Archive for January, 2010

Keeping SOE Activity Under the Radar

As any tier 1 SOE professional will tell you, one of the biggest risks in any SOE campaign is getting the website you are working on banned by the big search engines for breaking their rules.

While getting high rankings in Bing, and the other big search engines is the biggest goal of SOE, it is important to remember that you also need to avoid getting on the wrong side of the Googler by making your efforts too obvious.  Most of the bigger search engines, with the exception of Cuill and Ask employ teams of people to review websites, and if they find any evidence of SOE techniques being used, they have the right to unplug your website from the whole internet, and potentially send you to prison!

Search engine rules were established by Tim Berners Lee in 1956, and despite the march of progress that we have seen in recent years, they are still rigorously enforced.  In order to protect the search engines, the rules are top secret, but by careful research, we have been able to identify the following:

  • Do not do any on page optimisation
  • Avoid link building

Search engines use complex systems to find people who are breaking the rules, and then pass their details to the WET (website execution teams), who take any appropriate action:

Doing lots of techniques means that the Googler can identify that you are doing SOE

Doing lots of techniques means that the Googler can identify that you are doing SOE

Keeping under the Radar

Typically, top SOE professionals use up to five different techniques when they are doing optimising work.  These include adding Meta Keywords, getting the right Keyword Density, building latent semantic eigenvectors through the website data hierarchies, and building recopricul link networks to increase the number of Page ranks that the website has.

Often, there is no way of knowing whether the Googler is visiting your website to check if any SOE is being done, so you need to do what you can in order to prevent them seeing what you are doing.

The key to keeping under the radar with your SOE is simple: use different techniques on different pages of the website.

If you use the Meta Rank tag and include a good quality eigenvector on one page of your site, you should try using Meta Keywords and a latent semantic distribution on another.  The following matrix provides an overview of the different techniques that work well together.

SOE techniques that are safe to use together

SOE techniques that are safe to use together

The benefit of this is that the Googler will be confused, and not be able to tell that you are doing SOE, and as such, will not report your details to the W.E.T.:

Using different techniques confuses the Googler

Using different techniques confuses the Googler

The downside of having to mask SOE activity in this way is that the website will not be able to rank in the top 10 at first, however in the long run, you will find that rankings improve as competing websites that explicitly use SOE on all of their pages will be removed.

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What Yahoo Loves

As one of the most popular places to do searching on the whole internet, getting a website to rank in the top 10 on Yahoo is the jewel in the crown for any SOE professional.  While almost anyone can get a website into the number one position in Google or the Bing by using tips like the Meta Rank tag, including Meta Keywords, and applying the correct eigenvector distribution map within the website content hierarchy, ranking well in Yahoo is incredibly hard.

It is so difficult to rank well in Yahoo, that some results pages only show three or four websites because other webmasters simply give up on trying to get to the first page!  Because of this difficulty, many SOE professionals simply give up on trying to do well in Yahoo.

Understanding Yahoo

While Yahoo looks similar to Google in the way it provides links to other websites, this is simply an illusion.  It is analogous with clouds and sheep – they both look alike (and some people believe that sheep turn into clouds when it gets hot), but the underlying structure is very, very different.

Having said this, once you understand the differences, it is possible to find similarities, and to apply different techniques to your website optimisations to give yourself a chance to rank well.

y give up on trying to get to the first page!  Because of this difficulty, many SOE professionals simply give up on trying to do well in Yahoo.

PageRanks Vs HooRanks

Google uses PageRanks as part of their ranking calculations.  These are determined based on the quality of a page and the type of website that you have.  Yahoo is different.  They use HooRanks, these are based on the type of website you have, the number of pages it has, the keyword density of the pages, the age of your domain and whether you include JavaScript in your website.  The calculation is as follows:

How to calculate HooRank

How Yahoo calculates HooRank

HooRank is a modified polynomial distribution that is calculated every Thursday at 9am local time wherever the website is hosted, and applied to the ranking calculation the following Tuesday at 3pm CET.

Meta Rank Vs Meta Bid

Unlike Google, which uses the Meta Rank tag under a Dutch auction model as a tie breaker when two websites have the same PageRanks, Yahoo uses something called Meta Bid.

Meta Bid is a proprietary web technology developed by Boffins working at Menlo Park in 1956 and subsequently licensed to Yahoo on an exclusive basis until 2018.  Essentially, the website publisher needs to calculate exactly what each visitor to his website is worth based on factors such as conversion rate, average order value, and profit margin.  An exact figure per page should be added into the meta tag for that page, with an aggregate figure for the whole website added to the index page.

This should be presented as follows with the value in US$ to reflect the internal auditing at Yahoo:

<meta name="bid" value="$123" />

Page Sentiment

Although Google present an image of being an altruistic and fun company, with bean bags instead of chairs and tofu smoothies for all employees, the reality is different, and according to my high level sources, the company is run like a Royal Marines boot camp.  Despite what you may have heard, the only dogs you see at Mountain View are Doberman Pinschers guarding the 25 foot high perimeter fence.

Yahoo is different, and their crawler reflects this.  Unlike the Googler, which is a highly optimised automatic reading robot that performs huge numbers of calculations in the blink of an eye and reduces a world of emotion and beauty into cold hard binary digits, the Slurper is designed to be more like a gentle kiss.

Artists impression of the Yahoo Slurper

The most important part of the Slurper is its T.O.N.G.U.E.. This remarkable piece of technology can gauge the sentiment contained within a web page and assign it a score on the Karmic Indication Scoring System (KISS).

Karmic Indication Scoring System

Karmic Indication Scoring System

Pages with a higher kiss factor have a higher fluffiness co-efficient, and are likely to provide a happier user experience, while pages at the spiky end of the spectrum are more likely to make users cry.  Rather than basing their results on pure relevancy, Yahoo have calculated that directing a user to a page that makes them happy on the inside is a more positive experience.

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What Nexus One Means For SOE

January 5th 2010 will be remembered forever as the day the world changed.  The Nexus One was launched, and at a stroke, everything was different.  Until last week, people have only been able to enjoy websites at home, but now, thanks to the genius shown by the boffins at Google, you can carry the whole Internet in your pocket, and read it wherever you are!

Thanks to a miracle of technology and the use of some incredibly complex document containment algorithms, the Nexus One can display the internet to people wherever they are – in full colour!

Of course, this brings a whole raft of new challenges for SOE professionals – until now, we only had to concentrate on performing the optimisation of a website once so that it would appear at number one in the results, but now, it is necessary to make sure that no matter where people are when they have a go on the Internet, they are still able to find the website.

Getting Online

When you first open your Nexus One, it comes with a full factory installed version of the Internet – although because the phone is in American, a lot of the words are spelled wrong.  The clever thing about the Nexus One is that everytime you plug it in to charge it downloads a new copy of the Internet overnight so that you can get all the latest news and pictures and keep it up to date.

Screen Size

In order to get the Internet into a pocket sized device like the Nexus One, Google have had to shrink all of the pages significantly to make them fit.  Whereas a normal sized website on a proper computer can feature a screen resolution of up to 800 by 600px, this does not all fit onto a Nexus, which only has a screen that can display 800 by 480 pixels, which is 25% less!

Web page resolution for Nexus One

Web page resolution for Nexus One

In order to rank well in a portable Google, your website needs to be in a resolution that fits.  Having said that, you also need to remember that not everyone will get a Nexus, and you still want to have a resolution that works in a home Internet too.  We recommend that you compromise, and design your pages with a resolution of 800x540px, which is half way in between.

Keyword Density

Because the web page is 25% smaller, you will also need to think about your keyword density – whereas on a web page for the proper Internet, you need to use a density of 16.7%, this simply will not work on a Nexus One portable Internet.  In order to fit in with the complex latent semantic eigenvectors that are employed within the floating point calculations utilised when rendering portable Internet pages, you need to scale the keyword density employed on the web page using a parabolic distribution curve – our testing shows that for a page to rank at number one in a portable Google, it needs to have a keyword density of precisely 13.45% – and you can use a maximum of 243 words.

Special Google

Of course, being able to carry the whole Internet around in portable form is no use whatsoever if you can’t remember where things are, so every Nexus One comes complete with a special Google.  The real Google is one of the biggest websites around – according to some sources it has more than 5,000 pages!  Having that much content inside it would make the Nexus to heavy for most people to carry with them, so Google have designed a special light weight Googler that is just 5% of the size of the proper one – but still manages to read the Internet and help you find things:

What the Different types of Google Look Like

Size Comparison between regular and portable googlers

Although the portable version of the Googler is only 5% of the size of the full one, it still contains most of the same algorithmic functions as its larger counterpart – the difference is in its speed.  While the latest version of the Googler that works on a proper computer is able to read around 150 pages each hour, the smaller version can only do 50 – which is pretty good considering its size.  To get around this restriction, the Nexus One Googler runs constantly day and night to ensure that every time you update the Internet, you are able to find what you are looking for quickly.

Other Features

In addition to carrying a copy of the Internet, the Nexus One also has a number of other features including being able to send and receive text messages, take photographs with a built in (!) camera, and even make phone calls.  Of course this is quite difficult, as although the boffins at Google managed to fit the whole Internet into the Nexus One, they neglected to add a keypad, so it is difficult to dial a phone number.

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