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In this issue:

SES Wrap Up and the Year in Review

SEO Competitive Research, Part 1

THE USUAL: Coverage of this month’s
hot topics, shuffles, shindigs, attaboys and word on the wire.

FEATURE: SES Wrap Up and the Year in Review
SES Chicago is a strange time and place. It's a smaller show and since it's the end of the year, the focus changes. We notice this most on the exhibit hall floor. Most of the year, when people come to the booth they have questions--what is SEO? How do you do SEO? What's the value and so on. People are interested in learning about what search engine marketing and search engine optimization are and how they're different. But in Chicago, it is fourth quarter and all the rules change.

BACK TO BASICS: SEO Competitive Research, Part 1

Do you ever wonder how some competitors always manage to stay in the top ten while your rankings are constantly in flux? SEO competitive research can be defined as the study of competing websites to better evaluate how to improve keyword rankings. Applying a consistent methodology can accurately identify and measure most of the factors that search engines use to rank a web site. When this process is followed by data analysis and long term tracking, the results are progressively increased keyword rankings and consequently increased traffic. Learning how to determine what to do next becomes the habit of asking the right questions. This article is the first of an eight part series looking at each of the elements of effective competitor research.

Hot Topics

Link Ethics: Jeremy vs Matt

Sure there were lots of things that happened this month, but let's face it, the most interesting on-going saga in search is the debate over paid links on blogs that Yahoo!'s Jeremy Zawodny and Google's Matt Cutts have been having.

Here's the timeline:

  1. It started innocently enough. Jeremy announced that he would be selling advertising space on his blog, one month at a time and just a text link.

  2. Learning of this, Danny Sullivan channeled the spirit of Matt and made some predictions about what the Googler would have to say, namely that not putting "rel=nofollow" on a paid link is evil and wrong.

  3. Matt agreed with Danny for the most part and added something about lemur auctions. No, we don't know either. He also took the time to reiterate that you can't be too careful who you link to because Google does consider guilt by association.

  4. Jeremy defended himself and provided some insight into the results so far of the debate, saying that there seemed to be three reactions among advertisers, those who cheered him, those who bolted and those who asked for a "no follow" on their link.

  5. John Battelle sided with Matt.

  6. Then things got really interesting when Tim Mayer, also of Yahoo! promised an official response from Yahoo! on the issue. We're still waiting.


Which is more exciting?

Yahoo! buying

Or Google spending $1 Billion on a 5 percent share of AOL?

We've got to go with the Google/AOL deal. After all, Google beat out both Yahoo! and MSN for the bid.

Then again, Yahoo! also announced that they were going provide their clients with the ability to measure ad performance both online and in traditional media which might just win them enough points to be cooler than Google this month.

Of course, if Slashdot is to be believed, Google just hired Python creator, Guido van Rossum. I think this month is an acquisitions draw.


It's my kind of town. Chicago hosted a Search Engine Strategies conference that would have made Ol' Blue Eyes proud. We had a blast, both at the booth and at the party we threw at Buddy Guy's Legends along with WebmasterRadio, the New York Times, TrueLocal and PositionTech. For the full story on our Search Bash at Buddy Guy's, be sure to read our feature article this month.


Google is moving up in the world, the stock world that is. GOOG is officially being traded on the Nasdaq 100 (QQQQ).

Happy Birthday, Search Engine Roundtable. RustyBrick's blog just turned two and opened a forum. We said Happy Birthday on the 5th but such an exceptional blog deserves another round of applause.

Word on the Wire

Maybe they want to compete with the yodeling? Why else would Google be rumored to be interested in buying Opera? Especially when they have Firefox all but in their back pocket.

If you have any questions or comments on any of the articles above or if you would like to suggest topics for future articles, please email us at SEOToolSet.

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