The business of Search covers a wide area: web search, mobile search, video search etc - you'll find that and all the techniques, and intricacies associated with it here.

Google Flavors

Is this Google Labs tool useful for working out what theme your site has?

Basically if you put your URL in the tool will return which categories G thinks your site comes under.

I blogged about it but it seems after asking Nick that this tool has been mentioned before back in November (the forum thread talks about theme bubble, not sure how I have missed that or if it discusses an older version of the tool) but did not spark any discussion, do any Threadwatchers find this tool interesting/useful?

With what DaveN has to say about links and theming perhaps this is worthy of a little debate? ;O)

ThomasB says there's something going on at Google...

Thread Title: Big changes in Google Thread Url: Thread Description:

Seeing changes like after an old fashioned dance at the moment at The backlinks are completely the same though, which is kinda weird. The only notable difference, except the rankings, from what I currently see is that does not display the "New!" right after "Groups".

As the changes are across all keywords and it looks more like a mix-up then new sites coming in I wonder if we see another algo update. But have a look yourself: ( comes in at 8)

and there's more so follow the threadlink above. Anyone care to agree / disagree with thomas?

Im off to bed so i'll leave that one in your capable hands :)

MSN Beta to Ramp Up

Thread Title: MSN Beta to Ramp Up Thread Url: Thread Description:

msnsearch's WebLog notes that starting next week they'll increase the amount of search traffic they send to the new MSN search engine. Oshoma Momoh also points out it's still in beta and "we will officially launch it when it’s ready." Seems like a lot of search products stay in beta for a while.

Watch your backs - the Press are starting to Get It..

Thread Title: The Importance of Being Permanent Thread Url: Thread Description:

Simon Waldman of the Guardian is talking about a lot of the things that SEO's and web devs in general have been doing for years, and thought, untill now(ish) that maybe they were onto a good thing as most of the big players clearly didn't get it.

You might scoff a little, i know i did, but then why? The press are allowed to bee n00bs aswell and Simon is a good chap, i've been reading his blog since he started it and like what he has to say on many things.

He's talking about some concepts many of you will be very familiar with, such as:

Authority sites Long term Search rankings Getting other sites to link to you (oh my...)

It's a long read, but a good one. Here are a few snippets:

Why should you want today's news to be read in 12 months time when everyone will be focused on the next disaster, explosion or election?

It's important for a number of reasons, but they all move in the same direction: permanence is about ensuring you have a real presence on the Net. It is a critical part of having a distinctive identity in an increasingly homogenous landscape. It is about becoming an authority and a point of reference for debate.

Here's another example. Think of all the millions of words written by news organizations around the world about Abu Ghraib during 2004. Now go to Google and search (as suggested in the Wired article above) for Abu Ghraib, and you will find only a handful of traditional media outlets mentioned in the first few pages (fortunately, the Guardian is one). This isn't just a quirk in Google's search algorithm; this is about traditional media ceding responsibility for providing the definitive, permanent record of major events.

All that reporting effort, all that insight and expertise, all those contacts: now completely invisible to the millions who decide to use Google as their first and final tool for researching.

Detailed article about Google, MSN and the future of Search

Thread Title: What’s Next for Google Thread Url: Thread Description:

This 9 page article written by Charles Ferguson, offers few secrets but presents historic and recent knowledge in a very interesting light. This was a good reminder of how the individual bits of information fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. It provide insights on the people involved, technologies being used, search landscape, current trends and possible futures.

Large Scale Sites Taking a Hit in Google?

Ok, so im hearing rumours, and seeing some evidence that large scale sites are taking a hit in Google - in terms of the amount of pages indexed.

This may be to do with Google's big filter mystery and the rumour that G are playing around with their "results crowding" algorythms but i really dont know.

Im hearing that sites in the region of 5-50K or so are seeing a dramatic loss of pages in the index.

Thoughts Threadwatch'ers?

Advances in Image Retrieval - Looking *inside* the Image

Thread Title: Search Looks at the Big Picture Thread Url:,1282,66185,00.html Thread Description:

Wired have a great story threadlinked above on advances in image retrieval software and techniques - rather than looking at text based tags and other traditional ways of determining an images content this article looks at how a small research group are working out how to look inside an image:

A group of European researchers is developing technology that could vastly improve image searching by identifying the components of an image. The group, which includes the Xerox Research Centre Europe and universities in France, England, Sweden, Austria and Switzerland, has developed software that can recognize everyday objects in digital images, according to Christopher Dance, a senior research scientist at Xerox.

The image-processing software looks for "key patches" in an image to determine the relative positions of different shapes, such as tires and a car body, or a beach and ocean waves, to categorize the image's contents, Dance said. The software has learned hundreds of objects since development began in 2002, and "can be used to categorize images and automatically create image tags," Dance said.

The implications for search tech are HUGE..

Personalized Search RSS Feeds from Findory

Thread Title: Personalized search RSS feeds Thread Url: Thread Description:

Greg Lindon just announced that Findory are now adding personalized search RSS Feeds - essentially the system will tune itself to your past searches and the current search you are performing to better match what it thinks you want - pretty neat huh? From Greg's post threadlinked above:

Execute a news or blog search on Findory and, at the bottom of the search results, you'll see links to RSS feeds for those searches. The persona feed (visible only if you are signed in) highlights recommended articles from the search results.

It's true that many others offer RSS feeds for searches over news or blogs. What makes Findory's RSS feeds so different is our personalization.

We've seen Greg out and about in targeted blog posts touting the Findory fineries and apart from having a ball calling him a spammer :-) what he has to say is exciting and this latest news just adds to that. From the comment linked above:

The problem with current web feed readers is that they don't solve the information overload problem. You can pick and choose which RSS feeds you subscribe to, sure. But, once you have tens or hundrededs of subscribed feeds, reading them becomes this cumbersome process. Click on a feed, skim the articles. Anything interesting in that one? No. Click, skim. Click, skim. Click, skim. Ugh.

We're trying to solve that problem at Findory. It's a personalized newspaper and weblog reader. It learns your interests, searches thousands of news sources and weblogs, and builds a front page just for you.

Greg, you can spam us right here mate, go ahead and tell us a bit about it eh? It sounds cool.....

Article by Greg Jarboe - What's he saying?

Thread Title: 2nd Impression Thread Url: Thread Description:

I just know of Greg Jarboe by name. First I skimmed the article threadlinked above and I thought I think he must work for a PPC management organization. On 2nd read, I think he's giving Organic SEO's a few tips i.e. sell services by showing conversion and tracking. Still not sure, but will give it a 3rd read. Although he is using SEMPO's research study in his analysis, so who really knows? Does anyone know the stats on the Sempo survey i.e. how many participated, who participated? I'll search around later for the details, but I know my dog participated succesffully in the survey.

SEO - Dont Take a Sword to a Gun Fight - & - Vice Versa

Thread Title: Talking About Search Engine Spam Thread Url: Thread Description:

I just read a very interesting piece for SEW subscribers that Danny Sullivan pointed out on the SEW Blog - The article is based on the "black hat / white hat" session at the recent SES Chicago

Now, im dreadfully bored with the whole thing about hats and ethics, and have resolved not to get into it (we'll see how long that lasts..) this year but it's a damn good article and well worth a read - though you do have to be a paid ($100) member to get to it. Nestled in the middle is this little exchange between Danny and Yahoo's Tim Mayer, i think you'll like it...

Tim Mayer of Yahoo Talks About Search Spamming

I have added some notes in bold to let you know who is saying what :)

Tim If you're being entirely organic and going after "viagra," it's like taking a sword to a gunfight. You just aren't going to rank.

Danny Did I hear right? Was that Yahoo saying spam is OK depending on the industry? No. When I followed up with Tim, he emailed me:

Tim Yahoo does not think that spamming is OK. We are aware that spam (or over optimization) is prevalent in highly competitive categories and realize that many webmasters in these high reward categories are willing to take more risks and use spamming techniques even though they know the search engines may label their sites as spam.

I think one of the key things I brought up in the session was when I talked about where the line was between optimization and over optimization (spam). I said this may vary by industry as in very non-competitive industries, where very little optimization takes place, the line will be very conservative and there will be little room for aggressive optimization techniques. In a very competitive industry like 'texas holdem poker' where optimization is the norm, heavier optimization may be tolerated.

Google Granted Patent for Highlighting Search Results

Thread Title: Google Receives Patent for Highlighting of Search Results Thread Url: Thread Description:

This'll put the cat amongst the pidgeons...

A system highlights search terms in documents distributed over a network. The system generates a search query that includes a search term and, in response to the search query, receives a list of one or more references to documents in the network. The system receives selection of one of the references and retrieves a document that corresponds to the selected reference. The system then highlights the search term in the retrieved document.

link to the patent text

SEO Spam Cop

Thread Title: SEO Spam Cop Thread Url: Thread Description:

Interesting series of articles on ClickZ by P.J. Fusco on identifying questionable SEO tactics, etc. Seems to take pride in having fired SEM firms.

It's often irritating to me when people take the high road just to distinguish themselves, but there are many very good points brought out in this article. It would be nice (and more compelling) to see more specifics on search performance improvement after the "SEO spam" tactics were removed and the "right" tactics implemented.

If you missed Google on 60mins - Grab it here...

Thread Title: Google on 60 Minutes Thread Url: Thread Description:

You can grab the whole video and stream it at the threadlink above. I have a question for the americans if i may: Is it normal for the presenter of such a show to talk to the audience as though they were children?

link via boingboing

Matt Cutts Says Nothing about Google Suggest

Thread Title: Matt Cutts On Google Suggests Thread Url: Thread Description:

Jason Dowdell publishes a transcript of his conversation with Google engineer Matt Cutts about Google Suggest the new beta tool that predicts what you're searching for as you type it into the text box.

Here's what he had to say:

"I don't have much extra information on Google Suggest, but I know that suggestions aren't based on personal search history, according to . I wouldn't be surprised if the order of the suggestions is determined by how often searches were queried at some point in the past. I'm basing that off this quote from the FAQ: 'For example, Google Suggest uses data about the overall popularity of various searches to help rank the refinements it offers.'"

Practically nothing, heh...

I think Matt knows a fair bit more than that, after all, it's not that tricky to see how it works now is it?

Come on Matt, we know you can do better than that mate! :-)

Nokodo Search Engine Launches

Thread Title: New Search Engine Nokodo Launches Thread Url: Thread Description:

ResearchBuzz threadlinked above report on the launch of Nokodo

I cant say that im even a little bit impressed, i tried a search for smart phone and the results were horrendous, plus the way it works means you cant link to results - doh!

Google's Big Filter Mystery

Thread Title: New Google filter flaws search results Thread Url: Thread Description:

Threadwatch member Brian Turner posts a nice summary of this thread over at SEW started by NFFC a couple of weeks back.

The long and short of the "problem" is that Google is returning far less results than it would normally for terms that would usually return about the limit of 1000 results. From Brians post:

One of the most affected search terms is for "Yahoo", the rival search engine. A search on for that word will return only 48 results - most of which are Japanese language pages.

Even the most common words on the internet are being returned with far less than 1000 pages, for example:

902 of about 100,000,000 for casino 851 of about 96,000,000 for porn 900 of about 616,000,000 for internet 911 of about 1,010,000,000 for web 914 of about 376,000,000 for computer 951 of about 8,000,000,000 for the

So, what, if anything, is going on at Google and is this affecting anyone other than just not returning so many results?

Beattie wants to be a Search Spammer

Thread Title: Search Engine Honey Traps Thread Url: Thread Description:

Only kidding really :-) but bearing in mind that Russell works for Yahoo this might amuse a few of you search marketers out there:

There's two ways to think about making money this way: The hits and the tail.

The first is very mercenary: If there was some way to find out the most expensive Keywords for a certain time frame - it'd probably be pretty easy to guess which ones were pretty in demand, actually - you could then have a blog which is dedicated to writing up summaries about only these most valuable topics and attracting lucrative search engine traffic as a result. I'm talking about real posts, not garbage, but not dedicated to a theme, but to whatever was the most expensive keyword that day or week or month was. There are keywords that cost $30 a click, right? If you attract a few dozen people your site a month, who read your summary then click on the ads? Well that could be some serious dough.

After 3 months - Google updates PR

Thread Title: After 3 months - Google updates PR Thread Url: Thread Description:

DazzlingDonna points out google's PageRank and BackLink update incipience, shown on and datacenters.

PR and Backlink Update Starts New Year Off With Bang Google has begun its PR and Backlink update - just in time for the New Year! Since it is still propagating across the datacenters, the best place to check your upcoming PR is at Currently, the new PageRank is being shown on and Just run the link: command from one of those datacenters to see your updated backlinks. Happy New Year!

Directories Taking a Whack on Google - What's going on?

Thread Title: WebAtlas booted from Google Thread Url: Thread Description:

The conversation threadlinked above started by some gloating knob could be very worrying for Directory owners. The knob in question is gleefully informing the members at seozip that has been booted from Google.

Speaking of knobs, this thread at IHU has Dastardly Doug crowing about "spammy directories" - there's not much to be gained from the thread itself (surprise..) but it's indicative of many threads floating around out there over the last couple of months about Directory sites having trouble with Google.

So, have a look at Threadwatch member nandini's site: Web Atlas and tell us what you think. This would seem on a level with BlueFind's recent troubles

Is Google actively seeking out directories or are there some inherent flaws in the scripts that generate and maintain such sites that are tripping some kind of site hazard at G?

Dont Laugh - Weblogsinc Want to run a Search Conference...

Really, it's true. In fact, thanks to to one Threadwatch member I've seen the pitch their VP of mktg and sales Shawn Gold is sending out to sell ad space to optimization companies...

Now, the question is: Is this just another case of Bloggers thinking they invented the internet or is there room in the conference space for another show and could they actually pull it off?

From the email pitch:

Quote: We will be creating a conference around the business of Search Engines and will be focusing on that area of the business.

-from Shawn Gold, Vice President of Weblogs Inc

What do Threadwatchers think? Room for another search conference alongside Search Engine Strategies and Webmasterworld's World of Search? If so, could Weblogsinc pull it off?