Author Archive

Google Boost News

Here’s the latest on Google Boost. Top post is the most current. THIS IS NOT MY ORIGINAL CONTENT! This is a place where I can easily retrieve much requested information about the latest in *SEO News* [Internet Marketing] so Michelle won’t beat me with her Louis Vuitton bag.

Definition [my own]
Google Boost = PPC + Google Places + Sponsored Links

Links and Information
Does Google Boost Fit the SME Need? Jan 13, 2011

The Farmer Update – E I E I O



This is a letter (two actually) written to my clients about the HIGHLY publicized “Farmer Update.” Never before have I been asked by my clients about a particular algorithm update… that’s how publicized this update was (and still is!)


—–Original Message—–
From: Keli Etscorn []
Sent: Tuesday, March 15, 2011 2:25 PM
To: Joel
Subject: Google Farmer Update // Algo

You’re not the first to ask this 🙂 [and probably won’t be the last!]

I’m going to do a *cut and paste* of my answer that addresses the very same concerns and if you have ANY questions afterward, I’m a keyboard away.

PLEASE NOTE: By doing this *cut and paste* answer I am in NO WAY minimalizing your concerns AT ALL… you know I sleep and breath this industry Joel and as with many of my clients, this is their ONLY marketing they do.

—————————— ACTUAL CLIENT QUESTION ——————————
On 2/25/2011 3:10 PM, Don wrote:
> Has the changes to Google affected any of the store placement one way
> or the other?
> Don

Hi Don –

Not that I can tell from spot checking phrases. Keep in mind, Google makes ~400 changes a year to their algorithm. The reason why this update is getting SO MUCH PRESS is because of the very public outing of JCP, Forbes and Overstock. Huge companies were caught employing extremely spammy practices; practices against Google’s TOS. Since Google’s *algorithm that catches these practices* did NOT catch these very obvious spammy practices they’re scrambling around with their own press to do good PR [IMO]. This is the reason it’s so highly publicized and the reason I’ve been getting multiple E-mails from clients regarding this algorithm change (FYI clients NEVER E-mail or ask about algo changes…that’s how mainstream this algo change has become!)

If you ever want to keep your finger on the pulse of this industry with respect to the latest news feel free to follow my Twitter feed:

you don’t even need an account to do this!

—————————— ACTUAL CLIENT QUESTION ——————————

So it’s just one of many updates that happen during the year… there was just more press to cover their *opps*.

This *outing* created a HUGE buzz in the SEO world… if you’d like to read about what exactly JCP was *busted* for you can Google:

JCP link practices
JCP farmer update
JCP spam

I’m sure those queries would bring up some gems! Within a week of the JCP’s incident Forbes was outed followed shortly by – all for the same ILLEGAL [to Google] practices. Remember! You can do ANYTHING you want to your Web site but to play in Google’s sandbox? You MUST play by their rules.


Capitalized searches vs non – Does Google treat them different?

I wish I had posted on this when I first saw it happening… the differences were amazing and the gap much wider then (around the end of the summer) than now.

Basically, through searching, I found that Google was treating queries differently depending on whether or not the words in the search phrase were capitalized or not.

According to Google, they don’t treat the queries different:


Google searches are NOT case sensitive. All letters, regardless of how you type them, will be understood as lower case. For example, searches for george washington, George Washington, and gEoRgE wAsHiNgToN will all return the same results.

Which I think is funny because as of TODAY, gEoRgE wAsHiNgToN and george washington have a difference of 1,000,000 in the serps:

Results 1 – 10 of about 57,000,000 for george washington


Results 110 of about 58,000,000 for gEoRgE wAsHiNgToN

The results look the same, but you can’t help but wonder why that serp count is so far off.

I took two screenshots of Attorney/Lawyer related searches to illustrate this as well:

new york lawyers

new york lawyers

New York Lawyers

New York Lawyers

This illustrates the difference in the results (not big, not like it was this summer) as well as the serp count.

Guidelines for Selecting a Domain Name

Domain Names. All the good ones are gone yet more and more new businesses start everyday wanting to stake out their online property. How do you select a good one?

Here are some guidelines based upon my experience since 1996 in this industry as an ISP owner, a domain reseller, search engine optimization specialist, Internet marketer and Web host operator.

When I’m asked how to select a good domain my typical answer is: select something that is easy to remember, easy to spell, nice and short, something that isn’t easily confused and something that doesn’t contain dashes. You want to be able to rattle off your domain name to the average Joe/Joette on the street so that they can go home and remember it, know how to spell it and not have to account for dashes. If you can follow these steps you’ll be in good shape.

We can get more in depth however and talk about other things to take into consideration:

If you’re planning on branding yourself/your company/etc, you’ll probably want a domain that reflects your company name and/or brand, one you’ll keep for the long haul. If you can sneak in some words that are in your company name then all the better.

Does a good, keyword-rich domain help with SEO?
Yes! [see case study above] However there are many other factors I work with when optimizing a site. If a domain name contains keywords separated by dashes it might help minimally when someone links back to a site, but that’s about it. There is a visual component in the SERPs that has to do more with humans than ranking… if you have your keywords in your domain, they’ll be highlighted in the SEPRs, thus calling attention to itself.

Here is an example of that (see how property and listing is highlighted?):

Keywords in Domain Name

Case Study – Do Keywords in a Domain Help with Ranking?

[I recently did a study with a brand new domain – – within 2 weeks, with no backlinks, it ranks on the first page of Google for “Albuquerque Skin Care” – totally amazed I am. I always said Google doesn’t put much weight into domain names when it comes to ranking consideration, based upon this one case (which is never good, I’d like more test cases) I can say that the domain name has to matter on some level – amended 3/13/12011]. It’s #1 here in Albuquerque and #8 via a proxy server.

Albuquerque Skin Care

I don’t like dashes. They’re hard to remember for some people and when you tell someone a domain with dashes, they’ll inevitably go home and type in the domain sans dashes which sends them to an entirely different site. In some cases, it’s a last resort to get a domain that relates to your company however.

Keeping it Real
Really take a real hard look at your domain before you click the buy button. I have a client (and I won’t post the entire domain name, the first two words illustrate my point) who has the following domain:

AnAlbuquerque…… .com

-or as it shows up in the address bar-

analbuqureque….. .com

See anything strange there? I’m not even sure my client realizes what you see in the address bar after clicking on her site but us geeks sure do. The domain name was already in use and had established a history with Google by the time it came to us, so there was no going back.

Top level domain (.com, .org, ,net). Try to get a .com always, if possible. The non techy of us humans think the only TLD is .com and it’s the most commercially visible too.

Do NOT register domains of other business/companies. They can and will come after you.

Variations & Registering Multiple Domains
I get asked this one a lot… *should I get the .com, org and .net of my domain?* – usually it’s a good idea but I’ve never really run into a situation where NOT doing this has caused any problems. I have clients with many, many domains… they want to use them all to help their *SEO* effort but don’t understand how that can do more damage than good (you can 301 em in safely but that’s all I’d suggest using them for). I sometimes suggest getting all the variations of your company/business just so your competition won’t get them.


I have,, JUST so my local competition won’t buy them. I have Realtor clients that do the same thing…. one guy has over 200 domains!

Is Cuil Cool?

Today Cuil debuted… a new search engine that has been touted as possible threat to Google.  I’m not sure about that last bit… it seems like Yahoo or MSN would have overtaken the giant first, but you never know.  That’s one of the things that make this industry exciting.

Cuil seemed to be getting more of a bad rap than good one around the SEO forums/blogs today.  I tried some queries myself and wasn’t that impressed… but it’s the first day right?  I put in one of my phrases only to see my cilent’s banner come up with an unrelated site (on a result that wasn’t my site).  My site came up with some strange graphic I had never seen before.  When I put in a client’s main phrase, her banner showed up on a competitors site – Oi. I tried another query, then clicked the “2” at the bottom of the page and got a “page not found” type of message. The layout is certainly different from what we’re used to.  It seems unbalanced and that bothers my neurotic mind. One of their big claims is having more pages indexed than any other engine.. but a bag full of trash is a bag full of trash.  I never did get the “I have more pages indexed than you” battle.  There was also a mention that Cuil doesn’t put a lot of emphasis on backlinks.

Hopefully these are all just growing pains.  It’s nice to have competition out there, keeps everyone on their toes.

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