically used to generate KW rich pages by the thousand and (if the creator of such a site is smart) cloaked against prying competitors eyes. I've seen this used for adsense in particular and for redirecting human SE referals directly to affiliate merchants.

SEW Forums - Gaining Reputation as a Rough Crowd?

Thread Title: Professionalism and Quality of Information Thread Url: Thread Description:

This is an interesting thread in many ways. The new(ish) Forums have, currently, probably the highest level of professional SEO discussions available to forum surfers. The skill level in there is extremely high, and many of the conversations are quite a few notches above most of the other SEO forums out there.

Yahoo - Serious about RSS

Thread Title: Yes, we're serious about RSS Thread Url: Thread Description:

Jeremy Zawodny talks about a lunchtime meeting with Dave Sifry of Technorati and Tantek Celek of box model hack fame about Yahoo's RSS drive.

Friday Funny :: Traffic Power at it Again?

Thread Title: 1P / Traffic Power Fake SEO Forums Thread Url: Thread Description:

EDIT: The post has been deleted at SEW, here's a deadlink to the original: http:/***/

Outstanding. Truly, outstanding.

A first time poster at SEW Forums just posted in the looong 1p/TP thread citing the entire "article" about how TP have been visciously attacked by unmoderated forums and blogs by blog and forum owners attempting to steal TP's business.

PR Geek Alert: Why does PR appear to be smaller for many sites?

Thread Title: Google Directory Update - PR drops for sites Thread Url: Thread Description:

Veteran WebProWorld posters take tunrs thoughtfully explaining the reason for the drop in PR that many, many sites experienced during the last update. They also discuss why PageRank is kept and average of 1 and the implications of this as the web's number of pages grows.

Google Quick Tip List

Thread Title: What is your best Google Tip? Thread Url: Thread Description:

DP forum members give their "best tips" for optimizing for Google. just skim over it, you'll find a couple of neat things in there amongst the obvious, the untrue and the downright dumb...

PhilC - Banned at WebProWorld

Thread Title: I'm banned from WPW Thread Url: Thread Description:

Hey, give me a break, it's a boring evening out there in seo forum land ok! hehe...

PhilC of WebWorkShop has had his account disabled at WebProWorld - turns out that Phil hasnt been there in 3weeks and only just noticed..

PhilC's a troublemaker, or maybe he just gets into trouble, i dont know him well enough to say for sure, but it's because of this that I like him :-) he's an interesting fella..

What are webproworld up to? I understand they're a little trigger happy on bannings over there...

Geo IP Redirection - Redirecting Based on Language/Geo Prefs.

Thread Title: Geo redirect / ip detection Thread Url: Thread Description:

Some good links to commercial solutions for Geo/IP detection and redirection and a great php example of how to redirect based on the HTTP_ACCEPT_LANGUAGE header sent with browsers.

I've never looked into it very closely but there are problems with both methods I think:

IP redirection can be quite inaccurate as I understand it and people like me who live abroad but do not speak the native language well hate being redirected..

Directory Madness - 2 for Penny or a Dime for a Dozen

Thread Title: Are Directories the new FFL? Thread Url: Thread Description:

Funny i should happen across this at SearchGuild, i've been meaning to write somthing similar somewhere for a few weeks...

I mean, really, what the hell is it with this crap? - every tom dick and sally has a damn directory and the forums are littered with webmasters offering free inclusion into this directory or another...

Brad writes:

Back when link pop first got started, Free For all Links FFL sites became all the rage. Then the search engines started filtering them out then they pretty much died from the SEO cannon.

So now directories are springing up faster than ever, riding the current internet bubble and insatiable demand for links.

Are directories going to become the next FFL and get filtered? Can they be filtered? Should they be filtered?

I tend to think yes, they'll either get filtered or whacked, one way or another this madness will probably end with a swift kick in the nuts from the search engines. Most of these things are poorly thought out and badly executed.

I dont do much technical research, but i listen to those that do and word on the cyberstreet has it that these kinds of poor mans links are already being discounted...

How Much are you Paying your Copywriters?

Thread Title: What to Pay for Copywriting? Thread Url: Thread Description:

wmw member moltar asks:

How much do you usually (would you) pay to a content writer (student) for a 500 - 1000 word article? Writer does all the research. I just provide with topic and a small keyword selection

You'd think a typical boring bag of crap would follow but in comes EileenC a professional copywriter with some angry things to say about paying a pittance to underqualifieds for valuable web copy:

Tools for Yahoo Rank Measurement

Thread Title: Anyone know of a GOOD Yahoo SERPS tool? Thread Url: Thread Description:

A small thread as yet but some interesting toys to play with on the subject of Yahoo rankings. I think the one presented by SEOGuy member vivekar is the best: :-)

Page Layout & Eye Movement

Thread Title: Page Layout & Eye Movement Thread Url: Thread Description:

Forum admin JohnScott at V7N points out a facinating study on page layout and design and the way people read.

There's an enormous amount to be learned from this study but Poynter Institute who are responsible for the Eyetrack 3 research do point out that Eyetrack is not a solution:

Fundamentally, however, the Eyetrack results are just one more tool to help journalists do their jobs better.

Here are a couple of choice quotes to whet you appetite:

While testing our participants' eye movements across several news homepage designs, Eyetrack III researchers noticed a common pattern: The eyes most often fixated first in the upper left of the page, then hovered in that area before going left to right. Only after perusing the top portion of the page for some time did their eyes explore further down the page.

Dominant headlines most often draw the eye first upon entering the page -- especially when they are in the upper left, and most often (but not always) when in the upper right. Photographs, contrary to what you might expect (and contrary to findings of 1990 Poynter eyetracking research on print newspapers), aren't typically the entry point to a homepage. Text rules on the PC screen -- both in order viewed and in overall time spent looking at it.

emphasis mine.

There's a wealth of useful and facinating data here, make some coffee, set aside a good hour and go read it...

GoogleGuy Surfaces at SEW

Thread Title: Thread Url: Thread Description:

Acording to oilman Matt Cutts - aka GoogleGuy has not been his usual chatty self at WebmasterWorld since a little before the IPO.

GG, has resurfaced at SEW Forums in the thread linked above. Famous for his PR skills (public relations) and consumate manipulation of public opinion of SPAM, Cutts (if it is the same guy of course..) appears to have come out of hiding.. (he's also famous for engineering the safe search filter at G but hey, that's not nearly as much fun ;-)

Jerry Yang of Yahoo! on the Future of Search

Thread Title: Jerry's Take On What's Next in Search Thread Url: Thread Description:

Search as a problem is still far from being solved. The user is in the driver's seat: they want an experience that is increasingly personal, more relevant, and ties into their task more integrally. Search is just a way to get that integrated experience, but it's all about what the users want - when they want it, how they want it, and who they want it from.

Jeremy hit on it in a recent blog entry; we have to "make search more relevant and personal." Those two things are the natural progression for search and they are tightly connected to our concept of seamless integration. Search has to reach a higher bar: it has to enhance the user's life on a daily basis. Integration of search, community, personalization and content builds the foundation for relevancy in people's lives.

SE Friendly Commercial Forum Scripts

Thread Title: Best forum product - advice needed Thread Url: Thread Description:

DP Forum members discuss the pros, cons and major features of mostly commercial forum scripts. vBulletin takes center stage with some nice tips and links relevant to all forum softwarre.

DP memeber Patient opens with this:

I am planning for the long term and don't mind spending a few quid. I guess my priorities would be:

Forum Saturation

Thread Title: Forum Madness Thread Url: Thread Description:

Aaron Wall (seobook) reports on a whole new slew of seo forums - two of which have offered to pay him to moderate! heh! I know he finds that funny, so do i ;-)

Pick of the bunch is SEO Zip run by Threadwatch member nandini - Go check it out.

Seems everyone and his dog has an seo forum these days doesnt it? - not a bad think IMO, there was a time when there was only wmw really worth visiting..

PR Prowler - Tool Discussion and Reviews

Thread Title: Pr Prowler? Thread Url: Thread Description:

Once you get past the quite amusing observations that PR Prowler has a toolbar PR of 4! You can find some nice honest sounding member reviews of the product.

The thread started a couple of months ago and is still active, if your looking for a PR tool to find link partners I hear it's not bad, but do check out the thread..

This, from SEOChat member keitht

I second that motion. Worth my hard earned bucks, it basically does what it says. My only beef is that it seems to freeze when you try and give it much higher than the stock 1000 URL's to retrieve. I can't say this for sure is a bug as I haven't tried on any other machines, but given the simplicity of the program i'd be shocked if it was actually choking because of my system. It basically just runs halfway up the process bar and won't retrieve any more URL's in numbers like 20,000.

PR 10 via 301

Thread Title: Brilliant Programmer Successfully Fools Google (not) Thread Url: Thread Description:

From DigitalPpoint.

I thought this was interesting, especially in the context of link building and for those who purchase links based on the color of the greenbar.

The thread discusses a site that cloaked for Google and 301'ed requests from Googlebot back to the ToolBar update the sneaky old so and so's home page went PR 10. The cache is a bit of a giveaway as it shows the Google home page, plus all the backlinks are from, yup

Something to consider in any future link purchasing endeavours. Caveat Emptor!

Syndication = Money :: Big Money

Thread Title: Mary Meeker Smells the Yahoo Money in Syndication Thread Url: Thread Description:

Jeremey Zowodny talks about a Market Watch story on blogs, money, syndication and Yahoo!

In a new research report, Mary Meeker writes that the inclusion of syndicated news feeds -- known as RSS, as in "rich site summary" or "really simple syndication" -- in Yahoo's My Yahoo page is playing a key role in driving blog readership and RSS usage. More readers translate into more advertising revenue opportunities, she reasons.