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Information Arms Race – SE’s vs. SEO’s

Online marketing information can change quickly This article is 16 years and 37 days old, and the facts and opinions contained in it may be out of date.

Information Arms RaceThis has been a post I’ve been procrastinating on for quite some time now, but with the release of the most important SEO related document in the last 5 years according to WebGuerrilla, I thought it was about time to forge ahead, and at least write SOMETHING on this topic. Here is the Google patent that is creating the big stir. A cold war has been raging for quite some time, and it is only getting more intense.

There are some definite gems being extracted from the newly released patent, and I imagine more good working hypothesis will come from it. Here’s the roundup from around my favorite webs of information:

The thesis of this post is that there is an escalating information arms race between SEO’s and search engines. The latest patent release from Google is a prime example. While it still reads like a glorified wishlist of functionality, I would likely believe that a lot of the functionality has already been implemented or will be shortly.

Some of my favorite quotes so far about the patent:

  • 63. The method of claim 62, wherein adjusting the ranking includes penalizing the ranking if the link churn is above a threshold.
    Game on.

    Later thoughts: [0090] Additionally, or alternatively, search engine 125 may monitor time-varying characteristics relating to “advertising traffic”…

    Let me summarize: We will favor pages that contain AdSense, and we will penalize pages that contain ads from our competitors. don’t even think you can cloak in order to prevent us from seeing our competitor’s code on your site. That won’t work because we will be using our millions of toolbars to track what your visitors are clicking on.

  • -WebGuerrilla
  • Maybe the patent is a double sly. Good way to throw everyone off the real scent :)
    Filed it 1 day too early.
    – SlyOldDog (who also did a very nice roundup in msg #36
  • I don’t think any one thing like a short registration is going to penalize you. The problem would come in if you have a series of things that look “less than desireable” from the algo’s point of view.
    The legal firm Harrity & Snyder LLP is registered thru 2010, coincidence?
    – graywolf
  • I’ve already got a plan on bookmark spam :) but I’ll keep that sucka to myself :)seomike
  • Knowing there are others as paranoid as me is assuring. – caveman

To properly understand the scale to which this race has evolved to, it is necessary to understand the history behind it.
SEO History through 2001 is a good start in this study. SEO’s are the parasites that force SE’s to evolve to become more effective. A few of many examples:

  • Alt tags – SE’s use them, SEO’s abuse them, SE’s devalue them.
  • Internal anchor text – SE’s use them, SEO’s abuse them, SE’s devalue them
  • Links power rankings – SEO’s create “link directories” – reciprocal links are devalued
  • Anchor Text – SE’s use them, SEO’s abuse them, well…you get the idea.
  • Content is king – DMOZ clones and scraper sites appear – duplicate content filtering is improving

The race to be more informed is becoming even more intense as information is traded over dinner and drinks at conferences, and the information becomes more sophisticated and less likely for the lay person to understand. Of course their is also the potentional for disinformation (misinforming webmasters with phoney PR – both kinds, and untimely, unreliable, incomplete information. This, however, is probably a different topic for a different day.)
While as an SEO, I definitely respect the intelligence and hard work of the search engines, the limitations for cooperation are huge. I saw this well exemplified when Threadwatch discussed building the perfect link analysis tool.

Barry Schwartz summed it up quite nicely:You can’t have a win – win situation on this topic. You either go the WPG route and don’t care (SEOs win – Google Loses) OR you go the API route and limit the users big time (SEOs lose – Google Wins). – rustybrick
Why Will the Race Continue?
Different Goals
SEO Goals

  • -Create a subset of data and test to produce optimal results (high ranking serps)
  • -Use this information to maximize profits from commercial sites that benefit from high rankings

    SE Goals

  • -Create a subset of data and test to produce optimal results (relevant serps).
  • -Profit from clearly identified advertising

    SEO Methodology
    Use any and all techniques that are most important in creating relevant results by isolating and testing variables, then creating pages that are optimal for the results.

    SE Methodology
    Study and identify the ways the algorithms are being manipulated and adjust accordingly.

    The goals and methodologies of the two camps make them natural adversaries (even though we get along well and like each other often times) It’s an unfortunate, but inevitable occurance. Anyone who has been to a conference and seen a search engine rep sitting down and enjoying several late night pints with some of the most well known and self-professed black hat SEO’s in the industry will understand the true definition of irony. They will also understand the “quid pro quo” nature of the search industry that gives the information you hold an increasingly diminishing value inversely proportional to the time you hold it. The information is ony valuable if you monetize it, or if someone else can monetize it and return the favor when they can. This makes the battle against time and for dollars more intense as well.

    SEO is getting more difficult by the day, and evolving constantly. Arm yourself with good information, and defend yourself against the disinformation to stay in the know. Remember that SEO’s are the number one SE variable. Reading through it now, it’s pretty obvious they are focusing on reducing the effectiveness of SEO last bit of advice by graywolf who also has a great roundup analysis of the new Google patent

    Added resources:

    Tags: SEO

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