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March 27, 2008

Search Headlines – Google & YouTube Edition

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In case you missed the memo earlier, all today’s headlines must revolve Google and its related properties. It’s a rule. Live with it.

Google Not Punishing Sites Retroactively…Or Are They?

Search Engine Watch had me raising an eyebrow when they interpreted a post from Dave Naylor to suggest that sites could be penalized for selling/buying links in the past, even if they were no longer engaging in the activity. The rumor was sparked after Dave commented on a friend’s site who was seemingly penalized for no reason. The only red flag was a paid links situation from about six months prior.

Matt Cutts later chimed in to say that the site in question was actually penalized months ago when the paid links were found. It wasn’t retroactive.

I have no reason to believe that Google would penalize a site retroactively for selling links, but does that mean the site owner just now realized a penalty that took place months ago? Aren’t site owners usually obsessive about checking that kind of stuff? Or is the site just now seeing the affect? Enlighten me in the comments.

Either way, just say no to paid links, my friends.

YouTube Gets Analytics

YouTubers were way excited to learn that the video upload site has released YouTube Insight, a free analytics tool that folks can use to learn a bit more about their videos and how they’re performing. Ooo, numbers.

To view your video analytics, click on "Videos, Favorites & Playlists" located under the Manage My Videos header on your Account page. Once there, you can get your metric information by selecting the "About the Video" radio button that will appear on the right of each of your videos. Once you’re in you’ll be able to view your data either by date (days, 1 month, 3 months, 6 months and one year.) or geographic region. Basically you’ll be able to see what locations your video are most popular in, the day of the week they get the most views, how popular your video is compared to others, and similar information.

Google hopes YouTube Insight will help partners evaluate their metrics to better serve their audience and increase ad revenue, while also allowing advertisers to tailor their message to the right viewers. Basically, it’s all about giving partners more data so they can improve their videos and make more money off their ads. Look excited.

Seriously, well played by YouTube and Google. Providing free video analytics is a good way to encourage site owners to choose YouTube over the competition and get everyone optimizing video for blended search.

Site Owners Get A Robots.txt Generator

The Google Webmaster Central blog gave site owners a Spring treat with the introduction of a robots.txt generator that they can use to help eliminate crawling problems. To use the tool, log into your Google Webmaster Tools, head to the Tools menu and click on the Generate Robots.txt link. Danny Sullivan notes that by default the tool will create a robots.txt file allowing all robots to index your site. If that’s not what you want, make sure you specify that. Once you’re done, just upload the file to the top level directory of your Web site.

Danny also offers up a mini Robots.txt tutorial over at Search Engine Land so you may want to check that out.

Fun Finds

SEO Optimise asks Should Google Universal Search Be Part Of Your SEO Strategy? I don’t even have to read the post to know the answer is YES. If you’re not playing in blended search, do us all a favor and go sit in the corner. The rest of us will be over here evolving.

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