• http://www.theonlinemarketingguy.com sportsguy

    Amen to that!

    A recent change at my work place has allowed 302s to be suddenly included as part of our user login process.

    Bad news is it’s affecting us. Good news is my programmers are working on a fix.

    The really good news is we’ve identified an obvious space to improve communications and define who’s vocabulary we’re working from when we discuss projects.

    Two of us sat down, said the exact same thing and agreed a certain item should be avoided.

    Because search folks and programmers speak different languages with overlapping words, these 302s ended up live.

    Now we fix, tomorrow we educate en-masse.

    It goes back to the topic of the article – having the skills can save some big hassles. Transferring the skills to other individuals in an organization can also save hundreds of hours of misplaced development time.

  • http://sethf.com/ Seth Finkelstein

    I took the line about “Further frustrating him is that Google’s response to Topix’s plea for help …”
    not to mean that Topix was having trouble now and needed help, but rather than Topix send a through-official-channels rquest about what to do if something went wrong, and got back an official answer that was one step above “Cross your fingers and pray”. And hence the reaction of Kafkaesque.

    Of course Rich Skrenta is connected. But it’s still true that the official line that Google sends back is a bit underwhelming.

  • http://hauntingthunder.wordpress.com/ Neuro

    “Further frustrating him is that Google’s response to Topix’s plea for help …”

    Well if I was a share holder id be a bit concerned that my CEO is spending a Million Dollars and insn’t sure if its worth it.

    WTF is his CTO/CIO doing for teh money

  • http://www.traffick.com AndrewGoodman

    Hi Danny, it is actually a bit hard to reconstruct what happened with HomeStars. :) It’s a blur in part because a number of consultants, including me, were orbiting around offering only piecemeal advice but no consistent process for working together with the site developer (yes I’m sure many of you have heard this one before!). “Arms length” definitely does not work as a content or search strategy… Much more recently I took on a more consistent role with HomeStars, but not to worry I’ll still be running Page Zero and speaking at shows. :)

    Certainly, the 301 redirect strategy was undertaken as far as I know (a bit before my time working with the site), but all was not hunky-dory for a certain time for a number of reasons, not just the domain name change. Remember this is a site that was still sandboxed, and with very few quality inbound links and then a few new ones solicited that I felt were crummy or off topic, I think it sunk a bit further into the quicksand until the quality of the user experience clawed things back.

    There were a number of other negative developments causing a large number of pages to go into supplemental. There was also a full URL rewrite that was good long term (recommended by me, again somewhat at arms-length) but caused some hiccups. This is certainly a far different case from Topix in that it was a very new site with a low trust score etc. So it lacked stability in its search referrals.

    The frustrating thing about working with a startup like HomeStars has been the slow progress on v 2.0 of the site (rollout to many more cities with a contemporary platform and design – so far all the investment in the project is coming from founder Nancy plus sweat equity). The current site is ugly and doesn’t work as well as we’d like – it is “OK” but nothing I’d undertake an aggressive PR campaign for yet – so the lack of promo (chicken and egg) thus far is part of the frustration. When we finally close our funding round *and* finally roll out the new site, we get to spread the word more. Though thanks to the WSJ article a few more people know about us. :) (Got $1-2 million? Our current VC partner is looking to syndicate. Limited time offer.)

    I’m a firm believer that good indexing and ranking stem from proper site architecture and contemporary user-focused navigation plus quality content, so I went out and recruited accordingly. The early-days HomeStars site definitely did its job but so many things were suboptimal (including a slow process for adding reviews, you name it), I think of it all as pre-history :) If we don’t launch the new version by May 1 you have permission to link-bomb the site so we rank on a phrase like “turned into a pumpkin”.

    I think some of you guys will laugh at the idea of me paper prototyping and site-architecting right alongside the real developers and designers. Well, why not. It’s fun. Reminds me of one of those web 2.0 blogs… “we break stuff.”

    We certainly do.

  • http://www.resourceshelf.com gary price

    A quick note to point out that Ask.com was the first of the major engines to look at the context of a query when it suggests that a searcher might be looking for images and provide inline image results. This feature began on April 21, 2003.
    http://www.resourceshelf.com/2003/04/21/new-look-at-tools-from-jeeves/

    Example:
    http://www.ask.com/web?qsrc=146&o=0&q=pics%20of%20golden%20gate%20bridge

    More image search triggers are in the works.

    Of course, other Smart Answers offer inline results.

    For example, last Summer Ask.com began the Smart RSS program. Inline results from blogs and other RSS feeds on web results pages.

    Examples:

    FDA Recalls
    http://www.ask.com/web?qsrc=146&o=0&q=fda%20recalls

    Barry Schwartz
    http://www.ask.com/web?q=barry+schwartz&qsrc=1&o=0&l=dir

    Search Engine Land
    http://www.ask.com/web?q=search+engine+land&qsrc=1&o=0&l=dir

    A few other (of many) Ask.com Smart Answers and inline results:
    + Market Cap CSCO
    http://www.ask.com/web?qsrc=146&o=0&q=market%20cap%20csco

    + Zip Code Springfield
    http://www.ask.com/web?q=zip+code+springfield&qsrc=1&o=0&l=dir
    NOTE the disamibugation options

    + iPod
    Shopping and News
    http://www.ask.com/web?q=ipod&qsrc=1&o=0&l=dir

  • http://www.craigmclaughlan.com/ loki

    a problem for our fledgling seo industry is that so much information available is incorrect. with blogs the latest seo de jour, anyone can add their 2 cents. unfortunately some people’s 2 cents is worth a lot less than others.

    it should be common knowledge (and common sense) that information off the internet needs to be passed through a BS filter. often it’s disinformation, plain wrong, or was-once-correct but is now out of date.

    for this i suggest that all posts, articles, etc. be accompanied by a date-stamp. this would in some way help us all to evaluate whether information was up to date.

    my 2 cents.